Behavior and Training · Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship · Science

Do Dogs Have a Negativity Bias?

Negativity bias - We all suffer from it. This is the  phenomenon in which we naturally pay more attention to and give more weight to negative information and experiences compared with those that are positive. It is this particular cognitive bias that causes us to be more hurt or discouraged by insults or criticism than we are… Continue reading Do Dogs Have a Negativity Bias?

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship · shelter dogs

Missing the Point

Dogs are talented observers of human body language. Dog folks attest to this via boatloads of anecdotal stories and home videos that we are happy to share (and over-share) with others. But more importantly for the purposes of The Science Dog, it is the results of an additional boatload of controlled research studies that support our belief that dogs are paying attention to us.… Continue reading Missing the Point

Behavior and Training · Clicker Training · dog-human relationship · Operant Conditioning · Science

Why We Click

There is no longer any doubt. Clicker training is here to stay. More and more animal trainers are using it. Although I work with dogs, not dinosaurs, I too am a dedicated clicker trainer, as are most of the instructors who teach for me at AutumnGold. However, while the theoretical underpinnings of clicker training are… Continue reading Why We Click

Behavior and Training · Clicker Training · dog-human relationship · Food Aggression · Science

The Many Faces of Resource Guarding

One of my AutumnGold instructors recently completed a set of in-home lessons with a couple and their young Vizsla. The dog, Sadie, had completed our puppy class last summer and her owners were interested in working on in-home manners. One of the behaviors that Amanda, the instructor, included was target training "go to your mat and down/stay". We use… Continue reading The Many Faces of Resource Guarding

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Dog Breeds · dog selection · dog-human relationship

(Field) Dogs on the Beach

Mike and I and our dogs just returned from a week in Florida at a beach community that prides itself on its dog-friendliness. We met our friends Bob and Karen from Virginia, who brought their two Labs, Gus and Sally. It was an amazing week. We spent hours with the dogs walking the beach, watching shorebirds and dolphins, hiking local trails,… Continue reading (Field) Dogs on the Beach

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · dog selection · dog-human relationship · Science · shelter dogs

If Sit Doesn’t Matter, What Does?

My last Science Dog blog. "When Sit Doesn't Mean S*it" reviewed a series of studies showing that training shelter dogs to sit on command is not as predictive of future adoption as was once assumed. Those results should not be interpreted as an argument against the benefits of training programs, but rather as evidence that there may be other factors… Continue reading If Sit Doesn’t Matter, What Does?

Behavior and Training · dog selection · Science · shelter dogs

When Sit Doesn’t Mean S*it.

Science killed another myth today. This one has been around for a while and is almost universally accepted by shelter staff, rescue folks and dog trainers alike (including me). This is the belief that I am talking about: "Shelter dogs who have been trained to sit on command are viewed more positively by potential adopters and are more likely to be… Continue reading When Sit Doesn’t Mean S*it.