Dog Training: Why I Do It

By Joanne Ometz Eight people enter the room with five puppies. I encourage whole families to attend my puppy classes. “Let’s get everyone on the same page,” I have told them, so parents, kids, couples, and single puppy parents arrive, leading or being led by their puppies. All take their places, sitting and immediately beginning to lower treats to the […]

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Treats that Beat Squirrels!

By Yvette Van Veen Treats that Beat Squirrels! What if I told you that tiny little treats could beat a high level distraction like a squirrel?  It doesn’t seem to make sense.  The distraction is clearly more desirable than a paltry pea sized biscuit. It would be like saying that people would choose to work for a strawberry rather than sloth by the […]

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Dispelling the Myths: Tuggy, Retrieve and Safe Play

By Sue McCabe I still regularly hear from clients that they have been told they shouldn’t play tug with their dog. It causes aggression; it creates a hard mouthed dog who will damage game (if you’re into that sort of thing); you’ll never get a decent hold if you teach tug. I still hear the only way to play tug safely is to make […]

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Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship

By Don Hanson In a recent interview, I was asked a series of questions about how to choose a dog trainer. One of the questions was “What would you like to have known when you started training dogs?” In the spring of 1991, I had a new 12-week old Cairn Terrier puppy named Gus. I had no knowledge of dog […]

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Teach Your Dog to Cooperate with Grooming and Vet Visits

By Debbie Bauer Brushing, combing, cutting toenails, being held for vet examinations and treatment – these things are a part of life for our dogs.  These aren’t events that will happen once and never again.  Instead, these are lifelong skills that our dogs will need to learn to deal with as ongoing events in their lives.  Yet these are also […]

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Skipping Reinforcements? Rethink That

By Yvette Van Veen We’ve all heard it. “When do the rewards stop?” The knee jerk reaction by many, especially on social media is to cave, to placate, to give the client at least some of what. ” Variable reinforcement, skip rewards. It will actually make the behaviour stronger!” Not….so….fast. Skipping reinforcements (rewards) does make a behaviour more resistant to extinction. […]

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Portland Blog Competition: Changing a Dog’s View of the World

By Kathleen Godfrey  As a trainer, my goal is to help to help both dogs and their guardians have the best possible life together. New client Angie heard about me through a friend I’d helped the friend work with a rather “wild” foster dog (he was truly a good dog, he just had no idea what behavior was expected of […]

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