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The Vet’s Are Finally Pitching Their Tents in My Camp!

March 29, 2009

Great news everyone! The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior has released an official position statement on their view of Dominance Theory and how it relates to training us domestic dogs…and the fact that it doesn’t work – at least it doesn’t really work as far as educating us on the behaviors you want. It just bullies us into stopping a specific behavior, but only temporarily – and makes us scared. 

A few key points the article makes are:
  1. Definition of dominance: a relationship between individual animals that is established by force/aggression and submission, to determine who has priority access to multiple resources such as food, preferred resting spots, and mates. Uh, hello??? You determine what, when, and how much we eat; where we sleep, and if we’re allowed to breed at all! So who is really being the “dominant” one?
  2. Types of trainers the AVSAB recommends: those that follow the scientifically based guidelines of positive reinforcement, operant conditioning, classical conditioning, desensitization, and counter conditioning. Rock on for my mom the dog trainer!!! 
  3. Myths about wolves versus dogs and behavior: Ugh! We’re dogs we’re not wolves! You humans descended from apes… need I say more? 
Yep, my own mom is this exact type of trainer. All of her dog training classes, workshops, private training plans, and even her doggy socials are based on these types of training methods. Not the old fashioned stuff that drives us dogs nuts! 
I wonder if any of those great veterinarians out there are ever going to make an official statement about car safety for pets? Hmm, something for this car-seat riding inquisitive canine to ponder. 

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