This is an amazing article on how dogs interact and socialize with one another. Guess what? It’s not about dominance! I have learned more from this research than from any other single resource on dog behaviour that I have encountered. I now understand that growling, snapping, even inhibited biting is almost 100% of the time just a threat and won’t lead to uninhibited biting/aggression unless the other dog is so poorly socialized or badly conditioned that it doesn’t know how to behave with other dogs. And these latter two situations are extremely rare!
It made me realize that most people, even dog trainers, have no idea why dogs do what they do. The good news is that normal dogs almost always work out their differences over time. And behaviour modification is still the right answer for those actions your dog exhibits that you want to change. Which is great news because that’s what most good dog trainers in Vancouver understand. It’s simply a matter of saying yes or no to a behaviour, not whether it makes you the Pack Leader or not. Don’t mind if the dog goes out the door first? No problem, let it do so. Want to keep the dog off the couch? No problem, tell it to get off… and mean it! And be consistent! If you waffle, the dog will have no idea what it’s supposed to do and will end up getting itself into trouble… something that you could have prevented!