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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...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
To Tug or Not to Tug?
Discovering the benefits of playing tug-o-war
A few weeks ago, I wrote about entertaining your canine crew with a variety of indoor activities, including a tugging game. One of our readers commented that they’d always heard playing tug-o-war can encourage biting, a common misconception about this game.  I can see why tugging could be mistaken for encouraging aggressive behavior with all the pulling and growling, but the bad rap is...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
ASPCA Humane Awards
Submit your human, canine, and feline nominations.
Each year, the ASPCA celebrates the important human-animal bond by honoring ten inspiring animals and people who have demonstrated compassion and bravery. The awards are given to dogs and cats that have demonstrated extraordinary behavior and to people who’ve made a significant impact in the lives of animals in the past year. Do you know any two or four legged friends who fit the bill? The ASPCA...
Blog: Guest Posts
Canine ESP
Dog senses recent earthquake on video
I’ve been through one earthquake with my dog and I don’t remember her sensing it before it happened, but then again I wasn’t watching to see if she sensed anything and I didn’t have a handy camera monitoring our every move. But apparently this unidentified news station in Arcata caught a canine’s ESP on tape.  Dog Senses Arcata Earthquake at News Station - Watch more Funny Videos National...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Hungarian Super Pups
A training method that focuses on the whole dog.
You may have already seen the viral You Tube video of a group of dogs decorating a Christmas tree, or the recently posted sequel of the same pack setting up a beach scene.  These incredible videos have been leaving many animal lovers wondering who trained these dogs, particularly if you don’t speak Hungarian. The group behind these well-trained pups is dog club, Népszigeti Kutyaiskola. The...

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