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Old 01-07-2014, 02:33 PM   #21 
LittleBettaFish
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I think the issue for me is what behaviour people see as dominant. I've met so many people with reactive dogs whose behaviour stems from fear not dominance. To take a forcible approach with those kinds of dogs can lead to all sorts of issues.

We have a dog here that lunges, hackles up, growls and barks at other dogs. Does she do this because she is aggressive and trying to dominate the other dog? Nope. She does it because she is absolutely petrified of other dogs and thinks a good defence is a good offence. Everything has to be positive with her and anticipating and intervening when you can feel her cross that threshold.

Yet there are people out there who believe she is showing dominant behaviour and that I should discipline her for it.

Also just because a dog looks to a human like it is in charge, doesn't mean that this will always be the case or it is actually the 'alpha' of other dogs in the household. Dynamics can change over time especially as dogs get older and quite often if they are of the same gender.

I don't like Cesar Millan because he usually tends to provoke a negative reaction from the dog, flood it until it submits and then that's it. Real training is about reshaping a negative behaviour, not just repressing it through sheer force. There was one episode where he went into the yard with a white German Shepherd and the poor thing was absolutely petrified and he gave it no release of pressure even when all it was doing was trying to get away.

If you dumped a strange man into most people's backyards who then chased the dog around with some sort of bucket in his hand I bet most would react on the defensive.

This is my main issue when people start talking about being boss and quashing any show of 'dominant' or 'aggressive' behaviours. You'd think talking to some owners that anything their dog does to the contrary to their wishes is dominant when really it's not.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:13 PM   #22 
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Not all aggressive behavior is a dominance issue - I couldn't agree more. Weakness and insecurity will lead to "aggressive" behavior as well. The dominance "problem" is not with the dog - it's with the human. Same goes for aggression due to insecurity. People are to blame for all dog problems, with few exceptions.


The dominant/submissive dynamic is an fundamental part of nature - animals are governed by it. Including humans. The only place it "doesn't exist" is in the minds of "intellectuals" who arrogantly think that they have evolved.

You can certainly dress it up and call it whatever you want, The bottom line is that the key to keeping a happy and obedient dog is for the owner to be in charge.

Though personally, I have no interest in obedience, which is VERY different that submission. Obedience is doing something that you don't want to do. Submission is bending your will to align with another's - doing something because you want to do it.
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Old 01-07-2014, 03:33 PM   #23 
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I do agree though, that most people need a great deal of education on what it means to be dominant, both those who don't like it and those that employ it.


I wonder what horse people have to say about all this....

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Old 01-07-2014, 09:08 PM   #24 
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Well just an update. I have been using this approach for the past couple of days and my dog's behavior is really improving. Yes I have been dominant but I haven't been "forceful". The idea of being "calm and assertive" really helps me. Never get mad or frustrated, just give off a calm energy and make it clear what you want from the dog. The dog will pick up on that energy and want to be compliant.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:28 PM   #25 
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Fully half of training for someone new to dogs is training the owner. Like aquatics, the learning curve seems steep at first, but with some research & applying what is learned you'll find what works best for you & the individual dog. Also as with aquatics, dog training is an ever evolving and growing thing, both are a lifetime learning experience.

Thought I'd mention the parallels between dog topics on a fish forum & fish topics on a dog forum are amusing, anyone ever involved in both understands the tangents they can go off on, as well as some of the misinformation. This is certainly not due to lack of caring, or trying, just lack of long term exposure to the topic material. Folks involved with a particular species seem to be very caring about all living things, unfortunately not everything applies equally from humans on down to plants. This is often difficult to grasp, but when you do it's a huge aha moment.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:40 PM   #26 
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I feel like this is a psychological transformation for me as well as my dog.
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Old 01-07-2014, 09:44 PM   #27 
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Originally Posted by finnfinnfriend View Post
Well just an update. I have been using this approach for the past couple of days and my dog's behavior is really improving. Yes I have been dominant but I haven't been "forceful". The idea of being "calm and assertive" really helps me. Never get mad or frustrated, just give off a calm energy and make it clear what you want from the dog. The dog will pick up on that energy and want to be compliant.
I mean that is how my dog seems to be responding...
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:21 PM   #28 
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Lol, it is a learning experience. It was a head scratcher for me long ago; why won't things that work with dogs at least work a little with fish? Same thing happened way back with dogs & my little brother, took a bit to put 2 & 2 together.

Being calm is a big thing, and yes, it does seem to give you a more thoughtful way of approaching things.
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Old 01-08-2014, 06:16 AM   #29 
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The 9 family dogs were lab and lab mixes. The 4 I've trained solely myself were 3 chihuahuas and a pug. I don't treat the little dogs any differently than I do the 100 lbs labs. I couldn't agree more with what you said, and I've actually caught a lot of heat from disciplining the little dogs. You are absolutely right - people allow little dogs the liberty of acting like monsters because they find it "cute". It's just as bad as the people who get big dogs and can't control them, but it's not nearly as dangerous...
So true.There was an awful incident at the local dog park a while ago where a little dog was grabbed and shaken by a big dog,luckily it survived,but I think just,the poor thing.I hate incidents at the dog park (or anywhere) it puts you off and makes you nervous.There are too many stupid owners who just couldn't care less.

A while ago a big German Shepherd cross raced over for no reason whatsoever and tried to attack my girl dog,I managed to jump over her just in time and the rotten thing ripped up my arm,luckily though it wasn't able to touch my dog.The owner pulled it off after what seemed like forever but never said a word to us,never asked if my dog or me were ok,never apologised.Nothing.He just walked off with his filthy dog.Scumbags.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:49 AM   #30 
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So true.There was an awful incident at the local dog park a while ago where a little dog was grabbed and shaken by a big dog,luckily it survived,but I think just,the poor thing.I hate incidents at the dog park (or anywhere) it puts you off and makes you nervous.There are too many stupid owners who just couldn't care less.

A while ago a big German Shepherd cross raced over for no reason whatsoever and tried to attack my girl dog,I managed to jump over her just in time and the rotten thing ripped up my arm,luckily though it wasn't able to touch my dog.The owner pulled it off after what seemed like forever but never said a word to us,never asked if my dog or me were ok,never apologised.Nothing.He just walked off with his filthy dog.Scumbags.
Oh wow! That dog wouldn't have walked away.... I think it's important that people have some form of protection when they put themselves in a situation where a confrontation is possible. I'm willing to bet that a can of mace would stop a dog in its tracks. In fact that's something I am going to start carrying with me when I start going to the dog park. Nice to have some range fr a first line of defense. Too, might come in handy with a heated owner encounter

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There are too many stupid owners who just couldn't care less.
THIS. There are a LOT of stupid dog owners out there, employing all sorts of methods to "train" their dogs. There is no shortage of examples of training failures because there is no shortage of stupid people. Yes and that INCLUDES people using these new methods that are so highly touted now. People talk about these methods like they are fool proof, but I assure you that there are fools screwing it up as we speak. Using bad examples of something as the basis of "evaluation" for the whole does not demonstrate anything.

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