Brilliant dog TV article

ABC TV comes up with some great stuff. Personally, I don’t own a TV, but some dog training contacts told me about the show and I looked it up on their web site:


I’m looking forward to part 2.


Crash Test Doggies!?

I just came across this amazing research and testing site that shows what happens when a car is in a 50km/h collision. They’ve got slow mo’ video of harnesses and crates, and of course the hapless crash test doggies (not real dogs, obviously). Please don’t watch if you are prone to anxiety. 🙂

Centre for Pet Safety

At the moment, very few products will save your large dog, or the people in the dog’s path, in a crash. Even the smaller dogs get damaged not only by being airborne, but by their harnesses snapping or constricting their bodies during the impact. A flying dog is every bit as dangerous as any other cargo.

The testers found that most products that claim some form of testing do not hold up in actual crash testing (nor are there requirements for them to). Crates made of wire buckle and open to throw the dog out, and plastic crates shatter as the dog’s body hurtles through the side. Their only value is that they’ll absolutely stop your dog causing an accident by jumping on you while you are driving.

The products that worked are listed on the site. In all cases, the most important factor seems to be really heavy duty restraints that don’t have slack in them. The harness does not allow the dog to look out the window, and the crate is right up against the back of the cargo bay.

Loose leash walking tips

I will be developing a couple of online dog training courses shortly. One of them will help you through the intensive first stages of this high-level skill. Loose leash walking needs to become your obsession for at least 7 days to develop the skills and transfer them into every day life.

Here’s a great short video from Kikopup with some tips that you may like:

The training terminology dilemma

I read a lot of training information, particularly the science-based operant conditioning stuff. As with many “new” areas of discovery, our language did not come pre-populated with words that fit the new concepts. Old words have been given new, specific meanings in order for the scientists to communicate effectively. Imporant examples are the crucial terms “reinforcement” and “punishment”. They have very different usages in common speech and when discussing operant conditioning.

This poses a big problem when someone tries to explain the science to someone who isn’t in on these secret code words!

The dilemma is in how to handle this issue. A lot of hands-on animal trainers just ignore the discrepancy when talking to their peers, and hope they are understood in light of the context. They may either hope that new people will take the hint, or they dumb down their language and oversimplify. Neither of those sit well with me.

I particularly like Jakk Pankespp’s approach to the use of common words as scientific desriptors.