Prioritizing Behavior and Training:

A Path to Pet Well-Being Behavior and training are priorities for me, especially where the experiences of my own pets are concerned.  Every experience results in learning and therefore influences an animal’s behavior choices in future situations.  A Trip to the Vet At the vet’s office recently, while waiting in the exam room for the […]

“Backwards” Recall Game

Perfect for Hot Days! Good training comes in very small pieces.  Sometimes, a training exercise seems “backwards” in that you reinforce (reward) the opposite of the behavior you want.  But there’s a reason for the “backward” nature of training exercises like this. Voluntary Behaviors are the Best It’s great when dogs do what you ask; […]

Understanding Your Dog

Navigating the Umwelt of Canine Communication and Behavior As the owner and user of a human body, you are empowered when you know how that machine works.  If you have kids, you have the responsibility to understand how the newer models function; it helps you help them.  As a dog parent, understanding how dogs work […]

Unveiling the Deeper Issue Beyond the Shock Collar Ban

A Call for Education and Transformation The UK recently banned the use of shock collars in dog training, joining a majority of other European countries after a long campaign by animal lovers.  The ban takes effect in February of 2024.  Proponents consider this a great victory, and it’s easy to see why:  they think that […]

Pitfalls of Negative Reinforcement

Why Positive Leash Training is More Effective and Humane In my classes, students learn leash handling skills for themselves and how to teach their dogs (and cats!) using positive reinforcement.  More importantly, they learn to teach their pets what they want them to do before they ask them to do it in a highly stimulating […]

Normalize GOOD Behavior for Dogs

What is “Normal?” There was a time in our society when most dogs slept outside.  These days, that doesn’t seem “normal.” When I was a kid, many, if not most, dogs in the South died of heartworm disease; preventive medication and effective treatments had not yet been developed.  That was “normal.”  Many dogs still die […]

Why to Get One Dog at a Time

What is a Pack? “Pack” refers to a family group of wolves, consisting of a male and female and their offspring of various ages.  Only the original parents reproduce and the older pups, not yet ready to leave and find mates of their own, help raise their new siblings.  That’s all there is to it.  […]

Mindset: Ideal Clients, Friends, Dog Owners

Mindset is a belief system; it’s how you think about the impacts of learning and ultimately how you set your life up to succeed.  Beliefs are strong influences on human life choices.  Carol Dweck developed the theory around Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset.  I recommend looking it up – there’s a lot to be learned […]

Chicken Training

What comes to mind when you think of chickens? Eggs?  A pastoral farm?  You probably don’t immediately think of a trained chicken running an agility course or retrieving.  However, there is an elite group of animal trainers in the world who learned from Bob and Marian Bailey through chicken training to use behavior science with […]

Using Treats for Training

Consequences Dogs learn in 2 ways.  One is by the consequences of their behavior choices – their actions.  People sometimes think “consequences” are bad things, but the definition is “results or effects of actions or conditions.”  This makes operant conditioning seem like a very simple process!  Positive reinforcement training means providing positive consequences (good things) […]