It has been said that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Nearly 20 years ago I took a long hard look at what I thought I knew about dogs and found very little of it to be true. A journey of learning and experimenting with a new way to train and work with dogs did not just change the dogs. It changed me. It has been my privilege to share some of that with you here. I wish you the joy and peace that we have found with our dogs.
Canine Nation is a series of essays by Eric Brad CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer. He writes about living with dogs. Canine Nation is about discovering what is TRUE about dogs and discarding centuries of myth and folklore about we train and work with our dogs. It’s about challenging what we think we know and asking the dogs to tell us what’s real. It’s about giving science, scientific method, and collected data more credibility than hearsay, anecdotes, and the authoritative assertions of self-proclaimed “experts” about dogs.
Canine Nation Podcasts are also available HERE!
Does your dog know what’s happening with their day? How do they know when it’s time to rest and time to do something fun? Information cues can help your dog know what to expect from you and might even make them calmer and happier too!
If you have ever taught your dog to “Stay” or “Leave it”, you have taught your dog to “Not-Behave.” In other words, you are asking your dog NOT to do something as opposed to asking him to do something. But is your dog really doing nothing or is he choosing to refrain from doing something?
There is more than one kind of simplicity. There is the simplicity that comes from knowing too little and thinking things are simple when they are not. And then there is the simplicity of learning a lot about something and understanding how simple it is to learn more. I have known dogs and training from both perspectives.
Watching some dog owners work with their dogs is interesting. It almost seems like a battle of wills with the owner and the dog each trying to get what they want. In those contests, the human always has the advantage and usually wins. But does it have to be that way? Could there be a way to compromise? I think so!
You can learn a lot living with a dog. But Tiramisu was a special case. We raised her in a new way and we learned a great many things that we did not know were even possible. The lessons of her lifetime will stay with us for as long as we have dogs. I will be forever grateful to my greatest teacher and my dearest friend.
Watching a dog we love grow old can be difficult. But we made a wonderful discovery. Raising our dog with positive, science-based training from a puppy has given us the tools we need to communicate with her to give her a comfortable and happy life as she nears her 15th year. It seems you don’t have to teach an old dog new tricks. You just use the tricks you have in new and creative ways!
Dogs have always been with us. But where did they come from? We always thought dogs came from wolves but there may be a better source of information about the origins and behaviour of our dogs.
We often hear about aggressive dogs and dog aggression problems. But most of these dogs are just frightened. They are reactive a situation that scares them. We can help these dogs but first we have to stop scolding them and move them to a place they feel safe. The first step in fixing any problem is clearly identifying the source!
When it comes to dog training, sometimes more is less. Spending a lot of time and effort working with your dog doesn’t guarantee that your dog will learn faster. Using proven training methods can help but you have to do them properly to get the best results. Be sure you’re doing your best as a trainer before blaming the method or the dog!