Dog Education Institute De Roedel             
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 The Roedel Method
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 on Dominance
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© 2003 - 2019
Dog Education Institute
De Roedel

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About the Roedel Method

Most methods used for raising and training dogs are based upon teaching particular behaviour.
Desired behaviour is rewarded by the owner. Behaviour is conditioned by positive ratification.
What they forget, is what the behavioural-psychologist B.F. Skinner, the founder of conditioned learning, never forgot: ‘only behaviour that is already present can be conditioned’.

The Roedel Method uses the ‘behaviour that is already present’ as its starting point. Where does all this ‘present behaviour’ come from? How did the dog learn that behaviour? What meaning does that behaviour have for a dog?

‘Behaviour that is already present’: imprinted learning
A dog is a pack animal, a very social animal that lives in a social context. The genetic predisposition for the ability to learn social behaviour is present in every dog. Humans see the fact that a dog can behave like a dog as ‘instinct’, however, this behaviour is not ‘instinctive’ and it most certainly doesn’t just appear by itself. Just as with humans, the child is taught this behaviour by the parents.

Social and unique!
Our dog is not only and extremely social, but also a very unique animal.
Thanks to the domestication, he can not only use the way he learns (social learning) amongst other dogs, but also amongst humans, in two different social worlds and two different languages!

Using his own scent language, body language, body positions and movements, dog codes and dog manners, he does not only talk to those of the same species, but also to other animals, other people and in particular with…the owner!

    Playbow                      also with the owner               gnawing game              … and with the owner

Because the dog is a social pack animal, he always wants to be part of a group, his pack. In a dog’s life, this is the biggest and most important motivation. In order to find out if he belongs, he will talk about it in his own dog language.

Directly after birth, the nose is the first of your dog’s senses that work perfectly in communication with his social environment. Those scents give him his first and most important information about his surroundings. For the rest of his dog life, he will ‘follow his nose’.
Scent will always be his most important means of speaking in body language and determining what his position is, in every situation and in whatever pack.


Of course, we will never be able to perceive what a dog perceives with his refined sense of smell. Luckily for us humans, the language of scent always goes together with a physical action of the dog.
This body language is something we can get a grip on. We can perceive this body language, learn to understand it, and learn to ‘speak’ it by reacting the correct way in body language, with our own body.

Dominance is not the same as ‘wanting to be the boss’, ‘aggression’ or ‘overpowering’.
In any social being that lives in a group, dominance is necessary and this is genetically present. Thanks to dominance, communication with the other members of the group is made possible.

Rights, obligations and ranking
Every social position -the ranking position- that a dog can have in a pack, has certain rights and obligations connected to it. A dog with a higher social ranking has the right to correct and mark, a right that a dog with a lower ranking does not have.

Making sure her pups use their language skills in a socially doglike manner, according to the dog
culture… and intervening if this is not the case!

Human or dog obedience?
According to human standards and values, a dog is disobedient if it does not do what it is told to do by the human. However, according to the dog’s standards and values, disobedient behaviour doesn’t exist. In the dog language, ‘disobedient behaviour’ is how the dog ‘talks’ and negotiates!

Body language, motivation and reward
If a dog shows obedient behaviour, it does not necessarily mean that his motivation is just as obedient as the behaviour that he is displaying. If we reward this obedient behaviour, we have no idea what motivation we are rewarding at the same time.

Your dog shakes and rolls over the ground after you have cuddled him. Does he do this to loose your scent? Or does he do this out of pure satisfaction?
The body language looks exactly the same, but the motivation for the body language in both situations is completely different.

Learning to see differences and similarities in the body language and the motivation of the dog, this is possible through the natural raising of your dog with the Roedel Method.
With this knowledge, you will know exactly when or when not you will be rewarding behaviour and…you will be speaking in clear language for your dog.

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The Roedel Method® Netherlands

Copyright 2003 - 2019