Social Behavior and the Doggy Dominance Myth
Dr. Dunbar explains his findings from a 30-year long scientific research program that studied social structure and dominance hierarchies in dogs
In this seminar Dr. Ian Dunbar will explain how social hierarchies are established and maintained in the world of dogs.
Unlike most dog training discussions about hierarchies and dominance, this seminar is based on the findings of an extensive scientific research study that spanned 30 years, directed by Dr. Frank Beach, which began at Yale University before moving to UC Berkeley, where Dr. Dunbar joined the research team.
The research study began by looking at sexual behavior and sexual differentiation in dogs, and how those behaviors develop and change over time. One of the notable differences between the sexes was how male and female dogs dealt with aggression and social hierarchies.
Ultimately, it’s impossible to know with certainty WHY dogs do what they do, but during this study the research dogs were observed very carefully and their behavior was recorded and quantified. This made it possible to develop theories about why dogs behave in certain ways, and when those theories can be used to successfully predict future behaviors, it is a powerful indicator that the relevant theories are at least partially accurate and useful.
The research produced a lot of fascinating and useful theories that can be used to successfully predict and modify dog behavior. The most useful theories to come out of this study were more about development than dominance.
None of the data or theories provide any indication that your dog is trying to dominate you, or that you can get a dog to behave by establishing yourself as a dominant alpha-dog / pack leader.
Video 1 - Introduction
Video 2 - Hierarchy in Male Dogs
Video 3 - Hierarchy in Female Dogs
Video 4 - Development of Hierarchy in Puppies
Video 5 - Adult Dogs vs Puppies
Video 6 - Special Friendships
Video 7 - Socialization and Training