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Hi all! I have 2 beautiful Bassets: Bella - 3 year old female and Uber: 10 month old male. Bella seems to stay in control and we would like Uber to become the "boss" - are we reasonable in this expectation or should we accept that Uber will always be the baby? :eek: Is there any advise in helping him ... please, please - any advice would be highly appreciated.
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Uber & Bella's Mom
 

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Why do you want Uber to be the "dominant" one? I would advise you to let them determine on their own the hierarchy. Perhaps she in control because she considers him her baby, especially since she is an adult and he is a puppy.
 

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Why would you want one or the other to be the "boss"?

At any rate, it is more normal for the mature dog to be the leader, if there is one. My older dogs tend to teach the youngsters to respect their elders. It is also more normal for the males to defer to the females in most situations, from my observations.
 

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Why would you want one or the other to be the "boss"?

At any rate, it is more normal for the mature dog to be the leader, if there is one. My older dogs tend to teach the youngsters to respect their elders. It is also more normal for the males to defer to the females in most situations, from my observations.
she human says this is the natural order of things in the people world too. he-human reluctantly agrees-but mostly cause he can't find anything on his own.
 

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she human says this is the natural order of things in the people world too. he-human reluctantly agrees-but mostly cause he can't find anything on his own.
Many years ago I had a silky terrier and two springers...the springers cowered to the female even though she was a baby and only weighed about 3 pounds. Strongly agree with "she-human"...Esther you must be so proud of your mom, she's smart!

-Dana
 

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Well, WormChop, just one look from those eyes, 'n I jus' melt. I can't help myself...
 

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Yes, they'll establish their own hierarchy. I agree with what most have said on this board--the older dog usually takes charge of the younger ones, and my females have tended to be the dominant one when I have a male-female pair. Trying to change that can cause problems.
 

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It is also more normal for the males to defer to the females in most situations, from my observations.
definately the case in the world of scent hounds it might be different for other dogs.

At any rate, it is more normal for the mature dog to be the leader
For those that believe in pack hierarchy It is not quite that simply. It is actualy the dog that has been at the location, the household the longest. not necesarily the oldest dog. So let us say you bring in an older rescue into the house it would not be the leader because it is the oldest it is more likely to be at the bottom because it is the newest one in. That said recent studies have shot down the whole concept of a pack leader with dog in the first place. They have observed consist deffering between certain pairs of dog but that does not equate with a pack hierarchy because how the pairs interact is different it is quite possible with three dogs to have have a cirular chain of deferrance between pairs a-defers to b b defers to c and c defers to A. no linear hierarchy. That said in most case even a consitent relationship between pairs in not oberservable. Such as the dog that prefers to plays with toys alway can get aceess and have the other dog give up a toy. but that dog that deferes to toys can command a favorite sleeping spot etc. The new modles basical say that dogs society work on a model that tries to maximize each individual dogs in that society.


Dominance in domestic dogs useful construct or bad habit?

Hence, it is commonly suggested that a desire ‘to be dominant’ actually drives behavior, especially aggression, in the domestic dog. By contrast, many recent studies of wolf packs have questioned whether there is any direct correspondence between dominance within a relationship and agonistic behavior, and in contrast to wolves, hierarchical social structures have little relationship with reproductive behavior in feral dog packs. Nor do the exchanges of aggressive and submissive behavior in feral dogs, originally published by S. K. Pal and coworkers, fit the pattern predicted from wolf behavior, especially the submissive behavior observed between members of different packs.

In the present study of a freely interacting group of neutered male domestic dogs, pairwise relationships were evident, but no overall hierarchy could be detected. Since there seems to be little empirical basis for wolf-type dominance hierarchies in dogs, the authors have examined alternative constructs.
Why Won't Dominance Die?
Many leading animal behaviourists are concerned that the “dominance” model of pet dog behaviour continues to survive, despite the accumulating evidence that it is at best unhelpful and at worst highly detrimental.


...At the same time, studies of the domestic dog have also moved on. It has been well established that the social behaviour of the domestic dog is unlike that of the wolf. The domestic dog is a neotonised version of the wolf-type ancestor, a specialised variant that evolved into a newly formed environmental niche to scavenge the domestic waste of human settlements. These adaptations removed the need to operate as a true wolf pack and consequently there is little collaboration in hunting or in care of offspring, but much more cooperation with strangers, dog or human. Although dogs congregate in groups around resources, they do not form packs in the cohesive family way that wolves still do.
The Social Organization of the Domestic Dog
A Longitudinal Study of Domestic Canine Behavior and the Ontogeny of Canine Social Systems

This paper is based on a longitudinal study of a permanent group of five randomly acquired dogs living in their natural habitat, as they interact with each other within the group, with newcomers of various species who joined the group, and with fleetingly met individuals of various species in their outside environment. This study shows that the existence of the phenomenon "dominance" is questionable, but that in any case "dominance" does not operate as a principle in the social organization of domestic dogs. Dominance hierarchies do not exist and are in fact impossible to construct without entering the realm of human projection and fantasy. The hypotheses were tested by repeatedly starting systems at chaos and observing whether the model predicted the evolution of each new system. The study shows that domestic canine social groups must be viewed as complex autopoietic systems, whose primary systemic behavior is to gravitate as quickly as possible to a stable division of the fitness landscape so that each animal present is sitting on a fitness hill unchallenged by other group members.
Aggression is not used in the division of the fitness landscape. It is not possible for an observer to measure the height of respective hills. There is no hierarchy between or among the animals. The organization of the system is based on binary relationships, which are converted by the agents as quickly as possible from competitive to complementary or cooperative binaries, through the creation of domains of consensus. The production processes by which this is done are twofold. The first is an elegant and clear, but learned, system of communicative gestures which enables the animals to orient themselves adequately to each other and emit appropriate responses in order to maintain or restore the stability of their fitness hills and the larger social landscape. The second is learning. It is the learning history of each animal, which determines how
adequately the animal can operate within the system and what the components of its individual fitness hill will be, and which, in the end, is more crucial to the animal’s survival than even presumed genetic factors or some human-constructed
“dominance” position.


The basic idea of Autopoietic Systems


fitness landscape

fitness landscape
 

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Well, WormChop, just one look from those eyes, 'n I jus' melt. I can't help myself...
melting is one way to survive, yes men can survive in a world of amazons. ya but men not so much, and those that ask why do not survive very long. The Tarzan types tend to have there manbits systematically umm defaced.

an other survival stratagy is to plug your ears from the Sirens call and avoid the amazons all together.
 

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Mikey, the amazons cannot BE resisted! And with ears as big as my bowsers, plugging is just not an option. So off with the man-parts! hehehe


And we thought daisy, our 6 year old at the time beagle would be in charge, but as soon as Bowser got her size, he became the boss! She still tries to hump him every now and then (something he's never done to her, not even once) but he ignores her. If he has a bone or a toy he'll growl at her, and she'll be put in her place!
 

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Winston was the dominant one early on, but I've realized that was because Molly was on the decline with her Addison's. Now that we have it under control and she's progressively feeling better, I see her asserting her dominance and Winston is being more submissive toward her. Girl power!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you sooo much for the advice! I will most certainly not want to mess with nature ... :) Uber is much more of a gentle giant and he does not seem to mind when Bella 'tells' him what to do. She does that with the rest of the family anyway!
 
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