Training

Recently, I was discussing an emotionally fragile dog with whom I was attempting to create a relationship. My friend asked if the dog was food motivated. This is, of course, a common question about a shy dog. However, the very nature of the question implies a misunderstanding of learning, motivation, and the subsequent use of food […]

Continue reading about “Is she food motivated?” I’m not sure you’re asking the question you think you’re asking…

Celeste Patten on October 11th, 2016

It brings to mind deals done in dark smoke-filled back rooms by corrupt politicians. When parents use bribes they are often left feeling guilty, but I see my dog training clients use them all the time without seeing them for what they are. I am beginning to think people are confusing the mere presence of food with reinforcement […]

Continue reading about Bribe. It’s a bit of a dirty word. 

I wear many hats in my canine career and am often on the receiving end of popular dog misconceptions. “I don’t feed my dog people food,” is something often said with an air of pride by owners who think they are doing right by their dogs in holding to this idea.  In this blog, I want […]

Continue reading about “We don’t feed people food” the myth of kibble and the loss of reinforcement options

Celeste Patten on August 1st, 2016

One of my favorite places to walk in Bellingham is the Columbia Neighborhood, and I always start and end at Elizabeth Park.  This park was founded in 1884 by Henry Roeder, and is amazing for many reasons.  Did you know it used to have a man made lake?  Most of all, I love it for […]

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Celeste Patten on August 1st, 2016

The thing about dog training is that sometimes it’s you and your dog in a room, learning to spin or some other discrete behavior; you have everything you need and all the time to work out the plan and make adjustments. Other times, it’s you and your dog taking what the world hands you. You […]

Continue reading about Sometimes you get lemons. Sometimes you get cows.

Celeste Patten on July 5th, 2016

Bellingham dog owners are blessed with many ways to incorporate their furry friends into their outdoor lifestyles. Local coffee shops and brew pubs welcome dogs onto their patios, and stores like Village Books make shopping together easy. It feels like every new client’s ultimate goal is to take their dogs to Starbucks or Kulshan — […]

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Celeste Patten on July 5th, 2016

When seeking relief from hot pavement and the beating sun, a shady stroll through Cornwall Park can be just the ticket. It is also one of the best places to work on your puppy training. In 1909 the Cornwall family donated 65 acres of land to the city for a park to memorialize Pierre Barlow […]

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Celeste Patten on June 2nd, 2016

A reliable recall is one of the most requested behaviors in my private lessons.  I agree that it is important and can even be lifesaving.  I find recall training is based on two things:  A solid reinforcement history, and good relationship building.  A solid history of reinforcement is established over time.  Lots of time.  Don’t […]

Continue reading about Come Back To Me