Thursday, July 7, 2011

Positive vs. Dominance

Recently I've been really into positive reinforcement training.

I hate to admit it but I used have a very dominance based way of thinking, when it came to working with my dog. Boomer was basically raised with me thinking that he had to be in his "place" and corrections were needed when he didn't do what I wanted. I suppose it worked but I believe he suffered because of it. Boomer lacks confidence in everything he does. If he even gets any hint that he may have done something wrong he becomes upset and wants nothing to do with you. It really makes me angry at myself. He's like this because of dominance and corrective type training. I'm now determined to NEVER do this to another dog again.

Dexter is whole different story. He was raised using almost only positive methods. I'll admit, when he used to mark in the house he was scolded pretty bad and smacked on the butt. It was out of frustration and laziness on my part. I still regret it. Let me just say, the "punishments" did not help at all. He continued to mark until after he was fixed. Then it stopped, thankfully. Other than that he has always been taught in a gentle way. As a result Dexter is confident and trusts me 100%. I never held him back, so he never holds himself back. I love that about him. It makes working with him just a joy because he'll try everything at least once.

Everything we've done with Betty has been positive. Even during potty training, she got no corrections. She potty trained fairly easy, no corrections ever needed. The benefits with being gentle and patient have only gotten me results when working with Betty. She still has many hurdles to get over, but I'll be there encouraging her the whole way.

Even to this day I get frustrated with my dogs, we all do, just as we would with a family member. But I'm learning that only through positive methods will dogs truly respond and enjoy working with me.


  1. We have found the same thing with our dogs. Silver is my oldest and really used dominance with her, thinking I had to the boss and keep her in her place. It wasn't until I got my second dog that I began to find things on positive training and what a difference it made on me and him. Brut was an extremely difficult puppy and the only way he turned out as well as he did is because of positive reinforcement. And I also find it is so much easier on me and my conscious. :)

  2. p.s. loved your introduction. Your dogs are beautiful. Isn't it a joy to watch them grow and blossom while you learn about each other on the way? Thank you for following us so that we could find you. Hope to see more of you.

  3. Thank you so much for the kind words!