Choice and Control : Why is this an important training concept?

All sentient animals function best when there are choices and a sense of control within environments.  This applies to our dogs, too.   Shaping Behaviors The more we know, the more effectively and humanely we train our dogs.  Shaping has always been a wonderful way to teach dogs real life skills.  The idea is – […]

How Enrichment Activities Benefit Dogs and their Guardians

There was a time in the long-ago when pet dogs roamed neighborhoods.  They spent much of the day outdoors, running and interacting with other neighborhood dogs and their human neighbors, too.  They scavenged around, napped when they felt like it and had LOTS of choices and control over where they went, what activities they engaged […]

Habituate to Novelty

All animals, including our dogs, move through phases of habituation, adapting to their environments.  With limited life experience, everything is new to puppies.  When we adopt rescue dogs, they, too, must become habituated.  Many rescue dogs in the suburbs and cities travel from rural areas.  Talk about environmental adjustment!  Lots of people and noise.  All […]

Tips for….. Teaching Foundation Skills

Foundation skills for puppies and dogs are learned responses to basic obedience cues.  These form the essentials of any training program – beginners and dogs who need behavior modification.  As loving dog guardians, we can set up to facilitate learning and make it fun and low stress for us and for our puppies and dogs.  […]

Tips for….. Connected Leash Walking

Hints of “Spring is in the Air” are wonderful!  People – and their dogs – come out of hibernation and our neighborhoods and parks are active.  We are out enjoying the natural world with our doggy friends.  Here are tips to make our walks a shared, cooperative and connected experience at both ends of the […]

Tips for …….. Recognizing Early Resource Guarding Behaviors

Resource guarding is a behavior that can be improved with training and management.  Guarding extends well beyond the food bowl.  Aggressive displays, both subtle and overt, can happen while the dog is in possession of various items: toys, chews, “stolen” objects, outside debris.  Dogs also guard locations: their spot on furniture, space inside your house […]

Tips for …….. Working your dog through adolescence

Dogs grow through developmental phases like all other animals.  The adolescent phase begins at around 6-7 months of age and continues until about 18 months.  Behavior changes are expected.  Elements in the environment that seemed insignificant during puppy time can loom much larger in adolescence, escalating into over threshold arousal displays.  The presence of other […]

Tips for …….. Managing an over-excited puppy

When puppies land in their new homes, they have limited exposure to the world and a small number of life experiences.  They have no real skills.  Everything is new.  It takes very little stimulation to push most puppies over their arousal thresholds.  Enter those annoying (and painful) behaviors:  nipping, clothes grabbing, jumping, and aimless zooming.  […]

Tips for …….. How Behavior Modification Works

Many dogs acquire behavior patterns along the way that do not harmoniously fit in with our human routines.  These are not bad dogs, only those who have yet to learn the skills needed to grow into successful pets.  Unskilled dogs are simply behaving like dogs, left to their devices, without information and direction from us.  […]

Here Comes the Fun!

We humans love the fun that dogs bring into our lives.  Playing goes a long way in forging a wonderful connection.  Everyone can strike a balance between engaging in play with our dogs and providing fun and mentally enriching activities that are independent.  The items in this recommended list offset boredom, which is a leading […]