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Cues and Cueing

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.

Erasing Fear: A Lesson (or Two) on Cues and Shaping

A note from Karen Pryor:

How to Teach Give: A Winning Recipe

By the time most dogs get to my classes, their owners have already taught them that when they get hold of something special, it's going to be taken away. Most of the time, the owners get upset, yell, and force the object out of their mouths. So, when dogs find that deliciously smelly dead squirrel in the yard, they are more likely to hide the squirrel under the couch than allow their owners to catch them with it.

How to Teach Your Dog Left and Right

This is a fun exercise that is handier than it seems at first. You'll set up two targets at a distance, and teach your dog to go to either target—left or right—on cue. Later, you will set up similar exercises to bring more general meaning to the cues "left" or "right."

A dog that understands "left" and "right" has a terrific skill for many competition venues including agility, herding, mushing, water dog, and retrieving. This understanding would also be handy walking on trails—and service dog owners could think of a dozen or more applications for "left" and "right."

Teaching "Off" with Positive Reinforcement

Self control is one of the most critical skills a dog needs to learn, and it is a skill that is required multiple times a day. Dogs are expected to refrain from picking up something forbidden when it appears within reach. Some examples that come to mind include: dropped medication, chicken bones, the hamster, dead birds, Granny's hearing aid, Susie's favorite stuffed toy, the last remaining baby soother...