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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. Follow School For The Dogs on Facebook and Instagram.

Entries by Anna Jane Grossman

Donald Trump Poop Bags, My Cartoonist Dad And Me: Rethinking How We Pick Up After Dogs

(1) Comments | Posted July 20, 2016 | 3:34 PM

In the 1970s in New York City, dog poo was a whole to-do. A campaign to clean up the streets of excrement began when Fran Lee, an Upper West Side activist, started drawing attention to a purported link between feces on sidewalks and child blindness. What followed was something of...

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How to get people to stop using plastic bags? Punishment and Donald Trump poop bags

(3) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 1:47 PM

In NYC, the City Council is about to vote on a bill that is designed to change a typical New Yorker's behavior: bringing home groceries in so-called "single-use" plastic and paper bags. Even for many environmentally conscious New Yorkers, this is still the go-to method of supermarket food...

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3 Tips For Using Dog Training Methods On People

(4) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 11:19 AM


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 is always, "Yep!"

Being a dog trainer is all about molding behaviors, and behavior is...

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25 Simple Ways to Save Money as a Dog Owner

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 2:05 PM

This post first appeared on

I love Amos, my Yorkiepoodle, oodles and oodles. But I've never known him to be able to hold down a job. Sure he is cuddly (sometimes), lets me know when someone is at the door and provides good Instagram fodder. But...

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The Legacy and Tragedy of the Life of Dr. Sophia Yin

(65) Comments | Posted October 6, 2014 | 7:49 PM

On Sunday, Sept. 28, Dr. Sophia Yin, one of the world's most respected and important veterinary behaviorists, committed suicide. She was 48.

Dr. Yin was a pioneer in the field of force-free, positive-reinforcement dog training. It would be hard to understate her contribution to the world of humane pet care....

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Want the Secret to Winning Rock Paper Scissors? Ask a Dog Trainer

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 10:49 AM

A BBC story reveals the secret to winning at rock-paper-scissors. The answer is something that we dog trainers tell our human clients all the time: if something works, an animal is going to do it again.

This means that if a dog hears something in the hall...

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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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