Get Your Dogsmarts On.

Dogs repeat behaviors that result in gratification for them.  These behaviors work!  Unlike humans, dogs do not outgrow behaviors, but rather grow into them.  Owners often inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviors.  Reinforcement makes any behavior stronger.  The manner in which you respond to your dog’s behaviors determines whether good or bad habits will prevail. Dogs do […]

Kids and Dogs 2: Not Always Love at First Sight

When a dog truly loves the company of children, someone made a diligent and stupendous effort at socializing that animal. Young children, especially, can present to dogs as strange, little beings. They resemble adult humans, but with unpredictable movements and voice patterns. Dogs are easily pulled into the kid-energy of the environment. An understanding of […]

Resource Guarding Part 2: Growling and Teeth

When early guarding behaviors go unrecognized, they can intensify.  Dogs do what works for them:  if a side-eye warning fails, and a valued object is removed, the dog learns that he must be clearer in his communication.  No one misses the message of a growl, lip curl, or air snap.  A contact bite is not […]

Home Sweet Home: Crate Acceptance

Harmonious is the house where the dog willingly goes into his crate when directed and is content with the door closed.  Humans who are uncomfortable with the notion of confinement for the dog may be unaware of the benefits.  Once adjusted to it, many dogs choose to hang out in the crate and accept owner-requested […]

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 […]