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June 1, 2016

Do You Have a BFF?

Do you have a BFF? Wait! I don’t mean a “best friend forever,” I mean a “best furry friend” (although those two might be one and the same). While I’ve always been an animal person, I wasn’t lucky enough to grow up with a dog. I certainly take advantage of the fact that I have friends and family with dogs and I love visiting with my canine neighbors, but that’s not the same as having a dog of my own.

And unfortunately, because I don’t have a dog of my own, I’m not always sure what the right answer is when the dogs I meet behave beautifully—or misbehave horribly. I was talking to a colleague about this and she let me know about Dr. Sophia Yin and her book Top Dog. After spending time watching videos on Dr. Yin’s website and reading through her book, I feel ready to visit with any dog in the neighborhood.

Here are some of my favorite tips from Dr. Yin:

  • Old dogs CAN learn new tricks! Dogs learn throughout their entire lifetime. This adaptation helps them survive in a changing environment. Dr. Yin’s last two dogs were learning new tricks—even at age 16!
  • Dogs pay more attention to your actions than your words. Suppose you tell your dog to sit but you wave a treat around. He’ll ignore what you said to him and just think that you want him to grab the tasty treat!
  • You can turn a dog’s daily allotted meals into training rewards. This way, you will have as many as 200 rewards to give him throughout the day. At the same time, he won’t pack on the pounds from eating extra snacks!
  • When you give your dog a cue (like “sit”) you should only say it once. If you say it repeatedly (like “sit, sit, sit, sit, sit”) he’ll expect to hear it many times before he listens.


You can learn more in Top Dog (available online now) and in next week’s “Woof! Woof! Wednesday” blog post!




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