Mastering the Art of Positive Punishment (Pawsitive Punishment)

Whoa! Put down the pitchforks!

I know, this topic can be…controversial. This title seems a bit contradictory, but positive punishment is basically applying something unpleasant or aversive to your dog to reduce the frequency of or stop an unwanted behavior.

In positive motivational training this is a basic “no no”. Hence the bad rap. And I totally understand that.

I have always been a believer and proponent of teaching most behaviors in a positive way. Using praise, treats,...

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Mastering Dog Urine Marking Behavior

First and most important, dog urine marking is not a housebreaking issue. Though urine is involved, cause and correction are very different, so let’s not confuse the two.

Urine marking can occur in both male and female dogs of any age. However, it most commonly starts in adolescent male dogs and continues into adulthood. It can be a huge issue that is upsetting to the entire family, usually because of behavior or sanitary concerns.

It can be so severe an issue that many people give...

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Mastering Separation Anxiety: Treating the Cause and Not the Symptoms

A friend recently reached out to me because her parents’ 7-year-old Standard Poodle was showing signs of separation anxiety.

Her parents had relocated to Florida and now the dog continuously barks when her parents leave the apartment and the neighbors are complaining. To make matters worse, the dog is also showing other symptoms and has stopped eating.

Many times a dog will start showing signs of anxiety (panting, salivating, pacing, barking and whining) as soon as the owners start to...

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Monstering Halloween…or Mastering Howl-a-ween

Halloween is a holiday for thrills and chills. But it’s important we don’t forget that the best way to enjoy a holiday is by making sure we enjoy it safely.

It’s fun to include the family pet in family activities, so it’s natural to think that we should include our dogs in the festivities. I once saw a family dressed as the dogs from Paw Patrol with their dog dressed as Ryder. It was very creative.

But the best holidays are safe holidays. Especially for dogs.

Leave...

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Mouthing and Chewing is Not Just Lip Service

Puppies explore the world with their mouths.

It is completely normal for puppies to mouth just about everything, including us. And unfortunately for us, a puppy’s baby teeth are very sharp and painful - like little needles.

It helps, though, if we understand that they don't mean to be hurtful.

It doesn’t help the physical pain but it may allay some fears.

Some of my clients quickly jump to conclusions and fear they may have an aggression problem. But most of the time it is just...

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