Creature Feature: Training or Relationship Building?


February 27, 2016 by The Dog Rules

So, exactly which is it? Are we training our dogs or are we building a relationship with them? When we adopt a dog (of any age) have we really given thought as to how our lives will change once we have them?

Some people believe that working with a dog involves the dominance theory as presented by Cesar Milan, the self-proclaimed Dog Whisperer. Others opt for a kinder, gentler approach.

I’d like to share with you this enlightening and entertaining talk by veterinarian, dog trainer and animal behaviorist, Dr. Ian Dunbar. Dr Dunbar’s message resonates well beyond the animal world.

I hope you enjoy it.

13 thoughts on “Creature Feature: Training or Relationship Building?

  1. Chantal says:

    Really enjoyed the clip. Thanks so much, it is very interesting. I love the fact partners and kids are trainable just like to dogs😃 Have a great day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Poor Robert says:

    I loved this piece as it asks the right questions. I re-posted a piece by a winemaker friend about his dog, that is really apropos to your post. You might enjoy taking a look It’s Called Grenache Blanca the Wine Dog, RIP.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. theturtle says:

    Very good , loved the clip 🙂
    Turtle Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tippysmom2 says:

    Enjoyed the video. Training can be complicated and is different for every dog, I believe. Setting them up for success is what my trainer has taught me to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Leah says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I don’t have a dog, but as a house sitter, I often wonder about my interactions with those in my care. The points in the video gave me a lot to think about and some really good ideas.

    We are currently trying to train the little Westie in our care to use his doggie door. We are trying to make it fun for him to go in and out of the flap.

    It is hard not to automatically use a stern voice when he’s running away from us on the beach, and we’re scared. I will have to think of better ways to get his attention. Pretty hard when there’s an enticing new dog butt down the beach! Any ideas?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have to become more interesting than the dog butt down the beach. The difficult part for women is that the female voice tends to go up in tone when we’re scared. Rather than the “stern voice” try to call him in your normal tone or pretend that you are trying to lower your voice to sound more like a man would sound. I know it sounds weird. Or call him and run away from him. You can try this at an angle to where he is running so you’ve still got him in sight. Make it like you are starting a game. Hopefully he’ll decide that chasing you is more fun than what he is running away toward.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Leah says:

        Pretty hard to compete with a good smelly butt! Haha.

        Seriously, the running thing dud come to mind, because he lives to chase around with us. The problem is catching his eye. I think I need to be able to run faster. Oh boy.

        Karen has quite a good “voice of authority” (ex-cop), but that doesn’t seem to work all the time either.

        Thanks, again. We will keep working with your suggestions.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Get Karen to use the “voice of authority” tone she would use with a kid rather than an adult.

        You don’t need to run faster unless you want to be able to grab him. You want him to catch you – so you can grab his collar and leash him if necessary. I can’t run fast at all.

        Does he have a small toy he is “over the top” about? Something you could easily slip in your pocket to distract him? I used to carry my girl’s ball in my pocket for this type of event until she became reliable. Do be careful with using a toy as the lure. Some dogs are overly possessive of their toys and that can start a fight if the other dog also wants the toy. I would just toss the ball up a foot and then catch it. She would be dancing in front of me in a New York minute wanting the game – and I would leash her and hand her the ball to carry. Worked every single time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Leah says:

        You have us both laughing right now, as we picture walking down the beach with little Ozzy’s ginormous stuffed teddy bear! Ha ha ha

        Thanks – we will try out all of these tips. And, in 2 weeks, we will have a whole trio of new dogs to get used to!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, that will take a really big pocket to hide it. Ha ha ha


  6. Thank you for the article (and I love the comments, too!)


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The Dog Rules

The Dog Rules

Once the proud guardian of a rather cheeky Border Collie/Aussie Cattle Dog mix, may she forever rest in peace, my favourite activities were those things that included my canine friend. Now I have a new canine buddy in my life. He's also a Border Collie and sassy like my girl was. We're in the middle of an adventure; teaching him how to be a good canine citizen I spend my spare time volunteering at the local animal shelter as a dog walker/trainer. You can read all about it @

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