Why Are Dogs Aggressive

Defining what aggression means is not easy, because there are so many variables associated with what is a highly complex behavior. But by investigating the function served by an aggressive act as well as why it occurs and what result it achieves from the dog’s point of view, we can begin to gain a better understanding.

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.

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

What is Arousal in Dogs and Why Should I Care?

A "Naughty But Nice" (NBN) dog is exactly how it sounds - they are nice, beautiful, lovable dogs underneath but sometimes they make bad choices! In fact, many of the things that NBN dogs do are often motivated by high arousal!

Why You Should Consider Adopting a Guinea Pig

Pet guinea pigs can bond as closely to their owners as cats and dogs. March is Adopt a Rescued Guinea Pig Month – so if you’re thinking of a new pet, why not consider rescuing a rodent in need?

How Well Do Our Dogs Understand Us? (Part 1 of 2)

So, how much do dogs know? Humans have lived side-by-side with dogs for thousands of years, yet even today this big question continues to baffle science – even as dogs have become family members.

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

Why I Sympathize With the Grooming Dog Trainer

This is not about dog training and behavior. This is about human sympathy. And a mission. And justice. A couple of days ago, I was forwarded a public YouTube video of a dog trainer working with a dog who had previously bitten and shown aggression, especially while being bathed and groomed. I'm writing this to express my sympathy for the trainer. I mean that without an ounce of insincerity – I truly feel bad for him and what he has gone through since the video of him working with that dog has gone viral.

Why is My Dog Growling?

Understandably we don’t like our dogs to growl and it can be embarrassing, but growling is GOOD. Growling tells us what our dog is feeling. Growling gives us the key to open the door to the dog’s emotions. When we know what he is feeling, we then know what to do about it. Colin is Read More

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.

Reality Check for Carers/Owners of Dogs with ‘Issues’

LOSING HEART Why do so many clients with fearful or reactive dogs, who often have started off so well, lose heart? The reason is because they just don’t fully accept the time and work that changing fear-based or guarding behaviors in particular can take. Teaching people is the easy bit. A large part of my Read More

When aggressive behavior does not mean an aggressive dog

Imagine sitting in study hall, cramming for your math final the next period. You’re focused. Determined. Then, the boy behind you starts smacking his gum. You need to learn these equations! You try to shut out the noise, but then he starts tapping your shoulder with his pen. You whirl around – it was an Read More

Aggressive Training Breeds Aggressive Dogs

A new study out of the UK sought to find the key factors that contribute to dog aggression. While breed-specific legislation and other discriminatory practices focus on the belief that a dog's breed is the primary factor that causes a dog to be aggressive, the results of this study point otherwise. Check out the top Read More

‘Red Zone’ Dogs

Positive training does not only work on small dogs with minor obedience issues – it is also by far the most effective way to treat severe anxiety and so called ‘red zone’ aggression cases. (The term ‘red zone’ has become synonymous when describing severely aggressive or reactive dogs.) On It’s Me or the Dog, her Read More

Why Should I Train My Dog?

People used to think that dog training was only about teaching dogs obedience commands, usually through the use of heavy-handed punishment-based techniques. It was viewed as somewhat of a luxury for pet parents and was often wrongly considered to be something so straightforward and simple to achieve that anyone could do it on their own without Read More

Why Positive Training Is Not Bribery

To truly comprehend why food is so powerful, you must first understand the influence it has on the dog’s brain. Food has the power to not only enhance a dog’s ability to learn but also helps a dog overcome fear or anxiety by raising the levels of dopamine in the brain and stimulating the desire to seek or move towards the food reward.

Why Most Families Should Not Breed Dogs

Breeding dogs for kids to witness the miracle of birth can backfire in many ways. In addition to contributing to pet overpopulation see what other unwanted messages it may unwittingly teach.

Why Dogs Bite Children: A Lesson in Preventing Dog Bites in Kids

This animation may seem shocking to some; however according to studies published in the journals American Surgeon and Pediatrics a majority of injuries in kids are to the neck and face. Furthermore dog bites are not uncommon. Nearly a million people—both adults and kids—are bitten badly enough to require a hospital visit. To some people Read More

Why BSL Doesn’t Work

I am a mother. I am also a dog owner and dog trainer who has committed my life to helping people find the most effective, humane and responsible way to live in harmony with their dogs while also affording them the respect they deserve. Over thousands of years, these beautiful creatures have gradually been domesticated Read More

Dogs that jump

I am fortunate to receive letters from dog owners all over the world. My show- ‘It’s Me or the Dog,’ has been broadcast in over twenty countries and fortunately the message of responsible ownership is also spreading to far off places such as Brazil, Dubai and Hong Kong. If I personally answered all the training questions I receive from dog owners I would be spending the next two years on my computer. I don’t have the luxury of time, so I will attempt to answer some frequently asked questions via this blog.

Resource Guarding

  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

Pack Theory Debunked

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

Fear Aggression

When a dog feels threatened by something, the first and safest option for the dog is to run away from the threat. This is called the 'flight response.' If the dog is unable to put sufficient distance between himself and the threat, the only other options left are to either submit in the hope the Read More

Dog/Human Aggression

Dog-to-human aggression can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially when there is an extensive history of aggressive behavior. Dog bites account for a large number of hospital admissions each year and cost insurance companies millions in claims. While most dogs live in harmony with their families, dogs of all breeds and breed mixes have the capacity 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

Tips For Decreasing Reactivity in a Competition Dog

In the competition sport of agility, there are many variables to manage. When I created a behavior modification program for my own dog, here were some of the things I considered to help set him up for success.

Don’t Do Me Wrong: Rescue Groups and Dog Behavior Knowledge

Cue the wistful music before starting the video rolling and many dog lovers just see what they want to see in a video making the internet rounds. When you accompany sweet music with an overlay of words meant to convey what you want people to see, as long as the opposite isn’t glaringly obvious to Read More

Is Your Dog Naughty But Nice?

A Naughty But Nice (NBN) dog is exactly how it sounds - they are nice, beautiful, loveable dogs underneath but sometimes they make bad choices! Over the following blog posts, i’ll share with you 5 tips to focus on in training, living with and enjoying your NBN dog.