Learn About Puppies
Training with Food
Living with Dogs
Teaching with Reinforcement
A Family of Multiple Dogs
Another addition is not just an extra bed and bowl. It is important to build a home that is healthy, content and well-balanced.
A Road to Nowhere
When familiarity is stripped away we seek recognisable signposts that will take us back to comfort and security. This is survival instinct. It is worth listening to as it keeps us alive.
What’s Cooking? A Warning About Recipes
Recipes for “training” dogs are so prevalent in how we live with and talk about them that their existence often goes unquestioned.
And Why Can’t He Refuse?
I bristle at the insistence that a dog will assent to any request we make if they understand what we’re asking and if the rewards we offer are of sufficient value
Dogs are Born To Learn
We can build tremendous learners when we get beyond the idea that “dogs are trained”.
It’s Not Training
A carefully planned learning pathway, paced to suit that particular learner for their life ahead.
Ethos: A Personal Trust Pilot
Experience changes our ethos. There are many pathways that will broaden our choices.
The Answers Await Discovery
The idea that we’re responsible for our dogs’ learning might well seem strange when we consider how we conceptualise “training:”
Science Doesn’t Have All the Answers
We lean on science in our efforts to bridge the gap as though it provides the answers to how things should be rather than describing how things are understood.
The Spaces Between
At the heart of learner-centred education, the teacher acts as a guide whose role is to elicit rather than to impart, and learners quickly become empowered and equipped to transfer their knowledge and skills to new scenarios.
Curiosity drives learning. Be curious
Thoughts that deserve time to digest, integrate and mature into changes.
Or just a way to browse and stretch the thinking muscles.
The Experienced Dog
Sufficient preparation does not mean every eventuality, but a range of different conditions …
Value of Experience
The personal knowledge and skill gained by doing or applying our knowledge for a period of time…
Chasm opening up?
Are we just making dogs compliant for people or should we consider what is beneficial for that dog …
Choose to lure
It has become untrendy to lure. Surely our primary choice is what makes it easiest for the dog?
What is a Trainer?
I know what I am, as a trainer. But does my view of “A Trainer” coincide with, or even overlap with yours?
Fade in Protocol
Disruption and distraction is always a risk, build resilience and robust learners with the fade-in protocol
A selection of the best you can find.
Likely to expand your horizon, make you ask questions of yourself, your understanding and your expectations.
For browsers, for passers-by and of course for training geeks.
After introducing the Obnoxious Puppy as a youngster I am knocked over by the delightful Young Man he is turning into.
When 12 weeks old hits, and you will feel a slam, the Child of Delight is going to demonstrate ungrateful, obnoxious traits.
A day of learning
A no-training day does not mean he gets a lazy day, learning is still happening and this is significant and important for his development.
Luring by Hand
Every time food is in your hand the dog will notice. What do we want them to respond to?
Luring at distance
There are occasions when we want the dog to approach for reward by something other than us.
“the direct use of the reinforcer
to elicit the behaviour”
toys, play, companionship, running, affection …. all lures
Prepare to train
Setting up the training area and environment before we begin any training, or learning, or teaching will be an important skill to develop.
The gap between the consumption of the reward and the begin of the next behaviour allows us to see the effect of the reward to the dog.
More than words
We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.
The foundation for food-less pockets, the foundation for extended behaviours, building a strong association together.
Nose target ?
A popular behaviour that seems easy to teach and have practical application, but it is often not such a pleasant experience for all dogs.
Asking the dog to continue, or sustain a movement in the behaviour we have already taught.
“Stay!”, meaning don’t move, also “you stay here, I shan’t be long” when leaving …????
For learning, for pleasure, for exploring
What does familiarity look like? How does it develop?
More than words
We expect our dogs to understand the meaning of words and signals, but if you have ever worked with computers you will know that what you say doesn’t always turn into an actionable response.
One dog’s trick is another dog’s lifeskill
We cannot teach something just for fun, it can never be just a trick, ride a bike for fun? – it is only a trick.
What to ask before when we make a plan to teach
The life of my Time
Time is my ninth generation of collies. He lives for being a collie and all that collies have done for generations – work in partnership and assist in what their Person likes to do. This ranges from collecting sheep off the mountain to toddling round the main ring at Crufts.
One day you will love him again
The puppy that you adored, could do no wrong, is now a living horror story. We want to use positive reinforcement, and our mind focuses on the success of what is not happening. But reinforcement attaches itself to something happening, not an absence and cannot select for a multitude of different things that are being reinforced.
Wheat or Chaff?
What is the purpose of this video? To sell a product, to instruct or to inspire? It should be clear from the first viewing. Often we are seeing an unhealthy blend of talking head, dripping treats into bored dog, convincing you of their innate expertise.
Not all lures contain food
“the direct use of the reinforcer to elicit the behaviour”
This should always be foremost in our mind, in that many alternatives lures are available.
A teaching plan
The pathway ahead, a road map for success. Details of what, why, when, how.
Confused by Collies?
The classic training protocols are too often about supressing the annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.
Fast does not mean better
We are becoming surrounded by a culture of fast. We are being sold that immediate gratification is the only solution.
What is important … ?
… when your dog is sick and fearful? If you have a dog who is sick and fearful you can feel lost and alone. The weight of opinion, expectation and information can be overwhelming. What is right? What is true? What is best? Throughout this journey I have allowed my ethics to guide me. The individual who is Merlin is at the heart of every choice I make.
Isolation hell or solitude heaven?
Strange times often give birth to new insights and understanding.
Certainly a new aspect of empathy as we experience social situations that may not be of our choice.
The Table Game
Coming up to 20 years since I designed this game for my college students in computing – to improve communication!
Who knew it would become a future piece of technology for world of training and behaviour analysis?
… and cruises of course!
When it is not rewarding
Just because it is our intent to reward does not make it always rewarding.
Ethics in Dog Training
Whether you are an owner looking for help with your dog, a trainer taking your first steps towards helping others or an experienced trainer looking to improve – keep working, keep learning, stay curious.
Changing is growth
We are naturally attracted to familiar ways of training or living with our dogs. We have often worked hard to learn those habits and there is a reluctance to make changes since this is hard work. It takes mentally energy to note what we are not doing well, recall what changes we need to make, find the prompts that can move us to the changes and then work on the skills those changes require.
Dogs can only behave like dogs
We should not be trying to change dogs, but change the world in which they live. This extract from Every Dog Every Day brings light to the conflict that can sometimes occur between people’s expectations of dog behaviour and the reality – what dog’s actually do.