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Reactive Dogs

Canine Behavioural Science

Operant Conditioning Quadrants & Why Dogs Do Things

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Ever wondered “why does my dog jump on guests” or “why doesn’t my dog come when called”? If you boil scientific dog training down to it’s simplest elements, there are four scenarios that determine which behaviours your dog will keep doing, and which behaviours they’ll stop. These are known as the four quadrants of operant conditioning, and this is...

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Reactive Dogs

Working Under Threshold - Using Treats To Help Reactivity

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

“I’ve tried giving them treats around other dogs already” is a common concern that trainers hear when helping the owners of reactive dogs. Many people have read articles or seen videos on how using food can help a reactive dog. When they try to use this strategy on their own dog, however, they often miss a couple of crucial components that prevent...

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Reactive Dogs

Why You Shouldn't Lure A Fearful Dog With Treats

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

A common mistake that many owners make when trying to help a fearful dog become more comfortable around something they’re scared of is attempting to lure the dog closer to the scary thing with a treat. Though the thinking behind this strategy is well meaning, it can often backfire and increase the dog’s fear.

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Reactive Dogs

Why Fearful Dogs Don't Need To "Get Used To It"

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

One of the most common mistakes that people make when trying to help fearful dogs is the tough-love style method of thinking “they need to get used to it!” Usually this way of thinking leads to an owner exposing their dog to the thing that scares them over and over again, in the hope that the dog will figure out that it isn’t scary.

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Reactive Dogs

How Dogs Act Before They Bite

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Dog bites can be prevented by learning the body language signals that dogs give off in the lead up to a bite. Dogs generally don't "bite out of nowhere" unless these early signals have been ignored repeatedly or punished. Here are the signals that a dog will give as they move down the road to a bite, and what they mean:

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Reactive Dogs

Why You Should Never Punish A Growling Dog

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Famous animal behaviourist Ian Dunbar says that punishing a dog for growling is like removing the ticker from a time bomb. Dogs use growling as a way of letting you know that they are stressed or upset. If you punish a dog for growling, you run the risk that they will avoid the early warning procedure and go straight for a bite the next time that...

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Problem Behaviours

Why Using Dog Park Time To Wear Out Hyperactive Dogs Isn't Always A Good Idea

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

“I couldn’t possibly stop taking my dog to the dog park every day, they’d be out of control!” The above is a common worry that trainers hear when we suggest to owners that their dog could benefit from a little less dog park time. Many owners of hyperactive and excitable dogs use the dog park to burn off their dog’s energy, so that the dog is more m...

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Reactive Dogs

Toby's Story

Madeleine Ross, CPDT-KA, November 8 2018

Toby was the first dog that my husband Tom and I brought into our family, many years ago before we became dog trainers. He was 8 weeks old, and came from a pet store that we now realise was a front for a puppy farm. With the misguided confidence of youth, we decided that we'd home school Toby with the help of some Youtube videos, rather than enroll...

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