Change Happens

Once upon a time, I was contemptuous of positive trainers. Not because I knew anything about positive training, mind you. At the time, I had two Siberian huskies, both ma...

Change is hard.

The internet is full of simple recipes to follow to help people change their dog’s behavior. However, as the great trainer Bob Bailey says, “Simple is not easy.” “No plan survives an audience.” When you accurately follow instructions with technology it usually performs as expected. Living creatures aren’t like that. You know what ‘should’ work Read More

How To Change How A Dog Feels About Scary Stuff: Step Two

Many dogs are constantly scared and startled by objects or events in their environment. Sometimes we have control over those things, often we don’t, but we can still help the dog learn to feel better, safer and more comfortable, around them.

Orca Whales and Pig-Killing Dogs: When Will the Madness Stop?

How can one expect the suits, whose business it is to look for ratings or financial success for their company, to stand up for the animals they're responsible for and take note of the thousands of voices that are telling them that what they are supporting is so wrong?

Shocking Answers to Shocking Questions

After an article about the use of shock collars in dog training appears, the same questions inevitably come up. Usually, the person asking the question is not really seeking an answer. Instead, they are posing the question as a rebuttal to our position, which is that shock has no place in dog training. Here are a few of the actual questions we receive, edited for clarity, with answers.

Indoor Cats Vs Outdoor Cats

If cats are likely to live longer and healthier lives indoors – why are we still allowing them outdoors? Surprise, living indoors – though – has shortcomings too. Sixty years ago, indoors vs. outdoors wasn’t an issue. Most cats could come and go as they pleased. It wasn’t welfare issues that changed their world, encouraging Read More

To Walk or Not To Walk

To Walk, or Not To Walk – It’s Not Even A Question Is It? All responsible dog owners walk their dogs once/twice/for two hours/three hours/45 minutes… per day. Everyone knows this, it’s what responsible owners do. But have we sometimes lost track of what purpose a walk actually fulfills – I think we frequently have. Read More

Consent: It’s Not Just for People!

Consent is a right of every living being. We expect to be asked prior to being touched. But we give consent to strangers to touch our dogs without asking the dog.

Rescuers or Fanatics? The Dark Side of Animal Rescue

Say the phrase "animal rescue" in any given circle of people and watch for a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes will light up with hope and delight and others will start backing away with narrowing eyes, faces drawn with suspicion. The latter is unfortunate, but the truth cannot be denied that some of the Read More

2017 UK Dog Bite Prevention & Behaviour Conference

Registration is now open for the fourth annual UK Dog Bite Prevention and Behaviour Conference which will be held on the south London campus of Kingston University on June 24-25, 2017. Now in its fourth year, this annual gathering of the leading minds in the animal world has become the UK’s preeminent dog training and behaviour-related Read More

7 Things Reactive Dog Owners Want You to Know

If reactive dog owners come off as crazy, understand it's only because we've got a lot on our minds. Here's what we'd like you to know about reactive dog owners before you meet us.

5 Healthy Habits for Reactive Dogs and Their Owners

Sometimes owning a reactive dog is just plain hard. The idea of getting up and taking a walk in the mornings, when I know I might end up with a whirling dervish instead of a dog at the end of my leash, makes me want to stay home under the covers, safe in bed. However, Read More

Don’t Do Me Wrong: Rescue Groups and Dog Behavior Knowledge

Cue the wistful music before starting the video rolling and many dog lovers just see what they want to see in a video making the internet rounds. When you accompany sweet music with an overlay of words meant to convey what you want people to see, as long as the opposite isn’t glaringly obvious to Read More

“Why Can’t My Dog Be Normal?”

It may seem sometimes like everyone else has a “normal” dog while you struggle to make minute changes towards the better with your own. How can we cope?

You Can’t Duct From Social Media!

The best twist that came out of this whole situation was a young man who photographed his Rottweiler being offered a peanut butter stuffed bone, with the caption that “this is what happens when you won’t shut up”. Win/win for both sides of the equation.

The Many Gifts of Sharing Your Home with a Dog

Pet parents often don’t realize that effective dog training can be very hard work, and that behavior change in their dog will only come after behavior change in themselves. Doing anything well isn’t usually easy.

When Clients Get Comfortable

What I have learned over the years is that it often takes a really long time for a new behavior to become a habit. And sometimes it’s difficult for a dog training client to change their own habits to support their dog's new behaviors.

On Grieving a Dog You Rescued

There are few things that compare to the heartbreak of losing a dog. But what happens when it's not "your" dog, but rather a dog you saved from death days, months, or years ago?

7 Ways to Keep Pet Adoption Events Safe

Adoption events save lives. They're usually the driving force behind rescue groups and animal shelters reaching the community and finding adopters. But while they are great for finding new homes, adoption events can be very difficult for dogs.

Can (and Should) Every Dog Be Saved?

Many perfectly wonderful dogs with lovely temperaments are being euthanized regularly for space while extremists spend time battling online about why one dog that mauled a child should get another chance.

Mourning a Dog

Anyone who loves or has loved a dog fiercely understands the intense loss when a person's dog passes away.We love fiercely and completely and we need to view that as enough and not feel regrets for what we might have done differently to have our dogs in our lives longer. Dog’s lives are precious but they are far too brief and grief is the price that we pay to have so much happiness in our lives.

A Dog Died Today. Because of a Trainer.

Or trainers. I can't clearly put this in any one person's lap. Let's back up and see where we are. First off, I am not going to identify the trainer(s), the dog, or the family. My purpose is not to belittle or attack anyone. Instead I want this to be a learning experience for other trainers and a warning to owners.

Canine Noise Phobia Series

The Canine Noise Phobia Series (CNP) is a 4-CD compilation of specialized audio recordings and innovative training protocols specifically designed to reduce and prevent noise phobias and anxiety in dogs. “In my work as a dog trainer both on TV and in private practice over the past 15 years, I have seen countless dogs suffer Read More

Music for Dogs

It has become somewhat common for dog owners to leave music or TV's on when they leave the house in the hopes that the constant sound will help soothe their lonely pets. While the intention behind this technique is noble, behavioral science has now uncovered enough about the way our dogs process sounds to know Read More

Using Food in Training

Successful positive training relies in large part on determining exactly what motivates your dog the most. While each dog is different and some may be turned on by praise, play, toys, or life rewards like going for walk, very often food is that primary motivating force and can be a powerful tool for shaping new Read More

Can a Veterinarian Treat His Own Pet?

We veterinarians are very familiar with the process of guiding our clients through the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses as a daily event in our veterinary practices. Yet, what happens when a veterinarian’s animal becomes sick? Do we choose to manage the case by ourselves or do we defer to others out of our lack Read More

Puppy Socialization

Puppies are likely to experience emotional changes as they grow, so providing them with a good learning foundation makes it easier to deal with any challenges they might encounter. Investing time at the beginning of a puppy’s life allows that puppy to become a confident and well-adjusted adult and while most dogs cope well living Read More

Noise Phobias

Noise phobia is very common in dogs and may be triggered by a single experience or prolonged exposure to sounds that overwhelm the dog, causing anxiety, stress and fear. Sounds and experiences which may develop into phobias for dogs range from thunderstorm and fireworks to the sound of a baby crying. Regardless of the type Read More

Stress

Pet dogs are impressively adaptive. Coping with new environments and situations is a product of domestication, and most dogs do extremely well adapting to the pressures of domestic life. There are some dogs, however, that find it hard to adjust, and consequently live in a constant state of stress, making life difficult for them and Read More

Blackfish

There is overwhelming evidence that keeping animals such as whales and dolphins in captivity for human enjoyment is psychologically and physically damaging for them. Sure it brings them closer to us and allows us to learn more about them both for our own education and for behavioral research but at great expense to their well being. Keeping an Orca whale or a dolphin in a Seaworld pool is akin to keeping it in a bathtub for the whole of its life and that goes for dolphins and manatees in other aquariums in the USA and around the world.