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By Published On: July 19th, 2020

In May in Vermont I am presenting two seminars. Understanding fear-based behavior in dogs, is one I am most often invited to present at different venues. It hasn’t changed much over the years and that should be attributed to the fact that nothing new about behavior, since I first created the presentation, has changed. The new information we have about brains and neuroscience does not indicate that anything needs to be changed, indeed it confirms what is in the presentation. The content applies to dogs who are fearful and run, hide or bite. If you have any questions or concerns about the best way to work with fear based behaviors in dogs, this seminar should be on your list.

The other seminar will focus more generally on behavior. My friend and fellow trainer, Sara Matters is hosting me at her training facility and sanctuary. She and I have been going back and forth about what this seminar should be called. Behavior Basics & Beyond? Beyond the Basics? On one hand we want folks to know this is not another seminar about ‘the quadrants’. But the question was, what are the basics and should we assume that trainers actually understand them? I am of the belief that most trainers do not have enough of an understanding of the basics to be safe, efficient and ethical trainers for dogs exhibiting extremely challenging behaviors. There are some great trainers out there who get a variety of useful and recreational behaviors, but who are not prepared to take on the tougher cases where fearful or aggressive behaviors are routinely displayed.

With more and better information I believe we can get competent trainers into communities so at-risk dogs have a better chance of becoming successful pets. Among the basics is the concept that behavior is controlled by the environment. When trainers have a more than superficial understanding of this, it fundamentally changes their approach to training. It changes how we think about an animal’s behavior. The environment controls behavior. There are two environments. One is outside the animal, the other inside. Both play a part in controlling behavior.

Let this percolate in your brain a bit. Do some reading on it. Let me know the dots it leads you to connect. Leave a comment or tell me directly at the Upper Way Farm in Brattleboro Vermont May 16 & 17, 2020. 


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