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Blog — Holistic Dog Training

The Attention Diet: 7 Reasons to Ignore Your Dog

The Attention Diet: 7 Reasons to Ignore Your Dog

I currently have my dogs on an "attention diet." That means "no touch, no talk, no eye contact," as Cesar Millan would say (and I promise you, this is both the first and last time I will ever quote Cesar!). Why do my dogs need an attention diet? Well, they've received way too much attention indoors, been completely anthropomorphized, overstimulated, over-pet, overly coo-ed to, and in a fairly co-dependent relationship with me for most of their lives. It's only day two and so far, so good. I've been able to practically go "cold turkey" and my dogs are snoring soundly while...


How to Tell if Your Dog is Socially Engaged

How to Tell if Your Dog is Socially Engaged

Dogs are like humans in many ways, including their biology. An important biological element that we share is the 10th cranial nerve, also known as the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve connects the brain to the body and helps regulate the autonomic nervous system in both humans and dogs. When all is going well our ventral vagus is in charge, and we have feelings of safety and comfort. Our breathing and movements are easy and joyful. We are in a state of flow, showing playful behavior while interacting with others. When we start to sense fear or perceive danger, this system also helps...


Crate Training Your Puppy

Leah Lykos

Tags Holistic Dog Training, training

Crate Training Your Puppy

I wanted to share with you some of my recommendations for crate training a puppy. Many people have an aversion to using a crate with their dog because they think it's cruel to put him in a "cage." The first thing you have to wrap your head around is that dogs are den animals, and a crate for a dog is analogous to a bedroom for a human. Try searching Google images of "wolf den" and you will see that they often hang out in little dirt holes. It is safe, it is comforting, and it is their home. Instead...


There's No Such Thing as Negative and Positive "Reinforcement"

There's No Such Thing as Negative and Positive "Reinforcement"

Whether you use punishment or reward, the end result is always a strengthening of the targeted behavior. To very easily understand this concept, lets look at the definition of reinforcement (as given by Google): re·in·force·ment ˌrēinˈfôrsmənt/ noun the action or process of reinforcing or strengthening. synonyms: augmentation, increase, supplementing, boosting, topping up "reinforcement of the bomber force" the process of encouraging or establishing a belief or pattern of behavior, especially by encouragement or reward. And thanks to my highschool English teacher, Mr. Deblois, I can see that the different parts of this word (re-in-force) literally translate to: "put force back...


Emotional Grounding vs. Mental Stimulation

Emotional Grounding vs. Mental Stimulation

I recently saw an article stating that the reason a dog acts out is because he is bored and needs more mental stimulation (7 Signs Your Dog Needs More Mental Stimulation). What's more likely to be true is that your dog is already over-stimulated and this is why he's acting out. What our dogs need today is more emotional grounding and less mental stimulation. Think about it, there's no such thing as being over-grounded, because emotional grounding is always good. But there is such a thing as being over-stimulated. We all get over-stimulated when we have too much mental activity and not...