What’s the best way to train my dog?

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?

Reward the good, ignore the bad. Absolutely not!

Reward the good, ignore the bad, is a common dog training phrase. But it's somewhat of a misunderstanding of learning theory.  Learning theory tells us that animals are more likely to repeat behaviour which is rewarded (reinforced), and that unrewarded behaviour is likely to go away (known as extinction). Ignoring unwanted behaviour, however, doesn’t guarantee that it … Continue reading Reward the good, ignore the bad. Absolutely not!

Are choke chains, prong collars and shock collars okay if used correctly?

The notion that, when used correctly, choke chains, prong collars and shock collars are good options, is common. We only need to take a look around social media to see these arguments raging on a daily basis. Aren't we all just animal lovers trying to do the best for our pets? On the whole, yes, … Continue reading Are choke chains, prong collars and shock collars okay if used correctly?

How to prevent dogs from throwing themselves at other dogs and people

This is a question sent to me by a lady in Australia (Anne). How do you control strong pups who literally throw themselves at any people and dogs reasonably close and are totally focussed on that activity so treats do not work. Anne goes on to say her dog is a Labrador.  I'm not sure … Continue reading How to prevent dogs from throwing themselves at other dogs and people

Why we shouldn’t just ignore bad behaviour

The idea that we should reward our dogs' good behaviour and ignore their 'bad' (unwanted) behaviour is something I hear very often.  It's actually a misunderstanding of learning theory.  Learning theory tells us that animals are more likely to repeat behaviour which is rewarded;  Unrewarded behaviour is likely to go away (known as extinction). Ignoring unwanted behaviour, … Continue reading Why we shouldn’t just ignore bad behaviour