dog training

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

BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE — FOR 110 YEARS?

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...

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!

If...

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

Embedded thumbnail for Muttamorphosis Dog-Stars of the Big Screen!

Muttamorphosis Dog-Stars of the Big Screen!

 

When a group of North East of England dog owners signed up for a training class last Summer, they never thought their pooches could become celebs. But that’s now on the cards for the regions first all dog cast, after they made a short film which premiered in Newcastle last night. ‘Motley Mutts, The Rescue’ is a joint project between local trainer Sue McCabe of Muttamorphosis and Nathan Squires of MBT Productions.

The film follows a familiar good dog, bad dog plot-line, with angelic Jack Russell cross Rose, dog-napped by villain Border Collie, Guinness. The rest of the Motley Mutts

 

Party with Premack!

One of my clients recently adopted a sweet, 70 pound, two-year-old mixed-breed from the shelter named Nicky, and I’m thrilled to be working with her. We don’t know much about her past other than that she has clearly had a litter of puppies, but she is delighted to be in her forever home with her Beagle pal Koby. After a nasty initial bout with Kennel Cough and intestinal parasites, Nicky got back on her paws and was ready for some training. We mastered basic skills inside her home and conquered problem barking and moderate separation anxiety. She did well with her “Watch” focus

10 Tips For Current and Future Puppy Owners That Want to Train the Perfect Dog

For a limited time you can use the promo code "10tips" to save 50% on Dr. Ian Dunbar's comprehensive Online Course How To Train a Puppy


General Dog Training Tips

1. Choose Wisely When Selecting Your Future Pup

Whether selecting your prospective pup from a professional breeder or from a family breeding a litter for the very first time, the criteria are the same. Look for puppies raised indoors around human companionship and influence—specifically around people who have devoted lots of time to the puppies' education.

2. Future Problems Result from Early, Non-Corrected Problems

Embedded thumbnail for A workshop with Ian Dunbar: Solving "impossible" off-leash, real-life  behavior problems, real-time.

A workshop with Ian Dunbar: Solving "impossible" off-leash, real-life behavior problems, real-time.

In this vlog post Ian Dunbar describes one of his latest workhops and what he most enjoys about teaching people and dogs in this format. He loves bringing "impossible" problem behaviors into the workhop and resolving them in real time. He teaches handlers how to quanitfy progress, test reliability, and improve performace vastly. This put the responsibility of reliability and performance on the handler and on training, rather than on the dog. Far too many dogs are being punished in the name of training or due to disobedience, when the fault actually lies within the teaching process. 

 
Embedded thumbnail for Give Your Dog The Gift of Sniff with Nosework!

Give Your Dog The Gift of Sniff with Nosework!

It’s no secret what a dog’s nose knows. While we humans have only around 5 million scent receptors, dogs’ olfactory receptors number in the hundreds of millions! Dogs use their noses as a primary source of navigation and information gathering. They use scent-marking a source of communication. Dogs take in scent the way most people take in visual and auditory information.

 

Yet in our human-centric world, dogs are constantly thwarted or punished for gathering info/exploring/expressing themselves via sniffing and marking.

 

The human equivalent would be to live with blinders on, our

 

Why is training recall so difficult for dog owners?

As with any training, recall is all about putting a routine into your dogs day which he enjoys taking part in. Recall should never mean "if I run back to my owners, she'll put me back on leash" but always, "if I run back to my owner, it's usually worth my while". With adult dogs, all recall training is easier done using a long line, which is dropped on the ground & dragged behind the dog. Never go from a short leash, to no leash. Instead use a long line which gives your dog freedom, without you losing control. 

Here is my quick guide to recall training, both for use with young puppies

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