Writing books is a tough gig. You might spend a year or so writing. Then rewriting and editing. You will spend a ridiculous amount of time looking for errors. You may have spent years, as I did, acquiring the knowledge. You can put everything you’ve got into producing an excellent book, but then what? The … Continue reading WHY WRITING DOG BOOKS IS A TOUGH GIG?
Losing Mr B
I’d often read the posts of others on Facebook, reporting the loss of their dogs. Each and every time, my heart would sink, and my eyes would become watery. I knew my day would come. I knew that one day, I’d have no choice but to say goodbye to Barney (Mr B). That day came … Continue reading Losing Mr B
Why I’ll no longer be debating training methods on social media
The dog training world is quite divided in some respects, and never more so than right now. The constant debate, or hatred of each other seems to be increasing. I don’t think the divide, between aversive style trainers (particularly shock and prong collar users) and force-free trainers, will ever be settled on social media. Many … Continue reading Why I’ll no longer be debating training methods on social media
Should food be used for enrichment?
I often see people writing about enrichment in ways that do not quite fit with my beliefs. Strangely, they often don’t want my uninvited opinion. So, ever so slowly, I’m learning to keep out of other people’s realities. But here, I will continue to teach what I consider to be right. But, of course, things … Continue reading Should food be used for enrichment?
Does punishment work?
Why does any human or animal avoid pain or discomfort? It’s to escape things which might be harmful. So, imagine we apply some kind of pain or discomfort to a dog who growls at a child (or is reactive to anything else for that matter). What would happen in the dog’s mind? Could it … Continue reading Does punishment work?
The Great Crate Debate
I have two puppy books in my possession. Both are modern and against the use of traditional, punitive, measures. But when it comes to the subject of crates, they could not be more opposite. I’m not going to name the books or authors because, running the largest dog group on Facebook, I already have my … Continue reading The Great Crate Debate
Learning isn’t over until you say it’s over.
I began school aged 5. One of my earliest memories is of being told off for not copying from the board. The teacher couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing it. She thought I must have poor eyesight and sat me closer, but still I produced nothing. She repeatedly asked why I wasn’t doing my work … Continue reading Learning isn’t over until you say it’s over.
Do harnesses encourage dogs to pull?
In recent years harnesses have become increasingly popular. I’ve written, many times, on the risks of applying pressure to the dog’s neck, see my blog here, but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested the use of a harness (or seen others do so) without some people voicing concerns that a harness will teach/encourage the dog … Continue reading Do harnesses encourage dogs to pull?
Enrichment: It’s not all about food
It can be very easy to get the impression that enrichment is all about food. Don't get me wrong, food can be an amazingly good tool for enrichment. This is because dogs obviously need to eat, dogs usually find food enjoyable and reinforcing, and dogs usually don't get to go hunting or scavenging their own … Continue reading Enrichment: It’s not all about food
When is a reinforcer not a reinforcer?
Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement occurs whenever an appetitive stimulus makes a behaviour more likely to be repeated (Mongillo et al., 2014); for example, giving the animal food each time they enter a particular area may positively reinforce the behaviour of entering that area. The internal mechanism of positive reinforcement involves complex interactions of neurotransmitters (dopamine, … Continue reading When is a reinforcer not a reinforcer?