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

Teach Your Puppy The Meaning Of No

"You can’t have what you want, when you want it!” I recently met with a client and her new puppy. Right now, the puppy, Daisy, is four months old and weighs 15 pounds.  I think that her adult weight will be at least 45 pounds. This is significant difference in weight also means a significant Read More

Wolf In A Dog

I am sick of seeing commercials, print ads and even suggestions made on pet food packaging itself, about caring for the wolf in your dog. There isn’t as much of the wolf in your dog, at least advertised. In fact, there is very little grey wolf in any domestic dog! Several studies, including one from PLOS Read More

Why ‘Dominance’ Shouldn’t Be a Dirty Word

It’s understandable that people in the dog training world get so agitated when the word “dominance” is mentioned, even when used in the right context. The idea of dominance in dogs has been so misunderstood by some trainers in popular media for so long that it has now become a dirty word, such that even when trainers and behavior experts use the word correctly, they risk a backlash from people that are – let’s face it - exhausted from having to continually reeducate the public about what dominance really is and what it isn’t, particularly when so much damage has been done because of the way the word has been used by some people in the dog training world.

Beyond the Fairy Tale

And they all lived happily ever after… I’m a sucker for those stories too. I love to see the heroes and heroines overcome adversity and wander off into the sunset for their fabulous forever. Sadly we all know that happy ever after is just a fairy tale ending to a fairy tale. Neither are real, Read More

The Fireworks Have Begun

The fireworks have begun, now what? Yes, I know you realize that by thinking in advance more might have been done to help your scared dog or cat. At this point, obviously anti-anxiety medication taking weeks to kick in won’t help. And it’s exceedingly unlikely that a gradual counter conditioning and desensitization program to the Read More

Isn’t It Amazing?

I firmly believe that any decent trainer is always learning – we should never feel we know ‘enough’, and I thoroughly enjoy being inspired, educated and challenged by our amazing roster of presenters at this conference year after year. It has developed into one of the most sought-after dog behaviour experiences available in the UK, and I’m incredibly honoured to be able to bring such a diverse, passionate, educated, engaged, and dog-literate group of people together in the name of better understanding our canine companions each June.

Are you teaching or testing?

They aren't the same thing. Testing MEASURES what the learner knows/ can do. Test: measure; check the quality, performance, or reliability of something; reveal ... capabilities by putting them under strain; evaluate the abilities, aptitudes, skills, or performance of an individual or group.  A test asks your dog the question; what can/ will you do right now in this situation? Read More

California May Ban Pet Store Dog and Cat Sales

California may be the first state to ban the sales of dogs and cats from pet stores. Lawmakers voted 44-6 to send the measure to the California state Senate. The bill from Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D-Long Beach), notes that he is aware of that no responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store, and that Read More

Lyme is Spreading in America

Lyme disease is spreading in America. In fact, veterinary parasitologists refer to Lyme and other tick diseases as an epidemic. FACT: In most places where Lyme has been, it’s more abundant. FACT: In geographic regions with minimal Lyme; they are now seeing the illness far more often as it continues to spread. And it gets Read More

Boundary Battlefields: Dogs, Yards and Walks

Every responsible dog parent who walks their dog(s) in their own neighborhood has a mental list of houses that they strive to avoid. Either because a dog is alone in a fenced in yard barking like a fiend or because a dog is often loose (and unsupervised) in an unfenced or Invisible “Fenced” yard. Either Read More

CIV At Dog Shows

It’s nothing to sneeze at, an outbreak of dog flu affecting at least 11 states. After inundating Chicago with flu and bouncing around the country in 2015 into 2016, the H3N2 virus, which arrived from Southeast Asia, took a lower profile. Last month, the virus appeared on radar, and in a big way. The epicenter Read More

Your new puppy – 9 steps to get it right from the start

“I wonder if I’ve done the wrong thing … Perhaps I’m not capable of looking after a dog.” I don’t know exactly what had caused such a devastating loss of confidence in what 30was clearly a capable individual. But Gwen voiced a sentiment I come across from time to time. Her family had left home Read More

Kindness Is Powerful Award Winners Announced!

After a months-long nomination period, we are honored to announce that the five winners of the inaugural Kindness Is Powerful Awards have been named. The Kindness Is Powerful Awards are granted to individuals doing heroes' work on a daily basis without regular recognition or praise on behalf of animals in the rescue world. Nominees were Read More

How to keep your dog happy and stress free whilst at a dog show

Family dog shows can be wonderful events to attend. They are great places to meet up with friends, spend time around lots of other dogs, show your own dog off and hopefully win some rosettes. Some dogs really enjoy these events and walk round the show ring with a relaxed body, bright eyes and a Read More

Letter From The Dog

Since when does “just a minute” only apply to humans? We dogs say it too, except when we do, you humans get angry. You let us off the rope thing to go run around and play and then you ask us to come back at the most inconvenient of times, just when we are having the best fun – playing with other dogs or chasing small fluffies. When we don’t respond, you get mad and tell us how bad we are, but apparently you don’t understand that when we hear our name, look back at you and then continue with our game, we’re also saying “just a minute”. By the way…..how long is a minute?

4 Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Your Dog

Today is Cinco de Mayo! This holiday is in recognition of the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. While not a holiday commonly associated with pets, if you are anything like me, you are always looking for an excuse to celebrate any holiday with your dog.