German Shepherd Dog Forum

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From: Solitaire13


Dominance in dogs has been debunked. It has been replaced by hierarchies are fluid and are a result of which dog is willing to work for, and capable of achieving, a resource under any given circumstance, resource acquisition. I think most of us have observed it in some form or another.

But... let's take a look back in time when dominance was a popular theory. Attached is a short video clip explaining some of the theory behind it. Once again,  it is something that most of us have observed.  The new theory of acquisition of resources vs dominance just don't add up because IMO, I have witnessed both behaviors. 

What have you observed and how do you explain them? After watching the video clip, do you still think that dominance doesn't exist? Most of the research that I have seen that dismisses the dominance theory has been among stray / feral dogs. Dogs afforded the freedom to act more naturally.  Have you seen any information that debunks the dominance theory as it applies to owned dogs?

Watch Fighting Dominance In A Dog Whispering World Online | Vimeo On Demand

Watch Jean Donaldson and Ian Dunbar take on the controversial and often misunderstood concept of dominance behavior in dogs. Do dogs really try to be "the boss"?...

DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)


I think it become a natural hierarchy based on temperaments of the dogs involved.


From: selzer


I think at 7-8 weeks, they are all puppies.  One day one will be the one on top and biting hard, the next day the other pup will be.  Genetically, I do think that one might be naturally more "alpha" than its littermates.  I don't think it really translates to the human-canine bond UNLESS the humans have no leadership qualities.  

It isn't the easy dogs that teach us how to train, manage, own dogs.  It is the tough ones: the ones that are seriously timid, can teach us how to regulate our emotions around our dog and be patient; the ones that are dog reactive teach us how to be aware of our surroundings and how to make adjustments that the dog has no idea we are making to get them out of the line of fire.  Having a truly alpha/dominant dog can be a real challenge if we are highly emotional, or very shy/timid, if we allow ourselves to be walked on.  Otherwise, I think dogs, even dominant dogs are happy to follow the lead of their humans.  Most of the things that folks used to tell you to do or not to do, like alpha rolling a pup, playing with its food, taking treats from the dog, not letting the dog on the furniture and the list goes on and on, most of them aren't ever going to be a problem for you or the dog.  If the dog has food aggression taking treats from them might get you bit.  It isn't going to prevent food aggression.  Same with messing with the food.  If you have a dog that is serious about his food, messing with it, taking treats away from the dog, and using treats for training rewards might increase the problem.  

In reply toRe: msg 3
DW (GSDogwalker)

From: DW (GSDogwalker)


I had an alpha food aggressive herding dog, not GSD.  I did not know he was food aggressive until he got into his food bag. I found him with his whole head inside the bag.  I pulled him away and he turned on me. I never hit my dogs, ever, but I had to smack him once to get him to back off.  Then another time, I went to pick him up to remove him from a situation and he ripped my shirt.  As long as I did not grab or lift him, he never did it again.  I don’t even call it handler aggression but that he did not want to be stopped from something he wanted to do.  That crabby old dog lived to be almost 17.