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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The ‘Quick Fix’ – Not So Quick After All

In today’s society, it seems everything has to happen ‘now.’  Results are expected instantaneously and I think, sadly, this notion has to a certain extent worked it’s way into how we think, feel, and live our lives with our dogs too.  Time is precious, and we haven’t always got space for ‘issues’ our dogs may throw at us or, if […]

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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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The Last Trip To the Vet: What If Your Pet’s Last Breath Is on the Operating Table?

Alex in the foreground, with Rusty and Andrew behind him—photo from 1993. Yes, they are in a bathtub. Many years ago I lost Alexander, my dear, dear cat to stomach cancer. This was before veterinary medicine had the technology that’s available today. It was also before I took as proactive an approach to my animals’ health and welfare needs as […]

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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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