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The average dog owner doesn’t get a dog because they are so excited and eager to study learning theory, compare classical and operant conditioning, and test the relative value of various reinforcement schedules. Few people who get a dog look forward to practicing their leash-handling skills and refining the subtleties of treat delivery timing and placement.

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There's a method to keeping your dogs off the furniture if you don't want them there. I personally love a dog on my lap or under my arm when I’m sitting on the sofa. Not only do I enjoy the cuddling, I also get cold easily and love the warmth of dog bodies next to me. In our home, we keep the furniture covered with blankets for easy removal when company comes (dog hair begone!) and both dogs are taught to get off and/or stay off when asked to do so.

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Much of the old-fashioned dog training we were exposed to growing up focused on waiting for the dog to make a mistake and then harshly correcting him. While most of us simply accepted this as “how you train a dog,” we were missing the bigger picture. This method never taught the dog what he was supposed to do in that situation the next time.

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The patients who interacted closely with the dogs were six times more likely to become MRSA carriers than those who did not interact closely. But when the dogs were decolonized, the close-interaction group’s risk for becoming MRSA carriers was no different from the group of patients who did not interact closely with the dogs.

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