Advertisement Photoshoot — or, Faking a Naughty Dog

Laev, after faux holiday destructionI had a great idea for a training advertisement, all seasonal and humorous. And I had a great photographer to hand. To shoot it, however, we’d need to take a crazy, fractious dog who had been trained to polite house manners and make her look again like a stereotypical “bad dog.”

It was a ton of fun. Continue reading

Shaping for Shape

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Behavior Training & Physical Training: OC for Fitness

I am continuing to find more help in my professional life for my personal life, such as for increasing my physical fitness. There are all kinds of behavioral principles at work here! What’s working for me right now? Continue reading

Storm Watch & Success, Part 5 – Drugs & Alternative Therapies

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

You’ve tried everything — desensitization, counter-conditioning, safe places, and more — and it’s not enough? Or you know your panicked dog needs relief now while you start other protocols? Here are some more tools to consider.

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Storm Watch & Success, Part 4 – Safe Places & the Mental Continuum

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

As I write this post, thunder is rolling overhead with enough resonance to shake the house. As I write this post, a Doberman is curled up at the foot of my bed. That’s our only storm coping tactic at the moment. How does this work? Continue reading

Storm Watch & Success, Part 3 – Desensitization & Counter-Conditioning

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

Storm (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

So you’re ready to get started combating storm fear, right? Of all the various tools we’ll cover, these will be the most generally useful for the most cases.

Desensitization and counter-conditioning are often confused, and indeed they can be similar. Both involve starting at a very low level of exposure to the trigger and gradually raising it. But they are different processes. Continue reading

What a Blind Dog Sees, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series What A Blind Dog Sees

Part 1 covered Inky’s uncertain backstory and roller coaster of health issues.  Today, we’ll talk about how we’ve trained through blindness, and what we’ve learned about obedience, perception, trust, and control. Continue reading

What A Blind Dog Sees, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series What A Blind Dog Sees
Inky, in early stages of illness, before much hair loss or blindness

Inky, in early stages of illness, before much hair loss or blindness

Inky, my husband’s dog, is blind.  She wasn’t born this way; in fact, this is a fairly recent development for her, thanks to a very rare and unusual autoimmune disorder.  We noticed her holding her head oddly one night, but thought it was just the light.  By the time we realized she was having trouble seeing, it was progressing very fast.  We estimate she lost most of her vision within two weeks.

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Silly Pet Tricks 102

I brought home a hula hoop a couple of weeks ago.  Valenzia was a little shy of it; she didn’t seem to like the shoop-shoop sound the sand made, nor the fact that it swung around in a wide arc that barred her from Mommy (me).  I didn’t want my dog to be uncomfortable with the hoop, and one of the best ways I’ve found to counter-condition a “scary” object is to turn it into a training target.

I’ve posted before about using shaping games and silly tricks to foster creativity or take the edge off a wired dog’s energy.  Since I was doing a few minutes of shaping anyway, I figured I could use our short training session for the next video installment.  So, here it is! Continue reading