Goodbye Dog Pee, Hello Dry Earth is a blog about canine training and dog behavior written by Virginia Broitman. I have been running this blog since 2008 and have written hundreds of articles on my experiences with dog training and dog behavior. I also maintain an active Facebook page (www.facebook.com/goodbyedogpee) which shares all content from this blog.
I was inspired to start this blog after doing research for my master’s thesis, which consisted of a survey of pet owners’ perceptions of dog urine in public spaces, particularly parks. My research led me to the conclusion that people, especially women, are very concerned about their dogs urinating in public spaces and that there is a need for more information about the potential nuisance of dog urine and practical solutions to deal with it (beyond “be grateful your dog isn’t a cat”). Many people responded to my thesis saying that they did not know how much of a problem dog urine can be until they saw the disgusting examples included in my survey. They were shocked at how bad it can be when dogs aren’t trained to go in appropriate places!
In response to these requests, I started blogging about why dogs do what they do and how we can use this knowledge to train our dogs to behave
Dog Pee, Dry Earth is a blog about training canines. The authors are a husband and wife team who met while the man was in the military. Their maiden name is actually Smith and their dog training business is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Travis and Tammy Smith are the authors of this blog, which they started in 2009. It features important dog training information, such as how to house train a dog, why you shouldn’t let your dog bite you or what kind of treats to use when training your canine friend.
The blog may be about dog training, but it isn’t for dogs themselves. Dog Pee, Dry Earth is written for humans! The blog covers all aspects of dog ownership including pet health, grooming tips and tricks and how to find the right veterinarian. In addition to these topics, the blog also features articles that contain dog breed information as well as rescue stories.
Dog Pee, Dry Earth takes pride in being an honest source of information for anyone who owns a canine companion. The blog does not promote animal cruelty or poor treatment of pets. Instead it focuses on rewarding positive behavior and making sure that your dog has the best life possible by providing him with proper attention and care.
Dry Earth is a blog about training dogs. It does not advertise dog food or doggy daycare; it does not care about the latest cute dog meme, and it has no interest in judging the latest dog contest. The author describes herself as “a professional trainer with over 30 years experience working with all species of animals.”
In other words, she’s a professional dog trainer.
This makes her blog different from many others on the Internet. What you find here is information, but not of the sort that’s designed to sell you something. There are tips and techniques for training dogs, but they’re presented as tools — a place to start learning rather than a definitive guide (although they may be very useful depending on your situation).
The author is also happy to discuss specific topics, like how to use treats or control barking, or the best way to teach a dog to walk on a loose leash in crowds. You can read other people’s questions and comments, too — again, mostly in the vein of information rather than sales pitches.
What’s interesting about this blog is how much it reminds me of famous books on dog training from earlier eras. Books like How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend by the Monks of New Skete come to mind —
When we take a dog to the dog park, we often see other owners trying to train their dogs while they’re exercising. Some try to teach their dogs how to play, with the result that the dogs get more exercise than they do. Others try to teach their dogs tricks, with the result that the owners get more exercise than they do.
Some of these methods are better than others. It is easier to teach a dog not to pee on the floor if you can hold him in your lap and tell him what you don’t want him to do. But dogs learn best when they have something specific to work on, and “don’t pee on the floor” is too broad. When you are out walking with your dog, there are probably many things he could pee on except for the floor.
Conversely, telling your dog what you want him to do is good for teaching tricks — but it isn’t very interesting for a dog; it’s like trying to learn Spanish by speaking only English and listening only to yourself speak.
**I’ll post more later…
The basic principle is that the best way to get a dog to do something is to teach them to associate it with something good, like food. For example, if you have a dog that is afraid of vacuum cleaners, you don’t want to just not use the vacuum cleaner around the dog. You’ll reinforce the association between vacuums and unpleasantness.
Toys are great for teaching behaviors that you want your dog to do on cue. If you want your dog to sit when they hear a bell ring, put a treat under your dog’s nose, ring the bell and then give your dog the treat. After a few times, the bell will mean “treat!”
You need to be careful about working with dogs in new environments. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and may be interested in investigating smells in their environment, even ones that you find very unpleasant. If you’re visiting someone’s house for the first time, spend some time just walking around outside before bringing your dog inside so they can investigate smells and learn where they are supposed to go potty.
If your dog has marked territory indoors, keep them on leash while they get used to their new surroundings so they can’t mark indoors as well.”
“There is an art to everything,” said the dog trainer. “And a science,” he added.
Every time he sat down with a new client, he made the same observation: the human was not only oblivious to the science behind the training, but actively hostile to it, preferring instead a collection of myths and superstitions about dogs. Many of these myths, he noted, were also typical of humans in general: that we have free will; that we are rational; that we act for reasons.
The dog trainer’s job was to get his clients to recognize their own behavior as superstitious and to see how their superstitions were harming their dogs. The science of dog training had two parts, one physical, one psychological.
The physical side was easier—the trainer could go over it in five minutes during each first session with a new client. “I know you think your dog is making decisions,” he would say. “But really it is just responding to your body language.” He would then demonstrate how every command a person might want to give a dog could be executed through simple changes in posture or tone of voice.”
He would then move on to the second part: getting his clients to recognize the role their own bodies played in shaping those behaviors. This
In the spring of 2015, while writing my first book, I assigned a blog post to my agent. The topic: why she chose to become a literary agent. I knew she would have great stories and advice. What I didn’t know? She would have a dog!
Her journey with her pup, Sir Winston Churchill III (Winston for short), began in December 2013 when her sister asked her to dog-sit for the holidays. When she agreed, it wasn’t long before she realised that this little dog could not only tell time but also sit still. Curious about his unusual abilities, she began to research him and learned that he was an American Kennel Club (AKC) certified therapy dog.
The rest is history.”