School For The Dogs Podcast - Dog Training & Animal Behavior with Annie Grossman  show

School For The Dogs Podcast - Dog Training & Animal Behavior with Annie Grossman

Summary: Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, confronts myths, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Annie encourages people to become literate in the basics of behavioral science in order to help their dogs and themselves. Tune in to learn how to use science-based methods to train dogs (and people) without pain, force, or coercion! Show notes: Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625

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 Restaurant dining with your dog: How to train the perfect outdoor dinner date | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1755

It's a golden moment for those wanting to eat outdoors with their dogs. Just think: There's so much outdoor dining! And people are keeping their distance from each other! And tables are spaced at a nice distance from each other! Annie gives some tips about how you can help train your dog to be the perfect outdoor-dining companion. Also: Learn what 1950s superstar very nearly became the real Lassie's owner.  Products mentioned in this episode:  Tricky Trainer's Crunchy Treats: Lamb lung: Snuffle/Activity Mats: VirChewLy Indestructible Leash:  Found My Animal Leash: Hands-Free Leash: SFTD Training Mat: Liquid Treat Dispenser: Frank Inn: Episode 33: How to shape your dog to go to a mat Episode 66: Lassie’s Boy Sidekick: Meet Jon Provost, aka Timmy  Episode 69: Mean Talk, mouse traps + water guns: Rudd Weatherwax's Lassie Method  --  Partial Transcript: Annie: Guys. It's a really difficult time to be alive, to be a human right now.  There's so much that's wrong with the world.  But there's one, one silver lining that I just wanted to point out to anyone here who has a dog, which is probably you, if you're listening. This is an excellent time for dining out with your dog. I know different places have different rules, but I live in New York City and restaurants now have extended their outdoor seating areas into the streets and avenues, usually beyond the sidewalks.  The tables are spaced at least six feet apart.... Full Transcript available at

 Schedules of Reinforcement, “Baked In” Behaviors & How Dog Training Can Help You Take The MCAT | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2573

A listener who is studying for the MCAT exam wrote in to ask if there were any dog training scenarios that could help illustrate some of the terms she needed to know for the psychology section of the exam. Annie, who has learned most of what she knows about dog training from working with dogs rather than from studying terms or taking exams, does her best to help make some "science-y" concepts more understandable through the lens of dog training and human behavior as we experience in everyday life. She talks about schedules of reinforcement, learned behaviors vs preinstalled behaviors, learning by observation and more.   Mentioned in this episode:   Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining In Plain English How Dogs Learn And How Best To Teach Them, by Pamela J. Reid  Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor  Behavior Principles in Everyday Life by John D. Baldwin and Janice I. Baldwin  Bobo Doll Experiment --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hello, human friends, Annie here.  As I've mentioned before, I've been recording mostly in my neighbor's apartment while he's out of town so that I can escape the craziness of my apartment, but he doesn't have air conditioning. So I couldn't deal with sitting in his apartment to record today. So I came back to my apartment to record after sweating profusely while trying to record down there. And then I realized you can't really have the air conditioning on anyway when you're recording a podcast because of the background noise, which made me think about all the sweaty podcasters working from home right now. So I blast the AC really, really high, just long enough to try and cool down the room while I record. So anyway, Hi! I wanted to respond to an interesting question. I got from a listener who has been in touch with me, uh, before Supriya is, uh, her name.  I might be saying it wrong. Supriya.  Such a pretty name that sounds like surprise. She wrote: “Hey Annie, I am currently studying for the psychology section of the MCAT, and while I've never heard of many things in this section before I am totally nailing the section on classical and operant conditioning, because I've been listening to your podcast for a while now.  I was wondering if you happen to have time before my exam in September, would you be able to expand on operant conditioning in terms of dog training, which is what makes sense to me. Specifically, I'm studying reinforcement schedules, innate versus learned behaviors, escape and avoidance learning, the Bobo doll experiment and associative versus non associative learning. Then there's also biological constraints on learning, which I'm studying specifically for humans. But I'm curious about this in dogs too. Of course, if you don't have time, this is completely okay.  Just thought I would ask considering I've learned so much from you already.” Isn't that a nice email to get, isn’t that a cool email to get? First of all, just wanted to say that I'm flattered that you feel that you've learned so much. And I'm amazed that anybody is asking me for MCAT advice... Full Transcript available at

 Mean Talk, Mouse Traps & Water Guns: Rudd Weatherwax’s “Lassie Method” | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2231

A few weeks ago, Annie interviewed Jon Provost, who played the little boy Timmy on the Lassie TV series in the 1950s and 60s. He talked a little bit about Rudd Weatherwax, who was Lassie's owner and trainer. Jon talked about how Weatherwax only trained with praise and rewards, and Annie described him as "progressive." After the episode aired, however, she found some old videos that showed training methods that suggested otherwise. In this episode, Annie reads from Weatherwax's 1971 book, The Lassie Method: Raising & Training Your Dog With Patience, Firmness & Love, and considers the pros and cons of his suggested training techniques.  Notes:  Free ebook on dog training techniques you can use on people: 1971 footage promoting the book: The Lassie Method: Raising & Training Your Dog With Patience, Firmness & Love --- Partial Transcript: Annie: So a few weeks ago, I interviewed Jon Provost, the actor who played Timmy on the TV show Lassie when he was a kid. And we talked just a little bit in the episode about Lassie's trainer and owner, whose name was Rudd Weatherwax. And he was kind of a big deal in the world of commercial dog training in the early to mid 1900s. He trained Asta for The Thin Man. He trained Toto for The Wizard of Oz, but Rudd Weatherwax wasn't really the focus of the interview. And, you know, I admit in some episodes I have more of an agenda than in other episodes. Some episodes of this podcast, I am just interviewing people who have done interesting things with dogs or are working with dogs. I like stories about people and dogs, and I like sharing those stories, but of course I am dog trainer.  I am opinionated. I have very specific points of view on the subject matter. But two things.  One, I think I just assumed that someone who spent so much time on set with a dog and their trainer would be able to recognize what they were doing as far as training goes. Like I think I just take for granted at this point that someone could break down what someone's training methods are or what their approach is. But in reality, I know things can seem kind of opaque when you're watching training happening. And if you don't know what to look for or what you might not want to be seeing. I mean, I don't know. Also I'm talking to a man who is recollecting things that happened 60 years ago when he was a kid. The other thing of course, being that Rudd Weatherwax maybe really was all praise and reward with Lassie on set or whenever Lassie was with Jon Provost.  They worked together very closely for many, many years, the dog who played Lassie and Rudd Weatherwax.  Interestingly, they only ever had one Lassie at a time.  I learned that speaking with Jon.  Anyway, that dog, whichever Lassie it was at the time, and Rudd Weatherwax I'm guessing had a very strong bond. And I'm sure that that dog was tuned into understanding what Rudd Weatherwax wanted with very, very little force or coercion necessary because they had such a history working together. And also, because again this is me guessing, that they did a lot of training for him to learn new things off set. So by the time they got onset, it was more about maintaining those behaviors, which could be done using positive reinforcement. Cause that's the way that you're going to encourage behaviors that you want to keep happening. And if you're doing something on a set in front of a camera where they might do several takes, you want behaviors that are going to keep happening... Full Transcript available at

 Is Dominance Really A Thing? Cesar Millan, Libertarianism + A Dog Named Pizza | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 3503

Before she became a dog trainer, Annie assumed that understanding dogs' supposed obsession with dominance was an important part of being a good trainer. She pushed her 18-pound Yorkiepoo into alpha rolls so he'd know she was boss. She yelled in his face, and made sure he never entered through a doorway before her, because Cesar Millan said that that would make the dog think he was the one in charge.  The whole idea that dog behavior, and the way dogs learn, had anything to do with science simply did not compute; the notion of them existing in a kind of Lord-Of-The-Flies quest for supreme power seemed plausible and not something worth reconsidering. After graduating dog training school, her thoughts on "dominance" shifted 180 degrees. Now,  ten years spent working as a professional trainer, they've shifted yet again... Bonus Q+A: Pizza the mini goldendoodle (@the_pizza_dood) is obsessed with stealing collapsible water bowls at the park. Annie suggests a three pronged approach to curing him of the habit of destroying silicone water bowls that belong to other dogs. Products mentioned in this episode: The Zisc Flying Disc by West Paw West Paw Toys Collapsible Slow Food Bowl Learn more about Parvene Farhoudy Books by Raymond Coppinger Dogs (with Lorna Coppinger) What Is A Dog (with Lorna Coppinger) How Dogs Work (with Mark Feinstein) The (now embarrassing) 2007 article Annie wrote in The NY Times about people wanting to become dog trainers: --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hello, human friends, and dog listeners, woof to you. I wanted to talk today about dominance. So in the three decades of life that I lived before becoming a dog trainer, I am pretty sure that I thought the word dominant was as much a part of dog training as boiling water was to cooking. It was just an essential part of the whole thing that was dog training. Dog training at that time being something that I think I thought of as, you know, something that happens when you sign up for a class or you hire a professional, and that dog training wasn't happening really outside of those times... Full Transcript available at

 Puppy Socialization In The Time Of Quarantine | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2388

Nothing makes people want puppies quite like a global pandemic! Those who are raising puppies during quarantine may face some challenges when it comes to socialization. But, if you succeed at doing a good job with it -- if you can clear the unusual hurdles that new dog owners have to face right now -- you will be paving the way for a great future for your dog and while developing your own training abilities. Annie discusses what socialization is, how to spot signs of possible stress, and how to start at "criteria: zero" in order to build new and appropriate behaviors (and keep bad ones from happening). She talks about using food in socialization, using the right toys, and making use of sounds and objects you might be able to find in your home and enlisting neighbors in a safe way. She also talks about how to help your young dog get adequate puppy playtime, even if that means you... have to pretend to be a puppy. FREE EBOOK on The Dog Training Triad: Get access to our private Facebook Group with the purchase of any of our new self-paced online courses. See Additional resources: Annie's webinar on raising a puppy during quarantine: Dog Body Language Demonstated By A Human with Em Beauprey: First Episode of The Dog Whisperer featuring Nunu and Kane (both being flooded -- but lots of good examples of stress signals): More on Slow Food Bowls: K9 Sports Sack: Flirt Poles: --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hey everyone. So lots of people have gotten puppies in the last few months during quarantine, which I’m super excited about.  But the truth is, while the crazy world pandemic we’re living through might mean that you have more time to spend at home with your puppy, which by and large is a very good thing, it also means that there are some very real challenges that you may be facing that really might make things harder than they would be for a puppy owner getting a puppy in more normal times.  You might not have the support system around you that you used to have. You might not have access to safe places that you can go with your puppy outside of your home. You’re probably dealing with financial stress. You might be having to move unexpectedly. You might get sick.  But you know, all of this is to say that if you can get through having a puppy during quarantine, you know, it’s kind of like I tell my clients, if your puppy can make it here, he can make it anywhere. In New York City. Same thing with this. If you can get you and your new puppy through this difficult period in the right ways, you’re really going to be setting yourself up for a life together that is going to be enjoyable... Full Transcript available at

 Lassie's Boy Sidekick: Meet Jon Provost, aka Timmy | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2989

Jon Provost was the boy sidekick to the 20th Century's most-loved dog: Lassie. In the late 1950s and early 1960s a third of American households tuned in each week to watch Lassie, a whip-smart Collie, help Timmy get out of countless pickles. Lassie came to define the "perfect" dog. In this episode Provost, who is now 70, talks about working with a dog star, and about what he learned from Lassie's rather progressive trainer/owner, the famous Hollywood dog trainer Rudd Weatherwax. He and Annie also discuss his early exposure to the notion of a "therapy" dog, and his more recent work to bring attention to rescue dogs, Army dogs, and more.  Annie ends the episode by reflecting on how Lassie impacted our cultural notions about dogs, perhaps not for the better, and reads from Jean Donaldson's book Culture Clash, about the Disney-fication of dogs and how a desire to anthropomorphize "man's best friend" has led to some huge errors in the way people attempt to train and understand the dogs who live with us.  If you're enjoying School For The Dogs Podcast, please subscribe to it, rate it, and leave a review!  Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash: Timmy's In The Well: The Jon Provost Story Get a free eBook: Three Secret Keys To Dog Training Success when you register for Annie's Free Master Class! You can find some old episodes of Lassie on Youtube: Rudd Weatherwax's obituary: --- Partial Transcript: Annie: 60 years ago, there was a TV show that was so popular, it's estimated it was watched in a third of American households each week. Its star, whose name was Baby, was a guy playing the role of a girl -- a nonhuman girl. That girl was, of course, Lassie. [Whistling - Lassie theme] Baby has long since left us. The show is only on in reruns.  And today, most people have not heard of Lassie's famous trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, who was responsible for many of the 20th century's most famous dog actors, but last year, his best friend is still around and still hanging out with dogs like it's his job.  Today, I have for you an interview with Jon Provost who played Timmy on the show Lassie for most of his childhood.  He spoke to me about Weatherwax’s progressive and positive reinforcement based training methods, what it was like to grow up off camera with Lassie, and about his continued work with dogs. Fun fact, did you know there was actually never an episode where Timmy fell in a well, can you believe that? Before we get started, I just wanted to suggest that you go check out my brand new one hour long master class. It's called “Three simple things every dog owner needs to know to teach a dog quickly and easily without, force, pain, a major time investment or fancy equipment.”  It's a presentation where I talk about how I got into dog training, how it kind of revolutionized how I see the world. You'll learn to think about the way your dog learns, specifically wow to think about the way in which your dog is learning thanks to classical conditioning all the time... Full Transcript available at

 Don't Let Your Dog Cry It Out: On Training Dogs To Be Alone | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1889

In an ideal world, dogs would all be trained to be able to be alone. It would be a process of shaping a behavior, and helping your dog make good associations with being without you. But, in the real world, not everyone can take the time to acclimate a dog to alone time. Annie talks about the "cry it out" method and some of the tools that are used to punish the behaviors that can occur when a dog is stressed about being alone, and their potential fall out. She also gives a few strategies you can use when you really just have to leave your dog before you are sure he can handle it, and discusses what it means when we get rid of a behavior using extinction. Support School For The Dogs by shopping in our online store!  Products mentioned in this episode. Treat n' Train - Treat Separation Anxiety In Dogs by Malena DiMartini Scholarship Fund mosaic: Master Class can be found at Also listen to:  Episode 26 | Teach a foolproof DROP and COME using Classical Conditioning Episode 59 | Separation Anxiety Expert Malena DeMartini on Helping Dogs Learn To Be Alone --- Partial Transcript: Annie: I am in my neighbor's apartment. This has become my backup recording studio.  And my neighbor is a wonderful man I have known my entire life. He has a lot of stuff. He has a lot of stuff. I don't think he would disagree with that statement. And right next to the desk where I've been recording in order to seek some quiet, because my apartment is not quiet very often with my little daughter, right, running around.  Right next to the spot in his apartment, where I sit is a dead cockroach that's been dead on its back for, uh, the last few months and has remained unmoved. And I feel like I've been paying homage to this dead cockroach. Like we've been sharing space with him in his death, me still alive. You know, I don't think I ever saw him when he was alive, but he did live in my building. I thought about picking him up. But then I started to feel like he was some kind of symbol.  Not as cute as like a rabbit's foot, but actually kind of less gross. And, you know, people have taxidermied animals that they keep around.  Right now, I'm just coexisting with a dead cockroach. [Intro and music] Annie: So I've been getting a lot of questions relating to separation, which I guess could be sort of seen as predictable seeing that there's been a period of people being home a lot with their dogs. And now perhaps a period of us being less at home with our dogs.  And a lot of people who have gotten dogs in the interim period, this like COVID 19 puppy and adoption boom that we seem to have seen. And so I wanted to talk a little bit about how I think about separation and the various options of how you can deal with it. And you know, I should say that separation is such a frustrating issue.  And if you've listened to this podcast before you might've heard the episode I did with Malena Dimartini, who is probably the separation anxiety dog training expert out there... Full Transcript available at

 Cues & Commands: How We Communicate To Dogs What We Want From Them & Vice Versa | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1629

Before Annie became a dog trainer, she assumed all dogs were trained using "commands" and cues were for... pool games and stage actors. In this episode, she talks about the difference between cues and commands, describes the process of adding a cue, noticing cues, changing cues, and more.  Enjoy School For The Dogs Podcast? Please leave a 5-star rating on iTunes and a review!  Notes:  Find Annie's new MasterClass at A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court Episode 19: How To Train A Dog To Sit From Scratch Episode 40: Teaching A Stellar Down With A Verbal Or Visual Cue --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Mark Twain, satirist of the 19th century, one of my favorite writers, wrote the book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. And it’s a story about–it’s a time travel story about a guy who gets bonked on the head and wakes up and thinks at first that he’s in Bridgeport, Connecticut, but actually he’s gone back in time from the 1800s to King Arthur’s court and he’s in Camelot. He gets himself into trouble there, he’s going to be burned at the stake. And then he realizes that he had learned in school that in the year 528, the year that he’s found himself in, there was a solar eclipse. So he predicts this natural event, and he makes everyone believe that he caused it. I think about this book sometimes when I’m thinking about the process of adding a cue to a behavior that we want our dogs to know. Now, before I first went to  dog trainer school, I referred to commands. You gave your dog a command and the dog followed the command or not. It would have never occurred to me to call it anything other than a command. Instead, I was encouraged to think about how we can cue a dog to do the thing we want. Now, at first I understood the reason as, like we don’t want to be coercing dogs and it is coercive if you’re commanding something, because it’s like, you’re saying do this, or else. There’s an implied or else. And you know, that made sense to me, but I also thought that, you know, it would be possible to command and then reward. So maybe it was just too narrow a reading of the word command. But then I started to understand that the notion that we are commanding a dog to do something really gives us way too much credit. We are sometimes cueing a dog to do something perhaps on purpose, but perhaps not on purpose. And it would be funny to call that a command.  Dogs do things all the time because of things that we do that we might not have actually wanted our dog to do. You wouldn’t call that command, but it might be some kind of cue to your dog, if your dog is perceiving it.  What’s more, there are lots of cues that your dog is perceiving that have nothing to do with you. They are learning cues from the environment, all around them, from each other, from things we might not even be perceiving. Full Transcript available at

 A Pet Food Killed My Dog: Susan Thixton & The Truth About Pet Food | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 3060

Thirty years ago, a vet told Susan Thixton that dog food had given her dog bone cancer, and the dog had two weeks to live.  "That day changed my life," she said. She dove into researching pet food, and found an industry doing its best to keep its practices opaque to pet owners. Too often, she discovered, we are literally feeding our dogs garbage. In the decades since, Susan has become a full time blogger on the subject and a consumer advocate, lobbying to try to improve the quality of the food we feed our pets. She and Annie discuss the difference the precise definitions of terms like "food" and "feed,"  "with" and "meal," and Susan reveals what she feels is the single most important thing to look for when selecting a pet food. This episode may forever change how you think about dog food.  Sign up for Annie's new Master Class! Notes:  This conversation was recorded as a webinar, a replay of which can be found here. What is feed grade and human grade pet food? Learn the differences. Pet food ingredients differ from human food ingredients. Learn how to add some real food to your pet’s diet. 2020 List Of Preferred Foods Association For Truth In Pet Food Dr. Becker's Real Food For Healthy Dogs & Cats's food recipes Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua In The Coal Mine by Marion Nestle Dr. Judy Morgan's naturally healthy Pets Recipes  --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hello, Sue, why don't you just go ahead and introduce yourself. Susan Thixton: I'm Susan Thixton. I run the website, and run a consumer stakeholder organization association for truth in pet food, providing food consumers with a voice at pet food regulatory meetings, and with FDA, when they choose to listen to us.  It's strictly their ballgame and sometimes they listen to us and sometimes they don't. Annie: Now I first found you through your blog Truth About Pet Food. Did the associations start the blog or vice versa? Susan: Truth About Pet Food started first and I was going to AFCO meetings and wanted to ask them for an advisory position to where, you know, I could give them consumer opinion more than just being in the audience. And they denied me year after year. And when a president, former president, finally went off the board of directors, he told me that the trick is we didn't want a blogger to be an advisor to AFCO. Full Transcript available at

 On Racism, Reinforcement, Leashes & Poop Bags | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 2241

Last week in New York City a white woman called the cops on a black man, saying he was threatening her life. Really, he just wanted her to obey Central Park's leash laws. In this episode, Annie attempts to dissect the altercation from a dog trainer's point of view, talking about everything from how we should use leashes, to how the man used an interesting combination of treats and negative reinforcement to get the woman to leash the dog.  Through the lens of dog behavior and training, we can also spot how fear, caused by ignorance or wrong associations or both, can lead to awful actions. Annie also talks about the animal-training concepts of "trigger stacking," her own "learned helplessness" when it comes to affecting change by voting, and her ongoing efforts to take a stance, one poop bag at a time.    Get our free house training guide: Http:// Notes:  The Amy Cooper/Christian Cooper video  Mendota Leashes  Found My Animal leashes Coercion And Its Fallout by Murray Sidman Donald Trump Poop Bags --- Partial Transcript: Annie: Hey everyone. I recorded this episode over a week ago, before riots broke out all around the country. The episode is about the incident that happened just before George Floyd was killed in another part of the country in New York City. It felt to me, you know, I'm in New York, it felt like a local incident took place more or less than in School for the Dog's backyard. And I didn't expect it to go viral, but it did because it's about race and racism and white privilege. And then George Floyd's killing suddenly made this New York City incident seem all the more sinister and terrible. This isn't a podcast about race. But the reason I felt like I wanted to say something about the New York incident is because in the middle of these two people, one of whom was black, one of whom was white, there was literally a dog and no one else is talking that much about the dog, which makes sense. There's a lot to unpack here that has nothing to do with the dog, but this is a podcast about dogs and about dog training. And so I felt I wanted to talk about the dog and to do so without so much touching on the much larger issues going on because I'm not a political commentator or an activist. I am a white woman who owns a small business. I think Black Lives Matter and I'm depressed and frightened to be living in a world where we even need to point out that black lives matter. All weekend, I lay in bed, holding my daughter and listening to helicopters and sirens overhead. And I just felt helpless. And if you've listened to this podcast before you obviously know that I like to try and spot the dog training lessons in the world we live in because so much of our lives is about changing our own behavior or trying to change other people's behavior.  Full Transcript available at

 The Greatest Animal Trainer On Earth: Ken Ramirez | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 3603

When Ken Ramirez is not training elephants to avoid poachers, teaching dogs to count, coaxing polar bears out of suburban garbage cans or getting butterflies to fly on cue, he is mentoring and educating dog trainers. Ken is the Executive Vice President and public face of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, which operates the Karen Pryor Academy, among other things. In this episode, he and Annie discussed his new book of essays, how he almost got The Dog Whisperer's time slot, the existence of free will, sleep training a baby and more.  Get our guide to making walks more fun:  Http:// Notes: The Eye Of The Trainer: Animal Training, Transformation and Trust, by Ken Ramirez - On My Mind: Reflections on Animal Behavior and Learning, by Karen Pryor - Ken Ramirez on Hannah Brannigan's Drinking From The Toilet Podcast - Ken Ramirez on Ryan Cartlidge's Animal Training Academy Podcast - - Ken's Letters - Training Lessons From Pokemon Go - Talk To The Animals clip -  Find the ukulele-duo Toast Garden on Youtube!  If you're enjoying this podcast, please subscribe, rate, and review!  --- Partial Transcript: *Intro* Annie: So if you are a professional animal trainer or aspiring to be a professional animal trainer, I'm guessing that you've probably heard of my guest today. If you're not, you probably haven't.  Whether you're in one of those categories or the other, I am really excited to get to share this conversation with you with this pretty remarkable man. Now, I normally like to ask people how they first got into the field of animal training or dog training in particular, but I didn't go into that with my guests today only because there were so many things I wanted to talk to him about, and you can also get his backstory on a couple other great podcasts, including the Animal Training Academy Podcast with Ryan Cartlidge and Hannah Brannigans podcast, Drinking from the Toilet. The short version is he grew up on a ranch, began volunteering, working with a guide dog organization when he was still a teenager, and then kind of lucked into a job working with exotic animals, which then helped mold his choices of what to study in college. He then spent more than two decades working at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where he eventually was the Executive Vice President of Animal Care. And well, I'm just gonna let him introduce himself and talk about what he's doing now. Ken Ramirez: My name is Ken Ramirez and I am the executive vice president and chief trading officer for Karen Pryor Clicker Training. And I have been training, gosh, for over 40 years now.  Worked in the zoological field. I work as a consultant for zoos and aquariums.  I work as a consultant for search and rescue dogs and law enforcement and guide dogs.  And I do a lot of work in the conservation arena, so I have a lot of interests and I keep very busy. Full transcript available at

 The Most Important Behavior You'll Ever Train | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1882

There is one behavior we teach every dog we work with at School For The Dogs: Touch!  This is an easy-to-teach building block that you can use to build... whatever you want! In this episode, Annie outlines how to teach touch, and talks about this behavior's countless uses and variations.  Annie's Free Webinar on training touch - More on Chirag Patel's Bucket Game - Ken Ramirez demonstrates different types of targeting. - Doodle Buddy and other apps you can use with your dog.  Support this podcast by shopping in our online store,!  Products mentioned in this episode:  Clicker Sticks - Lamb Lung --- Partial Transcript: [Intro] Annie: Hey everyone. Annie here. Thank you so much for listening. If you're hearing this on Friday, May 15th, today is the last day that we are offering 30 minute free sessions at School for the Dogs. This is something that we started to do at the beginning of quarantine. We are bringing an end to this offer for the moment. So if you have not booked one yet, you should do so at and we can work on whatever you want to work on with your dog. Whether you want to talk about an ongoing issue you're having, or you just want some ideas of fun stuff you can do with your dog, or maybe you're thinking about getting a dog, whatever is going on. Our certified trainers would be psyched to talk to you, but again, today is the last day that you can get one of these sessions for free if you book before the end of the day today Today I wanted to talk about my favorite behavior to train and the behavior that I think is probably the most important behavior for anyone to train, especially if you're just starting out training a dog.  I would even go so far as to say that this might be the only behavior you need to train. I'll explain a little bit more about that in a moment, but the behavior is a Touch, specifically teaching a dog to touch his nose to your fingers. Now I first want to describe what this behavior is going to look like, what it's going to consist of, and then I'll talk about some variations and why I think it's such an essential building block behavior. Your first job is to decide which hand your dog is going to touch and which hand is going to hold the treats. Now you could certainly reward with play or lots of other things other than food. But I want to first describe how you could train this with small bits of treats. And that's important. You want your pieces to be very small for this. Not super gooey. Although, sometimes I use a big piece of lamb lung and break off tiny bits as I go with my fingernail. Lamb lung, dried lamb lung, breaks up really well that way. Or sometimes I'll ball up a bunch of cheese in my hands, like string cheese or American cheese or cheddar cheese, and pick off little bits of that too. But if you're gonna start out with precut treats, they really should be like no bigger than a Tic Tac... Full Transcript available at

 Separation Anxiety Expert Malena DeMartini on Helping Dogs Learn To Be Alone | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 4156

Some dogs have panic attacks when they are left alone. If you have a dog who can't be alone, and you have any interest in sometimes leaving your home without your dog, you know the agony of canine separation anxiety. It's an issue that has led to too many dogs ending up at shelters.  A good dog trainer can help, but many good dog trainers dread taking on separation anxiety cases because...they're really hard. "Who in their right mind would choose separation anxiety as a speciality?" says Malena DeMartini. The answer? Malena DeMartini. Malena has helped countless dogs learn to be alone, and also trains trainers to deal with treating and preventing separation anxiety in dogs. Annie and Malena discuss why separation anxiety cases are hard, how people can address separation issues with or without a trainer's help, the ways in which modern technology can help us train dogs to be alone, behavioral medication, CBD for dogs, and more.  Use code SFTD for ten percent off the Mission: Possible  course at Treating Separation Anxiety In Dogs by Malena DeMartini   Zoobiquity by Barbara Nattersion-Horowitz Jean Donaldson's The Academy For Dog Trainers  Uke'n' Daddy's All By Myself by Irving Berlin  Book a free session through May 15th and check out our daily schedule of free webinars at  If you like School For The Dogs Podcast,  please subscribe, rate, review, and share with your friends!   --- Partial Transcript: Annie: I'm thrilled today to be interviewing Malena DeMartini. She is an expert in treating dogs with separation anxiety. She is the author of the book, Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs, a book I’ve recommended so many times, I think I should be getting a commission on the royalties. Malena is a superstar in the world of dog training, so we might as well consider this a celebrity interview. On an important topic: the topic of helping dogs learn to be okay being left alone. But before I play you this interview, I did want to mention that we have been offering, free 30 minute virtual sessions with clients, the School for the Dogs’s trainers have been doing this since quarantine started but we are only going to be offering these sessions for one more week, so if you have yet to sign up for a free 30 minute session with one of our certified trainers, you absolutely should. We can help with problems that you have been facing during quarantine or maybe things you were wanting to deal with before quarantine, we can also help you find some fun things with your dog during this time that you are very likely spending more time together than ever. But that offer ends next Friday, May 15 so definitely book now and also if you are not aware, we have been offering free, daily webinars which you can learn more about at They’ve been on a wide array of topics, we have gotten really great feedback and we also have the replays available for a limited time at that same link: So if you’ve missed one, it is more likely there. This interview I did with Malena is an abridged version of a webinar we did earlier this week that I will link to in the show notes... Full Transcript available at

 A Different Kind Of Dog Photographer: Meet Andrea Castanon of BowieShoots | File Type: audio/x-m4a | Duration: 1813

A few years ago, Annie thought it'd be fun to do yearbook-style posed photos of dogs graduating from classes at School For The Dogs.  She mentioned the idea to a few photographers and they all gave her blank stares. Then, she was scrolling through Instagram and she found a photographer whose entire feed was... posed, yearbook-style photos of dogs. Annie got in touch with the person behind the account: Andrea Castanon. Andrea was working as a professional photo retoucher and during her downtime was making these hilarious photoshopped portraits of her friends' dogs for fun, and to raise money for rescue organizations.  Annie invited her to hold some shoots at School For The Dogs. Two years later, Andrea -- whose company, BowieShoots, is named for her own rescue dog -- has shot hundreds of dogs (and even some other types of pets as well) all over the country, delighting their owners with her backgrounds and knack for catching doggie smiles. While she has had to stop shooting dogs in person during the COVID-19 crisis, she tells Annie about the creative way she has both been able to continue her business and help adoptable dogs find homes during quarantine.  BowieShoots Bowie Shoots Instagram Social Tees Animal Rescue Train Your Dog Without Pain, Using Your Brain" Sticker School For The Dogs Partial Transcript: Annie: Hey everyone. I am here today with a wonderful photographer whose name is Andrea Castanon. You might know her by her business's name. Her business is called Bowie Shoots. Bowie is the name of her rescue dog. Andrea, it is so good to see you. Andrea: You too. Didn't know the next time would be virtual. Annie: I know, I know. So I am so excited to be talking to you. Well I, Andrea, I would really love to talk to you about how you got into doing what you do. And then I want to talk about how you're working currently, which I think is really interesting. But... Andrea: Yeah, all involved. Annie: It's so, it's so cool. It's so cool. You’re a hero to me. But  I want to maybe just describe how you came into my life or how you came to School from the Dogs from my perspective. So for years we have had this, kind of like, school theme to School for the Dogs, kind of,  playful sort of retro, like decorations and just a vibe and theme of, like, old school way to put it. Like if you have, I'm trying to think of like how I would describe it to someone who doesn't know about us or hasn't been to our studio, like just old chalkboards but also photos that are, kind of like, a retro throwback to school days, as you know, adults today might've experienced school in like a fun, playful way. And so years and years ago,  I think, even before we opened up our first storefront location, we got a big like laser photo background made and we started having our graduates pose in front of this laser background photo, like kind of, something like from the nineties. And we were always just like doing it with our cell phones and it was never like it was particularly literally thought out. But it was kind of like just a fun, silly thing that we did. And I kept thinking like, we should go farther with this. It would be cool to, like, actually have more sort of styled like school photo kind of photos that we could take of graduates or puppies or whatever just to kind of go with this  theme. And I couldn't really figure out like, just like how to make that happen... Full Transcript at

 Helping The Sad Polar Bear & Trump's Coyotes: The World Of Dog Trainer Ferdie Yau | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3670

Ferdie Yau,  behavior consultant at NYC's Behavior Vets, has been training animals in New York City for nearly twenty years. Today he mostly works with dogs (he trained his own to be a coyote poop detection dog...) but he started out working in the city's zoos. Learn how a lifelong passion for animals  led this Long Island-born conservation biologist to think about the importance of enrichment in training urban-dwelling animals, whether they be puppies in living rooms, cats in shelters, or polar bears in Central Park. Notes:  -For a limited time, we are offering free thirty minute sessions with our trainers! Book yours at -Get $10 off to make your own custom stickers with Sticker Mule. Use this link.  -Elly Lonon sings Aba Daba Honeymoon. Elly is the author of Amongst The Liberal Elite. Partial Transcript: Annie 1:24 That is Elly Lonon singing Abba Dabba Honeymoon. Thank you for tuning in. I have an episode that I'm really happy to share with you all today. It is an interview with a really excellent trainer who I'm pleased to call a colleague: Ferdie Yau. And, you know though, I actually recorded this with Ferdie almost a year ago, and then kind of took a hiatus with the podcast and I just wanted to mention that since then, he has taken a job with Behavior Vets, which is a highly respected veterinary practice that specializes in Behavioral Medicine. And yeah, I'm glad to be able to share this interview with you. I also wanted to mention that we are still doing free 30 minute private virtual sessions. With all clients, new and old. We're offering one to anyone who is interested. If you have not taken us up on that offer yet please do so, you can sign up at Not sure how long we will be offering this promotion, but we feel it is something we can do during quarantine to help people who are either facing issues with their dogs having to do with the massive changes in lifestyle we're all experiencing, or if you're just looking to learn a little bit more about training, maybe looking for some ideas of fun stuff that you can do with your dog. Go ahead and sign up at We are able to pay our trainers to offer these sessions thanks to our scholarship fund. So thank you to anyone who has already donated to the fund.  You can learn more about it at And right now we are putting together a mosaic in our studio while we're closed. It's being built by the artist Jim power.  Jim power is the artist who has done all the mosaics on lampposts throughout the East Village for like three decades. And he is doing this for us and if you donate $100 or more right now, we will thank you with a photo tile that will go in this unique mosaic.  You can learn more about that at, and I will link to it in the show notes as well. And lastly, if you're enjoying this podcast, please do leave a review but also reach out and say hi to me, I would love to hear from you... Full transcript at


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