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 […]

“I’ll be Back”

Lots of puppies and rescue dogs – adolescent and adult – are described by their people as “Velcro dogs”.  This is not unusual and not necessarily a predictor of persistent separation distress behaviors.  Of course, these young or disadvantaged animals are not yet secure in their new or changed environments. Ultimately, we must move about […]

Working at the Dog’s Level

When a dog owner comes to believe that his dog cannot be trained, it is often a result of working beyond the dog’s level during the training effort.  Working at the dog’s level means making observations and assessments of your dog’s ability to connect and respond to the handler.  Then, adjusting environmental elements to facilitate […]