alpha dog training debunked

Dominance Debunked

Contrary to popular thinking, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not in fact dominated by an "alpha wolf", being the most aggressive male or female in the pack. Researchers have actually found that wolf packs are very similarly structured to how human families are and there is little aggression or "fights for dominance" by wolves.

In addition, further understandings of canine behavior has found that dogs, while sharing some traits with their wolf cousins are actually for more different from wolves than originally thought.

"Alpha" and "leader of the pack" dog training methodologies are based upon an inaccurate understanding of animal behavior and long term effects of this type of training can lead to behavioral problems including aggression and anxiety towards other people and dogs.

When we know better, we do better.

Build a bond with your dog while reinforcing positive behaviors.

The Do Better Philosophy

Do Better Training uses a LIMA approach to dog training and behavior modification plans and does not condone the use of punishment in lieu of other, more effective and humane strategies. All of our techniques are developed from peer-reviewed behavior science and we strive to stay current on the most effective, humane, and empowering training techniques so we can offer you and your animal the best in education, training, and care. 

What is LIMA?

“LIMA” is an acronym for the phrase “least intrusive, minimally aversive.” LIMA describes a dog trainer or behavior consultant who uses the least intrusive, minimally aversive strategy out of a set of humane and effective tactics likely to succeed in achieving a training or behavior change objective. 1

Competence Based

LIMA requires trainers/consultants to work to increase the use of positive reinforcement and eliminate the use of punishment when working with dog and human clients.  In order to ensure best practices, consultants should pursue and maintain competence in animal behavior consulting and training through continuing education, and hands-on experience. Trainers/consultants should not advise on problems outside the recognized boundaries of their competencies and experience. 2

Systematic Approach to Problem Solving

LIMA trainers will ask the question “what would you like your animal to do?” Rather than looking for “no’s” or what we don’t want our animals to do, LIMA dog trainers look for opportunities to say “yes”. By focusing on what we would like to see, we are empowering our animals to make positive choices and rewarding what we want to see continued. This provides our animals agency over their outcomes and encourages mental and emotional health and well-being.

To accomplish this, Do Better trainers utilize a variety of training and behavior modification strategies to ensure that your animal is receiving a plan that is tailor-made for their needs. LIMA practice requires that all trainers understand the impact of each action on the learner and maintains sensitivity to the learner’s experience. Utilizing the Humane Hierarchy to guide their processes, Do Better trainers will address your animal’s behavioral challenges from all angles.

we look for yes opportunities

Our Stance on Punishment

Do Better dog trainers follow scientifically supported training methodologies and do not utilize aversive training techniques or punishment to accomplish training goals.

Punishment not only decreases the trust a dog has in their handler but can also lead to more severe consequences such as behavior suppression, anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral fallout. To ensure a healthy learning experience for dogs in our program, only non-aversive training techniques that empower our learners to make positive choices will be utilized. 

In providing a quality learning experience we aim to:

  • Protect the participants’ welfare at all times
  • Use interventions that are custom-tailored for each individual
  • Design interventions on the basis of a functional assessment of the problem
  • Use only procedures for which there is a scientific basis (evidence-based treatment)
  • Use scientific methods to implement and evaluate interventions  3


1. Steven Lindsay, Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training Vol 3 pgs. 29 & 726.

2. Per the IAABC, APDT and CCPDT Joint Code of Conduct

3. Susan Friedman, What’s Wrong With This Picture? Effectiveness is not Enough. Department of Psychology. Utah State University, Logan, UT