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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)

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Behavior, training, getting help

I Can’t vs. I Don’t Know How

Good morning!  It’s a beautiful, cold clear day in Mt. Shasta, and I’ve been thinking.  (I do that sometimes.)  Here’s my thought for the day:
 
When it comes to struggles, whether in dog training or “real life,” there’s a difference between sayingIt can’t be donevs.I can’t do itvs.I don’t know HOW.
 
There are things that truly can’t be done:  I can’t teach Tinker to fly like a bird (she doesn’t have wings) and I can’t fly like a bird myself without the aid of technology.

Help! My Dog Doesn’t Respect Me… (Part 3)

Imagine this—my favorite analogy:  we decide we’re going to take up ballet dancing and we go to the studio for our first lesson.   When we walk in the door, how long does it take us to figure out Who’s the Boss?  For most of us, it’ll take about 30 seconds to recognize that Madam Tutu is the dance instructor, and since she’s highly acclaimed and looks fabulous in her leotard, we’ll be brimming with Respect for her.  Hooray, it took us 30-60 seconds to arrive at Leadership and Respect.

Help! My Dog Doesn’t Respect Me… (Part 2)

In the first part of this blog, we ended with wondering where oh where do pet owners come up with a notion of “respect,” a word they normally don’t use when discussing dog behavior concerns.   And in my experience, the choice of words isn’t theirs at all.
 
Almost always, it turns out that they were just talking to an old school dog trainer they met.  Or neighbor who is a dog “expert.”  Or they read a book or saw something on TV.  It comes from somewhere other than their own direct experience with their dog, and now they’re worried about it.

Help! My Dog Doesn’t Respect Me… (Part 1)

Well, there really isn’t any nice way to say it.  The chances are extremely good that—oh, no, it’s true!  Your dog has no respect for you at all.  If it’s any consolation, I’m fairly persuaded my dog Tinker hasn’t got a shred of respect for me--zero, zip, none.  My cats almost certainly don’t, at least not in any way that I can tell.  I can’t be entirely positive, of course, but I’d lay good money on it.  Depending, of course, on what we mean byrespect.
 
When I Google the word, this is the sort of definition that pops up (heavily edited for brevity):

Saying Hello and the Need for Empathy

Imagine you are walking down the street, minding your own business and enjoying a leisurely stroll in peace and quiet.  Around the corner comes a parent walking their small (or not so small) child by the hand.  Suddenly, the child breaks free and comes rushing at you, waving a knife and yelling, “&^%#* you, go away!  %$#@&!  Get away, you %$#&*@!”  The parent shrugs, smiling as he or she says, “Oh, don’t worry, he doesn’t mean it.  He just does that at first, he’ll calm down.

Two Things We Need to Know About Our Dog’s Performance (and Ours), Part II

In the first part of this blog topic, I talked about how stress can impact both our performance and that of our dogs—with an underlying point in mind.  And that point was:  expecting better performances from our dogs thanwecould achieve with comparable training under similar circumstances is expecting way too much. 
 
Dogs are outstanding at beingdogs, certainly: Tinker is aces at chewing bones, chasing raccoons and sniffing poo.  If the performances we wanted from our dogs were entirely up their natural alleys, we’d all have obedience champs.

Two Things We Need to Know About Our Dog’s Performance (and Ours), Part I

I admit it: I am a Behavior Geek.  My idea of a wildly exciting night is curling up with my cats, my dog, a glass of warm milk and a DVD of the latest dog training seminar from some brilliant expert in the field.  These wonderful seminars and amazing experts keep me fresh, learning, in touch with all the cutting edge stuff.  They also make me think.  About dogs, dog training and us.  Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about performance.
 
My handy (and rather old)New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition

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.
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