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Browsing articles in behavior
Blog: Karen B. London
Puppy Mouthing
Saving your hands and your sanity
Puppies use each other as chew toys, so when they move away from their littermates and start hanging out with humans, it is only natural that they should continue their mouthy ways. Trouble is, we humans have skin that is so very delicate. In fact, it breaks when our puppies chew on it, and that is no good for anybody.   There are many suggestions for stopping puppy mouthing, and only some work...
Blog: Guest Posts
Moscow’s Amazing Strays
Dogs adapt to new order. What’s next?
Have you seen the stories about dogs in Russia riding the subways from the suburbs into downtown Moscow to scavenge for food? I missed these reports the first time around, but caught them during a recent email-to-a-friend cycle. At first, I thought it had to be fake. But according to The Sun and The Wall Street Journal, sure enough, the dogs commute like workers. Once in town, they put in a long...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
From Timeouts to Clicker Training
What we’ve gained from studying animal behavior.
I’ve learned a lot about human behavior from my experience training dogs and always knew it would somehow influence how I raise my future kids. I often joke that I’ll corral unruly children in crates, which is usually met with nervous laughter, but in all seriousness, many of the techniques we use to modify human behavior stems from what we know about animal behavior. A recent Slate.com article...
Blog: Guest Posts
Turf Wars
The battle for supremacy moves to the litter box.
From the moment Maggie bursts through the front door, the leggy Terrier-X is five feet off the floor, chasing Truman, my burly Shep-X, around the house and luring him into endless games of bitey-face.   My sister-in-law’s dog visits at least twice a month, often for days at a time. As soon as the cats hear her car in the driveway, they scatter: Jay heads for the bedroom to pout in the closet and...
Blog: Guest Posts
Breedism
Stereotyping is no laughing matter.
You know what really gets my hackles up? Stereotyping a breed of dog, or what I'll call breedism. Did you hear Chris Rock's latest joke? On "The Jay Leno Show," he said, "What the hell did Michael Vick do, man? A Pit Bull ain't even a real dog." Fortunately, the late Richard Pryor's widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor -- who together with her late husband created Pryor’s Planet, an animal rescue group and...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Teach Your Dog a Flip Finish Trick
Dog trick training
A nifty trick, handy for convenience and control from a sit front to heel position. It’s also really fun for the motivated dog and handler! Picture the finished exercise: On cue (a small sweeping hand signal), your dog flips from a “sit front” into heel position on your left side.   Sounds easy, but for the dog, this is a complicated series of movements that eventually add up to one final...
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: Guest Posts
Life with An Autism Service Dog, Part II
Wherein “kisses” are learned.
[Michelle O’Neil writes about the first days of meeting and training at 4 Paws for Ability with her daughter’s autism service dog, which she received this month.] Day 1 We are in our hotel suite with Riley’s new doggy! We are exhausted from all the excitement. Jingle is a very sweet dog, a good match for Riley. We were told she’s 35 pounds but she’s taller than I thought she’d be, a lean, young...
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: Guest Posts
Football and Dogfighting
Malcolm Gladwell explores the morality of the NFL.
Malcolm Gladwell provides a thought-provoking take on football and dogfighting in this week’s New Yorker. Essentially, he provides a synthesis of the latest brain studies that reveal the cause of Alzheimer’s-like symptoms in former football players. The accumulation of blows to the head leads to depression, aggression, memory loss and dementia. Then he draws the link to dogfighting—through...

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