The Week In Tweets – 27th March 2013

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.


But before we start: A quick picture of Winnie with two of her three puppies, born last week. (The other one is fine, just camera shy!)

Blue and tan border terrier bitch with a litter of puppies.

Now, on to the tweets!


Tweet of the Week

On Dr Sophia Yin’s blog, “Coprophagia: The scoop on poop eating in dogs“, has one of the most detailed looks at poo-eating in dogs. This is significant as, up until, the answer to ‘why does my dog eat poo?’ has mostly been unknown. The study Dr Sophia Yin looks at at least begins to think about reasons for poo eating. (Interestingly, the study also finds that desexed animals are more likely to poo eat!)

Continue reading


Classical Conditioning in Dogs

‘Classical conditioning’ is a term originally coined by Ivan Pavlov.  This type of conditioning is highly relevant to dog training.

While using dogs to experiment on digestion, Pavlov noticed dogs had what he called “psychic secretion” of saliva, where the dogs seem to know when they were going to be fed and began to salivate.  On further investigation, he found that whenever his lab assistant entered the room, the dogs began to salivate.  Salivation is a reflex, that is, a behaviour outside of the dog’s control, but the dog learnt to exhibit this reflex when associated with an incoming lab assistant.  Pavlov modified his experiment to further examine this phenomena.

Poodle type dog jumping over an agility course jump.

From here, the specifics of classical conditioning (sometimes also called Pavlovian conditioning) became published and well known. Basically, classical conditioning is where a previously neutral thing becomes paired with the reflexes associated with something else.   Continue reading


A Dog’s Purpose

My mum gave me a book: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.. This is not unusual – she often purchases books from op shops and, if she thinks they’re to my tastes, she hands them to me and says “I don’t want it back”.

But this book was different: My mum handed it to me with the instructions, “If you read it and you like it, you can keep it. If you don’t want it anymore, give it back!”

Book, A Dog's Purpose, W. Bruce Cameron

I can understand why. This book was very enjoyable to read, and I would recommend it to any dog lover (or even a mild dog liker).

I think this book would be easy to spoil if too much was said.  All I will say is that it’s about the soul of a dog who is reincarnated into many different dog bodies, each adding to his understanding of his purpose.

It’s simply written and could be enjoyed at all levels – but the older you are, the more this book will make you reconsider the relationship you have with your dogs. Are you allowing your dogs to fulfill their purpose?

And then, for yourself, you may begin to consider your own purpose, and how it compares to a dog.

A thought provoking book, with sprinklings of funny, and really charming (fictional) insights into ‘how a dog thinks’. If you have the chance to read this book, take it! You won’t regret it.

Further reading: A review by PupLove and another by Dog Spelled Forward.


The Week in Tweets – 13th March 2013

This is our (almost) weekly segment where we review the content posted on our Twitter over the course of the week. It’s a long post! So make sure you grab a coffee and prepare yourself for some serious reading.


Tweet of the Week

Really interesting post from Laura from The Dogs Are Really In Charge wrote a fascinating article, with video, on Using Reverse Luring. A completely new concept to me which I was really grateful to learn and read about.

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Teaching Distance Drop (with the food placement method)

It’s a little-known fact that dogs will naturally migrate to where food or rewards occur.  Many trainers don’t take advantage of this tendency, which is unusual, especially considering it’s so simple and easy to achieve quick results with appropriate food placement.

Taking advantage of food placement is particularly relevant when teaching distance behaviours. If you want your dog to perform behaviours at a distance, then your rewards should also take place at a distance.

While I plan to blog in more detail about food placement in training at a later date, I have created a video which illustrates the process in teaching a distance drop with the food placement method alone, using my girl Myrtle.

This is a brief summary of the method: Continue reading