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Old 10-18-2013, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Dogs Follow the Friendliest, Not the Alpha

Who Needs an Alpha? Dogs Follow the Friendly | Pet Behavior | LiveScience
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I really don't think it's very accurate.

My sister and I own a house together, she has a dog and I have two. She's the loving person of us, she's happiest just sitting on a couch cuddling the dogs and is more apt to let behaviours slide. I like cuddling as well but I also have rules that are followed without exception and I expect more from them. I definitely the heavy in the relationship but the dogs (even hers) still come to me 9 times out of a 10. I'll also add that we both spend equal time will all the dogs

My parents have three dogs, my dad doesn't have much interest in the dogs, and he’ll let them out and feed them when told but otherwise leaves them alone outside of play time and cuddle time. So again, he's the fun one in the relationship where my mom is primary caregiver/authority. Also again, the dogs flock to my mom 9 times out of 10.

I really think being the "Alpha" is all about balance, knowing when to step in and when to let things slide. Consistency is extremely important as well both in mood and manner, so I don’t think dogs just look for the happy go lucky person, I think they look also for the most stable person

Just my observations
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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wow, do they really try and stretch the lines with that article
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You may find this source more understandable and valid as set out by Stanley Coren. Lee Charles Kelley's writings are also a good resource. I can spend days in Psychology Today's Animal Behavior section.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...lpha-dog-valid

http://www.psychologytoday.com/topics/animal-behavior
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thats not accurate... watch dogs. Submissive dogs always follow the alpha around, licking its mouth, interacting, asking for attention, etc, and the alpha acts like the other dog isn't present more or less.
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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No alpha's in our house...just three dogs, two cats and two humans fighting for the last burger off the grill.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I had hoped to elicit some discussion as well as see some responses. Here is another article debunking the "alpha" idea by yet another behavior and training expert, Dr. Ian Dunbar:

The Macho Myth | Dog Star Daily

This article does attempt to identify and link the disparities and years of connections in our minds in regards to our ideas of what is "alpha" and interpretation.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteshepherds View Post
No alpha's in our house...just three dogs, two cats and two humans fighting for the last burger off the grill.
I really wish there was a 'Like' button on this forum. Haha
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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No matter what ideals humans have, and how hard they try to make dogs fit their ideals, there will always be dominance and submission in canine behaviour and social structure. That is nature, that is how animals have lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and no amount of wishful thinking will change that. To be honest, I can't stand these "dominance debunked" articles. After spending a little under 10 years observing wolf behaviour and an entire career in animal care, which included a few years working with large packs of dogs, I firmly stand by the fact that dogs indeed use dominance, submission and rank amongst each other.

Do I think many people misuse the term Alpha and do not properly understand what it means? Absolutely. It's a term that has been tarnished by the media, and by trendy trainers.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Wild Wolf, it's a frustrating topic for sure. I too, strongly consider a misuse and misunderstanding of the term and it's 'tarnishment' as you put it. I really like the way you stated that. I have been training and observing dogs for decades, am in the animal care business myself, and was an undergrad in animal science pre-vet track and over the years have gone from compulsion training to training with a positive influence, using minimal aversives; I am what has been labeled a "crossover trainer" and I really struggle with a few issues that have more recently come to light, especially since attending a "dominance debunked" seminar by Dr. Dunbar, certainly a man of distinction in the animal behavior and training field. The most educated and experienced observers of behavior have rallied to debunk the Alpha dog and I'm listening. I myself am rolling these (not new) ideas around in my mind and working to understand another way of looking at things that is different than what I have been taught and interpreted for years. I am not judging anyone's response in this thread; rather I wanted to hear reactions and responses as well as others' feelings on this topic that has been set out to us by some of the most esteemed people in the field.
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