Does this feel good?

My preference is not to use physical manipulation when working with dogs, but I will gladly employ emotional manipulation. One of the things a fearful, anxious or shy dog's brain is good at is reacting in a fearful way. The practice of bullying or punishing a dog for inappropriate fearful behavior only helps their already adept-at-feeling-scared brains, keep feeling scared or aggressive. By tapping into [...]

By |2011-06-25T14:08:38-04:00June 25th, 2011|2 Comments

Crates: A good thing gone bad

You might wonder why I am choosing to go on a rant about crates (this is a warning that a bit of a rant is headed your way). In an attempt for full disclosure- I have a wire crate with the door closed, behind me with a puppy snoozing in it. Crates can help with housetraining and transporting dogs. They can keep our [...]

By |2011-06-23T13:04:49-04:00June 23rd, 2011|24 Comments

Kiss it and make it better

Have you ever stopped to think about the totally unhygienic practice parents have of kissing boo-boos to make them better? Ever thought about how a little TLC can turn a tight-fisted, red-faced, teary-eyed toddler into a pouty, head nodding, ice cream eating miniature human again? If you live with a fearful dog you should. I have been living with a 4 month old [...]

By |2011-06-22T14:17:02-04:00June 22nd, 2011|8 Comments

No, I am NOT OK

Despite thousands of years of coexistence humans are, for the most part, surprisingly inept at understanding their dogs' language, a language which is largely physical. Dogs, for the most part, are whizzes at knowing when they need to wag and suck up, or turn tail and get the heck out of dodge when it comes to interacting with people. Problems arise when the cultures clash [...]

By |2011-06-21T13:05:58-04:00June 21st, 2011|25 Comments

Give them a life

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico with a group of students I was asked if I would take home a small, black, stray dog, named Tooie. Tooie had been found wandering on Highway 200 (hence the name) on the island of Vieques. At approximately 4 months of age and weighing 16lbs Tooie is a classic 'sato'. My initial hesitation to bring back [...]

By |2011-06-16T12:49:12-04:00June 16th, 2011|10 Comments

Deal with the dread

William James, a 19th century psychologist described his anxiety in this way: "A horrible dread at the pit of my stomach....a sense of the insecurity of life." We cannot know for sure if dogs experience dread but anyone walking into a vet clinic with a dog who would rather not be there has surely seen what could be described as a dog anticipating [...]

By |2011-06-11T12:46:44-04:00June 11th, 2011|15 Comments

Who’s it working for?

When it comes to talking about dog training there is no shortage of debate regarding which methods 'work' best. Some people suggest that they all 'work' and that we should either take advantage of them all or at least stop arguing about them. I am referring to reward based training vs. what is being called 'traditional' training which incorporates punishment (positive punishment for [...]

By |2011-06-07T11:34:04-04:00June 7th, 2011|8 Comments
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