One thing the lecturer mentioned is that a rule must be enforced. If you say, "Always wear white socks," you, as Dominant, have to actually check to make sure the socks are white. When you find that they are not, you must sanction it in some way (which could be as simple as making them change right away or as strict as a caning).
A related point was, If you create a lot of rules, it's a lot of work to check on them all. Three rules may be fine. Thirty rules mean the Dominant has to make sure that if a rule is in place it's being followed. If instead of just white socks, bra and panties must match, eyebrows must be tweaked, Purse must be lint free, and money in their wallet must be in order by deomination, these each have to be checked on.
Why? My sub is a good sub. I'm sure my rules were followed.
Here's the rub. A good sub needs care. If a dominant orders that something be done, but never checks, never inquires, never makes use of the obedience, then the message is clearly sent, "This wasn't really important." Too many instructions that are not really important will destroy a relationship based on D&s.
And then we come to, "What if it isn't followed?" How do you sanction someone who is a masochist or has at least some masochistic tendencies? What's appropriate and what is counter productive?
Situation one. (stolen from gentlemaitresse ) Sub is to open door for dominant. Sub forgets. Dominant stands there waiting until realization dawns. This can be fairly effective. Doesn't work in all situations but is very low impact, high visibility way to deal with an "oops, I forgot."
Situation two: Sub has a standing instruction to swallow. He/she gags and can't but was clearly trying. This is an interesting situation. Clearly it is failure but not at the direct action of the sub. Standing in the corner might suffice. A dirty look from the Dominant might suffice, or in some situations even a spanking. It all depends on how the Dominant handles things like this and how the submissive reacts to correction. The submissive may need to feel a strong result from any failure and only be upset at being forgiven because they tried.
Situation three: Sub is to call. Sub just doesn't. Here we have something more serious. The Dom can't easily sanction this by just waiting for the call. The Dom isn't visible to the sub. This requires some reaction, even if there's good reason for it. (Let's use some common sense here. "I was mugged," or "I was in the Emergency Room all night with a sick child," is in a different category from, "I was too drunk to remember.") If the reason was one the Dominant finds quite understandable, something like standing in the corner for 5 minutes might be fine, a show of sanction without it being difficult. If the reason was non existant or clearly a show of inattention, something should be done. Cutting off contact for a day or a week? Using a cane on the sub when the normal level of pain is just a paddle. This is a situtation where having something that feels different and is only used for punishment never for a scene is handy.
Situation four: I knew a submissive woman who was not in the least masochistic. She enjoyed serving whether it was giving her owner head or getting him a glass of water. She got no pleasure from a spanking or any bondage except to the extent she pleased her owner. One time she let a scene she was involved in with him go on much too long and didn't use her safe word when it was clearly the time. Her owner was very upset with her at not doing what she'd been told, "Use your safe word in this situation," and endangering herself. He sent her to another dominant who showed her all of his toys (and extensive collection) and told her that if she was sent to him again, he said he'd keep her for the weekend and use most of them. He sent her back to her owner and she had a much strengthened view of safe words and when to use them.
Situation five: Submissive is ordered to kneel and not move. They are left for half an hour. While kneeling the house catches fire. The sub gets up and puts out the fire, saving the dominant's home, but disobeying.
I think the relationship and expectations come into play here. First, in any relationship, they did the right thing. For a bottom, just playing out part of a scene, I think you take them out to dinner and buy them a new toy.
For a Submissive, I think you thank them for their quick action and treat them very much like the bottom. If this happened to a sub I was sexual with, I might well give her a spanking (clearly as foreplay) and pretend I was upset, spanking her for moving, prior to fucking her senseless. A faux punishment which we both know isn't serious.
A slave, now that is different. For our purposes, I'm describing a slave as someone who accepts essentially anything the dominant/owner wants and literally thinks of themself as property. I put this situation to a woman who owned and trained slaves. She said she would praise the slave for his/her quick action and then beat her for disobeying. The slave is expected to both use his/her brain and at the same time to realize there is always a penalty for disobedience.
Many people will disagree with this last pronouncement. Fine. I pass it along to create a little thinking on different people's parts. Rules and punishment are very entwined and on top of all of it is the nature of the relationship the two people have.