Casey Lomonaco KPA CTP

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Casey Lomonaco is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy and proprietor of Rewarding Behaviors Dog Training in upstate New York.  Casey offers a variety of services to clients both in home and at the Clicking with Canines facility in Endicott, NY; including private lessons for a variety of species, off leash play groups, dog bite prevention education for various professional and children’s groups, as well as a number of group classes (puppy, foundation, scentwork, games, tricks, On the Town, etc.).
 
Casey offers seminars for dog trainers and training groups on establishing membership programs to maximize training revenue and profit as well as seminars on positive training for other dog professionals (veterinarians, groomers, shelter/rescue workers, dog walkers, pet sitters).
 
Casey enjoys writing about science-based behavior modification and training, and has published with www.clickertraining.com, www.dogster.com, www.catster.com, www.petexpertise.com, and Tails Pet Media Group; and is also the 2009 Dogwise APDT John Fisher essay award winner (soon to be published in the APDT Chronicle).

Blog posts by Casey Lomonaco KPA CTP

Buyer Beware! On Abusers in "Expert's" Clothing

"Thank you for calling Rewarding Behaviors.  This is Casey, how may I help you?"

"Hi Casey.  I have a small breed rescue dog.  I'm hoping you can help us.  She screams whenever we put the leash on her."

"When did you start noticing this behavior?"

"About three or four months ago.  We've had her for nine months now.  When we first got her, we would clip the leash on her and she wouldn't move.  She would just freeze in place, put her butt down on the ground."

"So what changed three or four months ago?"

The answer to my question reminded me of all the many times I've heard the phrase "don't ask questions if you would rather not know the answer."

The client informed me that three or four months ago, she had hired a "behaviorist."  She employed this behaviorist specifically to address the issue of her dog freezing on the leash, not moving forward.

 

A Call for the Dogmestication of Humans, Part II

This is a follow up to my previous DSD blog entry entitled "A Call for the Dogmestication of Humans," so I'll be picking up where that entry left off.

A brief recap of dogmestication:  humans should learn to read dogs to increase the likelihood for greetings which will be enjoyable to both the two and four-legged participants.  Remember, reading before greeting!  Additionally, I emphasize the importance of asking permission to greet, from both the handler and the dog. 

I thought touching on the handler's responsibility might make the dogmestication piece a little too lengthy, so figured I'd split this out into a two part series.  We've already established the responsibilities of the approaching human and introduced some of the signals the dog will give as to how she is feeling about the situation.  But what about you, the person at the other end of the leash?  What is your responsibility to your dog in these situations?

 

A Call for the Dogmestication of Humans

At class, I spend a lot of time telling students the way that dogs like to be greeted and as importantly, the ways that dogs do not like to be greeted.

Unfortunately, the usual way for humans to greet new dogs seems to look something like this:  human spots dog.  Pupils dilate.  Human rushes up to dog, assuring the handler "dogs love me!" as they bend over the dog staring down at him and baring teeth in a great big smile, patting (generally quite vigorously) all over the place, whether the dog likes it or not. 

If this is you, I empathize.  Trust me, few people in the world are as excited about meeting new dogs and puppies as I am.  I get it, really.

 

Need a new cue? Here's what you do!

Sometimes you use a body cue to elicit behavior, and you'd like to transfer the cue to a verbal cue.  Alternatively, you may want to transfer your verbal cues to body cues, note cards with words for behaviors written on them, whistle cues, even scent cues.

When selecting a new cue, make sure it is both easy for the dog to perceive and distinct from existing cues (For example, "bow" and "down" sound very similar; this can be confusing for dogs.  If you have a verbal "down" as your cue to the dog that she should lie down; you may want to call a play bow "greet" or "curtsey").

Regardless of what type of cue you currently use to elicit the behavior, you can always transfer the cue to a new/different cue.  Let's say that we have a body signal as a cue for Mokie's sit behavior (hand extended out from waist, palm up, move towards shoulder) and that we want to transfer the cue so that she will respond to the verbal cue "sit."  Here's the protocol:

 

An Easily Prevented Tragedy: The Story of Tabby

Names of both human and canine students have been changed to protect the privacy of my clients!

A young father enters my classroom, we'll call him Sam.  Sam has a wonderful family; a beautiful wife and two handsome boys, one three and one nine.  Sam also has a Border Collie puppy; only 8 weeks old, who has been with him for a week and a half at this point.  He got her at a local pet shop, assured by the store owner that Tabby came from a "reputable breeder."

 

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