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Wild Moms don’t say ‘suck it up, Baby’

Comfort is for all seasons, and something that we can offer anyone we love, especially our dogs when they are feeling anxious or outright afraid. Yet in some animal training circles, there is a persistent belief that to comfort an animal who is afraid will only serve to “reinforce the fear.” A life spent with many animals in many situations has taught me that providing meaningful comfort is the sensible, loving response to any friend in need.

Suzanne Clothier says it very well.

Dogs getting tongues stuck in toys

There was a recent article in the news about a Rottweiler getting his tongue stuck in a toy. The toy had a hole in one end and was otherwise solid. When his tongue got stuck, it created a suction that prevented him from pulling it out. This isn’t the only time this has happened. Here are some other stories on dogs getting their tongues stuck.

Some of these toys are designed this way. The Dog Enthusiast has a simple solution for the problem: Drill or cut a hole in the solid end.

One toy can be used to create this problem. The amazing Kong®. I like Kongs but I don’t stuff them as often recommended. I make sure there’s a hole in both ends. This picture shows how they are often used.stuffed kong

The small hole is stuffed with something then the entire inside is stuffed. I suppose as long as the primary ingredient is soft, the suction won’t occur. I don’t know. However, when these toys are completely stuffed then put in the freezer, they have the same problem as the one-hole toys. As the dog eats into the big end, the other (open) end is still closed with frozen food.

I only stuff one side and make sure I can see through it before I put it in the freezer. Then I check it again before I give it to the dog to make sure nothing shifted while it was in the freezer. This is a picture with one side stuffed with yogurt and peanut butter.

Stuffed Kong with a hole still visible.

Stuffed Kong with a hole still visible.


It’s going in the freezer tonight & the dog will get it tomorrow.



As an aside, dogs with any toys should be monitored.
One never knows when an unforeseen problem might occur.


What is “least invasive” dog training?

There may be as many answers to this question as there are dog trainers. I have my own ideas, of course. I like to think I follow this logic:

To use shock as an effective dog training method you will need:
A thorough understanding of canine behavior.
A thorough understanding of learning theory.
Impeccable timing.
And if you have those three things, you don’t need a shock collar.
–Author unknown

In my opinion, and many others, this logic applies to tools and methods dogs may find aversive, not only shock collars. There are SO many options before aversives are applied, that a good trainer would never need to use them. That said, I do use head halters as an occassional training tool but want my clients to work out of them.

For your perusal and thought:

LIMA vs. Humane Hierarchy

Application of the Humane Hierarchy (CCPDT)

LEIBI. Version 6.0 (AABP)

Humane Hierarchy, Part 1

Humane Hierarchy, Part 2


The “Humane Hierarchy” for animals may have been based upon a similar treatment hierarchy for developmentally disabled people. I can’t find the original source.


“The fact of the matter is that displays that we term submissive or dominant can appear under a myriad of different circumstances.”

A well-researched article on dominance in canids (wolves, dogs, jackals…)

Dominance Behavior in Canids

"Varg fotograferad pa Polar Zoo Norge (15)" by Johannes Jansson/ Licensed under CC BY 2.5 dk via Wikimedia Commons -

Varg fotograferad pa Polar Zoo Norge (15)” by Johannes Jansson/ Licensed under CC BY 2.5 dk via Wikimedia Commons



Katy 2_26

Over the course of about 4 hours, I was able to get the martingale collar on Katy and adjust it. I think it needs to be tighter so I’ll keep working on it. Every time I adjust it, I give her a bite of chicken. I’m still getting the freeze when I work on her collar but my body language is getting less stiff. I don’t think she’s going to bite me again…  She’s taking the chicken with normal body language. If I can put a normal collar and leash on her, she won’t have to drag the other one.

Katy, Katy, Katy.


2 hours later: The slip lead is off. The martingale is on and I can put a normal leash on and off. YAY!


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