I told my dad that his methods of training the dog by pinning and hitting it to prove himself the "Alpha"was wrong, because you said that Alpha males and the traditional hierarchy was an outdated myth. He refused to listen, saying that he'd seen the same violent pecking order behavior in stable horses as well as dogs. If it isn't dominance, what is it?
It’s strangely difficult to convince people like your father that these methods are wrong, especially if he’s gone so far as to pin/strike your dog already. You may not be able to convince him of anything.
(Also, using horse behavior to explain dog behavior is very silly, so we’re just going to ignore that bit.)
It’s better to think of dominance as a relationship context than something that is enforced. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, it’s just that you can’t always assume that certain actions mean that it does. Aggression can just be plain old aggression- in fact, most aggression takes place in canids before a dominance relationship is established. The point of the dominance relationship is to stop fighting and reduce the danger of injury. This is why posturing takes the place of actual violence.
I wrote in an article about how submissive behaviors in canids are generally not forced by others- instead, they are willingly offered. Wolves and dogs usually don’t force their peers to roll over (and they certainly can’t grab each other with their hands to make it happen!), which is what makes the whole “alpha roll” thing so patently ridiculous. Furthermore, active submission is far more common than active dominance in canid groups, even groups that are fragmented and unrelated with each other.
The other thing to consider is the fact that your father is not a dog. It surprises me how often people believe that dogs think humans are big dogs. Shouldn’t the fact that many dogs behave so differently with humans than they do with other dogs tell us that they are capable of forming these separate categories? By virtue of your species, you are going to have a different relationship with your dog than your dog has with another dog. And dogs are certainly capable of recognizing these differences themselves.
You and your dog aren’t even usually going after the same resources- you don’t HAVE to be dominant over your dog! And even if your relationship does fall that way, your actions are never ever going to be the actions of another dog. They’re just not. You would never in a million years be able to communicate on the scent/visual/auditory level that dogs do with each other. So stop trying to be a dog and act like a human.
…That came out a little harsher than I intended. Sorry. Buildup of frustration.Basically: there’s a poor understanding of dog/dog relationships out there in general media, but even worse is the idea that dog/human relationships should be modeled after dog/dog relationships.
2 hours ago with 55 notes