Some of the Easiest Housebreaking Techniques for Your Dog or Puppy!

housetraining dogHousebreaking or potty training your pup is a must for harmonious living indoors with the family. Eliminating indoors just is not acceptable in human culture and it is up to you as your dog’s care giver to help him understand how to adapt to life in the home. Going potty in the correct place every time is the goal!

Dogs are creatures of habit, and are opportunist they do what works. Helping them do both is key. Set your dog or puppy up to succeed in housebreaking first by using the crate training method. Once your dog is comfortable in using the crate, you can bring that tool into the equation to help prevent indoor potty accidents. Help him create a habit out of going potty in the correct place by creating and sticking to a canine schedule. [Read more…]


Beginning Steps To Crate Train Your Canine

crate train dogA crate is a tool. You can transport your dog in one, he may wait in one while at the groomer’s and it’s useful in basic house training. Before you can begin to use it, however, your dog or puppy must first be trained to use the crate. He may sleep in it, wait in it for you to come home from work, and even have his meals in the crate. He won’t learn to use it on his own, and it’s up to you to help him learn to love the crate!

First Steps

Your dog or puppy must first be comfortable going into and staying in his crate before you can confine him to it for any length of time. Give him a few moments to check out the crate with the door open before you engage him in any training sessions. Once your dog has had the chance to investigate the crate on his own, toss a treat just inside the door. If you use a clicker during training, click when he retrieves the treat. Otherwise, give a “Yep!” or “Yes!” when he sticks his head in the crate to get the yummy treat. [Read more…]


Is a dog walking out in front a sign of a dominant dog?

dominant dogIs it a sign of a dominant dog?

TY for your honest participation and answer. When looking at behavior all professionals will look to science for the best answer as of today. What I would suggest is asking how would this make the dog boss? Did someone ask the dog: “Hey why you walking in front” “me boss”….

Joking aside but it is the truth nobody will ever know what a dog is thinking! We as humans are in a cultural fog thinking that dogs are trying to rule over us humans. Which will always come to the one term/label and that will be dominance or alpha!

To keep this short dominance is used in the wrong context by many humans and some professionals.

No scientific proof of a dog walking in front means they think they are boss!

Cat and dogs looking up


There are two types of behaviors: respondent and operant

dog eyesRespondent (another name is classical conditioning) and Operant which roughly corresponds to involuntary/innate behavior vs voluntary/learned behavior.

Respondent Behavior include simple reflexes such as Jumping to a loud noise ie. startle reflex. There is also an element of respondent behavior in certain inherited species typical behavior sequences called MODAL ACTION PATTERNS “used to be referred to as Fixed Action Patterns” eg. nest building onset by seasonal changes. (science proved these behaviors change once they hit the environment).

To be automatically elicited , respondent behaviors depend on particular events that occur immediately before a behavior, namely antecedent triggers. This respondent behaviors are described as stimulus – response S-R relations. Another way to refer to this response is a CER – conditioned emotional response

Operant Behaviors: Depend on consequences. Particular events that immediately follow a behavior.

R-S response – stimulus   (ask dog to sit- dog sits and gets reinforced by handler)

Respondent behavior”reflexes” is unaffected by consequences. 



training in a club of canine obedience Hypothetical constructs – constructs are a particular kind of label that goes beyond simple description of observable behaviors into the realm of hypothetical (one would say pseudo – science) explanations for why an animal behaves as it does.

The cause of behavior is found in CONTEXTS, not in animals. There are always conditions on which behavior depends. Therefore changing conditions changes behavior.

A concept “construct/label” cannot cause behavior because it has no tangible form. Cannot be measured. 



two happy golden retriever dogs playing outdoors in autumn with fallen leavesIn Applied Animal Behavior : behavior is defined as what an animal does under certain conditions that can be observed. Behavior can be overt – publicly observable eg chewing , scratching , running. Behavior can also be covert: privately observable to only the individual doing the behavior such as thinking and feeling. We can’t verify anyone’s thoughts or private events. Thus the main focus of ABA (analysis) is overt behavior and environmental change.

Behavior is always related to conditions.


Bribery vs Reward in Dog Training

Many humans have this idea when using food to train is often associated with bribery. The truth is dogs do what works. Therefore if using food gets them to do what you want, then I can not see why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement (premack theory).

Every moment you spend with your dog is a learning opportunity, so in reality, we probably don’t use food often as we think except during active training sessions. Ask yourselves, why does my dog continue to follow me? Because you reinforce him with praise, petting, food, walks and play. Always remember, that behavior should produce the food (reinforcer); the food (reinforcer) should not produce the behavior.

Vinny Olito CPDT-KA, CCDT
LLA cert of excellence
BAT cert of attendance

Basset Hound, Hound, Dog.


Handler & Dog Settling Together – “Let’s Relax”

This is an important exercise for relationship building in addition to getting handler and dog to settle/relax more. In our industry it is no secret that we shape dogs to relax in a down for impulse control and frustration tolerance. In our experience many dogs that have high energy or suffer with anxiety have a hard time to settle and relax. Therefore we use protocols such as shaping calmness to help a dog relax through his own choice and can be by a handlers cue “Let’s Relax”. 
[Read more…]


Canine Emotions and Hormones

Emotions and Hormones

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine also helps regulate movement and emotional responses, and it enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them. Makes dogs and primates happy , excited, motivated , and fuels learning.
Anticipation releases most dopamine in the system.

Oxytocin is a powerful hormone. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up. It also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in pair bonding. Prairie voles, one of nature’s most monogamous species, produce oxytocin in spades. This hormone is also greatly stimulated during sex, birth, breast feeding—the list goes on.

Cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. The fight-or-flight mechanism is part of the general adaptation syndrome defined in 1936 by Canadian biochemist Hans Selye of McGill University in Montreal. He pubished his revolutionary findings in a simple seventy-four line article in Nature, in which he defined two types of “stress”: eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).

Serotonin; What It is and Why It’s Important for Weight Loss
(ref) Judith J. Wurtman, Ph.D. on August 5, 2010 – 2:38pm

Serotonin is nature’s own appetite suppressant. This powerful brain chemical curbs cravings and shuts off appetite. It makes you feel satisfied even if your stomach is not full. The result is eating less and losing weight.
A natural mood regulator, serotonin makes you feel emotionally stable, less anxious, more tranquil and even more focused and energetic. Reduces anger , fear , and tension. This calms the brain so it does not get out of control and balances reactions.
Serotonin can be made only after sweet or starchy carbohydrates are eaten.

Tryptophan becomes serotonin:
Food containing large amount of tryptophan – banana (chips) , turkey meat, ground pumpkin seeds , brown rice , soya protein B-50 vitamin complex.

Synapses and nerve impulses– some nerve cells contain noradrenaline , which stimulates brain activity. Other nerve cells contain serotonin , which inhibits or slows down brain activity.
Noradrenaline and serotonin work against each other to create balance required for an optimum reaction in different situations “stress” adapt to change. Traumatic experience especially in critical stage throws this of balance activity in noradrenaline is said to be more dominant and little happens in cells influenced by serotonin.

Vinny Olito


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