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I remember reading a book by this guy many years ago and I wasn't impressed with him. In this article, he seems to be associating "alpha" with force and I never have thought of it that way. It doesn't have to involve force as he is suggesting in his last paragraph, partially quoted below. Seems like lots of so-called experts are spouting what the best training is for our dogs. I wonder how many of them know what the heck they are talking about.

"Perhaps it is time to revise our dog training and obedience concepts to something along the ideas proposed by advocates of Positive Training. In that view, controlling the dog's behavior is more a matter of controlling the things that a dog needs and wants, such as food and social interaction, rather than applying force to achieve what the science suggests is an unnatural dominance over the dog."
 

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Sher,
The idea of dominance (the definition of it) implies force or aggression is used to take/maintain control. So if we are saying a person or dog is alpha within this theory of dominance, by definition that person/animal is using force. Here is the definition of alpha from dictionary.com

–adjective
8.
a.
(esp. of animals) having the highest rank of its sex in a dominance hierarchy: the alpha female.
b.
being the most prominent, talented, or aggressive person in a group: the alpha male of investment bankers.

So while you may not view alpha in this manner, the people who are looking at scientific studies to make a commentary on dominance and alpha are utilizing the above definitions.
 

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Sher,
The idea of dominance (the definition of it) implies force or aggression is used to take/maintain control. So if we are saying a person or dog is alpha within this theory of dominance, by definition that person/animal is using force. Here is the definition of alpha from dictionary.com

–adjective
8.
a.
(esp. of animals) having the highest rank of its sex in a dominance hierarchy: the alpha female.
b.
being the most prominent, talented, or aggressive person in a group: the alpha male of investment bankers.

So while you may not view alpha in this manner, the people who are looking at scientific studies to make a commentary on dominance and alpha are utilizing the above definitions.
I guess I don't like where he says "applying force" and the range of actions that could entail .. I just have a bad attitude about that guy for some reason! :p
 

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I guess I don't like where he says "applying force" and the range of actions that could entail .. I just have a bad attitude about that guy for some reason! :p
I'm confused as to why you don't like his choice of words here. He is not advocating applying force. He is talking about how trainers who use methods such as "alpha rolls" are applying force in a desire to seek dominance which is an outdated and debunked theory of how human and canine interactions should be managed.

Here is the quote from the article:
Perhaps it is time to revise our dog training and obedience concepts to something along the ideas proposed by advocates of Positive Training. In that view, controlling the dog's behavior is more a matter of controlling the things that a dog needs and wants, such as food and social interaction, rather than applying force to achieve what the science suggests is an unnatural dominance over the dog. If you manage and dispense important resources, the dog will respond to you out of self interest.

I read his book about dog intelligence years back. I was not entirely convinced by what he had to say in that book. But I do think he is on the right track in this article. I found this article in a link posted by Pat Miller. Of course, I have a lot of respect for her. She was sharing it by way of demonstrating that yet another voice in the canine academic literature has come to the conclusion that dominance theory is a fallacy.
 

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I guess I don't like where he says "applying force" and the range of actions that could entail .. I just have a bad attitude about that guy for some reason! :p
Again, you can't take your personal definition of alpha and apply it to an article which is based on the scientific definition (which the scientist community studying canine ethology has accepted). It is a shared language of this realm of study. To say that a person is alpha within the theory of dominance means they apply force/aggression. What you personally feel the term alpha means to you is fine and dandy, but seems to be leading to a misinterpretation of what this article is about.

What you may find if you continue to read literature of this type is that we humans are better viewed as benevolent leaders. We allow access to resources based on fair and gentle practices. Controlling the access to resources is truly the "power" of the relationship.
 
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