Jeff Stallings, CPDT/KA
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
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 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.
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.
Reward-based training is scientifically proven to more quickly train dogs to learn desirable behaviors. Treats are your dog's paycheck, not a bribe!
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.
Naturally fearful puppies and dogs can often learn to be more confident through controlled exposure and a program of desensitization and counter-conditioning.
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.
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.
Indoor puppy socials are a crucial component of a well thought out socialization plan, forming the cornerstone of future social interactions with other dogs.
Properly introduced and used, head collars can help tremendously with your dog’s leash walking and in some cases, leash reactivity.
Some cohabitating sibling puppies develop littermate syndrome because their deep bond interferes with normal socialization to other dogs and to people.
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 clearly communicates to a stressed, potentially reactive dog that he is free to NOT move closer to or interact with a houseguest.
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.
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.
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 is thousands of times more sensitive than yours and as important to understanding the world as vision is to you.
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…