A woman with her back partially to the camera is sitting on a lawn. There is a wooden fence in the background. Three dogs are lying down nearby, all looking into her eyes.
Eileen and Dogs

The following movie of training bloopers is meant to set the tone of this blog. I am not a professional trainer. I am a passionate, committed amateur with four great dogs.

Link to the blooper movie.

I practice scientifically informed humane training and use Dr. Susan Friedman’s Humane Hierarchy as a guide. I have watched my dogs blossom as I have studied behavior science and dog body language and sought to apply what I have learned. And I’ve actually trained my dogs, though it’s generally easier to cruise the Yahoo groups for the evening. Like others though, I have found that I learn more by training for 10 minutes than I usually do in an hour or two reading arguments about dog training. Who’d have thought it?

I want to share what I have learned and help others take the plunge.

What can I, an amateur who has trained fewer than ten dogs, offer the Internet world? For the past six years I have read voraciously, discussed fiercely, and immersed myself in all things dog training. But even though I’m pretty well informed, there is a big disconnect in what I think I know and what I find out I can do. I sometimes choose techniques that look great on paper, then wonder why my dogs aren’t acting like the paper ones. A mistake I make frequently is not to think through the ramifications of a single behavior or problem solving technique I may attempt. Or I choose the newest popular technique when I actually could have done something more obvious and a lot easier.

The mistakes I make may be so specific to my situation that rather than helping anyone, they may just provide a good laugh. That’s OK. But perhaps we can analyze the type of mistake and the larger picture, and I can help save some other dogs and their people some grief. I’m willing to show you what worked and what didn’t, the results of my sometimes bad timing, and discuss why I made the choices I did.

It’s not all about my mistakes, of course. I love the moments when the dog and I suddenly understand each other, or when a dog turns a corner emotionally about something. They are such marvelous creatures and I hope to share the glimpses of their lovely little minds and souls as they share them with me.

My wonderful dogs. RIP Cricket, who passed 5/31/13.

My day-to-day training focuses on polite pet behaviors, agility, socializing my feral puppy, and surviving in a multi-dog household with the additional challenge of some extremely incompatible dogs.  My particular interests within training are how dogs discriminate and generalize, the uses of classical conditioning for pet dogs, and reading dog body language. Believe me, I have plenty of footage to share along those lines. I practice Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels and will be sharing videos and commentary about our progress through them as well.

Most of all I hope you will write me back. Have you ever learned from someone else’s mistakes? Do you think it is possible? Let’s find out.

Discussions coming soon:

Thanks for reading!

13 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Loved your video. I have three dogs. An eight year old GSD which is my Service Dog and an older pet MinPin and then a crazy wild 12 week old GSD that I hoping will bey future SD when my present dog retires. I trained my SD but using the older methods so popular when she was a pup. I am now trying the clicker method with the new pup. I have Sue’s books and have read a ton of others but learning the clicker is tough. Both pup and I have a learning curve ahead.

    1. Hi Jill!Thanks for your kind words. That’s great you are training your own service dog and I’m really glad you have Sue’s books. I guess you know about the Yahoo group: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/traininglevels/ There are some wonderful service dog trainers there who are very generous about helping.

      Good for you for switching methods. It will make for a strong partnership between you and your dog, plus Sue’s methods are great for teaching self control.

    1. Welcome, Erin! I have more posts lined up for this week, after I catch up with myself after going live with the blog. Enjoyed your blog as well.

  2. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the bloopers movie! I was laughing out loud by the time you rolled your eyes after being nipped (that is what happened? or she was just rude?) and I just kept on laughing.

    And then I read the introduction to your blog. It’s rational and beautifully written, and probably WAY too modest.

    I love it! I’m signing up!

  3. Welcome! I enjoy watching the videos you share on clickersolutions, and look forward to watching some bloopers. 🙂 I do the same thing – read too much! Then when I do train my dog it’s quite the learning experience. I also post about the things I’ve learned and experienced with her. I look forward to reading more of your blog!
    -Shannon & Sienna (the DIY dog)

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