How to Find a Good Dog Trainer

How Pet Professionals Can Use the Hierarchy of Dog Needs

DVD: Learn to “Make the Case” for Force-free Dog Training

Category Archives: Behavior Modification

HELP FOR THE FEARFUL DOG. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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“Lilly” certainly was little. She measured just up to the high end of my ankle and it made me shiver to think of what it was like to live down there with all the giant humans and bigger dogs tramping all over the place. Nevertheless, I’ve seen many confident, even overly-confident toy breed pups that aren’t the least bit troubled with their small stature – but this was different. The little fawn-coated Chihuahau/doxie seemed to have every fear-laden issue in the dog diagnostics book.

Adoptee and rescue dogs almost always have a mysterious past that new pet parents can never truly know.Read more

Hierarchy of Dog Needs TM. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Introducing the The Hierarchy of Dog Needs TM
A Wellness and Humane Force-free Behavior Modification Guide
Created by Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, Del Mar Dog Training

The Hierarchy of Dog Needs was developed as a progressive Force-free alternative to the paradigms that have been, and that are currently available. You will note in the Hierarchy of Dog Needs TM that neither Positive Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, Negative Punishment nor Extinction appear in the Force-free Training block: Indeed, they are purposefully absent. This easy-to-use training guide for Force-free dog training was long in the making. The principles apply to ALL animals. The guide is available FREE.Read more

Puppy Come…or I’ll Shock You??? Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology

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This series of blog posts recounts topics drawn from a recent guest segment by Del Mar Dog Trainer Linda Michaels, M.A. on the Pet Professional Guild Radio Show.

Question: Can you tell us if you think training an emergency recall with P+ (punishment such as a shock collar) could, in any way, be preferable to using R+ (reinforcement, such as a treat or affection)?

Answer: This is such an important topic because both shock collar trainers and so-called “balanced trainers often use Recall/Come in demonstrations to the public or online, as a way to impress their audience and as means to tout the supposed superiority of their training method with “off-leash” training.Read more

Open Letter to Canine Research Scientists. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Del Mar Dog Trainer Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, calls on canine research scientists to lead the way on the ethical treatment of companion animals and take a stand against shock collars.

It would require a long list to delineate the benefits of companion animal canine research conferences and live streams. Admirably, these conference bring canine researchers into the mainstream of the canine applied practices fields, i.e., dog training. Many pet parents and trainers take careful note of scientific positions and plan to incorporate the lessons-learned into their practice. The researchers benefit in kind from relationships forged with dog trainers and pet parents.Read more

DOG/DOG AGGRESSION. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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By Linda Michaels, M.A., Psychology, Del Mar Dog Trainer 

Dog/dog Aggression: There’s nothing pet parents like better than socializing with their dogs. They often want everyone to like their dog and they want their dog to like everyone… including other dogs. Pet parents may feel it’s a reflection on them personally if their dog is not friendly to other dogs. It’s not. Before you head off to the local dog park or dog beach there are two important questions to ask yourself: “Is it safe?” and “Is my dog really having fun?”

Your dog speaks to you through body language–ear and tail carriage, stance, behavior and vocalizations.Read more

BARKING, BARKING, BARKING – Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Stop Barking dog trainingThis is an excerpt from Linda’s book, Do No Harm™ Dog Training and Behavior Manual, available to download here.


Does your dog bark while running in circles, bay at the moon, bark at bugs, or scare your visitors out of their boots?

Dogs bark:

• To repel intruders (alarm barking)

• For attention

• During play

• As an outlet for energy

In separation anxiety distress

• To demand something from you

Barking is as natural a vocalization for dogs as speaking is for humans. Basic barking is normal, but incessant barking may indicate an unhappy dog that has developed a behavior problem.… Read more

Wolfdog Radio Online with Linda Michaels, MA. Feb 15 5pm PST | 8pm EST — Learn to Train Your Wolfdog with Positive Reinforcement. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Listen to the Wolfdog Radio broadcast, with special guest, Linda Michaels, MA Psychology, and learn how to use the principles of Positive Reinforcement/ForceFree training to help develop a trusting, working relationship with your wolfdog. Linda outlines the techniques of Reward-based Training and Benevolent Leadership that you can use to get more of the behavior that you want, and less of the behavior that you don’t want. Find out how you can ameliorate some of the most common behavior issues with your beloved wolfdog. Learn to communicate with your wolfdog in a language he/she can understand through signals and manipulating resources. Discover the importance of ultra-early socialization and how to prevent and decrease fearfulness/shyness.Read more

New Year Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts. Linda Michaels, M.A. Del Mar Dog Training

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UT Scratch & Sniff 2013 Logo


Top 10 Do’s and Dont’s for Your Dog in the New Year

If you’re adopting a dog this holiday season or choosing a puppy, think carefully about how you will select, socialize and train the new addition to the family.


Happy New Year! Photo Courtesy of Lyn Dubois and Tammy

Happy New Year!
Photo Courtesy of Lyn Dubois and Tammy

1. Don’t choose a pup on the spur of the moment or value cosmetics over temperament and personality. The behavioral pick of the litter is generally the middle puppy: The feistiest or the shyest may have been either a bully or a victim.


2.Read more

PET PARENTING POSITIVELY™…Part 2. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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Welcome! You’re on the way to learning the Foundations of Pet Parenting Positively™. Let’s continue on this fascinating journey discovering the scientifically-endorsed positive reinforcement training methods. Code words — Do No Harm

Containment Management: Containment as a management tool may help prevent frustration and it can speed up learning. Until your dog has learned good household manners, teach your dog to accept restrictions, such as crating at night for housetraining and accepting a baby gate or an X-pen to cordon off a room in your home until more spaced is earned. Always provide your dog with things to do…afterall, that’s only fair.Read more

PET PARENTING POSITIVELY™… Part 1. Linda Michaels, M.A., — Del Mar Dog Training

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This is the first in the continuing series on positive pet parenting, excerpted from my upcoming book.

If you’ve made the decision to pet parent your dog positively, congratulations on your good judgement! Your decision will enhance your relationship with your canine companion and best friend. Afterall, that’s why most people get a companion animal…pet parents want to have a trusting, loving, fun relationship with their new puppy or rescue dog.

In order to communicate effectively with your dog, it’s important to build a foundation of benevolent leadership, good management, and dog-friendly training. Dogs are an unparalleled gift to humankind and to each one of us personally.Read more


Linda Michaels, M.A. Psychology, Del Mar Dog Training, serves clients in Del Mar and San Diego County from La Jolla to Carlsbad, plus Rancho Santa Fe, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills. Linda Michaels was recently rated one of the top ten dog trainers in the United States, by Top Ten Magazine. Linda has a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (Hons), and is the creator of the Hierarchy of Dog Needs™ (HDN). She focuses on the psychological aspects of dog behavior that often mirror human psychological conditions, such as: fear, separation/attachment disorders, and aggression toward humans and other dogs. She also teaches private, customized basic manners/obedience lessons for dogs of all ages and every breed.

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