Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dominance or Aggression Problem in Bulldog

Aggressive *display* (growling, teeth baring, etc.) is one of the many tools a dominant canine has at his disposal if he needs to control the behavior of a subordinate canine. The top ranked dog and the lowest ranked dog are the two that rarely engage in aggressive *action* (bites). One rules the pack, the other defers to the whole pack. It's the middle ranked dogs, the 'beta' dogs, that will use aggression to further their ranking.
Dominance confusion is created when a dog is totally confused about his place in the pack and uses aggression (bites), or aggressive displays (growling, teeth baring), to answer the question 'Who's in charge around here anyway?'. In a canine only pack there are clear lines drawn in the sand. The alpha gets control of the resources, directs the hunt, breeds and makes any decisions affecting the group that need to be made. The rest of the pack voluntarily follows his lead. The caricature of a snarling, nasty, dominant alpha dog is not a correct one. The alpha male, for example, tolerates nearly everything the alpha female throws at him without objection. However, their roles and their relationship are clearly defined. She follows his lead when issues affecting the group are decided. The image of an alpha wolf throwing a subordinate onto his back and threatening him with his life is not something based in reality. In a pack situation everyone knows their place and the sub-dominant members of the group voluntarily roll over if they are being chewed out by any higher ranked individual. If you've ever seen aggressive displays of this type they look and sound very nasty, but when it's all over no one is injured or bleeding. Exceptions to 'no harm done' aggressive displays are when two dogs (males or females) are fighting over breeding rights, or when a younger and stron"
--great article on how to be the alpha in your pack.