Natural/Unnatural

The essential task of the modern dog trainer

     Teach the dog how to behave naturally 

          In an unnatural environment

Master this

     The rest is easy

Is Negative Punishment Really More Positive?

I am the proud father of two. A daughter whose age at the time of this writing is measured in weeks, and a son who is roughly two and a half. Like most toddlers, my son experiments with many different behaviors, often to see what he can get away with. He is experimenting with theContinue reading “Is Negative Punishment Really More Positive?”

Counter Conditioning, Causal Relevance, and the Implications for Humane Dog Training

In 1972, Michael Domjam and Nancy Wilson tested an interesting hypothesis:  When creating a conditioned association between two events, do the types of events matter? To help illustrate this question more clearly, let’s take an example: You go out for dinner at a new restaurant. You eat a large meal consisting of salmon, and don’tContinue reading “Counter Conditioning, Causal Relevance, and the Implications for Humane Dog Training”

Cognitive Dissonance

I wish I could be a reward-only trainer. I don’t enjoy correcting dogs or putting any “pressure” on them. I love dogs. That’s why I chose this career. Unfortunately, because I specialize in helping dog owners to achieve success in real world situations, some amount of pressure/correction/punishment is often necessary. The reality is that evenContinue reading “Cognitive Dissonance”

Negative Reinforcement and the Curse of Sisyphus

Sisyphus was the King of Ephyra, and he had a reputation for defying the Gods and being a bit of a trickster. One of his best known exploits came at the end of his life when Hades, the God of the Underworld came to claim him, bringing along a pair of handcuffs. Sisyphus, in allContinue reading “Negative Reinforcement and the Curse of Sisyphus”

How to Defeat Self Doubt

We all know it, that voice in our head that plays on repeat phrases like: “Am I good enough?” “Is this unique enough?” “I don’t deserve this.” “I’m not ready.” Although it is easy feel that you are the only person who struggles with this type of negative thinking, the truth is that everyone aroundContinue reading “How to Defeat Self Doubt”

He Just Wants To Protect Me…

“I know he’s just trying to protect me, but I don’t know why” This is a common sentiment among dog owners bringing their dogs into our training center for help.  If you have owned multiple dogs, there’s a decent chance that at least one of them has displayed over-protective behavior.  The problem behaviors most oftenContinue reading “He Just Wants To Protect Me…”

The Problem With Averages

“Scientific education is based in the main of statistical truths and abstract knowledge and therefore imparts an unrealistic, rational picture of the world, in which the individual, as a nearly marginal phenomenon, plays no role. The individual, however, as an irrational data, is the true and authentic carrier of reality.” – C.G. Jung The modernContinue reading “The Problem With Averages”

Self Discipline

This is a re-post from several years ago:   When I was roughly 5 years old my mother asked me if I would like to take karate classes. My answer was flat out “No.” About 6 months later I saw the movie “The Karate Kid,” and suddenly I had a change of heart. I tookContinue reading “Self Discipline”

The Hounds And The Huntsman

Dog-man-ship – This is as real as it gets: Taken from my friend the Terrierman, View the original post Hounds & The Huntsman from Michael Slowe on Vimeo.  

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