Taking the Lead
News and information about
dog training, understanding
dog behavior, and more.

February 2020
"One reason a dog is such a lovable creature is his tail wags instead of his tongue."

The Smell of Freedom
By Pat Blocker, CPDT-KA

I recently saw a cartoon depicting a man walking a dog, but they weren’t walking. The dog was frozen at the end of the lead intently sniffing. The cartoon was captioned, “SNIFFARI: A short walk turned into a grueling interminable trek by a hound intent on sniffing at absolutely EVERYTHING.” 1
I chuckled knowingly, but was saddened to think anyone might actually feel this way about walking a dog. In fact, I never say I’m walking my dogs. I say I’m walking with my dogs. The cartoon reflects our failure to recognize that dogs and humans experience walks differently. Humans perceive our world primarily through sight. Dogs “see” their world with their noses. It’s sad to observe someone jerking their dog’s leash, saying, “C’mon!” every time the dog stops to sniff. Dogs collect olfactory information with their noses like we gather information from reading. Imagine someone stopping you every 2 seconds saying, “C’mon” as you read this article.  

Study Outlines Reasons to Ban Electronic Collars for Dogs

By Zazie Todd PhD

Last year, a position statement from the European College of Veterinary Clinical Ethology argued against the use of electronic collars in dog training and for a Europe-wide ban on their sale and use. Now an article in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour by Dr. Sylvia Masson et al explains the reasons behind their position that electronic shock collars should not be used.

When people use electronic shock collars, it is typically as positive punishment to punish a dog for an unwanted behaviour. They are also sometimes used as negative reinforcement by applying the shock until the dog does the behaviour that is wanted. These days many electronic collars have a time limit on the application of shock, making it less likely they are used as negative reinforcement.
"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
--Groucho Marx

Recommended Reading From the Peaceful Paws Bookshelf

The Education of Will: Healing a Dog, Facing My Fears, Reclaiming My Life

by Patricia B. McConnell

Bestselling author and internationally renowned animal psychologist and dog trainer Patricia McConnell “gives a voice to those who can’t speak in words and provides hope for fearful animals everywhere” (Temple Grandin) in this powerful and uplifting memoir about healing.

World-renowned as a source of science and soul, Patricia McConnell combines brilliant insights into canine behavior with heartwarming stories of her own dogs and their life on the farm. Now, she reveals that it wasn’t just the dogs who had serious problems. For decades Dr. McConnell secretly grappled with her own guilt and fear, which were rooted in the harrowing traumas of her youth.

Available at your favorite bookseller.
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