The best in health, wellness, and positive training from America’s leading dog experts


Comments on “Alpha” Dominance Theory

There is a growing body of information available to anyone who wants to learn more about why dominance theory is so outdated and incorrect. Here are 10 resources to get you started...

Doggie Daycare Can Be a Wonderful Experience: But is it For Every Dog?

The term "doggie daycare" has become a panacea in recent years for all manner of canine behavioral ills. Does your dog engage in destructive chewing? Nuisance barking? Rude greetings? Poor canine social skills? Mouthing and biting? Separation anxiety? Just send him to doggie daycare, and all will be well. You hope. I'll admit I'm as guilty as the next trainer of suggesting a daycare solution for a huge percentage of my behavior consult clients. The fact is, many of today's canine companions suffer from a significant lack of exercise, stimulation, and social time with their own kind. A good daycare provider can go a long way toward meeting those needs.

Understanding Aggression in Dogs

Aggression. It's a natural, normal dog behavior, but it's also a scary word that evokes images of maulings and dog-related fatalities. The term aggression" actually encompasses a long continuum of behaviors

Constructional Aggression Treatment (CAT) Can Improve Behavior

Aggressive behavior in their beloved companions is an incredibly challenging and upsetting problem for most dog owners to deal with. The problem is painfully public -and the public is equally free with accusations and advice for the hapless owner of a reactive dog. Many training solutions" that people try are inhumane

Solutions for Reactive Dog Behavior

At some point in our lives, some of us find ourselves living with a difficult dog, one whose behavior challenges our patience, and exhausts our training knowledge – and opens our hearts and eyes to a new, better way of training. This is the story of one such dog and her very knowledgeable dog owner. Together, they reached an entirely new and higher level of dog training skills, thanks to the owner’s life-altering experiences with a reactive dog who wasn’t fit to compete in the career intended for her: Flyball. Flyball is not the sport for everyone. It is a relay team event, which means you have to commit to training and competing with your dog and other dogs and dog owners as a team, and you have to have an appreciation for over-the-top dogs and the resulting cacophony of sounds. In flyball, a team of four dogs race, one after the other, leaping a series of hurdles, throwing their bodies against a spring-loaded box that ejects a tennis ball, snatching the ball, and hurtling their bodies back down the row of jumps to where their next teammates strain to be released for their turns. The fastest team wins.

Modifying Aggressive Dog Behavior

That loud buzz you hear is the sound of the dog behavior and training community discussing a controversial new approach to modifying aggressive behavior in dogs. The developers of "Constructional Aggression Treatment" (CAT) claim that the shaping-based operant protocol produces stronger and much faster results than the classical counter-conditioning process widely used by training and behavior professionals today. CAT was devised and tested by Dr. Jes¨²s Rosales-Ruiz, a behavior analyst and associate professor of behavior analysis at the University of North Texas, and Kellie Snider, a board-certified associate behavior analyst. Snider completed her MS in Behavior Analysis at UNT in 2007 with Dr. Rosales-Ruiz as her graduate research advisor and the CAT procedure as the topic of her thesis research. Canine behavior experts frequently use classical conditioning techniques (including counter-conditioning) to help change how dogs feel about and respond to the stimuli that triggers their aggressive behavior. In other words, classical counter-conditioning changes the dog's emotions in order to change his behavior. In contrast, CAT utilizes "operant conditioning," where the goal is changing the dog's behavior in a way that will likely produce a subsequent emotional change.

Agility Games for Managing Dog Aggression

Owning an aggressive, fearful, or other type of special needs" dog is stressful. When your dog overreacts to other dogs or just the stimulus of being out in the world by barking

Is Your Dog a “Bully”?

You can find them everywhere – at dog parks and doggie daycare centers, in dog training classes, in your neighbor's yards ... perhaps even in your own home. They" are canine bullies – dogs who overwhelm their potential playmates with overly assertive and inappropriate behaviors

Save Yourself in a Dog Attack

The tragedy of the 12-year-old boy killed by his family’s Pit Bulls in San Francisco once again highlights the importance of providing information that will help people survive such dog attacks – and perhaps the need for laws that encourage and require dog owners to be responsible for their dogs. Any large, powerful breed of dog will, occasionally, cause serious injury, even death. Small dogs can certainly bite, too, though they normally have less potential to do serious harm (the Pomeranian who killed a six-week-old infant in California in 2000 notwithstanding).

Letters: 08/04

Your vet should be a important member of your problem-solving team if your dog displays idiopathic aggression.

Rage Syndrome in Dogs

The term rage syndrome" conjures up mental images of Cujo

Avoiding Potential Dog Attacks

There are many reasons a person might tend to look the other way when confronted with a potentially dangerous dog. You may be busy; you may be fearful of the dog's owner or potential retaliation; you may be friends with the owner and reluctant to cause hard feelings between you; you may worry about being responsible for the dog's impoundment and possible euthanasia; or you may simply feel that it's none of your business.

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How Often Do You Walk Your Dog?

Failing to take your dog on walks can be detrimental to your dog’s physical and emotional well being.