Laura’s Coming to Wisconsin! 2-Day Clicker Workshop

Laura laughing with Laev being silly

Dog Training is serious. Always very serious.

We interrupt this blog for a word from our sponsors!

I’ll be in Wisconsin in a couple of weeks for a Core Clicker Seminar, a two-day hands-on intensive workshop for beginning to intermediate trainers and handlers. This is, if I say so myself, a pretty good training seminar. 🙂 And there are still a few working (and auditing) spots open! Continue reading

When You Should NOT Socialize Your Dog — Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series When You Should NOT Socialize
hand reaching for snarling dog

“It’s okay — if enough people pet him he’ll get used to people, right?”
(copyright Fotalia, photo purchased for use)

So all that chat in Part 1 about how to avoid creating problems while socializing a puppy was nice, but you’ve got an adult dog — and whether you made some socialization mistakes or whether you inherited a bad socialization legacy along with the dog, things just aren’t the way they should be. Is there hope?

Yes, of course there’s hope! But again, here is where mistakes happen in the name of “socialization.” Don’t make them.

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Why We Teach House Manners — Or, Good Training Should Be Idiot-Proof

Like many dog owners, I’ve gotten spoiled by having a mature, well-trained dog in the house. Naturally, when we first bring home a new member of the family, we are obsessed with teaching all sorts of critical foundation skills (targeting, door and leash manners, handling exercises, and so on). But once those initial behaviors are in place, we give them little thought because we’re too busy focusing on performance behaviors, or working skills, or the next cute pet trick — whatever our particular venue may be.

What this means is that once I’ve taught my dog the way I need her to comport herself in the house, I get lazy. I do things I would never think of doing with a novice dog. And fortunately, our style of training holds up brilliantly in real-life situations — which, as a matter of fact, is why I still have the load of groceries I bought tonight.

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Interaction During Training

I have seen some criticize clicker training as impersonal and artificial — what do you mean, I’m not supposed to talk to my dog? He’s supposed to work for food instead of me? Hands-off? I’m not supposed to touch my own dog?!

Of course this is a skewed view at best, and occasionally outright wrong, but it can be propagated by well-intentioned but confounding directions from some clicker trainers. Let’s clear this up! Continue reading

Interaction During Training — Pirate Edition

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

(In honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day, today’s post is in that vernacular. Tomorrow will show a translated edition.)

I have seen some criticize clicker trainin’ as impersonal and artificial — what do you mean, I’m not ‘posed t’ talk t’ me dog? He’s s’posed t’ work for food instead o’ me? Hands-off? I’m not s’posed t’ touch me own dog?!

Of course this be a skewed view at best, and occasionally out-starboard wrong, but it can be propagated by well-intentioned but confoundin’ directions from some clicker-ers. Let’s clear the decks! 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 & Storm Success, Part 2 – Carry-on Allowances & Emotional Baggage

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Storm Watch
Figure 15 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Caption reads “FIG. 15.—Cat terrified at a dog. From life, by Mr. Wood.” Author’s signature is at bottom left. See also figures 9-14 and 18 by the same author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we start with the nuts and bolts of helping pets with storm fear or phobia, we really have to discuss the emotional aspects of  fears and phobias. No matter how much has been written or described on this, I still encounter an amazing amount of misinformation which slows or counters owners’ best training efforts. Continue reading