The gift of Leo

This month’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop theme is The Gift of Positive Training. Oh, what a gift it has been. Leo’s leash reactivity has gotten so much better. I’ve started saying he’s cured, which is not entirely true, because he still exhibits barrier frustration, but man, I’m going to have to scroll down aContinue reading “The gift of Leo”

Rescue Dogs published in UW journal

I’m thrilled to announce that Rescue Dogs, an excerpt from my work in progress, has been published in the University of Washington’s Stratus: Journal of Arts and Writing. Warning: The story depicts dog fighting, and includes some graphic violence. Read it here. (starting on page 67.) I’ve been working on Fight Like a Lady since 2009Continue reading “Rescue Dogs published in UW journal”

Three times I spoke up for my dog

  Often, people with reactive dogs are overly concerned that others will judge us for the uncontrollable, barking, lunging, frothing beast on the other end of the leash. We need to get over that and just worry about our dogs. I have gotten better and here are three examples where I was proud of speakingContinue reading “Three times I spoke up for my dog”

String Cheese: I’ll never let go

. . . one can never give too many food treats during temperament training exercises . . . – Dr. Ian Dunbar . A few weeks ago I received a very nice message from someone who had heard my two podcasts on The Great Dog Adventure with Fern Camacho. (This one and that one) She related to myContinue reading “String Cheese: I’ll never let go”

That one dog who ruins it for everyone

Dog parks are risky for reactive dogs – all dogs, really – but we’re lucky to have three off-leash areas that aren’t usually too crowded where we can manage our well-socialized dogs. We leave as soon as a small, uncontrollable child arrives, or at the first sign of an unstable dog. We tend to rotateContinue reading “That one dog who ruins it for everyone”

Looking ridiculous doesn’t make us unconventional

The theme for this month’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop is Unconventional Training. Even though I look strange squealing “cheesy” at my dog when strangers walk, run, ride, or roll past us, I don’t think my String Cheese Method is unconventional at all. Reward-based training, to me, is the most basic, obvious method of trainingContinue reading “Looking ridiculous doesn’t make us unconventional”

Comfort a frightened dog

Have you ever heard the ridiculousness that you’re not supposed to comfort a scared dog, because it will reinforce the fear? So not true. From 4PawsUniversity: Fear is an emotion. Emotions are involuntary responses.  Reinforcement refers to an increase in behavior. Behaviors are voluntary responses. Fear is something you feel. Behavior is something you do. FromContinue reading “Comfort a frightened dog”

Facing adversity with positive training and string cheese

Leo’s leash-reactivity has been so well controlled that I decided to increase the criteria with a more challenging walk. Just kidding. We accidentally encountered unexpected triggers because we went later than usual. We walk this route a couple of times a week, and it involves passing some sports stadiums. There are often games on theseContinue reading “Facing adversity with positive training and string cheese”

What happens at the dog park

I try not to write too many posts about the wacky and/or horrifying things that happen at the dog park. I know and trust lots of dog professionals who think off-leash parks are terrible places where bad behavior gets reinforced by clueless dog owners making the wrong choices for their dogs. I agree. But IContinue reading “What happens at the dog park”