There is no lack of division in the dog world; training methodologies, training tools, cropping and docking, spaying and neutering are but a few potentially explosive topics. Complementary therapies however, are way up on the list of hot buttons to discuss. One person mentions something that even *might* fall into that category and everyone else Read More
If you're thinking about adding a deaf dog to the family, or you already have, you will find that there is very limited information on the internet for you. A lot of it is conflicting and confusing. One site will tell you something, and another will say the complete opposite. So what is true and what is false?
Recently I had a friend ask me, "What is wrong with that dog, why is he in rescue?". I couldn't help but feel disappointed and shocked at the same time. I think this is a fairly common assumption with people regarding animal rescues and many may have questions about what exactly a rescue does. But the assumption Read More
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.
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
What’s the real reason so many people won’t adopt rescue dogs, and what happens when fosters or adoptions don’t go well? Also, a discussion about ‘foster failures’, bullied dogs, dogs that don’t like kids, dogs that lean on guests, and dogs that won’t potty outside.
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.
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.
Should you be concerned about toxoplasmosis in your cat? Steve Dale debunks common myths about the disease and where the real concerns lie.
Breed bans do nothing to enhance public safety; they ignore the real reasons why dogs of any breed attack. So where there are breed restrictions and bans – bites happen anyway.
Those of us who help modify dog behavior for a living have to try and not see things during the course of our daily life.
Every dog and every breed or mix of breeds come with their fair share of stereotypes. When you take on a dog, you take on their stereotypes. It's up to you whether or not you dispel them.
It’s Because of You that We Need to Drink For some pretty obvious reasons, living with a deaf dog is different than living with a hearing dog. Communication is an important example. Humans instinctively depend on our voice to communicate but since our deaf dogs can’t hear us, we forge ahead and learn to use Read More
Cats and their guardians are often the subjects of untrue stereotypes. Here are some experts to set the record straight on why you should consider adopting a cat.
There is no quicker way to cause an internet fight than to ask a dog behavior question on a board comprised of regular dog parents. The responses will range from the absurd to the dangerous.
Why is it that our pet dogs are struggling more than ever to cope in our domestic world? Resource guarding, leash aggression, aggression towards other animals, and aggression towards people are some of the most common aggression examples that dog trainers see on a daily basis.
I was saddened, but not surprised, to hear the story of a mall Santa turning away an autistic child because he was afraid of her service dog, a pit bull. Abcde Santos and her service dog, Pup-cake, waited in line for over half an hour for a chance to meet Santa. Children on the autism Read More
I was forwarded an article which basically claimed that while positive reinforcement was a nice tool for training nice pups, it was not a strong enough or effective enough tool to deal with aggression or so-called 'red zone' dogs. It is time once and for all to put an end to this myth, especially when the arguments being used to support it are so painfully inaccurate and the supposed claims are so completely at odds with what behavioral science has already proven to us time and time again.
Some trainers (or television personalities) will tell you that you can teach your dog that your 6 year old is a “Pack Leader”. For the love of kibbles and bits! It’s good to help your child learn to give cues to the dog. Teaching a simple hand signal for sit is a great way for Read More
In celebration of the newly relaunched Positively.com website, Victoria is giving away free products to one lucky winner every day for the next two weeks!
Resource guarding is when a dog controls access to food, objects, people and locations that are important to him through defensive body language or overt aggressive display. This is a relatively common canine behavior and is influenced by a number of environmental and situational stimuli, including a dog’s natural instinct to survive. The dog Read More
With the amount of fear mongering that exists currently regarding pit bull-type dogs, I feel it's important to publish the truth about these dogs. Although most dogs labeled as pit bulls are actually a mix of different breeds with similar physical characteristics, anything that has the appearance of an American Pitbull Terrier is incorrectly labeled as Read More
Do you really need to be the 'Pack Leader' to your dogs? First of all, that is impossible, since your dogs know perfectly well that you are not, in fact, a dog. But even if you were, the whole concept of 'pack leadership' in domestic dogs as it is commonly understood has long been dismissed Read More
There is a fierce debate raging in the dog training world between traditional dominance and punishment-based trainers and the positive training movement. Common Dog Training Myths: There is more than one way to train a dog. Positive training methods don’t work on 'red zone' dogs. Dogs only 'respect' leaders who assert their 'dominance.' Positive trainers Read More
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
Positive reinforcement in dog training can go by many names, most of which are valid and worthy: reward-based training, science-based training, force-free or pain-free training, etc. Regardless of the terminology, the general theory behind this line of thinking remains the same. So what exactly is positive reinforcement? If you give your dog a reward (praise, Read More
Positive training is not a scientific term. You will not find it in any scientific journals, and you will regularly hear it being mischaracterized by those who do not fully understand it. When we at Positively refer to the power of positive training or you hear Victoria describe herself as a positive trainer, we are Read More
Over the years I’ve written and talked about breed-specific legislation. I am a passionate owner of two pit-bull-type dogs, and I’ve taken every opportunity to write about the myths and misconceptions about the breed and the benefits of breed-neutral laws. But it was always from a theoretical perspective. Then, on March 24, an unspeakable tragedy Read More
Whether or not to have a dog spayed (removing the ovaries and uterus) or neutered (removing the testicles) is an important decision you must make with the help of your veterinarian and the collective advice of other animal care professionals. There are many different opinions when it comes to spaying and neutering, and some people Read More
Why should you consider a dog from a shelter? Dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. People who do not spay/neuter their pets may have unwanted litters, sometimes a dog’s owner becomes too sick to care for their animals, and far to often people are not willing to take the time to Read More
Every dog has their own set of personality traits that make them unique, so you cannot predict a dog’s behavior solely on its breed type. There are many myths surrounding bully breed dogs or 'bullies,' that instill fear in the general public and can cause devastating misunderstandings. Bully breed dogs, such as pit bull type Read More
The power of positive training is undeniable both in terms of scientific proof and when considering the countless dog owners who have contacted Victoria and many other positive trainers over the years to express their relief that they discovered positive training. Both for their own and for their dogs' well being, many people may have Read More
When considering where to get a new dog to add to your family, you should certainly consider adopting a dog from a shelter. Dogs end up in shelters for a variety of reasons. People who do not spay/neuter their pets may have unwanted litters, sometimes a dog’s owner becomes too sick to care for their Read More
The wonderful thing about positive training is that when used correctly and at the beginning of a dog’s life, it can prevent all kinds of common behavioral problems from ever developing. If you are about to bring home a new puppy, you have the opportunity to get started on the right track by utilizing positive Read More
A puppy needs a good learning foundation in order to be a confident adult. But learning is more than just teaching your puppy basic cues such as sit and stay. The most important aspect of the learning process is to introduce your puppy to the environments and situations she is likely to experience throughout her Read More
It is very normal for dogs to be scared of children or one particular child, especially if they have not been raised with children or have been teased by them in the past. Even one experience can create an aversion or fear that is hard to erase and this causes all kinds of issues, especially Read More
Leash lunging, leash reactivity and leash aggression are all behaviors that are caused by a dog feeling restrained, frustrated and uncomfortable in a social situation while attached to a leash. In normal circumstances, an unleashed dog would be able to put sufficient distance between himself and a fear source. But if the same dog is Read More
Aggression in dogs is a massive issue. From dog bite prevention and public safety to the pet overpopulation problem due to over-capacity animal shelters, aggression is a leading cause of many of the major problems in the dog world. Dogs aggress under many different circumstances from leash reactivity to territorial issues, and aggression can be Read More
It is common for puppies to lose control of their urination at a young age when they are either really excited or slightly nervous. When they pee due to temporary overstimulation (such as an owner returning home or during particularly rambunctious play), this is called 'excitable urination.' Similarly, when the puppy experiences an instinctive fear Read More