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...

5.08 Over the Top Dog Aggression

Shirley in New Jersey has a problem with her dog being reactive when off-leash, jumping her fence and chasing down bikers and joggers. She’s tried setting up training scenarios, but the dog...

5.06 Parvovirus vs. Insufficient Socialization

Many veterinarians are sufficiently concerned about the risk posed by canine parvovirus that they advise dog owners to keep their puppies at home until their vaccinations are complete. This poses some...

5.05 What is Socialization?


Ian’s been reading up on socialization research and he has some fresh thoughts to share. But first, what is socialization, what do we mean when we say it? Is there another word that might be

Choosing Your Puppy

Choosing a puppy is a very important decision, and everyone who lives in the household should agree before any puppy is brought into the home. If the puppy is to truly become a member of the family,...


Gardening with Dogs

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
- Margaret Atwood

There are only a few things that I love as much as dogs. They are fresh dirt, new plants and cheesecake. Cheesecake has nothing to do with this post, but it’s always worth mentioning.

I’m one of those crazy people who think yard work is synonymous with total relaxation. The excitement of creating something that wasn't there before, rearranging what is there and being surprised at what appears on it's own (like the Elderberry tree that volunteered in exactly the right spot last year) is more satisfying to me than anything else I can think of. Well, okay, excluding THAT.

This year, however, is the first time that I am gardening with the help of five dogs. Two of them did an excellent job of pruning my palm tree. Really, they did it perfectly!


Breed Haiku Challenge!

Stubborn little nose
Finds its way without a map
GPS on paws

Tri-colored and keen
Pleading eyes and happy soul
The hound of my heart

Several years ago, Jessie Beagle and I visited a veterinary specialist two hundred miles away in the Windy City. Jess was fifteen at the time, which is old by anyone’s canine standard, but she was still active and spry, and I wanted to get to the bottom of some health issues she was having. I was fortunate to find a young veterinarian in Chicago, trained at Iowa State Veterinary College. She was a spitfire from Scotland and was a good sport about her Scottish accent, amidst so many Midwesterners. She quite clearly loved animals, and had a special penchant for my old, very white beagle. For the purposes of this article, we’ll refer to her as McTavish.


Dog Training in Vietnam: Part Deux

Yesterday was another EPIC day for all my students and me. The subject matter was "Socialization". Well, they did not understand what and why initially but thanks to a top notch translator my job has been rather smooth in getting them to see and understand things in a new way.  


Desperate Times Call for Sensible Measures

Lots of things “work” in dog training. Throwing a can of coins at a dog who is barking at the door might get the dog to stop barking. However, it might be a good idea to stand in the dog’s fur and ask what you’ve just learned.

You’ve learned that your owner might throw scary things at you. You’ve learned that barking at the door makes scary or unpleasant things happen. You might decide that your owner is scary and unpredictable, or that the door is a dangerous place.


Dog Training in Vietnam: Entry- May 22nd 2007, Hanoi, North Vietnam

For those of you who do not know me, I am a dog trainer based in Los Angeles California and I have been living on a island Koh Phangan in the Southern Gulf of Thailand part-time since 1990.

Over the years I have been exploring around Asia. I found myself in Hanoi for what I thought was just a fluke, a vacation. But now I do believe in Destiny.


Breed Bans: An odious topic

Last week I was called to the Massachusetts State House to testify about “dangerous dogs.” I agreed to go because it was just an information gathering session and anyway, Representative Vincent Pedone, who invited me sounded like a reasonable guy on the phone.

When asked about breed bans I lead off with the statement that the breed bans were odious. I guess I should have used the word hateful because a lot of people misunderstood and sent me hate email (“How could a person in your position …”etc).


Slow and Steady Saves You Face

At my dog daycare facility, I often find owners struggling to help their dog maintain a sit during greetings, or apologizing for their excited behavior in the daycare lobby. They seem to really want the dog to come into the facility in a calm, respectable manner. This same scene takes place on sidewalks, in parks, at the vet’s office and in homes across the country.


Soko's Addiction

I have a confession: Soko, my German Shepherd who passed away last April at the age of 13, was an addict. Yes, friends, if she could have stood on a dog house in a yard filled with her canine peers, she would have barked out, “My name is Soko and I am a tennis ball addict.” No doubt the malamutes would have woo-woo’d a warm, “Welcome, Soko!” The other Shepherds would have nodded knowingly. The Border Collies, of course, would simply have stared.


Training Songs for the Musical Trainer (Sung to the The Wizard of Oz tune, "If I Only Had a Brain")

If I’d gone to puppy classes, I’d not have chewed your glasses

Or caused you such great pain

Oh I woulda been a good dog, and I coulda been a good dog

If I only had been trained.

I would not be just a nothin’, my mouth all full of stuffin’

From your new couch and chair

I’d behave – you must believe me

Don’t you know you’re s’posed to leave me
 In my crate when you’re not there.


Oh gee, I’m running free – I slipped out of the door

You can chase me but you’ll never catch me cause


Canine Juvenile Delinquents

Many dog owners falsely believe that their four, six or eight month old dog is still a puppy. Well, I suppose she is in the same way that my 23 year old daughter is still my little girl. However, my feelings about my daughter do not change the fact that she is most certainly an adult. Likewise, the cuteness or playfulness of any dog doesn’t change the fact that a dog becomes an adolescent around four months of age.



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