Do we have to be the pack leader?
Much of our understanding of the way wolves, and by extension dogs, interact has come from the studies of Rudolph Schenkel in the 1930s and 40s. He believed that wolves naturally form packs based on levels of dominance and submission. As a result, there are many people who believe that the way to train a dog is to "show him who's boss".
Toni Shelbourne has worked with dogs and wolves in a number of different ways for over 10 years and her studies have shown her that, in fact, wolves work much more in co-operative, family units where the emphasis is on teaching appropriate ways to behave.
Toni feels that when a dog appears to be challenging his owner, this is often due to a misinterpretation of dog signals. She is concerned that belief systems based on ideas of dominance can not only be inappropriate but can have negative knock-on consequences in the long run.
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