Navigation Links
Using 'dominance' to explain dog behavior is old hat
Date:5/21/2009

Contrary to popular belief, aggressive dogs are NOT trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human "pack", according to research published by academics at the University of Bristol's Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Clinical Applications and Research.

The researchers spent six months studying dogs freely interacting at a Dogs Trust rehoming centre, and reanalysing data from studies of feral dogs, before concluding that individual relationships between dogs are learnt through experience rather than motivated by a desire to assert "dominance".

The paper "Dominance in domestic dogs useful construct or bad habit?" reveals that dogs are not motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order of their pack, as many well-known dog trainers preach.

Far from being helpful, the academics say, training approaches aimed at "dominance reduction" vary from being worthless in treatment to being actually dangerous and likely to make behaviours worse.

Instructing owners to eat before their dog or go through doors first will not influence the dog's overall perception of the relationship merely teach them what to expect in these specific situations. Much worse, techniques such as pinning the dog to the floor, grabbing jowls, or blasting hooters at dogs will make dogs anxious, often about their owner, and potentially lead to an escalation of aggression.

Dr Rachel Casey, Senior Lecturer in Companion Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Bristol University, said: "The blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people and other dogs is frankly ridiculous. It hugely underestimates the complex communicative and learning abilities of dogs. It also leads to the use of coercive training techniques, which compromise welfare, and actually cause problem behaviours.

"In our referral clinic we very often see dogs which have learnt to show aggression to avoid anticipated punishment. Owners are often horrified when we explain that their dog is terrified of them, and is showing aggression because of the techniques they have used but its not their fault when they have been advised to do so, or watched unqualified 'behaviourists' recommending such techniques on TV."

At Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, rehoming centre staff see the results of misguided dog training all the time. Veterinary Director Chris Laurence MBE, added: "We can tell when a dog comes in to us which has been subjected to the 'dominance reduction technique' so beloved of TV dog trainers. They can be very fearful, which can lead to aggression towards people.

"Sadly, many techniques used to teach a dog that his owner is leader of the pack is counter-productive; you won't get a better behaved dog, but you will either end up with a dog so fearful it has suppressed all its natural behaviours and will just do nothing, or one so aggressive it's dangerous to be around."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New tool for next-generation cancer treatments using nanodiamonds
2. Using high-precision laser tweezers to juggle cells
3. Consumers more likely to identify healthy food using traffic light nutrition labels
4. Using combinatorial libraries to engineer genetic circuits advances synthetic biology
5. K-State using Second Life island to help high school students learn earth science
6. Caltech scientists control complex nucleation processes using DNA origami seeds
7. VeriLook Surveillance SDK Provides Real-Time Face Identification Using Video Surveillance Cameras
8. VeriLook Surveillance SDK Provides Real-Time Face Identification Using Video Surveillance Cameras
9. Using hair to manage HIV/AIDS and predict treatment success
10. Milestone achieved toward production of malaria treatment using synthetic biology and fermentation
11. MIT: Using touch to help deaf people
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)...  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with ... IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, such ... and, when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER ... local retail location at no cost. By leveraging this ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by ... & Others), Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... is expected to reach USD 26.76 Billion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... Massachusetts (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... will gather at Boston CEO 2016 on May 31st and June 1st at ... networking forum for leading executives in the life sciences, offering exclusive access to ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... NeuroTech NYC , the sensor and data driven conferences, will take place on June 7-8, ... UnitedHealth's Vidya Raman-Tangella on incorporating technology -- including AR/VR, machine learning, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... Hill Hospital , for definitive prostate cancer treatment, patients traditionally had two main treatment ... appropriate treatment plan would be made. , New technology has enabled doctors to ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... Meister ... mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world a taste ... a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites and Unmanned ...
Breaking Biology Technology: