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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

This is my first day making a post or two in this forum.

Last week, I acquire my first puppy (photo attached). Previously, I have rescued adult dogs. Further, these dogs have been very well behaved for no known reason. Granted, I was pretty good about not-reinforcing unwanted behavior, but I never engaged in formal training. The dogs came when called, walked away from stuff when told, and stayed close... rarely requiring a leash.

Thanks to my interest in dogs and behavior, I did the necessary work get a certification as a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Honestly, I was planning on taking the courses just to become conversant in basic behavioral principles, but I found that I was fascinated by the subject.

I have been working successfully with behaviorally challenging human clients for about 16 years as a teacher and then a full time behaviorist (once I achieved the BCBA).

With my experience, I will say this - I'd rather hire or work with a solid dog training enthusiast that has never finished High School than any PhD psychologist! The writings that I have already read within this forum are incomparably more useful and scientifically sound than the suggestions one might read from a PhD.

I believe that Karen Pryor, Jean Donaldson and their ilk are largely responsible for this phenomenon, too.

Even after a Masters in Special Education, I found that I was resorting to "Don't Shoot the Dog" as my bible when challenges arose. Lord knows I wanted to use the "techniques" taught in college, but that was a bunch of vague, platitude-filled, theoretical, and philosophical mush. Once I discovered the existence of behavior analysis, I went back to school.

Still, I am not a dog trainer. My training has put me at a distinct advantage over another novice, of course, but regardless of what I may known about behavioral principles, I am no match for the amazingly creative application of those principles I've seen in good dog training books and posts within this forum.

The behavioral principles are the easy part, but the creative application is where it is easy to get stumped. I often tell my co-workers that it is like this: I might know every letter of the alphabet. I might even know how to spell every single word that has ever existed. Even with this, though, it is highly unlikely that I can write as well as Shakespeare. It's the creative application of those letters and words that makes all the difference.

So I've already got some questions regarding this puppy. The doctor believes that she is something like 16 weeks old and about 9 lbs so far. We had her for 6 days. Her brother looks strongly like a Basset but she looks, almost, like a full dachshund. I'll post the questions later.
This photo was taken 2 minutes after she bit my iPad charging cable in half. Thankfully, the only "mistake" we've had since getting her.
photo(1) (800x600).jpg
 

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Uh oh. A board certified HUMAN behaviour analyst. Guess we'll all have to watch our P's and Q's, lest we are having our collective brains picked, lol.

Welcome to the forum. I'll be eager to hear what 'questions' you may have regarding your pup. Who, by the way, is incredibly cute.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ha Ha

Well, I always tell people that I do not care about the species... all I need is something with a brainstem. (and whether you dog-trainers know it or not, it's really all you need, too).
And you'll get no brain-picking from me or any other proper analyst!

note:
Of course, there are always some preliminary species-specific features that are important (like, "Dolphins like Tuna"), but the behavioral principles appear to be fairly universal.
 

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Ha Ha

Well, I always tell people that I do not care about the species... all I need is something with a brainstem. (and whether you dog-trainers know it or not, it's really all you need, too).
And you'll get no brain-picking from me or any other proper analyst!

note:
Of course, there are always some preliminary species-specific features that are important (like, "Dolphins like Tuna"), but the behavioral principles appear to be fairly universal.

Totally agree, which is why breed is essentially an irrelevant parameter for me when dealing with behavior issues. Obviously, you're probably not going to teach a chihuahua to pull sleds or a bulldog to hunt vermin, but if it is a general behavior issue like pulling on leash, barking at visitors, jumping on people, lunging at other dogs, breed is irrelevant. I've also learned to see my interactions with people in terms of operant and classical conditioning. We get all caught up in abstract concepts of right/wrong, but the base of everything going on in our brains is basic operant/classical conditioning. I bet it's the same even with aliens with an IQ of 400.
 
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