Humans and dogs have lived side by side for millennia, they have even evolved together, they have a relationship that is unmatched in the world, there is no doubt about who and who. Yet there are still many popular beliefs about the relationship between man and dog, which can lead to incorrect relations with your pet.
One of these is the cult of the pack leader and his numerous followers. The basic assumption is that dogs are pack animals that spend their lives planning and fighting to dominate others (i.e. the humans they live with), so humans must dominate dogs and impose themselves on them as the pack leader. But it really is.

  • Dogs are social animals
  • Dogs are not dominant animals
  • The social structure of dogs is similar to that of humans
  • Coercion is useless
  • The concept of pack leader is outdated

Dogs are social animals
Often the word “pack” is used with its negative connotation. Dogs are social animals (like humans) and many of their extraordinary abilities, which humans benefit incalculably, derive from their being such. There is nothing bad about being a social animal.
How many would choose to bring home one or more animals technically capable of killing you and would put themselves in a situation where they have to constantly fight to subdue it at the risk of their own survival
The hundreds of millions of people – including the elderly, families with children, singles, couples, blind people, people with diabetes, pet therapy associations, hospitals, retirement homes, relief organizations – who have one or more dogs for reasons ranging from companionship to rescue to help to live more autonomously
Hundreds of thousands of people do not even have the physical condition to sustain a constant power struggle with the dog and despite this they are not subjected to them. Considerations of this type, however, leave the time they find: to have well-founded answers one must turn to science. Dogs are not dominant animals
The studies on the nature of dogs, their evolution and their relationship with humans, although relatively recent, are many, they are important and are from all over the world. What the greatest experts in ethology, evolutionary biology, psychology, veterinary medicine, animal welfare and with them the best dog rehabilitators and educators tell us
Dogs know that humans are not dogs and the dynamics that exist between dogs are not necessarily the same as between dogs and humans. There is a form of hierarchy among dogs, “which is not interchangeable with dominance; stability in the group is maintained by deference and not by competitive behaviors and dominance does not describe the relationship between individuals, and a relative term established by the value of resources for each individual “(Social Behavior of Dogs, By Gary M. Landsberg BSc, DVM , MRCVS, DACVB, DECAWBM and Sagi Denenberg DVM, DACVB, Dip. ECAWBM (Behavior), MACVSc (Behavior).
In other words, saying that “dogs are dominant” is ethologically wrong. The social structure of dogs is similar to that of man
Another thing that experts say is that the social structure of dogs is similar to that of humans, with parents protecting, educating and guiding the children who follow them. It is scientifically proven that the relationship that is established between dogs and humans is comparable to that between children and parents : dogs do not want to dominate the world or humans and, indeed, they need humans to feel safe and calm. That said, relating to them in an antagonistic way to dominate and subdue them has no foundation or excuses.
The philosophy of those who think that dogs should be dominated and submissive and that results are achieved using coercion. Punishments, physical and verbal violence, physical tools that hurt are the means used to bend the dog to their will. There is a term that defines these methods: maltreatment. Coercion is useless
It is scientifically proven that coercion inhibits and generates fear and insecurity, prevents the development of a relationship of trust between dog and human, limits the dog’s learning ability, does not educate, confuse, does not correct.
According to proponents, the method works. But these are real abuse and the apparent success hides the serious and real risk that the dog at some point gets tired of being abused and decides to defend itself. And if some dogs can resist the abuses of coercion, others are destroyed.
Why take a dog, an animal with character, personality, rich in feelings, emotions and moods, which has a potential for relationships with humans that go beyond the extraordinary, to annihilate it The concept of pack leader is outdated
The concept of pack leader who with coercion (physical and / or mental) imposes himself on the dog and submits it to his will and old and outdated,it goes against the nature of the dog, violates the relationship between dog and human and is also unethical and amoral.
That said, why it’s so popular
The answer is simple: it’s easy and attractive. Abusing those who are weak and dependent and easy, no skills are needed and dogs are a perfect target: they are totally dependent on humans, they have an extraordinary ability to adapt so they can also get used to being mistreated. And again, if they decide to defend themselves they are treated with even more violence and if they don’t even give in to that, they are abandoned.

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