Right Place. Right Time.

Dogs learn best when conditions for the individual animal are set up appropriately and humans facilitate communications.  Amidst stimulation overloads, dogs either lose their marbles with a complete lack of focus on the handler or shut down and are incapable of learning.  Neither of these extremes makes for a productive training session. Right Place. Effective […]

The Puppy has Landed. Now What?!?

Adding a puppy to the family is a significant decision and should never be made in haste.  The right puppy (or adult dog) at an appropriate time is worth the deliberation.  Heading into the world of “dog parent” requires a K9 education, new habits and routines, and…additional stuff.  A fold-up wire crate, toys, chews (including […]

Safe Dog-to-Dog Interactions

We look at dog play as two or more dogs running, romping, and having a fun time with each other.  In reality, canine play is predation (hunting) practice.  Thankfully, most dogs modify the sequence and enjoy a happy playtime.  As owners, we want to protect our dogs while optimizing opportunities for the exercise that play […]

K9 Fun and Games: the Best Toys and Chews

We humans love the fun that dogs bring into our lives.  Playing goes a long way in forging a wonderful bond!  Everyone can strike a balance between engaging in play with our dogs and providing fun and enriching activities that are more independent.  These are important strategies to offset boredom in young dogs, especially.  Boredom […]

Canine Bad Habits: Prevention vs. Fix It

Some folks are proactive; others are reactive.  The proactive types among us take steps to increase the likelihood of smooth sailing.  Reactive individuals tend to wait until something happens that requires a solution.  This thinking absolutely applies to puppies and young dogs.  Setting up your dog’s environment and managing his behaviors in constructive ways go […]

The Bold Soul

It is a joy to share life with a confident dog.  He’s always ready for adventure, going into new places and situations with ease.  Some dogs readily try new behaviors with little inhibition.  There is a point where confident experimentation can cross into boldness.  Adolescence is the developmental phase when these situations are most likely […]

Puppy Training: Sooner Rather than Later

Puppies are capable of learning basic obedience cues at a surprisingly young age – even before most leave their litters for their forever homes.  By the time they land – at 8-9 weeks of age – they are already scoping out their new environments.  They are ready to learn!  Puppy training extends well beyond housetraining.  […]

Positive Reinforcement and Positive Punishment

Many dog owners have heard the term “positive reinforcement training”.  This method of dog training emerged from animal science/behavior studies several decades ago.  Progressive dog trainers started “crossing over” from positive punishment to positive reinforcement methods in the early-to-mid 1990’s.  Advances in animal science and understanding canine behavior and cognition led to these effective and […]

Mind the Mouth 2: Disturbing Stimuli

While dogs can’t verbalize, they communicate a great deal via their mouths.  A relaxed dog often has an open mouth that resembles a smile.  This same dog is feeling less at ease when he closes his mouth.  A dog who usually takes food gently from your hand, then becomes grabby, is telling you that something […]

The Fear Factor

On an emotional continuum, dogs can range from cautious, but curious to timid/shy, where the animal needs time to warm up to an unfamiliar person or process stimuli before feeling relaxed.  Behaviors always reflect the internal state of the dog.  At the fearful end of the continuum, a dog actively flees/avoids or engages in aggressive […]