Category Archives: Learning Theory

Blogs about the science of dog training

An Open Letter To Pet Owners About The Pet Professional Guild’s Shock-Free Coalition

According to the American Pet Products Association (2017), 68 percent of Americans return home to a pet (or pets) each day.  An estimated 48 percent of US residents are dog owners while 38 percent share their home with a cat … Continue reading

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Just Say No to Saying “NO!”

It’s almost a reflex. There goes Rover, in hot pursuit of the cat, or gnawing on the sofa, or slurping at your dinner plate, or barking threats at squirrels…and we just need it to STOP, so we shout “NO!” Then … Continue reading

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Ping Pong Recalls

When I ask new puppy owners ‘what are the most important objectives for you and your new pup?’ you can bet that right at the very top of that list is ‘I want to be able to let my dog … Continue reading

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Using Annoying or Scary Sounds for Dog Training

Let’s pretend you saw an ad for a new dog training product. It read something like this: Introducing the Noise-Aided Obedience Device (NOD)! Never have trouble with your dog again. When you jerk or flap the lead attached to your … Continue reading

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Front Door Freakout

If you come to my house, brace yourself. You walk up the stairs, ring the doorbell. Suddenly…the shrieking of a hundred banshees? Maybe an exorcism in progress? Or fiery-eyed, froth-mawed Cerberus guarding the gates of Hades? Nope. It’s my people-loving … Continue reading

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“Naughty” Dog Or Normal Dog?

I’ve lost count as to how many times I’ve heard that Fido is ‘really naughty,’ ‘he’s doing it deliberately,’ ‘he’s trying to spite me,’ or, if an owner has more than one dog, ‘they’re trying to gang up on me!’ … Continue reading

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Local Enhancement and Socially Facilitated Behaviors in Dogs

This post started out as one thing and transformed into another as I went along, as many of mine do. I have been familiar for a while with the term local enhancement for a type of social learning in dogs. … Continue reading

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Putting More Tools in the Tool Kit

Recently I worked with an adolescent dog that I trained as a puppy. Like many adolescents he suddenly forgot several of his training skills and got stuck offering two behaviors in specific circumstances. When greeting people he climbed upon them … Continue reading

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Leave It: Not Just for Dead Men Anymore

The other day I was pondering the trend of talking about teaching “self-control” and “impulse control” in our dogs. I got to thinking about “leave it,” both the term and the behavior. I realized a couple things. First, the term “leave it” … Continue reading

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If You’re Loving It, Why Leave?

Is “choice” a code word for negative reinforcement? It can be. Seems like that’s the context where I see it pop up the most. I’ve written a lot about choice. Two of my major points are: Many people are confused … Continue reading

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