Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Debunking Dominance Theory

Using dominance theory to understand, explain and shape dog behavior is reckless, dangerous, and scientifically out of date. Look through my blog posts -- you'll see that I have talked about this on several occasions.

Why am I so adamant about this? Why do I continue to post comments that often lead to critical, and sometimes, attacking emails from those of you who read my blog? Because I care too deeply about the dogs in our lives. Using dominance theory applications to shape your dog's behavior puts you at risk of an aggressive response, puts your dog through considerable emotional and physical stress, and can permanently damage your bond with your loving companion.

But it works, you may argue. Where have you seen dominant, aggressive training tactics work for long-term success? On TV? Remember, television is an entertainment medium. Do you believe everything you see on television? Are all of those "reality" shows that are so popular really real? Remember the outdoor survivalist who was exposed for sleeping in hotels at night when the cameras were turned off? Not all that is shown on television is complete, honest and truthful. Where else have you seen it work? Does your neighbor use dominant pack theory to train his dog? If so, watch his dog's subtle behaviors. I guarantee that the dog will be nervous, jumpy and never look like confident and completely at ease. Is this the kind of "training" you want to provide for your best friend?

So, you may get mad at me. You may completely disagree with me and tell me I am just plain wrong. But, experience and science back me up. Dominance theory is wrong, and doesn't work. Please read through the links below and really analyze why you believe, and perhaps apply, this incorrect theory on dog behavior.

Using 'Dominance' To Explain Dog Behavior Is Old Hat

Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?

Debunking Dominance Theory