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...

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...