50 Shades Of Dog Training

I haven’t read the book.

I don’t plan on reading the book.

I am not going to go see the movie.

50 Shades of Grey is everywhere. This is a bigger story than deflategate. Even Vermont Teddy Bears are promoting a 50 Shades of Grey Bear. Never saw that one coming.

Anyway, even though I have no intention of reading the book or seeing the movie, I know what it is about.

Because dominance and submission are right up my alley.

Hold on, calm down, before your thinking goes down the wrong alley, let me clarify this for you.

You can’t spend five minutes in the dog training world without hearing the words dominance and submission.

Back in the 80’s when I decided to get involved with dog training it was ALL about dominance and submission.

And the whole dominant submission “pack theory” has done a lot to confuse people about dog behavior and training.

You see, it all stems back to wolves living in packs. Since they live in packs there has to be some form of social structure. Levels of dominance going down to the most submissive wolf that grovels at the feet of the pack leader.

In theory this all sounds great. Teach your dog that you are supreme pack leader and everything falls into place. When I started, “alpha rolls” were the soup du jour of the day. Once your were issued your six foot leather leash and choke collar you were taught how to alpha roll your dog to exert your dominance.

Then every behavior your dog did was explained as your dog trying to knock you off your perch as pack leader.

Dog pulls on leash - dominant.

Dog barks at other dogs - dominant.

Dog sleeping on the couch - dominant.

Dog wants to eat before you - dominant.

And my all time favorite: Dog is going out the door before the owner! Dominant behavior, alpha roll that dog STAT!

I could go on and on about this so let me make a few things clear for you. Dogs are social. Dogs do respond to leadership and you do have to position yourself as the leader.

If you've ever lived with multiple dogs in the house you’ll often see one dog that will take the choice sleeping areas, grab the toys and demand attention from the owner.

So there is definitely dominant behavior in dogs and to dispute that is silly. But it is not good to label everything the dog does as dominant behavior. A dog that goes out the door before you wants to get outside. I can assure you, your dog is not thinking, “Here is my chance to assert some dominance over Fred. I’ll go out the door first.”

Your dog wants to party, and outside is where the fun happens which is why he bolts through the door.

I’ve taught for years that it is good to control the activities that are important to your dog. Some of the most important activities are playing, eating, sleeping areas and social contact.

Taking control of those activities will help you establish and maintain a leadership position with your dog.

No whips, handcuffs, prong collars, electronic collars or alpha roll overs.

Before taking off, one more thing. I know there is much confusion and arguing about this topic which is why I include a forum on The Dog Training Inner Circle. If you have questions, would like to know more or even dispute me, the conversation continues HERE:

Dog Training Inner Circle

Best,

Eric

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