Thursday, 19 July 2007


Steady on, not that sort of domination! Emma, who owns Molly, raised an interesting point in an email she sent earlier. It's also an issue I've discussed at length with friends - that of dominance in dogs.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that Prince spends a fair proportion of time 'bullying' me, clambering on top of me, sleeping on my bed, and doing lots of other things that dog trainers would be horrified by. Despite this, and his apparent dominant nature, I've had no problems with dominance over the eight years I've had him. I think a lot of it comes down to the attitude of the owner and the nature of the dog, and you can only really assess on a case by case basis. I'm certain there are enormous numbers of dogs out there that would take advantage immediately of any perceived 'weakness' in their owners, and show typical signs of negative dominancy like aggression. Prince seems to know the boundaries well, and it literally needs only a change in my body language whilst being 'bullied' for him to get of and stop immediately. I can take bones off him, remove his food halfway through him eating it, and do a plethora of other things that a truly dominant dog would react to.

Emma also seems to have a similar relationship with Molly. I'm fascinated by this, as it seems to fly in the face of 'traditional' wisdom. I wonder how many other people have a relationship with their dog that would appear to contradict perceived wisdom? Have you ever had problems with a dominant dog? Enquiring minds want to know.....


schnozzles said...

I was going to comment on that here, but it got really long so I've moved it to my own blog!! It is nice to know, though, that we're not the only ones that are able to interact like that with our dog!!

Chapstaff said...

I think it's a shame some people don't have minds of their own when it comes to assessing their own dogs, & rely on theories of "dominance" etc. While books & articles can be helpful, they are not gospel.

My late Staffie Cleo always went through doors before me, always ate before me, lay all over me on the sofa, jumped on the bed in the mornings to greet & lick us to death, (nothing quite like Staffie kisses to wake you up in the mornings) but she never showed any signs of dominance.

We could take bones from her, she willingly let us "share" her raw knucklebone, knowing we wouldn't take it away from her. There was total trust from both sides.

She was 16 when she died, & never once did she show us the slightest aggression.

When it comes to pecking order Cleo certainly wasn't at the bottom of the pack, she was level with Ken & me, which is how we wanted it to be. She was an equal member of the family.

It will be interesting (to me at least) to see what sort of issues we get with our new Staffie pup when she joins the family in 3 weeks time.

Graham & Prince said...

I could'nt agree more Chapstaff - although I do like to think of Prince being fractionally below me in the pecking order. He may of course see it differently!

It's great to hear there'll be a new arrival in 3 weeks time - tell all!