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

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

Behavior and Training · dog-human relationship · Operant Conditioning

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

Behavior and Training · Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship

Joe May Be Right (For Once)

Neighbor Joe (who happens to know a lot about dogs) popped by for a visit recently. He came over to tell me that he has a new dog. "Yup", Joe says, "Adopted him from our local shelter". (Good Boy, Joe!) "He's supposed to be part Australian Shepherd and part Catahoula Leopard Dog." (Yes, because we have… Continue reading Joe May Be Right (For Once)

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

Does this Smell Funny to You?

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?

Behavior and Training · Science

Fear Itself

Last year, on the drive home from our annual vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, our 11-year-old Brittany, Vinny suddenly and inexplicable awoke from a sound sleep and began to tremble, pant, pace, and obsessively lick at the sides of his travel crate. When I crawled back over the seat to find out what was wrong, Vinny’s… Continue reading Fear Itself

Behavior and Training · Science

Fear Factor

Experiencing fear is not pleasant. Any human will tell you this. As one of our most basic emotions, fear functions as a rapid-fire means of communicating to our bodies  "DANGER, DANGER - GET AWAY NOW!!" As a physiological state, fear is associated with a set of bodily changes that are decidedly uncomfortable.  Respiration and pulse increase, we become… Continue reading Fear Factor