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Old 12-08-2013, 04:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Does above=dominant ?

So I have heard, or at least have the general impression, that dogs associate elevation with dominance or pack rank. That probably did not come out as eloquent as I would like, so some examples.

Sometimes my pup will put his front paws over my shoulder while I sit on the ground

He sometimes, especially when coming out of his crate, will "tackle" me and stand over me while stretching and greeting me.

If I get off the couch and go to the ground he will hop up in my spot.

Maybe I am reading into it too much. I have not corrected any of these things because we have pretty loose rules outside of not being destructive. We like to rough house and wrestle. We are ok with him biting us a bit since he knows how hard he is allowed to and rarely goes over that threshold (he never ever draws blood). And mostly because I like affectionate dogs a lot and he is not super loving, and so whenever he is crawling all over me I enjoy it.

Am I reinforcing him to be dominant or be a dog that wants to climb the ladder so to speak?
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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There is a difference between dominance and lack of training. And I don't mean lack in training in the sense that your dog isn't trained, but he hasn't been trained not to do these things. It's not a bad thing because its your dog, as long as the rules you do make are followed. For example some people teach their dog to speak others do not. I have never experienced a dog that was dominant over a human, don't even know if I believe it can happen. Will they test their boundaries? Yes. They are more of opportunists then anything, at least mine are.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Besides not getting on the counter he is very good at following rules. That is just one we are working on now.

I suppose I was just concerned because we know a mistreated intact pit bull that had big issues with being physically above guests in his house. He is in good hands now but he has some behavioral problems that are going to be a challenge. I did not want to promote that kind of behavior after seeing it first hand.
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I never let my dog's stand over me (with one exception) but I am not afraid to let him jump on me (if I tell him to, not without command). My GSD and I go for a lot of walks in hay fields around us, and he jumps up on the hay bales, making him taller than me.
I think it is all timing. If you let them up higher than you when they are challenging you, that could cause problems. If your dog is a sweet, well trained dog who doesn't challenge you, I don't see a problem, as long as he's not standing over you
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Old 12-08-2013, 07:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It is just excitement. The tackling and the absolute lack of hesitation to tackle you are because you basically reinforced that kind of relationship when you rough house with him (nothing wrong with that until you say it is.)

The standing over you/laying on top of you/paws over the shoulder routine has nothing to do with dominance over you. The puppy just wants to play and if you don't have a strict routine about who is allowed to initiate play then sometimes he is going to decide it is time and nail you.

He likes playing with you. That's great. You don't need to really correct him physically to control him in those situations, you can just withhold what he wants (the game) until he complies with what you want and then the reward becomes the continuation of the game.

Throw all that dominance theory crap out it is bunk. If half of what dominance theory said was true they'd be the ruling species on the planet. They learn what to expect from you and learn what you expect from them on a situation to situation basis.

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Old 12-08-2013, 09:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llombardo View Post
There is a difference between dominance and lack of training. And I don't mean lack in training in the sense that your dog isn't trained, but he hasn't been trained not to do these things. It's not a bad thing because its your dog, as long as the rules you do make are followed. For example some people teach their dog to speak others do not. I have never experienced a dog that was dominant over a human, don't even know if I believe it can happen. Will they test their boundaries? Yes. They are more of opportunists then anything, at least mine are.
Context is everything.

And leadership isn't just about who's taller (which almost always is us cause we stand on 2 feet anyways ) but who's shown they are in control and taking charge. One of the many reasons ANY training is key because just the teaching/learning puts us in that leadership role that the dogs learn to listen to.

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