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Roger Abrantes and boxer.

Dog Training—Let's end the fighting!

The dog trainers’ dispute about training methods blazes on unabated, with the erroneous and emotive use of terms such as dominance, punishment and leadership only adding fuel to the fire. There is no rational argumentation between the two main factions, one of which advocates a “naturalistic” approach and the other a “moralistic” stance. The term ‘dominance’ generates particular controversy and is often misinterpreted. We can detect, in the line of arguing about this topic, the same fundamental mistakes committed in many other discussions. By taking the controversy over dominant behavior as my example, I shall attempt to put an end to the feud by proving that neither side is right and by presenting a solution to the problem. Plus ratio quam vis—let reason prevail over force!

I shall demonstrate that the dispute is caused by:

 
Hazel lips her lick, a common expression of dogs getting their photo taken

Understanding Calming Signals in Dogs

Calming Signals is a term coined by Turid Rugaas, a Norwegian ethologist and dog enthusiast. Her obvious love and long term devotion to observing dogs with their own kind has led to her ground breaking work in articulating these signals into written language (Norwegian, English and no doubt dozens of other written languages -- ironically, dogs speak the same language regardless of country of origin or the spoken language of their people).

 

Four Feet on the Floor: Jumping up behaviour in puppies and dogs

Teaching dogs that four feet on the floor when they are around people pays. 

 

What the puppies learnt & why they learnt it! Week 5 Puppy Socialisation Class.

The aim of any puppy socialisation class should be to start puppies along the right road to becoming a well adjusted, happy adult dogs, using fun training & controlled play/interaction with other dogs. This means giving a wide variety of skills to both dogs & owners & hopefully giving them the thirst for continued learning & improvement.

In this video you'll see the foundations for loose leash walking-not relying on the lead for control, Bella the Bishon shows focus, heel position & a happy, willing disposition while walking beside her owner Clare.

Fenella the Sprocker

 
Stoli laugh

Mental Health and Illness in Dogs: part II - PTSD Revisited

Three weeks ago I wrote about the interesting case of Stoli the Rottie rescue who I diagnosed with a case of PTSD. You can read about her background and earlier experience HERE or HERE. Now, as promised, an update. Stoli came for a second DIP session on August 9, directly after which her owner and family went on a week long vacation. The original plan had been to kennel her, which was a concern. But in the end, and quite happily, Stoli remained in the home and a family friend (who had attended the 2nd DIP session and displayed a great intrigue with the world of dog training and behavior) took care of her in their absence.

 

Training for ear treatments

This video demonstrates two ways of teaching dogs to be comfortable with allowing ear medication with three different puppies/dogs. You can do similar training for other handling training too.

 

Teaching Stay - Training with young people

This video shows how we were teaching our dogs and puppies to stay during puppy class. You see some excellent training by some young handlers. The puppies were learning to be comfortable being on different surfaces hence the tables. If you are teaching stay then I would suggest you start on a more stable floor.

 
Stoli in the pool

Mental Health and Illness in Dogs

The range of dogs I see in my dog training/behavior practice run the gamut from easy going and happy happy joy joy pups to radically disturbed dogs. The disturbed dog can be an especially unsafe dog -- to other dogs (dog/dog aggression), people (dog/people aggression), stuff (destructive) or in some cases, self destructive.

 

Training in a Nutshell

Training (from your dog's perspective):

  • What should I do? (Cue or Command)
  • How do I do that? (Elicit)
  • For how long should I keep doing it?  (Release)
  • Why should I do it? (Reward)

 

Training (from your perspective) -- The CERR Model:

"Command" - "Cue" = Prompt the dog.

"Elicit" = Coach your dog the right answer. Get him to do it!  

"Release" = Mark when he's done doing it.

"Reward" = Make it worth doing.

REPEAT.  

AND REPEAT.  

And RE-REPEAT.

 

How do you make sure the dog will do it consistently?  

Practice, practice, practice.  

 

What if he is too "out of control" or "stressed out" to respond?  

EXERCISE!!

 

But what if there are distractions?  

 
Roger Abrantes howling with husky in 1986 (photo by Ole Suszkievicz).

16 Things You Should Stop Doing In Order To Be Happy With Your Dog

Here is a list of 16 things you should stop doing in order to make life with your dog happier and your relationship stronger. Difficult? Not at all. You just need to want to do it and then simply do it. You can begin as soon as you finish reading this.

1. Stop being fussy—don't worry, be happy

 

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