Interesting link -AVSAB Position on Dominance Theory..

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emmabeth
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Interesting link -AVSAB Position on Dominance Theory..

Post by emmabeth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:12 am

https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/20 ... 0-3-14.pdf

Worth a read for anyone still unsure on the credibility and value of dominance theory in modern dog training and behaviour.
Last edited by Erica on Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: broken link

danaleigh
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Post by danaleigh » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:02 pm

That was one of the most informative reads I've had in a long time.

Recently, my husband and I adopted a dog, Zorro (or Big Guy as we now call him), a pit bull/boxer mix. We had been discussing getting a dog, and were comparing breeds that would fit best with our family, which includes a pixie-bob cat. Our choice was a Harrier, however, Big Guy kinda fell into our lap.

Big Guy is very well trained. He doesn't beg for food, he lets us know when it's potty time, he understands 'outside toys and behavior' from 'indoor' behavior. However, he had four HUGE issues we needed to work on with him. We've tackled three and succeeded, however, i'm having issues with the fourth. Please help.

He'd been trained to attack cats. He'd been beaten by his previous owner for stealing food off counters, etc. And he had no defined 'personal space and boundaries', so he was quick to growl and nip when approached in an aggressive manner. Last but not least, he was almost 20 lbs underweight due to bad diet.

Our first concern was his health, so we changed his diet. He's a big dog, avg weight should run around 100 lbs. He's also very active. His potty habits were such that he was going 'poo', 6 to 7 times a day, meaning he was putting out more than he was taking in. We put him on a high protein diet, minimum 25%. An immediate change in his begging habits (out the window) and his bathroom habits (down to 2 a day), also the fact that he gained almost 25 lbs within the first 2 weeks. Just the change in his diet mellowed his high strung tendencies. Also, we walk him twice a day to our local park, which allows dogs off the leash to run.

Our second concern was his aggression toward cats, since our cat Emme, is such a vital part of our life. We got Big Guy on January 28th, it's now February 3, and the two of them are completely comfortable sharing our home. I'm not sure what we did to address his aggression, but his only attention to the cat now, is when he attempts to engage her in play, or she does the same. I've walked in from another room, and seen them sharing the same patch of sun nose to nose on the floor.

Another behavior we needed to adjust with him, was his sense of personal space. Just like a teenager, he needed to know that he had a safe place to call his own. Over the years with his former owner, she made it a point to manhandle him (trying to prove her dominance) and he finally bit her. She maintained his growling at her was 'his way of talking and purring (like a cat)'. I refuse to beleive that. A growl is a warning, period. She invaded his space. What we have done, is instead of approaching him, we ask him to come to us. We sit quietly, and when he does approach us, we pet and massage him to relax him. Not once has he growled at anyone else, but his former owner, since he came to live with us. He is very loving, affectionate, and sweet. He also has two area's in the house with beds and toys that are his, and we don't allow even the cat there. They are his space.

I'm still having one issue however, and that is his fear of being beaten. When he get's upset (such as this past superbowl and we had a houseful of guests) I wanted to remove him from the issue to help him calm down. He was terrified of me, running with his ears down and tail tucked thru the house, and peeing everywhere. If there is anyone here with some suggestions, please help.

This dog is incredible. We weren't looking for him, but he found us, and he is now an indelible part of our lives. I feel like an abusive parent when he reacts like that, when my sole purpose was to calm him down and help to relax him. I'm at a loss.

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Post by emmabeth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:19 pm

Wow - you've done brilliantly.

For your final issue... i think its amatter of teaching a new 'coping strategy' outside of the triggering environment/contex... and really hard wiring that.

Takes time and patience and being VERY firm with guests in your case, that when you say 'shuttup and dont yell around the dog' you mean it or they are outta the house.

Does he have an indoor crate and does he like it... if hes also got a big problem with those then that route is out. If he would like a small secure space then this may be an option for him (not to lock him in, but to provide him with a bolt hole).

Its likely that part of the extreme fear behaviour he displays is also something hes been heavily punished for (peeing sounds likely!) so once he gets in that frame of mind its a vicious circle of him behaving that way because hes fearful, and him expecting that behaviour to be punished so hes more fearful etc etc.

You know your dog best, so you are best placed to decide what hed respond best to and what he and you can best replace the current behaviour with.

Teach it to him in stages if it is complex, start when theres nothing scary at all going on, and gradually build your way up to more distracting situations.

Have you looked at the body language stickied thread, as this may help you recognise signs of him becoming stressed before he freaks out - one of the keys will be to spot whats going to happen before he starts out down his route to total freak out, as once hes started hes not in a position to learn anything 'good'.

Hth

Em

belrose
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Post by belrose » Tue Feb 03, 2009 8:52 pm

Over the years with his former owner, she made it a point to manhandle him (trying to prove her dominance) and he finally bit her. She maintained his growling at her was 'his way of talking and purring (like a cat)'. I refuse to beleive that. A growl is a warning, period. She invaded his space.
I am absolutely amazed at the lengths some people will go to persuade themselves that growling, snarling, etc is not a warning. My flatmate believes his dog baring her teeth whenever anyone approaches her (him, me, my partner included) is "smiling". But "purring like a cat" really takes the cake. Honestly ... how can people be so oblivious to their pets?

Well done for all the progress you've made ... it sounds like you are a real god-send to this poor dog. Good luck with the fear problem ... I have no useful suggestions, but I wish you all the best in alleviating his fear.

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Mattie
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Post by Mattie » Wed Feb 04, 2009 5:44 am

Well done, you have made so much progress with this dog.

My Greyhound was beaten regularly before he came to me, it was to get him to run faster on the track. If I moved suddenly or raised my voice, which was essential for hubby, he had a stroke and was partly deaf, he was scream and run. When Merlin did this I would just say "Stupd dog", and walk away, I wouldn't make a big deal of it by trying to reasure him.

Merlin knew he was safe but didn't completely trust until he had been hear for 3 years, abused dogs do take a long time and there will always be the odd occasion were he will still react in fear.

He will find his own safe place, watch and see where he lies down most on his own. Sometimes it is behind a chair or sofa, or under a table etc. Once you have recognised his favourite place, you can make that his safe area.

Growling is communication, it can be aggression and to warn us off, it can be an invitation to play or to tell us a story, Tommy loved telling me stories. Tommy would also come and growl to tell me Dixie had pinched her bone/toy. It is up to us to work out what the growling is, every growl is different and once we understand the growls, we improve our interaction with our dogs.

I also have a dog that will smile, people think he is snarling at them but there is a difference in his smile and snarl, his body language.
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

ckranz
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Post by ckranz » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:15 am

Don't know how I missed this link on here, I found it in another forum I frequently post. This is an amazing article, both well researched and well written.

I can only say that having 2 dogs in the recent past (1 current) that in both cases following traditional dominance theory would have worsened both situations.

My first dog's aggression was medical (injury) related brain damage. No amount of behavior modification would have been effective and dominance based taining would have put me in much more danger. If there is a zone beyond "red" Clay was there. Clay taught me so much though about learning to read a dog, setting realistic goals, and most important...change does not occur in an hour's worth of training.

Khan was also a shy and fearful dog. The nature of his aggression was lack of environmental stimulation as a puppy. He was pretty much neglected in all manner of social skills. He was afraid of people, dogs (including stuffed dogs) and especially fearful of children. He too was a "red" zone dog. Dominance theory with him would have only re-inforced his fears that people, dogs and kids are bad.

Positive based training has made such an impact with Khan that I cannot even describe in words. Khan has grown so much, from literally barking at his own shadow to a dog who is fully confident and able to compete in competative agility. For those that watch the show, working with Khan was the equivalent of the Boxer in the first US episode, Diesel the aggressive husky, and Chaos in his determination to pester kids with lunging circling barking and air snapping all rolled into 1 dog. This past weekend our neighbors had a BBQ for the neighborhood...something about a big game LOL. I thought I might see how Khan behaved and give him a chance to meet the dogs from the other side of the fence. (We're still practicing moving through groups for our CGC)

With the neighbor dogs whom he enjoys all manner of fence running and barking, he greeted properly and not a single bark or growl. He was downright friendly with them. Not once did I have to call him away from plates of chicken, ribs, hotwings etc...though there were many things he could have easily reached. He met all our neighbors with warm greetings, soft eyes and a desire for petting. The best part was that for the first time he allowed and enjoyed the attention of some children. He had been ignoring children up till now and this was the first time he allowed children to pet him. Everyone commented on how well behaved Khan acted.

Khan has been a 2 year work in progress. One of my agility trainers told me that few people could have worked this successfully with Khan. I had always thought many people could have done it given the same training information, but most would not choose to do it. She went frther in saying, few could do it and of those that could even fewer would have worked with a dog like Khan.

I am so glad that I found positive based training. It is the only way I have found to be successful across the board with all breeds and mixes

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Post by danaleigh » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:19 am

Thank you all so much. I read the thread regarding body language, and that helped tremendously. Even though I was taken aback at the 'Stupid dog' comment, it actually seems to be working (though I don't call him stupid dog, I just say 'relax' in a mellow voice), but I walk away immediately afterward. I know dog's don't understand english, but again, I would feel guilty saying that to him.

We are in the position that neighbors drop by unannounced almost daily, so by using that method, other than a 'notification' bark at the door knock, he doesn't even run for the door anymore. Yesterday, had a houseful again, and he just stretched out on the floor (yes, under everyone's feet, lol) but he wasn't stressed.

I'm very careful to let my guests know that we are still in the training phase, so to please not interact with him much until I give the okay signal. So far, they've respected my wishes, and he's doing incredibly well. To tell the truth, it's less training him, and more of training them, since Big Guy belonged to a former common acquaintance of all of us, and her treatment of him is diametrically opposed to mine.

I'd like to announce also, that yesterday, Big Guy grabbed his favorite stuffy, and not only took it to the cat, but put it up on the couch where she was laying, and then he backed away. THAT was an awesome sight, lol, to see this big monster kowtowing to this little cat.

Thanks again all, this has been a fantastic experience.

danaleigh
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Post by danaleigh » Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:30 am

Oh, and yes, we did look into the crate idea. However, Big Guy has already made our spare bedroom his own, so we use that as his 'crate'. His second safe place, is the area in the corner of our office, which while open to the rest of the house, still affords him a birds eye view, while still being able to relax a bit away from any commotion. However, that didn't work that Sunday, lol. Probably a bit too much, a bit too soon.

We actually looked into doing the crate thing, to work on him with the cat, but it seems it wasn't needed. But again, thank you for your input, it's all a huge help. I'm sure I'll be asking for more, lol.

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Post by Smillin'Sammy » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:49 pm

danaleigh wrote:That was one of the most informative reads I've had in a long time.

Recently, my husband and I adopted a dog, Zorro (or Big Guy as we now call him), a pit bull/boxer mix. We had been discussing getting a dog, and were comparing breeds that would fit best with our family, which includes a pixie-bob cat. Our choice was a Harrier, however, Big Guy kinda fell into our lap.

Big Guy is very well trained. He doesn't beg for food, he lets us know when it's potty time, he understands 'outside toys and behavior' from 'indoor' behavior. However, he had four HUGE issues we needed to work on with him. We've tackled three and succeeded, however, i'm having issues with the fourth. Please help.

He'd been trained to attack cats. He'd been beaten by his previous owner for stealing food off counters, etc. And he had no defined 'personal space and boundaries', so he was quick to growl and nip when approached in an aggressive manner. Last but not least, he was almost 20 lbs underweight due to bad diet.

Our first concern was his health, so we changed his diet. He's a big dog, avg weight should run around 100 lbs. He's also very active. His potty habits were such that he was going 'poo', 6 to 7 times a day, meaning he was putting out more than he was taking in. We put him on a high protein diet, minimum 25%. An immediate change in his begging habits (out the window) and his bathroom habits (down to 2 a day), also the fact that he gained almost 25 lbs within the first 2 weeks. Just the change in his diet mellowed his high strung tendencies. Also, we walk him twice a day to our local park, which allows dogs off the leash to run.

Our second concern was his aggression toward cats, since our cat Emme, is such a vital part of our life. We got Big Guy on January 28th, it's now February 3, and the two of them are completely comfortable sharing our home. I'm not sure what we did to address his aggression, but his only attention to the cat now, is when he attempts to engage her in play, or she does the same. I've walked in from another room, and seen them sharing the same patch of sun nose to nose on the floor.

Another behavior we needed to adjust with him, was his sense of personal space. Just like a teenager, he needed to know that he had a safe place to call his own. Over the years with his former owner, she made it a point to manhandle him (trying to prove her dominance) and he finally bit her. She maintained his growling at her was 'his way of talking and purring (like a cat)'. I refuse to beleive that. A growl is a warning, period. She invaded his space. What we have done, is instead of approaching him, we ask him to come to us. We sit quietly, and when he does approach us, we pet and massage him to relax him. Not once has he growled at anyone else, but his former owner, since he came to live with us. He is very loving, affectionate, and sweet. He also has two area's in the house with beds and toys that are his, and we don't allow even the cat there. They are his space.

I'm still having one issue however, and that is his fear of being beaten. When he get's upset (such as this past superbowl and we had a houseful of guests) I wanted to remove him from the issue to help him calm down. He was terrified of me, running with his ears down and tail tucked thru the house, and peeing everywhere. If there is anyone here with some suggestions, please help.

This dog is incredible. We weren't looking for him, but he found us, and he is now an indelible part of our lives. I feel like an abusive parent when he reacts like that, when my sole purpose was to calm him down and help to relax him. I'm at a loss.
What other people have suggested is good, but you should really remove him from the situation if it seems likely he'll react, such as when many people are around.

Should he start his scared behaviour, simply ignore it. Don't yell for him, don't chase him, don't do anything. He will calm down once he realizes you don't care.

Smillin'Sammy
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Post by Smillin'Sammy » Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:55 pm

Forgot to say you did a great job with the dog. Glad to hear he's doing better now :)

GoofyDog2
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Also from AVSAB

Post by GoofyDog2 » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:58 pm

This is also a good article to read:

http://www.legacycanine.com/documents/P ... AVASAB.pdf
GoofyDog

Gwenhwyfair
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Re: Interesting link -AVSAB Position on Dominance Theory..

Post by Gwenhwyfair » Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:59 am

Excellent article.

I was just discussing this with a fellow pet care giver the other day.

I think Victoria said it best while she was helping clients who had tried the dominance/pack training with poor results (paraphrasing) 'We're humans not dogs'.

IMVHO while there maybe some kernels of wisdom and truth in the dominance theory it just doesn't apply well to the domesticated pet in a modern household.

Erica
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Re: Interesting link -AVSAB Position on Dominance Theory..

Post by Erica » Sun Dec 08, 2013 8:46 pm

Link is broken, here's the new one which is a pdf: http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position ... tement.pdf
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

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