You’ve probably heard it a hundred times – ‘dogs do what works’. I’m going to tweak this just a little and say ‘dogs do what makes sense to them’. If they get a treat for walking to a particular spot (perhaps a doorway) then, of course, it makes sense to walk towards the doorway; it’s … Continue reading The Curse of the Poisoned Cue
A big concept in training dogs is to find a way of getting the dog to perform a behaviour, then reinforcing that behaviour so they are more likely to perform it again. Once we can predict the behaviour will occur, we add our cue word and Bobs your uncle. However, this often leaves us trying … Continue reading Don’t worry about where you want to be – Be where you are.
The following is a free subchapter of my book 'Dog Training & Behaviour: A guide for everyone'; in the hope that it will help as many people and their dogs as possible. Fear of fireworks and thunderstorms is probably the most common fear-based problem I hear about. A very common misconception has persisted in which … Continue reading Fear of Fireworks
It's easy to add 2 and 2 together, and come up with 4. When we are talking about adding numbers together context doesn't come into it. But behaviour isn't a number. Behaviour always depends on context. In the enrichment group I run, I see many people concerned that allowing a dog to rip open a … Continue reading Behaviour isn’t a number
Recently I read, on social media, that we should not allow our young dogs to play with other dogs. The suggestion was that it causes reactivity or that dogs will injure people as they attempt to play with other dogs. There was also a suggestion that reactivity has increased in line with the practice of … Continue reading Is socialisation causing reactivity?
We can often be torn between training methods. Ethics are constantly shifting and what may once have been common practice is now unacceptable to many. Even simple and straightforward exercises have been brought into question. Recently I've even seen posts about the legitimacy of teaching sit. We want to use good methods and avoid bad … Continue reading What’s the best way to train my dog?
It’s the end of an era and the books have gone away
The word ‘dominant’ has become a dirty word in the dog training world. It’s become emotionally charged and we usually can’t use it without stirring up a hornet’s nest. Even at university we were advised to talk in terms of socially competitive rather than dominant. The problem is that the word ‘dominant’ has been used … Continue reading Dominance and Dogs
Enrichment is becoming commonplace, but why might some dogs appear disinterested? It could be that the dog isn’t sufficiently motivated to work at getting the food. Perhaps he gets plenty of similar food for free (in a bowl) and can easily do without whatever extra is in the enrichment toy. Or perhaps the food … Continue reading Why dogs might not be interested in enrichment feeding
The dogs’ most closely related species is the wolf (Canis lupus). Domestication most likely began just 20,000 years ago. Although people often compare the domesticated dog with modern wolves, dogs are actually more closely related to an extinct wolf sister-group than they are to any wolves living today. You could say they are distant cousins; … Continue reading The Evolution of Dogs