“Our dog is really old. How will we know when it’s time to say Good-bye?”

By |2018-10-15T09:55:50+10:00February 11th, 2018|Death, Human-Animal Bond|

Hi Sarah, Our dog is old. We know the time is coming when we will have to say “goodbye” to her. How do we know when it’s time? Mary H Hi Mary, This is SUCH a difficult question. When is the right time to say “goodbye” to a much loved member of the family? Last April when we were faced with the same decision regarding our 16½ year old Pug, Tyson, I sought similar advice from our vet. Tyson had gone completely deaf, was pretty much blind, and had a fused spine (thanks to weekly Bowen Therapy sessions, he [...]

The Force-Free Movement

By |2017-08-29T08:59:02+10:00August 29th, 2017|Human-Animal Bond, Punishment, Reinforcement|

I get a lot of people asking me about force-free training. Why am I a force-free trainer? How does that differ to other styles? Why don’t I use punishment in training? Wouldn’t it be easier just to give them a good smack or quick correction to “show them who’s boss”? It’s great that people are asking these questions. There is SO much information out there on training dogs and dog behaviour. From the internet to You-Tube, TED talks, online tutorials, breeders, trainers, behaviourists, vets, pet stores, neighbours, friends and other dog owners – the amount of information available is endless. [...]

“Is it possible I love my dog too much?”

By |2018-02-22T10:32:23+10:00February 1st, 2017|Human-Animal Bond|

Hi Sarah, I love my dog! She lives inside with me, sleeps on the bed with me, gets treats and toys and is pretty much my best friend. I was told by my mother-in-law that I spoil her, that I’m ruining her and that she won’t respect me as “pack leader”. Am I loving her too much? Rhonda B Hi Rhonda, You pose a very interesting question, and it’s one that I get asked a lot. To answer your question, let’s break it down. 1. Let’s define “spoiling”. I get a lot of people who say “I know I [...]

How do I let my dog know that I am the pack leader?”

By |2017-08-29T15:23:32+10:00October 27th, 2015|Dominance Myth, Human-Animal Bond|

Dear Sarah, The breeder I got my puppy from told me that I have a dominant puppy and that I need to be careful not to let her dominate me. How do I stop that from happening? Phil F   Hi Phil, Dogs don’t spend their lives trying to “dominate” humans, or to try and get “one-up” on them. While dogs are opportunists (aren’t we all?), they will usually partake in behaviour that works for them. For example – if a dog nudges your hand to get you to pat them, it’s not because they are trying to “dominate” you, [...]

“How do we move on from the death of our beloved pet?”

By |2017-10-04T11:52:44+10:00November 1st, 2014|Death, Dogs & Children, Human-Animal Bond|

Dear Sarah, We recently had to put our old dog to sleep and the kids are devastated. How can we help them move on? Should we get another dog? Peter W   Hi Peter, The death of a family pet, no matter how old they are, can be devastating for the whole family. The fact that the family member just happens to be another species does not make the grief any less intense or real. In some cases, it makes it more so. When a human dies, we hold a funeral. This gives us a chance to honour them, think [...]