Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A couple of great posts about dominance in dog training

I read a couple of super articles today about dominance in dog training - one is from a dog trainer that we all know and love - Silvia Jay, and one is from an organization called "Welfare in Dog Training" - which looks like a really interesting website.

The article from them is called "What′s Wrong with Using ‘Dominance’" to Explain the Behaviour of Dogs?" - and it's all about how historically dog behaviour has been explained in terms of dogs wanting to be the leader of the pack and always wanting to be the boss, and that they'd show aggression in order to gain control of whatever situation they were in.

Current science though is debunking those theories and ‘dominance’ is no longer regarded as a useful explanation for the behaviour of dogs - and it's important to get those theories out there - so that we can start to unlearn the flawed logic that has hammered into dog trainers and owners for the last 40 years - especially when "some of the trainers who reach many thousands of dog owners through television also perpetuate these out-dated ideas."

On that note - Silvia Jay has an awesome post on her blog about "Greeting Rules" - and what she thinks are good ideas when her dogs meet new humans and new situations. And she believes that she way she's trained her dogs to be polite dogs in society have nothing to do with dominance.

There's other trainers who believe that dogs should be handled a certain way - with exercise, discipline, and then affection - in that order.

Silvia explains that the way she treats her dogs is "lots of affection, a good amount of exercise and no discipline" - and she gives a very good explanation how she's able to do it that way and have the best trained and well balanced dogs you'd ever meet - anybody would want to have dogs like hers.

The post is a must read - there's a reason why she's the best dog trainer in Nova Scotia.

And here's a heads-up - I'm organizing a new one day seminar for her on May 1st here in Halifax, it's going to be about stress and aggression. The location and specific details still have to be worked out - but if you want to go - you should block out May 1st - because the date is confirmed - it's going to be a ton of fun, and you're going to learn a LOT - just like we always do when we get together with Silvia!


  1. Thank you Joan. I am looking forward to May 01

  2. Thank you Joan! I would really like to attend that seminar. We are still trying to work with our adopted Shepherd with her high levels of anxiety around cats (we have 2 cats). Other trainers have not been able to help, maybe Silvia can.

  3. A fascinating post. I'm forwarding it to my dog trainer friend in Ontario.

    Keep up the great Blogging and congratultions on your "Dogster" award. Well-deserved.


  4. I too would love to attend that seminar this time around!

  5. Ang, the May seminar will address exactly the kind of issues who have with your shep.

  6. Loved the last one.... hope to get to this one also.