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© 2016 by Lee Charles Kelley.

Myth: When a Dog Goes Through the Door First It Means He “Thinks He’s Alpha”

"It's the UPS Guy!"

If your dog gets overly excited when you come home or when guests or the UPS guy comes over—barking, jumping up, spinning around in crazy circles, even accidentally urinating—what is the best way to solve the problem?

Simple. Teach her that every time you or someone else comes through the door, her job is to grab a toy and bring it to them so that person can throw...

January 6, 2017

Canine Smarts or Self-Emergent Behavior?

Originally published in different form on October 26, 2011 at PsychologyToday.com.

"Hello, Doggie!"

In recent years researchers in the field of what I like to call dognitive science seem to have made some tremendous insights into canine intelligence and cognition, some of them real, some imaginary, but all very interesting nonetheless.

Dogs are amazing animals. They have an ability to read us like no other species can. S...

January 6, 2017

Why Do Some Scientists and Dog Trainers Still Hang On to the Idea of Dominance?

Wolves, Hanging Out: Which Is the Most Dominant?

Dr. Roger Abrantes is a well-known figure in the dog training world. He holds PhDs in Evolutionary Biology and Ethology. He is the author to 17 books, written in English, German, Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Italian, and Czech, and is one of the most versatile ethologists in the world.

In his blog post, “Dominance: Making S...

January 6, 2017

Does Your Dog Hate or Love the Rain and Snow?

Go Home? I Love This Stuff!

A common complaint I hear from dog owners is that their dogs refuse to walk in the rain or snow. Some dogs can be perfectly well-behaved and well-trained, but any inclement weather changes things dramatically. A lot of people just accept this as part of their dog’s “personality,” figuring there’s nothing they can do about it.

Is that really true?

I don’t think so. Do wolves refuse to go h...

January 6, 2017

There Are at Least Three, Not Just Two Forms of Training for Pet Dogs

In the Flow

The Three Main Methods of Dog Training

Most people think there are only two types of training for pet dogs—dominance and positive reinforcement—but there is actually a third form called drive training. 

In the current marketplace drive training is the least understood and the least used with pet dogs, yet it’s the most effective, and it’s the method most often used to train workin...

January 3, 2017

If Dogs Can’t Think, How Do They Know What We’re Thinking?

Dogs are amazing animals. They have an ability to read us like no other species can. Sometimes they know more about us than we know about ourselves. They also score higher on certain so-called “mind-reading” tests than chimpanzees, where the goal is to see which animal can more reliably follow a visual cue given by a human being points at or even looks at an object. Dogs can learn to do this quite ea...

January 3, 2017

Why Do Most Dognitive Scientists See Canine Behavior Through a Human Lens?

Staring Contest?

Wolves, Buffalo, and The Circle of Life
In a 2013 episode of Nature—“Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo”—wildlife filmmaker Jeff Turner used both land and aerial cameras to get some spectacular footage of the daily lives of a pack of wolves living in Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park, which straddles the border between Alberta and British Columbia and is 5 times the s...

January 2, 2017

If Dogs Can't Think, How Do They Know What We're Thinking? 

Dognitive scientist Brian Hare's new book is getting some press these days. There was a recent piece in the New York Times on his work showing that dogs will follow where a human points while chimps not only won't, but can't seem to learn how to.

Alexandra Horowitz of Barnard College was quoted in the Times article: “To me, part of being a dog scientist is acknowledging up front how little we know...

December 1, 2016

Three Simple Reasons Why Dogs Don’t Feel Guilt

I Didn't Mean to Do It!

“We Don’t Know If Dogs Feel Guilt, So Stop Saying They Don’t”

In a May 22, 2016 post at PsychologyToday.com  Dr. Marc Bekoff writes, “According to Dr. Susan Hazel, a veterinary scientist at the University of Adelaide, ‘There have been a number of studies, and it’s pretty clear that dogs don’t feel or display guilt. It’s not the way their brains work.’”

Bekoff rightly disagrees. “There a...

December 1, 2016

In certain training circles it’s widely believed that learning theory is the only truly scientific and, therefore, the only correct approach for training dogs.

Is this true?

Not exactly.

To be fair, learning theory (also known as behavioral science or behavior analysis) is much more scientific than dominance theory, especially as it’s applied to dog training. There is plenty of scientific evidence showing that dogs and wolves form dominance hierarchies, but no...

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