©2016 by Lisa Mullinax.  All rights reserved.

Capture something, anything good.

Old obedience training models focused on rewarding dogs only after they responded to a cue. While modern training reinforces behaviors performed on cue, it also focuses on reinforcing behavior that a dog performs on their own.

At any given moment, your dog is doing something you...

When people find or adopt a dog that exhibits fearful behavior, they frequently assume the dog was abused. But is that really the case?

When puppies are growing, they go through several developmental stages. One of those stages, commonly called the "sensitive period of development," is a time when everything the p...

A common belief is that fearful dogs need to "get used to" the things that they fear. This often involves immersing the dog in an environment where they cannot escape whatever triggers their fear.

In psychology, this is called "flooding." But before we consider using it with dogs, we must first look at what is con...

Whether your dog exhibits reactive or aggressive behaviors, or you just have a dog in the early stages of basic training, the key to success is early intervention, before unwanted behaviors start. 

Take jumping, for example. Some people wait until the dog jumps up, then say "Off!" (or some variation). But, dogs do...

Resource guarding. Territorial aggression. Stranger-directed aggression. Fear-based aggression. Separation anxiety. Reactivity.

These are classifications used to describe a specific behavior problem. Instead of saying a dog is aggressive, we might say that a dog is exhibiting stranger-directed aggression. This is...

In operant conditioning, extinction is when a behavior stops occurring because it is no longer reinforced. In other words, a behavior stops working for the dog, so he gives up.

You've probably heard that "positive trainers just ignore bad behavior." The implication is that dogs trained using non-aversive methods a...

Popular dog literature 30 years ago claimed that dogs should never be allowed to place their teeth on human skin or they would learn that it is okay to bite humans.  Fortunately, we now have a better understanding of why dogs bite...and it has nothing to do with whether or not we let them when they are puppies.

Firs...

When a dog starts barking and lunging at dogs, joggers, cyclists or other things (triggers) they encounter outside the home, most dog owners feel that making the dog sit and stay while the trigger passes by will solve the problem. After all, the dog just needs to learn to be calm, right? 

Well...like a lot of "com...

If you've tried distracting your dog with treats when he sees another dog (or bike, car, jogger, etc.), and he completely ignores the treat and you, here's why.

STRESS

When an animal (including humans) reaches a certain level of stress, an important change takes place in the brain, which starts the processes necessar...

Raise your hand if you walk into a post office and are flooded with warm, happy feelings.  No?  It's just me?  When I was growing up, my grandmother was the Postmaster for her town's post office and I spent many vacations watching her sort the mail and sell stamps and money orders while catching up on town gossip....

If you mention giving dogs more control in training, most people envision a dog that chooses to run wild, chasing cats, stealing ice cream cones, and knocking over little old ladies.

Instead, we're talking about giving the dog some level of control over what happens to them in situations where it's safe and appropri...

Even though our dogs are reliant on us to provide them with food every day, dog owners (and countless dog trainers) still have trouble grasping the idea of getting the food out of the dog bowl and into the dog's training routine.

Food is universally motivating for all animals - we can't survive without it. Food is r...

From sonic noise machines to citronella sprays, cans of compressed air to electronic shock collars, there is a never ending stream of products and techniques advertised to STOP problem behavior. But do they provide real solutions?

Let's say you just started a new job. The pay is good, you have a nice office and the...

A common misunderstanding about reward-based training is the belief that dog owners will have to carry treats "all the time."  But the beauty of reward-based training is that, unlike special collars, squirt bottles, and other aversive methods, you can train your dog without having anything in your hand.  Heck, you...

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