Do dogs need rules?

Unbelievably, there are people in dog training circles who think positive-only training is wrong. But as Victoria Stilwell explains, positive does not equal permissive. Cesar Millan is big on saying that dogs need rules, boundaries, and limitations, more than they need affection. Whether or not that’s true, I abandoned that notion around the time I learnedContinue reading “Do dogs need rules?”

P is for Progress?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether you’re making progress or not. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I’ve been taking Leo to a parking lot to work on desensitizing him to bicycles. During the cold, dark months, I discovered that the adjacent residential neighborhood has many fewer bicycles and joggers than our own neighborhood, so that’sContinue reading “P is for Progress?”

L is for Lunging on Leashes

I’m adding this post to Blog the Change, because there’s not enough information online about the benefits of using a leash with clips on both ends. I recently had a lengthy online conversation with someone who “hates” clickers, harnesses, and head collars. He insisted that the best way to stop a dog from pulling is with aContinue reading “L is for Lunging on Leashes”

Choke Collars, Corrections, Classical Conditioning, and Clickers

I was dimly aware of clickers being used in animal training from the time I was a child and went to the Animal Actors show at Universal Studios. I remember hearing the clicks while the trainers made the animals perform tricks, and my brother explaining that’s how they got animals to do things. When IContinue reading “Choke Collars, Corrections, Classical Conditioning, and Clickers”

How to train a dog to do anything (and prevent bites)

I read Ian Dunbar’s Before and After Getting Your Puppy before and after we got Leo. Unfortunately, I had not yet heard about puppy socialization when we got Isis, whose story I tell in Bark and Lunge. That’s why, after reading an advance copy of my book, Ian Dunbar said: Prospective puppy/dog owners can save themselves aContinue reading “How to train a dog to do anything (and prevent bites)”

Exercising a Dog’s Mind

John Pilley uses old-school psychology to train his border collie in Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words, co-authored with Hilary Hinzmann. What a coincidence that the methods he uses, based on his experience as a professor of human psychology, look a lot like force-free dog training! With one exception: LikeContinue reading “Exercising a Dog’s Mind”

Weekly Writing Challenge: Character

I’ve gotten some feedback recently that I don’t describe people as well as I describe dogs. No huge surprise, since I don’t like people as much as I like dogs. But I would like my readers to be able to “see” the human characters, or at least, that’s what they keep telling me they wantContinue reading “Weekly Writing Challenge: Character”