Dr Dunbar's iWoofs Podcasts


5.03 Deprivation in Dog Training

What is deprivation, and is there a place for it in dog training?  Is it a good idea to keep you dog confined or isolated to get them more excited about training or working with you?  In this episode the Dunbars discuss the concept of depriving a dog of access to desired behaviors and items as a tool in training.  For some things like food or mental stimulation, there’s a minimum level which the dog needs for physical and mental health.  For many other things, the notion of deprivation can be a relative thing that depends on the dogs’ environment and experience.  Far better than simply...

iWoofs Seas:  Season 5

5.02 Beyond Puppy Classes

We’ve been talking a lot about puppy class lately, but the vast majority of any dog’s socialization takes place outside of classes.  It’s incredibly important that a puppy’s socialization and household manners training begins in the first few weeks of a pup’s life, and continues uninterrupted when the puppy is taken home by its new family.   Ideally, a puppy class should function as a place to check in with a professional trainer to make sure that your pup is progressing appropriately.  Of course, if a pup is has not been sufficiently socialized by the time they show up for their first puppy...

iWoofs Seas:  Season 5

5.01 Puppy Husbandry Practices

In this episode we continue our puppy training  theme by talking about proper puppy husbandry procedures.  What exercises can you do with a puppy to prepare them for being groomed and treated by veterinarians in the future?  Pet dogs will get petted, restrained and handled by strangers, whether  it’s by a groomer, a veterinarian or a neighborhood kid at the park.  If your pup has been properly prepared for this sort of handling it won’t be a problem.  If they haven’t been prepared they are likely to suffer anxiety in these sorts of situations, and they may react aggressively as a result.

iWoofs Seas:  Season 5

4.13 Are Puppy Classes Harmful? (Part 2)

For this episode we return to an article that was on the Kennel Club’s website which suggests that puppy classes and social play sessions are responsible for increasing reactivity and aggression in pet dogs.   The article focuses on poorly managed classes, and uses this as justification for condemning the whole concept.  The Dunbars explain how a well-run class or socialization session is actually the best way of preventing reactivity and aggression, and creating friendly, easy-to-handle and reliable adult dogs.  

iWoofs Seas:  Season 4

4.12 Are Puppy Classes Harmful? (Part 1)

In this iWoofs episode we address an article that appears on The Kennel Club website, by Robert Alleyne, a Board member of the Kennel Club Accreditation Scheme for Instructors.  As major advocates for puppy classes you can probably imagine that we have a few bones to pick with this article.  We find many of the assumptions to be flawed, along with much of the reasoning and the conclusions.  We do agree with the article that there are some puppy classes that are not as good as they should be, and we agree with some of the criticisms that are made of poorly managed classes.  However, we

iWoofs Seas:  Season 4

4.11 Ian's Fun & Games Training Workshops

It’s been awhile since Dr. Ian Dunbar has conducted dog training workshops in the United States, but that’s about to change.  Over the next few months Ian will be giving dog training workshops in locations all across America, starting in Texas, Rhode Island, New Jersey & Maryland.  In this episode Ian talks about how he structures his workshops to make them fun and informative for the dogs, the handlers and the observers alike.  Games make reliability testing incredibly enjoyable, while simultaneously providing for objective quantification, often while off-leash and surrounded by many

iWoofs Seas:  Season 4

4.10 Dealing with a Mouthy Rottweiler

A listener has a sweet three-your old Rottweiler that likes to mouth people. He’s never hurt people, but the owner recognizes that this is a potential problem. With a large, potentially intimidating dog like a Rottweiler it’s a particular pressing problem, because people may be very scared.

iWoofs Seas:  Season 4

4.09 It Didn't Work For Me

There are a lot of things that can go wrong in dog training, mistakes which will make any method or exercise significantly less effective.  Dog training is complex and requires some important skills, it requires some patience, persistence and timing.  Also, there’s something about dogs which tends to short-wire some people’s critical thinking skills.  Probably the biggest problem people run into is expecting too much from their dog, too quickly.  They don’t recognize the incremental improvements, which means they don’t capture and build upon those improvements.

iWoofs Seas:  Season 4
Embedded thumbnail for 23 Best games for a New Puppy

23 Best games for a New Puppy


Games are great!  In this episode the Dunbars talk about the best games for a new puppy, especially one that’s going to be living with a couple of young children.  Games can be used for motivating behaviors that are really useful, like Go To Your Crate or Off & Take-it.  Scent games can be a lot of fun, and quite useful, as can Go To for finding members of your family.  And really, in a family of four, any training activity can be turned into a game or competition, and probably should be.


Video iWoofs:  Season 2
Embedded thumbnail for 22 Premack Explained

22 Premack Explained

The Premack principle suggests that if a dog wants to perform an activity (a high frequency behavior / eating ice cream), they’ll be willing to perform a less desirable activity (low frequency behavior / eating spinach) in order to do so.  The less desirable behavior can be reinforced by the more desirable behavior.  In dog training this means that we can harness the exciting, motivating power of our dog’s favorite behaviors as reinforcers for the behaviors we want them to do.  We can string behavior routines together to charge each step with the positive association of a primary reward.



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