The cognitive Canine

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Photo Credit: Swiftrun Photography

latest blog post

Shaping Demystified

My dog Idgie is eleven years old, and when I got her as an 8 week old puppy I was determined to "shape" 100% of her training. I was under the impression that luring was mindless, and I had fairly recently removed the use of aversive tools and practices from my...

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Jumping to Aversives

Today I am thinking about an 11 year old kid who invented a leash to stop leash pulling.  You’ve heard the story. The system delivered electric stimulation to the dog if the dog pulled. He was nationally recognized and asked to bring his invention to a contest or...

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When Choice Isn’t An Option

I talk about giving dogs choices a lot. In fact, I think offering more choice to our dogs is something often overlooked and extremely important. Choice is anxiety's greatest enemy, and control over one's own outcomes is a hardwired primary reinforcer. The path to...

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The Power of YES

I pulled into the parking lot for my weekly competitive obedience class. I went around to the back of my car, opened it up, and saw my dog settle further into the back of his crate. I knew he didn't want to go in. I reached for him, snapped on his leash, and he hauled...

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Happy Crating

The first night Idgie came home she screamed. She didn't whine or fuss she full-on banshee-screamed. For eight hours. She didn't stop. My colleagues told me I had to wait her out. I had to be careful not to let her out of the crate if she was screaming. So I did. Fast...

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If you’re drowning get out of the pool

Last weekend I was teaching Worked Up, as I often do on the weekends. I told two people whose dogs I worked hands-on with that they should take a break from their chosen sports while they worked through some problems. I hate telling people that because they hate...

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The Deep Dark

I'm not sure I am sharing this with the world. There. That sentence allows me to write it. Here we go. Depression is an old friend of mine. Why "friend" and not enemy? I know it too well; I am not one to keep my enemies close. Why "friend" and not acquaintance? Same...

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The Four Steps

I talk about this thing, this thing I call "The Four Steps" to behavioral wellness. These steps, as I see them, are exercise, enrichment, nutrition, and communication. My thinking is that if these four areas, these key components of mental health, are addressed in our...

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