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Blog: JoAnna Lou
The Restorative Effect of Sugar
Study looks at sugar, self-control and performance
We ask a lot of our dogs. We ask them to resist food on the counter, to stay inside when the front door is open and to be quiet when dogs are barking next door. With my new puppy, I’ve been thinking a lot about self-control, which is the foundation for everything from household manners to agility skills. In humans, research has shown that there’s a relationship between the brain’s glucose supply...
Blog: Guest Posts
Dogs Can Sign Too
And they have much to say
An amazing event occurred recently at AnimalSign Center. There, I teach dogs, horses and cats enhanced communication skills. I use AnimalSign Language, which is much like Baby Sign or Gorilla Sign, but it’s made for domestic animals. I think nothing of seeing dogs K9Sign that they need water, want specific foods or naming people at the door, or on the phone. But a few weeks ago, I was awed by...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Making Obedience Class Mandatory
NY sought to require graduation from obedience school
In a perfect world, everyone would have great relationships with their dogs--teaching basic manners, providing lots of exercise, and participating in an activity together like agility or therapy work. Last week, a bill was proposed in New York that would require people to successfully complete a basic obedience class with their dogs or risk having their pet taken away.  The goal of the bill is...
Blog: Guest Posts
Meet the Trainer Behind the Amazing Jesse
Simple advice from a training wunderkind
If you’re a dog lover, you’ve probably seen “Useful Dog Tricks performed by Jesse.” The YouTube video has clocked more than 9-and-a-half million hits to date—so someone is watching the wirehaired Terrier with Cleopatra eyes chew the scenery (metaphorically, only). With an always-wagging tail, the tri-colored Jack Russell merrily opens and closes drawers, turns a lamp off and on, cleans...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Clicker-Mad
Karen Pryor took tools and insights refined with dolphins and applied them to dogs, and training has never been the same… thank goodness!
In 1974, Karen Pryor zipped off her wet suit and hung up her dolphin-training whistle—for good, she thought. She left Hawaii and eventually moved to New York City with her teenage daughter, where she set up shop as a freelance writer. Pryor already had two books under her belt, and now embarked on her third: an easy-to-read manual on using the science of operant conditioning in everyday life,...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Rewards Redux
Positive reinforcement is in the eye of the beholder
Visualize this scenario: Comet, a sixmonth- old Labrador in a beginner-level dog training class, ignores all distractions and charges back to her guardian, Barbara, after hearing “Comet, come!” As soon as she arrives, Comet receives effusive praise and petting from Barbara. A great example of positive reinforcement, right? Except that, in this very common situation, Comet responds to the actions...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Three Myths about Playing with Your Dog
Okay to play tug?
Strong opinions exist about the “Do nots” of playing with dogs. I agree with only some of these prohibitions. I do stand by the ban on rough-and-tumble wrestle play and the teasing that often accompanies it. Though this form of play can be fun, the high emotional arousal that results often leads to a lack of inhibition, and that’s when trouble can happen, even to nice dogs and to nice people....
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Reducing Fear in Your Dog
A gentle hand or a tasty treat doesn’t reinforce fear, it reduces it
It was one in the morning, and I was wide awake. Thunderstorms had been rolling like waves over the farm all night, and this one was so loud I thought the windows might break. Lassie, my 14-year-old Border Collie, lay panting beside me. She’s almost deaf, but the combination of a falling barometer, lightning flashes and the crashes of thunder were enough to send her into a panic. As we lay there...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Does Your Dog Have a Greeting Disorder?
Redirecting Extreme Excitement!
Q: Butters, our three-year-old Lab, is incredibly smart and affectionate. Although we have worked at training him, he is still overly “social” and excitable. Recently we were walking him and met a young puppy he’s befriended. Both dogs were overjoyed to greet each other. Then Butters jumped on the owner — which was really embarrassing — and I realized we should not have allowed him to say “hi”...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
How to Become a Dog Trainer
Following your passion into a profession
You want to become a dog trainer because you love dogs, right? Makes sense, but before you take the plunge into the career of your dreams, ask yourself this very important question: how do you feel about people?   Most of dog training entails teaching people. Sure, you could land a job training service dogs or dogs living in shelters, but the vast majority of dog trainers earn a living by...

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