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Dominance in dogs: myth and fashion

In the last ten years, dog training, both in Italy and throughout the world, has been shaken up by an extraordinary amount of new scientific knowledge and information; in a sense, by new fashions, and new myths.

In the past, in describing the world of dogs, virtually every aspect of social relationships was defined in terms of dominance hierarchies; today, there are also those who reject any explanation whatsoever if it is based on a hierarchical structure. We have shifted from a vision of a world populated by pack leaders and their “subordinates”, individuals in constant and often vicious competition for the alpha role, to that of a world of peaceful collaboration and respectful friendship, a world without conflicts in which an individual is accorded the role of recognised guide or leader.

However, both points of view err in their excessive simplification, and are so extreme that they limit the analysis of a reality which is instead much more complex and changeable.

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the guide to dog behavior

What it is: the complete list of all the imposing behaviours of the dog, described and illustrated with both photographs and videos

How it can be used: the ethogram is an indispensible tool in learning to understand, and in studying, the social behaviour of dogs.

Who it’s designed for: anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the social behaviour of dogs.

The ethogram of imposing behaviours is a an extremely useful tool in learning to recognise and evaluate the social behaviour of dogs, which can be useful in living with dogs, and which becomes fundamental in dog training.

TAKE A LOOK INSIDE! here some sample pages from "Ethogram of imposing behaviours of the dog"

Authors:
Alexa Capra: bibliographical and scientific research; video footage
Daniele Robotti: photographs, editing.


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Dominnace Behaviours of the dog

Dogs use their posture and behaviours to make a statement regarding their self-perceived power and status, but only by analysing the context and the real consequences of these behaviours is it possible to define whether or not they have been effective.

A dog may stand tall in an encounter with a puppy or smaller conspecifics; it may also adopt an imposing stance when there is no real confrontation, not because it feels powerful, but rather because it feels insecure. A dog may try to influence the use of space by another dog without suceeding, and a dog that sniffs and marks over the urine of other males when they are absent may be not nearly as self-assured when he encounters them face to face.

Moreover, exclusive possession of a resource often discourages competition: if a dog has a toy or bone, a more confident dog may decide NOT to take it. In this case, though, it is important to distinguish the motivation of competition from the outcome of the interaction: just because a dog doesn't want to enter into competition with another dog doesn't mean he would not be able to win.

The complete list of all the DOMINANCE behaviours of the dog

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the guide to dog behavior
This work is designed for use on a computer, tablet or smartphone and is not suitable for use in a DVD player or home video entertainment system.