TIP #1: IT’S NOT BASED ON SCIENCE. REALLY.
The notion of dominance in dogs stems from a misunderstanding of wolf pack research that was then applied to pet dogs. Unfortunately, the notion stuck. It was always likely to stick, because we humans organize ourselves in hierarchies so the idea seems utterly plausible to us. But even if the dominance principle applied to wolves - research now definitively shows it doesn’t - pet dogs are no more wolves than we are chimpanzees.
TIP #2: PHYSICAL AND MENTAL STIMULATION
If a dog gets hours of exercise every day and still tears through the trash or disembowels the bedroom pillows, it's safe to assume he lacks mental stimulation. Much as people turn to crossword puzzles, books, chess games, and other brain-vitalizing activities for the fun of mental gymnastics, dogs need to solve doggie problems.
For one thing, dogs are meant to work for their food. When they were in the wild, nobody just handed them a bowl of kibble. Dogs are natural hunters and problem solvers so the more closely we can mimic this process, in many cases the less troublesome the dog will be to live with. Serving all the dog's meals in a stuffed Kong or treat ball, in food dispensing devices, or through a game such as hide-and-seek or in food puzzle toys can relieve many nuisance behaviors.
- excerpted from Decoding Your Dog
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI