Friday, November 20, 2009

"Alpha" and "Pack Leader" theory discarded by the man who invented the term "Alpha"

Thanks to TV (Cesar Millan of Dog Whisperer and Brad Pattison of End of My Leash fame) a lot of average people throw out the term "alpha" and "pack leader" and automatically assume a misbehaving dog is doing so because it thinks its dominant and the leader.

Both Cesar and Brad likely read Dr. L .David Mech's 1970 study about wolf packs where the term Alpha was first used.

Dr. Mech has gone on record numerous times to say his study was flawed and as he puts it - a lot of learning has happened since 1970 and the theories he put forth in 1970 don't actually hold true.

Of course, National Geographic and Slice would rather you not know that, since it discredits the misinformation that their two popular shows continue to propogate. For ratings its sometimes more convenient to continue telling people that the sun does revolve around the earth.

Bottom line is - dogs are not wolves. We don't learn to parent by watching chimps. And even if you want to believe a dog is like a wolf, wolves in the wild don't have alphas and don't fight for pack leadership and don't flip or pin their family down. Flipping and pinning, even if you're calm and assertive, has no place in dog obedience and training.


Kate and Rob said...

there's another awesome podcast of Cindy Bruckhart
talking with Ken McCort about that very subject. He brings up some very interesting points as well.

I'm in the middle of a dogwise buying's so nice to see others educate and keep current especially when it dispells myths!

Mary @ StaleCheerios said...

Neat clip! Thank you for sharing it.