Rewarding Dogs Without Food


Recently I learned more about the Premack principle in a webinar given by Kathy Sdao who is an admirable animal trainer. I was interested in learning more about how I could vary my reward system in my teaching. I was familiar with the idea of consequences, of course. When the […] Read more »

Teaching Duration Skills for Dogs

Zeldi outside

  The way dogs learn to understand our verbal utterances is by associating a physical behavior with a specific sound combination the human emits. For example dogs can learn quickly that when their butt hits the floor and they hear the human utterance “SIT”, that “SIT” logically must mean “this position where my butt hits the […] Read more »

Small victories make me happy

antlers in moderation

A couple of years ago I read a blogpost by the very thoughtful British dog trainer Kay Laurence. She had a new puppy at the time and she was musing about greetings and how dogs just love to greet us by leaping up to come close to our faces. Somehow she […] Read more »

Dog runs: what do you think?

great play behavior

Zeldi just had a great play session with an adolescent border terrier who lives a block away from us. They had a very animated game, their playing styles were matched really well. Both the handler of the border and I were able to call our dogs back to us and they were […] Read more »

Reward strategies


On a recent walk with my puppy Zeldi we came across a woman standing around in the street playing with her phone. She was wearing a billowing long dress. Zeldi found the fluttering fabric very interesting and the woman wanted to interact with Zeldi. Knowing how tempting her garb was […] Read more »

Fear mongering


The current political climate is disturbing and yes, frightening. People are het up with fear and hatred, leading to an atmosphere of alarmism, reactivity and violent lashing out. Whatever impulse control we had going for a while has given way to pent up resentment. This is what dictators count on: […] Read more »

A different kind of sensibility


When I am out walking my dogs I try very hard to act like a “normal” dog owner and not a trainer. But tonight I experienced something that was deeply disturbing to me. I was walking Zeldi and we ran into a sweet young Labradoodle. They clearly were interested in one […] Read more »

Using your leash as a learning tool

Zeldi outside

Let’s be practical here. As much as you would like to shape behaviors but not force the dog by molding or yanking (an example for molding would be: putting the dog into a sit position by pressing on his butt until the butt hits the floor) or teaching a sit stay […] Read more »

Impulse control game: waiting pays off !

Most of us have heard of the behavior exercise : Leave it! When the skill is learned the dog will turn away from an object he desires voluntarily because this action has been highly rewarded in training set ups. Here is a version of this game I thought would be […] Read more »