Words of wisdom
This blog post is not really a normal post. It's actually a collection of quotes which impart
much wisdom and at times prompt further insight by way of critical analysis and debate.
Sometimes these quotes can offer much clarity at a time of uncertainty or confusion. So, I
shall continue to update this particular post with new quotes as I stumble across them
throughout my canine adventures. Please bare in mind that these are the writings of other
people and it's up to you to make of them what you will. I shall include links where possible
and would always welcome further discussion from anyone in regards to these quotes.
By Gordon Gill
15th Sep 2016
1) The sharper the contrast between the disagreeable experience the dog receives for
undesirable behaviour, and the agreeable experience it receives for desirable
behaviour, the easier it is for the animal to appreciate where its advantage lies, and it
learns very quickly. -Konrad Most, (1910) * paraphrased
2) Motivation is the heart and soul of dog training. Finding what motivates any given dog
and the optimum level to use, is the secret to achieving high levels of training. -N.D.T.F
3) The general rule is that the level of motivation used, is inversely proportional to the
complexity of the task. When training a dog to perform simple tasks; high levels of
motivation should be used. When training complex tasks; lower levels are required.
4) The best treatment for thunder phobia is progressive desensitisation Houpt, K.A.
5) In extreme cases we may never be able to completely change the animal’s deep-seated
emotional feelings towards the stimuli however, a good behaviour modification program,
when performed correctly, is able to provide significant long term results towards the
improvement of the animal’s behaviour and welfare. -N.D.T.F
6) Conditioned fear is frequently very resistant to normal extinction procedures. Since
fears and anxiety may not be attenuated under normal conditions, special methods
must be employed to achieve the desired effect. In addition to counter conditioning, a
key element in the reduction of anxiety and fear is controlled exposure that allows the
dog to engage in direct interaction with the feared object / situation.
-Lindsay, S. (2000)
7) It should be noted that if the stimulus does elicit an intense reaction, providing the
animal remains in the vicinity until the reaction has subsided / ceased, then there will
normally be a desensitisation affect. This is the fundamental principle of 'flooding.'
8) Where distance is being used to control the strength of the stimuli it is a good idea to
start at twice the minimum distance [that way] there is absolutely no chance that the
dog will show the slightest fear or aggression – Holmes, Dr. R. (1993).
9) Fear is not overcome by telling oneself there is nothing to fear, but by evoking
opposing impulses to fear, like relaxation or appetitive arousa – Lindsay, S. (2000).
10) The most important factor in the fear reduction process appears to be sustained
exposure to the fear evoking stimulus until fear subsides – Marks. I. (1977).
11) Socialisation refers to the development of social relationships with other animals,
including humans. Habituation is learning to accept stimuli (not animal) within the
environment or habitat.
12) Habituation is the loss of response to something which is of no concern to the animal.
- Holmes, Dr. R. (1993).
13) Experiences the dog receives during the critical periods in development have a much
more profound effect than at any other time. A dog that has had the right experiences
early is far more prepared for everything in life - Dr. J. P. Scott
14) Instead of grinding away at a very dull axe, a dog’s welfare is better served by teaching
the owner when punishment is necessary and how to use it effectively and humanely
– Lindsay. S. (2001).
15) One of the most common reasons that attempts at punishing behaviour fail, is because
the motivation the animal has to exhibit the unwanted behaviour, exceeds the
motivation the animal has to avoid the aversive consequence we have attached.
- Hooper, B.
16) Absence of Proof is not proof of absence.
17) 61% of Thunder Phobic Dogs show Seperation Related Behaviours. Homes, R. (2016)
18) 87% of dogs with Seperation Related Behaviours are also Thunder Phobic.
- Holmes, R. (2016).
19) The difference is dog observation can be accounted for in the difference in dog
personality – Holmes, R. (2016).
20) Olfaction (smell) is closely related to our emotional systems – Holmes, R. (2016)
21) If it's behavioural, think physical. In other words, rule out potential medical problems
first – Holmes, R. (2013).
22) It's nice to anticipate, to expect. Same 'circuitry' as hunting/predation.
- Holmes, R. (2016).
23) Some Dogs can never be 'fixed' – only managed. - Hooper, B. (2013)
24) The higher we raise our training criteria, the less 'grey area' and the more empowered
and full filled so becomes the dog.
25) Scenting is incompatible with Reactivity.
26) Food is good for remaining calm – not too much arousal – Hooper, B. (2015).
27) Forcing a dog into an alpha roll, or shaking the dog, both constitute physical
aggression. Physical aggression is not communication. If there is good communication,
then such confrontations need not occur.
28) Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge in which he must be an
expert in order to compete with other people. The specialist knows more and more
about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing – Konrad Lorenz
29) Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way
to the next better one – Konrad Lorenz
30) The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities
than the friendship of a human being – Konrad Lorenz
31) There is no faith which has never yet been broken, except that of a truly faithful dog
– Konrad Lorenz
32) If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
33) I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president
of the University – Albert Einstein
34) Understanding your dog and knowing how to control him, develop his potentials, and
resolve behaviour problems, emotional conflicts and frustrations are no less essential
than love and respect. - Michael W. Fox
35) Mental exercise tires a dog physically more than physical exercise does
– Dr. Ian Dunbar
36) Everybody wants loyalty, consistency and somebody who won't quit, but everybody
forgets that to get that person, you have to be that person.
37) Animal training is about teaching animals to be active participants in their own care
- Karolina Westlund, PhD.
38) The structure and behaviour of a dog may superficially resemble that of wolves, but in
fact, to focus on the similarities does the dog a great disservice.
- Raymond & Lorna Coppinger
39) Genetics loads the gun; environment pulls the trigger - Dr Francis Collins.
40) When working on lead, pretend you are off lead. When working off lead, pretend you are on
lead. - Unknown.
41) We are the repository of societies ill's, we are the repository of societies apathy -
Jackie David (on animal shelters)
42) If you want precision don't focus on precision. Focus on clarity and effective communication.
Precision is a bi-product of the basics done well. - Tammy Peters. (Precise K9)
43) Working towards excellence in training means provoking an emotional state of
frustration through carefully planned strategic "failings." - Tappy Peters. (Precise K9)
44) Failure in training is never about giving up. It is about building motivation to try harder!
- Sharonika Williamson (Clear Canine)
Dog Behaviour Specialist
Nationally Accredited Dog Trainer