Is Punishment Really a Quick Fix?

I’ve just gotten off the phone with a distressed dog owner. His year-old beagle has recently taken to barking at other dogs and people on walks, and has a long-standing habit of barking in the yard when left alone. After a bit of discussion, the man divulged that the dog had been wearing a shock Read More

Q&A: How Do I Stop My Dog’s Fixation on Our Guinea Pigs?

Q: I accidentally caught your radio show and enjoyed it thoroughly. As a psychologist, I am interested in behavior issues, and have an interesting question for you. Molly, our 13-year old Golden Retriever, is infatuated with the two Guinea pigs, who my son recently purchased. She’s so obsessed; we need to distract her to get her to eat. What’s this behavior about? Does she want to mother them? J. F., Chattanooga, TN

Progressive Zoos Don’t Use Punishment. Why Should You?

This series of blog posts recounts topics drawn from the Pet Professional Guild Radio Show, featuring Linda Michaels. Question: What are some of the benefits of using Positive Reinforcement (+R)? Answer: The benefits of using Positive Reinforcement training with our companion animals are pretty much the opposite of the drawbacks of using aversive punishment. Goodness, today, all progressive Read More

Does Your Dog Really Love That Activity?

There is perhaps no greater experience than participating in an activity with your dog that satisfies you both. The bonding experience created is unparalleled.

Can You Really Trust Your Dog Trainer?

A common theme I've heard from pet parents who fell victim to "bad egg" dog trainers is that they all had a feeling that something wasn't right. But they trusted their trainer (they were a professional after all, right?), and assumed they knew what they were doing.

Forcing Hugs on Dogs Can Amount to Punishment

When we hug our dogs we are sending out our affection and sharing our love. What we are giving out isn’t necessarily what the dog is receiving. To a dog, a hug is very bad canine etiquette, pushy behavior associated with establishing social status, an invasion of space, threatening.

If Your Dog Could Talk: Reward vs Punishment Dog Training

There's a raging controversy in the field of dog training centered around dog training collars and methods--Reinforcement vs Correction and Treats vs No Treats. What's a pet parent to do? If your dog could talk, your dog would surely ask you to listen to the experts in animal behavior. As it turns out, it’s scientifically Read More

What Our Pets Are Really Saying…

Ever wonder what dogs are saying to each other while they chill out in the laundry room? Or our cats when they tire of the scratching post.  How about why lizards lie around on rocks all day? I think these videos from Pets Add Life really hit the nail on the head. Of course, I'm Read More

Does having a bigger brain really mean your dog is smarter?

New study says that dogs have bigger brains relative to their body compared to cats. But does that mean that dogs are actually smarter? Or that cats are dumb? The study published by researchers at Oxford University charted the evolution of mammal brains over the last 60 million years. They scientists found that mammals such Read More

The Problem with Punishment

Training is a critical component of our relationship with dogs. Training isn’t about teaching dogs to do tricks for our amusement or about bending them to our will; it’s about enhancing communication between species and assuring good outcomes for everybody. And it’s another way to enhance the human-animal bond, and the particularly special relationship we Read More

Clarifying Permanence of Punishment

You have likely heard the word suppression used to describe the effects of punishment on the target behavior. You may also have heard some people scoff at this word because they believe punishment can permanently eliminate a behavior. I'd like to clarify that a bit.

Punishment

Hello everyone, it’s so nice to have been asked to blog for Victoria’s site. I have watched her show often and thoroughly approve of her training methods.  Positive training is the right way to go and, as you can see on the show, allows you to train a dog to do practically anything without resorting Read More

Choke and Prong Collars

Choke and prong collars are still extremely popular with many dog owners. They are generally made of metal chain material which tightens around a dog’s neck when the handler pulls or jerks back on the leash. Aversive trainers will often use choke and prong collars to perform 'corrections', essentially causing the dog pain any time Read More

Positive vs Punitive

If you treat fire with fire, you will get burned. This concept is not rocket science, but it is still science. A study published in the Journal of Applied Animal Behavior concluded that confrontational training methods such as hitting dogs, intimidating them with punitive force and using techniques of restraint like the 'alpha roll' actually Read More

Delta Airlines Bans Pitbulls

Delta Airlines is banning service or comfort dogs identified as pit bulls. According to Delta’s own website: Delta, which led the industry in March by updating its service and support animal policy, says it will further enhance its restrictions, effective July 10. The enhancements include introducing a limit of one emotional support animal per customer per Read More

Food Issues

Follow a positive trainer around for a few days and you will quickly come to realize that we humans have food issues. Of course he is doing what you ask. You have food in your hand! (As in, I am paying you for this?) You’re sure giving a lot of treats. (Usually said in a Read More

Fourth of July and Fireworks

It’s not that dogs aren’t patriotic, but many dogs, and also some cats are terrified of the loud and sudden bangs we call fireworks. It’s actually adaptive to be hard-wired to be afraid of sudden loud sounds. We jump at such surprising sounds, and we might also run the other way or hide if we Read More

From Fearful to Fear Free

Does it surprise you to know that too much fear, anxiety or stress can cause health problems in dogs? Some dogs are terrorized frequently, such as attending inappropriate aversive dog training classes, or even a sick dog who needs to see the veterinarian frequently. Some caretakers have no clue their dog is even fearful. “From Read More

The Importance of Remembering That You Are Only Human

Through my work as a trainer and behaviour consultant I work with a lot of dogs. I also work with lots of humans, more humans than dogs, as most dogs have several humans in their lives. I have spent time sharpening my people skills and feel that I do a good job of making people Read More

DogTV Launches Season 2 of Adoption Show

By partnering with over 100 animal shelters throughout the United States, the Adoption Show promotes pet adoption and showcases adoptable dogs in various locations around the country.

Introducing Positively TV – The Official Channel for Dog Lovers

The future of dog videos online has arrived! Positively TV – Victoria Stilwell’s exciting new premium subscription video-on-demand service – has officially launched and is available worldwide. Positively TV is a new subscriber-based platform which contains the entire library of Victoria’s Positively video content plus exclusive new videos that will be released only to subscribers Read More

Growth Mindsets in Dog Training

In some of my other worlds, parenting and school teaching, the idea of Growth vs Fixed Mindsets has taken off. You can read more here, but in a nutshell, you avoid labeling children as smart or not smart. You look for and acknowledge behaviours like effort, persistence, thoughtful choices, small steps taken and achieved; and Read More

Protecting Pets Against Coyotes

As the urbanization sprawls reach into places with wildlife, confrontations are more numerous, from skunk to coyotes to moose. Sometimes these confrontations may be potentially dangerous to us, but more often potentially dangerous to companion animals – unless we make a few easy adjustments. Arguably the most successful of all non-bird species is the coyote. Read More

Dogs and Wolves 14,000 Years Ago

The line that dogs have gone from the dog house into our house isn’t exactly true. Dogs have not only shared our homes, but our sleeping quarters for a very long time, around 14,000 years to be exact. The human-animal bond isn’t a new thing. It turns out that 14,000 years ago we were buried Read More

Owner or enthusiast?

I have a car. I love my car and I look after it well. I drive it carefully, clean it, get it serviced regularly and always enjoy looking at it and driving it. The thing is…I really know very little about how it works. I can check the water and oil and top them up. Read More

Where You Lead, I Will Follow

Be a leader. Not a phrase that you would expect to be uttered by a positive dog trainer, right? We spend so much time preaching about how to listen to your dog, give your dog choices, respect who your dog is, that it’s unexpected that I should be talking about leadership. It’s the elephant in Read More

Delta Airlines on Airplane Animals

Limiting animals allowed on airplanes. This was bound to happen and has begun with Delta Airlines because so many people are taking advantage of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding service animals. The law is a bit ambiguous because when the ADA was created the terms comfort animal or emotional support animal (ESA) Read More