Dr. Sophia Yin – Dominance Revisited

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It has abeen a sad week for the dog behaviour world with the passing of Dr. Sophia Yin.  Dr. Yin quickly became a strong voice for positive training advocates, working tirelessly to make owners aware of the impact of human behaviour on dog behaviour.  The manner of her death and the dispair required for such a thing saddens me to my very core.  She will be missed.

In my own career I have always taught science-based dog behaviour and training, even long before it was trendy to do so.  I still think about the dogs I have helped over the years, and the people I have ‘brought into the light’,  but I also think of the people I couldn’t help.  I have pondered the reasons why some people succeed and some fail, while at the same time coming to terms with the fact that some dogs suffered (and in some cases lost their lives) to these human causes.

A repeating problem in dog ownership is the pervasiveness of Dominance Theory. This doesn’t necessarily mean beating your dog, or even using choke collars – it is a mindset. It is the principle that this species is below you, or subservient in some way and must be controlled.  I see this all the time; well intended people who do not hit their dog, but STILL punish it unknowingly by setting it up for failure, then introduce low threshold aversives.  What I end up assessing is a stressed and confused dog, and an owner who is completely unaware of the impact of their actions.

This is a great video that was posted by my friend Carol, and I think it deserves a reposting.  Enjoy.