Please Stop Yelling at the Dog

When the dog engages in unwanted behaviors, it is our human nature to shout, “no!” or “stop!”.  Rather than a calculated response, it can be described as a knee jerk reaction.  Sometimes the dog will – at least momentarily – halt the action.  For a while, this, like other positive punishment techniques, can appear to […]

Training or Management: What is the Difference?

When a canine behavior change is in order, there is a choice.  Do we manage the “undesirable” or do we teach the dog incompatible and desirable behaviors to replace those that we don’t like?  Behavior change training programs always include management, because it provides a means of preventing the dog from continued practice of behaviors […]

Observations and Behavior Clues

Our dogs are communicating with us all the time. Some messages are clear. Increased speed of movement indicates excitement.  Some messages are subtle.  Slight stiffening at a certain person’s approach indicates emotional discomfort.  Dogs will always read us better than we read them.  However, a well-practiced “dance” happens when we humans learn to closely observe […]

Everyone has Thresholds. Your Dog Does, Too

It’s fun until it isn’t.  It works until it doesn’t.  He just stepped on my last nerve.  We have all heard these expressions.  They represent threshold boundaries.  Mental places where we no longer function well.  Dogs have threshold boundaries, too.  Puppies can have especially low thresholds due to immaturity, and many adult dogs display behaviors […]

Give that Dog Some Skills

Puppies are learning all the time – moment to moment.  If we don’t intervene and actively participate in this process, our puppies learn what the environment teaches them.  These are often not desirable lessons, especially for fearful animals or those with low emotional thresholds. Dogs need skills to cope with the world, too.  Socialization to […]

Too Much. Too Soon.

Many dog owners are very enthused at the prospect of taking the dog for hikes, snuggling on the sofa, sharing the bed, roaming the house freely, among others.  Around 5-6 months of age, dogs can be reasonably trustworthy with hitting the correct potty place and choosing their toys and chews over personal belongings.  It is […]

Leash Walking: Building Skills and a Relationship

A dog’s natural inclinations and leash walking skills are somewhat at odds.  Dogs love to gather information via sniffing and move along as their interests lead them.  This can be an engrossing activity, where the human is – for the most part – ignored.  Rushing to investigate an area, urine marking, and reacting to stimuli […]

Therapy Dog Training – A Working Team

Here you are with a dog who loves everyone and has demonstrated a solid comfort level in all environments where you have exposed him.  No matter where or what the activity, he is relaxed and enjoys himself.  Pursuing therapy dog registration is certainly on the radar.  What is your motivation?  It would be a great […]

Therapy Dog Training – Is It for You and Your Dog?

As the health benefits of interacting with dogs become increasingly documented, so does the demand for therapy dogs.  Many hospitals have K9 visiting programs that are active and always looking for more handler-dog teams.  Nursing homes, libraries, and schools also figure into this mix.  The newest K9 team visiting venues are courts, prisons, and disaster […]

More Space = More Opportunity

In the dog’s world, more space equals more opportunity… do the wrong thing, that is.  Puppies and young dogs explore the world with their mouths and eliminate here and there along the way.  Large spaces – indoor as well as outdoor – are overwhelming with way too many options to sort through.  Over arousal behaviors […]