If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding!

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!

The Eeyore Effect

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

Reward-Based Training and Relationship

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

Clown Fear

Like many dog training schools, AutumnGold includes an orientation night each session. Owners attend without dogs to learn about our training philosophy and methods.  Because it is not unusual for young dogs to react with a bit of anxiety on the first night of class, we teach students how to reduce their dogs' stress and provide methods for helping dogs to feel secure and … Continue reading Clown Fear

Choosing Kindly – An Excerpt

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

Becoming Dog Smart

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

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

“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!

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, 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 … Continue reading Just Show Me A Sign

The Meaning of Click

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

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?

The Consequences of Consequences

Operant learning is all about consequences. Most trainers and behaviorists are well-versed in the uses of pleasant and aversive stimuli as dog training consequences. These can be constructed into a 2 x 2 matrix that includes the type of stimulus (desirable/pleasant or aversive/unpleasant) as one factor and the intended behavioral change (increase or decrease response frequency) as the second factor … Continue reading The Consequences of Consequences

The Ben Franklin Effect

Benjamin Franklin was a pretty amazing guy. The quintessential Renaissance Man, he was a scientist, inventor, author, musician, scholar, business man and politician. There are many popular stories and quotes from Franklin's life, but one in particular demonstrates his astute understanding of human behavior. In fact, this story became so well-known that it eventually led to what  is now … Continue reading The Ben Franklin Effect

Deconstructing the Click

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

The Quiz

 Imagine that you have enrolled in a college math course. You have been attending lectures for several weeks and although the material is quite difficult, you feel that the instructor has been explaining the concepts very clearly and that you have been able to learn a great deal from his lectures. You have completed and … Continue reading The Quiz