Trying to Help Your Dog Communicate by Teaching Your Dog ESL

Excerpt From The Evolution of Dog Training by Shannon Riley-Coyner One of the best ways to start helping your dog deal with fearful or stressful situations is to begin communicating by teaching them English as a second language (ESL). ESL was originally used in education as a method to help people from foreign countries to learn English. Because dogs communicate primarily through body language and humans primarily use verbal language, we must essentially teach dogs a new way to listen. When we teach our dogs to understand verbal cues, we can begin to tell them how we want them to act in different situations. This eliminates the need to force them to behave. I have also found that when humans think about teaching their dog ESL, it forces us to spend more time focusing on how the dogs are learning and interpreting our actions. As a result, we automatically become more empathetic and more understanding. How Do We Teach ESL to Dogs to Help With Stress? Learn to Listen to Your Dog’s Body Language The first step to teaching your dog ESL, to start opening lines of communication with your dog, is by reading dog body language; learning basic [...]

By |2021-02-17T21:32:12+00:00February 17th, 2021|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Giving Animals the Benefit of the Doubt

No matter how many studies we do or how much we analyze our animals, the reality is we don’t really know what they are thinking.  Although studies and observation have helped us recognize body language that seems to represent emotions and communications, if we are honest with ourselves, we still don’t know what is going through our animal’s minds.  Just like I don’t “know” what other people are thinking when we see them on the street.  Of course, if we see someone sobbing, we will assume the person is sad or if we see another person laughing, we will assume that that person is happy, but do we really know what they are thinking if we don’t ask?  We have all heard the expression, “when we assume, we make an ass of u and me” so why do we assume with animals? […]

By |2021-01-29T02:07:41+00:00November 20th, 2019|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

The Unheard Cries of a Traditionally Trained Dog

If you have been following me at all you know that I use positive, force free training techniques when I am teaching a dog.  You may or may not know that I also wrote a book called “The Evolution of Dog Training”.  The main reason I wrote the book was because I am passionate about changing the culture of dog training.  In the book, I explain how dog training has changed and evolved over the years from aversive, punishment-based training to a more positive, less stressful way to train.  Although traditional training has been around for over 100 years, we learned over 20 years ago that positive training is both psychologically and emotionally better for dogs. Unfortunately, there are still many trainers that use traditional training techniques.  What is even worse is that some of these trainers do not have any type of real education to train dogs and because there is no licensing for dog trainers, they can call themselves dog trainers. […]

By |2021-01-29T02:14:01+00:00October 9th, 2019|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

The Service Dog Crisis

In 1975 Canine Companions for Independence was established as the first service dog-training program in the United States.  These dogs were highly trained by professional trainers to help people with disabilities.  These dogs are bred to be service dogs, begin training as puppies and are trained until they are about 2 years of age.  Even though these dogs are bred to have the right temperament and get consistent training, just over half actually become service dogs.  Because becoming a service dog is such a specialized skill, many dogs that are bred specifically to become service dogs do not actually become service dogs.  In my opinion, becoming a service dog is like becoming an Olympic athlete.  Just like an Olympic athlete, these dogs must have the natural ability, temperament and personality to become a service dog.  In addition, they must go above and beyond with their training and practice, far more than a pet dog would experience. […]

By |2021-01-29T02:17:14+00:00September 17th, 2019|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Puppies vs Newborn Humans

Anytime I counsel a client about whether they should get a puppy or rescue an adult dog, I always compare the puppy to a newborn. This clear comparison helps people realize how much work a puppy actually is and can help them determine what is best for their lifestyle. […]

By |2021-01-29T02:02:59+00:00August 15th, 2019|Blog of the Month|0 Comments

Why Dog Training Can be Difficult

I often say that dog training is simple, but not easy. One of the main reasons this is true is because any kind of change can be difficult. When we are training our dog (or any animal), we are asking them to change their behavior. However, the reality is that the trainer has to change their behavior in order to see a behavior change in their dog. As Albert Einstein so wisely said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” If your attempt to train your dog is not working, or you’re struggling to train the behaviors you would like, you likely need to change your technique. […]

By |2021-01-29T02:19:56+00:00July 10th, 2019|Blog of the Month|0 Comments


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