Teaching your dog with positive reinforcement doesn't mean that you have to be a food dispenser for the rest of your dog's life. Part of reliable dog training is having your dog listen to you without having treats in your hands or even needing to feed all the time. Humans, dogs, and other species don't work for free, but there are a lot of reinforcers out there besides for just food. These tips and tricks will help you wean off of constantly treating your dog for every single behavior.
Continue reading (Video 40) When Can I Stop Using Dog Treats?
Does your dog sit at home, when you have a cookie, but not when you are out on a walk or when guests come over? With a fully trained cue, you should be able to get reliable behavior in just about any situation, and definitely not just when you have a treat in your hand. If your dog isn't responding to your cues, that doesn't mean he's stubborn, stupid, or dominant. It just means that you have missed an aspect of your training. Watch this video for tips on building reliability, for dog training you can trust.
Continue reading (Video 39) Top Tips for Reliable Dog Training
Cues like "Sit," "Down," etc. are how we ask for behavior (similar to commands but different, as you'll see in this video). Cues are signals that tell the dog that a specific behavior might earn a reinforcer. A cue can be anything the animal can perceive - hand signals, spoken words, random sounds, doorbell, scent, etc. This video will teach you how to add a cue to a behavior that your dog is already performing, as well as transfer from an old cue to a new cue. Watch my 4 Ways to Get Behavior video to teach them to do a behavior in the first place.
Continue reading (Video 38) This Means That: How to To Add a Cue to Behavior
Positive reinforcement is very effective, but how do you get the dog to do something that you can reinforce in the first place? One outdated option is to just force the dog into the position, like picking up the paw or pushing the dog into a sit. It 'works' but there is an emotional cost when you force behavior instead of setting up a situation where the animal will offer it. Fortunately, humans are pretty smart and have developed much more empowering ways to get behavior! Watch this video to learn how to use 4 essential ways to get non-verbal animals to offer behavior: shaping, luring, capturing, and modeling/copying.
Continue reading (Video 36) 4 Ways to Get Your Dog to Do a Specific Behavior
Does your dog or cat like the way you play? Are you sure? Each animal has his own preferences about what kind of play is actually fun and which kind is boring or even stressful. In this video, Grisha gives some tips on how to play with dogs other animals, how to know they are enjoying the games, what kind of play to avoid, and how to use play in training.
Continue reading (Video 28) Play With Me! How & Why To Play With Your Pet
Does your dog do things for the dog trainer but not for you? Part of the problem may be timing. For example, if you treat too early or late, your dog may be confused or could even be learning a behavior you didn't mean to train. This video goes over some essential tips on timing, to make you a more efficient animal trainer.
Continue reading (Video 35) Efficient Dog Training: How to Save Time with Good Timing
Do you need help with grooming, vet care, or teaching your dog to be comfortable with touch? We can create a positive association using basic classical conditioning, but we can take that a step further to give the animal more control. The More Please Signal is a way for animals to cooperate in their own training and care. It's a very important concept for dogs, cats, and all other species, so please watch this video!
Continue reading (Video 33) The More Please Signal Will Change Your Pet’s Life
"You have to enable and empower people to make decisions independent of you. As I've learned, each person on a team is an extension of your leadership; if they feel empowered by you they will magnify your power to lead." -Tom Ridge
There are two opposite forces that inspire behavior: attraction (I want) and repulsion (I don’t want). I like thinking of these as physical forces, like gravity or what happens when you bring two magnets together in different ways. One way pulls them together in a very strong bond. The other way pushes them strongly apart.
If you had one magnet and wanted to move the other one around without touching the second magnet, how would you do it? You can move the second magnet around very reliably if you use attraction. You can still move the magnet with repulsion, but pushing is less efficient than pulling, and sometimes shoves it in unpredictable directions.
Let’s go back to animals. By attraction, I mean that the animal is inspired to do the behavior. For example, there’s a smell across the room, so the dog walks over to investigate. The smell pulls him over. Or you ask the dog to sit and he does so because he has a history of getting treats for sitting. By sitting, he moves toward the opportunity to get a treat. It’s like the treat pulled him into sitting, so that’s why I call this attraction. Continue reading Animal Magnetism: Is Your Training Attracting or Repelling?
Modern animal training techniques focus on helping animals WANT to work with us. This type of training can efficiently teach "dog obedience" type behaviors, set boundaries, and change problem behavior. But it also helps create two-way communication and meet the animal's needs. This video shows the power of the modern training techniques used in the Building Blocks Academy.
Continue reading (Video 01) What is Modern Dog Training?
In old-fashioned training, problems are blamed on the animal being too dominant. Ironically, the problem is not that they have too much control over us, but rather, they do not have enough control over their own safety and wellbeing. In this video, Grisha explains what empowerment means, and why empowered animal training is so helpful for problem solving.
Continue reading (Video 02) Empowerment: How to Build Cooperation and Trust
Boundaries define personal dignity and integrity. They are rules about what we can and cannot accept. Boundaries define ways that we feel comfortable interacting, how we want to be spoken to or touched. This video explores ways to set boundaries with and for your pets.
Continue reading (Video 23) How to Set Boundaries for Animal Care
With some notable exceptions, pet training is getting more and more humane over time. That's why the more you learn about dog training, the more conflicting advice you seem to get! This video discusses the Humane Hierarchy and other useful ways to sort through fact and fiction.
Continue reading (Video 22) What’s Really True? How to Handle Conflicting Advice
In this video Grisha gives some simple ways to squeeze training into your day, so that your dog can have a lifetime of good care. As usual, this advice goes for training cats and other animals in your home too!
Continue reading (Video 21) Homework Again? Pet Training for Busy People
Dogs greeting on leash have more chance of aggression, fear, and other problems. Grisha will help you decide when your dog should greet another dog on leash and teach you how to manage greetings safely.
Continue reading (Video 15) How (and Whether) to Let Dogs Greet on Leash
Dogs and many other furred and feathered animals are fun to pet! That doesn't mean they like us touching them the way we are doing it - if at all! In this video, Grisha goes through how to greet animals in a way that makes them feel more safe and happy.
Continue reading (Video 13) Watch This Before Petting Another Animal!
Most dog 'behavior problems' are really just an attempt to meet needs. This video explains 7 important needs that all animals share. Learn them for the sake of your dog (or cat, child, etc.) - and the sanity of your home!
Continue reading (Video 07) Your Dog’s Top 7 Needs and Why You Should Care