How Dogs Learn

Dogs learn in two ways: by association (emotional response) and by consequence (doing things). An example of associative learning is dogs’ reaction to the sight of a food bowl: fits of joy. They have learned that this bowl predicts mealtime. We can use dogs’ associations to teach them things. For instance, new puppies don’t care… Read more »

Bark! Bark! Bark!

Nonstop barking can drive even the saintly to desperation. Fortunately, there’s help to be had. The approach depends on the cause. Watchdog barking is triggered by visual or auditory stimulation—passersby, slamming car doors, a cat on the lawn. Watchdog barkers were sentries in a previous life. Boredom barking happens when a dog is left alone… Read more »

Common Mistakes when Modifying Behavior, Part 1

So your dog has some behavior issues. Who doesn’t, really? Nobody’s perfect. But, you’ve decided this one is severe enough to work on, and KUDOS to you! We always recommend working with a credentialed professional – one who uses reward-based training, science, and effective, humane methods like systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning (like us!), but that’s… Read more »

The Basset Hound

This sweet-looking, floppy-eared, low-to-the-ground hound boasts scenting abilities bested only by the Bloodhound. Known as a patient and affectionate family dog, the Basset hides her impressive talents behind a somewhat plodding pace and less-than-athletic exterior. But don’t be fooled. When well trained, the Basset can distinguish herself in Rally-O, tracking, field trialing, and pack hunting.… Read more »

Healthy Travels with Your Dog

Doing your homework is key to making traveling with your dog a healthy and stress-free experience. First, research the area(s) you’ll be visiting: Are there weather advisories in place, or disease outbreaks or risks you’re unfamiliar with (water parasites, ticks, rabies)? Are there permissions or vaccinations your dog will need to travel there? Next, be… Read more »

Herding

The majority of today’s herding dogs and herding dog breed mixes never come across a flock of geese or sheep or goats. But that doesn’t mean their herding instinct is dormant. People who share their lives with these energetic and intelligent dogs know how easy it is to trigger a round of (often annoying) heel… Read more »

Dogs, Dogs Everywhere

Imagine a Bedouin hunting in the desert. The temperature is close to 120 degrees, too hot for horses to move beyond a plod. The desert hare, or dinner, is out of shooting range. Enter the Saluki. Light-boned and sharp-eyed, with the lung capacity of a cheetah. An expert hunter, specialized for this harsh environment, this… Read more »

Understanding Motivation

Motivation is what makes your dog tick. It’s what drives him to do things, like respond to your cues and find doing so worthwhile—even the second and third times you ask. Common canine motivators include: Car rides, a ball tossed, a walk, a leash clipped on or off, playing with toys, access to other dogs,… Read more »

People-Foods to Avoid

Most people know chocolate can be dangerous, even fatal, to dogs. Many have heard the same of grapes and raisins, and it’s common sense that alcohol isn’t canine fare. Other people-foods never to share with your dog include: In the greenery department: Avocado, onions, garlic, chives (plus grapes and raisins). Drinks and dairy: Cacao, coffee,… Read more »

The Doberman Pincher

Doberman Pinchers, affectionately known as Dobies, hail from Germany and were originally bred to be guard dogs. For that reason, Dobies are strong and resilient, fast runners, and hardwired to be alert. When well trained and socialized, Dobies are also affectionate family dogs and devoted companions. They have distinguished themselves alongside soldiers at war—a Dobie… Read more »

Rabies 101

Rabies is a fatal infection that is contagious to all warm-blooded animals, including people. It’s caused by a virus that affects the nervous system, producing symptoms such as fever, seizures, paralysis, slack jaw, inability to swallow, excessive salivation (hence the trademark foaming at the mouth), lack of coordination, unusual aggression or shyness, and other awful… Read more »

Search & Rescue (SAR)

Given that dogs have up to 300 million scent receptors (compared to our 5 million), keen night vision, and super-sensitive hearing, nobody can be surprised that dogs excel at search & rescue work. Experts estimate that a single dog-and-handler team can be as effective in locating missing persons as 20 to 30 people. SAR dogs,… Read more »