An aversive stimulus is, by definition, something an animal will work to avoid. Trainers who consider themselves “positive” generally try to omit aversive stimuli from their work with dogs. In dog training there are no mystical forces; the dog is either working to gain access to an appetitive stimulus (meat, cheese, tennis ball, latex squeaky … More Confusion Kills
I pulled the prong collar out of the bag, and turned to Kelso. His ears flattened. He lowered his head. He licked his lips and waited for me to attach it around his neck. I saw him, and I wish I could say I put that archaic tool back in the bag, but I didn’t. … More I Wish I’d Known…
Relationship is a buzzword in dog training, especially right now. Researching for this blog I found that the word has a lot of formal definitions. This one is my favorite: the state of being connected. So what does it mean to have a relationship with a dog? Does the relationship we have with a dog … More The State of Being Connected
I just got back from Clicker Expo. I go to this conference every year and attend lectures from animal trainers, behavior analysts, and some of the best applied animal behaviorists in the world. It is truly remarkable. I walked away, as I always do, with some important tweaks to make to my training plans, some … More Science Pudding
We like crazy juiced-up dogs in the sport of dog agility. Other sports like them too; the dogs that participate in bitework are some of the most adrenalized I have seen, dock diving is largely comprised of barking maniacs, and I even know people who prefer to do obedience with a dog that’s on edge. … More Is Your Sport Dog Worked Up?
When I first learned dog training I was at the mercy of my teachers, as we are whenever we take on a new skill. I had a dog with severe behavioral concerns, I was pretty desperate, and I laid myself at their feet. As a result, I did a lot of things that I’m not … More The Emperor’s New Technique
When we train dogs we aren’t working with a black box of input-output. If you’re well-versed in learning science it can be easy to start to see them that way. The best trainers keep the science behind what they are doing in mind as they take the animal’s experience into account. When complications arise the … More Training a Feeling