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ST PAV Pen 2012

Today, it's all about the farm. I had a blog written about the effect of acoustic environments on us and our dogs, some new products available for us to use to calm our dogs, and some new results of "calming" music that Katie and I have seen with our dogs. And then I erased it all with one key stroke. I'm sure that has never happened to you.... So I'll save that topic for later (and promise to catch up in the next month or so on other topics I've promised you, like exercises to calm the sympathetic nervous system, and the methods of the clicker versus no-clicker study ). Right now I have to get home to the dogs and work on the talk that Karen London and I are giving at the Interdisciplinary Forum on Applied Animal Behavior next week in Phoenix. So here's the second half of the blog, Read More

Willie & Sushi (and Hope) Update

W play pool 6-10

A reader asked for an update about Will and Sushi, so I thought it was time to fill you in on how it is going. I'm happy to report that things are going extremely well. (Whew!) The entire story would be a chapter in a book (and probably will be!), but here's the summary: Problem: Willie stalking Sushi the cat. As I said in earlier posts, this is very different from "chasing the cat." Cat chasing can be a serious problem, don't get me wrong, especially if it is predatory and not initially motivated by play, but "strong-eyed" herding dogs who automatically go into a stalking posture around a cat are a real challenge. Using positive reinforcement for, say, looking at the cat and then turning to look at me for a treat or a toy wasn't working. The primary problem is that once a Read More

What Do Words Mean to Dogs?

One of the segments on the BBC show The Secret Life of Dogs that generated several interesting comments was the segment that showed "Betsy," (not her real name, you gotta love that some dogs now have 'nom de plumes') retrieving an object after being shown just a photograph of it. Wow. That truly is amazing. It got me to thinking about the trouble I had a year or so ago when I tried to teach Willie to discriminate between toys based on a name. For over a year he'd been told to "Go get your toy," and he'd pick out whatever toy he liked best that was nearby. When I tried to teach him to touch or pick up a toy based on a different word ("ball" or "rope"), he became hopelessly confused. He became so stressed over the entire operation that I dropped it and went on to teach him other things. My Read More