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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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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Can you fix it?

Dog owners and trainers alike face behaviors in their beloved four-leggeds that cause them stress. Barking and lunging on leash, bolting out open doors, snatching food from counters, and the list goes on! Dogs do all kinds of dog things that are hard for humans to...

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Close Calls

When my first border collie Kelso was a baby, around 12 weeks old, somebody tried to steal him from my backyard. My sister saw the hands reach into the fence and grab at him, she screamed out the window, they let go, and he ran for the house. They had actually removed...

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Much Ado About Sniffing

I once wrote in-depth about what functions sniffing serves and why it's such a vital part of dogdom and one to be respected. You can find that HERE. Please read it first. So why am I here, writing about it again? A friend's facebook thread asking "what can we do about...

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agility stress dreams and other hard things

Have you ever had an agility stress dream? Maybe you're at [insert major big event here] and you missed your walk through? Or you're walking the course at [major big event] and you just can't get it figure out, and the clock is running down. Or your crating area is...

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Microskills: Toys

In this microskills post I'm going to cover some really basic toy skills that we, if we are going to use toys to train, really need. It is really sexy right now to use multiple markers for toys and while I do find this concept really helpful, I do feel that trying to...

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Reinforcer Microskills: Foodstuff

More Microskills today! If you didn’t read my first post in this series, you can check it out here. The next set of Microskills that I find really vital is that of reinforcer skills. We don’t often think about investing a lot of time into training the reinforcement...

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Microskills

I have been talking with clients a lot lately about a concept I am calling “miscroskills.” Microskills are the tiny elements that make up most of our future behaviors–they are the skills that make it easy for our dog to learn anything else. I would divide microskills into three categories: behaviors, reinforcers, and life. Here are the behavior microskills I find the most valuable, in no particular order…

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