My Dog gReeTS Me By jUMPing UP,STeAlS ooD BehinD My BAcK, TRieS TocliMB inTo My lAP To Be PeTTeD, AnDoTen ignoReS Me when i cAll hiMTo coMe. ARe TheSe SignS o DoMi-nAnce?
No. In animal social systems, domi
nance is dened as a relationship betweentwo or more individuals that is established byforce, aggression, and submission in orderto gain priority access to resources (Bernstein1981; Drews 1993). Most unruly behaviors indogs occur not out of the desire to gain higherrank, but simply because the undesirablebehaviors have been rewarded. For instance,dogs jump on people and climb into their lapsbecause when they do so, they get attention.Similarly, dogs fail to come when called if theyare being rewarded by the objects or activitiesthat are distracting them. Even stealing food when humans are not watching is not a playfor higher rank. In the wild, lower-rankinganimals steal resources when higher-rankinganimals are not around to guard the resourc
es. This is an alternate strategy for obtainingthe resources they want. Those who are re
warded by success are more likely to continuestealing in this manner.
Baus ds ar ratd t vs, sud us vs as a mdr udrstad ds.
While we canget ideas of the types of behaviors to study indogs based on what we know about wolves,the best model for understanding domesticdogs is domestic dogs. Dogs have divergedsignicantly from wolves in the last 15,000 years. Ancestral wolves evolved as huntersand now generally live in packs consistingmost often of family members (Mech 2000).Pack members cooperate to hunt and to takecare of offspring. In a given year, generallyonly the alpha male and alpha female mate,so that the resources of the entire pack canbe focused on their one litter. Dogs, on theother hand, evolved as scavengers rather thanhunters (Coppinger and Coppinger 2002).Those who were the least fearful, compared totheir human-shy counterparts, were best ableto survive off the trash and waste of humansand reproduce in this environment. Currently,free-roaming dogs live in small groups ratherthan cohesive packs, and in some cases spendmuch of their time alone (MacDonald andCarr 1995). They do not generally cooperateto hunt or to raise their offspring, and virtuallyall males and females have the opportunity tomate (Boitani et al. 1995). Marked differencesin social systems, such as those just described,inevitably lead to notable differences in socialbehavior.
i ar tat u tk a d sdmat, u sud r m sbak a “apa r” ad r s a baus tat’s at aapa ud d.
In a pack of wolves, higher-ranking wolves do not rolllower-ranking wolves on their backs. Rather,lower-ranking wolves show their subordinatestatus by offering to roll on their backs. Thissubmissive roll is a sign of deference, similarto when someone greets the queen or thepope by kneeling. Consequently, a moreappropriate term for the posture would be asubmissive roll (Yin 2009).
ev vs d’t r subrd-ats tr bak, t sms t rk sm ass. Sud i tr t a- a m d s arssv?
The most common cause of aggression indogs is fear. Pinning a dog down when he isscared will not address the root of his fear.Furthermore it can heighten the aggression(AVSAB 2007). In fact, a recent study of dogs(Herron et al. 2008) found that confronta
tional techniques such as hitting or kickingthe dog for undesirable behavior, growling at the dog, performing an “alpha roll,” staringthe dog down, and enforcing a “dominancedown” frequently elicited an aggressiveresponse from the dog. The aggression mayalso be redirected toward inanimate objects,or other animals or people besides the owner.Even non-physical punishment, such as aharsh verbal reprimand or shaking a ngerat a dog, can elicit defensive aggression if thedog feels threatened by it.
i av ard tat t b t bss radr, u av t tu drsfrst: ak aad t d k vs d.
In a wolf pack, the highest ranking wolves only lead the hunt a fraction of the time (Peterson et al. 2002). Furthermore, when they are hunting, they do not keep atight linear formation based on their rank.
S t apa s frst, sud u at br ur d?
Higher-ranking wolves don’t necessarily have priorityaccess to food. Once a wolf has possessionof food, he may not give it up to another wolf regardless of his rank. When food is not yet in possession of either wolf, ritualized aggres
sion (snarling, lunging) may still occur, withthe higher-ranking wolves usually winning.
d ds trats aus tmt bm dmat.
Even among wildanimals, sharing of food does not relate todominance. Adult wolves frequently regurgi
tate food for puppies. Males of other speciesfrequently court females by bringing food tothem. Giving a dog a treat when he jumps upor barks at you can result in unruly behavior.However this does not teach him that he ishigher ranked or has priority access to re
sources. If you would like to teach him to wait
Mts Abut Dma ad w Bavr as it Rats t Ds