Jeff Stallings, CPDT/KA
Blog/Articles

My blog posts and articles

These are a selection of articles and blog posts I have written in the past decade or so, some of which link to pieces I contributed to magazines. These posts highlight my philosophy, beliefs and methods regarding dog behavior and training.   Jeff Stallings

Random treat delivery improves dog training more quickly

When training a dog or puppy, random and intermittent treat rewards improve command learning faster than too many treats—or too few. Be your dog's slot machine!

Puppy training and socialization starts the day you adopt

Puppy training starts the day you adopt. The first 18 weeks are the most important for early command training and socialization to other dogs and to people.

Stop unwanted dog behavior with a positive interrupter

A positive interrupter redirects your dog’s attention from an unwanted or destructive behavior to an activity or command you’d rather he be doing.

Treat rewards are your dog’s paycheck for a job well done

Reward-based training is scientifically proven to more quickly train dogs to learn desirable behaviors. Treats are your dog's paycheck, not a bribe!

Via socialization dogs bond to multiple species—including us

The domestic puppy’s unique capacity for socialization to multiple species sets people up for a role that would otherwise be served by their parents.

Helping your fearful puppy become a more confident dog

Naturally fearful puppies and dogs can often learn to be more confident through controlled exposure and a program of desensitization and counter-conditioning.

Meet and get to know your puppy or dog before adopting

While it’s okay to find your next puppy or dog on the Internet, it’s best to spend time with your potential new companion animal before bringing him or her home.

Let sleeping dogs lie: why your dog must feel safe

Feeling safe is more important than even water or food, and if we violate our dogs’ need for safety, we also infringe upon their ability to think and learn.

The semantics of “fixing” problem dog behaviors

Inventive management may lead to immediate results for some problem dog behaviors, but real change takes kindness, time and patience.

Small dogs need training as much as large dogs

All dogs should at least know the basics: how to sit, lay down, stay and come when called. Small dogs need training just as much as larger dogs.

The importance of puppy socials before full vaccination

Indoor puppy socials are a crucial component of a well thought out socialization plan, forming the cornerstone of future social interactions with other dogs.

Head collars for dogs can help with loose leash walking

Properly introduced and used, head collars can help tremendously with your dog’s leash walking and in some cases, leash reactivity.

The problem with dog training guarantees

Modern dog behavior modification techniques are effective; dog training guarantees are not. Outcomes depend on factors unique to each dog’s circumstances.

Littermate syndrome is a risk when raising sibling puppies

Some cohabitating sibling puppies develop littermate syndrome because their deep bond interferes with normal socialization to other dogs and to people.

Dog breed does not determine behavior or temperament

it is not possible to predict a dog’s temperament based on breed alone because of the high degree of variation within each breed; other factors matter more.

Treat/Retreat: Introducing your reactive dog to houseguests

Treat/Retreat clearly communicates to a stressed, potentially reactive dog that he is free to NOT move closer to or interact with a houseguest.

Marker training: How clickers speed up dog training

Clicker training is about 50% faster for training dogs new commands and behaviors. For basic commands, you’ll just use the clicker for a few sessions.

How to potty train your puppy

Potty training your puppy requires confinement in crate or pen, lots of trips outside, treat rewards for success, and all the patience you can muster.

Addressing separation anxiety in dogs

Separation anxiety is a top reason for owner surrender. Treating separation anxiety in dogs requires a desensitization program and effective management.

Any dog can take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test

The AKC Canine Good Citizen program rewards dogs who have good manners at home and in the community, regardless of whether or not a pure breed.

The poop: Why dogs roll around in dung, carrion and other stinky stuff

The explanation for our dogs rolling in stinky stuff that makes the most evolutionary and adaptive sense is that this ritual is an attempt to disguise the dog’s own scent, a leftover behavior from when our domestic dogs were still wild and hunted for a living.

Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training

It's easy to understand why “positive reinforcement”, a food reward for something you want your dog to learn and repeat, is the best starting point for training. But the terminology and techniques for the other combinations of positive/negative and reinforcement/punishment can be confusing.

Your dog’s nose knows: That amazing canine computer

Your dog's nose is thousands of times more sensitive than yours and as important to understanding the world as vision is to you.

Make training your dog an exciting daily activity

Training your dog is an on-going process, and brief daily training sessions are more effective than longer ones. Make sure training is fun for both of you!

Canine DNA tests are accurate and fascinating

DNA testing for your dog doesn’t change how you train or manage, but the results can be enlightening nonetheless.

Good dogs are made, not born

by Jeff Stallings I realized recently that I find myself more often citing instances of poor dog behavior than good, although I suppose this is natural since my work is largely about training inappropriate behaviors away. So let me take this opportunity to recognize and commend all the really great dogs…

Why you should celebrate your dog’s butt sniffing

Dogs sniff each other’s anal glands to collect important information, including gender and health status. This ritual is nothing to feel ashamed of but rather encouraged!