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The Dog Dominance Myth
Is the dominance of dogs just some simple position and posture … or is something that runs deeper, something that is not visible to the human eye? For many years now we have heard of training techniques that involve the owner acting like a dominant dog. This involves the person doing things like eating first, walking with your dog next to you or behind you, instead of crawling in front of you, not letting him sleep on high positions in the house such as the bed or sofa and so on.
Although these techniques can help to create a good relationship with your dog, especially when used by novice owners, they do not always work. From my experience with not only training dogs but with observing my own dogs I have seen inconsistencies in this theory. I found that in many cases that all these so-called dominant positions do not mean something and most importantly they do not work all the time.
For example, my 4 year old Belgian Malinois is quite a dominant female and for the past 3.5 years she has only submitted to one older female boar hunting in my yard. Any other female I bring to my court, regardless of the dominant position they take. No matter how big they are, he will want to dominate them and if I allow him he will jump into them and attack them without hesitation. The same is true if I keep these females in my yard for several years, there will always be a struggle for dominance between her and the other female. This is regardless of what the dominant behavior presented by the female will try.
About 6 months ago something interesting happened in my backyard. This Malinois is submissive to an 18 month old female Bulldog I raised in my yard. This Malinois has dominated the female Bulldog for his entire life. Now this female Bulldog holds the same dominant position as all the other females tried. But… for some reason it worked for him and the Malinois submissive…
Another example that I can think of is when a friend of mine came from Sydney to visit. I had my dog training class and at the end I needed one of my new clients to fill out some forms. This customer, a husband and wife, had a 12 month old female German shepherd that they had absolutely no control over. After filling out the forms, the husband, a big guy, hands over control of the dog to his wife who is a smaller person. I asked my friend who has dogs for many years to help him if he had problems with the dog.
It was only about a minute before this dog started jumping on the lady. My friend correctly instructed the lady to check the dog and the lead. He did it correctly but the dog kept jumping on him. Seeing this, my friend took control of the leash and checked the dog. In surprise with him, this crazy woman who has no control fell to the ground and looked at my friend very carefully. He submitted to the exact same method that did not work for the lady…
While making house calls for people with dog problems. Too often people have commented how calm and well behaved the dogs are around me. I heard things like, “I can’t believe it, it normally jumps on people who come to the door.” Or he’s not doing it now for some reason.” How can that happen if all I did was walk into their house or yard?
I believe there is something that dogs can see or feel that makes them submit to another animal or obey a human. And all the so-called dominant positions are secondary to this “VIBE” given by a person or some dog. Why else would my female Malinois submit to a younger female that she has been dominant in her entire life and never submit to another female who would do the exact same thing? Why did the shepherd submit to my friends and not to his owner when he used exactly the same technique as the owner? Why do people without dog control act differently when I enter the house?
This “VIBE” relationship goes back to dog training, I think the “VIBE” can also be called “respect.” A dog will not listen to you if it does not respect you. Now make it clear. I believe that not letting your dog sleep on your bed will create a degree of respect. And feeding your dog the correct way will go towards your dog respecting you. Having your dog walk beside you and not in front of you will also add to your dog’s respect for you. So all of these things will go into the bank account of respect and affect the relationship you have with your dog. But what I also want to make clear is that if your dog has a lot of respect for you, or you have the “VIBE,” you can let your dog drag you on the leash, or eat it in any way you like, or let it. sleep on the bed and he will always obey you. Because as I said at the beginning, all these dominant positions / techniques are only secondary to the “VIBE” you give off.
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#Dog #Dominance #Myth