Category Archives: Human and dog misunderstandings

Will the Mystery Antecedent Please Stand Up?

Thank you to Randi Rossman for discussing the scholarly work about antecedents with me. All mistakes are my own.  I recently found myself in a situation that dogs are in a lot of the time, and it was a revelation. … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Cues, Human and dog misunderstandings | Tagged , , , , , | 23 Comments

Before You Share That “Cute” Dog and Baby Picture…

First things first. I didn’t write this with you in mind. Let’s not make this about your dog or your parental decisions. But there’s a problem with sharing that “cute” dog and baby picture. The problem is bigger than your individual situation, your … Continue reading

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Posted in Aggression, Dog body language, Human and dog misunderstandings | 63 Comments

You’re Too Close! Dogs and Body Pressure

So you are standing at a party, or in your office, or on your front lawn. Someone you know only vaguely walks up to you. He walks up very close, face to face, close enough that you can see up his … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog body language, Human and dog misunderstandings, Human body language, Stress Signals | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Is That “Smiling” Dog Happy?

Maybe, but maybe not! We humans tend to get warm and fuzzy feelings when we see dogs “smile.” It’s true that some dogs’ mouths open in a cute smile when they are relaxed and happy. But a dog with his mouth … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog body language, Human and dog misunderstandings, Stress Signals | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

It’s Not Painful. It’s Not Scary. It Just Gets the Dog’s Attention!

Some dog trainers who use tools such as shock, prong, or slip collars, or startle the dog with thrown objects or loud noises, claim that these things are done only to “get the dog’s attention.” They may further insist that the dog … Continue reading

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Posted in Cues, Human and dog misunderstandings, Operant conditioning, Punishment culture, Reinforcement, Terminology | Tagged , , , , | 40 Comments

“Respect” Is SO Last Year

Shhh, don’t tell anyone!! I don’t know for sure, but I kind of think my dogs don’t “respect” me. But that’s OK.  Dogs probably don’t do “respect” anyway. It’s a human concept, and it depends on human cognition and social mores. When … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog training hints, Human and dog misunderstandings, Multiple dogs, Positive Reinforcement, Toys and Play, Treats | Tagged , , | 49 Comments

Bark Busters: Promoting Facts or Myths?

A friend recently shared a flyer from Bark Busters, a dog training franchise business. It is called “Barking: The Facts” and can be seen at this link.  The flyer made me interested so I set out to investigate the methods … Continue reading

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Posted in Human and dog misunderstandings, Punishment, Punishment culture, Reactivity, Stress Signals | Tagged , , , , , , | 90 Comments

7 Common Dog Training Errors: More Cautionary Tales

I have to admit that I likely have a fair number of readers who look forward to reading about my mistakes. But hey, I asked for it, from the very first day of the blog. My previous post on common … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog body language, Dog training hints, Dogs' perceptions, Generalization, Human and dog misunderstandings, Multiple dogs, Stress Signals | 23 Comments

Is My Dog a Drama Queen?

“My dog is such a drama queen!” “My dog is so manipulative, she overreacts to everything!” “That dog is not really afraid, she’s just being a diva.” Have you heard any of these? A few months back, I posted the … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog body language, Human and dog misunderstandings, Stress Signals | Tagged , , , | 26 Comments

The False Hypothesis of the Pack

Hey! “Pack theory” is not a theory at all! Theories vs Hypotheses One of the biggest misunderstandings between science folk and lay folk is the definition of the word, “theory,” and here we are adding to that misunderstanding. In science, … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog behavior, Human and dog misunderstandings, Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments