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Positive Training gets High Value Reinforcement
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Training Month is here
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Check out this excellent resource for any dog family: Whole Dog Journal
Issue: Four January 2010
kona's touch
Happy New Year!

It's January 2010. Wow the New Year is here. Are we ready for it? January has been declared "National Train Your Dog Month" by the APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers). It is the first professional association I joined, and the new information coming from APDT is very informative. Please take some time to browse their website and learn about your dogs and your very positive relationship with them.


Be gentle, after all isn't that what you would want for your best friend,
Laura Dorfman, CPDT-KA
Owner and Founder
Loose Leash Talking
Kaiya Lhotse' runningMulti International Organizations Speak Out Against Aversive Dog Training

In the last several decades we have come to a place in society where it is acceptable -- even encouraged -- to have dominance over our canine companions. It was conditioned into pet owners to intimidate and overpower  their "best friends" behind a shield of "training" and "what's best for the dog". The result is a growing number of aggressive dogs, which is often caused by rough behavior, which can turn to abuse in the name of training. These dogs have no positive future and it almost always could have gone the other way.

Training with "traditional" methods can create fearful, possibly aggressive, unhappy dogs. There are a growing number of professional dog trainers using positive reinforcement and compassionate training. These dogs are willing to create, volunteer new behaviors and offer themselves as whole, healthy, loving companions. Positive training has recently been supported by scientific research. It is becoming apparent that popular TV shows are just TV shows, and  the public should be aware that TV quick fixes don't work.

Be sure to take some time and look at these links of statements, stating that "traditional training is no longer what the scientists are promoting." Our dogs' futures are depending on it.

Healin' News
Kaiya KONGFrozen Kongs and Everything That's Good About Life

Frozen KONGS ( or any other hard rubber food providing toy) are a dog's and dog trainer's best friend. They can be invaluable in many situations. They can be used to keep the dog busy, happy, and quiet for just about any situation that can come up, whether planned or spur of the moment. If your dog is crate trained, it is a great way to keep him busy for repair  people coming in the house, time with your other pets, or when company comes who aren't really "into" dogs. They can be used when Aunt Millie comes over and you don't want her to be knocked down, for 22 people at Thanksgiving dinner, or just to have an hour to yourself.  If you don't use a crate, any room with a floor (carpets gets messy) and a door will work, or a fenced in back yard or deck.
Frozen KONGS can help with separation anxiety, chewing issues, getting a dog to love his crate, and many other behavioral situations. They are a delight, and with a few helpful hints they can make your life with your dog easier.

The KONG is a hard rubber tubular-shaped toy with a hollow inside, a small hole on one end and a bigger hole on the other. When stuffed with your dog's favorite foods and then frozen it has the potential to be a 30-90 minute (depending on the dog) feast. For sensitive teeth or dogs who don't like the cold part (not many) they can be used fresh, they just don't last as long. 
  • It's important to evaluate your dog's chewing habits. Most dogs will not have a problem with KONGS. Some dogs with veracious chewing habits may not be candidates for KONGS. The process needs to be supervised at the beginning to make sure your dog eats the food and not the KONG. 
  • At the beginning it's important to stuff the KONG with your dog's very special, important food and treats.
  • High value food is different for all dogs. Some popular foods include: Cream cheese, cheese, meat, peanut butter (low fat, no sugar). Use foods they are already familiar with and if you expand the menu, do it slowly and sparingly.
  • The dog's meals can also be put into the KONG in lieu of their regular feeding. Please remember whatever you put into the KONG needs to be subtracted from their food plan for the day. 
  • The good news is it can go in the dishwasher, top shelf.
  • After a while the KONG may need to be replaced, again depending on the dog and how hard he/she chews. 
  • Because of the high value of the KONGS if you have multiple dogs or small children, it is imperative to closely supervise the use of KONGS. The dogs will most likely need to be separated.

kona's touch offers positive dog and puppy training or consultation for Chicago's North Shore. Our positive training and consultations help you and your dog to create a respectful, loving relationship.
At kona's touch, we use peaceful clicker training techniques based on scientific knowledge and years of experience in canine behavior for fun family dog training. For dog training or your personal consultation, call 847-204-7100 or email me at


Laura Dorfman, CPDT-KA
kona's touch, inc.