Dominance Theory - Are We Throwing The Baby Out With The Bathwater? Dvd

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Pamela Reid, Phd
Publication Year:
Item# 200620
Page Count:
1 HR 45 MINS
Tawzer Dog Videos
More on dominance and dominant hierarchies. Canine social rules - who decides and where do humans fit in?

From Pam Reid: The notion that dogs necessarily invoke dominance relationships when interacting with other dogs and people is pervasive among dog trainers and laypeople alike. Dogs with behavior problems are characterized as "dominant" to such an extent that, regardless of the nature of the problem, owners are advised that they need to be "alpha" and perform all the obligatory irrelevant or abusive practices. Too many times, this leads to a rapid deterioration of the human-animal bond. In response, there has been a backlash of protest from a subset of trainers, rejecting the concept of dominance in its entirety. I argue that this is rash. Dominance hierarchies do exist among the majority of social animals and it behooves us to understand how the dogs' ancestry has prepared them to live in social groups.

I review the complexity of dominance hierarchies that exist in the animal kingdom. How social rules are decided upon and enforced among dogs is hinted at in the limited studies of the behavior of feral dogs. Unlike other species, most dogs' social groups also consist of humans, so the question arises, how, if at all, do they extend their social rules to include us? The objective of this talk is to bring information to the table—information that can help us understand dogs. I'd like to propose forging a new path—a path that acknowledges dominance hierarchies in the dog but does not prompt us into antagonistic relationships with them. Dominance theory is a highly useful construct in the study of animal behavior; don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!

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