Managing our Canine Friends with Crates and Kongs

Management is an important part of dog stewardship. It comes up a lot in puppy class, in particular, but management is an essential topic for dogs of all ages. Two excellent management tools are the crate, and the frozen Kong. Crates, when used constructively and lovingly, are a place of peace and refuge for our … Continue reading Managing our Canine Friends with Crates and Kongs

Bicycling with Dogs: Safety First Safety is a very important consideration when biking with dogs. While many dogs have the ability to run fast for long periods, it isn't necessarily good for them. A brisk walk is a much more reasonable pace -- just a little faster than is comfortable for most humans; this is my approach to biking -- it … Continue reading Bicycling with Dogs: Safety First

Moving Forward by Staying Still Dogs were living with people thousands of years before cats were. Perhaps the difference in the attitude and trainability between the two species is as much about tameness as it is about intelligence. Though it takes longer than with dogs, cats learn things much the same way dogs do, and I taught staying to … Continue reading Moving Forward by Staying Still

It is Better to Know: Long Live Pie!

My wife and I adopted two female cats at the same time, Sweety-Pie and Lopsy. Though they looked alike, and got along well, they were not related, and were both female strays from different cities in western Washington.  They were both around four years old. On the drive home we changed their names to “Pie” … Continue reading It is Better to Know: Long Live Pie!

Reward-Based, Positive Reinforcement, and Clicker-Training

  Clicker-trained dogs like Iggy tend to be very attentive.   History and Theory: Lures, Rewards, Whistles, Clickers Contemporary, reward-based animal training has its roots in marine-mammal training. During the mid-twentieth century, people began trying to train captive dolphins and orcas using negative reinforcement, or coercion methods, just as people had been training dogs and horses. … Continue reading Reward-Based, Positive Reinforcement, and Clicker-Training

Out for a Walk, or Off to War? This video is meant to illustrate one way to learn a behavior called “loose-leash walking”. There are many ways to learn this -- if you have a method that is already working well for you, and doesn’t involve hurting your dog in any way, then cheers! I call the game that we play to … Continue reading Out for a Walk, or Off to War?

Wait for Me, or Stay There! Separating the two cues wait and stay is not an absolute necessity, of course. Many will just have one standard stay cue to mean “remain where you are and in that position until I release you or tell you to do something else.” This is an adequate way of doing things, but separating the … Continue reading Wait for Me, or Stay There!

Lassie, Maslow, Timmy, and, Well, a Well

Abraham Maslow proposed a way of organizing human needs into a hierarchy, a sort of if/then logic ladder, and this way of thinking can be  illuminating when considering a dog’s needs and potentials. The levels in this hierarchy of Maslow’s are as follows: the necessary physiological components for survival; the assurance of one's immediate safety; positive … Continue reading Lassie, Maslow, Timmy, and, Well, a Well

And This Dog Can Sing

It is not that I am a liar, exactly; it is more that I am a teller of stories. It is this habit which caused some of my friends and family to doubt me when I tell them of my more remarkable experiences (even the ones which are completely true), and that consequence which has made … Continue reading And This Dog Can Sing

Human Demonization and Canine Absolution

    It is natural to discount philosophies which include objectionable or even abhorrent methodology, but it can be a mistake when we are too thorough in our rejection – there is often something that can be learned if we allow ourselves to learn it. I only use reward-based teaching and communication, and eschew physical … Continue reading Human Demonization and Canine Absolution