Happy Birthday dear blog!

Learning from Dogs is three years old this day.

Ironically, we are away this day but here are the ‘stats’ from yesterday, the 14th:

594,721 individual viewings

449 subscribers

An average of 1,300 readers a day (and still growing!)

3,705 comments in this period

Nearly 1,372 posts since the start

It seems a rather trite thing to say but, trust me, this is said from the bottom of my heart.  All of you who come to Learning from Dogs, whether just a couple of times or most days, have made this a wonderfully creative three years for me.


And now here’s a republication of that very first post back on July 15th, 2009.

Parenting lessons from Dogs

Much too late to make me realise the inadequacies of my own parenting skills, I learnt an important lesson when training my GSD (who is called Pharaoh, by the way).  That is that putting more emphasis into praise and reward for getting it right ‘trains’ the dog much quicker than telling it off.  The classic example is scolding a dog for running off when it should be lots of hugs and praise for returning home.  The scolding simply teaches the dog that returning home isn’t pleasant whereas praise reinforces that home is the place to be.  Like so many things in life, very obvious once understood!

Absolutely certain that it works with youngsters just the same way.

Despite being a very dominant dog, Pharaoh showed his teaching ability when working with other dogs.  In the UK there is an amazing woman, Angela Stockdale, who has proved that dogs (and horses) learn most effectively when being taught by other dogs (and horses).  Pharaoh was revealed to be a Beta Dog, (i.e. second in status below the Alpha Dog) and, therefore, was able to use his natural pack instinct to teach puppy dogs their social skills and to break up squabbles within a pack.

When you think about it, don’t kids learn much more (often to our chagrin!) from other kids than they do from their parents.  Still focusing on giving more praise than punishment seems like a much more effective strategy.

As was read somewhere, Catch them in the act of doing Right!

By Paul Handover.

11 thoughts on “Happy Birthday dear blog!

  1. Happy Birthday!
    Also, knowing what to say and do, when you catch them doing wrong, is not totally unimportant either 🙂


  2. Paul,
    My sincere congratulations! As you are aware, I’ve been visiting your blog for almost a year and can’t begin to tell you how much I have expanded my horizons! Thank you so much! Continued success!


  3. Congratulations Paul… Call me slow but it took me a while to realise you did not mean 600k viewers yesterday, you meant 600k viewers in 3 years… Yours is a very high bar at which to aim and, I suspect, one I will fail to reach (especially if and when my unemployment ends).


    1. Thank you, Martin. The figures are far less relevant than the great friendships and connections you and I, and all the other ‘bloggers’ make with each other. We are off back to Arizona this morning having put in an offer on a property just outside Merlin in Southern Oregon. Should be back in Payson late Wednesday and will catch up with you then.


      1. Wow! Talk about striking while the iron is hot… Merlin – no doubt its a wicked choice 🙂

        Presumably, it is not on or under the flight-path of Grants Pass airport…?


  4. Surfacing here, like a real life Loch Ness monster… I have had sites of my own for nearly ten years… And I have come across many sites, but yours is indeed, amazingly versatile, and thus fascinating… Let it bring lots of understanding, with kindness, as it does, for many more years, there is a need.

    Meanwhile, I shall persist with my rather unpopular forays, deep underground.


    1. Patrice, it’s 5am here in a motel room in Flagstaff but what a wonderful comment to wake to! You, dear sir, exemplify just what I was attempting to convey to Kate in my previous reply. Please maintain your subterranean diggings! Thank you, Paul


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