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Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Practice elevators with Sunny

A glass elevator is a strange contraption, so here, Julie uses chicken to help Sunny associate good things with an elevator ride.   Continue reading

New Hire!

Pawsitivity Service Dogs is proud to announce the hiring of Ray Nichols, a Certified Master Dog Trainer from the Catch Canine Dog Training Academy, to head our new Black Veterans Service Dog program. The program is dedicated to training service dogs for a traditionally underserved population, Black U.S. military veterans who are disabled.

Our new puppy is obsessed with our old dog!

Sunshine is a little puppy who in training to be a service dog. During breaks in training, Sunny is OBSESSED by our old dog!  This video got 12k upvotes on Reddit because of my absurd laughter. If you find that kind of thing annoying, feel free to mute it!             

Notes on "Don't Shoot the Dog" by Karen Pryor

8 ways to change behavior. Always start with LIMA (least intrusive, minimally aversive.) Management (Dog getting into the garbage? One option is to put the lid on the can.) Reinforce everything that is not the undesired behavior. (With people, you could reinforce everything that is not a complaint.) Put the behavior on cue (The classic example is barking.) Train an incompatible behavior (Mat training is great for preventing dogs from begging at the table, for instance). It's much better to train a dog to DO something, rather than try to train a dog to NOT do something. Extinction (not used a lot, but it's important not to accidentally reward the wrong behavior.) It's often best to just reward a different, incompatible behavior. Negative reinforcement (a classic example is a seat-belt buzzer, although a leash is a more subtle example) Punishment (this is a last resort, and rarely used, because it causes the side-effects, including fear and aggression. Also it doesn't work well because "punishment delayed doesn't work at all") Give the animal away (overly-aggressive dogs are often not appropriate for families, for instance) Note: There is also the "Look at That" game by Leslie McDevitt, which actually changes motivation (as well as behavior). "Click for calm" is similar.

Notes on "Why the Wild Things Are"

Notes on "Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children" by Gail F. Melson (not "Nelson") Continue reading

Notes on "Made for Each Other" by Meg Daley Omert

Made for Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond, by Meg Daley Olmert, 2009 Biggest note for me: How oxytocin makes dogs and people love each other Four of the scientific terms that influence how humans are affected by animals Working with animals we love produces oxytocin Watching animals triggers motor neurons Exposure effect makes us like them even more "Hunter's Trance" Continue reading

TERRIFIC dog trainer in Willingboro, NJ

If you are looking for a terrific recommendation for a dog trainer in the Willingboro, NJ, area (by Camden, NJ),  I highly recommend Ray Nichols at Better Bondz Dog Training! I’ve known Ray for several years, ever since we met when we were both taking an advanced dog-behavior skills workshop. When I trained with him, we worked with a whole shelter full of pit bulls and other rescue dogs, and Ray blew me away with his skills and approach. He has a wonderfully gentle, calm, clear manner that the dogs always respond to incredibly well. Ray is a 100% positive and force-free dog trainer, and he really knows his stuff. He’s not only AMAZING  at training, but also, he can read any dog’s body language and can evaluate and fix any number of behavior problems. He’s a Certified Master Dog Trainer from the Catch Canine Dog Training Academy, a US Army veteran, and I’m so proud to be friends with him! Continue reading

"Wrestle for Good" Virtual Wrestling Clinic on 7/1/2020 with Gable Stevenson

Do you love wrestling? Register for this Wrestle for Good virtual clinic, Wednesday, 7/1/20 at 6:00pm CST! The clinic is $28 and benefits Pawsitivity Service Dogs. Executive Director Tom Coleman is attending, but the real draw is: Wrestler Gable Stevenson of the University of the Minnesota Wrestling Team! Gable loves service dogs! Through Wrestle for Good, he has designated Pawsitivity Service Dogs for his July 1, 2020 virtual clinic beneficiary. Go, Gable! Continue reading