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Good Dog: Behavior & Training
When Your Dog’s Activity is Restricted, Keep Her Brain Engaged
Make downtime productive
Question: My extremely active five-year-old dog injured her leg, and I’m supposed to prevent her from exercising for about the next six weeks. Frankly, I don’t see how either of us will survive if she can’t run off her extra energy. What can we do? Answer: Vets will often advise that you restrict your dog’s activity following surgery or while she recuperates from muscle or joint injuries. The...
News: Karen B. London
Visual Versus Vocal Cues
Dogs watch us and we talk to them
There’s a little list in my mind of information that dog trainers know and that they wish everyone knew. At the top of that list is the fact that dogs primarily communicate with visual signals whereas humans most often express themselves vocally. This difference explains so much of the confusion between our otherwise largely compatible species.   Dogs often pick up on visual cues that we use,...
News: Karen B. London
Leave It
The best cue for showing off with your dog
If a piece of hot dog or other delicious treat is on the ground and you tell your dog to “Leave It,” will your dog do as you ask or will he run to the food and snarf it up? If the answer is that your dog will eat the food, that is a shame for two main reasons: 1) If the food was spoiled, poisonous to dogs or simply fattening, you missed an opportunity to protect your dog from harm; 2) “Leave It”...
Good Dog: Activities & Sports
Target Training Your Dog: Go to Your Mat
A Teachable Moment
The ability to target a specific place is a valuable skill for your dog to have and will pay for the teaching time invested many times over. The finished exercise looks like this: On your cue—let’s use “Go to your mat”—your dog moves out to find her place, lying down and staying until the release word is given. This behavior is very useful for times when she needs to take a little break, or...
News: Karen B. London
Finding Time to Train
One minute here, one minute there
Many people struggle to find the time to train their dogs, and with today’s busy lifestyles, I am very sympathetic to the problem. (Between my work with dogs, my writing, teaching at the university, being a wife and mom, coaching soccer and my running, I am always strapped for time. In fact, lately I have adopted a policy of, “If it’s not on fire, I’m not putting it out yet.”) And yet, I think it...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Victoria Stilwell: How to Deal with Out-of-Control Barking
You have questions, she has answers
You’ve no doubt seen Victoria Stilwell in action on It’s Me or the Dog, where, using positive reinforcement, she shows wayward pups and their sometimes equally wayward guardians how to get along. Now, Victoria joins our roster of training experts in offering sound and practical advice on a variety of, shall we say, behavior faux pas. Please join us in welcoming Victoria to The Bark.   Q: My dog’s...
News: JoAnna Lou
To Tug or Not to Tug?
Discovering the benefits of playing tug-o-war
A few weeks ago, I wrote about entertaining your canine crew with a variety of indoor activities, including a tugging game. One of our readers commented that they’d always heard playing tug-o-war can encourage biting, a common misconception about this game.  I can see why tugging could be mistaken for encouraging aggressive behavior with all the pulling and growling, but the bad rap is...
News: Karen B. London
Stay Makes Life Better
Avoid common mistakes when training this cue
If your dog can stay when asked, life is easier. It’s so wonderful to have a dog who will stay throughout dinner when guests are over, and it’s great to have a dog who can stay when needed to keep her safe. I love teaching this cue to dogs! Teaching stay takes time, especially if you want that stay to work when you really need it. The first step in training a dog to stay is teaching her what the...
News: Karen B. London
Training Your Foot Warmer
Sitting in an odd place takes practice for dogs
Previously, I wrote about using a visiting Pomeranian as a foot warmer, and I mentioned that I had to teach him to sit on top of my feet. The first time I lured him over and gave him the cue to sit, he looked a little confused and was not as quick to respond as usual. He started to lower his back end hesitantly, unlike the usually sharp way he sits on cue. I praised his initial lowering to let...
News: Guest Posts
“We Need to Get Rid of Him”
For me, this phrase is a call to arms
This evening, I received an urgent phone message from a woman whose name sounded familiar. She mentioned her young dog and it all came back to me. She had called this past summer to ask if I taught a puppy class. I did not, but told her I was available for in-home lessons to get him started off on the right paw. I discussed my positive training philosophy and how I encourage dogs to think and...

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