This week's blog is an excerpt from "Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog." Even those who are not Pink Floyd fans understand this principle. “You cannot have dessert until you first eat your vegetables” This common admonition means that you can only have the thing that you really want if you first complete … Continue reading If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding!
Measuring the Emotional Toll of Aversive Training Methods The tension between dog trainers who use primarily reward-based methods (positive reinforcement) and those who rely more on aversive methods (positive punishment/negative reinforcement) is not new. Many trainers (myself included) believe that not only are reward-based methods more humane than methods that rely heavily upon aversives, but … Continue reading The Eeyore Effect
I have written previously about research examining the value that training treats have for our dogs and the importance of considering "high level vs. low level" treats when we train (see "Treat Please" and "Speaking of Treats"). A second, and equally important consideration for reward-based trainers is the quality of the treats that we select … Continue reading Treat Tips for Trainers
Trainers who use reward-based training methods (aka positive reinforcement training) often expound about its benefits to dogs and likewise caution about potential risks associated with punishment-based training. Although not extensive, there are a few studies that support the behavioral and emotional benefits of reward-based training and several others showing that the use of aversive stimuli … Continue reading Reward-Based Training and Relationship
This week's Science Dog essay is an excerpt from Chapter 8 of "Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog". I introduced the previous chapter with a story about starting each orientation class at AutumnGold with a version of the training game. While I emphasized that our students are usually impressed by these demonstrations and … Continue reading Choosing Kindly – An Excerpt
This week's blog is an excerpt from Linda Case's newest Science Dog book, "Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog." I grew up in an animal-loving family. As a young child, I had an auspicious start to pet ownership with Beany the Bird, a parakeet who I trained to fly from his cage to land … Continue reading Becoming Dog Smart
Are dogs self-aware? Do they recognize themselves as individuals, distinct from others?Other Animals Have It: Although rather tricky topics of study, animal self-recognition, self-awareness and consciousness have been examined by scientists for decades. Animal consciousness is neither a new idea, nor is it a radical way of thinking. Lucky for us, we no longer live in the age … Continue reading Does this Smell Funny to You?
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
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
The Kindle edition of "Only Have Eyes for You: Exploring Canine Research with The Science Dog" is now available! Click on the image below for more information and to order. Book description: In her second Science Dog book, Linda Case tackles commonly held beliefs about canine nutrition, pet foods, behavior, social cognition and training. Each of the book’s 32 … Continue reading “Only Have Eyes for You: Exploring Canine Research with The Science Dog” – Kindle Edition Now Available!
Hi. My name is Linda and I am a clicker trainer. In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit that I have been using a clicker for many years. My use began with the common gateway secondary reinforcer, the verbal cue ("Yes!"). While that worked well for a while, I eventually found that I needed more. I wanted a marker that … Continue reading The Meaning of Click
In the previous essay, "Doggie See, Doggie Do?" I discussed research showing that dogs may be capable of learning new tasks simply by observing another dog being trained. I mentioned that when I work with my own dogs, I rotate among them by training each dog to perform a down/stay on the pause tables located on the side of our training … Continue reading Manners Minder and Me
Eye contact is one of the first things that I teach to my own dogs and is a basic behavior that we teach to all of our students at my training school, AutumnGold. In our training classes, we introduce eye contact very early because it is easy to teach and provides rapid and positive results to owners who are … Continue reading Only Have Eyes for You
In "Thyroid on Trial" we used an evidence pyramid to examine the various types of scientific studies that have been used to examine the hypothesis that there is a connection between hypothyroidism and aggressive behavior in dogs. We followed this example up through most of the levels of the pyramid, finishing at the penultimate level, the randomized, controlled trial. At the tippy … Continue reading What the Dog’s Nose Knows
I am a clicker trainer. All of my own dogs are clicker trained and many of the classes that we teach at my training school, AutumnGold are "clicker-centric". Clicker training is not only a scientifically sound approach to teaching dogs new things, but is also a kind, enjoyable, and bond-strengthening method of training - something that benefits both dogs and their people. 7-MONTH-OLD SIMON LEARNS EYE … Continue reading Deconstructing the Click