Recording of “Ask Me Anything” Webinar

Last week I did a free “Ask Me Anything” webinar for anyone who wanted to show up! The questions covered include barking or noise during work, focus in heeling, pivots and pocket hand, teaching handler scent discrimination/articles, loose leash walking via...

Balance! Strive for balance!

If you have followed this blog over time you may have noticed themes that might feel contradictory. On one end of the scale I talk about emotions and relationships. Developing warm and playful interactions with your dog. Creating a relationship so that your learner...

Crispness and anxiety: Is there a relationship?

I’m on a roll with this crispness topic! I have talked about the importance of being crisp in training.  Crispness provides clarity to our dogs which in turn reduces frustration and allows our dogs to feel confident in their situation.   I want my dogs to know...

Free. New. Worth your while. Why not?

It is common for individuals to struggle in the space between basic manners for a dog and understanding the underlying science and more sophisticated training concepts required of both professional trainers and sport dog enthusiasts.   FDSA-PPP is trying to help with...

Twenty to One

I give food to my dogs for all sorts of reasons.   I use food to teach or maintain behaviors. I use food to address emotional issues. I give food because I have some, we are interacting in a pleasant way, and I like to share! I use a lot of food in training. So what...

The Inevitable

The best way I know of to prevent common nuisance behaviors around the house is to not let them happen. How do you do that? You stop them every time they happen. It is inevitable. And when your dog knows that it is inevitable, it doesn’t take very long before...

Be Crisp!

Good training is much more than teaching specific skills or developing your dog’s emotional comfort. You also need a plan for what you will do after you finish one exercise and before you start another, a plan for unsuccessful repetitions, and a plan for...

Handling training sabotage

You’re working on your dog’s polite greetings and your neighbor encourages your dog to jump enthusiastically on her chest.  You want your dog to wait politely at the door but your spouse allows them to rush out willy-nilly.  Your reactive dog is struggling...

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

In a nutshell, the Dunning-Kruger effect says that experts tend to overestimate the ability of others to do what they can do, and novices tend to overestimate their ability to do what they really can do. For dog trainers, this is bad news because it means that the...

The art of integration

Some time ago I started experimenting with incorporating circles into loose leash walking training.   I asked everyone I could get my hands on to try it, tell me what happened, and to show me videos whenever possible. When I felt confident about what I was seeing then...

Risk: Reason or perception?

Do your dogs play fetch?   Do you walk them off leash?   Do they play together unsupervised? What do they eat or get for toys?    Are they crated when you’re not home? You know there is a one in a thousand chance that your dog will get a given disease or get...

Accurate or effective?

Have you ever heard the dog trainer analogy, “Would you work without a paycheck? Why do you expect your dog to work without a paycheck?” There’s a problem with that analogy because dogs and humans are not the same.  Humans are motivated by a wide...

Helping a Hypergreeter

A few years ago I developed a simple protocol for dogs who are “hyper greeters.” Hyper greeters are not just friendly and enthusiastic dogs.  They are dogs who show an extreme lack of impulse control in the presence of people, and as a result they get in a...

Are you excellent?

On the way to school this morning, my younger son commented that he knows a lot about driving. He’s got the strategy down. Presumably, this is because my husband normally drives him places and my husband is all about strategic driving.  Making the...

An emotional model of behavior change

Humans have opinions about behavior.  We have clear ideas about which behaviors are good and which are bad.  In a nutshell, if we benefit from the behavior of another, then it’s good behavior. And if it inconveniences us in any way?  Then it’s bad...

More on socialization?

You’d think I would’ve said all I want to say on this topic. And the truth is, I have.  Here is my primary post on how I approach socialization.   I have looked it over and I am still comfortable with what I wrote there. And yet I am informed that I have...

Developing Foundation Skills

Not sure what foundation skills to teach your new puppy or dog that is destined for dog sports? Here is a recent Facebook live on the topic. I explain what I teach and why I teach it.  It applies to all dog sports, so take a look if you need some inspiration about...

The Quick Fix

I recently saw a meme that talked about separation anxiety.   The owner dressed up a “lookalike” human dummy and left it with her dog.   It kept the dog company. The dog’s behavior improved.   He began to relax when the owner was not home. It’s...

Reactive dogs in Mexico

This is a rather poorly named post because there were no reactive dogs in Mexico. Not one. Not one snark. Not one growl. Not one lunge.   Moreover, the dogs at the conference where I taught looked perfectly happy and relaxed. So many new friends to play with!  All...

Wait. I’m not the perfect trainer?

I got the following response to a recent blog: “I’m pretty sure I’ve heard YOU use No Reward Markers in your training.” I have no idea how to respond to that. You should see what I do when a squirrel cuts across the front of my house and all...