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Anna Jane Grossman
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Anna Jane Grossman is a dog-obsessed writer and animal trainer in her native New York City. She runs School For The Dogs and has written about pets for The New York Times, Gizmodo, Vice, ReadyMade and Animal Planet. She edits TheDogs, a site for dog people. Find TheDogs on Facebook at Facebook.com/NYDogs.

Entries by Anna Jane Grossman

The Dog Poop Diet: How to Teach Your Dog to Avoid Eating His Own You-Know-What

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 4:09 PM

Here's a word you probably haven't heard today: Coprophagia.

I never studied in Greek in high school. Was too busy doing other really useful things (drinking coffee, life drawing, musical theater, crying). But mostly, I didn't take it because I knew that one day I'd have Wikipedia to fill me...

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5 Ways to Make Walks More Fun for Your Dog (and You)

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2014 | 5:13 PM

In addition to providing exercise and a chance to pee and poop, walks are full of opportunities for your dog to learn about the world and develop good behaviors. An enriching walk will also help tire out a dog out both mentally and physically, which can result in better behavior...

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This Angel Costume Is Designed to Improve a Blind Dog's Quality of Life

(3) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 2:40 PM

Last year, Silvie Bordeaux, a Los Angeles publicist, made a pact with God. Shortly after she learned that her 12-year-old toy poodle, Muffin, had gone blind, the dog ended up in the emergency room after he was accidentally lacerated during a vet appointment to inspect a suspicious mass. The prognosis was bleak. On her site she describes how, while he was in critical care, she was home "on my knees sobbing all night, surrounded by his bed, toys and clothes, I pleaded to God to please save my precious dog and promised in return, upon his recovery, Muffin and I would be of service and dedicate our lives to helping blind dogs."

Muffin lived! So, Bordeaux started investigating what kind of aids exist to help blind dogs. Underwhelmed by her findings, she decided to develop her own product: Clear vinyl tubing, filled with wire and covered with plastic, to be worn around a blind dog's head to protect them from bumping into things. She called it "Muffin's Halo". Here is Muffin wearing his angelic protective gear as he explores a hotel room for the first time.


I can be a little critical about gratuitous dog get-ups, but, like Doggles, Bordeaux's patented invention is both cute and useful: The rim acts as a barrier to help give a dog a sense of where he is before his nose face hits a wall. The wings protect the side's of a dog's body. And the whole getup makes him extra noticeable, which probably means it less likely that he'll end up underfoot in a crowded elevator.

For larger dogs, Bordeaux is developing a sturdier version of the device that makes the the dog look like a quarterback.

Muffin, who is now pushing 13, seems to really be benefiting from his halo. I will be curious to see if this product takes off. It certainly seems like there is a lot of heart behind that little halo.

This post originally appeared on...

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Positive Reinforcement vs. Positive Thinking (And Why Pollyanna Would've Sucked at Dog Training)

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2013 | 12:19 PM

The kind of dog training I do, and that I teach, goes by many names. Some call it "science-based" training, or "clicker training," or "progressive reinforcement training" (the latter term even has an entire branded manifesto). Most commonly, it is called "positive reinforcement training." That's fine with me,...

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Training a Cat Actor for Broadway? Better Understand the Peculiar World of Feline Motivation

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 10:56 AM

The New York Times ran a story of the search for an appropriate feline to play the animal character, who doesn't get a whole lot of love in the script (the narrator describes him as "thug faced;" Holly Golightly refers to him as "poor slob without a name"). On...

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What an East Village Puppy's Untimely Death Can Teach Us About Dog Safety on City Streets

(3) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 4:59 PM

On Saturday, something very sad happened: One of my puppy clients was killed by a truck on First Avenue.

Alex was a 14-week-old lab mix who'd come to live with Manhattanites Jim and Amy by way of Social Tee Animal Rescue in the East Village. He'd been coming to puppy...

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How Humans and Dogs Can Learn -- and Suffer -- From the Use of Negative Reinforcement

(19) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 12:10 PM

Every time I read about water-boarding, I cringe. Because I'm a dog trainer, I can't help but think about how similar this reviled torture method is to some of the things we do to dogs.

I've written a good deal on my site, TheDogs, about some...

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3 Tips For Using Dog Training Methods On People

(1) Comments | Posted January 23, 2013 | 11:00 AM


Giving flowers is one way we use Pavlovian conditioning on each other.

When I meet someone new and say that I'm a dog trainer, the first question I usually get is, "Can you train my husband?" My reply...
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What Fiona Apple and Jimmy Stewart Know About Loving -- and Losing -- a Dog

(8) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 4:55 PM


As a writer and a dog trainer, I have to say something that might sound snobbish. But here goes: I really don't like when people write about their pets.

"Twee" is the word that comes to mind...

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All Dog, No Bark: The Pitfalls of Devocalization Surgery

(5) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 4:00 PM

Editor's Note: This post contains graphic video that may be disturbing to some readers.

Too often, we jump to take extreme measures to try to "fix" dogs, rather than changing their environments -- and our standards -- in order to better accommodate their natural tendencies. Take, for example, a common issue I...

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What Sandy Did for New York City's Shelter Animals

(7) Comments | Posted November 6, 2012 | 2:45 PM

I, like many East Coasters, lost power last week for five days. When I made my way from my Manhattan home to a friend's in Brooklyn, I was able to check my email. My inbox was replete with people asking me what they could do to help animals affected by super...

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What Do You Do With Your Dog During Hurricane Sandy?

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 5:22 PM

Dog Vs. Hurricane Sandy, Oct 29th, Norfolk, VA.

If you are in the pathway of Hurricane Sandy and you are a dog owner, here are some quick tips to keeping your furry...

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A Problem Faced by Both Retirees and Dogs, and a Common Solution

(2) Comments | Posted May 25, 2012 | 8:00 PM

For most of the tens of thousands of years that canines have existed, they've been hunters and scavengers. Wolves and feral dogs may still work for their food, but most of the canines in the world today are domesticated and usually get their meals for free. For animals that evolved...

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Long Live the Queen... Of Good Dog Training?

(1) Comments | Posted May 25, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee this year. The event marks a milestone in the life of one of the most famous dog owners in the world. Her Royal Lizness has always been pretty prim and private. But when it comes to her dog obsession, she's relatively loud and...

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Dog Shock Collars: They Can Punish Humans, Too!

(6) Comments | Posted May 8, 2012 | 6:22 PM

Shock collars for dog training have been around for decades. When they began to gain in popularity in the 1970s, there were FDA attempts to recall them. Recently, there's been a movement to ban them in Canada. In the States, there are occasional animal cruelty cases brought upon those who...

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A Brief History of Pet Transportation Makes Romney's Dog-on-Roof Method Seem Almost Humane

(17) Comments | Posted April 22, 2012 | 5:06 PM

Last Monday night, Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, discussed a 'scandal' that has been plaguing her husband's campaign: During road trips with his family of seven in the 1980s, her husband used to habitually strap their Irish Setter, Seamus, to the car roof in a crate.

"He would see that crate...

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Animal Lover Dick Clark's Office Had More Dogs Than Any Other in Burbank

(10) Comments | Posted April 19, 2012 | 4:31 PM

Today we mourn the loss of a dog-lover extraordinaire: Dick Clark. He was 574. In dog years.

Clark was a big-time dog person. He designed his Malibu home so that it could accommodate all his dogs -- he sometimes had as many as five at a time. The showers were extra...

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Obama Raising Campaign Funds by Selling Officially-Branded Dog Apparel

(1) Comments | Posted April 11, 2012 | 4:46 PM

Last election, Obama's campaign's weapon of choice was the Internet. This election, looks like they're going another route: the dog route. Hey, people do spend money on their dogs. Below, some of the campaign-fundraising items now on sale at Store.BarackObama.com. ...

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A New Method To Neuter Your Dog

(4) Comments | Posted April 10, 2012 | 2:58 PM

"Zeutering" is a non-surgical process that sterilizes male dogs. A solution of Zinc gluconate (like you take for a cold), L-Arginine  (a non-essential amino acid) and water is shot into a dog's scrotum. Within a month he is permanently sterile.

The Ark Sciences formulation was initially introduced in the U.S. with...

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The Science of Cesar Millan's Dog Training: Good Timing and Hard Kicks in the Stomach

(134) Comments | Posted April 9, 2012 | 2:22 PM

In his National Geographic show The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan talks about controlling dogs using "energy." But his real tool for controlling animals? Kicking them in the guts.

To any dog trainer rooted in the world of the science of behavior, the notion of "calm submissive" energy (or whatever he calls...

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