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Skills for Every Day

How to Help Your Fearful Dog: Become the Crazy Dog Lady

My two dogs and I were out for a walk one morning, enjoying the fresh air and the exercise. Mokie and Monte walked next to me with their tails wagging happily. They were probably laughing at me as I hummed along with my iPod. 

About three blocks away, a dog rounded the corner and began walking toward us. Despite Monte's full-body hackling, despite his rigid and tense body posture, and a deep, low, rumbling growl, I quietly told him what a good boy he was. I began shoving meatballs, liverwurst, and smoked Gouda into his large jaws at a rapid pace, creating as much distance as possible between the approaching dog and the three of us. I continued to feed Monte until the dog was out of sight, at which time the tasty treats disappeared back into the abyss of my faithful treat bag.

What to Expect: Introducing a Puppy to Your Adult Dogs

Sibling rivalry

Getting a new puppy is exciting—at least for the humans in the family. Sometimes the dog of the house doesn't think the pup is a welcome addition, however. Many people believe that adding a puppy to the family will be harmonious, and that their current dog will be a good dog "mommy" or "daddy." They are disappointed when that doesn't happen. Often, expectations are unrealistic, but in most cases what the human family members see instead of those expectations is completely normal.

Transports—The Parts in the Middle Make All the Difference!

For many years, we have preached about the importance of training according to Good Agility Practices. What that means is making sure that training is permeated by focus and intensity, and that your handling system is followed both during and in between exercises. This philosophy of training is not only true for agility training, but provides benefits for all kinds of training.

How to Teach Voluntary Blood Draws: Lessons from Dolphins and Horses Apply to Dogs

Size—it's all relative

Ten years ago I was introduced to my first Rhodesian ridgeback. Actually, I met two ridgebacks then—stunning males a year apart and known as brothers, even though they weren't related. Their names were Luca Brasi and Clemenza (fans of The Godfather will understand). The dogs belonged to my boyfriend, Jim, who is now my husband. Jim adored "the boys," and I felt the same way the instant I met them.

Both dogs came bounding up for their share of attention. I received the "hound handshake"—noses in my private parts coupled with inquisitive head turns as they scoped me out. Since I worked at Brookfield Zoo, I am sure there were many enticing odors on my clothes and shoes.

Carnivorous Chairs and the Cone of Shame: Creativity in Action

Click and create

One subject that crops up frequently in training circles is the side effects of various training techniques. We caution against the harmful fallout of punishment-based methods. We debate the relative merits of luring, shaping, and capturing. We examine studies that compare the rate of behavior acquisition using various marker signals. And, of course, we love to talk about the added benefits of clicker training—engaging the dog's mind, the respondent conditioning of a positive emotional state, the fostering of creativity in both trainer and trainee.