Category Archives: Learning Theory

Blogs about the science of dog training

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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Is Calm Really Just Another Behavior?

What is the most difficult thing to teach our dogs? Coming back or a great recall? While I do agree that this is a difficult behavior, I do think teaching calm is much more difficult. Being calm is not the … Continue reading

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Electronic Containment System or Ambush Predator?

Much has been written about electronic shock (training) devices in their various forms. With all models a dog wears a collar fitted with an electronic device with two metal rods touching the neck of the dog, delivering electric shock. Delivery … Continue reading

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Finding the Underlying Cause for Barking

Go to any online dog forum and the question will come up rather sooner than later: My dog barks, what should I do? The advice then often starts with citronella or even shock collars, rattle cans, and other unpleasant devices … Continue reading

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Dominance in Canine Behavior: Reality or Myth?

By Don Hanson BFRAP CDBC ACCBC CPDT-KA It was in the September of 2002 that the first version of this article appeared in Paw Prints, the Green Acres Kennel Shop newsletter. I update the article on a regular basis because … Continue reading

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Marshmallow Tests for Dogs

A guide dog partner, Deni Elliott, devised a dog version of the marshmallow test for her guide dog. She administered it to her guide Alberta a few years ago. Alberta did well; she actually did many of the things that … Continue reading

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Insecure Teenage Dogs at the Off Leash Park

Recently I got asked: “What should I do when my dog goes over to another dog, puts his head over the other dog’s shoulder and, depending on the other dog’s reaction, they will start squabbling?” So far no one got … Continue reading

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