The Importance of Early Socialization

Socialization is the process of becoming familiar with all kinds of animals, people, places, and things; as well as learning how to behave in society. All puppies need socialization regardless of

Quick Tip: Ditch the Dish – The First Step to Resolving Your Dog's Behavior Problems

When it comes to dog training and behavior problems, the number of different solutions are as great and varied as the number of different problems. But whatever your problem is, there's a good chance

How to Use Food Intelligently in Lure-Reward Dog Training

Based on Dr. Ian Dunbar’s lecture (of the same title). Only available on Dunbar Academy. Try your first month for just $1. Food is extremely useful when training a dog … Food is simply unmatched for...

Dunbar Academy Gets a Make-Over

Dunbar Academy is our online dog training and behavior school and presents a more structured and curated learning experience than Dog Star Daily can provide. But it wasn't always that way. When we

Quick Tip: Just Stuff It - How to Use Food Stuffed Chew Toys to Solve Home Alone Problems

The easiest and most effective tool in dog training is hands-down, the humble hollow chew toy filled with food. It's so powerful because it trains your dog tirelessly, for hours, without any

Announcing the Dunbar Academy YouTube channel

We're excited to announce that we've launched a new YouTube Channel! It's going to feature videos of all three of the Dunbars dispensing top-notch dog training informaiton and entertainment! Our goal
Embedded thumbnail for When Can I Stop Rewarding My Dog?

When Can I Stop Rewarding My Dog?

“When I can I stop rewarding my dog for doing the correct behavior?” 

This is one of the top three questions I get from my students. Really, what these people are asking is either, “When can I stop training my dog?” or, “When can I start punishing my dog?” 

For some reason, people take offense when they think their dog is doing the “right” thing for a tangible reward, such as a paycheck, rather than for the intrinsic reward of obeying the master! 

It’s frustrating to me that people think of dogs in either a perpetually childish or subservient light, rather than as independent,...

 

Is Your Aggressive Dog Dangerous? Dr. Dunbar Says, Probably Not

This video clip was taken from the new online seminar by Dr. Ian Dunbar: Dog-Dog Reactivity, only available on the Dunbar Academy. Try your first month for just $1

Do you have an aggressive dog that barks, lunges, snaps, growls, or bites? If so, the next question to ask yourself is:

"Is my dog dangerous?"

Because the answer to this question determines how you should proceed. If your dog is dangerous, you should proceed with caution. We recommend you find professional help from a qualified trainer.

The good news is, most dogs are not dangerous. For the 90+% of dogs who display aggressive...

 
Embedded thumbnail for Flirt Pole Fun!

Flirt Pole Fun!

One of my top tips for students to improve their dog’s training performance is to play interactive games. Play will enhance your relationship with your dog and the stronger your relationship, the better your training will go. 

 

By interactive games, I mean games that include you, not other dogs. Fetch is a fun game that can reinforce your pup’s desire to return to you, which can help you with your recall. Chase games are great, if exhausting, but only work to your advantage if you are the one chasing your dog, never the other way around. Tug is an awesome way to both build...

 

How to Use Food Intelligently in Lure-Reward Dog Training

Based on Dr. Ian Dunbar’s lecture (of the same title). Only available on Dunbar Academy. Try your first month for just $1.

Food is extremely useful when training a dog …

Food is simply unmatched for classical conditioning and is incredibly useful as both lures and rewards when teaching basic manners. 

… Unless it becomes a bribe

If you're not careful, however, food can become a bribe and the food's ability to influence your dog's behavior for the better will gradually deteriorate as your dog progressively ignores you and your food lures more and more. Resorting to smellier, tastier

training goals require maps

Training Goals

In my last post I wrote about the training process and how it is so important to break every task you’d like a dog to learn into tiny segments in order to orchestrate many frequent, measurable, successful moments to build upon and link together to create an easily navigable staircase to your destination. 

With that in mind, today I’m thinking about goals. You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know both where you are today and where you’re headed. One must have a clear starting and end point in mind to properly draw up a functional map. 

This morning as I pondered where I would like to go on...

 
Tags:  dog training
I love my pibble

Open Letter to Rescue Groups

Earlier this year, I had a table at a 'Pet Awareness and Adoption' event that changed the way I feel about these events, and some of the rescue groups who participate in them. I have spent many hours, and sleepless nights, thinking about the events of this day, and what we can all learn from it. 
 
I am not going to name the location because I do not wish to focus on the hosts, nor on the individual rescue group personally.. This could have happened at any public adoption event, and to any of the countless rescue groups or animal shelters that showcase adoptable dogs at these events.
 
I was...

Belgian Tervuren Mars With Orange

Starting Over In Dog Training

It has been so long since I’ve written anything here at The Dog Star Daily Blog that it feels like I’m starting over. Recently, I’ve started training my young dog, Laz and my new pup, Mars for a dog sport that I haven’t attempted in over ten years. So it kind of feels as though I’m starting over in dog training, too. Here’s to new beginnings! 

As with anything new, it’s a very good idea to break a task down, start with small goals, and gradually increase complexity and duration. At the moment I am being reminded of this daily by my coaches as I plan training sessions for the very long,...

What if We Practiced Dog Ownership First?

 

We’ve all heard the familiar pleas: “Can we get a dog?” “I want a dog, look how cute he is!” Dogs are tons of fun and having a canine companion is great, but what’s involved with owning a dog can catch a person off guard.

So how about this rogue idea for first timers or parents teaching their children – set up practice sessions (think training trials for humans) and actually do several of the things involved with being a dog guardian BEFORE actually getting a real live dog? Test the waters so to speak. A stuffed animal dog would be a light and funny surrogate, a form of “successive...

The Bite Scale

Click here to download Dr. Dunbar's Bite Scale

Dog aggression is such a difficult subject to speak objectively about. People are always emotional when they talk about their dogs, but never more so than when they talk about issues with reactivity or aggression, whether it's a problem of fighting with other dogs or biting people.

When a dog "attacks" or acts aggressively towards a person, it can be hard to separate the scariness of the experience from how dangerous or damaging it actually was.

The size and the breed of a dog has a huge effect on people's perception of aggressive behavior. Little

 

Fight:Bite Ratio

An Objective Assessment of Danger of Fighting Dogs

Ian Dunbar PhD, BVetMed, MRCVS

Establish the number of full-contact fights (#Fights) plus the number of fights in which the opponent was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment of bite wounds, i.e., fight that resulted in actual significant physical damage (#Bites). 

The ratio between # Fights and # Bites indicates the level of bite inhibition and whether or not the dog is dangerous. The greater the number of fights with no damage indicates the better the dog’s bite inhibition. 

Most dogs clearly fall into one of two categories...

 

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