Ten Things To Consider Before Getting a New Dog

SarahDogs and Family, PuppiesLeave a Comment

What’s better than surprising your family with the warm, silky-soft fuzz of a brand new puppy, or even the irresistible friendly wet snoot of a new adult dog? Nothing… nothing is more exciting than getting a new dog! With the holidays approaching, it’s not uncommon for pet-lovers to bring home a new puppy as a gift for their loved ones. Before you do, however, please read this article about some of the considerations of holiday pet-giving. If you are still interested in getting a puppy or dog for the holidays, read on… Getting your first dog, or a new dog, is an extremely emotional journey. Owning a dog for the long haul (10+ years) can be even more emotional – and sometimes not the good kind of emotions – if not handled properly, or if you’re not prepared for dog ownership. It’s worth mentioning, first and foremost, that everyone in … Read More

How Many Different Things Can You Catch With Honey?

SarahDog Training, Indoor MannersLeave a Comment

For many readers, you might know a little about author and innovator, Karen Pryor… Karen is most easily known for training dolphins with whistle-marked behavior and tasty fish rewards. Being the pioneer that she is, she eventually transferring all of that great experience to dog training via the clicker method. She is the author of one of the most popular how-to positive reinforcement manuals of dog trainers and corporate executives alike, “Don’t Shoot the Dog.” This musing isn’t a mantra to Karen Pryor. Although, she is pretty great. It’s simply a reiteration of what we all know about human nature, and dog nature too, is that “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” (Why the first person to say this wanted so many flies, I’m sure I don’t know…) Anyway, a key takeaway of Pryor’s book is that positive reinforcement and a dash of creative thinking and preparation … Read More

I’ll Break the First Rule of Clicker Training…

SarahAnxiety Issues, Dog TrainingLeave a Comment

…By dwelling on the negative, and pointing out what clicker training is not. Clicker trainers tend to focus not only on positive training with animals, but also on positive-oriented language in their dealings with clients, friends, family and peers. Rarely will you hear the word “no” or any of its derivatives in training or even everyday conversation. We’d much rather take a negatively-skewed comment and turn it into an opportunity to highlight the positive, and then strive for improvement. So I’ll summarize all the negativity very quickly… In clicker training: A click is not intended to serve as a punishment in of itself. A click is not intended as a warning that punishment is coming. A click is not intended to serve as a cue to a behavior. Recently, I’ve been thrilled to hear about other practical applications for clicker training, until I heard about how it was actually being … Read More

One-Armed Positive Training is Easier

SarahDog Training, Dog Walking4 Comments

Easier than what, you ask? Training with leash-corrective methods, like choke chains. Let’s face it… we’re Americans. We’re always looking for ways to make life easier, aren’t we? This musing is really not intended to be disrespectful or a slam on anyone. My honest opinion is that choke chains aka slip collars are challenging to use. You must have exceptional timing to effectively change your dog’s behavior through positive punishment (adding punishment to change unwanted behavior). And two, you must be of sound physical strength and stature to use this training tool, as intended. Before we get to the real issue here, let’s go back one step. A good friend and colleague had said recently that it was refreshing to see a new generation of dog owners come through her obedience classes, one where individuals have no idea what it means to make a collar correction. If you fall into … Read More

There’s Somethin’ Happenin’ Here – Training Wars

SarahDog Training1 Comment

I was struck yesterday by an extraordinary ordinary moment while bringing in the groceries. A man I had never seen before was walking his 5-month old or so, extremely adorable Labrador Retriever down the street towards my house. As he approached, a couple things stood out. One, his dog had a very clean and tagged brightly colored flat buckle collar around its neck. Two, he was walking on a black Easy Walk anti-pull harness. Nothing too unusual here, but very pleasantly surprising. As the man approached closer with his pup, I notice one other thing. He had a green treat pouch around his waist. I couldn’t be any prouder of this man if he had been a client of my own. “Cute puppy!” I shouted to him as he walked by the porch. As I went inside and bent down to start putting the groceries away, I heard a very … Read More