My Journal

Ideas and Articles that help to enrich the relationship between dogs and people.

Reinforcement and Dogs. What is it?

Reinforcement and Dogs. What is it?

When we talk about reinforcement in dog training what do we mean?  Essentially, it means anything  that lights up the reward center in an animals’s brain is a reinforcer.  What is reinforcing to one animal is not necessarily reinforcing to another.  How can we tell if...

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Socialization. Let’s be clear.

Socialization. Let’s be clear.

Exactly what does socialization mean when we talk about domestic dogs?  There is a lot of buzz these days about the importance of “socializing” our dogs, especially young puppies.  There is also a lot of misunderstanding about what this means.  I try to find clear...

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Baker Pond.

Baker Pond.

Pisgah State Park in Chesterfield, NH is an absolute jewel.  I try to hike the trails with Quicken as often as I can during the summer.  We actually hiked the same loop last year on Christmas day!  The trails are beautifully maintained.  My favorite loop is a 2 1/2...

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Counter Conditioning.

Counter Conditioning.

Changing the dog's emotional response. Much of my work is helping reactive dogs. In dog training, reactivity is a negative emotional response to some sort of trigger in the environment. Some examples of reactivity are when a dog explodes into lunging and barking, at...

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Finding a Good Dog.

Finding a Good Dog.

  Be smart about it. This is a subject that could easily fill a book.  Our domestic dog population is changing.  In Vermont we used to be able to go to the local shelter and there was a good chance we could find a gentle, sociable dog that needed a new home. ...

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Christmas Day Walk.

Christmas Day Walk.

This year we have no snow.  This is bad for critters and skiers but good for walking!  Christmas Day was bright and sunny, around 30 degrees.  Quicken and I went for a favorite hike in Pisgah State Park. We made a beautiful loop, up the Hubbard Hill Trail to Baker...

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Beaver Pond in Winter.

Beaver Pond in Winter.

  My walk  with Quicken this morning was glorious.  I have several hikes of different durations that are right out my front door.  There is no better way to start the day than an early hike with your dog.  I am very grateful. 

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Behaviorist or Trainer?  Trainer or Behaviorist?

Behaviorist or Trainer? Trainer or Behaviorist?

  This is a question that comes up a lot with people seeking help for dog behavioral problems.  Do I need a trainer or do I need a behaviorist? What is behavior?  Everything your dog does is behavior.  It is generally the unwanted behavior that dog owners are...

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