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

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

The Hand That Feeds: There Are Better Options Than Hand Feeding

It used to be standard operating procedure for some dog professionals to advise new rescue dog parents to hand feed said dog in order to effectively create a bond. In some cases, it still is standard. It depends on who you ask. The same protocol is also suggested by some trainers for dogs who resource Read More

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Why Is My Dog Peeing On My Pillow? (Or Revenge Of The Turds)

Improper elimination in the home stirs up lots of emotion in humans. Bafflement, anger, frustration, are a few that come to mind. But for some, the explanation that comes to mind is revenge on the part of the dog. Once this explanation enters our thoughts, it becomes our nature to defend our view. We create stories around other events that seem to confirm our perspective and it can be very difficult to unlearn what we think we know.

Introducing An Older Dog To A Puppy

Preparation is key. Start by picking up any toys or chew items from common areas. Then decide where the puppy will be during rest times or times in which you cannot supervise. Depending on the size of the puppy, this can be a repurposed playpen or an ex-pen with a crate inside, or even a small room.

Can You Dig It?

Let's start with why dogs dig. Dogs belong to the family Canidae, which includes domestic dogs, fox, coyotes, wolves and a few others. What do they all have in common? Well, plenty, including digging as an innate behavior.

Tell It To My Heart: What Heart Dogs Mean To Us.

Heart dog. Say those two words to any dog lover and their eyes will go soft. They will look wistful. They will be fondly thinking of a dog they currently share their life with if they are lucky. If they are less than lucky, there will tears in their eyes. They will be thinking of Read More

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.

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