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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.'

         - N.D.T.F

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)





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Gordon Gill

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