71 episodes

Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, confronts myths, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Annie encourages people to become literate in the basics of behavioral science in order to help their dogs and themselves. Tune in to learn how to use science-based methods to train dogs (and people) without pain, force, or coercion!

Show notes: schoolforthedogs.com/podcast

Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email podcast@schoolforthedogs.com or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625

School For The Dogs Podcast - Dog Training & Animal Behavior with Annie Grossman Annie Grossman

    • Leisure
    • 4.9, 121 Ratings

Annie Grossman of the NYC-based dog training center School For The Dogs answers training questions, confronts myths, geeks out on animal behavior, discusses pet trends and interviews industry experts. Annie encourages people to become literate in the basics of behavioral science in order to help their dogs and themselves. Tune in to learn how to use science-based methods to train dogs (and people) without pain, force, or coercion!

Show notes: schoolforthedogs.com/podcast

Have a training question you'd like addressed? Email podcast@schoolforthedogs.com or leave a voicemail at 917-414-2625

    Restaurant dining with your dog: How to train the perfect outdoor dinner date

    Restaurant dining with your dog: How to train the perfect outdoor dinner date

    It's a golden moment for those wanting to eat outdoors with their dogs. Just think: There's so much outdoor dining! And people are keeping their distance from each other! And tables are spaced at a nice distance from each other! Annie gives some tips about how you can help train your dog to be the perfect outdoor-dining companion. Also: Learn what 1950s superstar very nearly became the real Lassie's owner. 

    Products mentioned in this episode: 

    Tricky Trainer's Crunchy Treats: https://storeforthedogs.com/search?q=crunchy+tricky

    Lamb lung: http://schoolforthedogs.com/ll

    Snuffle/Activity Mats: https://storeforthedogs.com/collections/snuffle-mats

    VirChewLy Indestructible Leash: https://storeforthedogs.com/products/virchewly-industructable-leash-1 

    Found My Animal Leash: https://storeforthedogs.com/collections/found-my-animal-1

    Hands-Free Leash: https://storeforthedogs.com/collections/squishy-face-studio/products/leash-belt

    SFTD Training Mat: https://storeforthedogs.com/products/school-for-the-dogs-training-mat

    Liquid Treat Dispenser: http://schoolforthedogs.com/ltd

    Frank Inn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkfLbHQl340

    Episode 33: How to shape your dog to go to a mat

    Episode 66: Lassie’s Boy Sidekick: Meet Jon Provost, aka Timmy

    Episode 69: Mean Talk, mouse traps + water guns: Rudd Weatherwax's Lassie Method

    Partial Transcript:


    Guys. It's a really difficult time to be alive, to be a human right now.  There's so much that's wrong with the world.  But there's one, one silver lining that I just wanted to point out to anyone here who has a dog, which is probably you, if you're listening.

    This is an excellent time for dining out with your dog. I know different places have different rules, but I live in New York City and restaurants now have extended their outdoor seating areas into the streets and avenues, usually beyond the sidewalks.  The tables are spaced at least six feet apart....

    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts

    • 29 min
    Schedules of Reinforcement, “Baked In” Behaviors & How Dog Training Can Help You Take The MCAT

    Schedules of Reinforcement, “Baked In” Behaviors & How Dog Training Can Help You Take The MCAT

    A listener who is studying for the MCAT exam wrote in to ask if there were any dog training scenarios that could help illustrate some of the terms she needed to know for the psychology section of the exam. Annie, who has learned most of what she knows about dog training from working with dogs rather than from studying terms or taking exams, does her best to help make some "science-y" concepts more understandable through the lens of dog training and human behavior as we experience in everyday life. She talks about schedules of reinforcement, learned behaviors vs preinstalled behaviors, learning by observation and more.  

    Mentioned in this episode:  

    Excel-Erated Learning: Explaining In Plain English How Dogs Learn And How Best To Teach Them, by Pamela J. Reid 

    Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor  

    Behavior Principles in Everyday Life by John D. Baldwin and Janice I. Baldwin 

    Bobo Doll Experiment  

    Partial Transcript:


    Hello, human friends, Annie here.  As I've mentioned before, I've been recording mostly in my neighbor's apartment while he's out of town so that I can escape the craziness of my apartment, but he doesn't have air conditioning. So I couldn't deal with sitting in his apartment to record today. So I came back to my apartment to record after sweating profusely while trying to record down there.

    And then I realized you can't really have the air conditioning on anyway when you're recording a podcast because of the background noise, which made me think about all the sweaty podcasters working from home right now. So I blast the AC really, really high, just long enough to try and cool down the room while I record. So anyway, Hi!

    I wanted to respond to an interesting question. I got from a listener who has been in touch with me, uh, before Supriya is, uh, her name.  I might be saying it wrong. Supriya.  Such a pretty name that sounds like surprise.

    She wrote:

    “Hey Annie, I am currently studying for the psychology section of the MCAT, and while I've never heard of many things in this section before I am totally nailing the section on classical and operant conditioning, because I've been listening to your podcast for a while now.  I was wondering if you happen to have time before my exam in September, would you be able to expand on operant conditioning in terms of dog training, which is what makes sense to me.

    Specifically, I'm studying reinforcement schedules, innate versus learned behaviors, escape and avoidance learning, the Bobo doll experiment and associative versus non associative learning. Then there's also biological constraints on learning, which I'm studying specifically for humans. But I'm curious about this in dogs too. Of course, if you don't have time, this is completely okay.  Just thought I would ask considering I've learned so much from you already.”

    Isn't that a nice email to get, isn’t that a cool email to get? First of all, just wanted to say that I'm flattered that you feel that you've learned so much. And I'm amazed that anybody is asking me for MCAT advice...

    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts

    • 42 min
    Mean Talk, Mouse Traps & Water Guns: Rudd Weatherwax’s “Lassie Method”

    Mean Talk, Mouse Traps & Water Guns: Rudd Weatherwax’s “Lassie Method”

    A few weeks ago, Annie interviewed Jon Provost, who played the little boy Timmy on the Lassie TV series in the 1950s and 60s. He talked a little bit about Rudd Weatherwax, who was Lassie's owner and trainer. Jon talked about how Weatherwax only trained with praise and rewards, and Annie described him as "progressive." After the episode aired, however, she found some old videos that showed training methods that suggested otherwise. In this episode, Annie reads from Weatherwax's 1971 book, The Lassie Method: Raising & Training Your Dog With Patience, Firmness & Love, and considers the pros and cons of his suggested training techniques.  Notes:  Free ebook on dog training techniques you can use on people: http://schoolforthedogs.com/people 1971 footage promoting the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMrD3wO2m0I The Lassie Method: Raising & Training Your Dog With Patience, Firmness & Love

    Partial Transcript:


    So a few weeks ago, I interviewed Jon Provost, the actor who played Timmy on the TV show Lassie when he was a kid. And we talked just a little bit in the episode about Lassie's trainer and owner, whose name was Rudd Weatherwax. And he was kind of a big deal in the world of commercial dog training in the early to mid 1900s. He trained Asta for The Thin Man. He trained Toto for The Wizard of Oz, but Rudd Weatherwax wasn't really the focus of the interview.

    And, you know, I admit in some episodes I have more of an agenda than in other episodes. Some episodes of this podcast, I am just interviewing people who have done interesting things with dogs or are working with dogs. I like stories about people and dogs, and I like sharing those stories, but of course I am dog trainer.  I am opinionated. I have very specific points of view on the subject matter.

    But two things.  One, I think I just assumed that someone who spent so much time on set with a dog and their trainer would be able to recognize what they were doing as far as training goes. Like I think I just take for granted at this point that someone could break down what someone's training methods are or what their approach is. But in reality, I know things can seem kind of opaque when you're watching training happening. And if you don't know what to look for or what you might not want to be seeing. I mean, I don't know. Also I'm talking to a man who is recollecting things that happened 60 years ago when he was a kid.

    The other thing of course, being that Rudd Weatherwax maybe really was all praise and reward with Lassie on set or whenever Lassie was with Jon Provost.  They worked together very closely for many, many years, the dog who played Lassie and Rudd Weatherwax.  Interestingly, they only ever had one Lassie at a time.  I learned that speaking with Jon.  Anyway, that dog, whichever Lassie it was at the time, and Rudd Weatherwax I'm guessing had a very strong bond. And I'm sure that that dog was tuned into understanding what Rudd Weatherwax wanted with very, very little force or coercion necessary because they had such a history working together.

    And also, because again this is me guessing, that they did a lot of training for him to learn new things off set. So by the time they got onset, it was more about maintaining those behaviors, which could be done using positive reinforcement. Cause that's the way that you're going to encourage behaviors that you want to keep happening. And if you're doing something on a set in front of a camera where they might do several takes, you want behaviors that are going to keep happening...

    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts

    • 37 min
    Is Dominance Really A Thing? Cesar Millan, Libertarianism + A Dog Named Pizza

    Is Dominance Really A Thing? Cesar Millan, Libertarianism + A Dog Named Pizza

    Before she became a dog trainer, Annie assumed that understanding dogs' supposed obsession with dominance was an important part of being a good trainer. She pushed her 18-pound Yorkiepoo into alpha rolls so he'd know she was boss. She yelled in his face, and made sure he never entered through a doorway before her, because Cesar Millan said that that would make the dog think he was the one in charge. 
    The whole idea that dog behavior, and the way dogs learn, had anything to do with science simply did not compute; the notion of them existing in a kind of Lord-Of-The-Flies quest for supreme power seemed plausible and not something worth reconsidering. After graduating dog training school, her thoughts on "dominance" shifted 180 degrees. Now,  ten years spent working as a professional trainer, they've shifted yet again...

    Bonus Q+A: Pizza the mini goldendoodle (@the_pizza_dood) is obsessed with stealing collapsible water bowls at the park. Annie suggests a three pronged approach to curing him of the habit of destroying silicone water bowls that belong to other dogs.
    Products mentioned in this episode:
    The Zisc Flying Disc by West Paw
    West Paw Toys
    Collapsible Slow Food Bowl
    Learn more about Parvene Farhoudy
    Books by Raymond Coppinger
    Dogs (with Lorna Coppinger)
    What Is A Dog (with Lorna Coppinger)
    How Dogs Work (with Mark Feinstein)
    The (now embarrassing) 2007 article Annie wrote in The NY Times about people wanting to become dog trainers: https://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/27/fashion/27DOGS.html

    Partial Transcript:
    Hello, human friends, and dog listeners, woof to you. I wanted to talk today about dominance. So in the three decades of life that I lived before becoming a dog trainer, I am pretty sure that I thought the word dominant was as much a part of dog training as boiling water was to cooking. It was just an essential part of the whole thing that was dog training. Dog training at that time being something that I think I thought of as, you know, something that happens when you sign up for a class or you hire a professional, and that dog training wasn't happening really outside of those times...
    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts/

    • 58 min
    Puppy Socialization In The Time Of Quarantine

    Puppy Socialization In The Time Of Quarantine

    Nothing makes people want puppies quite like a global pandemic! Those who are raising puppies during quarantine may face some challenges when it comes to socialization. But, if you succeed at doing a good job with it -- if you can clear the unusual hurdles that new dog owners have to face right now -- you will be paving the way for a great future for your dog and while developing your own training abilities.

    Annie discusses what socialization is, how to spot signs of possible stress, and how to start at "criteria: zero" in order to build new and appropriate behaviors (and keep bad ones from happening). She talks about using food in socialization, using the right toys, and making use of sounds and objects you might be able to find in your home and enlisting neighbors in a safe way. She also talks about how to help your young dog get adequate puppy playtime, even if that means you... have to pretend to be a puppy.

    FREE EBOOK on The Dog Training Triad: http://schoolforthedogs.com/triad

    Get access to our private Facebook Group with the purchase of any of our new self-paced online courses. See http://schoolforthedogs.com/courses

    Additional resources:

    Annie's webinar on raising a puppy during quarantine: https://event.webinarjam.com/go/replay/81/k6v60c91ulrt9oi1

    Dog Body Language Demonstated By A Human with Em Beauprey: https://event.webinarjam.com/go/replay/148/k6v60c5vhns2s1

    First Episode of The Dog Whisperer featuring Nunu and Kane (both being flooded -- but lots of good examples of stress signals): https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x72q489

    More on Slow Food Bowls: https://storeforthedogs.com/blogs/news/extend-the-joy-of-your-dogs-mealtime-with-slow-food-bowls

    K9 Sports Sack: https://storeforthedogs.com/products/k9-sport-sack-rover-backpack-1

    Flirt Poles: https://storeforthedogs.com/products/flirt-poles
    Partial Transcript:


    Hey everyone. So lots of people have gotten puppies in the last few months during quarantine, which I’m super excited about.  But the truth is, while the crazy world pandemic we’re living through might mean that you have more time to spend at home with your puppy, which by and large is a very good thing, it also means that there are some very real challenges that you may be facing that really might make things harder than they would be for a puppy owner getting a puppy in more normal times.  You might not have the support system around you that you used to have. You might not have access to safe places that you can go with your puppy outside of your home. You’re probably dealing with financial stress. You might be having to move unexpectedly. You might get sick.  But you know, all of this is to say that if you can get through having a puppy during quarantine, you know, it’s kind of like I tell my clients, if your puppy can make it here, he can make it anywhere. In New York City.

    Same thing with this. If you can get you and your new puppy through this difficult period in the right ways, you’re really going to be setting yourself up for a life together that is going to be enjoyable...

    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts

    • 39 min
    Lassie's Boy Sidekick: Meet Jon Provost, aka Timmy

    Lassie's Boy Sidekick: Meet Jon Provost, aka Timmy

    Jon Provost was the boy sidekick to the 20th Century's most-loved dog: Lassie. In the late 1950s and early 1960s a third of American households tuned in each week to watch Lassie, a whip-smart Collie, help Timmy get out of countless pickles. Lassie came to define the "perfect" dog. In this episode Provost, who is now 70, talks about working with a dog star, and about what he learned from Lassie's rather progressive trainer/owner, the famous Hollywood dog trainer Rudd Weatherwax. He and Annie also discuss his early exposure to the notion of a "therapy" dog, and his more recent work to bring attention to rescue dogs, Army dogs, and more.  Annie ends the episode by reflecting on how Lassie impacted our cultural notions about dogs, perhaps not for the better, and reads from Jean Donaldson's book Culture Clash, about the Disney-fication of dogs and how a desire to anthropomorphize "man's best friend" has led to some huge errors in the way people attempt to train and understand the dogs who live with us. 

    If you're enjoying School For The Dogs Podcast, please subscribe to it, rate it, and leave a review! 

    Jean Donaldson's Culture Clash: https://amzn.to/2KNwH2n


    Timmy's In The Well: The Jon Provost Story https://amzn.to/2ZAVxbL

    Get a free eBook: Three Secret Keys To Dog Training Success when you register for Annie's Free Master Class! http://anniegrossman.com/masterclass

    You can find some old episodes of Lassie on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HluWrXiVNks

    Rudd Weatherwax's obituary: https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1985-02-26-me-25026-story.html


    Partial Transcript:


    60 years ago, there was a TV show that was so popular, it's estimated it was watched in a third of American households each week. Its star, whose name was Baby, was a guy playing the role of a girl -- a nonhuman girl. That girl was, of course, Lassie.

    [Whistling - Lassie theme]

    Baby has long since left us. The show is only on in reruns.  And today, most people have not heard of Lassie's famous trainer, Rudd Weatherwax, who was responsible for many of the 20th century's most famous dog actors, but last year, his best friend is still around and still hanging out with dogs like it's his job.  Today, I have for you an interview with Jon Provost who played Timmy on the show Lassie for most of his childhood.  He spoke to me about Weatherwax’s progressive and positive reinforcement based training methods, what it was like to grow up off camera with Lassie, and about his continued work with dogs. Fun fact, did you know there was actually never an episode where Timmy fell in a well, can you believe that?

    Before we get started, I just wanted to suggest that you go check out my brand new one hour long master class. It's called “Three simple things every dog owner needs to know to teach a dog quickly and easily without, force, pain, a major time investment or fancy equipment.”  It's a presentation where I talk about how I got into dog training, how it kind of revolutionized how I see the world. You'll learn to think about the way your dog learns, specifically wow to think about the way in which your dog is learning thanks to classical conditioning all the time...

    Full Transcript available at SchoolfortheDogs.com/Podcasts

    • 49 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
121 Ratings

121 Ratings

nostra vita ,

My favorite!

I got bit by the animal behavior bug and listened to so many dog training podcasts this month. Annie Grossman’s recordings for School for the Dogs is the clear winner - I listen to an episode almost daily now. She approaches positive reinforcement training with a relaxed, clear & simple focus. The guests are usually great, too, and the podcast sounds/editing are pleasant without being overwhelming. Highly recommended.

i Yell it ,


As I was finding my path to becoming a professional dog trainer Annie came into my life and gave me such clarity. Her willingness to share all of the knowledge she has acquired during her career is the reason I am a successful trainer today. It makes sense, then, that she started this podcast! She is so relateable, explains things clearly, plus she's just fun and clever! Whether you're a dog owner, a dog trainer or anything in between, this is the podcast for you.

KatherinesAppReviews ,

Incredibly Informative! Nerd out to dog training

I absolutely love this podcast!

I was considering bringing home a pupper of my own, and as a researcher by nature (law school really drills that in haha), I started diving into all the research out there, from books to popular YouTube channels. This podcast is incredibly well researched (I read a lot of the primary sources too... clearly I need a hobby... or is dog training my hobby now?!?) and informative. One aspect that really make me trust Annie - she doesn’t demand you follow her way, just gives you the information on several different paths to help you chose the right one for you (which... come to think of it... sounds like training... although clearly as it resulted in trust it WORKS).

I’m certainly not a professional, but Annie clearly is a bright and compassionate dog trainer who just wants what’s best for our pups. Highly recommend!

I was so impressed by the podcast that my puppy is ABSOLUTELY going to be enrolled in the School for the Dogs. They are not the closest (although to be fair I do live in Manhattan) but I certainly trust them now!

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