Patterns, Dogs, and Learning

Dog Head

The lives of our dogs are full of patterns. When to eat, when to sleep, when to play ball, and when to respond to our cues. These are all patterns that our dogs learn. You might be surprised to learn that your dog may be learning something different than you are teaching. In fact, you may be teaching your dog something different from what you THINK you are teaching!

A Practical Plan for Dog Training Success

Training

Every dog owner is a dog trainer. We can’t help it. It comes with the territory when you bring a dog into your home. Regardless of how good at training dogs you might be, having a clear process for deciding what to train, how to train, and how to determine how successful you are can be a big help. Here’s a practical process that has worked well for me in working with my dogs!

The Good Dog

Tolerance

What is a “good dog?” For most people, a “good dog” is one that behaves like the ones they see on TV or in the movies. A dog that does what is expected and never does what is not wanted. A dog that conforms to our vision of what we want. But is that fair? Do we love dogs for what they are or for what we imagine they are supposed to be?

The Association of Dogs

Observer

Dogs just want to understand. They come into our human world with no understanding of what we expect of them. So they watch us and they learn. If we are smart dog owners, we help them out and teach them. The good news is, your dog is watching.

Competing with Dogs

Obedience

Dog sports are a great way to spend time with our dogs. It also gives us a great reason to train them for some very useful and fun skills. But, while it might be fun, does competition take a toll on our dogs? You might be surprised.

Dog Expectations

Float Dog

Our dogs notice everything. Every part of their day is about knowing what to expect. But how do we teach them to deal with the unexpected? Well, I would say that it’s unexpectedly easy if we do it gently and slowly. Just a little bit at a time.

Mark the Dog

Training Partners

In the past decade or so, Clicker Training has become increasingly popular. But a clicker is not the only way to use marker signals in your training. Using a marker can make your training time with your dog more effect and more fun! Check out the benefits of this wonderful training tool and see for yourself. You might be surprised.

Dog Training Disconnect – Misunderstanding Science

Teaching trainers

I frequently run into trainers that tell me that they “use Positive Reinforcement.”  They don’t.  They think they do, but they don’t.  They can’t.  It’s actually not possible to use Positive Reinforcement or any of the other quadrants of the Operant Conditioning model defined in the behavioural research of B.F. Skinner, Keller Breland, and many others.  It would be […]

Why Is That Dog There? – A Rant

Eric Brad

Some dogs get to go everywhere with their owners. Others go whether they like it or not. Dogs can develop fear or anxiety about social situations for lots of reasons. But we have the power to help them cope in a larger social world beyond our homes. The first step is recognizing their fear and managing things to help them succeed.

One Dog to Fit Them All

Girl in Row Boat with Golden Retriever

Everyone knows what a dog is. But is a Bassett Hound the same as a German Shepherd? It would be interesting if that were true. That dogs that looked different on the outside but behaved the same on the inside. Unfortunately it’s just not that simple and we should set our expectations accordingly.