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Are You Sabotaging Your Training?

In my first training class, with Spoon (that’s her, to the left) I was told to lure my dog into a sit and simultaneously say, “Sit.”  Then I was to give her the treat and say, “Good sit!”

I doubt the trainer specifically wanted to teach my dog to only work if food was present, but I was sabotaging my training, and we were on the fast track to teaching her to ignore me if I didn’t have a treat!

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Dominance Training Position Statement by APDT

Finally! Quoted from the APDT website (my emphasis):

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Position Statement

There has been a resurgence in citing “dominance” as a factor in dog behavior and dog-human relationships. This concept is based on outdated wolf studies that have long since been disproven. Contrary to popular belief, research studies of wolves in their natural habitat demonstrate that wolves are not dominated by an “alpha wolf” who is the most aggressive pack member. Rather, wolves operate with a social structure similar to a human family and depend on each other for mutual support to ensure the group’s survival.
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Dream List Radio Interview

Dreamlist Radio is an excellent website that helps people find the career of their dreams. Melissa Borghorst of Dreamlist Radio interviewed me for the Teen section of the website, and the questions focused on what teens can do to become a dog trainer. The answers, you’ll find, will work for people of any age who are considering becoming dog trainers.

Click to Play Interview

If you have a teen or pre-teen in your home, or are thinking of changing careers, I highly recommend Dreamlist’s main website!

Related Post: How to Become a Dog Trainer in Seattle

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Your Dog is Watching! Modelling Behavior in Dogs

Who knew that dogs could actually copy each other? Scientists have always said that dogs can’t learn by “modelling.” That is, they thought dogs couldn’t see other dogs doing something and then copy that behavior. Turns out they do that, and they do it in context! If they watch another dog going after a treat with his paw (rather than the mouth), they only copy that behavior if it looked like the dog had a reason they couldn’t see. If the dog had a ball in his mouth, they wouldn’t copy, maybe thinking, “well, he would’ve used his mouth, but it was full.” But if the dog had no ball in his mouth, they seemed to be thinking, “hmmm…Fido did it with his paw – must be a good idea!” They would paw at the food rather than following their instinct to go for it with the mouth. Now, we have no idea what they’re actually thinking, but this selective modelling is pretty amazing stuff. More info is in this Washington Post article from June. Amazing! So be careful about digging in the garden around Fido…