No Cue November

We have a new game at my facility called “cue fasting” and we now require a “cue fast” for all of our clients when they begin training with us. We’ve decided to take the game up a notch in what we are calling “No Cue November.”

The Problem with the “Pack Leadership” Mentality

The "pack leader" label just won’t seem to die a natural death. Instead of analyzing why people are so attached to being pack leaders, I decided it would be easier for me to uncover why I dislike it so much. Here is my interview with myself.

“Information Seeking” in Dogs

Information seeking behavior in dogs has many forms. Every dog can help us to become better trainers if we adapt what we do to help them learn. So... what is your dog asking?

Help! My Puppy is Deaf. What Now?

Ultimately, what I’ve realized is that living with and training a deaf dog isn’t harder, it’s just different. Here are a few tips to help new deaf dog pet parents get started. I hope these help ease your anxiety and fears during this transition.

Positively Success Story: Clawsewitz

As a lifelong dog lover who lives in a flat and works every weekday, I can't own a dog – my lifestyle wouldn't allow it. Instead, I make do with a cat. But I love amateur animal training, and a little thing like species won't stop me!

Change is hard.

The internet is full of simple recipes to follow to help people change their dog’s behavior. However, as the great trainer Bob Bailey says, “Simple is not easy.” “No plan survives an audience.” When you accurately follow instructions with technology it usually performs as expected. Living creatures aren’t like that. You know what ‘should’ work Read More

Why Should Your Dog Listen to You?

Does your dog listen to you when you ask him to do something? Does he listen half of the time? What about only when you have a treat, or only if you’re inside the house?

The Ultimate Dog Adoption Survival Guide

Adopting a dog? Work in animal rescue? This is the ultimate guide for adopting a dog and successfully and safely acclimating that dog to your family and home.

So You Want a Puppy? Are You Sure?

I recently became the proud owner of a 10 week old Border Collie. Having had two previous Border Collies that passed away at the age of 14 I surmised I was savvy enough to do it again. The reality of my decision bit me pretty hard!

How to Clicker Train Your Dog

Have you ever thought about using clicker training with your dog, but didn't know how it worked? Here are some great tips and videos from a dog trainer about how to start clicker training.

Bunny benefits: 10 reasons to rescue a rabbit

Want an interactive pet that’s not as demanding as a dog? How about a bunny? Rabbits make terrific pets in the right circumstances. February is adopt-a-rescued rabbit month, so if you’re considering a new pet, here are some reasons a bunny might be best...

How Not To Groom a Biting Dog

Every now and then a video crosses my desk from people either amazed, dismayed or generally seeking my opinion on something. Such was the case when I was shared this video, and I felt it was a great learning opportunity to highlight some of the misconceptions and ‘teaching moments’ of what should not be done when teaching a dog with a history of biting while being groomed.

Yes!

People with challenging dogs that seem to be constantly up to mischief don’t need any in-depth training course. It is really quite simple to make a huge difference. Just constantly look for, and reward, every little bit of behaviour that you like. That’s it.

Fido’s Home Away From Home for the Holidays

The holidays are here, and with the holidays come vacations and the need to board your four-legged friend. There is no reason why your dog can’t have as wonderful a vacation as you with the right preparation.

Positively Success Story: Chief

This is Chief, a German Shepherd I rescued March 30, 2012 when he was about 3. I got him from an abusive home. How I knew of the person that had him is somewhat complicated, but the woman offered him to me because she said she hated him. Someone else that lived in the home Read More

5 Traits That Will Make You A Good “Leader” For Your Dog

Dogs are animals. Without proper training, (teaching) a dog will act, for lack of a better way to describe it, like a dog. This means that they will jump on counters, run away from home, eliminate where they please, bark, chew things, and the list goes on. When we bring dogs into our homes, we Read More

Should You Think Twice About That Christmas Puppy?

Thinking about getting a puppy for Christmas? First, make sure you are ready for a 10-20 year commitment and can afford the money that it takes to raise a happy and secure dog. If all that is worked out, then you want to do your research to make sure you pick out the right breed for Read More

Positively Success Story: Inky

One evening in December 2011, my wife, Karen, was picking up our lab Lily from day care and noticed a scruffy little black mutt in the corner of a pen. His name was Inky and he needed a home. Karen was told that Inky had been a stray puppy, that he and his brother had Read More

One Month, Two Great Losses in Veterinary Behavior

Dr. Sophia Yin, an applied animal behaviorist, was one of the first to join my public outcry of a popular dog trainer's emphasis on forceful, aversive dog training as well as conveying misleading messages regarding dog behavior. Yin was never afraid to speak her him, particularly if animals benefited.

Crack, Not Crackers: Choosing the right reinforcer

Recently, I was chatting with a friend whose dog Grace is a goofy, floppy lab mix. She’s well-behaved but goes bonkers when she sees other dogs in the park. It’s friendly but intense: She leaps and lunges and yips until she pulls her way to the other dog. “It’s the craziest thing,” Grace’s person told Read More

A Dog Died Today. Because of a Trainer.

Or trainers. I can't clearly put this in any one person's lap. Let's back up and see where we are. First off, I am not going to identify the trainer(s), the dog, or the family. My purpose is not to belittle or attack anyone. Instead I want this to be a learning experience for other trainers and a warning to owners.

Positively Success Story: Sam

I adopted my first dog Sam from my local Humane Society in 2010. I was looking for a younger and active dog, so when the shelter introduced me to this 10 month old heeler mix, I was sold. He was attentive and calm at the shelter, however; when I brought him home it was a very different story.

How I Stopped My Dog’s Leash Aggression

If you’ve ever had a leash reactive dog, you know the feeling of dread that I had before going on a walk. Learn how I stopped my dog's leash aggression--positively.

Arson Dogs

Victoria Stilwell discovers the power of Arson Dogs - amazing detection dogs trained to sniff out accelerants like gasoline and propane, and to alert their handler to the presence of the accelerant.

Dog Ownership: A Learning Experience

We’ve all been there, the day you bring home your new dog or puppy and they pee all over your floor, chew up something they weren’t supposed to and your find yourself suddenly questioning, “What did I get myself into!?”. I’ve done it, twice. But I can say that our two dogs are more than Read More

Canine Noise Phobia Series

The Canine Noise Phobia Series (CNP) is a 4-CD compilation of specialized audio recordings and innovative training protocols specifically designed to reduce and prevent noise phobias and anxiety in dogs. “In my work as a dog trainer both on TV and in private practice over the past 15 years, I have seen countless dogs suffer Read More

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

The Truth About Pit Bulls

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

Smell

Although a dog’s brain is just one-tenth the size of a human brain, the part of the dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is forty times greater than that of a human's. A dog’s sense of smell is therefore estimated to be a hundred thousand times better than ours. Dogs use their nose Read More

Music for Dogs

It has become somewhat common for dog owners to leave music or TV's on when they leave the house in the hopes that the constant sound will help soothe their lonely pets. While the intention behind this technique is noble, behavioral science has now uncovered enough about the way our dogs process sounds to know Read More

The Value of Rewards

Identifying and providing high-value rewards for good behavior is a crucial element to positive reinforcement – one of the four pillars of positive training. Often referred to as 'reward-based' training, the appropriate and timely delivery of a reward during training makes a dog more confident and able to manage successfully in a domestic environment. Importantly, Read More

Positive Reinforcement

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

The Crossover Child

I have often wondered which side I would take in the greatest historical injustices throughout history. Would I have been for slavery or against it? Would I have fought for civil equality or against it? If I had grown up in an upbringing that encouraged immorality, would I have gone with the social norm or Read More

Study Shows Lower Stress Levels in Dogs Trained Positively

A new study released in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior reveals what many of us in the dog behavior field have long known to be true: that positive reinforcement training is beneficial for a dog's overall well-being and the canine-human bond, and that aversive training has detrimental effects on both. For the first time, trained Read More

Positively Success Story: Magic

I adopted an 11- month old Yorkshire terrier from a rescue group in March 2009. The rescue group warned me that she was very shy and had not had the best of starts for a puppy. I had trained several dogs and was confident that with a little patience, she would be fine. After only Read More

Positively Success Story: Poodle

I used to live with friends that had a overly energetic, too smart for his own good, poodle mix. The dog had almost no training and was incredibly annoying, and he didn’t respond to any of the ”training” I or they tried to give him (using force based training). Then I stumbled over ”It’s Me Read More

Running With Your Dog

Running with your dog is a great workout for you and your four-legged friend. Before getting started with a running routine, check out these tips to make sure your dog enjoys it as much as you do. Do: Use a harness. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly around your dog’s body and takes pressure off his Read More

The Truth About Pit Bulls

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