Author Archives: Debby McMullen

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Positively Expert: Debby McMullen

Debby is a certified behavior consultant and the author of the How Many Dogs? Using Positive Reinforcement Training to Manage a Multiple Dog Household. She also owns Pawsitive Reactions, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA.


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

Posted on: November 10, 2017 - No Comments

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

It Pays to be Complementary! Dispelling Myths About Those who use Complementary Therapies

Posted on: July 28, 2017 - No Comments

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

Boundary Battlefields: Dogs, Yards and Walks

Posted on: June 12, 2017 - No Comments

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

Consent: It’s Not Just for People!

Posted on: February 7, 2017 - 1 Comment

Consent is a right of every living being. We expect to be asked prior to being touched. But we give consent to strangers to touch our dogs without asking the dog.

Groundhog Day: Why Client Compliance is Important to Dog Trainers

Posted on: January 3, 2017 - No Comments

As a dog trainer, what I can do is teach you how to set your dog up so that the right choice becomes more obvious and comfortable to him. What I need for this is your help.

Rescuers or Fanatics? The Dark Side of Animal Rescue

Posted on: October 17, 2016 - 13 Comments

Say the phrase "animal rescue" in any given circle of people and watch for a variety of reactions. Some people’s eyes will light up with hope and delight and others will start backing away with narrowing eyes, faces drawn with suspicion. The latter is unfortunate, but the truth cannot be denied that some of the Read More

A False Sense of Security: No Official Oversight in the Pet Industry

Posted on: September 30, 2016 - 2 Comments

Without official regulations as well as professional oversight & a sad lack of requirements for well documented modern dog behavior knowledge, there is a risk.

Nine Things That Dog Trainers Want You to Know [Part 2]

Posted on: September 8, 2016 - 4 Comments

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.

Seven Things That Dog Trainers Want You To Know

Posted on: July 25, 2016 - 3 Comments

Those of us who work professionally with dog behavior cannot turn off our skills. Sometimes the things that we see make us twitch and want to intervene.

Striving for Fear-Free Interactions in All Dog Care Fields

Posted on: June 21, 2016 - No Comments

Every dog behavior professional keeps a mental list of other dog care professionals such as dog walkers, pet sitters, boarding facilities, groomers, etc. that meet their own personal care standards. Those standards will likely mirror their own philosophy of how dogs should be treated. Those who practice behavior modification with modern scientific-based methods in their Read More

Safety First: Why Spatial Issues Can Create Reactivity

Posted on: April 29, 2016 - No Comments

We humans don’t often allow dogs to have a say in how much they interact with other sentient beings. We force interactions onto them on a daily basis.

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

Posted on: March 8, 2016 - 3 Comments

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

Choices: Do You Offer Them to Your Dog?

Posted on: February 3, 2016 - 11 Comments

As a society, humans revel in their ability to make choices. We make them every day, many times a day. Cream or sugar or both? Hot or iced? Shower or bath? Do you want fries with that? Walk this path or hike that trail? TV or book? Cable or Netflix? We decide what time we Read More

The Great Debate: To Leash or Not To Leash.

Posted on: January 18, 2016 - 9 Comments

Some subjects are such hot buttons that it’s such a guaranteed argument to mention them. Religion, politics and the ever popular on/off leash are way up there.

You Can’t Duct From Social Media!

Posted on: December 17, 2015 - 1 Comment

The best twist that came out of this whole situation was a young man who photographed his Rottweiler being offered a peanut butter stuffed bone, with the caption that “this is what happens when you won’t shut up”. Win/win for both sides of the equation.

The Trails Are Calling You and Your Dog

Posted on: November 16, 2015 - No Comments

Hiking is not only good physical exercise for your dog, it’s a great mental stimulation experience as well. It’s also a really fabulous bonding experience.

We Are Not Who You Think We Are

Posted on: November 2, 2015 - No Comments

We ARE just like you. Our dogs are not monsters. They are just dogs, just like any other dogs. Just like people are all individuals, so are dogs.

Walks Are Part of How Your Dog Connects With The Outside World

Posted on: October 5, 2015 - 2 Comments

If you are stuck in your own home for who knows how long, you'd likely go stir crazy pretty quickly. Yet so many people expect this exact scenario for their dogs.

The Bloodstained Terrible Towel

Posted on: September 10, 2015 - 35 Comments

This was not the kind of behavior that our beloved Steeler organization would support. This is not the value system that we expect from the Rooney family.

“He Never Does That!”

Posted on: August 25, 2015 - No Comments

Any additions and changes to a routine can add a layer of stress that creates a reaction that is not typical of the dog in question.

My Breed is “Special”

Posted on: July 28, 2015 - 5 Comments

Breed traits are important. But these breed traits certainly don’t mean that only a very small segment of society should parent those particular breeds.

“How Do I MAKE Him Do What I Say?”

Posted on: July 6, 2015 - No Comments

How do you feel about someone who MAKES you do anything? Warm and loving or resentful and wary? Which way would you prefer that your dog feel about you?

Does Your Dog Really Love That Activity?

Posted on: June 19, 2015 - 9 Comments

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 (and Should) Every Dog Be Saved?

Posted on: May 18, 2015 - 44 Comments

Many perfectly wonderful dogs with lovely temperaments are being euthanized regularly for space while extremists spend time battling online about why one dog that mauled a child should get another chance.

Mourning a Dog

Posted on: May 4, 2015 - 17 Comments

Anyone who loves or has loved a dog fiercely understands the intense loss when a person's dog passes away.We love fiercely and completely and we need to view that as enough and not feel regrets for what we might have done differently to have our dogs in our lives longer. Dog’s lives are precious but they are far too brief and grief is the price that we pay to have so much happiness in our lives.

Show Your Animal Control Officer Some Love

Posted on: April 13, 2015 - No Comments

Depending on what geographical location you are in, you may or may not think highly of your local Animal Control Officer.

Everyone is an Expert These Days!

Posted on: March 17, 2015 - 9 Comments

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.