No, you cannot simply ignore bad behavior

Ignoring bad behavior is a really bad idea if the behavior has any self reinforcing component – which is a lot of them. The advice to “ignore bad behavior” has gotten’s wings in the dog training community and we need to address it. It is...

Labels: Who am I?

For years I have struggled to find a label to define my approach to training.   In general, I have reverted to using either “force free” trainer or “positive reinforcement-based” trainer.  While neither accurately defines my training I think it...

Are you who you were?

I use labels.  I find that labels make it easy to talk to other people. I talk about shy dogs, reactive dogs, nervous dogs, driven dogs, etc.    Labels are a part of language and exist for a reason – shorthand communication. Of course, there are problems that...

Raika 05/24/04 – 10/15/19

Raika, you were special the day you were born. Always there. Always willing. Always giving more than I ever expected or hoped for. Always by my side – watching me. Waiting. For so many years, I loved you for all that you gave to me. Then it was time for you to...

Finding balance: Choice and Structure

Choice is the degree to which we allow our canine learner to choose their direction, ideally with an understanding of all possible consequences. “Do you want your nails clipped? If you opt in then you will get cookies. You will also get your nails clipped. If...

Drive

What is drive?   The terms high-Drive and Low-Drive  are commonly used in the dog sports world, but almost never in the behavior world.  Presumably that is because these terms lack any real definition. Dog-sports people are along the lines of, “I know it when I...

Reconsidering Acclimation and Engagement

I talk quite a bit about acclimation and teaching dogs to opt in to work via engagement training.   I love it!  Here’s why. Once dogs have had their basic curiosity about a working space satisfied they are much more able to focus on what we are doing together. This is...

Experience: how much is enough?

I’m reading a book (Influencer; The New Science of Leading Change) –  and one concept caught my eye: According to social science research, the difference between five years of experience and 20 years is relatively small in terms of applied skills and...

Your dog made an error. What do I do RIGHT NOW?!

You cued your dog to something and your dog did something else.  Or maybe your dog did absolutely nothing at all.  Now what? If you stand and wait quietly then you are teaching your dog that silence means they are wrong, or maybe you will teach your dog that whenever...

Five simple tricks for reducing trial stress

Actually these five simple tricks will also reduce stress in classes, so if your dog’s stress starts there then read on! First, Allow your dog to acclimate to the area.   The days of crating your dog and not letting them look around unless they are actively...

Pet Professionals Program is off and running!

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy started a new program called the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy – Pet Professionals Program (FDSA-PPP). Feel free to go check out the FDSA-PPP website here. Reviews so far have been wildly enthusiastic, so find out for yourself why that might be! So...

Technology and No Reward Markers (NRM’s)

Technology and no reward markers (NRM’s) I drive two cars. Each one has a GPS installed. Both cars are a huge improvement over having a spouse direct my driving. I mean, having my husband yell, “Left, left! Your other left!” after I have passed the...

Leadership revisited

I am going to make an impassioned plea for why you should take my leadership webinar tomorrow night, Thursday at 3pm PT. All of you! But I’ll settle for a portion 🙂 If you ask questions about what to do under a variety of circumstances that involve your dog...

Free coaching advice!

I was recently involved in a discussion on Facebook about coaching. Specifically, ways that we can coach people which are palatable, effective, and don’t hurt feelings unnecessarily.  A few folks wanted to share it but it was posted inside of a closed group, so...

Another book?!

Yes!  I cowrote this one, “Blogger Dog Buffy!” with my friend Brenda Weeks.  However, because it’s about Brenda and her service dog Buffy, and because I consider myself more of an assistant than the author of the book, I am going to direct you to her...

What was THAT cookie for?

If you are doing behavior work with your dog you need to consider why you give your dog treats – you may want to stop handing over food for no particular reason as a lifestyle choice. How much will your dog value special treats in the presence of some trigger...

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...