Eric Goebelbecker


Eric owns and runs Dog Spelled Forward dog training part-time in Maywood NJ, while working full-time as a software engineer on Wall Street. He hopes to transition Dog Spelled Forward to full-time in a few years. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT.)

After adopting a puppy that was a "bit of a handful" in 2000, Eric discovered modern dog training via classes at St. Hubert's Dog Training School, experiencing first hand what can be done with dog-friendly techniques.

He has since attended an Internship at Pat Miller's Peaceable Paws, level one and two Instructor Training Courses with Dogs Of Course, and became an instructor at St. Hubert's. Eric also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Eric lives with Dagmar, his very patient wife and Christian, their son. Caffeine, the bit of a handful puppy turned still-a-bit-of-a-handful dog, shares their home with Gage and Buddha, two other rescues. (Caffeine and Buddha are pictured.)

More information about Eric, as well as his personal blog, can be found at the Dog Spelled Forward web site.


(Photos copyright 2009 Ars Magna Studio.)


Blog posts by Eric Goebelbecker

Caffeine loves her treat ball.

Winter Games. The Inside Kind.

It’s been cold this week. Really, really cold. I don’t mind snow, but when the high is in the mid-20’s, I don’t like to spend a lot of time outside, and it’s time to employ some strategies for keeping the mutts exercised and stimulated.

One of those strategies is the StarMark Everlasting Treat Ball. (Or, actually three of them.) The video below shows them in action. (I apologize for the background noise. I really should have turned off the air filter.)


Can you believe your ears?

What do you think of when you think of a frightening growl? Chances are, it's probably a deep growl from a large dog. Most mammals using low-pitched signals in order to appear larger and more threatening, and recognize the sounds the same way. It appears that this tacit understanding also leads to mistakes.

People are generally pretty good at estimating a dog's size based on a growl, but it turns out, they are not so good at gauging aggression from the same signal.

Researchers took a set of recorded growls and digitally manipulated both the frequency (pitch) and formant frequency dispersion (resonance) of the growls, using a technique to that has been used in a few different studies that tested both how well people and how well dogs were able to estimate based on the sounds.

Smiling or tired?

Is that dog calm or still?

I want you to try a mental exercise:

Think about a small pond somewhere out in the countryside, far away from the city or crowds. Is it "calm" or is it "still?"

Now think about a dog lying on the ground. Is she "calm" or "still?"

The difference between "calm" and "still" when it comes to something like a pond seems rather small, but when it comes to a dog the difference can be night and day. It's possible for an animal to be "still" without being "calm", right?


Last Minute Shopping Idea

Let's face it, we've all seen that handler. The one with lead gloves, granite feet, and the timing of Hunter S. Thompson at 5:00AM on January 1st, 1971. Don't you just wish you could give them a remote control? Well, wish no more!


Extreme Nose Work

It's the final few weeks of the year, so the BBC World Service is running some of their older radio stories. This is a good thing, because I missed a great one in October.

The Buddhanator

On the Use of Food

I'm still disappointed over missing the APDT conference. Last minute crises are what they are, but I am still disappointed. It would have been my first conference and it was also as close as the conference will ever get to me. <sarcasm>We have a very small number of trainers here in the NYC area and the northeastern United States, so there is no reason to hold a conference over here.</sarcasm> Ironically enough, it was even close enough for me to visit family…instead I spent the week over there, dealing with unhappy family things.

Some of this disappointment has been mitigated recently by the excellent recordings of the conference presentations offered here. I have been listening to them on and off for weeks, and had 12 hours of driving to do this weekend to and from a Nose Work Seminar in Maryland. (I had to go for a day, come home, and then go back. Long story.)


Vive La Difference

I recently read 2 blog posts within a few minutes of each other and couldn't help but draw a parallel. First, right here on Dog Star Daily Dr. Dunbar said Let's Just Be Humans Training Dogs, opening with:

Dogs are not wolves and dog behavior is not the same as wolf behavior. In fact, the most striking difference between dog and wolf behavior is their interaction with people.

A few minutes later, while browsing RSS, I came across Wolves Are Smart, but Dogs Look Back on The Thoughtful Animal, by Jason Goldman.

Ellie the Labrador

Getting Your 15 Minutes The Hard Way

This month Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) awarded their second annual Hambone Award. The award is given for the most unusual insurance claim. Nominations are submitted and then people have an opportunity to vote for the finalists. This years winner is Ellie, a Labrador that ate a beehive.

D Crevling, C Barney, N Williams, S Hetts, P Silvani, P Reid, T King, E Levine, P McConnell, V Catalano

Best Friends Forever Conference 2010

Last weekend I attended the first Best Friends Forever Conference. The conference was organized by Dana Crevling's Dogs Of Course as a fund raiser for St. Hubert's. It was an outstanding educational opportunity for dog people of all types.

St. Hubert's is, of course, a cause near and dear to my heart. It was there that I "discovered" dog training and then apprenticed and became a trainer myself. Under the tutelage of Pia Silvani and the amazing staff of St. Hubert's Dog Training School I learned about effective dog training and have made some lifelong friendships.

The lectures at the conference were nothing short of amazing. Two lectures were given during each timeslot, and oftentimes I would see people in the hall, having a hard time deciding which one to go to.

dogs retrieving together

Rethinking Dog Parks

My post last week on Dog Parks caused quite a stir, with 47 comments, a rather bizarre swipe of most of the post by someone who lacks the courtesy (or the courage?) to link to what he parodies, and more retweets than I could count.

The incident I had heard about on twitter that lead me to write the post also became a blog post itself.

A few people got caught up in the particulars of what I listed as potential problems, so let me summarize: my main objection is that oftentimes you don't know what you will encounter in a dog park.



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