The Dog I've Always Wanted

Canine Behavior, Training and Photography

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Entries Tagged as 'News From the Doggie Daycare'

At the Dog Daycare 1

May 2nd, 2008 · No Comments · News From the Doggie Daycare

I have been spending a fair amount of time at a dog daycare, helping my friend (the owner), playing with the dogs, photographing them, and learning an incredible amount about dog to dog social interaction. This is a fascinating experience for me and I hope to be able to share it with interested people who read this blog.

Socializing dogs is a critical element in the training of a dog who will be able to coexist peaceably with other dogs. Early, positive and varied interactions can give a puppy a huge advantage in social confidence and avoid a variety of difficult problems down the line. In a daycare situation there is usually a fluid mix of dogs with a central core group of regulars. The dynamic aspects of the situation are created by the dogs’ collective need to form a pack by means of which they can formalize and regulate their interactions. So any point at which another dog arrives is a time for readjustment on the part of all the dogs. Anticipating these changes in group dynamics is critical to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere.

Knowing when to intervene and when to let the dogs sort matters out for themselves is a skill that comes with a great deal of observation and experience. Some dogs can be relied upon to have good social judgment while others seem to be less successful. Whether or a not a dog is “good with other dogs” or not seems to be dependent on a number of factors. In the first instance a dog must speak and understand his own language.The dog language is comprised of an assortment of physical signs, gestures, and vocalizations. Poorly socialized puppies often lack basic communication skills; this can get them into a good deal of trouble with other dogs. A dog with bad manners in a dog to dog context will miscommunicate his intentions. It is important for people to learn the dog language and use it themselves if they are to interact intelligently with dogs.

The daycare is for me an amazing laboratory in which I am having the opportunity to study dog communication and hone my own skills in dog speak. I am also photographing a multitude of interactions by this means I hope to develop a fluency in dog.

Dances With Dogs !

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For the Love of a Dog

April 22nd, 2008 · No Comments · Book Reviews, News From the Doggie Daycare

For the Love of a Dog (Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend)” by Patricia McConnell PhD is one of my absolute favourite dog books. It is a book that I return to again and again for practical help in addressing problems and gaining insight.

A quick glance at the bibliography will give the reader some idea of the depth of the author’s understanding of her subject matter and the scope of her research. She synthesizes a vast amount of material and presents it in a lucid and accessible form. Her writing is a pleasure to read. Her vivid use of specific case studies to illustrate various problems and their solutions draws the reader in on a personal level.

A strong proponent of the positive school of dog training McConnell is an associate professor of zoology at the University of Wisconsin and is an Applied Animal Behaviorist. She lives and works on a sheep farm outside Madison. In addition she runs Dog’s Best Friend training school. Patricia McConnell is one of the brightest lights of the positive dog training approach. This book is inspiring and offers the reader insight into, not only the realm of dog emotions but their own as well. A must read for anyone serious about training and understanding dogs. Visit the author’s website at

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