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Tug game can teach valuable lessons

dog tug

Playing tug with dogs is a great way to reward a dog, to teach bite inhibition, to teach a dog to release an item on cue, to tire a dog out and to teach control of arousal levels. To teach tug-toy, decide what the cue will be for tug-toy. Have ready a toy the dog ... Read More »

Pets are friends with emotional benefits


The relationship many people have with their pets is an important one. While many people who live with companion animals appreciate how their pet enhances their life, researchers continue to study the benefits of living with pets. At the inaugural educational summit of PAWSitive InterAction, experts in the areas of medicine, psychiatry, veterinary studies and ... Read More »

Dogs can be taught impulse control

dog 4

Teaching a dog impulse control or delay of gratification is one of the best ways to help a dog become calm and self- controlled. Impulsive individuals are usually characterized by their rapid response to stimulation, accelerated action and a difficulty in the ability to inhibit responses. Individual variation in the ability to control impulses is ... Read More »

Recognizing stress in dogs

dog 4 f

Learning to recognize indicators of stress in dogs helps us help stressed dogs. Like us, dogs can feel stressed by a variety of things and this can cause physiological changes as well as changes in behaviour. Research reveals three categories of abnormal behaviours in dogs that can be caused by stress: (1) displacement activities such ... Read More »

Distraction-free environment best for training

P 7 A pet dog longline

To help your dog focus, teach new skills in an area that is free of distractions. Increase the difficulty of the training exercise by increasing criteria in one area at a time. For example, if we are introducing increasing the distance from the trainer at which the dog will sit on cue, avoid increasing the ... Read More »

Lost pets can be found, and most are


Sometimes we see notices about missing pets and, while no one plans to lose their pet, owner preparation can help locate a missing pet sooner.  The good news is that a 2012 survey revealed that 93 per cent of missing dogs were returned safely to their homes (Weiss, 2012). Provide the pet with a collar ... Read More »

Dogs’ ‘play bow’ is an invitation

dog bow

We have all witnessed dogs having a great time playing. Play is important for the development of social skills, for the formation and maintenance of social bonds, to provide exercise and to teach hand-eye coordination. Play fighting and other play behaviors can provide practice for the real thing  (Bekoff & Pierce, 2009). To solicit play, ... Read More »

Play as reward

dog training

Play is often used as a reward in the training of working dogs who do detection, seeing eye or search and rescue work.  We know that social interactions with familiar humans are highly rewarding for many dogs and that dogs whose owners play with them have been found to score higher in obedience tests than ... Read More »

Dogs and humans: great communicators


We know that dogs have unique social skills for communicating and cooperating with humans and that they form strong attachments to people. Recent research indicates that the relationship between humans and dogs may go back as far as 40,000 year ago (Skoglund, Ersmark, Palkopoulou, & Dalen, 2015). Humans also benefit from their relationships with dogs. ... Read More »

Doggone clever

dog training

Dogs have displayed an amazing ability to learn many human words and follow human gestures. Rico, a now-famous border collie, learned the names of over 200 items and Chaser, a dog who belonged to retired psychology professor John Pilley, learned over 1,000 words.  Chaser also learned categories of items such as toys vs non-toy items. ... Read More »

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