Life Skills: The Approach vs. Being Approached

Dogs approach people, including children, other dogs, objects, and situations in various ways as their emotional states determine.  The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, when people, including children, and other dogs approach your dog.  A different set of behaviors is likely to be on display.  These skills require a process; your […]

Multiple Dog Households2: Who Brought That Puppy Home?!?!

Every time the canine population in a home changes, the group dynamic shifts.  The addition of a youngster brings an extra-large dose of energy to the mix.  Some canine resident individuals may not be immediately thrilled.  All relationships take time and many require guidance from the owner.  Training and cognitive games as well as management […]

Adolescence: The Other Most Important Phase

Much attention is given to the importance of early puppyhood.  The first four-months imprinting period is widely accepted as critical time in a dog’s overall development.  It is increasingly acknowledged by animal behavior science that the adolescent period is equally important on the dog’s journey to adulthood.  Adolescence in dogs begins at about seven months […]

Dogs and Cats

Plenty of dogs and cats harmoniously share their homes.  Sometimes there is a natural simpatico rapport.  Dogs with social savvy read and respect feline signals as well as fellow canine ones.  Often, though, we owners must train in a few skills so no one is injured due to size disparity or precision claw strikes. A […]

Is Your Dog Getting by on Looks?

Who isn’t sometimes a sucker for a cute face?  We all are!  Unfortunately, for some dogs, this becomes a lifestyle.  Plenty of dogs have successfully trained their owners by engaging in an endearing behavior which results in meeting any need and want. This behavior set may be simply standing, tail wagging, and looking at a […]

Learn to Earn: Raise the Thresholds

Dogs young and old have thresholds:  duration, distance, and intensity.  Most young dogs have low thresholds and become overwhelmed easily.  This happens when exposed to too much stimuli for too long of a time period, at close range, and high intensity.  These are all relative depending on each individual animal.  When we determine those thresholds […]

Using Food to Reinforce Behavior

Dogs learn which behaviors “work” for them when those behaviors are followed by something gratifying to the animal.  Those actions are guaranteed repeats.  Food is a primary motivator for any animal who is interested in survival.  The deliberate use of food to reinforce behaviors that owners want as habits is highly effective. The challenge is […]

Mental Checkout

We all suffer a few brain blips here and there, and so do our dogs.  If your dog doesn’t respond instantly to your cues, it’s not due to recalcitrance or stubbornness.  He is no longer connected to you and what you two are doing.  He has mentally checked out.   What Are the Telltale Signs That […]

Stays: Sloppy or Reliable

Of all the basic obedience cues, stay is a tough one!  Taught well, it requires a high degree of focus from the dog AND a respectable level of skill from the handler.  Most puppies younger than 5-6 months of age have faster success with “wait” (a temporary hold).  They lack extended focus and need impulse […]

Please Stop Yelling at the Dog

When the dog engages in unwanted behaviors, it is our human nature to shout, “no!” or “stop!”.  Rather than a calculated response, it can be described as a knee jerk reaction.  Sometimes the dog will – at least momentarily – halt the action.  For a while, this, like other positive punishment techniques, can appear to […]