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When I was studying engineering in college, there was a common "joke" in physics classes about how the Earth was a perfect sphere. When we did physics calculations, we had to make some assumptions and simplify things in order to do the math. We had to make some assumptions and simplify things in order to do the math. So we would treat the Earth as a perfect sphere (not lumpy and oddly shaped) and pretend that the universe was full of perfectly round and controlled things. But we knew that these calculations relied on a fundamentally flawed version of things, because the Earth is not a Perfect Sphere. Reality is not the same as the ideal world we used for our math.

When we are working with our dogs, we often forget that the Earth is Not a Perfect Sphere. But we often try to fit things into that ideal mold.

Take dog reactivity, for example. In a Perfect Sphere world, we would limit our dog’s exposure to other dogs, and keep our dog under threshold 100% of the time. Well, if we live in an apartment building in a busy neighborhood, there’s a high probability that we can’t...


Dog Training Is For Everyone.

When I worked in sheltering, I saw many of the same types of dogs come in (and often get stuck). Some of them had already bitten someone, or did poorly around other dogs, or were perpetually fearful or amped up and desperate for attention through “naughtiness.” And while there’s always a genetic component to behavior, and we occasionally saw dogs who were somehow “off” behaviorally.... I kept coming back to the same questions.

  • What if that dog had gone to a puppy socialization class when he was 8 weeks old? Would he have learned that other dogs were safe, and not threatening? Would he have learned that sitting would get him attention, and he didn’t need to jump and tug at sleeves?
  • What if that dog had gotten access to a qualified, professional dog trainer/behavior specialist before things got bad? Would her family have learned to respect her stress signals, before she bit someone? Would she have learned to be comfortable walking on leash without reacting to every other...