DPU, if youíre going to bring up a post I made on another forum over 3 years ago, at least get it right. I never said the dogís posture indicated play invite. I simply disagreed with your interpretation that the dog was being menacing.
Describing a breed as ďdominantĒ is in my understanding an incorrect use of the term. Dominance is a descriptor of a relationship, not of temperament.
Dr. Sophia Yin:
Journal of Veterinary Behavior (peer reviewed article)In the last several decades field scientists have made many new discoveries about dominance hierarchies. Individual researchers and research groups have each spent hundreds to thousands of hours observing interactions between members in groups and relating the interactions to rank. These studies have spanned many species including macaques, chimpanzees, vervets, baboons, lions, wolves, meerkats, chickens, cattle, goats, and more. Here's some of what we have learned about hierarchies from all of the research.
1. Dominance is not a personality trait. If you take four individuals, each who is the highest ranked member of its group and put them together in a new group, they will fight and establish a rank order of 1-4 between them. Thus only one of the individuals who was ranked highest in its own group will have highest rank now...
John Bradshaw, Emily Blackwell, Rachael Casey
You can also use dominance to describe certain behaviors in animals, but again the behavior (whether dominant or submissive) does not define the individual. Dogs are far more complex and their form of communication far more intricate than a dominant/submissive dichotomy could even begin to encompass. Much of how dogs behave has absolutely nothing to do with dominance or submission.Although dominance is correctly a property of relationships, it has been erroneously used to describe a supposed trait of individual dogs, even though there is little evidence that such a trait exists.
Certain dogs are temperamentally more pushy, obnoxious, overt in their displays than others. Definitely bully breeds fall under this umbrella. Anyone who has any experience with these dogs will recognize the bullmastiffís posture.Dominant behavior is a quantitative and quantifiable behavior displayed by an individual with the function of gaining or maintaining temporary access to a particular resource on a particular occasion, versus a particular opponent, without either party incurring injury. If any of the parties incur injury, then the behavior is aggressive and not dominant. Its quantitative characteristics range from slightly self-confident to overtly assertive.
Dominant behavior is situational, individual and resource related. One individual displaying dominant behavior in one specific situation does not necessarily show it on another occasion toward another individual, or toward the same individual in another situation.
One of my own dogs will usually follow a stance like that with a muzzle punch. What happens after the muzzle punch will depend on the other dog. It can turn in to a snark, it can turn in to a fight, it can turn in to play, it can turn in to both dogs ignoring each other.
But without further context, you canít label this behavior the bullmastiff is displaying as dominant.
These conversations always frustrate me because people who actually study these things using proper scientific inquiry have established definitions of the terms.
When we donít agree to use proper, agreed upon definitions, its like trying to have a meaningful conversation in spanglish with someone who doesnít speak Spanish. Yeah, there will be some overlap of terms but there will also be huge misunderstandings. In Spanish ďmolestarĒ means to bother, or annoy, as it does in English, just a very specific type of bothering. If you accuse someone in English of molesting you - meaning the Spanish term - thereís going to be a major misunderstanding. I feel like these conversations operate essentially the same way.