Gimme Space

Even the most energetic and social among us benefit from quiet time.  We all need an occasional escape from the barrage of demands on us.  Dogs and especially, puppies, are no exception.  It is a myth that dogs universally love petting.  Sometimes, they do not welcome it.  Being part of a group also means having […]

Using Food to Change Fear-based Behaviors

When dogs are fearful of a certain stimulus, their behaviors in the presence of that stimulus are driven by fear.  With repeated exposure, fear-based behaviors become conditioned emotional responses (CER).  Fear based behaviors develop into a pattern, because they come to “work” for the dog.  Using food to reinforce incompatible behaviors is the most effective […]

Thresholds: Set Up for Success

Training can be fun for everyone and very productive if handlers work with their dogs’ duration, distance, and intensity thresholds.  Working at threshold means that the dog is focused, thinking, and learning.  Frustration can set in for both parties when human expectations get in the way.  It’s easy to breach the dog’s thresholds.  What is […]

Life Skills: The Approach vs. Being Approached

Dogs approach people, including children, other dogs, objects, and situations in various ways as their emotional states determine.  The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, when people, including children, and other dogs approach your dog.  A different set of behaviors is likely to be on display.  These skills require a process; your […]

Multiple Dog Households2: Who Brought That Puppy Home?!?!

Every time the canine population in a home changes, the group dynamic shifts.  The addition of a youngster brings an extra-large dose of energy to the mix.  Some canine resident individuals may not be immediately thrilled.  All relationships take time and many require guidance from the owner.  Training and cognitive games as well as management […]

Adolescence: The Other Most Important Phase

Much attention is given to the importance of early puppyhood.  The first four-months imprinting period is widely accepted as critical time in a dog’s overall development.  It is increasingly acknowledged by animal behavior science that the adolescent period is equally important on the dog’s journey to adulthood.  Adolescence in dogs begins at about seven months […]

Dogs and Cats

Plenty of dogs and cats harmoniously share their homes.  Sometimes there is a natural simpatico rapport.  Dogs with social savvy read and respect feline signals as well as fellow canine ones.  Often, though, we owners must train in a few skills so no one is injured due to size disparity or precision claw strikes. A […]

Is Your Dog Getting by on Looks?

Who isn’t sometimes a sucker for a cute face?  We all are!  Unfortunately, for some dogs, this becomes a lifestyle.  Plenty of dogs have successfully trained their owners by engaging in an endearing behavior which results in meeting any need and want. This behavior set may be simply standing, tail wagging, and looking at a […]

Learn to Earn: Raise the Thresholds

Dogs young and old have thresholds:  duration, distance, and intensity.  Most young dogs have low thresholds and become overwhelmed easily.  This happens when exposed to too much stimuli for too long of a time period, at close range, and high intensity.  These are all relative depending on each individual animal.  When we determine those thresholds […]

Using Food to Reinforce Behavior

Dogs learn which behaviors “work” for them when those behaviors are followed by something gratifying to the animal.  Those actions are guaranteed repeats.  Food is a primary motivator for any animal who is interested in survival.  The deliberate use of food to reinforce behaviors that owners want as habits is highly effective. The challenge is […]