Category Archives: Training philosophy

Finding the Joy in Agility

What do you see in this professional photo of Summer on an agility A-frame in a competition? She’s so pretty in that photo, and running nicely, but you know what? She wasn’t happy. Here are a couple more photos from … Continue reading

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Posted in Agility, Competitive dog sports, Dog body language, Positive Reinforcement, Training philosophy | 17 Comments

Actually, I **Can** Get My Dogs’ Attention

I was thinking the other day about how and why I have a dream relationship with my dogs. They are cooperative. They are sweet. They are responsive and easy to live with. You know how I got there? Training and … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Classical conditioning, Dog training hints, Operant conditioning, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Ist dieser Hund außer Kontrolle vor Freude oder aus Stress – falsche Frage

Click here for the English version of this post.  Immer wieder machen Videos von Agility Hunden die Runde im Internet, die die “Zoomies” kriegen, also ohne ihren Hundeführer vom Kurs abkommen und über den ganzen Parkour ihre Runden drehen und … Continue reading

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Posted in Safety, Stress Signals, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Is That Zooming Agility Dog Stressed or Happy? Wrong Question!

  Auf Deutsch. (German version of this post.) There’s a video going around (there always is, right?) of an agility dog getting the “zoomies” and taking off on her own, running and jumping all over the ring without her handler. … Continue reading

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Posted in Safety, Stress Signals, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

Am I a Wimp for Caring About My Dog’s Emotions?

Maybe it’s my upbringing, but I always flinch a little bit at the use of the language of emotions when talking about training. So even though my relationships with my dogs are primary and important, I hesitate to talk about … Continue reading

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Posted in Aggression, Dog body language, Fear, Resource guarding, Stress Signals, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 12 Comments

The Opposite of Force

I think I’ve figured something out. I continue to see the concept of choice bandied about the positive reinforcement-based training world. It can be a code word for a setup that includes negative reinforcement. “I’m going to do something physically unfamiliar … Continue reading

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Posted in Choice, Enrichment, Training philosophy | Tagged | 14 Comments

The Joy of Training With Food

Thank you to Debbie Jacobs, who pointed out that many training videos do not include the moment the trainer feeds her dog, and that we need to see that.  Training your dog with food is not only effective. It’s also … Continue reading

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Posted in Enrichment, Food reinforcers, Training philosophy | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Being Open-Minded About Training

Has anyone ever accused you of being “closed-minded” because you base your training on positive reinforcement? It’s pretty common. Some people come right out and say it. Others imply it by going on about their own open-mindedness. Here is a … Continue reading

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Posted in Critical Thinking, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 25 Comments

6 Common Dog Training Errors

Some of my most popular posts are about common training errors. It seems that I have an infinite supply, and I’m willing to use myself as a naughty example. New errors keep popping into my consciousness (and my training) all the time. In … Continue reading

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Posted in Dog training hints, Training philosophy | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Opposition Reflex: What Is It Really?

Thank you to Debbie Jacobs and Randi Rossman who made suggestions about this. All conclusions and any errors are my own.  Have you heard the term “opposition reflex” used in dog training? It’s used pretty often. But recently I got to wondering … Continue reading

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Posted in Terminology, Training philosophy | Tagged , , , | 82 Comments