Are Those Dominance Trainers Right?

My husband and I have talked a lot about authority lately. Especially about who will captain the boat.

I don’t usually buy into what dominance trainers say. But are they right in one area?

What would happen if Honey decided to captain the boat?

Honey the golden retriever is in charge.

I’m in charge now.

Meet Captain Honey

Dominance trainers make a big deal about showing your dog that humans are in charge.

We eat first. We decide what they get to do and when. And we get to sit on the furniture.

Personally I’ve never seen the harm in Honey eating first, getting to play when she wants to, and sitting on the furniture.

But what if I’m wrong? What if Honey decides to mutiny?

What would life be like under Captain Honey?

10 Orders From Captain Honey

On land, Honey likes to meet the ducks and geese. At sea, we’d never get where we’re going because Captain Honey would always be changing course to say hello to pelicans and seagulls.

Smith Point Lighthouse.

Steer to port 120 degrees. I see some pelicans I’d like to say hello to. To say nothing of those fishermen.

Honey loves the feeling of wind in her ears. If she had her way, we’d only be out in gale force winds and sleeping at the docks when light breezes come along.

Our Coast Guard required safety horn would be replaced by a squeaky toy. Fog would become play time.

If Honey were in charge, the first mate would be her stuffed bear.

Honey the golden retriever makes her stuffed bear first mate.

You’d be as good a crew member as any of these humans.

Captain Honey would set the autopilot (an electronic device that steers a compass course for us) every time she wanted to take a nap. We’d probably run into a container ship in a matter of hours.

Honey the golden retriever calls for the auto pilot on the sailboat.

Set the autopilot. I’m ready for a nap.

She’s such an extrovert Captain Honey wouldn’t only wave at other boats going by. She’d try to jump aboard.

We’d need to dump lots of unimportant stuff overboard like tools, spare parts, and warm clothing. After all, Honey would need more storage space for her collection of favorite chewing sticks.

Honey the golden retriever chews a stick.

Just getting my recommended daily allowance of sticks.

Captain Honey would replace the salty snacks in the cupboard to keep us drinking water with bully sticks and dehydrated liver.

Instead of using landmarks like water towers and light houses to navigate, Captain Honey would mark her charts with the locations of all the coastal PetSmart stores.

Honey the golden retriever checks the chart.

Okay, I think there’s a PetSmart near Solomons Island.

And finally, if Honey was the captain, her motto would be “The beatings cuddling will continue until morale approves.”

Y’know, I don’t care if the dominance trainers are afraid that Honey will take over the ship if we don’t show her we’re boss.

I think she’d make a pretty fun captain.

Honey the golden retriever is captain of Meander.

Keep petting me. After all, I’m the captain.

Your Turn: If your dogs took over your home, what changes would you expect to see?





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  1. What a delightfully charming post! Especially loved “Coast Guard required safety horn would be replaced by a squeaky toy” and let “The [beatings] cuddling will continue until morale approves.” Too funny. Yes, Honey would make a wonderful captain! Here’s to terrificly smooth weekend sailing! 😉

  2. Some days, I feel as if the dogs have already taken over! I know one thing that would change: our firewood would all be split into chewable sizes on Duster’s orders. Danielle would always have to sit on the couch with Zach, for cuddles. And I would spend a great deal of my sitting and relaxing time petting dogs. Wait, that already happens…

    Thanks for such a fun post. Happy sailing!

  3. In my house, I’m not sure things would be much different! Well, I guess as on your boat, the food stuffs on hand would change dramatically…kale and nutritional yeast would make way for unspeakable things like tripe. So yeah, now that I think of it–the dominance trainers are totally right!

    Sounds like Honey would make a great captain. Affability and concern with comfort are important attributes to have in a leader.

  4. Permission to come aboard, Captain Honey?

  5. Hahahaha! So cute! We’ll join your crew Honey!

  6. What do you mean “IF your dogs took over your home….?” Ducky took over a little over 3 years ago. Haha! Seriously, though, since our lives pretty much revolve around Shadow and Ducky these days anyway, about the only real change I would expect to see would be no Cable TV service, except for the music channels, so that we would have to make playtime our main source of entertainment, even on rainy or snowy days. And I agree 100% with Monika & Sam on all points!!

  7. PS. I have never seen any harm, either, in feeding my girls first, letting them on the furniture, or letting them play when they wanted to. Feeding them first made it easier to keep them from begging while we ate our meals. And actually, I’d prefer to keep Sam in the kitchen while the girls and I eat in the living room because he’s the one who sneaks them table scraps. (And I’ll end that part right here.) And I grew up with dogs who were allowed on human furniture from the time they were weaned from their mama dogs, so it was only natural for me to do the same. And play time? If we don’t let them play when they want to, they’ll just find other ways to entertain themselves…like digging tunnels to China, chewing the carpeting or walls, etcetera.

  8. I don’t understand the question.


  9. A ship run by Captain Honey sounds fun and awesome :)

  10. I think Liam and Sinead would both mandate additional treats and feedings, and they’d probably insist on fewer baths. But otherwise, they really do get what they want almost all of the time. What can I say? I’m a pushover.

  11. Everyone would have to get up for breakfast at 5:30, but then we could all go back to bed until like 9am.

    I’d love a house dominated by Bailey.

  12. Greenies with every meal. LOL

  13. I’d chuck out all the fruit and veg and fill the fridge with steak!
    I’d bring sticks and bones indoors!
    I’d insist on cuddles on demand – I already have them fairly well trained on this point, but there’s room for improvement.