Dog Behaviour Advice

The science of emotions

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Being a great pet owner is to better understand their mind and our own.  One topic hotly debated by owners for centuries is whether our four-legged friends experience emotions. During the 17th century, Descartes (1596-1650) suggested humans were creatures of reason, linked to the mind of God whereas animals were incapable of consciousness and nothing […]

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Poop-eating habits in dogs

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One of the most common problems owners speak to me about is their dog’s habit of eating poop.  Known as coprophagy, this behaviour can be extremely upsetting as even the most tolerant owners find this habit disgusting, making their otherwise affectionate dog repulsive.  Consequently, poop-eating can impact the owner-dog bond. Although there are various theories […]

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Lucy’s Law – proposed ban on puppy and kitten farming

A positive step forward in promoting greater health and welfare for puppies and kittens has been made.  DEFRA announced a consultation on the ‘banning of commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England’.  If this becomes law, it will ban pet stores, dealers and other outlets from selling puppies and kittens at less than […]

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Sizing up the competition via scent

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Urine marking is the canine equivalent of a graffiti artist leaving a tag to mark their territory.  Not only does scent marking serve to cover up scents left by neighbourhood canines, it also provides precious information to others: from when that individual passed by, the animal’s state of health and emotional state to age, gender and […]

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Calming effects of music during animal surgeries

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Over the years, various studies (Wells et al., 2002; Kogan et al., 2012) have illustrated the positive benefits music therapy has on dogs.  Not only can auditory stimulation mask ambient noise that may otherwise trigger vocalisations but classical music, and even the audio-book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia read by […]

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Using ‘baby-talk’ gains attention and supports the human-dog bond

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Data suggest dog owners tend to anthropomorphise their four-legged friends more than cat owners (Dotson et al., 2010).  Indeed, in recent years research has explored dog owners use of ‘baby-talk’ and how they are more likely to cradle their pet much like you would hold an infant (Serpell, 1996), highlighting similarities between the dog-owner relationship […]

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How to tackle jumping up

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One of the most common problems dog owners ask me about at Puppy & Dog School is “How do I stop my dog from jumping up?”  Firstly, jumping forms part of ‘normal’ dog behaviour, typically, produced as part of dog’s greeting ritual.  To understand how to tackle jumping, you need to be aware of the […]

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Don’t be a Jim – NRMs in training

Just as the sound of fingernails running down a blackboard sends tingles down my spine and raises the hair on the back of my head, the words “no” or “ah-ah” during training have a similar effect. Often used to inform the dog it’s got something wrong, in the training world these are referred to as […]

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Podcast: Fixed versus Growth Mindset

With 2017 just around the corner, many of us will be thinking about adopting some New Year’s resolutions.  That’s why I’ve put together this podcast about adopting a growth mind set.  Studies have shown that the brain is ‘elastic’, meaning if you have always been bad at maths you can change this if you get […]

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Dogs know what you’re saying and how you say it

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Scientists have discovered what many owners have long suspected: dogs understand some of what we’re saying. The study, conducted by the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, involved 13 dogs trained to lie motionless in an MRI scanner.  The researchers were looking for brain regions that differentiated between meaningful and meaningless words, or between praising and […]

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