Monthly Archives: March 2011

The veneer of fear

It's easy to think that the fear we see our dogs display is just a veneer that needs to be stripped away to expose the solid oak dog. Certainly there are dogs for whom life has tossed a curve ball and they struggle to for a bit as they sort out their new life, but they have the skills for doing that. Perhaps a more [...]

By |2011-03-30T12:21:10-05:00March 30th, 2011|19 Comments

Only a mutt

When people call me to ask about boarding their dogs or for information regarding working with a timid dog, early on in the conversation I will ask what kind of dog it is. It helps me to have a picture of the dog, in the case of boarding it may determine whether the conversation needs to continue or not. Two 9 month old Saint Bernards [...]

By |2011-03-26T12:49:42-05:00March 26th, 2011|25 Comments

Your dog wants your opinion

One of the most useful behaviors any dog owner can teach their dog is to look at them. Trainers teach this checking-in behavior differently. I'll share my favorite. Like any behavior, the more a dog practices it and gets rewarded for it, the better they'll get at it. If I want my dog to pay attention to me it's easier if I've rewarded [...]

By |2011-03-25T12:53:22-05:00March 25th, 2011|6 Comments

Coddling controversy

Words are pretty cool things. You can be driving along with a friend and shout out 'PIZZA!' and barring the fact that you might be prone to random, nonsensical outbursts, your friend will understand, "I'm hungry. I'd like to eat pizza. You willing to stop and eat pizza with me? Pull into that pizzeria please." Not bad for a single word. I may not like [...]

By |2011-03-21T16:15:58-05:00March 21st, 2011|30 Comments

Blow up sex doll anyone?

I often feel an affinity toward 'dog' people. No offense to you 'cat' people, it's definitely not because we're any smarter. In the never ending debate over whether or not it is efficacious or humane to use training techniques or devices that hurt or intimate a dog to get behaviors we want, we seem to prove that over and over again. There are the reasons, [...]

By |2011-03-18T17:37:24-05:00March 18th, 2011|18 Comments

Oxygen as a training tool

I'm actually an open-minded trainer and dog owner who has looked at and considered the merits of a variety of different training techniques. If a handling or training technique works I am curious to see why it does, or to assess whether what we are seeing in regard to the dog's behavior is actually success. A shut-down dog may have stopped doing something  inappropriate, but [...]

By |2011-03-15T20:27:17-05:00March 15th, 2011|40 Comments

Alpha schmalpha

I board dogs in my home. When people call for information about my services I will ask them to tell me about their dog. It is not uncommon for me to hear, "He's not an alpha dog," or, "She's not a dominant dog." For years I have lived with 3-4 dogs of my own. Used to be I tried to figure out which of my [...]

By |2011-03-08T15:44:03-05:00March 8th, 2011|29 Comments

Help your dog make good choices

There was an anti-drug ad on TV that portrayed a sleazy dealer talking to a group of teenagers while the narrator intoned, "If you don't talk to your kids about drugs, someone else will." I was reminded of this ad after hearing about training advice someone had received to help them with their dog who was prone to barking and biting. Granted the advice was [...]

By |2011-03-07T12:44:31-05:00March 7th, 2011|0 Comments

Don’t keep em guessing

Recently I paid a visit to a couple hoping to rehome a dog who from their description sounded as if she behaved aggressively due to fear. After a failed attempt to euthanize the dog (they couldn't go through with it) they consulted with two other trainer/behaviorists. The couple lived nearby and I knew that a dog with a history of biting to get [...]

By |2011-03-04T23:25:33-05:00March 4th, 2011|12 Comments

Dog afraid of new object

I wanted to share the following video of Sunny's reaction to a novel object in his environment. Many dogs can be surprised by and wary of anything new in their world. How quickly they recover from the surprise and either ignore or investigate the object can give you a clue into how challenged a dog might be in regard to developing the skills and confidence [...]

By |2011-03-02T16:17:46-05:00March 2nd, 2011|15 Comments