As trainers and behavior consultants, our job is to change behavior. Some behaviors are harder to change than others. Obviously, behaviors driven by strong emotions are difficult to change. But, intense emotions are not the only factor that can make behavior change difficult. Habitual behaviors are also very hard to alter. Furthermore, I believe habit… Continue reading Changing habits
I have written before about the relationship between emotional state and the ability to cope with stress. Stress resiliency is so important because the inability to effectively cope with stress is linked to a wide variety of mental and physical health disorders. In dogs, this often manifests as an increased likelihood of behavior issues. And,… Continue reading Emotional Well-Being and Sensitivity to Reinforcement and Punishment
Have you ever considered using an electronic collar (aka e-collar or shock collar) to train your dog? Perhaps you advocate against their use or feel they can be helpful in certain situations. The use of e-collars (one form of positive punishment) in dog training has been hotly debated for the last several decades. One school of trainers… Continue reading Do e-collars speed learning in dogs?
Would you like to improve your understanding of your dogs’ behavior? What about the behavior of your family, friends and co-workers? If you really want to understand behavior (and training) then it is absolutely critical that you understand the basics of learning. You have probably heard the terms “punishment” and “reinforcement” many times, both in… Continue reading A Brief Primer on Punishment and Reinforcement
What does it take to make your dog happy? For one thing, lots of free treats, right? Maybe not. A recent study by Swedish researchers looked at how dogs react to getting “free”, unpredictable rewards versus working to earn predictable rewards. The Study The researchers trained beagles in the experimental group to use three distinct… Continue reading How do we make our dogs happy?