Dog training tips 1

Occasionally I will post some dog training tips to help people successfully train their dogs. I started professionally training dogs in the 1960’s and have learned a lot over the years. I hope these tips will help you. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or suggestions.

Dogs do not speak English, therefore you must SHOW your dog what you want. Your actions speak louder than your words. All of your body language speaks to your dog. Therefore, your ATTITUDE, FACIAL EXPRESSION, TONE OF VOICE  AND MOVEMENT communicate to your dog.


You cannot try and tell your dog that he is not doing the right thing while you are hiding a laugh because you really think your dog’s behavior is cute or funny. Your dog will laugh right along with you. And yes, dogs do laugh.

You cannot ask your dog to obey you if you hesitate in your movements. Your dog will not believe that you are the leader. On the other hand, you cannot bully your dog or physically punish him and expect your dog to respect and trust you. A good working relationship with your dog is built on trust and leadership. This is communicated to your dog by giving commands in a tone of voice that says, “I expect you to do this, no discussion.” Then move in a steady, yet gentle way to convey leadership. Too many people ask their dog to obey, their tone of voice is “sit, will you please sit? Do you feel like sitting?”

Never re-command your dog. If your dog knows what the word means, re-commanding him only teaches your dog that a) he does not have to listen to you; b) he can do it when he wants and c) you are not the leader. For every command there should be an action.

Either you coax the dog into doing what you want or reward him when he does it on his own. If your dog does not know the “sit” command, and you tell your dog, “Sit . . . Sit . . . SIT!”, then make the dog sit on the third sit, your dog will learn not to sit until the third command. He will think that the command is “sit-sit-sit.”

Most people repeat commands to their dog’s because they are being polite (according to human standards) and assume that the dog did not hear the first or second time. I can assure you that if your dog does not respond the first time, and does not acknowledge you, he DOES HEAR you. He is just IGNORING you. Therefore, politeness to a dog translates into “My owner is wimpy, wimpy, wimpy! Why should I listen?”

So, speak clearly and in a direct manner to your dog. For every command expect or initiate an action. Do not repeat commands. Do not hesitate when you move. Show your dog that you are a leader, not a follower.

The two most important things to remember (which is true for people too) are:  1. obedience is not a question of knowing what to do or what not to do, but the ability to exercise self control to do it or not do it. You have to give your dog time and practice to develop self-control. Punishment or harsh training methods should never be used.

2. Your dog knows how to do everything you want him to do. He only has to learn to associate the word or command with the action. For example, before you even obtained your puppy, he knew how to sit, come, and lay down.

Treatment for Lung Cancer in Dogs

In a study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of the City of Hope, and The Ohio State University and published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, researchers found that dogs and humans have the same gene, HER2, that women get with a certain type of breast cancer.


The good news is that the researchers found that the drug neratinib used for human breast cancer may also help the almost 40,000 dogs in the U.S. that annually develop the most common type of canine lung cancer, known as canine pulmonary adenocarcinoma, or CPAC.

Dr. Hendricks stated, “For humans, we already have drugs that can inhibit many dysregulated proteins. We hope to show that we can provide the same benefit for dogs with canine cancers.”

This is another example where human and canine medicine and studies can help both humans and their pets live a healthier life. Perhaps this will lead to more treatments for other pets such as cats.

Pet Health Insurance by guest blogger Brandon Kelly

My name is Brandon – I work for an organization called Consumers Advocate that strives to protect consumers (and their pets!) online. Part of protecting the four-legged dudes and dudettes of society is knowing what options are available for them.


Brandon Kelly and Frida

My lil pupper’s name is Frida (Kahlo). She’s a scrappy middle-aged rescue with eyebrows like her namesake. When I found her 4 years ago she had been injured by other dogs, and the vet said she had pre-existing asthma. She’s a tough girl, but there is a lot that goes into taking care of her. I wish there was an app that translated my dog’s thoughts into text messages. Something that allowed her to interrupt my writing of this article with a “Hey, miss you; I’m hungry; Pick up tennis balls on your way back – the fresh ones please!”.

Navigating insurance policies is always tricky. Our researchers have put in months into finding out what pet insurance companies are out there and what they are offering. Further, we have taken that information and made it transparent and accessible to the consumer. Hopefully, this will help your followers and community to be better informed.
Here is our pet insurance guide:

Not everyone believes or can afford pet insurance, but it is important and, in some cases, responsible to at least consider. As you will see in our guide, some policies can be very flexible and affordable.  I hope this helps you find the right insurance for your pets.

Glyphosate may be in your cat and dog food

What is Glyphosate? It is the active herbicide widely used in weed killers like Roundup. Although the latest reports show that the levels are safe for human consumption, this does not mean that the levels are safe for pet consumption. After all, most dogs and cats weigh much less than an adult human.

dog food

Annamaet dog food

How did it get into our pet’s food? It is absorbed by genetically modified crops (GMO) engineered to be resistant to this particular herbicide. This includes most corn, soy, sugar, sugar beet, cotton and canola that is grown in the US and in imported rice. It is also used to desiccated (all of the moisture removed) wheat and other crops before they are harvested.

Some of the health problems that can be a result of GMO’s are inflammatory bowel disease, allergies, skin and organ problems. Some of the pet foods that tested positive are Purina Cat Chow Complete, Purina Dog Chow Complete, Purina Beyond Natural-Simply Nine, Rachel Ray Zero Grain, Rachel Ray Nutrish Super Premium, Iams Proactive Health, 9 Lives Indoor Complete, Friskies Indoor Delights.

The best thing you can do is only feed your pet high quality food that is from a reliable manufacturer. No supermarket or discount stores that I know of carry the brands that I recommend. Most discount pet shops also do not carry the highest quality foods. I recommend Annamaet and Wysong.

K9 Obedience Training: Teaching Pets and Working Dogs to be Reliable and Free Thinking – by Susan Bulanda

Obedience is the foundation for any reliable, well-trained dog. Without obedience, working dogs are ineffective in operations and pet dogs can be annoying and possibly a danger to themselves or others.


In K9 Obedience Training, veteran search and rescue (SAR) dog handler and trainer Susan Bulanda, M.A., C.A.B.C. (certified animal behavior consultant) shares the secrets of building an effective obedience training program. SAR dogs need “thinking” obedience: they sometimes need to exercise intelligent disobedience in the field. You can use the same training program for any working or pet dog. For trainers who demand the best obedience training for future working dogs, Susan’s techniques lay the groundwork for success.

And pet owners who want to help their dog be easy to be around will find lots of training tips and exercises too, along with straightforward advice on proper handling, grooming and teaching simple tricks.

My new book will be out by the end of June, 2019. You can order it from my web site,  You will receive an autographed copy. Please note that the shipping cost is for the US only. If you live outside the US please email me at for postal rates.  Unfortunately it often cost more to ship the book than the book cost. You can also order it on line as an ebook through Amazon or from the publisher at 

Pet Health Insurance

I am often asked by clients if they should purchase pet insurance. This is a tricky question for several reasons however, I have a few suggestions that might help you decide if pet insurance is right for you.


  1. Can you afford the premiums. Most pet insurance policies are flexible as to the amount of coverage that you can carry, the deductibles and what they cover. To help make that decision you can consider the following questions.


  1. Is your type of pet prone to illnesses? Certain breeds of dog are more likely to have genetic illnesses than others. The same is true for cats and other pets. Will the pet insurance cover the illnesses most likely to affect your pet?


  1. What is your pet’s lifestyle? If you are active with your dog, horse or other type of pet, or if you cat is an indoor/outdoor cat, your pet may be more likely to have an injury.


  1. If your dog is a larger breed of dog, he may be more prone to inherited problems such as canine hip dysplasia which can be corrected with surgery.


  1. If your pet is prone to a certain disease or inherited issue, find out what treatment costs then compare it to the estimated years it will take for the illness to manifest itself and see if the insurance is worth the cost.


  1. Consider the life span of your pet. Most pet insurance rates go up as the pet ages. Some insurance will not cover your pet after a certain age. Of course the most likely time you will need the insurance is in your pets old age when coverage may not be an option.


  1. Consider a personal savings plan to cover catastrophic health issues. If you take the projected life span of your pet and the amount of the yearly insurance fee, then multiply it, you will get an idea of how much the insurance will cost over the life of your pet. What you can do is set up a separate savings account and either yearly or monthly, deposit the amount that insurance will cost per year, and do not touch it for any reason. In all probability you will save enough money to cover any medical bills that your pet will have, especially if your pet is healthy into old age. If you do not need the money set aside for your pet by the time your pet passes, you will have money to put toward the new pet.


I hope I have given you some helpful suggestions. There is a good web site that can help you review different pet insurance companies if you decide that is the way to go.


Dog bites and children – prevention

A recent study by Lead researcher Professor Kerstin Meints, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology, found that both children and parents misinterpret the signs of distress and anxiety in dogs. Often children thought dogs were happy when they were growling and snarling. The study found that young children around three years old especially found it difficult to identify a dog’s distress signals. About 17% of parents were incorrect as well. About 65% of the children tested thought the dog was smiling.

The researchers then gave the children and parents a training session and found that as a result of the educational experience, 72% of the children tested were able correctly identify anxiety and distress in a dog’s body language.

It would benefit all my readers to go to this site and order the power point presentation on canine body language. If you can, offer to show it to children in the classroom as well as other organizations where children and adults can learn about canine body language. This is the power point presentation that I have used for years in my college program about dog training and behavior. (No I do not make any money by promoting it.)



Amazing Cowbirds

Many birds and animals imprint on what they see and hear at birth. Cowbird females lay their eggs in another bird’s nest and let the host bird raise their young. Yet the Cowbird fledglings do not imprint on the host bird.


Interestingly, they sneak out at night and return to the nest in the morning. The mother cowbird stays near the nest and will call to her baby. The mother’s pay close attention to whether or not their young survive. If the host mother kicks the Cowbird egg out of her nest, sometimes the mother Cowbird will destroy that host bird’s nest.

What is still a mystery is how the Cowbird babies find their way into a Cowbird flock and survive to mate. They must learn how to eat what a Cowbird eats and behave like a Cowbird to survive. This is the opposite behavior of many other birds.

Bladder cancer in dogs

Although it is rare, bladder cancer in dogs is on the rise. Fortunately, there is a new test, the CADET℠ BRAF  to help veterinarians determine if your dog has bladder cancer.


Parsons Russell Terrier

There are two types of bladder cancer, transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) and urothelial carcinoma (UC). The tumors start in the urinary tract, but can travel to the rest of the body including bones, liver, kidney, spleen, and skin.

Warning signs of bladder cancer can often be misdiagnosed as a lower urinary tract disease, such as stones and infections. The most common signs are when a dog urinates small amounts often, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, and accidents in the house, frequent urinary tract infections that do not respond to treatment.

Certain breeds are more likely to get bladder cancer, and usually from the age of six years and older.

High risk breeds: Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier, Beagle, Shetland Sheepdog, Wire Fox Terrier, American Eskimo Dog,  Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bichon Frise, Border Collie, Russell Terrier, Lhasa Apso, Rat Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Parsons Russell Terrier.

Interestingly, veterinarians have found a link between feeding a dog safe fresh vegetables three times a week to a reduced risk of bladder cancer. On the other hand, exposure to herbicides and pesticides increased the risk of cancer.

The good news is that the CADET℠ BRAF test can catch the cancer in its earliest stages, even before symptoms start to show, and it can help veterinarians determine the extent of the disease.

Some veterinarians suggest that all high-risk breeds get tested from ages 8 years and older. It is a good idea to discuss this possibility with your veterinarian or go to for more information.

How smart are bees?

Can bees think? I have asked a number of beekeepers if the bees attack them when they harvest the honey. Often they have told me that the bees know that they love and respect them and do not show hostility to them, that they rarely get stung. Could this be true? Are bees aware of their surroundings other than where the flowers, hives and other related environmental elements are?


The way beekeepers have expressed their concern and sadness about the death of colonies of bees almost as much as other pet owners do when their pets are sick or at risk, show their love for bees.

Therefore a recent study about a group of bees who have resisted the Varroa mite that is killing them is a welcomed ray of hope for beekeepers. After all, bees are a pretty amazing insect as far as insects go, in my opinion. We rely on bees to pollinate just about everything that needs pollination, around the world and pollination means that we have food to eat.

The good news is that researchers have found a group of wild bees in the Ithaca, New York area that seems to have developed a genetic resistance to this killing mite.

Alexander Mikheyev, a professor at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and his cohorts at Cornell University have conducted a rare and interesting study.

They have compared the DNA taken from bees in the Ithaca area in 1977 which have been stored in a museum, with DNA collected in 2010 using a new analysis tool that is especially designed to test degraded or old DNA.

It seems that the group of bees in the Ithaca area were attacked and suffered from the mites the same as other bees during the 1990’s, but were able to recover and are thriving. What the scientists discovered what that the Ithaca bees developed a genetic resistance to the mites. While more research needs to be conducted, it shows promise for the survival of bees. (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology – OIST. )

But, do bees recognize their keepers as some beekeepers have told me? Can bees tell if their keepers really love and respect them? Most people who study bees know how a bee will come back to the hive and do a sort of wiggle-waggle dance to communicate to the other bees where and how much food the bee has found. For the most part, people think that insects function purely by instinct.

However, an interesting experiment recounted in the book “The Parrots Lament” by Eugene Linden (ISBN: 0-525-94476-1) tells about an experiment conducted by ecologist James Gould on Carnegie Lake in Princeton, New Jersey.

Gould brought some bees and flowers to the middle of a lake in a rowboat and then later, another group of bees were brought to a feeder by the shore. Each group of bees went back to the hive and did their “dance.” However, few bees believed that there was food in the middle of a lake while many bees flocked to the food near the shore. This illustrates that at some level, even bees have the ability to make a judgment about their environment. They made a choice based on their knowledge that pollen is not found in the middle of a lake while it is found on land.

In one of his papers, Gould states, “Other experiments suggest that recruits, having attended a dance in the hive specifying the distance and direction of a food source, can evaluate the “plausibility” of the location without leaving the hive; this suggests a kind of imagination.”

In other words the bees felt that the “dancing” bees, who were telling them to go to the lake, were batty! They made a conscious decision. They made a choice. No matter how you look at it, making a choice involves cognitive ability,  knowledge of the past, present and future. The bees had to realize that from experience, food is not found on water but is found on land, and this illustrates episodic memory.

We know that many if not all animals have episodic memory, is it possible that insects have it too? If they do then could it be possible that bees do recognize and accept their keepers who love them and do not consider them a threat?

This is certainly something interesting to think about.