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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The What, Where and When of Rewards

By Lily Mickleburgh  The use of rewards in dog training is becoming increasingly popular as an effective way of encouraging desired behaviours. However, subtle differences in what you use as a reward, where and when you reward them, can all change depending on your end goal. This may also vary depending on breed traits, age of the dog and whether you want to […]

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A Quadrant by Any Other Name is Still a Cornerstone of Operant Learning

This 2003 edition book is $4.89 on Amazon. Contents: priceless. There is a science that deals directly with how organisms learn and how to use that information to change the environment in order to change behavior. It’s called applied behavior analysis (ABA). It is the applied version of behavior analysis, which was referred to as the experimental analysis of behavior […]

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Training Your Cat to Sit on Cue

By Jennifer Van Valkenburg I actually came to cat training completely by accident. My kitty was overweight and unhealthy so her vet recommended an entirely new lifestyle. This came with adding exercise (I remember thinking, how do you exercise a cat? – more on that later) and a new food regimen. No more leaving a pile of food in her […]

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The Dog Decides

“The dog decides what is reinforcing.” Positive reinforcement trainers frequently say that to their human students.  What they mean is that people can easily be mistaken about whether something constitutes reinforcement. For instance, we may think praising or petting our dogs are reinforcers, but if they do not cause behavior to increase or maintain, they are not. Dogs don’t sit down and make cognitive […]

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Shaping without a Clicker

Most trainers agree that if there is one thing that the tool called a clicker is useful for in particular, it is for shaping behavior. Shaping consists of marking and reinforcing successive approximations towards a goal behavior. When shaping, the trainer can find herself needing to mark very small or quick movements indeed, sometimes just a weight shift or a breath. When that is […]

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It’s Not Painful. It’s Not Scary. It Just Gets the Dog’s Attention!

Some dog trainers who use tools such as shock, prong, or slip collars, or startle the dog with thrown objects or loud noises, claim that these things are done only to “get the dog’s attention.” They may further insist that the dog is not hurt, bothered, or scared. This sounds like the Holy Grail of dog training. It’s the Magical Attention Signal! It […]

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