Dominance is not a personality trait...

Discussion in 'General Mastiff Discussion' started by Boxergirl, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I thought in light of some other discussions that I'd post this information from The Association of Professional Dog Trainers. I feel the word dominant has been poisoned because it's been used in the wrong context, from a behavioral standpoint, for too long. It's long, but I truly hope that people will take a look at the article. It's some really good information and can clear up a lot of misunderstandings surrounding the use of the word when it comes to training.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  2. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    Throw a high value treat into a group of pups who are running on as close to pure instincts as your going to see at any point in their lives ……… watch a mom dog reprimand a pup , you won’t see a pup reprimand their mom , they know to be submissive … an adult reprimand another adult , some adults within a group are never on the offensive , anytime there is aggression they’re on the defensive , others are never defensive ……… wolf packs defend resources , a lone male or pair must establish and maintain a territory to have a successful pack …….. social animals have hierarchies , it’s the only way it can work …….. dogs and wolves are competitive within their group for resources ……. Dogs display more dominant behavior when around bitches in season , male wolves display more dominant behavior during breeding season , both are more territorial at that time , some are consistently more successful than others ……. I believe a large portion of wolf deaths are by way of being killed by other wolves , it may be most deaths , and most occur around breeding season …….. when the breeding pair are killed , the rest of the pack becomes transient , they do not hold their territory , many are killed by other wolves or starve to death …… the reason dogs are the animal they are is because they are social animals and instinctually understand and accept social hierarchy …………

    Human behavior absolutely correlates with chimpanzees , it actually correlates with many animal behaviors , but more closely primates , and even more so apes ………
  3. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Did you read the article, Marke? You aren't describing personality traits. The article addresses what you are speaking of. That's why I posted it. Because the word dominance, as most people use it, is being used incorrectly when speaking of animal behavior.
  4. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    I agree about the use of the terms “ a dominant dog” and an “alpha dog” , I actually don’t believe I’ve ever had a use for those terms in describing a dogs personality , behavior or anything a dog does , i do however believe dominance and submission are a part of a dogs everyday life ……… possibly my problem with the article is the interpretation of the term “personality” ……………. i think personality , behavior and temperament may be just semantics , and at the very least have a lot of overlap .......
  5. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I have noticed that you don't use those terms in describing dog personality or behavior when dealing with humans. Which is why I believe we are actually on the same page. Or mostly. You're examples are always of dog-dog interaction, where there is a social hierarchy and dominance/submission does exist - as the article states. Thank you for answering. I was going to ask you what it was about the article that you disagreed with, but you already did answer.
  6. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    I haven't read the article but I do use the word dominance when referring to this breed especially. Funny Marke talked about apes as I just last night saw a video on how brutal they are when they remove an unwanted male and kill any of its off spring but that's another story.

    I am only speaking through my own experience with not 1 but 2 highly dominant dogs one male and one female. What I mean by dominant is that both of those dogs live day to day everyday and every moment trying to manipulate some sort of dominance. Whether it be putting a paw above your arm while giving a toy for them hold as they chew it, or continually trying to get up in the bed when the alpha is gone, or testing to see how far they can get over and over again. Not in a normal dog way but in a persistent way that only a special type of breed will have. These dogs are relentless when it comes to dominance.

    CC and DDB live life for that. The reason why it wasn't just my DDB that distrusted all males except me wasn't because he was strange, it was because he is extremely dominant and wanted nothing to do with another possible dominant alpha male. Any DDB owner in Europe will tell you there Male DDB will not trust other men period.

    This is not the case for other working breeds. While yes they can be alpha no question, they do not live day in and day out trying to figure out how to gain the dominant edge. This is why whenever you read the Wiki's or whatever they are on CC, they say that the potential owner will not only have to know how to train a dominant dog, but will have to continue to work with that behavior all its life.

    When I first went shopping for a DDB I didn't really know what to expect and didn't fully understand what they meant by dominant in every single article. Within 6 months, I knew exactly what they meant and for 9 solid years went through it, although it became easier and expected later in his life it was obvious. The CC female is a dominant freak, testing, will try for hours to gain the edge over anything and everything.

    Its very simple, these are tough dogs to own in every sense of the word and its mainly because of them constantly testing. Because of this issue, they are tougher to train than other working breeds. Not untrainable but tougher.
  7. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    You really should read the article in order to have a good discussion about it.
  8. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    OK, I just read the article. I think they are correct in most breeds and wrong 100% when dealing with Guardian breeds. I also think they are referring to the normal everyday dogs that show up for group obedience lessons. Even the chart discusses issues like peeing and other issues that are not really relevant when we are discussing this issue here.

    A Tibetan Mastiff, a Fila, A Presa, CC no way anyone can deny these are not dominant breeds. Its very similar to cultures, right now the west is undergoing a cultural change to bring in global communism, in order to do that they needed to bring the west down to 3rd world levels. How could they do that? Because in the west we have an individualism culture, and in the majority of other countries have collectivism. Collectivism is the more dominant culture and will easily destroy individualism by the way it operates. Equality is a hoax.
  9. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    The entire point of the article was to explain that in training and animal behavior terminology "dominance" doesn't mean what people think it means. It's a term for relationships between individuals of the same species, not between dogs and humans. Again, I suspect we will just have to agree to disagree. I'm going to go with the ethologists on this one.
    DennasMom and glen like this.
  10. glen

    glen Super Moderator Staff Member

    Boxergirl, thanks for posting the article, iv forwarded on to someome i was having a difference of opinion with.
    I wont hijack the thread with how budcuss is but that artivle as helped me explain a lot to him on our difference of opinion with dominance,
    Yes i do say bud is dominant but its with other dogs he doesnt know, hes fully intact so he thinks i should castrate him to stop it,
  11. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you found it helpful.
  12. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I'm adding this one too because it addresses a few things differently that I think may clarify things. For instance:

    "Dominance is defined in animal behavior as a relationship between individuals that is established by force, aggression and submission in order to determine who has priority access to multiple resources such as food, preferred resting spots, and access to mates. For instance, when a group of sex-hungry bulls are introduced to each other they immediately fight in order to establish rank." (My note - this applies to species interaction, not interaction with humans.)

    "Unlike a personality, which by definition is a set of behavioral characteristics that stays the same across different contexts, rank changes depending on the group an animal inhabits."

    And here is an abridged, online version of the chapter in Dr. Yin's Low Stress Handling book addressing this issue. (Note that the ads contained in the article are not from the book, it's from the source that reprinted the article.) There are also a lot of cited works to scientific studies. vs. Unruly Behavior Handout.pdf

    *Side note - if you've never visited a low stress handling or a fear free clinic, it's a great experience for the animals. My kid is fear free certified and it's pretty cool to have most procedures done without, or with minimal, restraint. I know everyone thinks not my dog. I did. I was pleasantly surprised in many ways.*
  13. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    the fact identical twins do not have identical "personalities" is proof there is an environmental aspect to personality , as there is with all psychological processes ...... the fact there is an environmental aspect to it should prove it can and is changed throughout life ....... "dominance" it appears to me is hormonal and environmental , it's an instinctual drive and learned behavior ...... dominance is a behavior , which to me is where the contradiction comes in ........ personality is an individuals normal behavior , I believe it is hormonal and environmental ...... a dog that is knocked down in position , doesn't give it up easily , and either cannot coexist afterwards , or is looking for an opportunity to get back whatever they lost a guy who's use to getting physical with folks he doesn't like , after he's done time for aggravated assault , he still feels the same way , he just doesn't act on it because of the consequences ...... it appears in dogs I've had , the loss of the hormonal aspect seems to help with drive portion , either through age or desexing , the behavior aspect seems to dwindle along with the hormones ....... hormone imbalance in people causes "personality" changes ..............

    I do agree with minimal punishment , especially on a 10 week old puppy ..... I think you need to be careful in punishing a puppy , you also need to be careful on not being clear on inappropriate behavior .... I think the fact a stern no works is great , when it doesn't the dog is locked up until he settles and listens sounds pretty good to me ..... I also think with consistency as the dog gets older the behavior will go away , as a young adult if the behavior were to continue , I probably differ here , but i'd find that dogs limits ....... as far dangerous behavior , I've always felt i'd take it wherever need be to get compliance , as the option of non-compliance is the ultimate punishment ........ I don't know how I would get through a day if my dogs didn't know the word "no" , i'm positive dogs learn the word no every bit as well as a little kid .........

    I also know firsthand ,weimaramers , poodles , neos , springer spaniels , bullmastiffs , pitbulls , ddb , maltese , French bulldogs , and german shepherds all learn the same way , and are unique unto themselves more so than to their breed ......... I've had a weimaramer that was as hard and dangerous to a man as any dog I've ever met ..... a springer spaniel , and Bordeaux as dog aggressive as any game pit we've had ..........

    I always had a problem with dog trainers and terminology .........
  14. Sheila Braund

    Sheila Braund Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the read. I do agree with most of the article. That being said I got a female mastiff first because I knew my husband would have problems with a male. My husband is a cat person. I know it would be easier to train him with a female. lol once he knows how to train and invest in the time with the dog.... Then I'll get my male EM .... We're almost there ;)
  15. TWW

    TWW Well-Known Member

    Will agree to disagree with a serveral things in the article.
    There are many things in the article which are correct and many that I feel are quite incorrect.

    Sadly whoever drafted this needs a Encyclopedia and a Dictionary, also to stop telling people that there "Biggest Mistake" is the misconceptions of the definition of words.
    " Dominance
    is not a personality trait."


    "Contrary to popular thinking, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that
    wolves are not dominated by an "Alpha Wolf" that is the most aggressive male, or male-female
    pairing, of the pack."

    Dominance: is not aggression.
    Dominance: power and influence over others.
    And there most certainly is a leadership order in a pack or wolves or dogs.

    "Wolves, whether it
    be the parents or the cubs of a pack, depend on each other to survive in the wild; consequently
    wolves that engage in aggressive behaviors toward each other would inhibit the pack's ability to
    survive and flourish. "

    Sorry but whoever wrote this may wish to sit down with the researchers from National Geographic.
    As wolves in the wild live a average of 5 years, captive 10 to11 years.
    the 2 main reasons disease and fighting for there place in the pack.

    The main message in the article is good, the problem is whoever wrote it, rehashed and lacked the ability to write something that did not read as if, everyone reading it misunderstood the meaning of words, and wrote what he thought on certain points which in fact was incorrect.
    Sheila Braund likes this.
  16. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    it's hard for me to read these articles when the base intent is to debunk dominance submission within social groups , and they all start with that spin for some reason doesn't matter , and their only argument will be illogical ..... they should depart from that and just explain and demonstrate how their method get compliance(submission) without using negative consequences , better yet explain how to disguise a negative consequence from the pup or dog ...... it's not I have a problem with their method , who could have a problem with not punishing a puppy , and getting a compliant problem free dog ? my problem is this ridiculous desire to debunk dominant/submissive within a social group ....... Cesar Milan , I guarantee he's never had a dog he needed to get rid of or couldn't deal with , my bet is the folks he helps , i'm sure aren't as helped as they may appear , but i'm sure if they gave him their dog he would have no problem with it ...... you may not buy his explanation , but it works for him , because there is a real basis for it , the dogs understand it ....... I do believe folks tend to call drivey dogs dominant , which when you think about it , in a convoluted way might be correct , just not how they think , it is harder to dominate the conversation with a high prey dog when he smells a rabbit or squirrel , not so much with a less driven dog , high drive can dominate his attention .........but that prey drive when in control can make a dog easier to dominate , get compliance ...... it seems these folks are trying to validate their method by trying to invalidate a long proven fact , which makes it tougher to take them seriously ...... as I said , I believe they should stop that and stick to methods and results , I believe it's easy to misuse or incorrectly use a correction , and used too often or too hard of corrections can be very damaging ................ if you need to correct a pup , or a behavior is not diminishing your doing something wrong ........
  17. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Guys. You're misinterpreting the information. The only point I was trying to make was the definition of dominance when it comes to animal behavior is not what people think it is. What you are arguing isn't at all the point of the articles. The point is that your dog walking through the door isn't him trying to dominate you. It's him being rude and not knowing the rules. And of you being a poor leader who hasn't taught him these things.
    Sheila Braund and glen like this.
  18. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    your second article I have less disagreement with , I do disagree with her interpretation and conclusion of her hen story ....... I find it a validation of hierarchy within a group of social animals , showing dominance and rank being achieved through intimidation which she doesn't disagree with , her assumption that the chickens dominance changed I disagree , their rank did .......

    these folks saying alpha has no place in describing wolf pack rank , because the top ranking animals usually have come by that rank merely by being the parents ..... to the best of knowledge alpha means nothing more than the first ? used in ethology to designate the top ranking animal , I never understood it to infer anything as to how they came by that position ?

    i'd say the day you bring the puppy home the process of who's the boss begins , you give him everything he needs to survive , you tell him where and when he can do what ... to think it's not a dominance submission relationship is naïve at best ........

    lots of folks argue the "alpha" dog doesn't always get everything , so they're not really the alpha ..... to that I say if they really wanted it they'd get it ...... it always comes down to what's it worth to the animal , a full dog will be much less willing to fight over food .......

    the first article says dominance is only displayed within species ?

    when you try to get something from a dog and the dog threatens you , are they trying to dominate you ?
    when you try to get the dog off the couch and they threaten you ?
    when the mailman comes to the door and the dog tries to run him off , maybe bites him in the process ?
    a mom dog threatening folks that come near her pups ?

    I believe all of those could be described as the dog trying to dominate a situation , to get compliance from a person , compliance is by definition submission ?

    the term dog eat dog has it's roots in reality , dogs don't vote on position , or discuss differences , they intimidate their way through , mentally and physically , depending on what it's worth , whatever it takes ..............

    I agree you are correct on the over use of the terms dominant or alpha , I think you could explain it better than your links ........ the folks writing those links have an agenda and something to sell , personally they lose me right away , my thought is they don't know , or they are trying to lead the reader in a desired direction (a spin) ..... I believe they are as incorrect in their take on the behavior as folks who use the term dominate or alpha for just about every inappropriate behavior a dog exhibits ....... they state that dogs only try to dominate other dogs , by definition that is untrue ............
    Steven C likes this.
  19. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    Dealing with DDB dogs over there, I know you know what dominance means. I was there for 9 and 1/2 years also and it never really stopped, I just got used to it over the years. I have never seen or met another dog as dominant as a male DDB.
  20. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    I think our dogs are much smarter than what this makes them to be. I believe they know the rules and relentlessly try to dominate the household as I truly think its their main goal.

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