Not too long ago, I was with a client helping her with her dog. She was convinced that the dog was "dominant" and it was the source of all her training problems. As I watched the dog, I observed a friendly, active little guy that just wanted to have fun.

When I asked her why she thought her dog was being dominant, she stated:

"I was watching a dog trainer on TV and he said that a dog going through a door in front of me is displaying dominance."

I tried to explain that going through a door is not a sign of dominance – it’s a dog that wants to get out and party. I informed her that I had a book for her to read and that it was written by one of the smartest dog trainers in America.

I dropped the book off later on that day with one of the pages dogeared. The book, "The Culture Clash," by Jean Donaldson, explained one of her favorite myth’s on page 19…

"My favorite myth is the going the doorways first thing. What deranged mind came up with the notion that a dog would understand, let alone exert dominance by preceding his owner out the front door."

She goes on to explain:

"When dogs are rushing through doors, they are trying to close distance between themselves and whatever is out there, as quickly as possible because they are excited, because they are dogs."

The dogs owner refused to believe that her dog was doing it for any other reason than dominance and fired me. I was okay with getting fired, but I was worried about her dog. You see, the best way to train a dog is to understand dogs for what they really are. A dog that is labeled "dominant" is often subjected to harsh training methods. The whole dominance idea has been blown way out of proportion, which as Ms. Donaldson states:

"This is dangerous. Not only does it mean that incredible amounts of abuse are going to be perpetrated against any given dog, probably exacerbating problems like recalls and biting but also real issues, like well-executed conditioning and and the provision of an adequate environment are going to go unaddressed, resulting in an a still untrained dog, prepatuing the stupid dominance program."

As you can see, she does not pull any punches but it is a great book. Check it out if you get a chance.

All the best,

Eric

P.S. Then again, another great dog training book, "The Amazing Dog Training Man," by yours truly is included with a membership into the

Dog Training Inner Circle.