Debunking the Alpha Dog/Dominance Myth
- that's right, we said MYTH!
"I have to dominate my dog, so I can show him whose boss and be alpha over him" and "I am the 'pack leader' but obviously she still thinks she's the top alpha dog...that's why she doesn't listen, pees on the rug, chews my shoes, barks at other dogs and strangers" etc. are all things we hear every day. Despite the fact that the science of learning offers more sensible explanations, and that the notion of "alpha dog" has been completely and totally disproven over and over again by the scientific community for more than 3 decades -- the alpha/dominance mindset in dog training and behavior continues to be a surprisingly popular, and deeply held belief - not only amongst dog-loving lay people - but unfortunately also among some dog trainers - who in some cases continue to spread this misinformation to the masses on television!
As a behavior and training resource committed to the science of dog behavior and learning, we are proud to stay true to our promise of providing you with the facts. We've been teaching non-alpha/dominance-based principles and training techniques for many years, but don't just take our word for it! See below for a plethora of articles written by some of the worlds foremost canine behavioral experts, and see for yourself why the alpha/dominance mindset in dog training doesn't stand up to scientific scrutiny, can harm your relationship with your dog, and is nothing more than myth!
WOOF's thoughts on the "Dog Whisperer" http://woofology.info/thoughtsoncesar.html
Bringing together people who challenge pack leadership,
dominance theory, dog-as-wolf and other outdated ideas about
Misconceptions of the Mythical Alpha Dog
By Dr. Ian Dunbar
Why Won't Dominance Die?
From The Association of Pet Behavior Counselors
By Karen Pryor
Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?
Abstract from the Journal of Veterinary Behavior
Using Dominance to Explain Behavior is Old Hat
From Science Daily
Whatever Happened to the Term Alpha Wolf?
By L. David Mech
The American Veterinary Society of
Animal Behavior's Position Statement on Dominance Theory in
Behavior Modification of Animals
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers' Position Statement on Dominance and Dog Training
Thoughts on Letting go of the Dominance Paradigm in Training Dogs
By Beth Duman, Dip CB
The History and Misconceptions of Dominance Theory
By Melissa Alexander, based on an interview with Dr. Ian Dunbar
THE "ALPHA" MYTH -
Debunking the Dominance Model of Dog Behavior
By Jean Donaldson
Are Dogs Pack Animals?
By Jean Donaldson
Controversy and Cesar Millan
Learn more about what dominance means, then test your knowledge
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