Karen Pryor Clicker Training Library
A dog’s nose is an amazing thing to behold. Dogs have the ability to: wiggle each nostril independently, breathe in through the holes in the front of the nose and exhale through the side slits, and discern individual odors making up what we could call a “scent.” Humans have about 5 million cells devoted to smelling; dogs have up to 220 million. Not only that, but dogs have four times the brain power devoted to processing scents! We smell “vegetable soup,” but a dog smells each individual ingredient. Dogs’ noses are so powerful they can detect one tablespoon of sugar in the amount of water it would take to fill two Olympic-sized swimming pools!
Imagine a life where your dog loves being groomed. When you pull out the brush or nail trimmers, your dog comes running—just as if you opened a new bag of treats. How would that make you feel?
It is never too late to train your pet to love being bathed or brushed. With a little time and patience, you and your puppy, adult, or senior dog can look forward to sharing relaxing grooming time.
Bad behavior: the big picture
Experienced dog owners and trainers often note that every dog needs a job. A dog with something meaningful to do rarely gets himself into trouble.
Hunting for clothespins is a task that is easy to teach, and gives your dog the opportunity to solve a problem and complete a significant job. Once the behavior is trained, it's something you can do every day without breaking a sweat or putting aside much time, yet your dog will work really hard and will finish the exercise happy and satisfied.
Holidays are fun, right?
The holidays are nearly here. Visitors, music, food… what could be better?
Animal lovers find great joy including their animals in as many holiday celebrations as possible.
The holiday season is both joyous and hectic. Most of us are busy decorating, shopping for and wrapping presents, cooking, cleaning the house, and entertaining friends and family. With all this excitement, the family dog is often under-stimulated and underfoot—a situation that can lead to big trouble!
Challenge: a hearing-impaired dog
Adding to the family
October is the American Humane Association’s Adopt-A-Dog Month. Adding a dog to your household can bring great joy, but adopting a pet is a bit like looking for a roommate or significant other—the more you know beforehand, the greater the odds of a successful relationship. If you already have other pets, it can be even harder to find the right match. To ensure a successful adoption, think carefully about what it is you're looking for before you go to select a pet.
Why all the barking?
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Pet owners often wonder how to keep pets active without having to walk in 90-degree weather. Swimming, and other games in and with water, can be fun for both people and dogs, especially during hot summer days.
Instead of juggling, train “stay”
Summer is in full swing! With many pet-friendly resorts, parks, and other destinations available, you may be thinking about fun outings with your furry friend. But what can you do if your pooch loves being at the park but hates getting there? Luckily, there are several ways to help ease a dog’s discomfort in the car.
Free shape—or not?
Clicker training, the science-based system of teaching behavior with positive reinforcers and a marker signal, is becoming immensely popular, world-wide, with some dog owners and trainers, while still being rejected by others. It seems so alien, so different from traditional training, that many are very reluctant to try this new system on their already well-trained dogs. Why not leave your dogs out of the picture for the time being, and explore the clicker experience for yourself, with an animal you don't really need or expect reliable performance from: Your cat.
That title is a typo, right? A professional dog trainer would never advocate against socialization, would she? Well, maybe!
The problem isn't with socialization itself, but with many people's understanding of socialization. Socialization is vital for proper mental and social development in dogs, and it needs to be offered properly. Mistakes in socialization, even if intentions are good, can backfire and may even produce an overly shy or overly aggressive dog.
Want to try some fun and games?
Dogs smile. Just like people, dogs pull the corners of their mouths up high toward their eyes, partially open their mouths, and smile. In 1872, Darwin wrote of the universality of facial expressions in The Expressions of Emotions in Man and Animals. Roughly 130 years later, Dr. Patricia McConnell authored For the Love of a Dog in which she compared human and dog facial expressions using the methods developed by Paul Ekman, the world's leading scientist on the topic. The truth is out: dogs smile, and, of course, experience emotions.
Take a hike!
If your New Year's resolution is to be more active, be sure to include your dog in your plans!