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A Repository of Common Sense & Uncommon Knowledge.

Please enjoy this library of articles and videos by Brenda to help you learn more about how your dog thinks - maybe how you think - and to aid you in your work and play with your dog.

Some of the articles wax philosophical, but for the most part they are about realistically living with your dog and the nuts and bolts of training. Enjoy!


Brenda Aloff's Articles (aka "Uncommon Knowledge"):

  • Yap-Yap-Yap ... "QUIET!" +

    Dogs Bark for a Variety of Reasons

    This is problematic when the barking becomes excessive or the owner cannot stop the dog from barking.

    People expect dogs to bark, and nobody minds that they do when it is appropriate (such as, temporarily, when someone comes to the door); what all of us would like is that our dogs be still when we ask them to do so.

    Much of the barking I see in my clients dogs arises from attention seeking behaviour. In agility class the dogs often bark at the handler because the dog is frustrated with the handler.

    Read More
  • Should I Approach? +

    (this article is adapted from material I wrote for a Search and Rescue team. They asked for tips for reading dogs during evaluations.  This is also good advice if you are thinking of approaching or petting a dog.)

    Friendly DogWhen you tell people your dog is friendly, it is best if you have words to describe "friendly". "Friendly" means different things to different people. If everyone uses the same definition, misunderstandings are minimized.

    First of all, Friendly Dogs are not shy dogs and they are not pushy dogs. Dogs who are super active and/or try to take up your space upon greeting are not friendly, they are either anxious or pushy; sometimes a combination of both. It's the anxiety that makes them pushy...

    Instead of "friendly" perhaps thinking of the word "neutral" is more helpful.

    Read More
  • Is Your Dog Bored? +

    rr-is-your-dog-bored-1-200x334pxHow many times have you felt your dog was "bored" with training? I hear this, especially from my performance people.

    This always brings me to a dead stop. Why? Because I have NEVER felt that my dogs were bored with training. This does not mean that they were perfect by any stretch of the imagination! My dogs make many errors and often lack judgement. To me, this is just part of training.

    Why Do People Feel Their Dog is Bored?

    I have queried the students who bring me this statement and this is what I have gleaned from the information they have given to me:

    Read More
  • My Animals, My Teachers +

    Some of My Dogs

    At home I currently have a Smooth Fox Terrier, Zasu and a Mini-Poodle rescue, Trixie. I should be thinking about a new puppy coming up, but after years of too many dogs (no matter how much I adored each and every rescue dog, it was still too darn many), I find myself not wanting to "share" this relationship with any other dog. So I have some mental homework to do on this subject!

    Zasu is my delight and joy and she makes me laugh every day with her hilarious antics. She reminds me that being too serious is just a ridiculous proposition. She is a hoot to do agility with because of her small size my old, rickety body can keep up with her better. She heels beautifully, retrieves like a champ and she knows lots of useless, extremely cute tricks.

    Read More
  • What's Your Mental Picture? +

    Do you have a clear mental picture of the exercise you are doing? And how about the mechanical skill set? What do YOU need to have on board to teach the dog the exercise? How about the dog's reflexes? Will that affect the work? What is timing? How can you use contrast and compare?

    Enjoy this podcast where Brenda Aloff discusses these questions.

    Read More
  • Teaching Responsibility to Your Dog +

    Have you ever thought about how teaching a dog a cue could be dangerous? When I say that to my students, they often exclaim “What could you possibly mean by that?”

    This is a conversation I had with my friend, Barb. So, imagine you are with us - Barb and I have been working her lovely Shepherd all day, and are now taking a break to go get dinner! Yay! Barb lives near a great Barbeque Place - The Ozona Pig. Yum.

    We have had lots of impulse control issues with Shadow, she is a very drivey AND strong-willed young dog, so we have worked a lot on creating control while still maintaining all her bubbly personality that we love. So, join our conversation...

    Read More
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