We’ve all seen dogs who exude impulse control—they are calm in the face of excitement and patient when it comes to getting what they want. Of course we’ve all seen those dogs who are lacking impulse control too—dogs who can’t seem to handle excitement and become overexcited, pushy, or reactive. Sometimes that lack of impulse… [Read More]
Help, My Dog Is a Barkaholic!
My dog Shadow is a barkaholic. If there were a 12-step program for such a condition, she would surely be a good candidate to attend. She likes to bark when she is happy and excited, when she is concerned, when she would like something from us, when something surprises her, when other dogs bark, and… [Read More]
The Magic of Classical Conditioning
When we are training our dogs, we generally use a process called operant conditioning. This is when the dog’s behavior determines the consequence. For example, the dog sits when you ask and you give him a treat. The dog sitting made the treat happen. But there is another type of learning that is often underutilized… [Read More]
Getting a Handle on Handling
Has your puppy or adult dog ever squirmed when you checked his ears? Squealed as you touched a toe? Or slunk away when you brought out the brush? If so, you are not alone. A very few easygoing dogs seem to have been born enjoying all types of touch and handling. But many puppies and… [Read More]
What’s Rewarding? Ask Your Dog
I was leading a training class the other day that included a mildly fearful dog. The dog was responding well to cues, able to do the behaviors, and seemed to be handling the environment. But she did not seem to be having a lot of fun. Her human companion suggested she switch from food rewards… [Read More]
7 Ways to Pump Up Your Training!
Do you want to get more out of your training? Here are 7 critical concepts to help you and your dog get the most out of your training sessions. Make training fun. This can’t be said too much. Start with fun. End with fun. Keep lessons short—stop before your dog wants to stop. Include lots… [Read More]
Five Do’s and Don’ts of Training with Food
I use food in training. I use it a lot. Food can be a powerful training tool and one of the easiest ways to jump start new behaviors and reinforce (reward) your dog’s good choices. The more your dog is rewarded for a specific behavior, the more likely your dog will be able to do… [Read More]
7 Management Tips for Adolescent Dogs
I work with a lot of adolescent dogs. In fact, I just came back from helping a client with an almost year old dog that had successful disemboweled their couch cushions. I had to laugh to myself because I distinctly remember the day some 20 years ago when I came home from work and my… [Read More]
What Is “Reward Marker” Training? (aka Clicker Training)
Reward marker training (commonly called clicker training) is my preferred method for teaching dogs new behaviors. It is easy, precise, and makes training fun for both the dog and the handler. But what exactly is reward marker training? Very simply, it is a way to communicate clearly with your dog. It means using a signal… [Read More]
What Motivates You to Train Your Dog?
I love training. And my dog loves training. When we are practicing a certain skill or just goofing off, my dog lights up when the training games start and her joy with the process brightens my whole day. Yet sometimes I find myself in a bit of a training slump—today is one of those days…. [Read More]