Originally Posted by Country Parson
This has nothing to do with avoiding "same-sex" issues, since in different-sex animal sexuality the dominace instinct is also operational. That's why its called an instinct...it is always at play.
You want to reduce this to merely physical pleasure. Sure, that's part of it, but its hardly the entire story. Listen, I am not interested in defending or attacking the "gay goose" theory that appears to be the sub-text of the conversation, and perhaps the reason for not wanting to see that other instincts other than sexual attraction are ALSO at play. If that is the ultimate point of the conversation than I will bow out and say no more, as I find the discussion too politically charged and unfruitful. Suffice to say, there are several instinctual responses at play among these two geese in confinement....including dominance, but also automated sexual response to eternal stimuli. Not sure why this is even debated. To remove dominance (or any other instinctual response) from the equation is to turn 200 years of scientific research on its head. This is the basis of all naturalistic and behavioral studies.
As to the dog, YES. The dog is showing dominance over its environment (as well as acting on a clear sexual instinct). There have been many studies on the interplay between dominance and sexuality for canines (especially among wolves). Its not an either/or. Its a both/and. Sexuality among animals is a dominant act. I'm not sure why this is such a controversy. The presence of the dominance instinct does not reduce or negate the reality of the sex instinct.
To the OP, good luck with your geese. Their behavior is very normal and should cause no concern. It does make it difficult to correctly differentiate the goose from the gander at times, which is part of the reason I went with Pilgrims (they are auto-sexing: white = gander, grey = goose).
First off, there is no "dominance instinct." Dominance is a relationship that develops as a result of interaction. If there is no other individual with which to interact, there is no "instinct" to dominate inanimate objects because those inanimate objects do not engage in a relationship with the individual that results in conflicts. I think you need to become more familiar with terms as they apply in ethology before you use them in an argument.
What is involved in dominance is that a relationship is established between individuals based on the outcomes of an aggressive interaction, whereby the "victor" maintains his/her status over the "loser" in future encounters without resorting to repeated physical aggression. It's based on the premise that individuals benefit from avoiding possible harm resulting from repeated bouts of physical aggression by learning a hierarchy -- individual A is dominant over me, so I will submit when there is a conflict, because he will win if we resort to fighting (this is the anthropomorphic explanation of the relationship -- the animals themselves simply require the ability to pair the association of an individual's presence with either assertive behaviors or submissive behaviors, based on rewards/punishments from previous encounters).
If a relationship is based upon dominance, the hierarchy is maintained until challenged, and the previously "submissive" individual usurps the previously "dominant" individual. Such a change requires an aggressive encounter for the roles to shift. If a behavior is thought to be based on dominance but the roles shift without aggressive "challenge" encounters, then it can't be based upon dominance.
If you want to say it's about dominance, then you'd have to demonstrate that a dominance relationship was made, and that the positions taken in the behavior remain fixed based upon the relationship. In other words, goose A is the dominant individual and is always doing X, and goose B is the submissive individual and is always doing Y. The relationship would require an aggressive encounter for the roles of the individuals to change. If these parts are missing, then dominance cannot be used to explain the behavior. This is how things work in science -- if a proposed explanation is missing vital components in an observed case, then the proposed explanation must be discarded for another.
This is not about "gay geese." That would require the presence of opposite-sex alternative partners, and individuals who demonstrate an aversion to the opposite sex and an exclusive attraction to the same sex. When the opposite sex is not available, any sexual behavior between same-sex individuals cannot be confidently claimed as evidence of the individuals being "gay,"
This is about explaining why an animal does something, and I simply say that the physical stimulation of the behavior acts as a reward to reinforce the behavior. The geese go through reproductive cycles influenced by hormones, and will experience times when they seek the physiological reward provided by the stimulation of mating. Lacking an opposite-sex individual of their species, they will simply seek the next-best alternative. In the case of the OP, that means another member of their species that happens to be of the same sex. They are not seeking to "dominate" another individual, nor do they have an instinct or drive to be "dominant" over something else, simply because their behaviors do not satisfy the concept of dominance.