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Skills for Every Day

Carnivorous Chairs and the Cone of Shame: Creativity in Action

Click and create

One subject that crops up frequently in training circles is the side effects of various training techniques. We caution against the harmful fallout of punishment-based methods. We debate the relative merits of luring, shaping, and capturing. We examine studies that compare the rate of behavior acquisition using various marker signals. And, of course, we love to talk about the added benefits of clicker training—engaging the dog's mind, the respondent conditioning of a positive emotional state, the fostering of creativity in both trainer and trainee.

Muzzles—Not Just for Aggression Anymore!

Times are changing

For many people, the idea of a muzzle evokes a long-standing association with aggressive dogs. That impression can create feelings of fear and worry when people hear about or witness a dog in a muzzle. There is no denying that when many people see a muzzled dog, they envision the likes of a Hannibal Lecter character (a monster, but in fur)!

Happy Together: How to Train Successfully in a Multi-Dog Household

Two (or three or more) times the fun!

If you have more than one dog (or more than one clicker-savvy pet) in your household, you may find it challenging to manage training at times. There are strategies that can help make it easier to train in a multi-dog household, though.

Stay Until Released

Stationary behavior: What are we really looking for?

Recently, I watched a man working on duration of a behavior—his dog's front feet, stationary, on a target. Watching his training session, I did not see anything out of the ordinary. But there was a problem. The trainer said he had achieved 5-7 seconds of duration, yet when the class instructor asked for a demonstration, he could only demonstrate the barest fraction of a second of standing still on the target.

A Holiday Gift: Teach Your Cat to Come When Called—Without Saying a Word

We had recently moved into our new house, taking with us one young retriever and two cats, Chloe and Mia. It was a quiet neighborhood, with little access to native wildlife, except for a booming field mouse population. We decided that the cats could stay outside during the day, so long as they came in at night. We couldn't decide on a suitable location for a cat door, and, truth be told, we had more pressing things to spend the money on.