Welcome, Puppy Dice

I got a new puppy yesterday. With COVID turning the world upside down, it was quite a Dicey Proposition getting him here and now that is his name – Dicey Proposition of Sprite-Wildrose – call name Dice. Here’s a video of his first training session,...

Chicken or the Egg

Your dog is going ballistic – running all over the place like a chicken with it’s head cut off. You’re frustrated because you need to get this stopped; it’s impacting your life! At the same time, you know that your dog’s behavior is being...

Conversations with Raika

For 15 years I had the privilege of living with a very special dog. She passed away late last year and while I still miss her, I have enough distance from the loss to be able to smile most of the time when I think about her. In the last several years of her life I...

WHY?

Do you understand WHY you do what you do in training? Why it works? Have you tested your logic?   Do you understand WHY you shape one exercise and not another? WHY you might lure? WHY you keep cookies in your pocket before you reinforce? WHY you generalize behaviors?...

Building Name Recognition

Would you like to develop name recognition within your area of interest? I have a few ideas for you.  I’ll use dogs as an example but the basic idea will hold up in general. Start by identifying your target audience: Who might listen to you now?  Where do you...

Are you contributing to your dog’s reactivity?

Imagine this:   you are observing a human parent. Every time another child or adult approaches their child, the parent pulls their child back and yells at the other parent to get the approaching child away, or maybe they pick their own child up or run off. They react...

Leadership is not a dirty word

If you question what to do when your dog is feeling unsure or behaving badly in life or competition settings then you need the “Re-defining Leadership” webinar I’m teaching on Thursday at 6pm PT. I have taught this webinar a few times (see how...

How does one create flow?

My last blog was about keeping your feet moving and getting your exercises to flow together.  Here’s a short video taken for Instagram (has to be one minute! I failed!) – of flow in heeling.  What to look for: Feet are moving.  Everyone’s because...

Over threshold

What does it mean when we say a dog is “over threshold?” It means the dog is over the optimal level of arousal to learn or perform. As with all terminology, the exact meaning will vary according to the culture you are speaking within. A person in the...

Learning. Teaching. Doing.

I have a story (it gets to dogs in the end): My husband was a patient in a teaching hospital this past week. That means doctors at various stages of training spend time learning on him – with varying degrees of competence and success. One set of particularly...

Making Time

Life is busy right now.  That happens – life being busy.  It’s hard to keep up.  Priorities have to be made and then one goes from there. This blog?  I can put it aside.  This post?  Short and sweet! – Time….time is the issue. Once upon a time,...

Communication

Imagine this: You’re walking your leashed dog on a trail and you see a leashed dog approaching.  The owner tenses, pulls the dog to their side, and starts a string of random phrases aimed at their dog along the lines of “Leave it.  No.  Uh huh!” etc....

Creativity in Training

I’m a fan of adding as much creativity as possible to training – for all sports.   The official reason is that creative training automatically strengthens your dog’s skills; dogs who can fetch twenty different objects of different sizes and shapes...

Beyond the Basics – Chapter 10

I wrote a book called “Beyond the Basics.” The purpose of this book is not to give you specific steps to solve a problem as much as to offer a framework for how to think about problems – which is likely to lead to rather obvious solutions. I’ve...

The half-click

What do you do when you predict a successful repetition in a shaping session and then, just as you are pushing down on the clicker, something happens? The anticipated behavior is not successfully completed? Uh oh.  Your brain told you not to do it but your finger...

The 90%er

I am a 90%er. That means I put out content at about a 90% level of “finished”.  If you choose to look for them you’ll find spelling errors, questionable sentences and possibly thoughts that are not fully fleshed out.  You will also find a whole...

Trust

A friend of mine went to see an in person trainer – an excellent trainer; I know her well. That trainer then recommended a specific exercise to my friend – an exercise that I never do. Indeed, an exercise that I had advised our mutual client not to do when...

A five-minute read to raising a puppy positively

You just got a new puppy. Cute and wiggly!  Congratulations! You plan to start puppy classes soon, but what should you do right now? I mean, the puppy is chewing on you!  Jumping on your guests!  Getting in the trash!  Should you wait for puppy class? No, you should...

Typical or atypical dog behavior

Typical behavior is what I would expect of a given dog in a given circumstance. It has nothing to do with desirable behavior.  For example, I think it is perfectly typical for an eight week old puppy to mouth human hands, to chew random objects in the house, and to...