Dominance is not a personality trait...

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

  1. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Really, I was joking with the world domination comment and trying to lighten things up. I'm not sure what you were trying to achieve with your comment. Just because you don't agree with what the current experts in the animal behavior and training field have to say doesn't mean that they are wrong. In fact, in most ways they agree with you. The only thing that they disagree on is that dogs are trying to dominate humans and elevate their social status. Once upon a time people embraced Koehler's methods of dog training. You know, the guy that said you should hold your dog's head under the water and hang him. When you know better, you do better. Most of the rewards based trainers and many of these "experts" are crossover trainers. They once embraced these outdated methods and have found that there is no need to dominate their dogs.

    I'm done with this now. It's just getting silly. I encourage anyone that is still reading to follow the links and go down to the noted sources and take a look at the peer reviewed studies cited. Make up your own mind if your dog is trying to fight you for head of household. Not that it would do them much good. After all, they don't have opposable thumbs and would still need their humans to help them go to the grocery store for food and open doors and such. (That was a joke. Not a snark.)
  2. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    You are reading way too much into my posts and taking things way to personal. What I say is direct and at face value.

    I never addressed or said anthing about your "world domination" comment....?????

    You clearly are not reading entire post. I stated in my post they are not necessarily wrong. Flat out said that. Did you miss this again? You have done this before in a different thread.

    You are the only one making this an issue with being right and wrong. Thats on you.

    Why would me posting a picture and an exert from a comprehensive Dogo book trigger this?

    Not really a discussion when you think its "silly" for somebody to post other sources or opinions. Or when you dont address the valid first hand experience points that are brought up. Posting links isnt really a discussion. Steven C. Had some vaild points that were not addressed. I feel i did as well.

    All breed and dog ownership isn't the same. People have and use their dogs for different things. Requires different methodology. Also, all owners individually choose the level of responsibility they are on the hook for with their dog.

    Now this is a legit question for you. If somebody wanted to do personal protection sport with their dog. Or real personal protection work....
    Or real guard dog work. Can you give us some examples of a dog that excels or is just as capable using your methodology or school of thought???
    I would love to just see it. I would think it exists. I would like to see and compare.

    That would be a lot better than arguing semantics or pushing an agenda.
    Annette Coleman likes this.
  3. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    i'd be interested in hearing from anyone scenarios of where your dogs have tried to exert dominance over you ?
  4. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    I posted a very clear example in my post.
    Steven C likes this.
  5. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    this ?

    leaning on you is a dominating act ? that's a bit of a stretch , it'd take some logical twist and turns to conclude that , but nobodies asking the dogs , so anythings possible .... my dogs will lean on you because they want to be touched , petted , or just get your attention , ignore them and they'll stop ... ....might be a dominance thing toward another dog when one tries to squeeze in between to get even closer , certainly not toward the person .....I've had some leaners .... what would be the outcome the dog achieved by leaning against you ? is it a threatening action ? do they lean against other dogs to dominate them ?

    I have a dominant dog right now , there's not even a close 2nd here , she's a freakin wild animal ........ when they hear or smell something outside , going out the door is a stampede ...... when I let them out the kennels through the front we have to go through a door into a hallway with a second door , I can tell you in that hallway between those doors is a free for all as to who's getting to the front of the line , it sure doesn't appear a single one is thinking about rank ? except me , they're careful of me , maybe cause i'm the only one that can open the door ? .......when they're chasing something or trap something I've never seen an order to it ? I can give you countless examples of the dominant dog here exerting her dominance on the other dogs , nothing disturbing , just subtle .......

    my example is a food aggressive dog that got a garbage bag and is defending it from you .......

    or a dog that bites your girlfriend , who she knows well, for sitting to close to you .....

    one of my dogs will take my seat every chance she gets , if I get up to do something she'll take it , I assure you she's not dominating me , she just wants a good seat , and she's smart enough to know my seat is the best one ....
    Jarena likes this.
  6. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    Yes the one that says example.................
    Its not a stretch. Again its a clear issue for certain breeds or certain dogs. They will lean or push you backwards or to the ground. Please dont gloss over that part of my statement. More than just a dog leaning on you for attention or affection. Two different things. 2 different behaviors. There is another level to it.
  7. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I agree with you Marke. The most submissive dog I have ever had (submissive to everything and everyone) was a leaner. I have also read studies from behaviorists that state the leaning behavior is in many scenarios a dog's way of giving a hug. Basically a simple sign of affection.
    Jarena likes this.
  8. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    Thank goodness they don't try to dry hump you like a smaller breed might. That would be a crazy scenario. Yes, I understood Justin right away when he said leaning as it is an absolute form of dominance one that few people would think was. The whole thing about it is that much of it gets tossed into a being a bad dog category is all and not considering what the act really was. Another one is the second you get up to use the restroom, the DDB is in your spot, this is another form of it, my CC does it in my bed spot as she is not allowed in the bed but as soon as I leave for a few minutes she grabs the spot. Total dominance as she knows the rules no bed at all, she was plotting waiting for me to leave.

    I also allow the dogs out before me, it just works better for me although I can sit them to wait if I want but I am fine with them going out first on leashes, this way I don't have to worry about the smallest getting his head hit by the closing door. Also better for a possible ambush scenario, always the dog first. In fact I think that is such nonsense the trainers saying oh its gaining the alpha status by you going out first. Not for me it isn't.

    It's tough to talk about as most will not understand or put it into other categories. In fact the OP is right, it becomes silly even discussing it as the words get crossed and misused and automatically put into an obedience category.

    The dominance I am referring to is so abundant that it would be difficult to cover it in a few paragraphs. In another thread I explained to you my DDB was extremely stubburn, trained but slow to do commands. It really is a DDB plotting its daily moves as weird as it sounds. My wife and I used to laugh as we knew exactly what he was thinking or why he was doing things to slowly. Before each command he would stop to think about it first and try to figure out how to come out on top or do it in his way.

    While it is a good subject, and one I am very interested in it's just not possible as everyone will just come back saying well that is normal, or that is just them being unruly or whatever. You really have to study these dogs as I thought you would for sure immediately know what I meant living with multiple DDB's and I now think that is the issue. I think the fact there are multiple in the household, its possible they may be tuned into just the other DDB's around and not so much worried about plotting around you. Maybe?

    By the way speaking of biting a girlfriend my DDB would not let my girlfriend now wife into the bedroom. He blocked the doorway and barked her down until I got up and told him to allow her in. They became very close as she joined the family, the DDB was great with my daughter also as shown in the avatar.
  9. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I was going to leave this thread alone because I think it's run it course, but Justin said that Steven had asked questions I didn't answer. So I went back to look because I didn't intentionally not answer. I only saw one question. That was this: "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?" My answer to this would be that, again, saying a breed is a dominant breed - that really wasn't the dispute with the word. The dispute with the word was that dogs are trying to dominate their humans. I know Steven and I disagree on this. I'm never going to believe that all dogs are spending their days plotting domination. Current scientists in the field agree that they are not. I was not trying to say my belief is the only right one. We were derailing into discussion of pack dynamics and species related behaviors and hierarchies and that's not what the post was meant to be about, nor is there really any dissension about that.

    Justin, perhaps I did take your post too personally, but it appeared you were responding to my having posted articles from current experts in the field. I'm not sure why there's a problem with posting articles with sources that are peer reviewed; scholarly papers from educated individuals in the field. Anecdotal experience is fine, but I, and many others, are always going to want sources. I like to see opinions backed by solid research. Steven was right about why I felt the thread was getting silly. It's silly to keep circling around when we're clearly not getting anywhere. I also encouraged anyone still reading to do their own research and form their own opinions.

    I am not active in the IPO community, nor do I have the desire to be. My areas of interest and participation are training, obedience, therapy, service animals, scent work, and other sports. I have also been active in the rehabilitation of rescue dogs of all breeds with behavior and health problems. I don't know anything about individual dogs. I'm sorry I can't be more specific. I do know, off the top of my head that Denise Fenzi and Laura VonArondonk Baugh are active in IPO. I also know that many agencies that train police and guide dogs are moving or have moved to a heavily reward based training system. I contacted Guide Dogs for the blind not long ago and this was confirmed.

    You have also accused me of having an agenda, and I suppose that's true. It's important to remember that we're a huge online presence. We have very few active members, but we have many lurkers. Most are probably inexperienced. We have had an increase recently of recommendations of methods that could cause harm if utilized by an inexperienced owner and a dog of a certain temperament. My agenda is to encourage people to look at all methods. To start with the least aversive method until it's proven that more is needed. Remembering that what is aversive is specific to the dog and to take that into account. And to utilize the help of a qualified rewards based trainer that follows the LIMA training philosophy. Notice I didn't say purely positive, because I don't believe any trainer is purely positive. I strongly feel that giving training advice to faceless people and dogs that is punitive in nature is dangerous. That includes immediately suggesting certain tools to possibly inexperienced owners. I am also hesitant to give training advice of a positive nature, unless it's to suggest management tools or basic exercises that can be done with the help of a qualified trainer or behaviorist. That being said, if positive techniques are suggested and utilized improperly, then at best there will be an improvement and at worst there won't be an improvement. If punitive techniques are applied there could be serious injury. My agenda is the safety of the human and the dog. I feel that the belief that all dogs are trying to dominate their humans all the time creates an adversarial relationship that isn't necessary.

    And that really is the last I'm saying on this. If my intentions with this post haven't been made clear yet, then they never will be and there's no sense banging our heads against the wall. I encourage, yet again, anyone still reading to do their own research. I also encourage everyone to seek out a professional to help if they are inexperienced in training or are experiencing a behavioral problem.
    Jarena likes this.
  10. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    No i was referring to specific first hand experiences he mentioned. The specific work he is doing with his dog. The specific acts he sees from his dogs. And the level of liability he wants to face as a responsible owner.

    You and others are exaggerating the opposite view point and being super dismissive towards it.

    Those are all assumptions on your part of my post. Those have nothing to do with what I posted. I pointed it out because this is like the 3rd time you keep adding extra assumptions to my post and taking it personal . Or saying the opposite of what I actually posted.

    Steven C. has also made excellent points about the dogs safety.
    There is a safety argument too. Thats totally been ignored.

    I say agenda because you have provided anecdotal arguments such as the police dog example when its convenient to the narrative.
    Yet in another thread or post you totally dismissed multiple case studies and numbers when it didnt line up with your ideas.

    With the last part you did hit the nail on the head. Good or reputable trainers need to EVALUATE a dogs tendencies and transgressions first before they can tell what is going on. They need to see it. They need to see the trigger. They need to see the intent and intensity of the act and they need to see the reaction. You cant really say what it is or isnt unless you experience it or see all parts.

    Its not as generic as people are making it out to be.
  11. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Justin, you asked me for examples. I explained that I do not participate in IPO and gave what I knew off the top of my head. You also seemed bothered that I posted links to articles, so I didn't post any. I can post one though. There are more.

    "The problem with those dogs is you never knew when they were going to turn on you, even on their own handlers," explains Johnson. "Basically, they were just chainsaws."

    As a veteran officer, Johnson has seen how drastically the philosophy has changed. Police K-9s are now expected to meet the new needs of law enforcement, which include both biting and being friendly, all on cue. Training has changed to reflect that.

    When Johnson started as a K-9 handler in 1986, dogs were no longer "chainsaws," but they were taught using compulsory training, forcing dogs to perform tasks. Now the standard is not forcing but encouraging with positive reinforcement such as toys for a job well done, he says. "Nationally, the experiences I see are dogs being trained with positive reward-based training." That requires more than riling up a dog enough to bite. Thus, finding and training a police dog is much more involved. -

    I do my best to be open-minded and never misconstrue another poster's words. If I have done so, it was unintentional. If I have disregarded posted studies and numbers, it was also unintentional.
  12. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Justin - My dog Diesel is half DDB and I know the slowness to respond that you talk about. This quality is a well known quality of the breed. However, I have not heard this described as a dominance issue nor have I ever experienced it to be a dominance issue. Some breeds are super eager to please. The pleasure of their owner is a reward. That is a rewarding feeling for them. Diesel (and from what I hear many DDBs) don't get that sense of reward from simply pleasing their people. This means you need to offer them a reward that is actually of value to them when doing the training. The reason DDBs are slow is because they are trying to decide if it is worth it to them. Enough training will convince them that always obeying you will be worth it to them but this takes work and in some ways it takes more work since pleasure isn't enough of a reward. However, they are also smarter than many other breeds which means the understand and catch on quicker which makes it easier in other ways. I find it to be a bit of a wash. They pick it up quicker you just have to prove to them that it is in their best interest to always listen to you. Smarter dogs much like smarter human children do tend to be more stubborn. When you are sharper and more discerning it makes you question things more. This is not a dominance thing. Stubborn does not equal dominant. Not by a long shot.

    Also my DDB is definitely not a dominant dog. He submits instantly to any challenges and flops right on over to his back exposing his belly. He is stubborn, yes. But not dominant. Not at all. In bed if I so much as tap him with my foot indicating I want more space he moves on over (with plenty of huffs to let me know I am being annoying) .

    As for leaning or sitting on if that is purely a dominance thing then almost every boxer must be a dominant dog. So I repeat that while in some cases maybe it is a sign of dominance in every experience I have had, heard of and read of it is not a dominance thing at all.

    I understand the joy of reading into your dog's actions. It's fun to try to decipher what is going on in their heads. And if you believe your dog are dominant type dogs well I'm certainly not going to tell you they aren't. I don't know your dogs. But attributing many of the activities you mention to being purely dominant gestures doesn't ring true for me. Maybe you didn't mean it to read as "all leaners are dominant" so I could have misunderstood your meaning as well. But as I mentioned I had an extremely submissive dog. He submitted to other dogs, cats, even back yard rats and of course us. And he loved to lean. It was most definitely an infection thing. He just wanted contact with his people. He was also perfect content to do it in reverse (us leaning or laying on him). Some dogs are snugglers and like lots of physical contact just like people.
  13. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    You have my post (Justin B) confused with Steven C. .....I can only speak to my experience of Breeding/ Owning/Training Rottweilers, Akitas, Giant Schnauzers, Bulldogs, APBT, and Cane Corsos. I have worked very little with DDBs.
    You are quoting him and talking about his examples and experience owning and training his DDBs. I never mentioned slowness to respond those are his examples....just a heads up.

    Boxergirl...i will read the article later
    Nik likes this.
  14. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    Umm it's not that we believe our dogs are dominant dogs. These are a dominant breed period noted in every book, thousands of internet sites, this breed owners and so on. In the mixed breed you have, the other half may not be and is most likely not dominant so its very hard to understand. A lean from a DDB is much different from non working line lean and that is just one very small example.

    Someone that knows is someone that went from one working breed dog to a DDB or CC will be able to tell you the difference in a second, although we are seeing that it's nearly impossible to convince those who do not live with it.
    Justin B. likes this.
  15. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Sorry Justin! This is quite a long thread and I am quickly reading things during spare minutes at work while waiting for systems to load. :)
    Justin B. likes this.
  16. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Hi Steven! From everything I have read our Diesel fits the DDB personality type pretty spot on. He is 1/2 DDB and his other half is a mix of staffordshire and boxer. Diesel is actually not a leaner. The leaner I had was a standard poodle and the sweetest most submissive dog you could ever imagine. Now Diesel does have the notorious DDB stubborness, slowness to respond (mostly trained away at this point), guardian tendencies, etc. But he isn't a particularly dominant dog.

    He does act like a working breed. He takes his guardian role very seriously and spends a lot of time whenever it is outdoor play time simply patrolling. So I am very familiar with the working aspects of his personality in that respect.

    My other dog, Kahlua is 1/2 boxer, 1/4 cane corso, 1/8 olde bull dogge, 1/8 american bull dog. And she does not act like a working dog. She has the clown/playful part of the boxer going in her personality. But, she is also a far more dominant dog. She is dominant with other dogs and will absolutely refuse to submit to them... And despite that she is not dominant with us. She is quick to obey and will roll over and expose her belly if she detects the slightest displeasure with us. She is also our current "leaner" and "sitter on". She is also our snuggler. I also find that if my husband and I start to argue if he raises his voice even a little she instantly is glued up against me and leaning into me. It is very much a "seeking comfort" position for her. She also does it when she wants to beg or when she just wants to snuggle.

    I should note that the only time Diesel does lean in to me and seek out lots of physical body contact is if I am having an anxiety attack. In that case he is glued to me and he take his roll in calming me down in these situations very seriously. He is a working dog through and through. He knows what his (self-assigned) jobs are and he doesn't neglect them for one second. He is always watchful and on alert. It is a stark contrast to our Kahlua and every other dog I have had.
  17. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    This is a very interesting discussion!

    I've always heard the word "dominance" used in a negative connotation... i.e. "never let your dog assert dominance over you"... like it's a power play - if you let your dog be dominant, it will control your world and never let you live your own life again! (exaggeration for effect)

    But, then you posted this:
    Dominance = power and influence over others

    If your dog leans in to you for support... he is leaning to influence you to provide that support...
    If your dog leans in to you to make you move out of his way... he is leaning to exert power and influence over your location...
    If your dog leans in to you to intimidate you and make you give him a cookie... he is using his power over you to influence your actions...

    These are all "dominant" behaviors by definition, but they are not all "evil power trips" showing that the dog wants to take over your life.... only the last one sorta does that. Replace "leans into" with "growls at" in that last one, and now it becomes an aggressive power trip move for dominance in the "traditional" use of the word....

    I have a hard time with anyone who says EVERY member of a breed WILL be a dominant dog.

    Guardian breeds and Mastiffs in general, and maybe CC's and DDB's even more so, will have genetic TENDENCIES to show more dominant behaviors. I guess I've always just considered this as them being smart. They have brains and know how to use them to influence their humans to do what they want them to... they are also often confident that they KNOW what they want done, and how it should be done (i.e. guarding the flock from coyotes), and don't want their frail humans in the way of them doing their job. Dominance, say, over sheep, when working with a flock is a good thing for a guardian dog to have.

    But... that goes against the "dominance is only within same-species behavior" concept... so... I've probably lost the whole point of this thread. Which is par for me. Sorry.

    Denna has never been what I consider a "dominant" dog... BUT... she does try to use her wiles to influence humans... she stares me down when I have food that she wants (and sometimes she gets some), she puts her head on my lap and bumps my arm until I stop typing and grab her leash so we can go for a walk (although, she gives up too easy if I ignore her)... she barks at the UPS man until I come to open the door and get the package.... she knocks her paw on the door to tell me to open the door and let her in.... this is all her influencing my actions, using her "powers" to make me do stuff... I've never considered this "dominant" behavior.... even as I do her bidding. :) I can still say "no, go lay down"... and she does, no backtalk or repeating of commands required. She stopped 'testing' the limits of the house rules a long, long time ago.
    Nik, glen and Steven C like this.
  18. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    I can tell you I know for a fact I’ve had dogs push up against me for attention ,I’ve bent over to pet them and had them lick my face ? just as I’ve been knocked over by bunches of dogs only to be licked relentlessly ……. from my perspective understanding dogs language is pretty clear cut , one sign doesn’t have multiple meanings ? at least I don’t know of any that have ever confused me in that way ? I’ve been watching dogs so long I believe I cannot be surprised , people surprise me , dogs not ……… personally when folks start telling me abstract interpretations of dog behaviors , i think they're complicating something simple ........

    Don’t know much about dogos other than I have known folks raised and hunted with them in packs of dogs , rank driven dogs don’t fair well in pack sports ………..

    Submissive is an advantages quality in dogs , genetics favor advantages qualities .........folks been breeding submissive , tractable , trainable dogs for centuries , not rank driven , unmanageable animals …….. the odds of your dog rank driven enough to be looking to run your household is pretty slim , and if so , most likely goes back to their raising rather than genetics …………
  19. Justin B.

    Justin B. Well-Known Member

    No worries. Dont work too hard.
    Ive seen dogs nip, mouth, pounce, or display herding tendencies after the person is knocked off balance or falls. I had a lady that had a Rottweiler that would do this on the regular only to her kids. It was not affection and it was not play. Saw and corrected it first hand.
    Again we are talking about 2 different behaviors. As much as people want everything to fit neatly into their view point or their own experience, it doesn't always.

    Sounds like we all have had and worked with lots of dogs.........

    People are simply playing a semantics game with the word dominance IMO. Also, people are combing things from different posters and attributing it to one shared view. Its not.

    If it makes people more comfortable use a synonym. Or substitute challenge or test authority and boundaries.

    Your whole Submissive example kind of proves dominance exists....kind of has to. They aren't mutualy exclusive. Now the nature vs nurture argument is totally different and clouds things more to start.
    Steven C likes this.
  20. Steven C

    Steven C Well-Known Member

    If that's the case my DDB must have came straight out of the Rome Coliseum.

    I know its not just me as I used to have discussions with other owners that had the same issue's, well not really issues, just the way they are. Again, as someone just stated, it has nothing to do with disobedience. It is an obvious genetic thing within the breed, I know that because I get it with the CC (not as brutal) also and with a GSD or Dobie I never got it. Has it been bred out, I don't know.

    Why are DDB no good at IPO? Do all DDB mark new items that come into the house? That was an issue I had, possibly in the dominant category. Someone came in and I put their jacket on a chair instead of hang it in the closet, he would take a leak on it. Someone would stop to talk with me, he would pee on them, not always but a few times, just as he peed on a Rottie that he met through a fence. Which by the way, my DDB could not be near any other male dogs at all at the K-9 training center and no he was not aggressive, he just wouldn't allow another dog to posture on him or accept any aggression towards him at all. He never even barked at any dogs.

    I bring a new box home and he would pee on it. Some would say that this was simply an intact issue of marking, could be and again this is just a very small fraction of the wide array of dominant things he would do every single day. Whether folks want to believe it or not, these guardian dogs plot all the time. I recently read in another thread Black Shadow CC make a statement saying "these dogs have been bred to think for themselves" or something similar to this and I think that sums up the plotting thing. If they have to think for themselves it actually makes sense of the whole thing.

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