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Why I Don’t Use Lures to Train Dogs 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr

Many dog trainers use lures to train dogs. Lures are most often food, but they can be toys or even safety. There are multiple reasons to use lures, but the most common motive is to teach new behaviours. I don’t use lures to teach a new behaviour and you will read why in the following paragraphs. 

Lure Definition 
The Oxford dictionary defines lure as something that tempts or is used to tempt a person or animal to do something. The lure can be any primary need such as food, water, safety, sex (yes sex), social contact, thermoregulation (environmental temperatures), etc. In essence, a lure is anything the dog wants. Often times, food is used as a lure. 

Lure Pros & Cons 
The following reasons are not an exhaustive list, but it does convey the main reasons for or against lure training. Furthermore, this is my list and doesn’t represent the entire Dogue Shop students or staff’s reasons to lure or not to lure. For my part, I can honestly say, I’m a lure free trainer. 


- Speed: lures allow dog trainers to capture behaviours faster. 

- Efficacy: lures produce a desired or intended result. 

- Learning: models the dog into a behaviour. 


- Efficacy: unreliable if the lure is not faded out immediately. 

- Learning: doesn’t allow for problem-solving skills to develop. 

- Confusion: lures are cues and rewards at the same time. 

- Generalisation: We can’t lure exotic animals into behaviours. 

Why I Don’t Use Lures to Train Dogs 
Lures can, and often do, become crutches. When lures are not faded out in the initial capturing sequence, they become difficult to eliminate later on in the training process. I know many renowned dog trainers promote the use of lures because it’s easy, and there lies problem number one. I believe luring is lazy training because lures don’t teach dogs how to think and problem solve. Problem number two is the co-dependency, which develops when trainers use lures.

It’s too easy to go back to luring when dogs don’t respond to the cue, and with time, the lures lose their efficacy and behaviour deteriorates. The third problem is found within the definition. The word tempt means to present a desirable stimulus (primary need) to someone (or an animal), but not give it to them in the hopes they exhibit the desired behaviour. The animal might not exhibit the desirable behaviour, thus, the trainer will repeat the lure sequence. 

Problem number four is, to me, the most compelling reason why I don’t use lures. Exotic animals can kill us if we bribe them, and in my practice, if I cannot use a technique with all animal species, then I’m not using it with our dogs. Lure trainers argue dogs are not exotic so we can lure them, it’s easier. It might seem easier (that is totally debatable) or faster, but I prefer to take my time and teach animals how to problem-solve and think for themselves, and that includes dogs. 

Dog Social-Cognitive Learning Theory 
If you think social-cognitive learning is just about imitation, then you do not understand social learning. Learning to learn is the foundation of social-cognitive learning theory, and let me tell you when you learn how to use the theory, your animal will present you with behaviours you never thought were possible. 

Social learning is easier and faster than luring, but to see the process, dog trainers must allow new ideas to take root. The same applies to exotic animals. Wolves that learn how to learn will offer new behaviours faster, their behaviours will be more reliable, and the outcome will be a deepened bond. Finally, social learning requires A1 capturing and shaping skills, which when compared to luring might take a tad longer, but in the end, the animal will outperform a lure trained a dog.


How to Train a Dog to Stay 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT-FLE

The question I am most often asked is how do we teach a dog to stay. It does not matter which behaviour you teach the dog because stay will be trained the same way. It is important to teach stay because it allows us, humans, to manage situations more efficiently. In addition, a solid stay conveys feedback to the dog. So, how do we train a dog to stay at the Dogue Shop? Well, we do it the social-cognitive way of course. 

My dog will not stay 
Dogs are curious animals who love to meet and greet new people, dogs, and pretty much everything else. Dogs love novelty, so the question then becomes why would a dog stay in one position knowing he loves to explore. Exploratory behaviours are a section in the dog ethogram, aka dog dictionary. Without exploration, canines would not find food, mates, shelter, water, etc. so it becomes mandatory to move. If your dogs do not stay, rest assured, they are normal. 

The environment is also a determining factor for the stay behaviour to occur. If distractions are present, the stay behaviour will undoubtedly be difficult to succeed. This is where most pet owners fail: practice. It is important to generalise the behaviour through variable environments at variable times. 

How to train a dog to stay 
I will make it very easy and describe, in the lowest amount of steps possible, how to train stay. For the sake of this article, we will work on the behaviour sit-stay. I chose the sit behaviour because it is the most common behaviour people wish to train. Therefore, here is the recipe to train the perfect dog sit-stay behaviour. 

1. Teach the dog to sit. We wrote how to train sit the social-cognitive way in our past blog article. 
2. Practice the sit behaviour everywhere you can: inside and outside. 
3. Once you have a consistent sit, name the behaviour and practice the command everywhere. 
4. Once you achieve the previous steps, you can address stay
5. Ask the dog to sit, count in your head Mississippi one and reward. If you are a clicker trainer or owner, count Mississippi one click and reward (R+ for short). 
6. Repeat step five, this time count Mississippi one, Mississippi two and reward or R+. 
7. Repeat step six, this time count to Mississippi one, Mississippi two, Mississippi three, Mississippi four and reward or R+. 

In summary, you will repeat step five and double seconds each time. When you hit your dog’s threshold or his maximum length of time he can stay, you will remain on this number till you can push through in seconds. You will push through by increasing one second at a time and then try to double it. If he succeeds, continue with the original number. Here is an example for visual learners. 

Mississippi 1 + R+ 
Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2 + R+ 
Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2, Mississippi 3, Mississippi 4 + R+ 

Fast-forward to 26 seconds. 

On Mississippi 26 the dog stands or moves away. Ask for sit and go back to 24 seconds and R+ for 5 to 10 times. Try 26 seconds again. If he succeeds R+, if he fails, go back to 24 seconds and R+ another 5 to 10 times. When you get to 26 seconds, R+. From here, you will not double time; you will work on 27 seconds, then 29 seconds, and 33 seconds, so on and so forth. 

You will only name the behaviour, in this case, stay, once the dog has reached your target time, say 30 seconds and can exhibit the behaviour 10 times in a row, in 10 different locations, hence, the practice part. It is easy to teach stay the social-cognitive way because the dog will notice your body. 

Sit and stay does not mean move away 
Did you notice the stay plan does not involve you moving away from the dog? If you did, congratulations! If not, here is why. Distance, as it goes, requires the passage of time. If your dog cannot sit and stay in one place, he will likely stand and follow you as you leave him. 

You will only add one of the 3Ds once your dog masters you target stay length ten times in 10 different locations. The 3Ds are duration (stay), distance (you moving away), and distractions (life in general). Start with duration, followed by distance and end with distractions. You can practice inside first and move outside as soon as possible to generalise the behaviour. Remember to only practice one behaviour at a time. People tend to jump the gun and set up their dog for failure, and we would not want that.

My dog can sit and stay 
I hope you will enjoy our nice little DIY sit-stay training plan. If you did or would like precision, leave a comment. We like to read what worked, did not work, or maybe you would like to add to the plan. We are always open to new ideas. 


My Dog Killed My Other Dog  

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT-FLE

The following taboo topic article might come as a surprise for some, but I assure you, dogs who kill other dogs within the same household is common. The reason you most likely have never heard of this phenomena is that people rarely talk about the situation. Today, I want to shed some light on the problem. 

Second Dog Introduction 
When you decide to get a second dog, normally meetings and introduction processes take place before the second dog becomes a fulltime family member. The most common situation for a multiple dog household is dog two (Fido) is younger than dog one (Rex).

When Fido moves in, all is well and a friendship might start to blossom. Both dogs enjoy each other and seem to do everything together. In other cases, Rex and Fido tolerate each other; over time, tolerance turns to annoyance. Dogs will attack other dogs when the oldest becomes vulnerable.

Dog Aggression vs. Dog Attack 
There is a big difference between dog aggression and dog attacks. The former is a very noisy and fasts pace action exchange where two individuals try to settle a conflict. The argument can last weeks before it's finally settled. The latter, on the other hand, is silent and somewhat stationary during the exchange. Fido holds Rex till Rex no longer moves. A dog attack serves to kill the individual. It's a predatory response. In some situations, aggression can turn deadly, but in most cases, conflicts never escalate. 

Multiple Dog Household Deaths 
Pet caregivers will consult when dogs display aggression, especially when an age difference triggers aggressive behaviours. People don't consult for dog attacks because there is rarely any sign of aggression beforehand. When I see aggression cases, people leave with behaviour modification and management exercises to address the problem. Behaviour and training protocols are designed to facilitate peaceful living arrangements.

When a dog has killed another dog, clients consult for aggression because they fear their other pets, or themselves, are at risk. People seek behaviour evaluations to help them determine what happened, and to understand why dogs would do this after five years of friendly cohabitation. Often times there are no behaviour modification or training plans involved because the situation will never present itself again.

Younger dogs like Fido will often kill older, more vulnerable dogs like Rex. From a canine point of view, the kill behaviour is normal. Dogs are opportunistic predators who exploit vulnerabilities. When dogs see injured, sick, juvenile, or otherwise compromised individuals, their predatory brain can tell them to kill. It's not a cognitive process; it's an instinctive behaviour. Humans have tried to breed this out of dogs; unfortunately, most individuals retain their genetic makeup, and when the stars align, dogs die.

Death by Dog 
So far, in my career, I’ve evaluated over two dozen dogs for the death of an older dog within the same household. Clients present the case as a silent, unexpected attack which lasted only a few seconds. People are shocked about the situation and think Fido just turned into Cujo. Fido rarely is a monster; he is simply a dog. The proof is in the pudding: households with more than two dogs lived through the attack, and Fido will most likely never display aggression towards the other canines. 

Most often, the attack occurs when people are in another room or out on a short errand. People will say there was no sound from the attacker. When there is noise, the cries come from Rex; the dog being attacked. The high pitch yelps serve to tell the attacker I am in pain, let me go! A true attack never lasts long; it’s normally over within a few seconds. People never saw it come, or more often than not, people simply could not recognize the subtle signs. Dog language is complex. 

Take Home Message 
Please do not feel guilty about the death of a dog within your household; you didn’t know and couldn’t have prevented the situation. If you do have an injured or compromised dog, make sure you manage the situation and never leave the dogs alone. Separate them when you leave or are in another room.

I recommend you take a dog language class and invite your friends with multiple dog households to join you. Make your experience known, for together we can educate pet caregivers. Talk about the situation with someone or comment below to share your experience and prevent tragic deaths.

I took a counselling class from the veterinary association of Quebec back in 2006 to help clients who were struggling with tragic deaths. If you recently lost a pet and need counselling, please drop me a line. I know how hard it is to lose a furry friend under such tragic events. I also know first hand how difficult it can be when your friends or family are not animal people.


P.S. Please read the comment section below, you will find you are not alone. Plus, I answer in the comments as I cannot answer every request or comment on unfamiliar cases.

Dog Social Learning Boom 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT-FLE

As more and more people discover social cognitive learning theory (SCT), I’m reminded just how slow the dog training and behaviour industry evolve. I practice and teach social learning on a regular basis. Actually, I’ve been writing about SCT for over a decade now. Although people claim social learning is new, rest assured, it’s not. The science of imitation in the form of Do As I Do (DAID) has been around since the 50s. 

Social Learning Brief History 
Once upon time, two scientists by the name of Keith Hayes and Catherine Hayes did a research on a chimpanzee's ability to imitate (Hayes and Hayes, 1952). In their paper, the researches mention their chimp learned the rule of imitation and would copy a signal after the request “Do this”. From then on, the Do As I Do protocol was born. More recently, advances in dog imitation come from Ádám Miklósi’s leading team of researchers, more specifically, Claudia Fugazza (2014, 2015). For those who don't know, Claudia gave a weekend seminar at the Dogue Shop during the summer of 2017.

Social Learning Experience
My experience with SCT via imitation proves to be the fastest, most efficient training approach, and proves to be a wonderful complement to other training methods. Eleven years ago, I foretold my clients and students SCT would revolutionise dog training. It does. Science finally caught up, and we are happy the Dogue Shop school is leading the way. Every other day, Albear and I  work on a special SCT project and will share info once available.

Meanwhile, We use SCT to teach many aspects of behaviour varying from emotional control to cognition, trust, and attachment. Because social learning requires cognition and memory, certain dogs will outperform others. That should not come as a surprise. The environment is also a predictor of learning; therefore, we modify space as needed to facilitate animal learning. 

The side effects to SCT are resilience and fatigue, the good kind. I’ve talked about social learning and resilience in the past, so if you follow my blog you know what I’m talking about. Resilience serves to heighten emotional threshold, which allows dogs to evolve in their environment as best as they possibly can. DAID will help us achieve that prerogative, faster and more efficiently.

Future of Dog Social Learning
Social learning will not replace behaviourism; it will complement it. With my experience, I foresee other learning theories, which will benefit dog training in the next decade, hopefully the sooner the better. People need better human intervention strategies, clients need a less expensive and time consuming training method, and dogs need clarity and direction from people, not commands and reprimands. 

The future of dog training will change in the next ten years, and I’m very excited to see other trainers and schools embark on the social learning bandwagon. Until then, I’ll keep you posted on new learning theories which will undoubtedly change the forthcoming decade. 



- Fugazza, C. (2014). Social learning and imitation in dogs (Canis familiaris). Doctoral Thesis. Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Science Doctoral, Hungary. 

- Fugazza, C. and, Miklósi, Á. (2015). Social learning in dog training: The effectiveness of the Do as I do method compared to shaping/clicker training. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 

- Hayes, K. and Hayes, C. (1952). Imitation in a Home-raised Chimpanzee. Journal of comparative and physiological psychology. Vol. 45, 5.  pp. 450-459 doi: 10.1037/h0053609

Motivating Delinquent Clients 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT-FLE

As the busy season comes to an end, I’m happy to blog again and hear what you have to say. This week, I want to talk about delinquent clients, and by delinquent I’m referring to clients who don’t do their homework. You know, people who says “Yes, we’ll practice”, but each week have an excuse for why they didn’t. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to waste my time, even if it brings in money. So, let's look at the delinquency problem and talk about solutions.

Occurrence of Delinquency 
Delinquency often occurs because training exercises are perceived as too difficult, time consuming, or outright ineffective. From my professional point of view, training exercises might seem simple, but from clients’ perception, they can be hard. Some people start off with a bang only to stop after a week or so because of, well, life. Training stops for a multitude of reasons; however, the most common explanation is motivation. 

Another reason clients become delinquent in regards to training exercises is benefit. What will I gain from conducting such and such practice? The reason might seem obvious; we wish to solve a problem, but do we really? Training is responsible for about 30% of problematic situation; the other 70% has to do with communication and understanding. 

In other words, professionals work with clients to build, or re-build, functional relationships. If, as a professional, you don’t address the relationship, you will fail. Without a true connection, humans eventually stop training their pets. That is an inevitable fact. 

Client Motivation 
There are countless theories which address possible ways to modify and maintain human behaviour which I won't address today; however, you must know human motivation is hard to tap into and even more difficult to maintain. Just think of exercise, nail biting, drinking, smoking, gambling, or any other psychologically or physically destructive behaviour and you’ll see just how hard it is to change human behaviour. At Concordia university, the wellness class which addresses human behaviour change is a 6 credits class given over 2 semesters.

Knowing human behaviour is difficult to change, we can now look at ways to motivate clients. You motivate the client, the client motivates the dog. Sounds easy right? It’s not. We need to tap into delinquent clients' limbic system; these are the same pleasure structures found in dogs' brain. Furthermore, we can motivate clients with the same reinforcers we use with dogs, plus, we can add psychological reinforcers: cognition and social proximity. 

Motivation Method 
First, when you design a training plan, make sure the exercises are broken down into small approximations to facilitate training and learning for both human and dog. Once completed, implement the following ideas to tap into your delinquent clients' motivation. Here’s how it works. 

1. Explain the exercise in all 3 encoding memory types: visual (picture), acoustic (sound), and semantic (meaning). Why: because each person learns differently. 

2. Make sure the client tries the exercise before you part. Why: to set the client up for success and to correct exercise if need be. 

3. Send the client off and ask them to check-in with you 48h later for update. Why: to make client accountable, and to receive verbal praise from the professional. 

4. Send an e-mail or text to check-in. If the client is successful, send a reply filled with emojis celebrating the 3rd or 4th (you pick) day of training. 
          - If the client was unsuccessful, ask why and adjust the training plan to make it easier or shorter. 
          - If the client is feeling overwhelmed, tell them to take a break and celebrate the day off. 
          - Offer a 5min drop-in or stop-by to clarify exercise.

5. Encourage clients to softly pet their dogs while the dog receives reinforcement. Why: social proximity will motivate both human and dog. 

6. Send a tidbit of information relating to the species of dog they have, i.e. “Did you know, Boxers originate from Germany?” or “Did you know, dogs can taste a smell?” Make the client feel smart through camouflaged education. 

7. Send a “massage day” virtual certificate to remind clients to simply massage and enjoy their dog. Why: believe it or not, many clients forget why they actually have a pet. 
          - If it’s sunny, tell them to go out and play, run, or just hang with their dog. 
          - If it’s rainy or cold, tell them to play a social game. 

8. Finally, when clients attend the following session, have a few human treat options already set out: cookies, candy, chips, fruits, granola bars, chees, etc. to celebrate the end of a hard work week. Why: food serves as a reinforcer for people too. 

If you support your clients and they feel you are sensitive to their condition, they will do the work. People who contact us need help, but if you simply address the dog’s problem, you aren’t doing your job. Working with animals means you always work in a triad: trainer, client, dog. 

A professional doesn’t rehabilitate dogs and train humans; a professional teaches human clients how to train their dogs, and we, in turn, reward clients for doing the work. Our job is simple; we change dysfunctional relationships into functional ones through predetermined cognitive exercises destined to enrich both partners' lives. 


Dog Training Profession - Part 4  

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT-FLE

Someone asked me a pertinent question the other day: “Why do some trainers feel they need to dominate, punish, control, choke, or even electrocute* dogs?” The following is my summarised answer. As is the case with most of my articles, I invite you to comment but please leave your egos at the keyboard. 

In Dog Training Profession – Part 3, I discussed different possibilities we could endeavour in order to standardise our profession. The purpose of today’s article is to open the discussion about the dog training profession. How does this piece tie in with the series on dog training? By exploring why we need recognition in the first place. 

The entire question you saw above was in fact a series of questions which went like this: “If trainers love animals, which I believe they do, why do some trainers feel they need to dominate dogs, punish, control, choke, electrocute, or treat them with force and fear? I mean, we know dogs aren’t pack animals, so why treat them like wolves? Why don’t these people pursue their education?” The answer lies within the trainer’s motivation and education. 

Why are some trainers motivated to treat dogs as competitors who should be controlled is a valid question, and concern. Certain groups of dog trainers believe dogs are out to dominate humans; consequently, these disobedient canines require a firm hand in order to put them back into their inferior to human place.
We know dogs aren’t pack animals, we know they don’t strive for world domination, and we unequivocally know dogs don’t need a firm hand. The only motivation which can drive a human to believe an animal, a much smaller animal (well maybe except Great Danes), can and would dominate a human stems from human defence mechanisms: denial, repression, displacement, projection, reaction formation, regression, rationalisation, sublimation, and identification. 

Humans develop defence mechanism in order to avoid emotional pain or control unacceptable inner drives, desires, urges, or feelings. Humans have many defence mechanisms in place, but we’ll stick to projection for now. Humans unconsciously project onto their clients, the domestic dog, for many reasons, but the majority of the time the process evolves either from who we think we are or who we think we should be

Unconsciously, if a person thinks aggression is an unacceptable emotion within them, they project the emotion onto dogs and see the client as aggressive, and aggressive dogs need to be controlled, right? Or, if a person unconsciously believes an aggressive behaviour is a sought out trait, they will view the dog as aggressive, an emotion which needs to be expressed. The best way to insure dogs express aggression is for the person to treat dogs aggressively. Are you still with me? 
Attachment and education greatly contribute to the creation of defence mechanisms. People with insecure type attachments combined with a lack of education (say in dog behaviour and training) will more likely revert to negative and punitive training approaches because they will unconsciously see themselves in their clients’ dogs. 

The only way one can stop the projection is to realise it exists. Once the defence mechanism is discovered, education, and possibly therapy, can contribute to its demise. One has to bring the once unconscious process into the realm of the conscious. To achieve defence mechanism recognition, a skilled professional uses a technique called mirroring. In essence, professionals send triggering emotions back to dog trainers to address motivations for their behaviours. 

Dog trainers don’t use negative training methods and tools because they're bad people. I don’t believe dog trainers wake up one day and think today I’m going to choke or electrocute dogs for a living. I believe most dog trainers simply don’t know their inner-workings are playing them. Plus, we all know dog training isn’t regulated which contributes largely to poor, or lack thereof, education.

Dog Trainer Awareness 
The problem with inadequate education is it’s self-sustaining, AKA self-reinforcing. Let me explain. If dog trainers point out to other dog trainers their techniques are out-dated and wrong, the observation is perceived as an attack which, guess what, triggers the defence mechanism observers are trying to avoid in the first place. By telling or calling out irresponsible, dangerous, or unethical practices, the well intended observers just triggered, and reinforced, the defence mechanism system. Not only have they closed to the door to change, they’ve justified resistance to it. 

Pointing out inadequacies is not mirroring, it’s attacking. To mirror is to show the actual emotion occurring within the animal and let trainers see the truth for themselves. Once perception is achieved, the underlying emotions which motivate the defence mechanism can be challenged. Then, and only then, will we see change in dog training practices. 

Dog Social Learning 
Social learning between humans and dogs will revolutionise the dog training industry because defense mechanisms will no longer interfere with learning. Dog training will be faster and behaviours will become more resistant to extinction. 

The Dogue Shop team strongly believes in social learning and we're proud to have incorporated the learning theory into our practice over ten years ago. I sincerely hope you join us in building a brighter future for our furry friends. If anything, man's best friend deserves that much. 


* E-collars, electric, vibration, citronella, or whichever battery operated device collar used to inflict pain. 

Staffordshires & Bull Terriers Are Just Dogs 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT/FLE

There’s never a dull moment at the Dogue Shop and this week is certainly no exception. Monday I was on Breakfast Television to talk about dog safety. After the show it dawned on me people simply don’t know what a dog is. It shouldn’t come as a surprise since science has only recently started to answer the question. People fear dogs, but is a systematic ban of Terriers going to fix the problem? The only true answer to this question is no! 
Dog 101 
The dog is an opportunistic predator who has shared our homes for many centuries. It’s our companion, alarm system, work partner, soldier, police officer, security guard, service provider, and yes, a weapon, yet most people don't know what dogs can or cannot do. The reason people fear dogs is because they don't understand the animal behind the word.
The dog (Canis familiaris) has 42 teeth in his mouth and an average of 500 pounds per square inch of pressure in his jaw. The American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and Bull Terrier are no exception. Compared to wolves at 1500 pounds per square inch, it’s actually not that much. Terriers don’t have more bite force nor do they have magical jaws that lock. 
All dogs come equipped with a propensity to bite, and when the stars align, they do so equally. Some will say Staffies never let go when they latch on but did you ever consider that the people who are trying to remove the dog are actually making the problem worse. Screaming and hitting a dog will just make it madder. If you don’t believe me just Google Schutzhund training video or click on this link. The dog in this video is a Belgium Malinois. 
Dogs are pretty amazing animals in general, but terriers can work in extreme conditions, pull 1000X their own body weight, jump over fences, leap into the air like planes, and pull down objects in motion, this group of dogs is the epitome of working breeds. But guess what, they didn’t become this way on their own. Lest not forget, humans made dogs. 
Future Dog 
I see more designer dogs and Huskies in my practice than any other breed put together, Staffies included. Designer dogs account for more problems and bites than you are led to believe. But, I’m not here to talk statistics; I’m here to tell you ALL dogs bite. The three most dangerous cases I’ve seen in office involved a Jack Russel, a Colley, and a Bulldog. All three humans required facial reconstruction. 

Our safety and the future of dogs doesn’t reside in lawful bans. Our safety will come from education and legal responsibility. If you think you’ll be safe when Staffies are all gone, you are seriously delusional. I invite you to play the Pit Game and identify which dog is the actual breed you wish to see annihilated. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, ALL DOGS BITE and all dog breeds kill. 
Gun Ban 
For all those pro-kill pitbull people, I invite you to read the following reference list and open your eyes to the reality as it presents itself. All dogs bite and kill, yes ALL DOGS. Need I say it a fourth time for you to understand, the problem mainly resides in the fact that a large percentage of the population has no working knowledge of dog behaviour.

The problem is equivalent to giving loaded guns to people, asking them to play with it and shoot in front of themselves every now and then. Some people will take a weapon handling class before they start randomly shooting at people because they don’t want to kill anybody, while others will just go by luck.

Canadian politicians were smart enough to require a weapon handling classes in order to possess a gun. The same should be asked of dog owners. All dog owners should be required to take a dog handling class. 
Many Prayers 
I know this article comes at a bad time, so I wish to offer my sincerest condolences to the families and friends who lost a loved one in the mass shooting of Orlando late Sunday night. My heart feels for you and hope you find solace from this very painful situation. 

Maybe the time has come for United States politicians to consider gun control, just like we are faced with dog control. These are certainly situations we need to reflect on....
Golden Retriever 
Designer Breeds 
German Sheppard 
French Bulldog 
Dog Breeds and Their Behavior, Chapter · January 2014, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-53994-7_2 
Human directed aggression in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): Occurrence in different contexts and risk factors. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 152 (2014) 52– 63 
Andrew U. Luescher, DVM, PhD, Ilana R. Reisner, DVM, PhD. Canine aggression toward Familiar people: A new look at an old problem. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, Vol. 38, Issue 5. Sep 1, 2008 

Dangerous Dog Act – Project Proposal  

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT/FLE

If we want to make things happen, we have to stand up and make our voice be hear. I’m officially standing up, but I’ll need your voice to be heard. I want to present to you, pet owners, trainers, consultants, vets, vet techs, politicians, pet store owners, and every single person who works with animals a dangerous dog project proposal. 
Dangerous Dogs 
I often hear people say that dogs aren’t the problem, humans are. I disagree because some dogs are dangerous, just like some people are dangerous. Some canines are born with bad genetics and display behavioural problems such as extreme fear or aggression. These dogs should systematically be removed from the breeding pool, and yes some dogs should be euthanized. 
Did I shock you? If I did, here’s why. As a professional, I know exactly how much time and money people have to invest into training their dogs in order to make them socially acceptable. By acceptable I mean capable of walking on the sidewalk without reacting to people or dogs. I’m not talking about a dog who can accept affection or can do dog-dog interactions; I mean simply walk past a person or canine without reacting. 
Project Proposal I 
Education is the best medicine. When people are educated they tend to make better choices because they know they could be held accountable for their actions. So, here’s what I propose. If you have ideas, add them in the comment section.  

1. All dog owners will need to take a basic training course in order to acquire their red city tag. City tags are already mandatory. 

  • Yellow and green city tags are obtained on a voluntary basis
  • Yellow and green tags provide benefits to pet owners
2. Training classes are mandatory for every dog acquisition, regardless of experience. 
  • Each breed is different and requires specific skills
  • Dog behaviour research changes rapidly so too does dog training

3. People will be held criminally accountable for their dogs’ actions. 

  • Enforce leash laws with stiffer fines
  • Dogs without tags will be immediately seized 
  • Mandatory jail time for convicted criminals

4. A dangerous dog law will be equitable for all dog owners. 

  • A bite is a bite
  • No discrimination
  • Mandatory education

Project Proposal II 
The project proposal is simple and effective; all the city mayor or provincial government needs to do is make education mandatory. The infrastructure is already in place and wouldn’t cost the city a dime. Furthermore, this project proposal would create jobs and save lives. 
Mandatory classes would be paid by the dog owner. People would acquire their red tag in designated training centres (who by the way already sell city tags). Yellow and green tags could be acquired in the same establishment. Yellow and green tags would also be financially covered by the owner. Again the city doesn’t need to invest in infrastructure because we already offer the service. All the city needs to do is make education mandatory. 
The law seriously needs a facelift. People should be made accountable for their dogs’ actions. I see too many off leash dogs out of control and/or aggressive. Furthermore, old school trainers use force and punishment which increases dog aggression; new laws would insure they too are held accountable for their actions towards clients. 
People talk a lot about physical damage from small vs. large dog breeds, yet no one takes into consideration psychological trauma. The largest percentage of the population victim of dog bites is children under 9 years old. Children can be traumatized by their grand-mother’s Lhasa Apso, so too can an adults experience panic attacks from a Golden Retriever attack. 
If you have read my blog in the past, you know I stand for education and equitability. We need to make changes and we have the resources and research to make the best choices possible for all parties involved. Dogs are dogs and yes some dogs kill, but with education and new laws we can prevent accidents from happening in the first place. 
I’m going to ask you to share this article. Share it till it reaches municipal and provincial governments. Heck, if we can reach the federal government and make this a nationwide project, go! We can save many, many lives with education, so let our voices be heard and scream the word EDUCATION with me. 

The Future of Dog Training 

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT

The study of dog behaviour and training is evolving at the speed of light. Learning theories are presently studied, and with a new understanding of our canine companion comes a new training approach. In a few years from now, I believe we won’t use many treats to train dogs. 
At the moment most dog trainers use behaviourism as the corner stone of their training approach. Classical and operant conditioning have been well documented and used for decades. We use these two principals of learning to modify animal behaviour, but what if other models of learning could benefit dogs. I’m talking about an outside the box approach. 
New fields are currently studied in order to determine if dogs, and other animals, can learn within these new models. The following theories are not only being studied, they are now used to train animals, more specifically the dog. I’m talking about social cognitive and mimetic learning theories. Attachment theory is also studied and research papers seem to confirm this model applies to canines, and possibly equids too. 
Practical Application in Dog Training 
The practical approach is jaw dropping. We can now train complex tasks with a simple mimetic approach. Dogs look at us and learn. You’ll tell me you knew that, and I’ll say you’re right, but to which extent this was possible was unknown till now. Same thing goes for social cognitive theory. Ten years ago, no research papers could be found on the topic of dog cognition, yet I managed to incorporate this theory with amazing success. 
The impact of these new learning theories on dog training is twofold. One, we work with a reduced amount of treats. Two, training sessions are greatly reduced in time and frequency. Consequently, clients and dogs experience an improved human-animal bond. In other words, we can address the attachment between human and dog and modify it from an insecure to a secure connexion. 
Endless Possibilities 
Think about it for a moment. Fearful and anxious dogs that don’t eat during training sessions would now be able to learn. Tool and treat management would be so much easier for clients. No clickers to carry around. No more struggles to create behaviour modification protocols that work in any given situation at any given time. No more frustration from clients. And best of all, no more ambiguous training tools made to punish and torture dogs. 
At the Dogue Shop not only do we teach these learning theories, we use them to train our animals, from rats to horses. Dogs are amazing animals and we have denied their full potential for way too long. The time has come to give dogs the place they truly deserve. Dogs are our buddies and our co-workers, so why not treat them as such. 
Albert Einstein said “The dog is very smart. He feels sorry for me because I receive so much mail; that’s why he tries to bite the mailman.” Dogs are amazing partners who make sure we remain true to ourselves. I, for one, am truly grateful for their gift. 

No Reward Markers: The Ultimate Taboo Topic  

By Gaby Dufresne-Cyr, CBT

The No Reward Marker (NRM) makes our list of the top ten taboo topics in animal training. I honestly don’t know why though, so today I decided to explore the subject matter with you. I know this topic will make people react, but then again, most of my articles do. Before we start, let me define NRMs. 
NRMs are usually sounds or words which tell animals, yes people too, the behaviour they just performed will not yield a reward, but they should keep trying because a reward is available. Seems pretty straight forward doesn’t it? But here’s why some debates get nasty, people don’t agree on the efficiency, or lack thereof, of NRMs. Another hell raising question is Are NRMs true punishers or informational feedback? The answer depends on how, why, and when you use it. 
Research on NRMs 
Simply put, there aren’t any, even according to Simon Gadbois, phd, Canid Behaviour Research Team, Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience Dalhousie University, in the Facebook group Canine Behaviour Research Studies “There are none published on the topic addressing this [no reward marker] directly.” 
The only paper I found on the topic of no reward makers is cited below. Naomi Rotenberg conducted a research which involved twenty seven dogs. The task was to teach the dogs to touch a cone with their paws. The method is described in the paper which I highly recommend you read because it’s important to understand all the information, not just convenient passages. 
In her paper, Training a New Trick Using No-Reward Markers: Effects on Dogs’ Performance and Stress Behaviors (2015), Rotenberg concludes her research with the following statement “The results of this study indicate that when training a dog to perform a new behavior on cue, using a NRM can be detrimental to how efficiently the dog is able to acquire the new trick.” 
One can easily jump to the conclusion and say dogs trained with a NRM are stressed; however, if you read her paper and continue slightly passed the previous quote, you will also read “However, there was no overall difference in the number of stress behaviors exhibited by the dogs in either condition.” Trained with or without the NRM.
I don't recommend the use of NRMs when new behaviours are trained; however, the dog’s experience and motivation should be taken into consideration if the choice to use NRMs is made. Both motivation and experience are unmistakeably important. Another important factor to consider when you train an animal, and this one is often overseen, is the environment. The place in which you train is unavoidably part of the equation, for the dog and you. 
I don’t know why stress is such an ugly word. No reward markers create stress, that we know, but dogs are stressed regardless of what or how we train. Some stress is good and some stress is bad. The problem is that stress and eustress are generally manifested in the same way. The unfortunate problem is no one knows which form of stress dogs are exhibiting during training sessions. 
I believe some stress is actually beneficial in the development of problem-solving skills. Professionalism resides in how well one can handle all the factors we’ve discussed so far, without going above the animal’s pre-determined stress threshold. If an animal is too stressed, it will not learn, if it’s too relaxed, it might learn without you knowing (Tolman, 1948; Rotenberg, 2015). 
The Real Question 
The real question is how, when, or why use NRMs. If you understand the science behind no reward markers, the decision becomes a personal choice. What I’m really trying to say is your choice to use, or not use, a NRM is OK. If you use no reward markers and you are making headway, continue what you’re doing. If on the other hand you find yourself struggling with the behaviour, or worse yet, are regressing, then maybe you need to stop and reassess the situation. 
Do I use NRMs? Yes, but rarely. Do I know how to use them? Yes, totally. Was my no reward maker purposefully trained? Yes, I use try again when faced with very difficult tasks. Am I punishing my dog? No, my dogs know what it means. If anything, they get more frustrated if I leave them in a vacuum, or without a reward. Does that make me a bad person or trainer? No. You’re not either. 
Be Yourself 
All I’m trying to say is be yourself. Stop worrying about definitions, research paper, or social pressure. Learn your science and work with it. If you do, you’ll be the best trainer you can possibly be. If you don’t, then we need to talk. 
- Jensen, R. (2006). Behaviorism, Latent Learning, and Cognitive Maps: Needed Revisions in Introductory Psychology Textbooks. The Behavior Analyst, 29(2), 187–209. 
- Rotenberg, N. (2015). Training a New Trick Using No-Reward Markers: Effects on Dogs’ Performance and Stress Behaviors. CUNY Academic Works. Retrieved from 
- Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive maps in rats and men. Psychological review, 55(4), 189.