Putting the Social in Socialization

By Anna Bradley The goal of puppy socialization is to “convince the amygdala, that part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed and happy.” (Miller, 2014). Scott and Fuller (1965, cited by Overall (2013)) identified four main stages in a puppy’s development: • Neonatal • Transitional […]

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Is “Maybe” Addictive?

By Louise Stapleton-Frappell In operant conditioning, behavioral responses that are positively reinforced increase in frequency, intensity or duration. The cue is given, the response occurs, reinforcement follows and the loop is repeated. One would perhaps expect dopamine levels to rise upon receipt of the reinforcer. But do they? Some studies have shown that increases in dopamine are not, in fact, directly related […]

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Double Your Money: The Hidden Advantage of Using Food to Train

By Eileen Anderson We’ve all heard the comments: ‘You’re bribing your dog!’ ‘Training with treats makes dogs fat!’ ‘What do you do if your dog runs into traffic? Throw cookies at it?’ BARKS from the Guild is one publication whose audience knows better. I do not believe I need to convince anyone here of the benefits and ethics of using food, […]

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October 4, 2018: New Study Reveals Verbal Cues May Not Be Most Effective Way to Train Dogs

A new study involving the examination the brains of 19 awake dogs via fMRI to measure reward-related learning via visual, olfactory, and verbal stimuli revealed that: “Visual and olfactory modalities resulted in the fastest learning, while verbal stimuli were least effective, suggesting that verbal commands may be the least efficient way to train dogs.” Read study.

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When Food Toys “Fail”

By Eileen Anderson How many of us have heard about food-toy failures from our friends and clients? “I tried the Kong with my puppy, but she didn’t like it,” or, “My dog is not smart enough for those puzzle toys!”…The most common problem with food toys is that the dog lacks the skills to get to the food and the […]

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A Positive Impact

By Pam Francis-Tuss A five-week program that meets three days per week, Adolescent Learning Powered by Humane Advocacy (ALPHA) pairs incarcerated teens at the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility with shelter dogs for the purpose of training. Twice a week, with the assistance of a team of volunteers, the teens work in pairs, at my direction, collaborating with one another to […]

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Dogs Don’t Write Checks

By Mary Jean Alsina I think it would be fair to say that most trainers get into dog training because they adore dogs and want to spend as much time as possible with them. However, unless dogs acquire credit cards, bank accounts and opposable thumbs, trainers must learn to work in tandem with humans. Forming relationships and connections with humans […]

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From the Horse’s Perspective

By Kathie Gregory There is a general perception that using food in teaching will cause the horse to be rude, mug you, be “pushy,” or start nipping. People often dismiss the possibility of using food for these reasons, but the above situations can arise when working with any animal, it is not unique to horses. There are plenty of dogs who […]

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