When we think about dogs, we rarely think of them in the cold, detached and objective eye of a biologist or a zoologist. We don’t watch them in our homes like a nature documentarian, who stares in wonder and fascination at these creatures in their natural habitat without any intention to intervene or manipulate. In... Continue Reading →
Being a Well-Rounded Trainer
When a trainer gets to a certain level of expertise and has many years under their belt, they tend to settle into a comfort area with a specific toolbox that they pull from when they work. For all-positive trainers this can mean abstaining from all aversive techniques, with tools being heavily relying on markers, targeting,... Continue Reading →
The “Alpha” Myth
Few terms make dog behavior specialists cringe more than "alpha". The idea that social hierarchy dictates a dog’s mindset in relation to aggression (“dominance”) or fearful (“submissive”) behavior is something that has been held as gospel for most of the history of canid behaviorism. It is only until the last few decades that this long-held... Continue Reading →
If it Doesn’t Bother You, Then it Doesn’t Bother Me
When I began training professionally I had this really all-or-nothing hardcore idea that every dog needed to be trained like a sport dog to be considered “trained”. I could not wrap my head around the idea of a loose leash walk being appropriate rather than a tight flashy heel, or a sit before eating instead... Continue Reading →
Boundaries are Kind
In nearly every situation I find as a trainer, the very first step to resolving behavioral issues is creating boundaries. The easiest way for us to envision what this means, and intuitively implement them, is to remember that most dogs have the intelligence of a 3 year old child. A child this age must be... Continue Reading →
Training aggressive dogs who hate to train – Adrien case study.
Adrien, Adrien, Adrien… Where do I begin. He is the black beauty so frequently pictured on the site. He is also commonly referenced when talking about complicated cases because he has a major screw loose and it translates to really bad aggression. At 90lbs and 28" at the shoulder, this is a major issue. Adrien... Continue Reading →
Dogs Culture is Not Polite
World cultures vary enormously through time and place. The distance one stands from another while in a queue, the way men show appreciation for other men, the language that is considered formal or casual, the rituals of special days and holidays, the practices of religion, the traditional expected of when one visits another’s home, and,... Continue Reading →
I Want a Smart Dog!
Everybody wants a smart dog. This makes sense, nobody is going to specifically go out to find a dumb dog, and no breed-specific breeder or handler is going to admit that their breed-of-choice isn’t necessarily the brightest crayon in the box. The idea of intelligence in the public perception of dogs, however, is a disorganized... Continue Reading →
Adopt Don’t Shop?
America has an atrocious pet overpopulation problem. In the southeast where I live it is the worst of the worst. It is common here for dogs found as a stray or surrendered by owners to be given 3 days to find an adopted home before they are euthanized, and some dogs are immediately euthanized based... Continue Reading →
When to Euthanize
There are so many causes, definitions and remedies for dog aggression. The word “aggression” itself is very vague, and can range many behaviors from guarding their favorite toy from the other dog in the home, to biting a toddler for stepped on their tail, to a dog unleashing a full body attack on their handler... Continue Reading →
Loving our Dogs to Death
I remember an article several years ago that made the social media rounds written by a woman who had to euthanize her dog because of extreme aggression. It was a tearjerker about how much she loved the dog and how great a life the dog had and the countless veterinarians and trainers they sought to... Continue Reading →