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Pets

Unintentional Dog Commands

With most foster dogs, training really means acclimating them to living in a house, housebreaking, teaching them to go up stairs. It’s really just about getting them to understand the basics — anything else is up to the adopters, or at least that’s how I viewed it.

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Pets

The Perfect Pet

A lot of dog training books and websites promise to teach you how to train “the perfect pet” or “the perfect dog,” but that’s just not going to happen. Your dog will never be perfect and it’s better to understand that from the start. Much like your children, spouse, friends, and boss, your dog will […]

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Pets

Pros and Cons of Multiple Dogs

Most dog lovers will at least consider having more than one dog at a time. Best dog buddies can be wonderful companions, but they can also exponentially increase your dog troubles. This is the good and the bad.

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Pets

Reinforcing Good Recall

Many people have trouble training good recall in their dogs because they don’t know how to offer the rewards their dog wants off leash. Trying to compete with squirrels and geese and other dogs with dry dog treats isn’t going to work with even the most food-motivated dog, but lots of owners don’t know what […]

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Pets

Preventing Livestock Chasing Without Aversives

I’ve mentioned before that I live next to my in-law’s cow farm, and mostly my dogs have no problems ignoring the cows. This year we’ve run into some problems and we’re having to work on livestock harassment.

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Pets

Electronic Fences are the Wrong Choice for Your Dog

Today, I received an email from one of my students who was considering installing an electronic fence system in their backyard and wanted to know what I thought. I hate them.

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Pets

Your Vet Probably Isn’t a Dog Trainer

When they’re feeling overwhelmed with a new puppy or they’re having a behavior problem with their dog, many people turn to their vet or the staff for advice. Sometimes they can be a great resource; unfortunately, being an expert in veterinary medicine doesn’t qualify someone to deal with training and behavior problems.

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Pets

Know Thy Dog

Dog owners, I’ve got some bad news. Almost everything is potentially dangerous to dogs. Google any pet related item or activity, and I promise you’ll find a few horror stories about it. Hit the streets with your dog often enough, and you’ll probably get some unsolicited advice about everything you’re doing wrong. This is why […]

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Pets

Remembering Sophia Yin

If you’re subscribed to any animal-related news outlets, you may have heard that one of the most influential members of the animal behavior community passed away unexpectedly this week. Dr. Sophia Yin was incredibly helpful and influential to me as a first time dog owner, to other private pet owners all over the world, and […]

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Pets

Books for Dog Training Basics

If you’ve got a new dog, or just want to brush up on general training techniques, but don’t have any specific problems you need to work on or interest in slogging through a bunch of excess behavioral research, these are my favorite books.

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Pets

Book Recomendations for Difficult Dogs

Anyone who’s had multiple dogs will tell you that some dogs are easier than others. These are my favorite books for those dogs that keep you counting to ten in your head while you focus on calming breathing.  

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Pets

Dominance Theory Revisited

My first post on this site was about dominance theory and how it doesn’t apply to our pet dogs. This post will be dedicated to rebutting the most common arguments I’ve encountered for sticking with it. Any old hand at dog training used to use these methods because that’s all there was. It can be hard to […]

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Pets

The Myth Of Doggy Guilt

It’s pretty typical to just accept guilt as something we feel as humans, but it’s actually a very complex emotion. It’s a something children don’t develop until between 3-6 years of age, and they tend to have a pretty wobbly grasp of the concept until closer to 5 or 6. Many dog owners will swear that their […]

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Pets

Impulse Control Will Solve All Your Dog Problems

Or at least a whole lot of them.

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Pets

Socializing Your Dog: More Than Just Exposure

In order to become generally confident and relaxed, and therefore relaxing companions, dogs need to be exposed to lots of different types of people, animals, situations, and things. Exposing your puppy or dog to new stuff is good for him, but there is more to good socialization than exposure. The quality of those interactions is important. Because socialization […]