As we gain more understanding about dogs, their behaviour, their motivations and their relationship with us we find good reason to move away from outdated dog training methods involving dominance, pack leader and alpha dog theories.
In the past it was widely believed that dogs were motivated by a desire to become the alpha dog and should therefore be put in their place, with humans asserting themselves as pack leader. However these ideas were based on some flawed assumptions and have unfortunately lead to the practice of dog training techniques that are forceful and punishment based.
The Welfare in Dog Training website is an excellent resource for finding out more about why dominance does not explain how dogs behave and explains why training techniques that use these principles can actually damage your relationship with your dog.
The aim of the website is to provide the media and members of the public with more information about the behaviour of dogs, the possible consequences of using aversive training techniques, and where to go for appropriate advice on training and behaviour issues.
"Some theories about the way in which dogs behave, and the kinds of techniques needed to alter behaviour, are almost ‘cultural’ in Western societies, and it can be difficult for people to change the way they think about dogs. However the scientific understanding of dog behaviour has moved forward a great deal in the past 20 years."
"Many of the theories on which training and behaviour modification approaches were based in the past have been superseded by more modern approaches. Information on this web-site explains why using training techniques that rely on inducing pain and fear in dogs, based on the belief that dogs try to assert ‘dominance’ or achieve ‘status’, is a concept that is no longer regarded as a useful way of understanding dogs, but which is also potentially harmful."