E165: Peta Clarke - "The ABCs: Changing Behavior through Antecedents"

The power of antecedents and the therapeutic impact of nosework, from the Lemonade Conference presenter Peta Clarke!

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1246 Hits

Clicker, Marker Word, or Cookie?!?

Which is best: a clicker, a marker word or just handing over a cookie when the dog does something which makes us proud?

Ask yourself what are the goals for the training session.

If you're working on simple classical conditioning (for example: You want the dog to feel good in a new building) then hand over free cookies. Since the dog's consciousness of their behavior is irrelevant, there's no reason to use a clicker or a marker word. You simply want your dog to enjoy the situation – classical conditioning at work.

If you're working on a trained behavior that has an element of duration, but the actual moment that you choose to hand over the cookie is not relevant, then there is also no need for a marker. Just release from the formal work, hand over free cookies with praise, and go from there.

For example, if you're working on loose leash walking and the dog has been walking for a full minute without pulling, then there really is no specific moment to mark. You're just happy with a "period of time." Since this exact second is not different than the one before, a marker can't mark anything.

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2022 Hits

E164: Julie Flanery - "Drop that Prop"

Props are there to help you TEACH a behavior... but often we get stuck, and continue using them for way too long! Julie shares her method for fading them from your training once they've served their purpose, so you can begin building those final behaviors!

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1138 Hits

Hyper Greeters: Dealing with dogs who jump up (extreme edition)

A while ago I posted a blog about teaching dogs to keep their feet on the floor and off of people. That blog included an excellent video by Chirag Patel. In my opinion, his approach will work for a high percentage of dogs, especially puppies who are started correctly. 

But some dogs are a bit different. These dogs are not showing normal, thinking behavior patterns when they are in the presence of new people, because they are "hyper greeters." In the presence of new people, they go over threshold. 

"Over threshold" simply means that the dog is no longer able to make good (rational) decisions about their behavior. And since training assumes a rational participant who is maximizing good things and minimizing bad things, training often fails on dogs that are over threshold. Sad but true. The more time a dog spends over threshold, the more easily they end up in this bad place, which starts a nasty cycle.

A hyper greeter isn't a happy dog who simply loves everyone. 

A hyper greeter is a dog with an uncontrollable need to get to people, yet the dog recognizes that their behavior is not appreciated. That leads to conflict, and conflict is bad, because dogs in conflict go over threshold easily.

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3040 Hits

E163: Marjie Alonso - "Building the Positive Community"

Marjie Alonso, executive director of IAABC, joins me to talk about a little bit of this, a little bit of that... including the Pandemic Handbook, positive training, and what it is she does all day for IAABC.

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946 Hits

Positive Paralysis – Now what?

You're picking up after the kids in the family room when you hear sounds coming from the kitchen….where your dinner roast is cooling on the countertop. You have a sinking feeling that your dog is about to make a meal out of your dinner.

You're a "positive" trainer who doesn't use fear, intimidation, or physical force to train your dog.

You enter the kitchen to see what is happening and your worst fear is confirmed – your dog is well up on the kitchen counter and heading for your roast.

What do you do?

Wait a sec – I have to change that around a bit, because I have no idea what you do. Let's talk about what I'd do.

So, what would I do?

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2905 Hits

E162: Sharon Carroll - "Positive Training with Horses"

How does training horses differ from training dogs? Are there overlooked side effects of introducing positive training to our equine friends? Sharon Carroll and I talk about the reality of training horses.

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1293 Hits

Are You Really Ready? Three Boxes to Check Before You Step in the Ring!

Thinking about stepping into the ring can be overwhelming and scary, but knowing that you and your dog are prepared will ease your nerves. Read on to find out if you are really ready to get in the ring!

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1107 Hits

E161: Lucy Newton - "Training to Track"

Our dogs are innately born with the skills they need to track a scent — so in this episode Lucy and I discuss how to take that and channel it for competition!

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Canine Sports Medicine

Once a year, I teach a class called Canine Sports Medicine for the Performance Dog Handler. It is not just for performance dog handlers. Anyone who has a dog that is active, that has had an injury, or that will have an injury, will benefit from this class. 

Everyone wants to do the best for their dogs. Many of us are willing and able to travel several hours and spend several thousand dollars to treat our dog's injury. The problem is, if we don't know what is wrong, we can't fix it. In my experience, the weakest link in treating injuries in dogs is getting the correct diagnosis.

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970 Hits

E160: Laura Waudby, Heather Lawson, Ann Smorado - "Virtual Titling with TEAM"

Stuck at home but need something to keep you motivated and training your dog? Check out the virtual TEAM titling program!

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791 Hits

Want Straighter Fronts? Here’s How!

If you compete in obedience or rally (or both), you've probably spent a fair amount of time training fronts. As you progress through the levels, the number of fronts increases, and with it the potential for lost points. If your fronts could use some straightening, or if you're training a young dog, keep reading to get some tips for perfecting those...
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3137 Hits

E159: Barbara Currier - "Learning and Loving the Weave Poles"

Barbara Currier and I chat about how to build a love for the weave poles from the ground up — plus we talk a little about teaching the teeter!

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1180 Hits

The Strategy for Building a Training Plan You'll ACTUALLY Stick To

(Caveat: If you're reading this post after the COVID-19 storm has passed and the world has gone back to normal, or a new normal, everything I have to say below is still relevant and useful to making your training plans a reality! So, read on…)

The COVID-19 pandemic has launched the world into crisis, leaving us all in uncharted waters. We don't know how things will unfold, or what's going to come next. And that's pretty scary.

The upside of this time of Social Distancing and self-quarantine is that many of us suddenly have time for doing things we have been meaning to get to for ages… like training our dogs! So, naturally that's what you've been doing since being stuck at home. Right?

No? Me neither. 

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1975 Hits

E158: Denise Fenzi - "Making Lemonade"

After the cancellation of FDSA Training Camp 2020, FDSA and IAABC teamed up to turn the lemons life has dealt us into an extra special lemonade for the dog training community...

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1479 Hits

The Science of Play: Playing Your Way to Success

Play is an interesting thing. Sometimes it is loose and unstructured, changing to suit the players and the circumstance; sometimes it is codified with rules, rewards, and consequences to suit the game. Even with our dogs – agility rules vary by organization and the structure of personal play changes depending on the dog and person!

Play is studied more often than most people realize and has been studied from a number of different directions – one essential work is The Genesis Of Play (2005) authored by Gordon Burghardt who carefully explored the ways play has been considered in regards to development and behavior across species. While he ultimately posits that it is not essential, nor always beneficial, he contributed some fascinating insights into play.

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1438 Hits

E157: Emily Strong - "Canine Enrichment for the Real World"

How much do you know about "Enrichment"? Do you know where the term came from? All the different options that fall into the category? This week I talk to Emily Strong about this important (and trendy) topic!

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1499 Hits

Positive Connections with Positive Trainers: Building Bridges with Colleagues

Yesterday I spent some time looking at the Facebook pages of other dog trainers. I saw videos that were new to me, became re-acquainted with some "oldies but goodies" and had a chance to hear different points of views on random topics. Not a bad way to spend some time!

Then I came across the Facebook wall of a trainer who shares a fundamental belief of mine; that dog training should be kind. And while we clearly take different paths from there, I'd say that's not very important. In the bigger scheme of things, we both believe in the importance of kindness to animals.

One of the first things I found on this trainer's page was a video of another trainer. There were several paragraphs of text explaining why this other trainer and her video were wrong. So of course I watched the video. Who was this person??

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2229 Hits

E156: Ken Ramirez - "The Eye of the Trainer"

There are few trainers out there who have the breadth of experience across species and techniques that Ken has — today he comes on to talk a bit about his latest book and to share those experiences with you!

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2284 Hits

Recall Training: The One Cue Every Dog Should Know

If I could teach a dog only one thing, what would it be?

To come when called. Few things are quite as frustrating as a dog that is oblivious to your futile attempts to call him back to you or worse, a dog that thrives on the game of "keep away."

A dog with a strong recall has freedom! You can take them places and get them back when you want to leave.

A dog with a strong recall has safety! You can let them off the leash without an unreasonable fear of having them run off or get hit by a car (though all decisions involve risk).

A strong recall makes you welcome with other people and dog owners!

If you have ever found yourself calling out "don't worry; my dog is friendly!" then please read the next paragraphs with great care.

Get ready because I'm going to be blunt here…. 

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8300 Hits