Dr Smith Holistic Petcare

Home » ABCs of Learning (Page 3)

Category Archives: ABCs of Learning

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

perception, illusion and reality

Great talk about why we struggle to allow into our world, new information when, “we know what we know”.

Takes about 15 minutes to watch this video about how we and creatures map reality.

TED | TEDx | Event Detail.

Applies to pet owners because many problem behaviors that happen in the average home are based on the principles revealed in this TED talk. Basically, our prior learning results in ideas and remembered brain images, about a subject within our world. These image-ideas can interfere with seeing what is really happening. Our brains are constantly editing out information that is in the environment, so that we  only pay attention to what is judged important. This is a brain based shortcut for daily living. Obviously, we don’t take as long to do activities of daily life compared to when we first  learned them.  This is the result of editing out any information that is not important to the task. How does this interfere with learning as life goes on? We create a very detailed map of the world as we acquire experiences. This map is brought out of our memory as we go through our day. Visual maps, hearing maps, feeling and movement maps and even thinking and emotional maps. There is even an area of the brain dedicated to making us feel certain about our maps. Even though we know that maps are only a guide, as we gain repeated experiences we begin to feel certain that our personal map is the same as reality. This is how phobias are formed and knowing that repeating experiences creates a new map is also how phobias are treated effectively.

Hopefully by now, someone has taken a photo or video of you that  demonstrates that what you remember can be very wrong. Yet we are stuck with feelings of certainty about how we see the reality around us. Luckily neuroscience is pointing out that each persons and each species only perceives a small portion of the world.

Let me explain how this applies to animal training. First, the experience of eye sight, hearing, feeling sensations, smells and second how this information is identified by the brain is very different between us and our animal companions. Many of the difficulties, that happen within human-animal households, can be traced to these facts. We do not see, feel, smell, hear, experience the same World. Modern pet training differs from, the older, so called “Leader of the Pack” beliefs, by applying what has been learned through 200 years scientific study of how animals  really experience their world.  More importantly, modern science applies the two principles: one –  what can be measured can be improved and two – what we know today is just a map of reality so learning never ends.

It is essential to document training ideas, methods and results in ways that can be objectively measured.  Renowned Innovators and Entrepreneurs  know that accepted thinking gets in the way of discovery. They also know the importance of measuring results. So as you train your animals I suggest that we all; test ideas, document objectively, retest, retest and have someone else look over your methods and results.

Once one realizes that accepted ideas can get in the way of seeing reality this is the best we can do, for now…..

Great Thorough article Dog whispering in the 21st century

Dog whispering in the 21st century – Seattle Dog Training, Behavior, and Nutrition | Examiner.com.

Pets Boost Social Skills in Kids with Autism – in Neurology, Autism from MedPage Today

This is a nice article about the effect of pets on children. There is a great deal of interest about the benefit of animals in therapy for Human health. I would like to also see studies about the effects on the pet when paired with a human who life is experiencing difficulty.  It is allot to expect of animals to become substitute human therapists i.e. replace the effect of good human to human attention. Are we replacing the effects of “good human social input and bonding” with “animal-human bonding” because we do not  provide the input from a human. I would like to see studies that compare the effect of; a human v.s. an animal as the  giver of attention/time/activity to subjects of these studies. Then we can have a better idea of whether there is an animal specific effect or are we observing the effect of receiving allot of undivided focused attention.


Medical News: Pets Boost Social Skills in Kids with Autism – in Neurology, Autism from MedPage Today.

Patricia McConnell’s website for a wealth of information on behavior and dog training

Dog Training Books, Dog Training, Dog Behavior, Puppy Training | Patricia McConnell.

In case you are looking for books, DVD’s and other educational material on dogs ad behavior, this is Patricia McConnell’s website.

Make Note: Patrica McConnell is now a full time writer, speaker and educator. She no longer sees any individual appointments. She has sold her dog training business to Aimee Moore, an experienced dog trainer and behaviorist in her own right.

The training company called “Dog’s Best Friend” is under her steerage.  Classes and individual appointments are available. Their website is


Food rewards verses Punishment. Which actually works best when it comes to dog training?

Well, DR Ian Dunbar recently discusses this whole issue. His approach  to dog training has been to study popular methods and based on scientific testing find out what actually works better, faster and results in a more reliable dog. In the end as he tells us that neither method is the best way.  Well, listen to the video for what what I like to think of as the third way of dog training.

★☞ Dog Breed Selector Quiz SelectSmart.com

★☞ Dog Breed Selector Quiz SelectSmart.com.

Fun and informative site to help you pick the right breed of dog for you.

Is there a good website to find a puppy. Yes and No

It is buyer be aware when it comes to buying puppies or kittens. I highly recommend this website http://pupquest.org/index.php, that can answer all your questions and more.

Buying a puppy or Kitten that will become a member of the family for 10 up to 18 years is a big commitment of your energy, money and most important love and personal time.  Many pets are purchased on a whim or as a present for someone else. Two to four months after Christmas is when animal shelters and humane societies begin to fill up with pet adoptions that fail.

The wise and loving approach to choosing a pet begins with becoming informed about the pros and cons of pet ownership and the breeds you are looking at to adopt. Survey’s show that most pets are chosen by how they look alone, with little consideration of how they act, how much time, attention, and exercise they need, and personality. When successful, the family pet develops a wonderful relationship with the family members which can enrich our lives.  I recommend reading the pupquest website  chapters and the ebook “before you get your puppy” by Dr. Ian Dunbar before you select  “the one”  for  this important relationship.


Happy dog training

When Your Dog Reads Your Subtle Cues | Psychology Today

This is an excellent article about the complexity of the “Human – Dog interaction”. Good information for advanced trainers and owners a-like. When you have the feeling that the dog has “taken over” the training, is “mind reading”, or “Tried & True Methods” stop working with a particular dog. The Dog may not be stubborn, or status seeking, or many other labels we assign when the Dog does not respond as we expect. Follow the link below to read more.

When Your Dog Reads Your Subtle Cues | Psychology Today.

What do you do if you are given out cues unintentionally that the dog has learned to read and follow.

1. Return to the present moment.

A. Stop and Breath- usually it takes a full 6 relaxing breaths for are attention to return to the present.

B. Think about what you are doing in the moment with the dog. People are notorious planners & multi-taskers, which can confuse a dog that is reading your subtle cues. We will unconsciously begin to change our attention, body position general mental and eye attention, as soon as we think about the next move, often before we have finished with the last move. Dogs are experts at reading these subtle changes. It is what makes them good hunters of prey, reading where or how the prey will travel before it moves.

Often dog training is repetitive, while at the same time, needs intense focus on the Dog the entire training episode. I noticed my 6 year old neighbor had trained my 6 month old puppy not to jump on her in a few seconds, and then on to more behaviors.   She was completely focused on the dog and the dog on her.  In reality most of us get bored, repeating the sit command and waiting for the dog to comply for the 20th time, our minds wander. The dog will pick up our loss of focus  and look around to find out what we are attending to0, instead of them. When this happens in training the events unfold as;  the dog was doing well, following, executing and focused on you. Without a reason the dog begins to look away and not pay attention to your cues and fail at the task.. Well, a dog that is able to read your cues is looking  for where the trainer’s focus has gone. Just redirect yourself and the dog, shorten your training sessions. In the home with puppies, I prefer 2-5 minute mini-sessions, with  10 -15 minutes breaks for the dog to play or to practice waiting. When doing longer training make the sessions fun for the dog and you so it is easier to stay focused.

C. Take a break for you and the dog.

D. Access whether to continue or to stop the training session. If the dog is tired, upset, bored, or ill stop.

E. If you want to continue with the dog it is OK to have unstructured time together. The dog is learning through this interaction as well. How to hang out with their humans.

2. Another common reason the dog looks away happens when the trainer becomes frustrated, and focuses at the dog with emotion-charged dominant postures and staring at the dog.  The “look away” by the dog is behavior language that “they acknowledge you as dominant” plus signal their “submission” by first “looking away”, then a “head turn away” and finally “whole body turned side-ways” to the trainer. When this happens stop training, give the dog something easy to do and end the session on a positive note.

For More on this subject go to: Do Dogs Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves? | Psychology Today.

3. Follow up when training  gets off track:

A good practice that excellent Dog trainers, as well as  leaders of people, employ when something is not going well is  a quick self assessment. They will note the details of what they were doing and what caused your  reactions. I.e. The time of day, length of  the session, something else is on your mind, even simply distracting body pain or fatigue. Good trainers develop a habit of self assessment, without self judgement so that all elements of a training session can be adjusted to the situation and the dog. I believe that this skill is one of those that contribute to  the “art” of  the Science and Art of Modern dog training.

Happy training

Dr Smith

using gentle leader with training in emergency situations with aggressive dog | drsophiayin.com – YouTube

PodeesAggression (Narrated) | drsophiayin.com – YouTube.

Teach Sit, look at me, loose leash and Love to Leave It | drsophiayin.com – YouTube

Love to Leave It | drsophiayin.com – YouTube.

%d bloggers like this: