Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Facebook Contest

Happy Holidays! We are running a contest on our Facebook page.  We are giving away a set of Poochie Bells, a housetraining aid! Go to the page, like, comment and share the post for a chance to win!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Puppy Classes

Just in time to get a well mannered puppy for the holidays!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

New Puppy Class Begins in December

We are excited to report that there is a second class being offered for those puppies who have completed our 4 week class at Animal Medical Clinic.  Monday evenings, four weekly classes, beginning in December.  This class will be offered monthly to any dogs who have compled our basic puppy class. Details below!

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Yappy Halloween!

From KaeJae's party to all of you...have fun and be safe!

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Training with Food: Bribe or Reinforcer?

There is a myth based on bad dog training these days that says "using food is bribery"!  The truth is, food should be a reinforcer, it's all about the timing of when the food is used. The reason your dog might refuse to perform for you without food is because s/he's used to seeing the reward beforehand. Make sure the timing of your food reward is correct!

Some people think that dogs should find working for their humans inherently rewarding!  When you think about it, that's a pretty silly notion. It is true that dogs and humans have lived side-by-side for quite a long time and as a result, are well suited to work together.  However the idea that this relationship is so one-sided that a dog will perform for no tangible reward makes no sense and is really just anthropomorphism (the attribution of human characteristics). It sounds really nice but sorry folks, it's not realistic. 

Some believe that dogs should just work for praise, that dogs find praise inherently rewarding. While some dogs actually do find praise rewarding, it is possible to condition praise as a reinforcer, but the idea that all dogs are eager to work for just a pat on the head or a "good dog" is more like a fantasy than a reality.

The truth is that food is just another tool -- the most commonly used reinforcer for trainers that emphasize positive reinforcement for a simple reason: it's nearly always the "greatest common denominator".

If you use training treats wisely, they will be out of the training picture pretty quickly, and then only used as a random reward once the behavior is trained. Once a dog understands and is performing a particular behavior consistently, it is time to wean off the training treats by moving to a schedule of random reinforcement (that's a fancy way of saying "s/he gets rewarded every now and then")  or as I call it "the slot machine effect".  Additionally handlers will be substituting life rewards such as the door opening for a walk, or the bowl being placed on the floor for dinner, the leash being attached to a sitting dog for a walk.

The idea that training with treats leads to handlers walking around with treats in their pockets 24 hours a day is really just a myth based on a poor understanding of how good dog training works.

Nearly every trained animal you see on tv and in zoos has been taught using food lures and rewards.  Ever watch a walrus clap his "hands" for a small fish?   Let's not discriminate against our dogs. Isn't it appropriate for our best canine friends to have equal opportunity with the rest of the trained animal kingdom? Bottom line, reinforce, don't bribe you dog.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Puppy Socialization

Socialization is something that is often preached about when you have a dog. In fact, it is something I cover with all of my clients regardless of why I am there. This is because of how important it really is.

Socialization is about building associations with things that the pup will come across in everyday life. The goal is to set them up so that they have positive or good associations with these things. The concept of how this is done is actually pretty simple; it's just about doing it and making sure that nothing bad happens in the process. The overall idea is to make sure your pup receives things it enjoys while encountering everyday stuff. (e.g. people, places, trucks, etc.)

The first thing that you need to do is find something that your pup loves. It is easiest to use small food rewards for this. (e.g. cheese, hot dogs, real meat, etc.) The second thing you need to do is find some environments that have different things in there for your dog to come across. When searching for the right environment for this, it's important to start off with places that aren't too overwhelming. (You'll want to avoid county fairs etc.) (Check out the video below to see more about choosing the right environments.)  Read the entire article
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