Allergy Shots for Dogs: How I Made Them the Best Thing Ever

This post is about how I made weekly allergy shots into a fun event for my two allergic dogs. It’s not about the medical aspects of allergy shots or how to administer them. Be sure to get specific advice and training from your veterinary staff if you will be giving shots at home.

I have two dogs with seasonal allergies that are severe enough to make them pretty uncomfortable, especially in the summer. I recently took them to a board-certified veterinary dermatologist. They got skin tests and the vet specialist determined that they were both good candidates for an immunology protocol. First, they would get shots approximately every three days Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Dog training hints, Handling and Husbandry | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

Why Prong Collars Hurt

Please see additional note at the bottom of the post.

14 inch prong collar

Prong collars, also called pinch collars, are metal chain collars for dogs that include links of prongs whose ends press into the dog’s neck.

When a dog pulls on leash, moves out of position, Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Punishment, Punishment culture | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Five Years of Eileenanddogs

Fifth Anniversary of Eileenanddogs blogFive years ago today I published my first blog post.

It included this training blooper movie I made, still one of my favorites. If you’d just like a smile today, stop right here and check out the video.

When I set out to be a blogger, the main thing I knew was that I had something to say. A lot of things to say. The problem was that I was Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Announcement, Event announcement, Milestone, Retrospective | Tagged | 16 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 “bonds” or “trust.”  It sounds so…I don’t know…California. (I can say that because I’m from there.)

The thing is that most of the people who are out there talking about magical energy and bonds and leadership and trust and all those other things we can’t describe concretely are Continue reading

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

Helping Your Dogs Get Ready for Fireworks

Canada Day and U.S. Independence day are both coming up. I’ve updated my fireworks preparation page with some new tips on keeping dogs as safe and calm as possible. Check it out and make your preparations!

You can access the page below. Feel free to share!

6 Ways to Prepare your Dog for Fireworks

Summer cheese 2

© 2017 Eileen Anderson

Share Button
Posted in Fear, Management, Sound sensitivity | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Helping Your Dogs Get Ready for Fireworks

Preventing Dog Reactivity with a Barrier

My back door opens onto an elevated wooden porch. There are ten steps down to the yard. The top of the steps provides a view into the neighbor’s yard, which can be a very interesting place. Clara runs there when anything might be happening, primed to react. In the picture above Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Arousal, Dog body language, Dog training hints, Management, Reactivity | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

The Opposite of Force

Clara's pool provides enrichment she can choose when she wants

Clara playing by herself in her pool

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 or unpleasant to you and you have the choice of staying here and getting a piece of food or leaving and being relieved from whatever it is I’m doing.” I’ve suggested that this is not a laudable kind of choice; as trainers we can use our skills and take our time so that the dog doesn’t want to leave in the first place.

It can also refer to human-centric preference tests, many of which are subject to extreme bias.

But here’s my new realization. Continue reading

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

Are You SURE Your Dog Prefers That Food Toy?

It just occurred to me that it is super easy to make assumptions about how much our dogs prefer a particular food toy, or even whether they really enjoy them that much.

Don’t yell at me. To be clear: I use food toys for my dogs every single day. I think they can be enriching and that they are ethical things to use.

But food toys present us with a funny little problem. Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Classical conditioning, Enrichment, Food toys, Reinforcement | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Tossing Cookies: Delivering Treats and Toys in Dog Training

One thing I notice about experienced trainers is how well they can deliver food to dogs. Usually their hand motions are both fast and quiet, and the food goes just where they intend. This may sound like a minor issue, but it’s not. The mechanics of training are the key to successful, efficient training and a non-frustrated dog.

The way we deliver food in training needs to further our goals. There are times when Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Dog training hints, Food reinforcers, Treats | Tagged | 13 Comments

I Failed to Falsify—Twice! (Falsifiability Part 2)

Graffiti on a brick building that says, "False"

Photo credit carnagenyc: see bottom of page

I want to share just how tricky this falsification stuff can be. In the last few weeks I’ve received two comments from readers that pushed me to rethink some things I’ve written. They were both presented very constructively, offering some ideas in the spirit of good dialogue and the search for truth. They included fascinating questions that Continue reading

Share Button
Posted in Choice, Critical Thinking, Research, Terminology | Tagged , , | 6 Comments