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Kindness First

In the signature line of my email, I include the following quote by Frederick W. Faber:

"Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning."

The mid-nineteenth century theologian was, no doubt, referring to religious conversion, but I have found the quote inspiring in all aspects of my life, especially when teaching people about dogs and clicker training.

 

How to Keep Your Dog Calm When the Doorbell Rings

Are you Suburban Woman, loving but exasperated owner of Fido and Fifi? Does your home seem like the 5th at Santa Anita every time the doorbell rings? Wouldn't it be wonderful if your dog actually moved away from the door when the doorbell rang rather than crowd you for a position to greet, or "eat", the people on the other side? Wouldn't you love to have a dog that sits, lies down, or even runs to another room when the doorbell rings-instead of all the embarrassing things your dog currently does?

Don’t Socialize the Dog!

Really?

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.

Click and Play: Using Play as a Reinforcer

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.

How to Prevent Door-Dashing

Run toward the sun

Spring seems to be the ultimate door-dashing season, as sunshine returns to cure the cabin fever that plagues many humans and canines during the long winter months. In busy families, the front door seems to be in perpetual motion, constantly revolving and providing myriad opportunities for escape. Friends and clients who have dealt with the stress and worry of a lost dog due to an open door accident utter a common refrain: “It was only open for a second.”