Education Used to Be Expensive; Now, it’s Affordable for All — Anytime, Anywhere

Back in the day, when we used to buy books and DVDs and travel to dog training seminars, workshops and conferences, furthering our education could be pricey. A three-day seminar or five-day conference...

Quick Tip: Superfood – What You Should and Should not be Feeding Your Dog

For many dogs, the most important aspect about the food you feed your dog is whether or not you use it in training. If your dog has behavior problems, you can, and should, use their regular food to

Dog Owner Education: Factual Learning Online; Hands-On Practice in Training Class

Many years ago, one of my Japanese students conducted a survey of off-leash puppy classes in the SF Bay Area. A basic index that she scored was the percentage of time that puppies were off-leash,...

Puppies and Shelter Dogs: Two Sides of the Same Coin

I am a dog trainer and I lead a double life. Of sorts. Behaviorally speaking. I am the Director of SIRIUS Puppy Training, a San Francisco Bay Area puppy training school. Our mission is to teach new...

Enjoy The Ride

I recently did some foundation puppy raising and training with a lovely little dog I’ll call Bob. (His name has been changed to protect the pup and his people’s privacy.) It’s joyful and...

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
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Make Muzzle Wearing Fun!

Muzzles are useful tools in dog training and husbandry. Some people think they look scary and make a dog look mean. Many dogs don't enjoy wearing a muzzle because the only time they've ever had to wear one was when they're feeling stressed out, such as a the vet when injured or some other kind of emergeny or unpleasant situation. Teach your dog to enjoy wearing a muzzle, just in case, before you ever need one. Laz loves his muzzle because it means we are going to either train for his favorite sport, or play ball! 

 
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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...

 
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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

 

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