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Blog: Karen B. London
Evaluating Canine Play
Are your dogs playing appropriately?
One of the most common questions asked of dog behaviorists is how to determine whether a group of dogs who are rolling around or chasing each other are playing appropriately. Without knowledge of dog behavior, it can be hard for many people to tell when play is getting out of hand until it’s too late and it’s obvious because somebody got hurt or traumatized. I recently wrote a column for my local...
Blog: Guest Posts
Super Buddy
German Shepherd saves the day--and a house
Buddy is a hero! Check out the amazing German Shepherd, who led a trooper to a burning building in Alaska--complete with footage shot from inside the cruiser. I love how the officer, who says he has spent a lot of time around dogs, tells a news anchor that he trusted Buddy was leading him (and not just running away)--and that's for sure how it looks. On Friday, Buddy was awarded a special...
Blog: Guest Posts
$500K Name Change!
An Australian couple paid $300 for their puppy and $500,000 to save his life.
If you have dogs, people always ask "What kind of dogs do you have?" I often take this question as an invitation to blabber uncontrollably about my variety pack. "Oh, I have two Dalmatians who compete in agility, a Catahoula - are you familiar with that breed? They’re bred for herding and hunting. I also have a Pit Bull mix - she's super sweet - and a true Heinz 57. She looks like a hyena....
Blog: Guest Posts
He Said, She Said, Dog Loses
There are two victims here
To read the original story, it seems pretty cut and dried. A jogger in Mercer County, Kentucky, passed by a dog on a tie out. The dog got loose and attacked her, requiring plastic surgery. Animal control takes the dog away to be quarantined then euthanized. But if you read the comments, you'll find several different perspectives. For example, the mother-in-law of the dog's owner claims the dog...
Blog: Karen B. London
Visual Versus Vocal Cues
Dogs watch us and we talk to them
There’s a little list in my mind of information that dog trainers know and that they wish everyone knew. At the top of that list is the fact that dogs primarily communicate with visual signals whereas humans most often express themselves vocally. This difference explains so much of the confusion between our otherwise largely compatible species.   Dogs often pick up on visual cues that we use,...
Blog: Karen B. London
Decoding Dog Growls
Each kind contains specific information
Dogs growl in different contexts—when guarding something of value, when threatened by a stranger and during play. These growls can sound remarkably similar to the novice human ear, but a new study in the journal Animal Behavior suuggests that the meanings of these growls are very different to dogs.   Scientists in Hungary recorded growls by dogs in different situations and analyzed the structure...
Good Dog: Activities & Sports
Target Training Your Dog: Go to Your Mat
A Teachable Moment
The ability to target a specific place is a valuable skill for your dog to have and will pay for the teaching time invested many times over. The finished exercise looks like this: On your cue—let’s use “Go to your mat”—your dog moves out to find her place, lying down and staying until the release word is given. This behavior is very useful for times when she needs to take a little break, or...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Victoria Stilwell: How to Deal with Out-of-Control Barking
You have questions, she has answers
You’ve no doubt seen Victoria Stilwell in action on It’s Me or the Dog, where, using positive reinforcement, she shows wayward pups and their sometimes equally wayward guardians how to get along. Now, Victoria joins our roster of training experts in offering sound and practical advice on a variety of, shall we say, behavior faux pas. Please join us in welcoming Victoria to The Bark.   Q: My dog’s...
Blog: Karen B. London
Telling Our Dogs We Want To Play
They CAN understand us
One of the coolest studies of behavior I have ever read is a 2001 study by Rooney, Bradshaw and Robinson (Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans? Animal Behaviour, 61:715-722.) The question they asked was simple: Can humans tell their dogs that they want to play? And the really cool part is that the answer was “Yes, people can signal playfulness to dogs.”   One really interesting aspect...
Blog: Guest Posts
Gene Linked to Compulsive Disorder
Dogs and humans have a lot in common
Last spring, Julia Kamysz Lane blogged about a study that suggested a link between compulsive tail-chasing and high cholesterol in dogs. Now, Bark contributor Mark Derr reports for The New York Times on a study linking compulsive behavior in dogs—think: excessive licking, fence running, spinning, staring and more—to a gene for the first time. The discovery is important not simply for the...

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