We can often be torn between training methods. Ethics are constantly shifting and what may once have been common practice is now unacceptable to many. Even simple and straightforward exercises have been brought into question. Recently I've even seen posts about the legitimacy of teaching sit. We want to use good methods and avoid bad … Continue reading What’s the best way to train my dog?
Why do they pull? All situations and dog/owner dynamics are different, there is no one reason or solution which will suit everybody. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most common factors. Animals didn’t survive to pass on their genes by repeating behaviours which didn’t pay (or give an advantage). We (and … Continue reading Loose Lead Walking
Reward the good, ignore the bad, is a common dog training phrase. But it's somewhat of a misunderstanding of learning theory. Learning theory tells us that animals are more likely to repeat behaviour which is rewarded (reinforced), and that unrewarded behaviour is likely to go away (known as extinction). Ignoring unwanted behaviour, however, doesn’t guarantee that it … Continue reading Reward the good, ignore the bad. Absolutely not!
If we are asking an animal to do something then we generally expect them to do it. There's a really strong feeling (and I'm not only talking of aversive trainers) that humans are in charge and animals have to do as we say. I argue that it doesn't have to be this way. I first … Continue reading Should we allow dogs to say NO?
We're all resource guarders, aren't we? If somebody tries to take your stuff, or you just think they might, don't you get a bit uptight? shout, scream, or hold on tight to your belongings? Why should the dog be any different? they don't even have a bank card or insurance to replace lost items! Pepper … Continue reading Resource Guarding
This is a question sent to me by a lady in Australia (Anne). How do you control strong pups who literally throw themselves at any people and dogs reasonably close and are totally focussed on that activity so treats do not work. Anne goes on to say her dog is a Labrador. I'm not sure … Continue reading How to prevent dogs from throwing themselves at other dogs and people
The idea that we should reward our dogs' good behaviour and ignore their 'bad' (unwanted) behaviour is something I hear very often. It's actually a misunderstanding of learning theory. Learning theory tells us that animals are more likely to repeat behaviour which is rewarded; Unrewarded behaviour is likely to go away (known as extinction). Ignoring unwanted behaviour, … Continue reading Why we shouldn’t just ignore bad behaviour
How common it is to hear the words 'he just doesn't listen'. Understanding why, is the first step toward a better relationship.
If your dog ignores you when it's time to go back on the lead, you might be standing there without a dog, but you are most definitely not alone! It's one of the most common problems in the dog-human relationship. Why does it matter? Not returning when called can be frustrating for the owner (not … Continue reading How to get your dog to come back (the dreaded recall)
As an advocate of canine enrichment, 'my dog destroys his toys' is something I hear a lot. I can certainly understand the frustration. Some of the toys are not cheap and to have them not even last the day is disappointing, to say the least. Looking around the pet shops, I often see notices displayed … Continue reading How to prevent dogs from destroying their toys