December 25, 2017

...& the Fear of Fireworks

Excerpted from an article written for DogsNaturally Magazine.

Tension & Release

Fear of thunderstorms can be debilitating for some dogs. I’ve discovered a unique solution to this problem that I’d like to share with you. And, oddly enough, I learned it from a Sheltie named Duncan.

First of all, it’s important to understand that fear of any kind manifests in one of three ways: fight, flight, or freeze. I use a model of learning called N...

August 11, 2017

Holding a Mirror Up to Science and Nature: Can Dogs Pass the "Mirror Test?"

Throwing Water on His Enthusiasm 
When “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” was made on July 12th last year, I refrained from making any critical comments in deference to Marc Bekoff, my (then) colleague at PsychologyToday.com. I didn’t want to throw any water on his enthusiasm by writing a more realistic assessment (such as the one found here).


What is the declaration? You c...

August 8, 2017

 Observe, Wonder, Feel & Be

One evening, many years ago I was at a high school basketball court on the East Side of Manhattan with two dogs: my Dalmatian Freddie and a client’s Jack Russell terrier named Mack. (Someone in the neighborhood was on the city council, owned a dog, and had pulled some strings to allow us to exercise our dogs there in the evenings.)

The dogs were all playing nicely. Everyone was having fun. Then a light rain started, some kids began...

June 23, 2017

What are the benefits, if any, of taking your dog to a dog park or dog run?

Problems With Taking Your Dog to the Dog Run

Years ago I used to love taking dogs to the dog run. I don't anymore. I've seen too many situations where dogs, their owners or dog walkers, were out of control.

In one case I saw a dog walker pick up one of the dogs he was with. Apparently he thought she was misbehaving, so he lifted her up in the air then threw her to the ground as hard a...

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...

So What Happened to Annie?

In my previous guest post I wrote about how I discovered that Freudian psychology can and should be applied to dog training, a lesson I learned from a Wheaten terrier named Annie who was obsessively licking the doorknob of her owners’ apartment door.

My recommendations to Annie’s owners were that they “re-puppify” her: Take her back to the days before they’d punished her mouthing, and let her do what she’d been longing to do at the...

March 31, 2017

What It Is? What Causes It? How Do You Cure It?

First, What Is Resource Guarding?

The behavior commonly known as “resource guarding” is where a dog growls, snaps or bites whenever a human being, another dog, or sometimes another animal (like the family cat) gets too close to something the dog has strong feelings of attraction for. Common objects-of-attraction are food, bones, toys, human attention, and sleeping spots.

However, since a “resource” is a general c...

January 6, 2017

Dog Training For the 21st Century

The Law of Effect

In a blog post, written a while back, Dr. Ian Dunbar wrote: “Edward Lee Thorndike showed that behavior is modified by its consequences and in 1905, he published his Law of Effect, basically stating: Any behavior followed by pleasant consequences will increase in frequency and be more likely to occur in the future, whereas any behavior followed by unpleasant consequences will decrease in frequency and be less...

January 6, 2017

Why Is It Easier for "Submissive" Dogs to Solve "The Detour Test?"

“Everything I ever said about dogs was wrong.”

                —Konrad Lorenz

Deconstructing Myths and Misconceptions
My primary goal for this blog is to deconstruct some of the major myths and misconceptions I think people have about canine behavior in general and dog training in particular. There are a lot of dogs whose liv...

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...

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© 2016 by Lee Charles Kelley.