From Science Daily
The dog pack hierarchy model is flawed. The original studies were conducted while observing wolves back in the 40s. A recent study has been performed and has found that a “hierarchy” as has often been described is not actually formed, and such roles as “Alpha/Pack Leader” is not an absolute position dogs are always attempting to vie for.
Instead, dogs (gasp) behave like living beings and learn their role in their pack through experience more than insinct. It is not necessary to feed a dog only after you eat nor to walk through a door before your dog as has often been prescribed. Also, much like humans, dogs will respond to consistency and rewards for good behavior much better than punishments for bad.
This, of course, really ought to make more sense. When a dog has a behavior problem it’s often only one issue; he’s not going to think he is in charge all of the time because of one little leak, nor does he jump into this behavior ‘insinctually’ — instincts led him to his initial descisions he made, and experience taught him that’s how things work.
The real issue, of course, is knowing how to communicate what you want with your dog, and knowing dog instincts can give you a head start. But if you don’t act like a feral dog pack, your dog is not going to expect you to do so. Proper communication is far better than attempting to ‘dominate’ the dog.
And what in the world, are there people that are saying that constant harsh punishments for dogs is a modern training method? “Dominance Reduction Technique”? Is it me or does that seem like a technique that obviously would stem out of vaugely established 1940s research?