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 […]

Life Skills: Independence Training

Independence training helps to produce an emotional state in a dog, where he is completely relaxed in his environment.  He trusts his people and is capable of consistently engaging in calm, quiet activities – without soliciting participation from his humans.  As soon as possible, puppies and young dogs can learn to balance their social natures […]

Mind the Mouth: Handling by Humans

Puppies and adult dogs use their mouths to play and explore the world. They also use their mouths when their mental state moves over a threshold of mindfulness. Nearly all very young puppies place their mouths on human body parts and our clothing. Owners typically refer to this behavior as “nipping”. It is important to […]

Crates, Gates, and Playpens: Limit Access to Space

When it comes to behavior management strategies, limiting your dog’s access to space plays a large part.  More space in your home sets up for more exploration and potential trouble.  Dogs are opportunistic scavengers who investigate with their mouths and enjoy problem-solving.  Teaching your dog to accept containment and, ultimately, value his “space” is well […]

Attention Hogs

Many dog owners enjoy the abiding presence of their canine friends. They follow us as we move about our homes and calmly and quietly watch us perform daily tasks. These dogs are interested in sharing space and, simply, being near us. They are not looking for direct engagement or extended interaction. Fearful dogs often look […]