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┬áhead butt. But I could be misreading the whole thing. In which … [Read more...]

New Year’s resolutions for animal lovers: #5 – Learn something new about animals

Dog Tips from Dogtown is a fantastic book that will introduce you to the basics of positive-based dog training. Easy to read, lots of example and pictures, and lots of reasons why a positive approach is the best way to relate to your dog.

To say that I read a lot would be an understatement; I try to average a book a week, and my topics range from pop fiction to indepth nonfiction on a variety of subjects. But one this is for sure: on my reading list every year are books about animals. All kinds of animals. This year, for example, I stumbled upon a book called "Red Tails In Love" at the used bookstore, about the birds in Central Park, specifically the red tailed hawks that made headlines when they nested on a posh building. … [Read more...]

Friday Food For Thought, from Suzanne Clothier

"The leading cause of death in dogs in Western countries is behavior - unacceptable, uncontrollable, inappropriate behavior. Not disease. Not being hit by a car. Not neglect or abuse (though an argument could be made that a failure to train a dog so that he can act appropriately is precisely a form of neglect and abuse). If we fail to develop a high quality of connection with our dogs, we may fail them in the most terrible of ways, and they may pay for our failure with their lives." - Suzanne … [Read more...]