The Dominance Myth in Dog Training Explained

Help the Dog Training rEvolution do more! Support us on Patreon: Like me on Facebook: A…

25 comments on “The Dominance Myth in Dog Training Explained

  1. Hey Zak, I have a question. I’ve been working with my dog ever since I got
    her (about 2 years ago) and no matter what she will NOT walk with me alone,
    I always have to have a family member with us and/or a dog. Do you have any
    tips for building her confidence to walk with me alone? She’s also scared
    of so many things, should I play random sounds while she’s in her crate or
    in a training session to get her used to them? (Like trash trucks, someone
    sweeping, trash moving across the street, ect.)

    I’ve been working with her for the past few weeks and have gotten her to
    walk three-five houses down but then she gets scared and wants to turn
    around. She is also scared of any and everything, people with hats, trash
    in the street/a yard, loud sounds, people across the street (all of which I
    will be working with) . But has little to no problem when we are with a
    family member… It’s slightly annoying not being able to exercise my dog
    alone and I wonder if I’m just not doing it right. The only praise I’m
    pretty much able to give her is petting and lots of “good girl” and “yes”
    because most of the time she’s too distracted.

  2. As long as the all-positive-bandwagon thing doesn’t become a reason to be
    violent (verbally or physically) toward others who think differently, or
    start to want to police them, I don’t see anything wrong with it. 

  3. Find a dog at the pound that is going to be put down because it’s too
    aggressive. Then make him a balanced dog using love and kisses before you
    bash a proven method of dog training.

  4. That isn’t true wolves have large packs of parts of their family. The
    puppies are put in their place in their litter. To do so they wrestle and
    play and when a wolf lies on its back and turns his head that means that
    they have submitted and the other dog has dominance over that puppy. Dogs
    do the same thing in their litters only less violent. Dogs do try to have
    dominance over other dogs and sometimes people. He does not know what he’s
    talking about.

  5. I just got off the phone with a trainer who swore that I was doing wrong by
    my dog for using positive reinforcement. He wants me to use an e-collar and
    “a special touch” for to correct a bad behavior. No thanks. My doberman has
    been through 2 positive reinforcement dog training classes and mostly, I’ve
    used Zak George’s videos to help me along the way… More so than the
    class. I am ready to advance his training into more reliable/advanced
    training since I have MS. It’s not noticeable, but sometime I get off
    balance and he is tall and great to lean against when there are no
    distractions. So I guess I’ll continue my search for the right hands on
    trainer and watching ZG’s vids for help until then. 

  6. I don’t understand how people can look at my rescue dog who used to be shy,
    reactive and terrified of everything, and is now happy, confident, focused,
    and obedient, and tell me that positive reinforcement doesn’t work.

  7. Ever hear of The Monks of New Skete? They have been successfully training
    dogs since the early 1970’s and wrote their first dog training book in
    1978. They talk extensively about the nature of dogs and their origins in
    wolf packs,and how many of these innate behaviors still exist. They ALSO
    emphasize the absolute necessity of bonding with the dog. Their methods of
    training incorporate positive reinforcement and communication, as well as
    corrective action (usually mild) when necessary. Of all the dog training
    books I have read, (and I have read quite a few!) my now six month old
    Rottweiler has responded best from their methods.

  8. Let’s all agree on this: The social hierarchies of wild dogs and wild
    wolves are extremely complicated. It is far more complicated than this dog
    is dominant and the other is submissive, or this dog is the leader and the
    rest are followers. The social hierarchy of wild dogs is a linear hierarchy
    that has many exceptions, including age and sex. No dog trainer has a full
    understanding of how it works, but rather an oversimplified interpretation.
    So until we have a full understanding of dominance in dogs, I think we can
    all agree that it’s inappropriate to use our interpretations in training. 

  9. I don’t think the dominance theory is a myth. I have nothing against
    positive reinforcement but I think we should have a balance of both. It is
    important to have a bond with your dog but respect is a bond too. Off
    course you don’t have to use an e-collar and choke chain but you should be
    its leader or guide. I think that it is unfair to directly criticise this
    theory and I believe that people should be more open-minded about these
    training methods. I still like to watch these videos and get tips but
    people like Cesar Millan have helped me tons and it is unfair to undermine
    them. They aren’t cruel, they simply have a different approach which is
    more instinctive. 

  10. I just got a pitbull puppy he is about 2 to 3 months I’ve started to train
    him but he isn’t getting everything well. I popped him after pooping in the
    house and now he seems scared now when I approach him. also I know he is
    teething i gave him soemthing to chew on but he still wants to chew on
    everything in site Help!

  11. I take my hat off to you, Zak. I find this explanation, logical,
    understandable, respectful and downright GREAT! Thanks for all your work
    and allowing me easy access to your training approach. Cheers, Lauren in

  12. Thank you Zak! You are sharing, here, a message which I hope gets spread
    to the whole world! It’s like fear vs. belief. I’d rather have a dog who
    obeys me because it believes in me not because it is afraid of me?
    Wouldn’t you? Even if there is some sort of “alpha” system, I’m sure the
    parents of the pack don’t use violence. Guidance rather than violence

  13. Zack I LOVE your training tips bro! I’m picking up a rat terrier in a few
    days and I am so excited to train him and you have given me a TON of
    amazing tips that now give me confidence to train Parsley (Dog’s name.
    lol) Also he is a shelter dog so that is awesome too! Thank you Zack!
    Hope you read!

  14. Zak dominance is a fact and is psychologically based and yes DNA speaking
    dogs and wolves are dissimilar, however dogs came from wolves just as
    humans evolved and we even being a so called higher thought process species
    still have basic instincts such as procreation that’s ingrained in us. What
    ppl forget is dogs are animals and if you take the human out of the
    equation dogs will pack up and act certain ways. The majority of dogs are
    followers but that’s BC there always needs to be one leader. In nature
    whether it be wild dog or wolf there are certain things that happen and
    dominance is one it is a basic fact of all evolution on this planet. I like
    ur training and u offer some really great advice for dogs that are not to
    far gone and in need of real rehabilitation but the dominant submissive is
    very important and very easy to misunderstand for humans BC we pretend not
    to see the truth. For example you cannot punish a dog they don’t have the
    ability to process that however u can discipline a dog. Even domestic dogs
    right from birth are given rules to follow. Really pay attention to a
    nursing mother and learn how she disciplines her pups and you’ll see the
    dominant role 

  15. Your video sounds very convincing and absolutely ethical – You have proven
    methods to enforce corrective behaviour without dominance and shock collar
    but by coercive rewarding resulting in a desired behaviour pattern that
    stays !!
    I often have felt sad by training methods I have seen in India but have
    accepted them thinking this is the only way you can train dogs and for
    people like me this is an eye opener !!

    The dominant species need not necessarily be a myth and in fact many
    animals follow this hierarchy including Humans. But just like a colleague
    training another peer in human work life and ensuring success – I believe
    the video was convincing enough to believe that training is possible
    without dominance.

    [Please don’t hurt your dogs – I think it will hurt them more than just

  16. I am SO HAPPY to see a video on this subject matter!!!! I have been looking
    for something like your channel for MONTHS so thank you! :)

  17. I didn’t see this and just asked you yesterday to address dominance theory
    in dog training…well xD thx 

  18. Zak, we’ve had a difference of opinion on the use of prong collars but I’ve
    got to stand up for them again here, respectfully of course because you do
    great work for dogs.

    You said in this video that, “dogs were bred for thousands of years to work
    with people” (3:23). You are correct, science has proven that. Science has
    also correctly explained that we (mankind) integrated and selectively bred
    only those dogs that respond well with humans going back those thousands of
    years you speak of. Therefore, we have bred them to be dependent on us.
    They want us to be their leader. It’s science.

    True, the old hurk and jerk methods and dominance methods are old school
    and indeed irrelevant but so is purely positive training. At least in
    difficult or at-risk dogs. The modern, more effective way is a balanced
    approach that I’ve found 100% effective in rescuing truly at-risk or even
    just difficult dogs.
    Examples: never use a choke chain, never put dog in an “alpha roll”, never
    ever hit or kick a dog. Do use assertive verbal corrections, do use plenty
    of positive reinforcement and high value treats when the dog does what you
    want. Structured walks every day are crucial as is training one on one with
    you to keep their mind stimulated. It re-enforces calmness and enforces
    your dogs confidence in YOU, their leader. Use ONLY a properly fitted
    correct size prong collar for training / walking sessions ONLY, then remove
    it. When used properly, prong collars do not hurt the dog, they only
    mimick they slight correction given by the dogs mother when a puppy does
    something she doesn’t like. Most dogs need structure and they look to us to
    provide it, calmly and confidently.

    Many behavior issues are rooted in anxiety because they don’t have clear

    We bred them to be dependent on us. Let’s do our job
    I’m sure you would agree.

  19. Heres a fun fact! The guy whose book started the alpha training craze later
    released another book that denied that alpha training is useful in dogs. Do
    some research before you bash other people, chumps. 

Comments are closed.