Are you getting a new puppy? Make a plan before your puppy comes home!
Bringing a puppy into a fully planned system makes transition much easier.
Read more New Puppy Preparation
Every year after the Super Bowl I get an increasing number of phone calls from people with dogs with a new bite incident. While there is a lot of information about fireworks safety during the summer and food safety around the holidays, Super Bowl parties can be quite scary for dogs.
Read more Sideline Your Dog For The Super Bowl
A lot of my time is spent discussing how dogs should behave. Is barking good or bad or both? “How do I stop the bad barking, but still feel safe? After all, that’s why I got a dog in the first place,” is a frequent conundrum for dog owners. As a trainer, I’ve discovered that the gold standard for having a “trained” dog to have a dog that knows “sit,” “down,” and “stay.” These behaviors are considered “basic,” and most owners stop teaching new things once they’re learned.
Read more What Every Dog Should Know
Television has ruined our expectations. Bad guys get caught in the 46 minutes between commercials, houses get torn down and rebuilt, animals get rescued and make a complete recovery, and dogs get amazingly “cured,” all in between selling us insurance, soda and toilet paper. If you’ve ever tried to do any of the above, you know it takes much longer. It’s not just the time to physically do the task, but there’s planning, purchasing, and clean up as well; and that’s if everything goes right! Imagine my surprise when I planned an hour to replace a broken window and wound up with 7 stitches in my thumb. Change is messy and it takes time.
Read more Great Expectations
This week I started with a new client who has a goal to do Therapy Dog work with her young dog. She’d like to train a lot of calm behaviors so the dog can go into hospitals and schools and not knock things over, which is a wonderful goal! Unfortunately, she’s been berated by a few friends for training her dog. Her friends think “dogs should be dogs,” and to train them turns them into “robots” who just live to do the bidding of their owners. It took me a few days to really ponder this line of thinking. This is by no means a full list of my thoughts, but is a starting point for discussion. How much is too much training, and is there such a thing?
Read more Is it unfair to train your dog?
I received an email over the weekend asking if I teach “Basic Obedience” classes. In recent years, “basic” has come to slant more toward learned skills instead of learned behaviors. Traditionally, “Sit,” “Stay,” “Down” and “Heel,” were taught as first behaviors, and so became known as “Basic Obedience,” however, skills like “Settle on a Mat,” and “Watch me,” are much more useful in a variety of environments than the preprogrammed behaviors.
Read more What is “basic obedience”?
This week there have been a lot of conversations about rewards, timing of rewards, what types of rewards are effective, and how a lot of the answers to the above depend on how savvy the dog is. Intertwined in these conversations is always, “When can I stop using treats?” This question always vexes me. For those that use aversive training methods, no one ever asks, “When can I stop correcting and yanking?”
Read more When is a dog “trained”?
A lot of positive trainers train their own dogs using environmental cues. This means that the human goes about their business and the dog reads the context of the environment and behaves properly. Allowing dogs to think and pay attention, without the human needing to bark directions all the time, is a huge relief for the entire household.
Read more Dogs and Environmental Cues