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My time was out but I had copied my addition so, instead of contacting the Administrator, here it is:

During a "Group retrieving session" (not worthy of repeat but enlightening), I threw Eric's dumbell out and a Malinois charged in to grab it. Eric stood in front of the Malinois who slinked away.

I think that to actually recognize dominance in humans and canines, it takes a lot of observation, and applied knowledge. It may sound daft but canines and humans seem to have something in common. In German we say, "das Auftreten", i.e. if you follow the bodily presence of a dominant human, you will see it in a canine species. Both command respect.

Of course, I am only touching on the perimeter.........
 

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i've thought about this a lot over the years
imo, most types of canine related research and studies are necessary even tho some may seem off the wall :)
trainers usually don't feel the same
..they just "do it"
- that can work, but it's like the old saying that you don't have to be an aero engineer to fly a plane. i say, sure, but if you consider yourself a professional, it does matter

i also agree domestic dogs certainly have "carry over" instinctual behaviors from whatever animal(s) they evolved from

my constant complaint is when trainers, professional handlers, or just plain dog owners use these labels to explain why they have problems controlling their dog or dogs, rather than addressing the problem head on

- and for me it applies to all dog problems, no matter what the owner/handler/trainer is using the dog for
 

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I don't. If they press me for an answer, i tell them it's too complex to be described in a few words, they have to put in the time and study/gain experience. This is not just a line, it's what i believe, at least at the moment :D

Ime, the ones at a loss, who search for an easy way to explain everything, are the ones who will never understand dog behavior, but who might just misapply a not so detailed advice.
I'd like to think that more than a few of us on here are capable of understanding your theory on this topic. If I read your reply correctly it appears that many involved in this discussion, myself included will never understand because we are either asking the question of you, or are silently waiting on your thoughts. It may be a complex issue but give us the cliff notes. I think we can figure out where you're coming from without a 5 page explanation.
 

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Dog's fill in where they are best suited, we don't always.

Take the military for example. They insist that you get promoted. You may be the best Specialist/E-4 in the work you do, and you could fill that position until you retire and be happy. Due to ignorant bastards in charge, you have to continue to advance in the ranks or get put out within a few years. Same for SGT/E5 and SSG/E6 (depending on the size and posture of the force). This is the Peter principle put into action. Basically you do well and get promoted until you get promoted past where you can be competent, so you fail and then suck. Dogs fill and flow where they are needed because they don't pretend to be driven for something that they are not interested in.

Dogs know that there are ditch diggers and brain surgeons. Do what you have to do to keep your tail wagging and it will work out. Every ass has a seat when the music stops.

The Peter Principal!
100% agree! Advance to the point of incompetence. I've seen it happen all my life.

Take the person that is best at what he/she does and "award" them a higher position....then watch them fall on their faces.

I was a lithographer for almost 40 yrs. 1st pressman on a 4 man, high speed, specialty press. I did limited edition prints. My second pressman was the best ever at that position. He always knew what I needed and got it done without having to be on top of him.

Management kept trying to move him up. He told them every time that he didn't want the position. They asked me I said he's tops where he's at. leave him the **** alone.

He knew everything but couldn't take the stress of running a 2 million dollar piece of equipment. I saw that often in the trade.

Management at it's best. :twisted:
 

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I'd like to think that more than a few of us on here are capable of understanding your theory on this topic. If I read your reply correctly it appears that many involved in this discussion, myself included will never understand because we are either asking the question of you, or are silently waiting on your thoughts. It may be a complex issue but give us the cliff notes. I think we can figure out where you're coming from without a 5 page explanation.
:-o I thought you asked how i would describe pack behavior to a lay person, not to you. If it's a communication error on my part, i apologize, English is not my native language.

I'll try a more detailed post.

I believe that, for most situations, the Alpha theory is good enough, most dogs try to climb the social ladder, but there are exceptions.

The main gripe i have with this, is the assumption that the dog will innately know that i'm (trying to be) his leader, and that if he doesn't behave, he thinks he's the Alpha. Of course this can be true, the dog may give me the finger to see if he can get away with it, but many people confuse lack of training for disobedience, and "he's dominant" is a quick explanation with a quick fix.
I never assume a dog will obey me in anything i didn't show him before hand, and if disobeys after i know he knows, he gets a correction. Black and white.

I don't believe it's always a linear hierarchy, some packs have different leaders in different circumstances, some have no leaders at all, at least in certain situations.

A dog dominant towards other dogs my not be so when it comes to humans, pitbulls are a good example of this. Alpha leader in some situations, low dominance in others, and this is genetic for the pit, it's not a matter of training. There are the true and obvious leaders and the true and obvious followers, but not all dogs fall in one of these 2 categories.

There is also the different ways a pack leader is supposed to act.
The one frequently considered as the Alpha is the quiet dog, who doesn't need to pick fights, who is never bothered by the others.
On the other hand, there is the forward-aggression dog, that is always looking for a fight, the old school type of dog, i believe Arko, Carlos, Wibo, Tommy fit this description.
Depending on where the dog is supposed to work and what you stand him next to, both types can be, and are, leaders.

Also, the practical part of the Alpha theory says you should dominate your dog, so he sees you as the Alpha. Nothing wrong with that, but it's the implementation that is dog dependent that is missing from this, and where people can get creative. I have an A'Tim grandson i can put into submission by raising my voice, and i have worked a czech working GSD that had to be outsmarted about most high value situations she found herself in, starting with the out, or she would just refuse to comply. However, i wouldn't say the GSD was "more" Alpha than the Malinos, they are just different dogs, with different needs.
 

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:-o I thought you asked how i would describe pack behavior to a lay person, not to you. If it's a communication error on my part, i apologize, English is not my native language.

I'll try a more detailed post.

I believe that, for most situations, the Alpha theory is good enough, most dogs try to climb the social ladder, but there are exceptions.

The main gripe i have with this, is the assumption that the dog will innately know that i'm (trying to be) his leader, and that if he doesn't behave, he thinks he's the Alpha. Of course this can be true, the dog may give me the finger to see if he can get away with it, but many people confuse lack of training for disobedience, and "he's dominant" is a quick explanation with a quick fix.
I never assume a dog will obey me in anything i didn't show him before hand, and if disobeys after i know he knows, he gets a correction. Black and white.

I don't believe it's always a linear hierarchy, some packs have different leaders in different circumstances, some have no leaders at all, at least in certain situations.

A dog dominant towards other dogs my not be so when it comes to humans, pitbulls are a good example of this. Alpha leader in some situations, low dominance in others, and this is genetic for the pit, it's not a matter of training. There are the true and obvious leaders and the true and obvious followers, but not all dogs fall in one of these 2 categories.

There is also the different ways a pack leader is supposed to act.
The one frequently considered as the Alpha is the quiet dog, who doesn't need to pick fights, who is never bothered by the others.
On the other hand, there is the forward-aggression dog, that is always looking for a fight, the old school type of dog, i believe Arko, Carlos, Wibo, Tommy fit this description.
Depending on where the dog is supposed to work and what you stand him next to, both types can be, and are, leaders.

Also, the practical part of the Alpha theory says you should dominate your dog, so he sees you as the Alpha. Nothing wrong with that, but it's the implementation that is dog dependent that is missing from this, and where people can get creative. I have an A'Tim grandson i can put into submission by raising my voice, and i have worked a czech working GSD that had to be outsmarted about most high value situations she found herself in, starting with the out, or she would just refuse to comply. However, i wouldn't say the GSD was "more" Alpha than the Malinos, they are just different dogs, with different needs.
English may not be your "native language", but you express yourself perfectly and clearly.

Better than many others I know who speak English as their only language. ;)
 

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:-o I thought you asked how i would describe pack behavior to a lay person, not to you. If it's a communication error on my part, i apologize, English is not my native language.

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Mircea, You are right. You gave me the answer I asked for. My apologies sir. In regards to the rest of your post, spot on. You are doing a much better job expressing your point in English than I could in your, or any other language.
 

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Good post Mircea.

Have you considered that your voice control of the A'tim grandson is more to do with your training methods improving? Know that Mal.s can be very willing to please, mine is for me but is deaf to anyone else.

Have noticed that I have got a lot more out of my Malinois with less correction by breaking down exercises and improving my interaction with the dog.
 

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Nice of you guys to say, but there probably was something weird that i said in the previous posts :oops: Howard, no worries, this wouldn't be the first time i didn't manage to express myself well enough :)

Have you considered that your voice control of the A'tim grandson is more to do with your training methods improving? Know that Mal.s can be very willing to please, mine is for me but is deaf to anyone else.
I certainly hope i've evolved from 2-3 years ago, but no, i don't think that is a big factor here. I wasn't referring to the training part, but to how the dog is built genetically. It's true, the Malinois is incredibly in control of his emotions, he can snap in and out at will, but i wasn't talking about how well i can control the dog, but about what it takes to control them.

Given the same exercise, that both dogs would know equally well, if they both made the same mistake, a simple no will stop the Malinois in his tracks, while a similar (in the intended outcome) correction for the GSD would break her, or would make her shut down. Her mother did this, the breeder tried to have her obey and corrected her heavily one day; she was the only dog he had that would never do anything he asked her to.
 

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Nice of you guys to say, but there probably was something weird that i said in the previous posts :oops: Howard, no worries, this wouldn't be the first time i didn't manage to express myself well enough :)



I certainly hope i've evolved from 2-3 years ago, but no, i don't think that is a big factor here. I wasn't referring to the training part, but to how the dog is built genetically. It's true, the Malinois is incredibly in control of his emotions, he can snap in and out at will, but i wasn't talking about how well i can control the dog, but about what it takes to control them.

Given the same exercise, that both dogs would know equally well, if they both made the same mistake, a simple no will stop the Malinois in his tracks, while a similar (in the intended outcome) correction for the GSD would break her, or would make her shut down. Her mother did this, the breeder tried to have her obey and corrected her heavily one day; she was the only dog he had that would never do anything he asked her to.
I find it hard to believe that one can generalise as such.
 

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I find it hard to believe that one can generalise as such.
I do too.

But I may be misunderstanding .... maybe "the Mal" is a certain specific Mal, and "the GSD" is a certain specific GSD ... ?

"the Malinois is incredibly in control of his emotions, he can snap in and out at will"

"a simple no will stop the Malinois in his tracks, while a similar (in the intended outcome) correction for the GSD would break her, or would make her shut down."






P.S. JMO, of course.
 

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Another similar article. It's long, but I thought it was an interesting read.

http://www.nonlineardogs.com/socialorganisation.html


The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behavior and the
Ontogeny of Canine Social Systems

Copyright 2002 by Alexandra Semyonova -- All Rights Reserved
Nonlinear Dogs
Abstract

The theory that a hierarchy based on dominance relationships is the organizing principle in social groups of the sort canis
lupus is a human projection that needs replacing.
 

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I was talking about the specific dogs i had mentioned earlier, not the breeds.

Gotcha.


"Given the same exercise, that both dogs would know equally well, if they both made the same mistake, a simple no will stop the Malinois in his tracks, while a similar (in the intended outcome) correction for the GSD would break her, or would make her shut down. Her mother did this, the breeder tried to have her obey and corrected her heavily one day; she was the only dog he had that would never do anything he asked her to."

I guess this still seems like over-generalizing to me.

It's JMO, though. And I haven't read the whole thread, so shame on me anyway for posting. :oops:
 

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"Dominance and the Alpha theory" .... as it relates to training in the real world

- If I remember correctly, Cornell said he had 2 GSD's that were K9's who didn't make the cut as PSD's
- Then there was Bushido, a PSD who obviously DID make the cut and was certified
- Then Bushido was retired and has become a house dog
- And then his new PSD partner was assigned
- and it sounded like he still has all four of these dogs since he mentioned Bushido could play and interact with the other two gsd's in a pack structure

- But if i understood correctly, he feels a PSD must be Alpha in order to help maintain an attitude that it will always "win", etc
- and that by keeping that dog separate, it would somehow help maintain its Alpha status

- but in retrospect, all four would have been treated as Alphas at one time or another, and then treated as no longer Alphas when their jobs changed, and that only one is currently an Alpha (his current partner), and keeping it separated will help maintain that Alpha status. But it also seems clear that the individual PSD living this way is not living in a pack structure at all, unless you consider one human and one dog a "pack"

- but there have been comments that imply the Alpha label is genetic rather than handler taught

- all of this confuses me, because it seems to be implying that Alpha status can be taught and determined/assigned by the handler/owner rather than a trait that is genetically driven

maybe he can clear it up, or maybe others can point out where i'm making incorrect assumptions about dominance and the alpha theory :)

- clearly i'm not the sharpest pencil in the drawer in this thread //lol//
 

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I'll just throw this out for what its worth....'
I have 4 dogs currently living in the house. 2-13yo, 1-5yo, 1-6mos old.

I see the "dominate/alpha" title passing between all the dogs. The one best suited to the task or situation takes the lead. The others letting that one do it and that one will marshal the others to get it done. Age, at times, appears relevant and other times, not. I've seen the puppy boss the others which surprised me a bit. It didn't seem to matter whether the dog was intact or not. Sometimes one seems to draw the line with another but not all the time, not with the same dog, and certainly not with all of them.
So based on that, I think the idea that humans or a dog is suppose to be alpha or dominant all the time doesn't seem to play out with how dogs work it out among themselves. I think, at times, we like chose a dog we think should be dominant and work to maintain that situation. I also think that we should stop using wolves as a go-by because we have dabbled so much with the domesticated dog genome that we could be comparing apples and oranges.
 

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Gotcha.


"Given the same exercise, that both dogs would know equally well, if they both made the same mistake, a simple no will stop the Malinois in his tracks, while a similar (in the intended outcome) correction for the GSD would break her, or would make her shut down. Her mother did this, the breeder tried to have her obey and corrected her heavily one day; she was the only dog he had that would never do anything he asked her to."

I guess this still seems like over-generalizing to me.

It's JMO, though. And I haven't read the whole thread, so shame on me anyway for posting. :oops:
Neither did I read the whole thread but to me it also seems like over-generalization.
 

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Rich Smith said:quot:
- all of this confuses me, because it seems to be implying that Alpha status can be taught and determined/assigned by the handler/owner rather than a trait that is genetically driven. unquote

That I would also strongly contend Rick. The "Alpha Status" I would say can be taught by the handler by his stepping down as his role of "Boss", thereby allowing the pup / dog to take over, so to speak, i.e. the dog assumes he has the handler "in his paw"!.

But only in this particular situation.. The dog has no chance otherwise, with canines or humans.
 

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I guess this still seems like over-generalizing to me.
Neither did I read the whole thread but to me it also seems like over-generalization.
Do you view it an over-generalization in the sense that you don't believe the dogs would truly act so differently ?

Just as a clarification, what i meant to say is the female could not be put under the same level of control as the male.
The point i was making in regards to the thread is that some dogs are not as willing to please as others and can have more trouble controlling themselves, yet for some of those dogs this is not a sign of dominance, you have to take the whole dog into account.
In short, biddability is not always a sign of dominance or lack of it.
 

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- all of this confuses me, because it seems to be implying that Alpha status can be taught and determined/assigned by the handler/owner rather than a trait that is genetically driven
The genetic make-up of the dog determines what the dog might be capable of, the learning/teaching phase determines where the dog falls within that spectrum.

Even the best dog can remain in the dark, if he doesn't have the right situations to shine. You can certainly empower a weak dog, but his true nature will show when enough pressure is put on him.

So i would say yes, you can teach him, and he does need experiences in order to express his instincts, but he'll never exceed his genetic capabilities.
 
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