Why “Luring” With Treats Isn’t How You Want To Obedience Train Your Dog

Why “Luring” With Treats Isn’t How You Want To Obedience Train Your Dog

The vast majority of modern-day trainers will teach obedience commands by “luring” the dog to do the desired behavior. Usually with edible treats, but the same can be done with a ball, squeaky, tug toy, bone, or other desirable item. For instance, to get “Sit” you raise a treat above the dog’s head; that tilts […]

The Failure Of Treat-Focused, “Purely Positive” Dog Training

The Failure Of Treat-Focused, “Purely Positive” Dog Training

So-called “purely positive” training is a huge new fad. It means you only reward your dog’s good behavior; you never correct the bad. Most purely positive trainers are what I call “treat-focused”, centering around giving the dog edible treats at the exclusion of other more readily available, natural, and fulfilling rewards like offleash play, pets, […]

“Don’ts” When Training Recall (“Come!”)

“Don’ts” When Training Recall (“Come!”)

In my last post I explained why what I call “Leading” is a more helpful obedience ritual to have mastered than recall (“Come”) when taking your dog offleash. Still, “Come” can be a very useful command, particularly in various emergency situations. For instance:  your dog is disappearing into the woods; running toward a busy street; about […]

Edible Treats vs. Situational Rewards

Edible Treats vs. Situational Rewards

I consider myself a non-“treat-focused” dog trainer. This can be helpful when working with phobic or anxiety-ridden dogs who won’t accept treats in key trigger situations, or also with hyper or dominant/demanding dogs who are more in need of calmness and leadership than motivation. But even in cases where treats can be helpful, it is eye-opening not to […]

Are There Disadvantages to Adopting a “Shelter Dog”? (NO!)

Are There Disadvantages to Adopting a “Shelter Dog”? (NO!)

I recently contributed my opinion to an article on the pros and cons of adopting “shelter dogs”. It amazes me how frequently new owners I meet attribute particular problems or characteristics of their dogs to the fact that they were rescued from a shelter. If the dog is hyper, it’s because they’re a rescue. If […]

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The Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive

The Difference Between Assertive and Aggressive

In New York Magazine’s blurb about Calm Energy Dog Training – under “Best Dog Trainer” in their “Best Of New York 2013” issue – they write “Newman’s approach [is to] reconcile being calm and aggressive at once.” If you know something about dog training, you can probably guess that I never said this. No doubt they were picking up […]