Use Of Dominance Theory On Animal Training

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Oceana Tavasieff Dearborn AP Lang- Period 3 12 April 2016 The Use of Dominance Theory in Animal Training Although Dominance Theory training is based on an understanding of an animal’s social dynamics and is still in use, most popularly dogs and horses, the observations it is based on are often misunderstood and misapplied, so its use has led to ethically questionable training methods today. The concept of dominance in an ethological context is defined by the Merck Veterinary Journal as “competitive control over a resource in a limited circumstance and to the ability of a higher-ranking animal to displace a lower-ranking one from that resource.” However an animal’s relationship with another cannot be called dominant unless one consistently displays submissive behavior. (Landsburg, “Glossary of Behavioral Terms”) The concept of a “dominance hierarchy” is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as “a form of animal social structure in which a linear or nearly linear ranking exists, with each animal dominant over those below it and submissive to those above it in the hierarchy.” Typically a social hierarchy is not established unless there is competition for resources. For social animals, who live in groups, establishing a hierarchy is often beneficial and spares energy because instead of fully battling for a resource, the animals can follow the order and avoid confrontation. Among most creatures, the establishing of rank is often achieved through what amounts to posturing, such
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