The Clicker Coach Positive Dog Training - Good behavior.  Good consequences.

Recent Posts

Dog Training and the Toxic Triple Whammy, Part 2
Dog Training and the Toxic Triple Whammy, Part 1
I Can’t vs. I Don’t Know How
Help! My Dog Doesn’t Respect Me… (Part 3)
Help! My Dog Doesn’t Respect Me… (Part 2)


animal welfare and advocacy
Behavior, training, getting help
New classes
powered by

My Blog

TINKER DAY! A Celebration

It’s dark in the back yard, nearing 10 o’clock, and all hell has broken loose.  During the day, the house next to mine is used as a preschool and filled with the sounds of children playing.  At night, it is vacant, an empty highway to the wetlands beyond the alley.  Now, from behind the board fence comes a horrible hissing growl that sounds like it belongs to a 10-ft. Nile crocodile.   Tinker finds the knot hole in the fence and inhales the smell, then erupts into a frenzy of her own.

On Leaders, Babies and Bathwater, Part Five

Oh boy.  In the last part, I talked about the two flavors of Strategic Following:  Following because someone has greater expertise, and Following because someone has control of desired resources.   And I sort of left us in a pickle:  taking advantage of Juvenile Following can be time sensitive and often requires a relationship; getting mileage out of the first flavor of Strategic Following typically requires that the interests be mutual or compatible and that we actually have some expertise to offer.

On Leaders, Babies and Bathwater, Part Four

The second kind of Following, what I’m calling Strategic Following, is in many ways the most complex and nuanced.  I’m not blindly obeying Mum because it’s a habit I formed when I was tiny or I’m utterly dependent on her for survival.  I’m not being forced to follow by threats, pain or fear.  I’m Following because, in some way or another, it serves my best interests.  
Calling this “Strategic” Following is probably a mistake on my part, implying that the animal is making calculated decisions and manipulations.

On Leaders, Babies and Bathwater, Part Three

In Part 2, I asserted that if we really want to understand howLeadingworks, we might do better to look at it from the extremely important but often over-lookedotherside of the coin:Following.  And it turns out thatFollowing—the nature of Following and why we follow—is pretty darned fascinating
If we judge by media attention paid—to celebrities, movies stars, gold medal winners in you name it—clearly being the “Alpha” is the best position, the Apex of power and appeal, and of course all dogs and us would want to be Top Dogs.

On Leaders, Babies and Bathwater, Part Two

In this part, I said I was going to explore the other kind ofleading—the kind that we really do want to use to reach success with our dogs—and… well, whoops, I lied.  That’ll be in Part 3.. or maybe Part 4.  Because before I go there, there’s some of that murky bathwater that I’d like to clear up first.  It saturates Pop Culture notions of dog behavior and dog training to the point that it’s like trying to swim in soggy, heavy clothes—it just drags us (and our dogs) down.  

Here’s the sound bite version:  Dogs descended from wolves.

On Leaders, Babies and Bathwater, Part One

Though I myself think that living in the Social Media/Information Age has its benefits, there are also some downsides.  For one thing, the danged buttons seem to be getting smaller the older I get.  For another, some deeply philosophical and complex topics—y’know, stuff like science, art, politics—are now discussed in snappy sound bites, slogans and one-minute news segments.  These days, it seems that an idea that can be sold in a line of text on an itty-bitty cell phone is going to get more “air time” than the truth, the facts or reality—the bits that are a little too complicated for a quick read.

The Absolute Real Truth About Dogs & Dog Behavior, Part 2 of 2

In this first part of this blog, I talked a little aboutanimaltrainers vs. strictly dog trainers.  Now I’m going to turn to the academics: the people with formal academic backgrounds in science—the Ph.D.s, vet behaviorists and others officially and rigorously qualified to call themselvesbehavioristsby virtue of membership in a formal behavior society.  As with the animal trainers, I want to make clear—there are fools, braggarts and nutters that manage to insert themselves into high places, advanced degrees and all; anyone who has been to college has encountered at least one professor whose only apparent virtue was tenure.

The Absolute Real Truth About Dogs & Dog Behavior, Part 1 of 2

I’m joking, of course, but you might not know it if you don’t know me.  Those of you who do know me know that I’m kind of a geek—I like science, I like research, I like to study and I spend a fairly ridiculous amount of time on continuing education and professional development.  One of the greatest resources we dog trainerly types have is a little company called Tawzer Dog Videos.  The fine folks at Tawzer travel all over the country videotaping seminars on dog training and behavior.

On the joy of training your dog

As the Behavior Program Coordinator at the Siskiyou Humane Society, it's been my privilege over the years to meet many very fine young people, and be a mentor for some of them.  I remember (would I could forget) myself as a teenager, a troubled bundle of awkwardness, lack of confidence, desire to fit in and passion to become my own person.  I remember those few adults who took the time to give me something of themselves, who listened to me, who I felt "understood" me, and how valuable they were in my life.

On Spring, Love, Dogs and Volcanos

Oh, it's so good to be back!  As many of you know, last summer a detached retina put me on somewhat limited training duty.  Four eye surgeries later, my vision is a working sensory array again, and I'm super excited to be getting ready for the new training season.  I'm also stoked to be able to offer a brand-new course that I think everyone will enjoy and benefit from: You vs. the Volcano: Reaching Behavior Success with Your High Energy Dog(more on that in a moment.
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint