German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
All words I'm hearing way too much lately.

WARNING: lots of jumbled thoughts on the topic cause I'm a bit annoyed today.

It seems that everyone seems to think they know everything there is to know about dog psychology because they saw a TV show that won't be named that just talks about dominance and pack hierarchy. Although I do believe some dogs have dominance issues, I don't believe everything about dogs (whether it be dog/dog or dog/people interactions) has to do with who's dominant and who is submitting. But everyone I seem to encounter with a dog just keeps saying something like "Oh look he is trying to be dominant" or "Look at those dogs play! Oh look that other one is totally submitting to that dog trying to be dominant!". While I'm just thinking "Look at those dogs greeting each other nicely" or "Look at those two dogs play fighting!".

I know this thread probably comes up time and time again but I just needed a portal to vent through. I will probably stir up some controversy here (hopefully not much) but I just wanted to vent and get a conversation going about this. As far as I know and have read on various sites, articles, blogs, etc, the dominance model doesn't really exist for the most part with modern domesticated dogs. Although wolves do run off of dominance and who is "alpha", dogs are almost completely different species at this point. Domestication key! That is probably the biggest difference between wolves and dogs IMO. If dogs still tried to fight you over limited resources, that would mean they are fighting for dominance/alpha status and that would also mean they aren't very domesticated at all.

Dominance is also usually in the case of limited resources as far as I know. So a dog standing slightly taller than another dog just shows that it is a confident dog, not that it is trying to communicate that if resources are scarce, he gets it first.

So that is why I just get soooo annoyed that places like dog parks you hear those words all the time. It is the #1 talked about thing in the dog park. People are obsessed with it. It unfortunately holds some dogs back from properly socializing and learning how to play. I can't even count the number of times an owner would pin their dog down because he was standing over another dog that rolled over while play fighting. The other day, my dog just got to the dog park and was running around greeting all the other dogs as he usually does. Usually just by calmly approaching and sniffing (whether it be under or over the dog). This particular time it just happened to be sniffing the back of a dog's head (cause the dog was turned away from him). The owner of the dog pushed my puppy away and yelled at him "STOP IT! YOU ARE BEING DOMINANT". So I kinda just gave a confused look. And he bounced back and sniffed a bit more, gently and calming. Again she yelled at him. So I just got his attention and we played far away from her.

People just don't let their dogs properly learn how to behave with other dogs because they never give them the chance. They have the fear in them that someone else's dog is dominating them or their dog is getting in the habit of dominating other dogs. So OF COURSE the smart thing to do is closely monitor the dog with the sole purpose of making sure their is no 'dominating' going on right?!

And going back to what I said, yes I do believe dominance exists. But only in rare cases. Those dogs typically have complexes but it isn't a normal thing for dogs these days.

Also, thoughts of dog dominance and alpha dogs for those obsessed with becoming the "dominant pack leader" and whom believe in the dominance theory: even in the wolf world, having an alpha male/dominant pack leader doesn't create peace within the pack. Their is constant fighting over alpha status. So if dominance theory is still true in domesticated dogs, and you gained alpha status, you would still need to fight for your alpha position throughout the lifetime of your pack. With that logic, having a dog would never be peaceful. As soon as food comes out, they will fight you for it and you will have to become big and scary to make them submit so you can enjoy your nice meal.

Instead of obsessing over dominance, I think people should focus on things like socializing their dogs so they don't develop anxiety around dogs/people which can turn into protective aggression. They should also focus on becoming a positive leader, not a dominating one. One that the dog can feel safe around and rely on and TRUST. Not an adversarial relationship. Instead of forcing your dog to "submit" when they misbehave, try working from the inside out and teaching the dog to enjoy NOT misbehaving. I'd much rather have a dog that wags his tail and comes when I tell him to rather than a dog that tucks his tail and looks nervous when I call him. Instead of pinning the dog down if he jumps up on a stranger, teach him that its fun to sit when a stranger appears. Otherwise he might think, "Oh no a stranger is here. I get pinned down when strangers are here!" and get nervous or even worse HATE strangers - which can be dangerous.

If anything, everyone's obsession with dominance is damaging their relationships with their companion. The companion that is supposed to be their best friend. :(

Lastly, I want to give a big huge thank you to a particular someone on Nat Geo for making everyone so obsessed with dominance.

Please forgive me if I was all over the place. Just thoroughly annoyed today.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
31,833 Posts
LOL! Welcome! It is refreshing to hear that there are people out there that are not completely sucked into all that nonsense.

If you are a newbie to dog ownership and are running into some issues, practicing NILIF, can help you become a better leader, but it is certainly not necessary for all dogs.

I love the idea of trying to be the alpha pack member. My dogs are smarter than that. They know I am not a dog, and personally, I think they would laugh at me if I tried to pull that kind of crap on them.

I love my dogs, I care for my dogs, I train my dogs, I own my dogs, I am responsible for my dogs' behavior.

I do not have to walk through doors before them, refuse access to the couch or bed, or throw them on their backs.

I am not a pet guardian or pet parent, I do not dress them up, give them their own room furnished with bed and wardrobe -- that's silly.

Well, can't think of much more of a rant at this hour, just welcome to the board, some of them like your NATGEO buddy, others don't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks selzer! I'm actually not totally new. I've been posting here and there and checking back constantly for a year now :). But I've finally found time to devote more time to the forum.

Anyways, I do use NILIF methods more or less. Maybe not to the extreme extent that some people do (mostly cause it is so hard to be that strict for me). But I do make him offer behaviors to do the simplest of things 99% of the time. Before leaving the house, he has to offer at least a sit with good eye contact with the door wide open and things like that. And he offers them up gladly knowing it is one minor inconvenience but after that 2 seconds he gets to do something exciting!

And yeah, dogs know their owners aren't dogs haha. They are totally smarter than that you are right!

I figured there are some nat geo dog trainer likers here (just as there are many off this forum as well) but I I just couldn't resist the rant lol.

I never understood the walking through doors first junk. It is just so silly! There is a difference between letting the dog know he is allowed to proceed vs letting the dog proceed only after you. I want to be able to let my dog know "Alright, now you can enter" regardless of whether or not I already have vs implying that "I've entered so now you can too".

*Sigh...* it would be really awesome if nat geo would put on a show featuring a great positive reinforcement type trainer as well to let people know their are other ways to train a dog.

I love my dogs, I care for my dogs, I train my dogs, I own my dogs, I am responsible for my dogs' behavior.
"I love my dogs" is the key there. People seem to have forgotten that part or are at least starting to forget. It is sad isn't it?

Again thanks for the warm welcome!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,068 Posts
So that is why I just get soooo annoyed that places like dog parks you hear those words all the time. It is the #1 talked about thing in the dog park. People are obsessed with it. It unfortunately holds some dogs back from properly socializing and learning how to play. I can't even count the number of times an owner would pin their dog down because he was standing over another dog that rolled over while play fighting. The other day, my dog just got to the dog park and was running around greeting all the other dogs as he usually does. Usually just by calmly approaching and sniffing (whether it be under or over the dog). This particular time it just happened to be sniffing the back of a dog's head (cause the dog was turned away from him). The owner of the dog pushed my puppy away and yelled at him "STOP IT! YOU ARE BEING DOMINANT". So I kinda just gave a confused look. And he bounced back and sniffed a bit more, gently and calming. Again she yelled at him. So I just got his attention and we played far away from her.
People submit their dog for what they perceive as dominant behavior between dogs? And a lady PUSHED your puppy because she thought he was being dominant towards her dog. So what? What is the big deal if a dog is dominant? I would be upset too if I were you! As long as the dog is not trying to dominate his owner, I don't understand these people's problem with normal dog behavior.

BTW-I am a National Geographic liker, but only in extreme cases. The people who you are describing here sound nutty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Haha also thought I'd throw this little tidbit in here:

I also laugh quietly to myself when I hear people in public go "sssst!" to their dog in public. Just cracks me up inside.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
People submit their dog for what they perceive as dominant behavior between dogs? And a lady PUSHED your puppy because she thought he was being dominant towards her dog. So what? What is the big deal if a dog is dominant? I would be upset too if I were you! As long as the dog is not trying to dominate his owner, I don't understand these people's problem with normal dog behavior.

Right?! I'm not the confrontational type otherwise I would have told the lady off for pushing my dog. So instead I take the cowardly way out and rant about it on a forum hahaha. Oh well... I guess I'm not dominant enough :)

And yeah, agreed, it would be a problem only if the dog is trying to dominate the owner or if the dog is becoming aggressive towards another dog. IE becoming food aggressive. Again, these are very rare situations and usually not TRULY dominance but rather due to anxiety/reactivity or being used to having an adversarial relationship (cause the owner or previous owner thought thats what was needed to rule over the dog).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
Oh...hohoho....I woulda had some nice choice words for the woman that pushed your puppy - I don't like anyone to lay their hands on my dog, even at a dog park, unless it's to pet them on the head.

I woulda had to shove her and yelled at her..."BAD HUMAN! YOU ARE BEING STUPID!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Oh...hohoho....I woulda had some nice choice words for the woman that pushed your puppy - I don't like anyone to lay their hands on my dog, even at a dog park, unless it's to pet them on the head.

I woulda had to shove her and yelled at her..."BAD HUMAN! YOU ARE BEING STUPID!"
Hahahahahah! Thank you! That made my night and made me laugh at my computer screen out loud a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,068 Posts
Right?! I'm not the confrontational type otherwise I would have told the lady off for pushing my dog. So instead I take the cowardly way out and rant about it on a forum hahaha. Oh well... I guess I'm not dominant enough :)

And yeah, agreed, it would be a problem only if the dog is trying to dominate the owner or if the dog is becoming aggressive towards another dog. IE becoming food aggressive. Again, these are very rare situations and usually not TRULY dominance but rather due to anxiety/reactivity or being used to having an adversarial relationship (cause the owner or previous owner thought thats what was needed to rule over the dog).
One of my dogs had aggressions problems. He would bite us (I am talking about blood shed bites) if we told him no, or even just pointed at him. He was very dominant and aggressive, and would have been put to sleep by now if a trainer hadn't helped us with him through pack leader/and the alpha roll training. I am a supporter of this training in extreme situations such as what we went through with our boy. My other dog would never, ever need to be alpha rolled. The alpha training worked for us, he stopped biting us rather quickly after we started the training. We tried other ways including the NILIF but none were effective.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,068 Posts
Oh...hohoho....I woulda had some nice choice words for the woman that pushed your puppy - I don't like anyone to lay their hands on my dog, even at a dog park, unless it's to pet them on the head.

I woulda had to shove her and yelled at her..."BAD HUMAN! YOU ARE BEING STUPID!"
Perhaps you could have submitted her! That would sure show her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
Perhaps you could have submitted her! That would sure show her.
Oh for sure! And then I coulda screamed at her for making a mess (even if it was like, an hour after the fact) and then literally rubbed her nose in it.

That'd teach her not to potty outside of the potty spot anymore!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
One of my dogs had aggressions problems. He would bite us (I am talking about blood shed bites) if we told him no, or even just pointed at him. He was very dominant and aggressive, and would have been put to sleep by now if a trainer hadn't helped us with him through pack leader/and the alpha roll training. I am a supporter of this training in extreme situations such as what we went through with our boy. My other dog would never, ever need to be alpha rolled. The alpha training worked for us, he stopped biting us rather quickly after we started the training. We tried other ways including the NILIF but none were effective.
Yep! This is what I meant in saying that there are rare cases where dominance is a real thing. And I'm glad you brought this up! And glad that you recognize that it is an extreme case and didn't try to force this kind of training on your other dog. I have to admit, I do occasionally watch the Nat Geo man and 99% of the time disagree with him but sometimes in rare cases, I think he does the right thing. Only in those cases where the dog has a particular dominant/aggressive complex for seemingly no reason. Much like your case.

But I think even you'd agree that people are far too obsessed and afraid that their dog is being dominant when they are just display typical social behavior. Right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Oh for sure! And then I coulda screamed at her for making a mess (even if it was like, an hour after the fact) and then literally rubbed her nose in it.

That'd teach her not to potty outside of the potty spot anymore!
hahahahahah both of you are cracking me up hysterically. I'm home alone and my puppy thinks I'm crazy cause I'm laughing randomly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,155 Posts
hahahahahah both of you are cracking me up hysterically. I'm home alone and my puppy thinks I'm crazy cause I'm laughing randomly.

Mmm, you gotta love the stereotypes of raising/training dogs and understanding dog psychology. It's a hoot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,068 Posts
Yep! This is what I meant in saying that there are rare cases where dominance is a real thing. And I'm glad you brought this up! And glad that you recognize that it is an extreme case and didn't try to force this kind of training on your other dog. I have to admit, I do occasionally watch the Nat Geo man and 99% of the time disagree with him but sometimes in rare cases, I think he does the right thing. Only in those cases where the dog has a particular dominant/aggressive complex for seemingly no reason. Much like your case.

But I think even you'd agree that people are far too obsessed and afraid that their dog is being dominant when they are just display typical social behavior. Right?
You a right! As a matter of fact I have observed some people using alpha rolls and alpha training on dogs that they think are dominant, and I know they aren't and do not need to be treated like that. I find it almost comical because if these people truly dealt with an aggressive dog, they'd probably run for their life. They have no idea what that is like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
You a right! As a matter of fact I have observed some people using alpha rolls and alpha training on dogs that they think are dominant, and I know they aren't and do not need to be treated like that. I find it almost comical because if these people truly dealt with an aggressive dog, they'd probably run for their life. They have no idea what that is like.
Not going to lie, I'd probably be pretty scared myself at first! haha. But, like you, would bite the bullet and do what is necessary to get him to a normal state. And I commend you for doing it and saving his life! I bet he's a fantastic family member now :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
And to this forum: it is sooo nice to have a place where people really understand dogs and not just listen to the TV. Being out and about starts to make you lose faith in the general dog owning population. But it is nice to have a place like this site to keep me anchored and realize good owners really do exist haha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,068 Posts
Not going to lie, I'd probably be pretty scared myself at first! haha. But, like you, would bite the bullet and do what is necessary to get him to a normal state. And I commend you for doing it and saving his life! I bet he's a fantastic family member now :)
Thank you. And he sure is awesome. I have a thread about this but anyhow-after what I disclosed to you, you will understand how much this video means to me, that he can now play with my daughter like this. Here is the youtube link.My german shepherd loves balloons! - YouTube
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
197 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top