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Training perspectives: Dominance vs. Positive Reinforcement

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What I see here for the most part is "common sense". I know I have been very confused about all of this and am slowly figuring out that I don't need to follow one particular concept to become a good dog owner, care for my pet, and have a good dog.


When I first got my aussie Gabe (rip) he minded me in every aspect but loose leash. He pulled me for the first block until all the excitement got out, then pretty much minded me, but never walked by my side. If I persisted, he would keep pushing me until I was walking off the sidewalk, then I would push back and it would continue. He would walk in front, though. I asked a dog trainer about this and her response was "darn that herding dog", which she explained that because of his breed, he was not going to "heel" or walk beside on a leash. There are a bunch of people here that are either laughing or pulling their hair out at that comment. But Gabe would never walk on a leash properly according to "loose leash" concept.


My little girl aussie stays by my side always unless she wants to sniff or potty. My boy aussie stays behind me looking for boogie men and then trots in front of me when we make the turn to go home. This doesn't fit with the concept of loose leash, but it doesn't bother me. Logan is another issue. Right now I am not even walking him. Husband works with him on leash in the yard, but I have not gotten up the courage to take him out walking, even though he ignores people and dogs when he is away from home. He gets all of his exercise playing soccer and chuckit. I really want to get to that point of being able to go for long walks, though.


We are trying to train Logan without punishment but there are times rank, leader, or dominance, is needed when he gets snarky. Logan likes treats, but they don't seem to propel him to good behavior, rather a "good boy" or petting seems to work best for him.


We have trained him to follow us through the doorway going outside or in. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt to remember. When he does go through first, he is not pushing or shoving, just taking a turn. I think it has given him another lesson in manners living with us, but I don't see it as being a dominance issue.


I was raised by a father who grew up on a horse ranch. He taught us that you feed your animals first, then you eat. You do not sit down at a table and fill your belly while your animals wait to be fed. I've always remembered that. I just don't get the theory I have to eat first.


I really enjoy reading all of the comments and I am learning so much from everyone.

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Dear Doggers,

I don't much care where my dogs sit or sleep but have noticed that their reasons are very complex. When I was traveling with Shay and many bitches, June insisted on sleeping in his motel room bed. When Shay stopped traveling June stopped sleeping on any bed. I'm guessing that Shay's bed was doggy-primo and as top gyp June had to sleep there.


When Fly first came, she slept on the bed for my noon nap (never at night when Anne came in). Also, she couldn't be in a different room than the one I was in. Now, safer, she has a chosen pad and can be in a different room w/o distress. Turns out she was on the bed because she didn't feel safe anywhere else.


Donald McCaig

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Lady Dog Trainer ‘No, Rocko….click and treat…..click…THEN treat!’

Rocko-‘ok I get it.’

Dog Trainer- ‘Rocko you just treated……just now with no click.’

Rocko- ‘Yeah, I like to give him pieces of the salami…..kinda cool.’

Tony- walks in- ‘Rocko? Ya ain’t done yet? Wats keepin’ ya?’

Rocko-‘Hey Tony, watch this…..Click!-he clicks his clicker- Then treat….- He gives a little white mutt who has sat down a piece of salami

Tony- yeah….fantastic….


Man walks in- yes I am here to sell some e-collars

Rocko- looks at Tony

Tony- Rocko- go get the bat.


Dog trainer- TONY! That is not positive training!

Tony- ok…Rocko grab him

Rocko grabs the e-collar guy

Tony walks up and then shows the guy a whole salami

‘Click….and treat yous bastardi…how bout i ram a salami down yos face?…


Dog trainer- TONY- click…THEN treat…Click Then Treat!

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I was raised the same way, and it has stayed with me all my life. I always take care of the animals before seeing to myself. Period.




I was basically raised in a horse barn too. The worst, most slovenly thing you could do was to shower or eat before your animals were cooled dry, comfortable and fed and I live my life with that in mind. Woe betide any child of mine who did otherwise -

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If I can't feed my animals before I eat, then I don't eat...my philosophy is when I made a commitment to get a cat, dog, etc...was they get fed first, no matter what. I remember when I had my knee surgery and the flu at the same time, I couldn't walk so I pretty much crawled on the floor to get food for my cat....I fed him and then dragged his food to the bed and for the next day, he ate out of my hand and I only drank water My roommate came home the next day and let him out and he promptly brought me a huge dead rat and put it next to the bed for me to eat.....


Our rule here is the animals get taken care of first, then us....we can stroll out to the kitchen and grab a snack, while the animals can't do that. They depend on us.

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