Dog Training the Dominant Down

Dog training the dominant down

What not to do, while training your dog.

I’m going to start addressing some of the absolutely worst dog training advice you can follow.

The Dominant Down.

This is where, you physically push your dog to the ground. And hold him there.

In theory this sounds logical. But, this is a prime example of us blindly following the behavior advice of individuals who, although they probably observed a pack of wolves or pack of dogs. Didn’t really understand what they where watching. They may have noticed a more dominant member of the pack, chasing after a subordinate. And mistakenly thought the alpha, tackled or forced the other dog down.

To the untrained eye, this will sound like a plausible explanation. The reality of it is, in the dog world the subordinate will lay down before the alpha even gets to him. The boss, through attitude alone makes the other dog lay down, not by forcing him down.

If you try to force a dog by using a dominant down. that’s a real good way for you to get bit.

The Spirit Dog

© 2008 a.s.papszycki

8 Responses

  1. Okay, yes old post but I had to comment. I myself have worked with both dogs and wolves. I am a wildlife rehabilitator and I can tell you for a fact that yes, wolves force each other down. When a beta does something wrong it is how the alpha teaches. The alpha does not teach by the other willfully submitting….or there would be nothing to teach in the first place. They also use it to prove alpha status in a challenge. I have used the dominant down myself in training a wolf hybrid who to this day is the most gentle dog you could meet, and has never challenged because every time he tried to be rough when younger I’d put him down. He is now 8 years old and I am the only person he fully trusts at all. He is never aggressive with people he doesn’t trust he just submits in a very unsure way. To me he trusts me fully and does what I ask but without needing to be unsure around me because he has always known I am boss. As boss you are respected not feared.
    I also used this on a doberman who had dominance issues and had to learn that he is not the strongest in the pack. There are other times I have used it and in those situations a pure show of attitude would get me nowhere except killed by the dog/wolf who thought they were alpha.

    I have never once ended up with a dog/wolf who feared me, mistrusted me, or was anything other than stable and happy.

    One can say that in many instances it doesn’t NEED to be used to teach what you are trying but there are definitely times when the only way you are going to stop a dog that challenges people is to show him you will win. In the Canine world this is either by one putting the other down and making it submit or they continue to fight and serious injuries ensue and one loses by finally either submitting or dying. I like a lot of info on here but seriously, just because you think you have a handle on animal psychology does not mean you know everything unless you have worked with the raw material of the wild animals they came from. I have been for 25 years and my life depends on that understanding on a daily basis.

    So when dealing with a true reason to use what you would like to call a dominant down, it is either that and teach them now or be challenged at a time you are not prepared for it and I will guarantee you will lose a fight with a truly aggressive dog, then what does that teach? It teaches the dog that he won and to challenge even more.

    Yes there are times too that the beta will submit on their own but in situations like that the alphas point was purely to remind they are boss as much as it is just to state “I am and you will now show me before I get really mad” and the beta responds with “I’m sorry” but that only happens once the alpha has already proven that by forcing the other down before that incident and sometimes many times before that incident.

    I am not being rude, just saying that just because someone thinks they know the reasons….work with some wolves and see how well your theories work out for you. If they work out and you can safely walk amongst them daily then your theories are correct but until then they are just that. Theories. Take their food and when they snap…don’t put them down. Let’s see if they stop and submit just because you had enough attitude to take it lol.

    PS when I say “you” I do not mean anyone personally it is a generalization of people in general.

  2. Oh my, I have done the dominat down. Do you think my dog will forgive me. I am very troubled by my dogs behaviour. He is a Sussex spaniel and wonderful most of the time. He will want to snap at children in the main if they are about us the family. He guards stuff occasionally and sends clear warning signs to f****** . His behaviour is frightening and intimidating to onlookers. As his owner and a responsibility to others I attempt to calm the situation . Usually by asking others to move away (believe it or not some do not go away and I have ended up with. Bite and stitches) usually my voice can control or at least distract the focus and help to allow roly my dog to calm down. I never really feel I have completed instead feel like I am not coding what is best for him. Showing him he need not behave in this manner. Can I manage this behaviour better. Thanks dawn

  3. The more dominant dogs attitude alone is what makes the other dog lay down and submit, not because the dominant dog physically laid or pushed the other dog down. It’s all about the attitude, NOT physically making your dog do stuff.

  4. what a joke.
    this is not how its used and not why. It does work and unlike clueless people think the alpha does tackle beta. This is not just a dog/wolf thing but in most animals.

    Does this mean hurt your dog and toss him down.. no Does this mean lay your dog down till the dog summits … yes..

    in doing this the right way the dog is uninjured and no you do not get bit. Its people who worry about being bit and all this crap that lets dogs get away with anything.

  5. I have to agree 100% that whoever came up with the idea of using the dominant down as a way to show your dog that you’re the pack leader, wasn’t thinking things through.

    And thank you Mr. Papszycki for a truly one of a kind dog behavior information site.

    Jack Dell

  6. Are you looking for some helpful tips that you can use to train your dog? Discover some simple yet effective hints to turn your dog into a “perfect gentleman”.

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