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Saturday, July 6, 2013

I'm a good dog, right Mom?

As dog parents we heap lots of praise on our fur kids, hoping that they will have confidence and know they are loved. We also use praise like a spatula frosting a cake, for shaping. In operant conditioning lingo, shaping is moving a behavior closer and closer to its goal.

We just added these leashes to the store for all your good dogs out there.
Made in the USA by our friends at Yellow Dog Design, these are soft and sturdy, and
 the process they use to dye these makes the colors amazingly durable.

Collars, too, with a range of sizes right now. I love this comic book style, and you know your dog would go for the halo and angel wings, and that underline and exclamation point.

Subtlety is not a virtue that dogs strive for, unlike cats, who practice it with the concentration of a martial arts discipline. The bright red goes right along with the enthusiastic message.

Gotta love the body language of dogs when we praise them. That aw shucks turn of the head and softening of the ears is so endearing. It's probably another reason that dog training is so rewarding.

Not only do you shape your dog's behavior with praise and treat rewards, but you get to see
that suppressed smile of pride when they know they've done well.

My childhood ambition was always to be a great dog trainer, however I ended up as a school teacher instead. I still have the greatest admiration and fascination for those gifted individuals who seem to speak a separate language to dogs and get such phenomenal results. Barbara Woodhouse, Brian Kilcommons, Cesar Milan, and so many others are people to admire.

We now stock dog training books in our store and always pick up copies of books by the great hunting dog trainers and behaviorists who have insights that you can use. These are used, but clean, and priced to keep your budget intact. Some of the best of them are the older greats of dog training.

Today we added this training book with a focus on the lively breeds.
Who doesn't love Border Collies, Jack Russell Terriers, Poodles, and all the crazy busy, high IQ
dogs that fall into the category of hyper dogs? Like intelligent kids, they are a challenge to keep 
busy, and can get into big trouble when they get bored.

 It's not all about hard exercise, although that's a given requirement for all dogs. Amy Ammen really addresses the needs of a lively dog in this book and shares many fun ideas.

Which reminds me, it's about time to do a little enrichment training with Arlo. Lately he's been exploring the play possibilities of a blown-up balloon, ever so carefully picking it up by the end and batting it around like a soccer ball. So before I lapse into bragging mom tales, I'll sign off with a reminder today to give your dog a reason to be reminded of what a Good Dog he or she really is!

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