The cognitive Canine

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Photo Credit: Swiftrun Photography

latest blog post

Your Dog, CEO

I was training with my agility coach the other day and my dog Rayya informed us she needed a break. She had just run a fast sequence and as she was being set up to run another one she went and sniffed the nearby fence. Megan (my coach) said "well, she's the CEO" and...

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Yes, your dog needs off leash time.

For nearly 15 years I have been recommending that my clients find ways to increase their dogs' off leash time in nature. During large portions of that time, this was not easily accessible to me. When I worked three jobs and barely had enough money to feed myself and...

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The Gift of the “Pre-Error”

Everyone wants to know what to do when their dogs make mistakes in training. There are all sorts of answers to this ranging from ignoring the error all the way up to attempting to punish the error. In reality, the best trainers know the best time to respond to an...

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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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