Dominance is not a personality trait...

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

  1. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    This is sarcasm, right?
  2. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    "Dominance is defined as a relationship between individual animals that is established by force/aggression and submission, to determine who has priority access to multiple resources such as food, preferred resting spots, and mates (Bernstein 198 Drews 1993). Most undesirable behaviors in our pets are not related to priority access to resources; rather, they are due to accidental rewarding of the undesirable behavior."

    As per the definition set forth by ethologists, you're still using the word incorrectly. Unless you're talking about your DDB dealing with other dogs. I suspect you mean that your ASSERTIVE and CONFIDENT dog tested you often. Still not dominance as per the definition set forth by ethologists. Scientists that exclusively study animal behavior. Maybe your dog didn't feel that you were a strong enough leader and he could get away with things. Maybe by using coercion and heavy handed corrections you created passive resistance and the dog felt the need to continually test you. Maybe you just had a really persistent dog. I have no idea. I know that there are dogs that continue to test the boundaries and see what they can get away with. It's what dogs do, particularly if they feel that they can get what they want because there isn't consistency it the household rules. All I'm saying - again - is that you are using the word incorrectly in the context of human-dog interaction.

    Listen, the biggest problem I have with the word is that far too many people watch television personalities and decided that their dog is "dominant" and they should do things like alpha rolls, putting a prong an an 8 or 12 week old puppy and giving it harsh corrections, making the dog watch them eat first so the human is alpha, etc. For cripes sake, some people spit in their dog's food to show they're alpha. It just boggles my mind that so many people think their animal is the exception to the laws of learning. The animals at Shedd Aquarium are taught using a clicker and positive reinforcement. My daughter has several friends that majored in biology of various sorts that now work at large zoos across the country. They deal with huge, dangerous animals daily. Guess what method they use to train? Clicker/marker and positive reinforcement. If those animals, who are much too large to coerce or punish (or too dangerous to punish) can be taught this way, why would anyone choose to use outdated training techniques? Of course that's an individual choice, but the most reliable behaviors are achieved through positive methods rather than punitive. I guess my belief is contained wholly in my signature quote.
  3. TWW

    TWW Well-Known Member

    Ok and here is exactly where we go off the rails again.
    Ethologists using there definition of a word. Words have a meaning, because a group (A) uses a word to mean this does not make group (B) incorrect when there using the correct literal meaning of a word.

    Weber's Definition of Dominance: power and influence over others. (Notice nothing to do with species).

    Encyclopedia Britannica Dominance: In animal behaviour, a ruling animal in a social grouping is described as dominant.

    Sorry to say but I think the buy in to some of the ways to show views today is sadly trying to make a piont so badly that the default is to make up there own definitions that it is causing some of there issues.

    Exactly how hard is it to say positive training works better than punishment based training and then show results?
  4. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    If you notice that the definition from Encyclopedia Britannica doesn't go any further into the issue than that one statement. As such, it's not incorrect. It's just that there's so much more to the issue than can be stated in one sentence. Such as the fact that the definition is talking about a social hierarchy between animals. Not between animals and humans. Which is where the distinction comes in. It does make a difference. I'm not sure why it's so difficult for people to understand.
    glen likes this.
  5. TWW

    TWW Well-Known Member

    Actually it is perfectly correct since, it does not attach the false intend of there being malice in dominance.
    The biggest factor is yes no matter how you break in down there is a ruling system, and many of the things that whoever has what every definition, it falls under the true meaning of dominance.

    I'll post a more detailed break down in a couple hours.
  6. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    I use clicker training and it worked for foundation training, rear end control and place. I would never put a prong on a 8 or 12 week old puppy, in fact I don't even think they make prongs for dogs that young. I also think you are making a mistake with the word dominant just as with the word resilient.

    All dogs try to be alpha my pack just went through it, while the CC was young the Poodles were alpha and as the CC grew they lost that spot one by one. It was done by taking their toys, by growling, intimidation ect. It had nothing to do with the very obvious dominant factors in these guardian breeds. A GSD disobeys to rule the house, but doesn't scheme to dominate. Again these dogs live relentlessy for domination.

    The food things you mentioned were just gross. But in the Police dog training there is a thing called "free food" meaning leaving food out whenever the dog wants to eat. They like to incorporate main food into its training regime I personally don't use this as I don't need it. But some excellent k9 handlers do.
  7. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    So tell me then if I am wrong then why is it there are countless articles, information sites, breeders by the 100s all saying the same thing about guardian breeds being dominant? I mean a decade ago after doing weeks of research before dropping 3k on a dog I knew nothing about, my research told me it was an extremely dominant breed. In fact there wasn't one information guide that stated otherwise. Then go on YouTube and watch videos on ownership and living with the breed.

    Oh and also I forgot to mention I never do alpha rolls either, I don't believe they work at all with grown dogs. Maybe to calm down a puppy lay it down, but never with a large grown dog. Not my thing. I am not an abusive trainer at all. These dogs need strong repetition and I will give an example in another post.
  8. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I know what I've learned from the seminars I've attended. Not one speaker has said that dogs are trying to dominate their humans. These weren't just Joe Blows giving their own opinions. They were experts in their field. We aren't discussing behavior within the species here, we're discussing whether your dog walking through the door first or putting his paw on your arm is him trying to dominate you. Clearly we aren't going to convince each other of anything. I wasn't looking to get into an argument here. Just trying to clarify what almost every forward thinking behaviorist and trainer is saying about a word that has been abused and over-used - in the context of dog training. Not in the context of species interaction. I'm not sure how many more times I can say that. I'm not looking to discuss whether your dog behaves in a dominant manner with his canine housemate or if there is a social hierarchy in the animal world. That's not what this is about. And I'm done banging my head against the wall now. I hope that someone found the articles enlightening from a training standpoint.

    @Steven C, can you please answer my question about this statement?
    "I believe they know the rules and relentlessly try to dominate the household as I truly think its their main goal."

    I didn't make a mistake about the word resilience. I asked you to explain how you were using it because I had never heard the argument that cropping ears made a dog more resilient. To me, your usage was unclear and awkward. When you explained, I believe I said that we seemed to be talking about the same thing. I have also NEVER insinuated that you are an abusive trainer. Lastly, there certainly are prongs that will fit an 8 or 12 week old pup. People buy and use them all the time. They just take links out. And unfortunately they're the smaller prongs with deliver a much harsher correction.
  9. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    Exactly what it says in a nutshell. From the day my DDB walked through the door, years after extensive training (which by the way was an excellent dog in his purpose), travel, love, obedience and the whole 9 years he still attempted to dominate and scheme to dominate. you could actually see him plotting to do so and every single action he did was that way. Honestly, I do not expect non DDB owners to understand this as I really didn't understand until I faced it and learned year after year what was going on. Keep in mind, I am experienced with dobies, GSDs, mali's ect. so I do know the difference between alpha and a non complying dog.

    The CC is female and not exactly the same extent but carries the same traits which these guardian breeds all have, unless it is a very docile dog, or some kind of a mix, I am certain it will attempt domination even if fully trained to the tilt.
  10. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Okay then. Thank you for answering.
  11. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    I do however like the choke collar for the younger but strong pups as shown here. This is from about 4 months to 8 months and then moved to prong. This is her working on a sit stay at 4 1/2 months I believe. nessatraining.jpg
  12. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    Having raised a family of dogs for 8 generations , a rank struggle has never been my experience , the f1’s don’t fight the f2’s , the f2’s fight among themselves occasionally , work it out and settle in …… the f2’s don’t fight with the f3’s , the f3’s occasionally fight among themselves , work it out and settle in , and so on …none challenge me because i'm the f0 , i guess ……. Pretty much the ranking which is fairly obvious is settled before the pups are adults , and the dogs live comfortably together , it couldn’t work any other way ….. I’ve had as many as 8 living together , very seldom and then only for a very short period of time less than 4 …I’m not about to rotate dogs , they’re enough work as it is …….i’ve introduce very few outside adult dogs into my dogs , and everything I’ve seen result from that has made sense , and for the most part was predictable ………. As far as one of my dogs challenging me , off the top of my head I can think maybe 3 times in my life and all were over something they had , was some kind of lapse in judgment , it didn’t work out for them and they accepted it …………. I always let my dogs go through the door first , it only makes sense …… unless I tell them different they’ll beg for food and often get something out of it , if I tell them no they leave and go do something else ……. their head would be in the bowl before I could get their food in it if I don’t tell them different ……. My dogs are completely obedient (submissive) to me …… the vets can do anything , including something painful if I’m there …….. we’ve been doing this too long to be anything but consistent , it’s why I think they’ll do anything I ask them to , they trust me … dogs been with people since we were animals , the reason I believe so is because our social structures are so similar ……….. if it were a constant struggle to retain control they wouldn’t have the niche they do , dogs are as good as probably better at being submissive than they are at dominating ……..
  13. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    never owned a choke collar , and haven't owned any type of collar for over 25yrs ........... never needed one for my kids .......
  14. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    But see, Marke, what you just said is why I say so often that we really don't see things much differently. Your anecdotes about the observed behavior within your dog group is one thing. The pack dynamics are a separate issue and not what I was intending with this thread. It's a different relationship than the one YOU have with your dogs. You don't appear to believe that your dogs are plotting to achieve dominance over you. I have never seen you say that your dogs try to dominate you. You don't live in an adversarial relationship with your dogs because you don't need to. You control all aspects of their lives, including resources. You clearly have rules and boundaries and they respect that. I truly believe that we train pretty much the same way. You provide fair and clear leadership and they don't have to be unsure of what you expect of them. I think that someone that lives thinking their dogs are plotting to gain control are missing out on a lot and making it much harder than it has to be.
    DennasMom and marke like this.
  15. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I had typed up a whole section from a textbook for canine and feline behavior that is used to train professionals. It's a new book, so it shows the newest information available. Just so everyone could see that the argument isn't about whether a dog can be described as dominant or social hierarchies withing the same species (there's a whole section on that), but whether dogs are living their lives trying to dominate humans. There's a huge difference. And *that* was the point of the thread. That there *is* a difference. Unfortunately I lost it all and I'm not going to type it all out again.
    marke likes this.
  16. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    I will leave it alone. I think you are misunderstanding the dominance issue and placing it in the disobedient issue. My DDB never in his life challenged me as far as not doing something he was told, I was the alpha or just understood that I was the leader. This has nothing to do with a dog plotting dominance. I would guarantee that I have more control over my guardian dogs than normal. I have never been bitten or even an attempted bite. My DDB was a fully trained just as Markes dogue's always listened to me and just like my CC now.

    Now I understand the issue at hand is simply it is not easy for someone to understand a true dominance issue without it being in the face. Please do not twist dominance into obedience or control at all. A dog does not have to challenge the owner to plot and think about dominance all its life. The above implies that it must be an owner without control which is false.
  17. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Probably best for me to not discuss this further with you as well.
  18. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    The word "dominance" is a real word. It already has a definition. It already has context. It can be used towards both humans and animals. Dogs are animals.
    Saying other wise is a game of semantics

    Now, if somebody comes along and makes a new definition, or makes a new theory involving the word applied to dogs than that is their own theory or methodology.

    This does not make it a fact. This does not make it true in many cases. Does not make them wrong either. Its just a theory or a different way to interpret things we can not possibly understand 100%.

    Just because its in a book that they wrote or that others wrote who subscribe to that theory does not make it true. Their research, experience, and examples may help add credibility to their newer or different school of thought. But it isn't a fact. Just a different way. And also a good way to market yourself and skill set in today's world.

    As far as the dog walking through the door first example..... Everytime a dog does this it doesn't have to be ONE thing evertime. Why can't it be for many reasons. My own theory......

    -Could be for the STANDARD DEFINITION of dominance. I feel that it does exist. Certain breeds do "test" or push for dominance. I often see dogs doing this and their owners and handlers have no idea or think its actually the dogs just being playful.
    Best example is when the dog litterally leans and puts his weight on the handler. To the point where if you dont apply resistance you will be knocked down or pushed back. Happens a lot with large guardian breeds and children.
    Whenever I have dogs in and out of door ways, run cages, or kennel cages. If their is dominant dog it exists first and if it doesn't they will call the other dog out in a variety of ways.

    - Could be no manners or that the dog is lacking training over excitement. At times. Just an honest mistake in excitement

    - Or protective instinct. To me this is different than a dominant transgression. Its the dog naturally wanting to protect and be the first to confront a threat head on.
  19. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Educated behaviorists and trainers of today are aware that canine and human interactions are not driven by the need to achieve a social rank, but by reinforcement. Behaviors that are reinforced, in any way, are repeated. It's really that simple and it takes that one problem word out of the equation.

    I, myself, am going to rest easy that my dogs are not plotting world domination when they walk through a door first or put their paw on my arm. Call me a trusting soul.

    Thanks for the discussion everyone.
    glen likes this.
  20. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    Look what I found while reading my book about Dogo Argentinos today....its in a book written by an expert. So it must be true. Right....

    Attached Files:

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