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Should my child walk the dog alone?
Should my dog greet other dogs on leash?
Reality Check for Rescue Dogs
Summer Parks Challenge 2019 Recap: "What I learned from the KP Parks Challenge"
Summer Parks Challenge!

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Should my child walk the dog alone?

A dog can be a kid's best friend. Kids tend to love dogs! And if your family has a dog, it probably won't be long before your child is asking to take the dog out alone, without adult supervision.

Think carefully about your answer on this. It's going to depend on several factors, including your child's skills, the dog's skills, and the environment. Here are some things to consider:

Size of child and size of dog. In general, a dog that's 30% or less of the handler's body weight is going to be relatively easy to control.

Should my dog greet other dogs on leash?

It's pretty common for people walking dogs to let the dogs approach each other, sniff, greet, maybe play and interact. But it this always the best choice?

Be careful if you decide to let your dog meet/greet an unknown dog being walked by an unknown person. All dogs can be unpredictable, especially ones you've never met before. If your dog has a negative experience -- maybe the other dog growls or attacks -- this could have long-term effects on your dog, especially if it happens regularly.

Reality Check for Rescue Dogs

I feel that many people are pushed to rescue dogs, whether it's the "Adopt, Don't Shop!" t-shirts and mantras, or the semi-shaming of dog breeders on Facebook. Unwanted and homeless pets is truly a tragedy of our society; things need to change. But if you are getting ready to acquire a dog, you should look carefully atallyour options, including the option of an educated purchase of a quality puppy from a good breeder.

When you rescue a dog, you are venturing into unknown territory.

Summer Parks Challenge 2019 Recap: "What I learned from the KP Parks Challenge"

The summer is over, and so is the 2019 Parks Training Challenge. If you're not familiar with the Parks Training Challenge, it's a marathon summer event with a simple premise: Take your dog to as many different city, county, state, etc parks as possible and practice training with them. It doesn't matter what you're working on, as long as you're working on something.

The Parks Challenge is addictive; I'm constantly surprised at how drawn in people get. Or maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

Summer Parks Challenge!

It's official; the annual Summer Parks Challenge 2019 has begun on May 1 and will run all the way through the end of summer!

Training in novel locations is so so so helpful! You can add distractions, you can increase difficulty, you can practice in real-life settings and more. And with the part of Oregon that we're so lucky to live in, you've got lots of cool places to choose from!

Here's the assignment: Pick a pack. It could be an easy park, a hard park, big or small, in Portland or wherever.

Low Motivation

What does it mean if your dog has "low motivation?"

It's not the end of the world if you hear a trainer say that about your dog! Unlike a child whose "low motivation" might predict years of difficulty and poor performance in schools, dogs with low motivation are often very successful at being great pets, and behaving just fine.

Dogs who have high motivation are usually the ones who pull on the leash, steal food, and jump all over you for attention. They want stuff, and they're not afraid to go and get it, even if this means getting in trouble or going against the wishes of their owners.

Calming Down Nosework Alerts Part III

This is the last post in the "overexcited nosework alert" series; here are two more suggestions that might help in calming your dogs overexciteable behaviors while maintaining correct alerts.

You could try revisiting the the very early "imprinting" exercises that involve you holding a tin or container in your hand. Be prepared for the dog to knock into this hand, maybe even claw it or mouth it. No matter what your dog does though, hang on and keep the container as steady as possible until the dog quiets and does the alert you want.

Overexcited Nosework Alerts Part II: How to Calm Them Down

In the last post, you read about the problem/not-problem of overenthusiastic nosework alerts. You want the dog to be enthusiastic, but not to the point of smashing boxes or crashing around your search area like a bull in a china shop! Here are some ways of calming the dog down:

You can try introducing a heavier container, or weighing down the container you have with rocks or sand. If you do this, just keep a couple of things in mind: 1) Make sure that all your containers have the same filler in it, and change the fillers randomly or you might be accidentally training your dog to alert to rocks or sand.

Calming Down Nosework Alerts

During the early stages of training Nosework to your dog, you're either holding the scent or it's on the ground right in front of you. You slowly build the dog's love for the scent and work it through the food distraction exercises and make sure it's going right for the scent and staying there. You're building up the dog's love for the scent! Soon he really-really-really loves it and can not stay away from it! And just like that you're up for your first simple search!

Controlling Resources

A lot of still-common, but old-fashioned training advice these days comes from some studies that were done on captive wolves back in the 1980's. Videos of these groups of unrelated wolves placed artificially in "packs" showed the wolves frequently fighting and struggling for physical control and social dominance. A pack-based theory of dog training emerged from this, promoting the idea that the basic relationship dogs have with others is an often physical fight for dominance. 
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