Author Archives: Linda Michaels, MA

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Positively Expert: Linda Michaels, MA

Linda Michaels is a VSPDT trainer, dog training columnist, and owner of Dog Psychologist On Call in Del Mar, CA. Linda holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology with research experience in Behavioral Neurobiology. She is a Behavioral Advisor for the Wolf Education Project (WEP) in Julian, CA and Art for Barks in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.


Love is An Action Word

Posted on: February 10, 2016 - No Comments

Make a pledge this year to not only tweak you dog’s diet and exercise activities but to use dog-friendly leash-walking equipment and training methods.

Progressive Zoos Don’t Use Punishment. Why Should You?

Posted on: August 31, 2015 - 1 Comment

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

Teaching Emergency Recall: You Don’t Need a Shock Collar

Posted on: June 25, 2015 - 2 Comments

The science behind why training an emergency recall with P+ (punishment such as a shock collar) is never preferable to using R+ (reinforcement, such as a treat or affection).

When and How to Train Your Puppy or New Rescue

Posted on: August 25, 2014 - No Comments

Q. What are some of the benefits of training my dog? A. Training makes home life more manageable and fun for you and your dog. Next to basic health care, it’s the most important thing you can do for your pup. Best of all, training the dog you love is one of the best ways Read More

Dog Beach and Park Summer Safety Tips

Posted on: July 18, 2014 - No Comments

Who can resist getting your pup and family outdoors to catch the surf and rays and get some exercise this summer? Dog beach and dog parks can be wonderful places to exercise and play with your dog, however, they come with some built-in caveats as well. Make the right decisions at the right time for Read More

Top 10 New Year Do’s and Dont’s

Posted on: January 3, 2014 - 1 Comment

If you're adopting a dog this new year or choosing a puppy, think carefully about how you will select, socialize and train the new addition to the family.                                                       Read More

Jingle Dogs — Top 10 Gifts

Posted on: December 9, 2013 - 4 Comments

Top 10 “Thank You” Gifts for your Jingle Dog. Our precious pups bring such joy to our lives and deliver unconditional love all year long. Consider saying “Thank You” with gifts that keep on giving throughout the year. Some of these may make you smile-- all of them will make your dog smile.   Adopt Read More

Holiday Smells: The Nose Knows

Posted on: November 12, 2013 - 1 Comment

Holiday Smells: The Nose Knows!    The aromatic heralds of the holiday season are coming to your dog's home soon; roasted chestnuts, eggnog lattes, cranberry sauce, hot pumpkin-spice pie, gingerbread cookies and turkey, scented candles and pine tress. Yum! Pet parents often believe dogs can learn to see things from the human point of view. However, Read More

Separation Anxiety? What You Can Do

Posted on: October 3, 2013 - 9 Comments

Separation Anxiety? What You Can Do. Dogs are social creatures and can over-attach to a pet parent or canine housemate and become habituated to continual contact. When left alone these dogs may experience what is akin to a panic attack in humans. A well-structured change in routine may break the cycle of anxiety if practiced Read More

Victoria Stilwell Book Review: The Pet Professionals Guild.

Posted on: August 17, 2013 - No Comments

Victoria Stilwell Book Review: The Pet Professionals Guild. Victoria Stilwell, star of the hit Animal Planet TV show, It's Me or the Dog, and CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training, unleashes the power of Positive Reinforcment training with her new book, Train Your Dog Positively (TYDP). Stilwell, the passionately vocal dog training expert, delivers Read More

Snake Avoidance-Making Wise Choices

Posted on: July 3, 2013 - 23 Comments

How can you keep your dog from being bitten by a venomous snake? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer and there are no guarantees. Seal Your Yard Neither your family nor your dog is safe from venomous snakes. Many snake bites to dogs occur on their own property. Remove food sources, such as: rodents, mice, Read More

The Grazing Game

Posted on: May 31, 2013 - 5 Comments

The Grazing Game Can Change Behavior and Emotions.The easiest, scientifically endorsed methods to train and socialize your dog involve food. If we couldn’t go to the grocery store and bring home bags of groceries, we would be asking, “Who’s got the food? What can I do for the people who have the food!” Use your Read More

Meet Wolfdog Journey!

Posted on: April 5, 2013 - 8 Comments

If the thought of interacting with a wolflike creature makes your heart leap, meet wolfdog Journey, A cross of a wolf and a domestic dog several generations removed, Journey was selectively bred for social-butterfly abilities and wolflike appearance.

Finding a Good Dog Trainer

Posted on: February 17, 2013 - 5 Comments

FINDING A GOOD TRAINER One of the most important decisions you will make in paving a path to happiness with your pet is choosing a competent and kind dog trainer. The absence of standard credentials required by law, or established professional ethics, makes it problematic for pet parents to find a great trainer in an unregulated field. However, Read More

Wise Food Choices

Posted on: January 31, 2013 - 5 Comments

Wise Food Choices. What’s more important to your dog than food? Chances are, not much. The experts do not agree about nutrition, however, Dr. Doug Knueven, veterinary lecturer on dog nutrition, tells us that poor diet is the biggest obstacle to achieving canine health: Many illnesses, skin, and behavioral problems are directly affected by diet. Read More

Gifts That Last All Year

Posted on: January 6, 2013 - No Comments

Reward your dog for all the joy and love you get all year! Say "Thank You" you with gifts that keep on giving.  Some of these may make you smile — all of them will make your dog smile. 1) Adopt or donate. There is no greater gift. Consider adoption to fill that special place Read More

This holiday season you can help shelter pets! You’ll love it.

Posted on: November 23, 2012 - No Comments

Why not start a holiday tradition and share the joy of the season with your local animal rescue group? It’s the perfect time of year for pet lovers to give back to the animals. This holiday season, there are more dogs than ever in need of help. You can foster, volunteer, adopt, or donate skills, Read More

“Come!”

Posted on: October 27, 2012 - 2 Comments

"Come!" Make recall fun and rewarding, one baby-step at a time.  If you bounce back and forth between a sugary-sweet, sing-songy, “Come Blinky” and a frustrated, commanding, “Blinky, Come!” — try these recall tips instead.  Always reward for “coming” Living things perform best on the reward system. Each time your dog “Comes” to you, reward Read More

Chew This, Not That!

Posted on: September 15, 2012 - 4 Comments

Chew This, Not That! Dogs need “occupational therapy.” So says Dr. Ian Dunbar, DVM, animal behaviorist and puppy guru. If you don’t give your dog something to do, your dog will find something to do. Although dogs are genetically hard-wired to chew, some dogs like to chew more than others. You can help encourage your Read More

Top Five Tips for Successful Dog Training

Posted on: August 23, 2012 - 1 Comment

Top Five Tips for Successful Dog Training! It’s scientifically sound advice to be nice to your dog. So says the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, in a consensus article, Good Trainers: How to identify one (2006). The authors, esteemed veterinarians and experts in behavior, recommend positive training methods and tools, and warn against the use of Read More

How to Become an Animal Communicator!

Posted on: July 2, 2012 - 3 Comments

Ever get the feeling your dog is talking to you? You’re right. If you’ve longed to know what’s going on in your dog’s heart and mind, and to communicate back, here’s a surefire way to connect. Learn to read what your dog is saying to you, and speak to your dog in a language your Read More

Puppy Socialization and Vaccinations/Titers Belong Together

Posted on: April 7, 2012 - 3 Comments

Pet parents are now aware of the necessity of providing dog/dog socialization opportunities for their puppies. Nevertheless, when and how to do it is still misunderstood largely because many veterinarians, as well as breeders and pet-store owners, advise new pet parents to avoid socializing their new puppy with other dogs until the age of four Read More

If Your Dog Could Talk: Reward vs Punishment Dog Training

Posted on: February 21, 2012 - 7 Comments

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

New Year’s Dog Diet Resolution: “I resolve that my dog will eat better in the new year!”

Posted on: January 2, 2012 - 4 Comments

New Year's Dog Diet Resolution: "I resolve that my dog will eat better in the new year!" Why not get on the “green dog bandwagon” and give your dog the new year’s gift that will last a lifetime? Your dog will be ecstatic about this resolution! If you're having trouble sifting through all of the Read More

A Conversation with Victoria Stilwell

Posted on: October 28, 2011 - 2 Comments

In my recently published interview, Victoria Stilwell discusses the major differences in dog training methods... and explains why "methods matter" to all pet parents and to every dog. Victoria goes directly to the heart of a "hot" issue in dog training that is too often misrepresented to people searching for help with their beloved pup. Read More

Top 10 Tips for Dogs and Babies

Posted on: August 25, 2011 - 1 Comment

Was your first baby a fur-baby? Many dogs accept a new baby without any problems. However, some don’t and some will need a lot of help adjusting to the presence of an infant. Here’re some Tiny Tot ABC’s to help you prevent common problems. 1. Prepare your beloved dog months in advance. Assess, ultra-socialize, train Read More

Dog/Dog Aggression

Posted on: July 2, 2011 - 12 Comments

Dog/dog Aggression: There’s nothing pet parents like better than socializing with their dog in the summer sun. There are, however, two important questions to ask: “Is it safe?” and “Is my dog really having fun?” Your dog speaks to you through body language--ear and tail carriage, stance, behavior and vocalizations. Perhaps your dog is telling Read More