How much do you have in your bank?

I often imagine the dog training experience as a series of banking transactions - the visual really helps me to measure our work but also to gauge where we may have a deficit or where the dog has a need. 

When we bring home a puppy, we often make a series of assumptions that can be quite harmful - how many times do we trainers hear "oh my dog is fine with that. I can [manhandle, groom, pick up, travel with, etc...] him and he doesn't care.". Every. Single. Day. 

The challenge is this - there is a HUGE difference between tolerance and enjoyment and most of us don't actively seek out the difference in every moment we spend with our dogs. 

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The Many Benefits of Dog Sports

If you think of the practice of dog sports as a competitive and fairly serious business, you’re only about 10 percent right. Just as in human athletic pursuits, the vast majority of dog sports enthusiasts are hobbyists; happy amateurs not much interested in ribbons or plaques. So what hooks people? The numerous benefits two- and four-legged sportsmen alike reap. For starters, a quick alphabetic inventory reveals something for every ability and temperament: agility, caniscross, disc dog, dock diving, earthdog, flyball, freestyle, herding, lure coursing, mushing, nose work, rally-o, tracking, treibball, and weight pulling. An exhaustive list would be much longer, of course, and still wouldn’t include the many fun, creative activity classes trainers, dog facilities, and dog groups might offer.

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Treat Ideas for Dog Training

We are always being asked "what type of treats should I use to train my dog"? 

Oftentimes we have students who come to class and halfway through, their dogs lose interest in the treats. When we ask our infamous question "what's on the menu?", we find out that there's low value treats or even that the high value treats are cut too large and thus the dog fills up too quickly. 

We wanted to put together a list of some ideas for you that are quick, cheap, and easy...

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Just wait here...

As I walk through the city of Toronto on a daily basis, I am still shocked to see how many people still tie their dogs up outside outside stores and leave them for a stretch of time. I’ll admit to doing it up until 2011 when we had a series of dog-nappings in the city and my eyes were opened to the dangers. 

Dog-napping is not the only concern that is a reality when we tie our dogs up outside, but it’s a very real one. Dogs who are stolen are sold on Kijiji and Craigslist, sold for research (yes, that happens here in Ontario!), used as bait dogs in dog fighting rings, walked around the city for days/weeks/months/years on end by the homeless.

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What's your dog's currency?

When training our dogs, it's crucial to consider their currency. What does that mean? How does your dog like to get paid? What do they find most reinforcing? 

When we go to work, we get paid in the form of money - paycheques and monetary bonuses. If the paycheque stopped suddenly, we would question and likely stop working. Imagine if your boss sent you an envelope with Monopoly money in it on payday in place of your regular cheque! 

Let's consider some variables - sometimes the US dollar is more reinforcing than the Canadian dollar (like right now) and other times it's the reverse. Sometimes winning a trip to Hawaii is more exciting than the equivalent in a cash prize. 

When it comes to dogs, there are so many options for reinforcement out there - all you have to do is get to know your dog!

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Why Size Matters in Dog-Dog Play

Your Chihuahua may love Boxers and your Rottie mix may adore Dachshunds. But when little and big play together, keep close watch. Big dogs can unintentionally harm small dogs—and on the rare occasions when friendly play escalates into a scuffle, the smaller dog is at risk for serious injury or death. If you let your dog play with very differently sized dogs, supervise vigilantly...

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