The sport of dog agility is a popular activity for many dog enthusiasts. I’ve been around it for 13 years now and I have learned a great deal. But many of my fellow competitors remain a mystery to me. Is it a game for humans or is it a game for dogs? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. But I think the dogs know the difference pretty quickly.
Sometimes our dogs don’t want to do what we ask of them. Sometimes the rewards we offer them are not enough and they turn to “self-rewarding” behaviours. But are those behaviours really self-rewarding? It’s what our dog chooses to do so it must be. But what else is “self-rewarding” behaviour? The answer might surprise you.
Canine Nation is a series of essays about dogs, behaviour, and training. For years I trained my dogs using well-worn methods by the Monks of New Skeet, Barbara Woodhouse, and others. All compulsion based, dominance focused methods that worked well enough until they didn’t. They led us to a dangerous confrontation with our 18-month-old dog Vince. That forced me to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about dogs and training. My 16+ year journey through changing how I live and work with my dogs is reflected in these essays. You can read them at the Life As A Human website. They are the basis for my podcast episodes.
From the Hill is a series of more informal essays on various dog related topics – training, behaviour, professional trainers, social media and more. They are a bit more personal. A bit more rambly. They come from a more philosophical point of view. Just an outlet for my reflective side to come out. They are generally more off-the-cuff thoughts that occur to me from time to time. These essays can be found here under the Writing menu. Just click on “From the Hill” to browse through them.
Guest Authors – From time to time I ask other dog people to allow to post their writings. I am grateful to know some very smart, very insightful people. Some are dog professionals, some are academics, some are dog owners and dog lovers Most are all of the above. I am pleased to have them sharing their thoughts here!