Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin dead at 48

Renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who passed away this week. (photo https://www.facebook.com/SophiaYin)

 The dog community is mourning the loss this week of renowned veterinarian and animal behaviorist Dr. Sophia Yin, who died Monday at her home in Davis, CA. Her death has been ruled a suicide.Dr. Yin was a veterinarian as well as a prolific author, lecturer and consultant who was a pioneer in the field of positive reinforcement methods of training. In addition to workshops and lectures, Dr. Yin as the author of  Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, and Low S … [Read more...]

Dog training, the Shedd Aquarium way

I saw a story this weekend on NBC Nightly News that highlights positive dog training in new way: training shelter dogs at Shedd Aquarium using the same techniques used on dolphins.I noticed the similarities between dog training and sea lion training last summer when I was at our local zoo; the trainers used clickers and rewards to teach sea lions tricks and new behaviors. I know a lot of dog owners who scoff at trainers who preach humane treatments and eschew the choke, prong and shock c … [Read more...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Scout, Bandit and Bailey - can you tell by looking at them which is the introvert and which is the extrovert? Can a dog even be an introvert or extrovert?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf.Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted?Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to unders … [Read more...]

The results of positive dog training (video)

(Video of Bandit and Bailey; I'm not really that fat ... it's an apron filled with treats ... honest ...)Those of you who have been following along with the dog adventures at my house - Scout's illness last year and his death in January along with the very serious behavior problems we've been dealing with between Bandit and Bailey, problems that for their own safety have prevented the two dogs from occupying the same rooms since last November - will rejoice with us when you see this video. ( … [Read more...]

A year of animals, blogging and Patheos

Bandit and Bailey, in a rare moment of calm, sit for a photo. A great deal of chicken was required for this.

I was excited this week to receive a notecard in the mail from the staff at Patheos, congratulating me on my one year anniversary blogging about animals and faith.Really? A whole year? Where did the time go?I love writing here. The columnists, bloggers and editors have been kind and welcoming, and I love hearing from readers who have shared photos, shared thoughts and engaged in discussions on a variety of animal-related topics. It's been a nice change from my decade-plus experience … [Read more...]

Bake a cake to celebrate the Dog Whisperer’s 150th episode and you could win a call from Cesar Millan

dog whisperer

OK, Cesar Millan fans, enemies and cake bakers extraordinaire: What I am about to say is either going to make you very happy or make you so mad you’ll throw darts at my picture just because I shared this news*: Nat Geo Wild, the channel from National Geographic that is home to Cesar Millan's the "Dog Whisperer," is celebrating the show's 150th episode with a cake contest. Between now and Friday, February 10th at midnight, bake a cake in honor of the "Dog Whisperer"'s 150th show - the topic that … [Read more...]

If dogs think and feel, do aversive training techniques cause harm?

"It's better to be hurt by someone you know, accidentally, than by a stranger, on purpose." - Dwight K Schrute, "The Office" Oh boy. Dog trainers are butting heads again over a post on Ruth Crisler's blog, called "Undo Temperance." Butting heads figuratively, of course. Because we don't want to ever butt heads literally. That would be aversive. Although if I understand Crisler's post, she's not opposed to an occasional aversive head butt.But I could be misreading the whole thing. In which … [Read more...]

Review: Cesar Millan’s The Pack Leader Tour

cesarmillansouthparkscreenshot

Last night I attended the Rochester, NY appearance of America's most famous dog trainer, Cesar Millan, in town for his "The Pack Leader" tour.In the interest of full disclosure, until that point my exposure to Millan was limited. I'd never seen his show, never seen him train a dog or talk about training a dog, never read his book (although I do have a copy of "Cesar's Way", picked up at the used bookstore, in my to-read pile).I had seen him profiled on CBS Sunday Morning and found him … [Read more...]

Featured Shelter Pet: Luke, the English Foxhound & Australian Cattle Dog

Luke has received his training as part of the Mutts with Manners program, which pairs prison in mates with shelter dogs.

In honor of National Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, here is another adoptable pet (courtesy of DogTime Save A Dog!):Luke is one of five dogs in the Mutts With Manners program, part of the Danville-Boyle Co. Humane Society (DBCHS) in Danville, KY.  According to the DBCHS website, ten inmates and 5 shelter dogs work together for 6 weeks with a professional trainer, prison staff and volunteers to provide the dogs with basic obedience training, socialization, behavior modification, and … [Read more...]

Friday Food For Thought quote: our relationship with dogs

"The dogs we live with today are hardwired by millennia of purposeful breeding for a relationship with people, and who's to say that humanity's wiring to desire a relationship with dog has not been affected by our partnership with these remarkable creatures. Being guided by our shared instincts and common history brings us together into the most successful, unique interspecies relationship on the planet. And our relationships can only get better by further adapting how we relate to dogs in a way … [Read more...]


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