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

dog-human relationship · Health · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Consider the (Caregiver) Placebo Effect

Most people are familiar with the concept of a “placebo effect”, the perception of improved health while unknowingly receiving a sham (placebo) treatment that in reality should have no benefit at all. Growing up, my mother referred to this as “giving someone a sugar pill”. The assumption is that because we believe that we are… Continue reading Consider the (Caregiver) Placebo Effect

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 · Canine Cognition · Clicker Training · dog books · Dog Breeds · dog selection · dog-human relationship · Exercise · Health · Nutrition · Operant Conditioning · Pet Food · Pet Food Label · Science

“Only Have Eyes for You: Exploring Canine Research with The Science Dog” – Kindle Edition Now Available!

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!

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

Pretty in Pink

Our youngest dog, Ally, has a 'bestie". Her name is Colbie and she belongs to our friend Amanda, a trainer who also works as an instructor at AutumnGold. Ally is a Golden Retriever. Colbie is a Pit Bull Terrier, adopted from our local shelter while Amanda was on staff there. Being young girls, both Ally and… Continue reading Pretty in Pink

Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship

I Feel Your Pain

Many people who live with multiple dogs have had the pleasure of experiencing two dogs who become great friends. Call the relationship what you will - bonded pair, social partners, housemates, doggy pals - I personally prefer friends, but hey, tomato/tomato, agreed? Regardless of what you label it, it is without question that dogs are highly social, that they… Continue reading I Feel Your Pain

Behavior and Training · Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship · Operant Conditioning

Just Show Me A Sign

Like many dog trainers, I use both verbal and gestural (hand) signals as cues with my dogs. With our students at AutumnGold, we introduce both verbal and physical cues at the same time, but generally emphasize verbal signals because this is what most pet owners prefer to use with their dogs. All of our classes include instructions for fading gestural cues in favor of  verbal… Continue reading Just Show Me A Sign

dog-human relationship · Exercise

A Walk in the Park (or not)

In my view, one of the many benefits of living with dogs are the walks. All four of my dogs love to hike and run and we spend time together almost every morning at our local forest preserve. The dogs enjoy the exercise and have opportunities to explore, sniff and play, while Mike and I exercise,… Continue reading A Walk in the Park (or not)

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · dog-human relationship · Science · Scientific Method

Excitable You

There is a common cognitive bias, the Fundamental Attribution Error,  that is central to the way in which we view others and make judgements about their behavior. It is supported by a large body of research and is one of the most common errors that our brains make on a regular basis. The Fundamental Attribution Error refers to our tendency to explain… Continue reading Excitable You

Behavior and Training · Canine Cognition · Dog Breeds · dog selection · dog-human relationship · Science

The Inhibited Dog (Its not what you think)

We recently started a new Beginner class at AutumnGold, a course designed for dogs who have had little or no previous training. Generally this class is composed of young dogs less than one year of age and a few older dogs who have been recently adopted from a shelter or rescue group. We host a 90-minute orientation on… Continue reading The Inhibited Dog (Its not what you think)

Behavior and Training · Dog Breeds · dog selection · dog-human relationship · Dogs and Kids · Science

The Perfect Dog

Well, not perfect actually, the word that is being thrown around is ideal. In three separate studies, people in the UK, Australia and Italy were polled and asked to describe what they believe to be their ideal dog; the dog with whom they would like to share their love and their life. Kinda like being asked about… Continue reading The Perfect Dog

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

Manners Minder and Me

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

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

Doggie See, Doggie Do?

At my training center, AutumnGold, it is not unusual to enroll students who live with and train more than one dog. A common question that these clients have is how to arrange their training sessions to allow them to train one dog while the other dog "waits his or her turn". In most of these cases, the student laments… Continue reading Doggie See, Doggie Do?