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Blog: Karen B. London
Protecting Dogs on Halloween
Beware of chocolate, decorations and costumed strangers.
Halloween is a devil of a holiday. One the one hand, it’s among my favorites—parties, chocolate, creativity in dress and behavior, neighbors working together to create fun for all ages. On the other hand, there are hazards we all need to be aware of to make sure our dogs have a good day, too. There are three main concerns for dogs at Halloween.  1) Chocolate is dangerous for dogs. Don’t let them...
Blog: Karen B. London
Teaching My Dog To Stay
I did it for the ice cream.
Well-trained dogs are a joy to be around and they are more likely to stay safe. Additionally, they often have a better quality of life due to the fact that they get to accompany people to more events since their behavior is trustworthy. These are all worthy reasons to train our dogs, but I must say I am often just as motivated by my own quality of life. Specifically, I needed my dog to have a...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dog Halloween Costumes
Scary for our four-legged friends
It’s hard to resist the urge to put dogs in costumes. The cuteness factor can fly off the charts, and for many people, dressing up our dogs is as natural as dressing up our human children. Despite my recognition of the joy it can bring to see our pups parading around as cowgirls, devils, sports stars or Elvis, I urge caution when considering costumes for dogs. Most dogs hate costumes. They easily...
Blog: Karen B. London
Reinforcement on the Radio
What will NPR do this time?
Each time KNAU, my local NPR station, has a pledge drive, they try a new combination of reinforcement strategies. As a dog trainer, I am naturally very interested in reinforcement since half of operant conditioning consists of reinforcement. (The other half is punishment, but thankfully, positive punishment is used in dog training less than ever, and never, as far as I know, by any NPR stations...
Blog: Karen B. London
Is It Okay To Drink And Bark?
Many wineries welcome dogs
Hotels have become more dog friendly, and so have many businesses. Years ago it was rare to walk into a store to be greeted by a dog, but now it’s unremarkable. More and more people are bringing their dogs to work, and they are more common visitors at hospitals, schools, and rehab centers. Still, it represents a big advance that so many wineries have resident dogs or welcome visitors with their...
Blog: Karen B. London
Big Even For a Great Dane
George might be the world’s largest dog.
My sister is about an inch shy of six feet and people regularly tell her that she is tall. A lifetime of handling this rudeness (Would you go up to a woman who is five feet tall and proclaim, “You’re short!”?) has yielded many witty replies, but my favorite is, “Well, I’m definitely not shopping in the petite section.” That’s all I could think of when I read about George, whose owners are trying...
Blog: Karen B. London
Blessing Animals
An interfaith event
Over the weekend in Flagstaff, Ariz., many people brought their dogs to a blessing of the animals event. Various faiths were represented, including clergy from the Buddist, Muslim, Jewish, Meher Baba, Christian, Muslim and Celtic Pagan faiths. (The breeds present were every bit as diverse as the religions.) Could our dogs lead us to increased interfaith understanding and tolerance? What a...
Blog: Karen B. London
I Love “Wait”
It’s my favorite training cue.
I am so fond of the cue “Wait” that I wrote a column called An Ode to ‘Wait’ to express my enthusiasm about it. This cue tells a dog to pause and not to move forward until given permission to do so. It can literally be a lifesaver at doors to both houses and cars because it can prevent bolting out into traffic. Additionally, it can be a sanity-saver when heading out for a walk because it stops...
Blog: Karen B. London
Researching Social Cognition
Dogs finally get some respect
Science recently ran an article about the importance of dog research. It’s an understatement to say that times they are a-changing. The fact is that times have changed so much that it’s a whole new era. This journal is among the most prestigious of scientific publications, and to see a big article about the value of dogs as research subjects is mind-blowing to those of us whose discussions of dog...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dogs and Their Outstanding Noses
How has your dog amazed you?
It is well known that dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell. Nearly everyone who has lived with dogs has a story illustrating these astonishing olfactory abilities, and here is mine: Our dog Bugsy (half black Lab, half handsome stranger) was not the cleverest of dogs, and we eventually learned to embrace the moments when he showed his lack of Einsteinian brain powers. One day on our farm, he...

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