E241: Sharon Carroll - "Training the Atypical Dog"

Sharon and I chat about what it means to train an atypical dog — what it looks like, and how these dogs end up that way.

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  3334 Hits
3334 Hits

The Development of Fear

Fear and anxiety underly many of the behavior issues in dogs. Understanding the subtleties of how fear works can help us prevent and address it more effectively.

First, it's important to understand how fear develops in the first place. Certain things are innately frightening for animals. This is controlled by genetics (by definition, innate refers to behavior that is not learned). MacLean et al. 2019 found evidence for heritability in a number of traits in dogs including fear. Exactly what individuals are innately fearful of will vary from species to species. The sensitivity to stimuli and intensity of fear will vary from individual to individual. 

As we know, dogs also learn to become frightened based on their experience. Dogs that have higher levels of innate fear will be more susceptible to learned fear as well because there are more things that are frightening to them in the first place.

The development of conditioned fear occurs through the process of classical conditioning where the dog learns to associate a previously neutral stimulus (such as a white lab coat) with an innately frightening stimulus (such as restraint and pain at the veterinary clinic). If we want to get technical, the lab coat becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) for the unconditioned stimulus (US) of pain and restraint. Eventually, the CS of the lab coat comes to produce conditioned fear, which is the conditioned response (CR). The context that the US occurs in can also come to produce the conditioned response. In this example, the veterinary clinic itself can trigger fear, since that is where the pain and restraint are occurring.

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  1223 Hits
1223 Hits

E240: Petra Ford - Fitness for the Sports Dog

Petra Ford and I talk about how fitness can help optimize your dogs performance in the sport or sports of your choice! 

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  950 Hits
950 Hits

E239: Nancy Gagliardi Little - "Unstick Your Heeling"

Today we talk heeling with Nancy Gagliardi Little — where people tend to get stuck, why, and how to get back on track and keep moving forward!  

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  1024 Hits
1024 Hits

E238: Deb Jones - Cooperative Care, Zen Work & Consent

In this episode Deb and I talk about the overlap between zen work and cooperative care, plus Deb shares what, why, and how consent can be important in your training.

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  1706 Hits
1706 Hits

Reactive Trainer? And Why Does it Matter?

This is something that many people new to positive reinforcement (R+) training struggle with: Why can 'fixing' behavior problems (or any training problem) seem so much harder using
positive techniques than using punishment or force? I mean, you're rewarding the hell out of the behaviors you want so why are things still turning to custard? 

Because using positive reinforcement to change established behavior requires that we become PRO-active rather than RE-active trainers – and that is the challenging bit.

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  1680 Hits
1680 Hits

E237: Shade Whitesel and Ann Smorado - "Getting Ready for the Ring"

Skills are only the most obvious thing you need to train before trialing — in today's episode, Ann and Shade talk about the additional skills you need both inside and outside of the ring to compete successfully.  

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  1317 Hits
1317 Hits

Does Your Dog Hate Going to the Vet? Here are 5 Things You Can do TODAY to Make it Better

My dogs were always fine going to the vet's office, until they weren't. Typically we did 'happy puppy' visits, used lots of food to distract them during exams and shots, and let the very friendly staff make a big fuss over them. That worked fine, until it didn't.

At some point in your dog's life he's likely going to need to have stressful and/or painful procedures done. You can usually get by with that the first time; but then the suspicion and concern start. With every visit it becomes more and more of a struggle to get your dog in and get the exam done. You find yourself needing to use more pressure, your dog is more distressed, and the cookies aren't working any longer. Now what?

Here are 5 things you can do TODAY!

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  2262 Hits
2262 Hits

Erin Lynes - "Dog Powered Sports with Erin Lynes"

Dog powered sports are growing in popularity — Erin and I hopped on a call to talk about what they are, what you need to do to train for them, and to give you a sneak peek at her upcoming course! 

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  939 Hits
939 Hits

Competition Dog Sport Trial Prep: Does Generalization Really Matter?

I have been spending the last two years playing with and training my young Labrador Retriever, Dare. He just turned 2 in July and he is a lot of fun!

We are just getting started dipping our toes into the competition world and trial prep is at the front of my mind. The inability to get the same performance in the trial ring that we have in class or at home is a source of frustration for many a handler. That feeling of complete helplessness in a trial ring when you and your dog are disconnected, your dog is struggling, you feel eyes (real or imaginary) burning holes of judgement in your back, and you can't understand why your dog is behaving the way he is, is not a fun place to be. I have been there. If you don't believe me, here is proof. Me with my Novice A dog in the obedience ring.

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  2110 Hits
2110 Hits

E235: Kristin Rosenbach - "Truffle Hunting with Dogs"

What would it be like to forage for wild food with your dog? In this episode Kristin and I talk about truffle hunting — from what it takes, to what truffles actually taste like!

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  1199 Hits
1199 Hits

E234: Sara Brueske, Sarah Stremming & Petra Ford - "Pressure in Training"

Pressure in dog training can have a lot of different meanings and factors in a variety of ways — in this episode we talk about both unintentional pressure and the kind you need to train for if you want to compete.

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  1998 Hits
1998 Hits

E233: Megan, Denise, and Stacy on Balancing Skills in Training

Today Megan Foster, Denise Fenzi and Stacy Barnett join me to talk about building balance into our training, how your dog's natural traits factor in, and when you might not want balance after all.

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  1130 Hits
1130 Hits

E232: Aggression in Dogs

This week I'm joined for an extra long episode by several of the presenters for the upcoming Aggression in Dogs conference to talk about how we can better handle these types of cases and debunk some of the many myths out there about aggression. 

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  1630 Hits
1630 Hits

E231: Sara Brueske - "Breaking Down the Retrieve"

When we talk about the foundations for a good retrieve most people think a take and a hold are the place to start — Sara and I talk in this episode about smaller splits that can give your dog even stronger foundations.

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  1610 Hits
1610 Hits

Strategy for Agility: A Course Map Analysis Case Study

Running agility courses isn't just about learning the handling moves or teaching your dog the obstacles. There is also a lot to learn about course analysis and planning your strategy. That piece can be the most challenging part for some times: what to do where?!

In my handling class, Smoother Moves, I have designed a series of technique quizzes for students to work through to help them develop their skills around planning their runs. This gives them the tools to look at a course map or walk a course and narrow down the available handling options that they have so that they can determine which will work best for their team.

In this first set of quizzes, students can choose from the techniques that they already have learned in the previous handling class, Smooth Moves. They are also prompted to predict their dog's reality lines for specific jumps. This puts the handlers into the mindset of thinking of the dog's path and which handling techniques impact their dogs' lines in the way that we need them to jump and turn.

Arielle posted her thoughts on the first set of technique quizzes. Here are her answers: 

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  3373 Hits
3373 Hits

E230: Sue Ailsby & Heather Lawson - Moving Up the Levels

With Sue retiring, Heather has stepped in to ensure students can continue to benefit from Sue's awesome Levels program at FDSA — for those not familiar with the program, we chat about how it came to be, and why Heather is excited to teach it! 

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  1146 Hits
1146 Hits

The Secret (reel) Life of Dogs: Free Roaming Dogs

Do you know what free-roaming dogs do all day? How do you think your own dog might interact with them? Marco Ojeda and Chrissi Schranz recently offered a free webinar on the subject — and we've shared it here for those who missed it live!

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  2437 Hits
2437 Hits

E229: Barbara Currier - "School of Fish: Raising a Performance Puppy"

Wondering where to start with your performance puppy? Barbara Currier shares her take after 25 years of raising performance puppies! 

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  1325 Hits
1325 Hits

Position Changes Out in Front: Exploring the Sit

Teaching your dog to sit seems so simple until you start thinking about the different ways a dog can sit. There is a stand to sit and a down to sit. In either of those position changes, the dog can either plant his front end or his rear end.

When I'm thinking about teaching my dog position changes, I try to think about the final behavior. If you do obedience or rally, you will need to teach your dog sit in front and in heel. Exercises that include a sit in front of you are the signal exercise, command discrimination, and several higher-level rally exercises. You'll see a sit in heel much more often, such as during heeling patterns and command discrimination.

Let's talk about how to teach the sit position!

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  2352 Hits
2352 Hits

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