Tag Archives: dog behavior

The Evidence for Positive Reinforcement Training In Dogs

by Pippa Mattinson, author of Happy Puppy Handbook, Total Recall and The Labrador Handbook.

3255835495_1c6b6a5c7b_oOver the last few decades there has been a huge swing towards less punitive methods of dog training. Watching a modern trainer in action is a very different experience from watching old school traditionalists. Gone are the barked commands, the emphasis on ‘respect’ or ‘dominance’ and even intimidation. In many cases the use of punishment has been entirely replaced by the use of food and games.

Is the move to positive dog training a good thing?

But hang on a moment. Aren’t we being swept along in the latest ‘fad’ or ‘craze’. Isn’t this just a passing fashion?  How are we going to control our dogs when we run out of treats? And what if we don’t want to wave food around or to ‘beg’ or ‘plead’ with our dogs to come when we call them?

In fact, let’s lay it on the line. Do these new fangled methods of dog training even work?

Read on at The Happy Puppy Site …

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The Moyer Menagerie, Part 2

Luke, Fly & Tillie

Pam was barely able to speak in between her sobs. “Luke needs to have his eye removed. It’s swollen and painful.” The veterinarian had told her that he had cancer in his spleen that had gone to his brain. “I’m not convinced the cancer is anywhere but in his eye though, and I’d like to go for a second opinion and quickly. Can you recommend another doctor?” Continue reading

The Moyer Menagerie, Part 1

Prayers for Luke

It all started with a private lesson. “I need your help—my puppy won’t stop biting me,” said the voice on the other end of the line.

We scheduled a training session for later that same week.

Continue reading

The Pack, Part 4

“Shame on you!”

I loaded Scout into my truck for the ride home. She willingly jumped into the crate and made herself comfortable. (It’s always helpful when a dog is crate trained, I thought). As we made our way onto the highway she started barking. Vehicles following behind us made her uneasy. I requested Scout to “quiet,” and Continue reading

Mad About BCs

Dandy’s agility debut & More flyball

By Linda Husson

Flyball Tournament March 1-2, 2008

We trekked to New Hampshire for another Flyball tournament, and both Token & Dandy did great. Token ran full time on our Division 1 Regular team and we took 2nd place. Token ran half-time on our Division 1 Multi team, which also took a 2nd place.

Continue reading

The Truth About Pip: Dogs, Divorce, and Memoir

Casey loved any kind of play

Casey loved any kind of play

Some readers of my memoir, For the Love of a Dog, say the end dissatisfies them. If I loved my dogs the way I did, how could I have just given Pip away to a stranger?

They’re right. There’s something wrong with the narrative–I didn’t tell the whole truth. Continue reading

“Good Girl Gracie.”

The girls were out shopping again.

By Judy Bonner

They walked side by side in front of us, with me and Melissa hanging in the background.  Youth and a joy of being tougher will do that.  The chatter and giggle were non-stop.  We could not hear what they were saying, but sometimes I think they were having a good laugh on us.

They were a cute pair.  Melissa’s girl was a bit older with wavy blond hair that tousled when she walked.   My girl had long legs that glided across the ground.  Each was wearing a vest which accentuated their youthful figure.

They were good window shoppers.  Nothing got past them.  They practically pushed their noses up against the window to get a better look at the displays inside.  From that position, they scouted around the store for anyone they might know or for something they might want.Gracie

Today, we were at a big box department store.   As we approached the store front, the doors magically opened, beckoning us in.  This worried my girl.  It took some convincing to get her to sneak past the mysterious swinging doors and into the store for some serious shopping.

This store knew how to entice the gals.  The clothing department smacked us in the face as we entered.  The girls hastened their pace to get to the racks of clothes as me and Melissa each snagged a shopping cart.  There were so many clothes to see, to touch, to smell, to run through.  Blue jeans and dresses were especially fun.  Their rack heights let the bottom of these clothes just skim the floor.  My girl especially loved weaving in and out of the jeans on the racks.

But, we had a shopping list and only 20 minutes on the clock to get it all in the cart.  Me and Melissa went our separate ways, each taking our girl with us.  They looked at each other and then at us.  “Boring!”

Shopping list and the cart handle in one hand and my girl in the other hand, we headed off deep into the store.  She sat patiently as I lifted a big box containing an ironing board off the shelve into my cart.  Was that a smirk I saw on her face as she watched me struggle with the box?   We easily found the other items on the shopping list and were heading back to the front of the store to meet up with Melissa and her girl.

I so enjoy shopping with my girl.  Excursions into stores with clothing seem to be her favorite venue in our social obedience classes.  Gracie was practically prancing alongside me and the cart.  Our trainer’s first and foremost rule on these excursions was “no petting” by ANYONE.  Gracie’s vest had messages on it as well: “Please Do Not Pet Me I’m Working”.

I scanned the store looking for Melissa.  I saw a young man with a toddler in hand several aisles down.  The toddler, catching sight of Gracie and taking advantage of her father’s distraction, pulled lose from her father’s grip and was running full speed to Gracie.  What a sprinter!  The toddler gave me little time to access the situation yet alone come up with a plan of action.

I looked down at Gracie.  She already had the situation under control.  Border Collies on the farm had to deal with incorrigible sheep all the time.  A toddler in a store was nothing.  Besides, Gracie knew toddlers could not read the messages on her vest.

Gracie1Gracie was sitting at the side of the shopping cart, the end of her tail swishing back and forth in excitement, her body tense in anticipation of the inevitable tackle.   The toddler ran right into Gracie, wrapping her arms around Gracie’s neck.  Gracie did not move.  She gently licked the toddler’s chin with the tip of her tongue.

The toddler’s father, certainly not a sprinter, caught up with us.  He apologized profusely for what just happened.  He started to unravel his daughter from Gracie.  The toddler broke into a cry of “no”.   Gracie sat quietly, saying and doing nothing.  The toddler’s arms and legs wiggled around Gracie, trying to escape her dad’s grasp.  Eventually the father was able to convince his daughter to go with him.  The toddler was sniffling as she walked away, her hand tightly in her dad’s hand.

“Good girl Gracie.”  “Great job.”  These were the only words I needed to say.  I praised Gracie the whole way back to the front of the store to meet up with the rest of the class.  No need to tell the trainer what happened.  Dogs cannot read.Gracie2