The Dog Blog


Distractions Happen

If you're a student of dog training, you're probably well aware of the oft suggested protocol of teaching new behaviors in a low distraction environment and slowly adding in distractions until the behavior becomes reliable. This is, of course, the easiest way for a dog to learn what you'd like them to do and to be able to do that thing regardless of distractions. However, in the real world, distractions happen.

To avoid them completely until the dog is "trained" is simply unrealistic.  

In my training classes, there are times when I'm teaching my students how to teach their dogs to be calm and

Dr. Ian Dunbar and Dune the American Bulldog


Edward Lee Thorndike showed that behavior is modified by its consequences and in 1905, he published his Law of Effect, basically stating: Any behavior followed by pleasant consequences will increase in frequency and be more likely to occur in the future, whereas any behavior followed by unpleasant consequences will decrease in frequency and be less likely to occur in the future. The notion of binary feedback is the quintessence of learning theory. The Law of Effect was a wonderful start but as theory was put to practice in education and training, something went very wrong along the way. Over...

Empathy for the Reactive Dog – Keepin’ it Real

Living with a reactive dog is a humbling experience on many levels. The understanding of the world that humans gain via language, experience and rational explanations for nearly everything are not part of the reactive dog's natural repertoire. However, we might be more similar at a basic level than we choose to admit. Taking time to shake off the clinical topography and protocols now and then and just reconnecting with how fear really feels can make us better trainers.

One of my dogs, Niki, came to us at 2 years old from the greyhound racing industry where he grew up and raced his entire

Dr. Ian Dunbar and Hugo Pup Post Potty Break Cuddle

Why Purchase a Puppy that is NOT Housetrained?

I’ve raised a few puppies in my time and it has always puzzled me why anyone would want to purchase a puppy that hasn’t already been housetrained, especially since house soiling and other behavior problems, such as excessive barking and destructive chewing, are a major source of frustration for new owners. Most kennel-bred puppies are allowed to eliminate anywhere and everywhere, chew anything and everything, bark at will and run around uncontrolled, which of course, is exactly what they’ll do in their new homes. Consequently, far too many eight-week-old puppies already have behavior...

Cradling a puppy at the vet

Why Don’t We Adequately Socialize Young Puppies With People?

Dogs may be taught manners and basic obedience at anytime in their lives. However, training puppies is just so much fun and so, why wait? Similarly, behavior problems may be resolved at any time in a dog’s life but of course, they are annoying and frustrating for owners and so, why not teach good habits from the outset? Temperament problems, however, must be prevented during early puppyhood because rehabilitating adult dogs is complicated and extremely time-consuming. For example, whereas It takes just a few days, or a week at the most, to resolve incipient signs of shyness, fearfulness,...

5 Ways My Puppy Reminds Me Of a Toddler.

Anthropomorphising animals isn’t a good idea and usually gets us into all kinds of trouble. Dogs are not furry babies. They are their own species, with a totally different set of day to day priorities & communication signals. However spending time with nieces, nephews and god-children over the years, I’m amazed that the toddler stage in kids has so many similarities with puppy development. Both in terms of how puppies explore the world and how we deal with the frustrations such interaction may bring, puppies and toddlers aren’t all that different at all. 

Walking anywhere takes forever!


Boom Boom Puppy Power

This video shows some training I did with a young puppy as she would back away and show behaviours associated with feeling uncomfortable around her collar. In a short training period you will see how giving her choice, control and predicability builds and empowered learner who is a willing participant.


Dog Training Ideas: Veterinary and care giving behaviours

Ideas on teaching behaviour to make taking care of the dogs under our care less stressful and easier on them. Contact you local dog trainer and ask them to show you how you can work on appropiate and fun training ideas for your dog. 


Teaching "Food Manners"

This video is an introduction to teaching dogs both puppies and adults which behaviours are likely to payoff in the presence of food and which behaviours do not. 


My Dog, The Adrenalin Junkie

We’ve all met people who can’t relax. People who have to be active, who need to be doing something all of the time. We’ve known folk who crave excitement, extreme sports. They bungee jump on Saturday, parachute from a plane on Sunday and take a holiday rock climbing a difficult cliff face as a challenge. These types of people could be described as adrenalin junkies. 

Adrenalin is a chemical which rushes through our body when we’re excited, stressed or anxious. Adrenalin can make us feel good-that burn you get from a work out, or a run in the fresh air. So good in fact, that we can become


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