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Dog Psychology - The Context of Dominance and Power

The Context of Power and Authority


From Surrendering to Nature – A Definitive Dog Psychology Guide


An unresolved power issue is the single biggest reason for dogs being abandoned, given away or destroyed. It is the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and debated issue among trainers, academics, dog lovers and owners. It is also the most difficult problem to resolve due to the lack of insight into linkages between the physical, psychological and behavior. First the context of conditional and unconditional power must be better understood.


Unconditional power is a term used to reference the independent expression of authority and power as it is links to the decision making lead role. This role changes the dynamics of how a dog interacts with the other pack members. It elevates a dog’s level of authoritative thinking and decision making. An example of how this role influences behavior can be seen when an owner throws out a ball with the intent of the dog bringing it back. The dog expressing a conditional follower state will possess the ball and bring it back to the owner. The dog expressing unconditional power, or a higher level of authority and decision making, will chase the ball and often not want to bring it back. Even when he or she does bring it back the context of the terms of how the owner is interacting is different based on the roles.


The dominant dog will often move away as the owner approaches in an authoritative psychological state to possess the ball. The dominant dog may rip and tear the ball to pieces during this interaction as well. The solution is to expose and shift power to create a conditional follower state during this interaction. This interaction along with other behaviors and interactions may indicate the dog is holding power within the relationship. How a dog thinks and what he or she expresses through interactions and behavior is linked to nature and the pack.


The influence of the pack relationship on power and behavior cannot be ignored or denied. It is part of a dog’s connection to nature. It becomes part of us through the unique psychological connection dogs extend to us. We have a meaningful and profound influence on behavior within this context and association. How we think about the dog-human relationship at many levels can put us in conflict with nature. Many systems of training unknowingly follow this path of conflict. Owners are ready to adopt systems which appeal to how they think rather than what dogs really need through nature. The issue with this approach is that the owners are already off course psychologically and already shifting power towards the dog.


The real issue that exists within the dog-human relationship is often not resolved. The psychological shift is left to chance rather than fully exposed. Almost any system, interaction or ritual has the potential to influence the psychological path of the owner in a positive way. This psychological alignment is more likely to be positive than negative due to the manner of the intervention and dynamics occurring. Success is used to promote while failure falls on the shoulders of the owner and dog. The sad reality is that a large percentage of these failures are preventable if the psychological aspect of the relationship was better understood. So many are locked into this way of thinking that they refuse to see beyond their own truth. We may be on the outside looking in and not even know it.


By Dale Mccluskey


Source: Internet




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