Archive for November, 2010

“Every job has a perfect tool. Let’s see… Uh, this lock doesn’t accept Master Card.”
—C.D. Bales

Some tools need to be acquired. Some you’re conveniently born with.

To attain your goal you need to choose the right tool, and you need to know how to use it. The best tool won’t do you any good if you never take it out of the box!

Puppy eyes is the strongest power tool in your arsenal!

Humans are biologically programmed to respond to it!

Babies, whether human or animal, are armored with features that trigger nurturing instinct. Their physical appearance, and even smell, are specifically designed to ensure they get the care they need.

It is to our advantage, that through the years of breeding, we evolved into puppy-like version of our ancestors.

Our faces are rounder, noses shorter, ears floppier and eyes bigger.

With that comes ginormous power waiting to be harnessed.

Puppy eyes can get you almost anything!

Don’t be too proud to use them! That is just silly!

Human females made that mistake. They had the same power at their fingertips. Power that could make a human male jump off of a bridge should the female desire so.

But they became too proud to use the tools nature had given them and now they can’t even get their males to take out the garbage!

Let that be a lesson to us!

“Pride costs more than hunger, thirst and cold.”
—Thomas Jefferson

What is more important to you? Pride or happiness?

Master using puppy eyes. Eighty percent of human training depends on that!



This is the most important rule to understand. You are not going to get far unless you accept this.

Wait a minute! What’s this? We thought you were going to teach us how to get our own way!

Everything comes at a price, my friend. But believe me, the rewards are many.

You have to sow before you can reap. You have to give before you can get.
—Robert Collier

Humans are mind bogglingly insecure creatures.

Ever since Eve snatched that apple from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, humans have been confused and lost.

Just think about it. First thing they did after eating that apple was freaking out over being naked!

They were naked all along and it didn’t bother anybody until they decided that there was something wrong with it.

Things only went down the hill after that.

Their confusion about what is right or wrong is only part of the problem. Often humans know what is right but do wrong anyway.

Then they feel guilty about it which further deepens their insecurity.

To top it all off, while their civilization caused them to lose their natural instincts, they didn’t manage to keep up with their own evolution.

They don’t know if they’re coming or going.

Give your human a semblance of control and they will move mountains for you!

We like being stroked or scratched behind our ears, bums or bellies.

Stroke your human’s ego and they will do anything for you!

Let your human believe they’re your master and you got yourself a slave!


I am sure you have asked yourself this question at least once in your life. We all do, particularly when our humans resist our training efforts.

Why do we stay with humans in the first place?

Look at the things they impose on us! Leashes, fences, crates, baths, thermometers, vaccinations and humiliating outfits!

“If you can’t beat them, join them.”
— Jim Henson (Jim Henson’s Storyteller)

The practical reason is simple – survival!

If you think it is less true today than it was when we first formed an alliance with humans, think again! It is more true now than it ever has.

Let’s face it. Humans have taken over this planet. Anything that doesn’t serve immediate purpose or ends up being in their way doesn’t stand a chance.

We are in the midst of massive extinction!

When you Google it, you might get different numbers from different sources but either way the numbers are alarming.

One source lists the rate of extinction as high as 3 species per hour! Another source claims that 35 – 150 species of life become extinct every day!

By partnering with humans our chances of survival are astronomically higher.

There are about 9 to 10 thousand wolves in the US and 50 to 60 thousand in Canada. (source: World Wide Wolf Population)

There are about 77.5 million owned dogs in the US alone! (source: The Humane Society of the United States)

From the very beginning it was about survival for both us and humans.

Of course humans were much more fun then. There were no leashes and no fences–just freedom, hunting, and good food.

Only a few privileged ones get to do those things with their humans today.

Instead of open plains to roam there are highways, parking lots and supermarkets. Try breaking loose and the most likely result will be yourself as a hood ornament!

Sticking with humans is the sane thing to do, even if it means captivity and dumb rules.

Learning how to train them to do your bidding takes the edge off that.


Humans can be trained!

Some are harder to handle than others but at the end they are all trainable, if you choose the right method.

Let’s take a look at an example of a successful human training model.

  1. The dog is not allowed in the house.
  2. Okay, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.
  3. Okay, the dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
  4. Okay, the dog can get on some furniture , but has to stay off the new couch.
  5. Fine, the dog is allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.
  6. Okay, the dog is allowed on the bed, but only by invitation.
  7. Okay, the dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
  8. Okay, the dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.
  9. Okay, the dog can sleep under the covers every night.
  10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Why do humans find this funny? Because it has happened to them (or somebody they know)!

I implemented this model with my own humans. I can testify that this, and more, is indeed possible! I myself do allow humans to sleep under the covers at their leisure. It makes them happier and a happy human is easier to train.

This is important – don’t ask your human to do too much too fast!

You can set an ambitious goal but you need to break it down into steps your human can handle. If you overwhelm your human, you’ll run into resistance.

At their own pace you shape your human into submission.

Shaping allows you to build a behavior step by step by reinforcing small approximations of a behavior until you achieve your final goal.

Put a frog in boiling water and it will jump out, but put it in cold water and slowly heat it, and it will be boiled alive.

Patience is the foundation of successful human training. Keep that in mind, my friend!