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

Starting out with your new puppy

You’ve been planning for months, and at last your new puppy is here! Your expectations are enormous: this is going to be the perfect dog you’ve always wanted. And maybe that’s right, and your little puppy will become your Brilliant Family Dog. But for many of us - and for many of our puppies - 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

Positively Dog Training Episode 710

Victoria and Holly ring in the new year with a special guest in studio and discussing several of the new projects and developments coming in 2018 in the Positively ecosystem.

Baby It Is Cold Outside

To some dogs, the weather outside may be frightful. Other dogs my delight to romp and play in snow and ice, and how can you blame them? After all, Malamutes and Siberian Huskies live for the snow and cold. On the other paw, Toy Poodles would hop on a plane to Hawaii if they could, Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 709

Special Boxing Day episode finds Victoria explaining what’s special about December 26th to Holly as well as a discussion about avalanche dogs and a new batch of Ask Victoria training questions. 

Positively Dog Training Episode 708

Victoria shares the gifts she’s celebrating this holiday season, including the success of the #LucysLaw campaign, California’s ban on pet store sales, and Australia’s first state to ban puppy mills. Also: dogs unhappy going into kennels, over-bonded pets, and how to create safe boundaries without fences.

Positively Dog Training Episode 707

K9 officer Shawn Humphreys talks with Victoria and Holly about the world of police dog training, its challenges, and the changes he’s noticing with his move towards more positive training. Also, new VSA course dates, how to find a licensed trainer as well as leash-walking and separation anxiety issues.

Positively Success Story: Kaylee

Our story is slightly different than others as I began positive training with my puppy from day one. Surf was 11 weeks old when we got him and my intention was to train him over time to be my service dog.

Consider the Source

Before I started my career as a dog trainer, I studied broadcast journalism in college. I remember one of my professors constantly repeating the phrase "consider the source." That phrase has stuck with me throughout the years, and I've found it to be quite relevant to my work as a trainer. 

Positively Dog Training Episode 706

The widespread outbreak of campylobacter infections due to poor practices on the part of Petland pet stores. A chat with Finding Shelter’s Grace Kelly Herbert in her fight against Amish puppy mills, the state of anti-puppy mill legislation, and how people can get involved locally to fight the puppy mill trade.

Positively Dog Training Episode 705

This episode brought to you by Zukes. Victoria and Holly talk about overweight pets, including Victoria’s ‘Fat Dogs’ specials on It’s Me or the Dog, as well as the struggle to keep weight off of pets. On the Positively Hotline, Victoria and Holly welcome the star of the recent Animal Planet show, ‘My Big Fat Read More

Talking Thresholds

Talking Thresholds When working with clients, dog trainers often refer to “thresholds”. This is a common term in behavior modification work when addressing anxiety, fear, aggression, and stress levels. It is also relevant in learning situations, such as a dog park, a group class or an agility seminar. What does it mean? “Threshold” refers to Read More

No Need to Declaw

Saving cats claws may also save their lives. There’s increasing data to demonstrate that once declawed, cats wind up at animal shelters due to behavioral problems. Or they may wind up in animal shelters because they do have their claws and are scratching in all the wrong places. To declaw remains an emotional issue, and Read More

Reality Check: Nine Things That Your Dog Wants You to Understand

Knowledge in all forms seems to wax and wane according to the dynamics of the times that we live in. This is consistent on all subjects but in particular, with dog behavior knowledge. We have come so far with an understanding of dog behavior and how to modify it, yet old school techniques and thought Read More

Positively Dog Training Episode 704

Why dogs and Halloween don’t mix, November’s pet awareness holidays, how to detect signs your dog is in pain. Also, consistency when paper training pups, mouthing puppies, constant barking, issues that come with adopting street dogs.

Your puppy is not a blank slate

Here’s why… Your puppy is a product of its parents’ genes. These provide the blueprint for appearance, temperament and behavior.  This is why a Jack Russell looks and acts like a Jack Russell, and a Labrador looks and acts like a Labrador.  If you want a dog that will look and act like a Labrador, you Read More

Pet store sales California

California has become the first state to ban the sales of dogs, cats, and rabbits at pet stores. Pet stores will be able to adopt dogs, cats, and rabbits from reputable shelters or rescues, however. Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 485 on Friday, October 13. The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act was authored by Assembly member Read More

Terrie Hayward-Puerto Rico

“Are the conditions in Puerto Rico as bad as we’ve heard and seen? Terrie Hayward, certified dog behavior consultant and dog trainer in Rincon doesn’t hesitate for a half a second. “Yes, it is – desperate.” Prior to Hurricanes Maria and Irma impacted pummeling the island, life wasn’t easy, as residents were dealing with serious Read More