My Relationship With Animals

Last week, I got together with a couple of like minded trainer type friends to chat about people, dogs, and training in our area.  Up where I live, the ideas of dominance, punishment and pack mentality are still very popular – many people think nothing of using a choke chain or shock collar to try […]

Positive Training for Pit Bulls!

I love having adoptable dogs attend my training classes – it’s a great opportunity for them to get more exposure and improve on various behaviors so that they are more likely to find that perfect forever home. You can imagine my delight when Julie, from HugABull, came with her superstar foster mom, Brigit.  Brigit had […]

Systematic Desensitization, Counterconditioning and Flooding

This is a nice follow-up to last week’s classical conditioning, because really, what is classical conditioning without systematic desensitization and counterconditioning?  Let’s find out!  Systematic Desensitization This term is pretty easy to figure out – gradually making something less scary, in a methodical manner.  Because we cannot instruct our dogs to imagine the scary stimulus […]

Classical Conditioning 101

I’ve often had people comment that I’m just distracting dogs with treats at class – really, is that all they think is going on?  It may look simple, but here’s the science behind it (and I’m not actually distracting the dogs with treats, I’m pairing the treats with a specific stimulus). Respondent conditioning, also referred […]

How To Be A Great Reactive Dog Guardian

First off, you’re not the only one out there. – you may not see other people out with their dogs at 4 am, but trust me, they are there.  They’re on high alert and keeping their distance, just like you!  It takes a special and a tough person to love a reactive dog; here’s a […]

Positive, Scientific Training and Exotic Breeds

I’m blessed – I get to work with lots of dogs that fall under the umbrella term of “pit bull”, and I’m familiar and comfortable with this breed of dog.  Every now and then, I get a message regarding a breed of dog that a) I have never heard of and have to google or […]

Operant Conditioning – The Positive and the Negative

I’m constantly asked by people “If I reward the good behavior and punish the bad behavior, won’t I get what I’m looking for quicker?”.  The answer is NO!  I know, it seems to throw rocks in the face of common sense, but when did learning theory become about common sense?  Check Your Morals at the […]

Tips for Adding a Second Dog

I added a second dog to my home last year, and I’m often asked by people the benefits of adding a second dog to the home.  Ummm, benefits?  Adding a Second Dog Is Unlikely to Help Dog #1’s Behavior Issues In fact, adding a second dog will often exacerbate existing behavior problems.  I always recommend […]

The Heart Dog

I think like most dog trainer-types, I got into dog training when I adopted my very first dog on my own.  Sure, I had grown up with dogs and other animals, but it’s different when your dog is all yours.  It’s especially different when you decide to take a risk on the skinny, square-ish headed, […]