The Belly Button Rule

When I was a young child and our family visited a body of water to swim in my parents instituted the the belly button rule. The older, more proficient swimmers could swim out to rafts in the middle of the lake or play in the waves, but the little kids could go no deeper than their belly buttons. If we lost our footing [...]

By |2012-04-29T11:08:07-04:00April 29th, 2012|22 Comments

Grab Em By the Dopamine Not the Neck

I realize it's a simplistic way of looking at a brain's reward system, and that's because of my limitations, not yours dear readers. But if we can sneak our way into our dog's brain's reward system we can grab a hold as tenacious as any baseball fan's in the stands who manages to snatch a foul ball. It's glaringly obvious that brains have people and [...]

By |2012-04-25T21:11:00-04:00April 25th, 2012|11 Comments

The Behavior Sandwich

People often think of a dog’s behavior in much the same way as they think about a sandwich. It’s usually the meat in the middle that they are most concerned with. But behavior, like a sandwich has more going on than just the filling. What’s around the filling can matter a lot. Imagine going into a deli and ordering ham & cheese on rye and [...]

By |2012-04-23T09:43:55-04:00April 23rd, 2012|7 Comments

Words that make me go hmmmmm….

Dogs trainers are veterans when it comes to hearing- "I tried that, it didn't work." This is often spoken by a client or potential client who after finally contacting a rewards based trainer explains why they don't use food rewards. Their immediate assumption is that because they handed a few treats to their dog, and didn't see an immediate change in the dog's behavior, using [...]

By |2012-04-19T14:03:42-04:00April 19th, 2012|11 Comments

Grasping the basics

Understanding the physiological effects of fear on a dog's autonomic nervous system (ANS) is not just a bunch of big words tossed out to make me feel smart. Truth be told, it's sentences like that that make me grateful for spell check. Fear can cause a dog to become more or LESS aggressive. When frightened, some animals will experience an increase in heart [...]

By |2012-04-16T09:05:59-04:00April 16th, 2012|5 Comments

Would you get on that bus?

Professional dog trainers often seem like a touchy bunch. There's little we don't have an opinion on, and a strong one at that. When someone seeks advice on the best way to market themselves as a 'dog trainer' boasting of little experience other than growing up with a dog or training their own family pets, it might be best to either step away or put [...]

By |2012-04-07T10:10:05-04:00April 7th, 2012|23 Comments

Rites & Rituals

People like rituals. We have holiday rituals and religious rituals, seasonal rituals and daily hygiene rituals (hopefully). If my dogs are representative of the species in general, I'd say dogs like rituals too. Some rituals make our lives richer and easier, others can get us into trouble. That after dinner cigarette ritual can make quitting tough. I have created a number of rituals that I [...]

By |2012-04-05T08:22:42-04:00April 5th, 2012|18 Comments

Be here now

Meditation has never been a complete success or bust for me. I usually come away from attempts at it with a grocery list and the recollection of where I put those papers I need for filing taxes. Although 'stillness' is something I readily attain given a lawn chair and some sunshine, this 'quieting' the mind stuff isn't so easy. Over the years I've discovered recreations [...]

By |2012-04-02T08:29:19-04:00April 2nd, 2012|7 Comments
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