Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why Dominance Theory is Useless for Training Dogs

The senior wolf does not send the junior wolf three hundred yards away to bring him a dead duck. If the junior wolf finds a dead duck three hundred yards away from the senior wolf, he eats the fucking duck.

Assuming performing the actions typically prescribed in dominance theory (always eat before your dog, always pass through a doorway before your dog, always be situated higher than your dog) will cause your dog to respect you as the natural leader of the pack, it is completely irrelevant to dog training. The point of training dogs is to get them to do distinctly unnatural things. Wolves do not march in formation.


  1. It's worse than that: herding dogs will let you through the door first-- because they are herding you-- the exact opposite of submission!

  2. Dominance is simply the controlling of resources as an alternate definition that I understand. I either let the dogs out to the yard or not by controlling the door. The dogs eat at certain times, because the food is available to them then. A dog barks at a window, distracts another dog, and then goes and gets the toy. It is not bad or good. As far as I see it and others see it, it is not married to aggression or force.

    Because of the different view on terms, I am careful to keep my glossary on both my website and my blog.