Dominance?

I’ve been working my way through the mandatory and recommended book list for my Coape Diploma. All the books are so well chosen, each one I’m learning more about dogs (and new things about cats!).

I tweeted this week about one of the books in particular, it’s called ‘Dominance in Dogs: Fact or Fiction’ by Barry Eaton.

I’ve never believed in dominating dogs. It’s morally wrong, and it makes no sense either. How can you build a healthy relationship with mutual trust and respect by dominating your dog? Nope, you just can’t.

Yes, dogs can display and communicate through dominant behaviours. If you observe their body language communication, these are with each other and usually in relation to a resource (food, toy, bed, person). In his book, Barry Eaton talks about this in more detail. It should be mandatory reading for everyone, vital to dispel those ridiculous TV dog ‘training’ programmes that churn out such misinformation.

Trust

A key part of building your relationship with your dogs, or training people with theirs, is building trust and confidence. This is important with all dogs, at all ages, whether they are rehomed with you or they joined you as a puppy. Trust is the foundation of your relationship with your dog.

Take Truly with her dementia. As the daylight fades, I see every day how her awareness declines with it. I keep the lighting on timers, in case I’m sat working and don’t notice. She will doze in one of her beds, and startle herself awake if there’s a noise outside. She looks round the room as if she doesn’t really know where she is. I talk to her softly, and she settles again. Is it my voice she remembers? I don’t know, but she trusts me. We’ve built that trust and reinforced it over the years she’s been with me.

Until next time

Jen

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