AABP Position Statement - Dominance

AABP Position Statement: On Social Dominance and Other Redundant Constructs

Last updated: June 2014

One of the three pillar principles on which the AABP is founded and based on is that AABP members utilize a behaviorological orientation. These principles are elaborated upon here. This is a natural science of behavior perspective. This fundamentally distinct from psychology and ethology. Behaviorology, as with all natural sciences, studies real events only and does not study non-real, redundant, or hypothetical constructs such as the “mind” or “dominance.”

It is the position of the AABP and its members that reference to such redundant constructs is counterproductive, establishing an adversarial social relationship and distracting from the actual causes of behavior, and is inconsistent with the natural science discipline on which the AABP is based. AABP members do not interpret or explain behavior with such constructs as the so-called “mind" or social dominance and do not base how social relations are, or ought to be, arranged on such notions. 

Specifically, AABP members do not utilize notions of social dominance or equivalent constructs in interpreting or explaining companion animal behavior. Nor do they base training or social interaction approaches on such constructs. This is now principle 1.05 in the Professional Practice Guidelines.

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