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School For The Dogs Podcast

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Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625 *********** Show notes:

Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625 *********** Show notes:
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Anchor FM


Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625 *********** Show notes:




(212) 353-3647


Training "Look" using the "Invisible Triangle" method

Everyone is impressed by a dog whose eyes meets a human's gaze with magnet-like intensity on cue. Teaching a dog to "touch" his or her eyes to your eyes is a great exercise to practice no matter what the pooch's training level is. When teaching this attention-based behavior to a dog-- whether you use a word such as "Look" or the dog's name -- Annie suggests focusing on your training mechanics before jumping to setting criteria for your dog. In this episode, she clearly breaks down how to...


Part 2: How I used punishment to train my husband to cover his mouth when he yawns

In this episode, Annie offers a follow up to the previous episode, which featured a candid conversation with her husband about her ill-fated attempt to use punishment to keep him from showing her his uvula very time he yawned. Here, she points out some of the similarities and differences between using punishment with dogs and with humans. This episode touches on, among other things: -The long shadow punishment can cast -How language can offer clarification... or not -The subjective nature of...


Part 1: How I used punishment to train my husband to cover his mouth when he yawns

Annie is happily married to a man named Jason Pedicone, who is basically perfect in every way except... he doesn't cover his mouth when he yawns. So, she decided to use her talents as a dog trainer to train him to change this behavior. But she decided to try something she doesn't normally do with dogs: She attempted to curb his habit by using punishment. While she sort of succeeded, she also got a first hand taste at how training using punishment can mar a relationship in unexpected ways....


How to shape your dog to go to a mat (and to be a polite Thanksgiving guest)

"Shaping" is simply the process of breaking a behavior down to its smallest components and slowly raising your criteria in order to build new behaviors. By reinforcing successive approximations, it's possible to train dogs to do almost anything they are physically capable of doing! In this episode, Annie goes over some key things to think when shaping a new behavior, and describes how to shape a dog to go to a mat, or what she calls a "sticky spot." A dog who knows how to go to a mat will...


Let's talk about NYC's 1st dog-friendly cafe with Logan Mikhly

Earlier this year Logan Mikhly and her father Coppy Holzman opened a business unlike any other in NYC: A dog-friendly cafe. Logan has a background in animal rescue, Coppy is a dog-loving serial entrepreneur, and both are obsessed with coffee. Frustrated by the fact that New York's health codes make it nearly impossible for them to grab a cup of joe without having to tie their dogs to a streetlight, they contacted the Department of Health for a brainstorming session on how to make a place...


Halloween & Dogs: How to make costumes less scary for pets

Halloween can be a scary time… for dogs! But it can also be a time to think about how to use training to reduce fears and overcome challenges. In this episode, Annie discusses, among other things: -Ideas for low stress, easy costumes that most dogs can wear without anxiety. -Acclimating a dog to a costume by creating good associations with it over time. -Teaching your dog to wear costumes made out of muzzles, cones, and other things you actually may want to train him or her to feel okay...


We need to talk about Nelson: Life with a muzzled dog

After years of researching breeds, Joanie Comenzo of Manhattan decided to get a Welsh Terrier. When she went to pick up her new dog, Nelson, the breeder pushed him into her arms and said "Your puppy is an alpha." Joanie loved him from the moment she saw him, and that love never waned, even after he bit her multiple times, and sent her mother and boyfriend to the hospital. Over the last eight years, Joanie has sought training and medical advice from a wide array of professionals. Today,...


A modern dog owner's guide to sidewalk leash greetings

As much as we want our dogs to be social beings, the sad fact is that city streets are not an ideal place for leashed dogs to socialize. The close confines of the sidewalk can keep dogs from having enough space to greet each other properly, and leashes too often can become uncomfortably taught, leading a dog to think that even just the sight of another dog predicts yanking and choking. This episode addresses: -Avoiding other dogs on the street -Using the presence of other dogs on leash as a...


Let’s talk about the future of dog food with The Farmer's Dog's Brett Podolsky

When Brett Podolsky's dog was chronically unwell, he had an idea: What if he bought the same ingredients listed and in the commercial brand he was feeding her, and made her fresh food? The change in her health was drastic, and led to Brett, who was then working as a comedian, convincing his best friend, Jonathan Regev, to start a subscription-based high-end dog food company with him. Now three years old, their Brooklyn-based company, The Farmer's Dog, has secured some ten million dollars in...


Katie Sturino, mom to @ToastMeetsWorld, on Instadog stardom

Katie Sturino is many things: A publicist, an influencer, a fashion blogger, a product developer and more. You might know her from The12ishStyle, the blog and Instagram account where she suggests celeb-worthy looks that can be worm by larger ladies who identify as "body positive" or "body neutral." She also has a product line, MegaBabe, which tackles problems like boob sweat. But all of her successes have sprung from her passion for being a "dogager" or "momager" to a brood of dogs who've...


Teach a foolproof DROP and COME using Classical Conditioning

There are two types of conditioning we use in dog training: Operant (aka learning by consequence, or "Skinnerian Conditioning") and Classical (aka learning by association, or "Pavlovian Conditioning"). When we teach new behaviors, we tend to focus on Operant Conditioning. In this episode, Annie talks about the differences between these two kinds of teaching/learning, and reveals how, in many cases, Classical Conditioning can produce very reliable behaviors with little effort. Notes:...


A Better Mousetrap: Building the perfect bully stick holder

If you have a dog, you've likely encountered bully stick chews. They're great for keeping dogs occupied, but there is always the risk of swallowing them, especially when they get chewed down to their ends. Several products have recently hit the market, each of which tries to solve this problem in a novel way by sheathing, clamping, or holding the chews in such a way to make it impossible (ideally) for a dog to choke on them. Annie surveys some of these products, and interviews the inventor...


Let’s talk about in-home dog grooming with Ani Corless

Ani Corless is a dog groomer and the owner of the NYC-based business Luxury Groomer. Unlike most groomers, Ani goes into her clients' homes to groom their dogs. Annie and she discuss her path to becoming a groomer, some common mistakes that well-intentioned dog owners make when grooming their own dogs, and the various ways that in-home grooming can benefit dogs, dog owners, and groomers alike. Learn more about Ani at Annie and Ani discuss the annual "Creative Grooming"...


Ask Annie: Navigating dog runs and managing elevator manners

In this Q+A episode, Annie discusses how to deal with dogs in elevators, and how to navigate dog parks. She also talks about what to do if your dog gets off leash, and how to help a dog who attacks her brother whenever they pass another dog. Have a question for a future episode? Visit Show notes: Products: Fleece Activity Mat: Wall-Mounted Slow Feeder:...


Let’s talk about SFTD's origins with co-founder Kate Senisi

In 2011, Annie Grossman and Kate Senisi were both trying to figure out how to make a business out of dog training. They met through the Association for Professional Dog Trainers' message board, and discovered they lived a block away from one another in Manhattan. They also discovered they had complementary talents: Kate had an eye for detail, a background in graphic design, a head for organization, and a passion for dealing with aggressive dogs; Annie had an entrepreneurial spirit, writing...


Being BF Skinner's Daughter: Deborah Buzan dispels the myths

Renowned behavioral psychologist BF Skinner codified much of the science behind positive reinforcement-based animal training, and is a hero to many dog trainers. But for over half a century, his reputation has been tarnished by rumors that his daughter went crazy and killed herself because he raised her in a box. Annie interviews said daughter, Deborah Buzan, who is alive and sane. She was in fact raised in a box... sort of. Buzan discussed the "Air Crib," aka the "Baby Box," and growing up...


Wonderful "Work To Eat" toys: Slow food bowls

Every time you feed a dog, you have the opportunity to channel some of her energy into an appropriate activity, to tire her out, and to give her a sense of purpose. "Work To Eat" toys provide dogs with jobs, and dogs like to be employed! If we don't give them jobs, they too often make up their own jobs, alerting you to every sound in the hallway, or redesigning the couch cushions with their mouths. There are lots of kinds of "Work To Eat" toys. In this episode, Annie talks about one type:...


How to train a dog to "sit" from scratch

Newsflash: Your dog already knows how to sit! But he may not know the cue you want to associate with that behavior. Annie breaks down how to use the "capturing" technique to teach "sit" anew and to add a novel cue. She covers: -The downsides of "luring" a behavior or "molding" it -The trap of trying to teach a behavior by asking for it repeatedly -The difference between a "cue" and a "command" -How to add a cue -The never-ending process of "shaping" a behavior -How to fade a lure and turn it...


The Dog Training Triad Part 3: Timing

So, you have a carefully engineered environment (see: The Dog Training Triad Part 1) where your dog is likely to do lots of things you want him to to do, and you have also selected really appropriate rewards (see: The Dog Training Triad Part 2). Now what? you need to make sure your rewards are being given with really excellent TIMING! Dogs are doing things constantly, and concurrently. Behaviors are overlapping at every moment, and a dog may sometimes think a reward is for something other...


The Dog Training Triad Part 2: Rewards

Once you've set the stage to up the chances that you'll get lots of behaviors you want (see The Dog Training Triad Part 1), you'll need to figure out how to reinforce those behaviors. In this episode, Annie discusses: -The difference between reinforcers and rewards -Discerning whether something is a reinforcer -Figuring out your dog's individual reward cornucopia -Understanding rewards as currency -The changing value and appropriateness of rewards -"Real life" rewards -The importance of...