The Puppy Dog Close

Puppy DogEarlier this year, I was reading a book called “The 4-hour Workweek” (by Timothy Ferriss), and I came across an interesting sales technique called “The Puppy Dog Close”.

Basically, this sales technique is used if someone wants to buy something, but they are hesitant.  An example of this would be when the salesperson at a pet store offers to let the customer take a puppy home with them, and just bring it back if they don’t want it.  Of course, in most cases the customer will want to keep the puppy!

The characteristics of this technique appear to be that the deal is a reversible trial (the customer can always bring the puppy back), and the product should be something that can easily sell itself.


Timothy Ferriss speaks of this example in terms of convincing your boss to agree to let you skip meetings at work, by demonstrating that you can complete more work as a result.  In this situation, he is adapting the puppy dog close technique slightly.  What he is suggesting is that you can convince people to accept a situation by offering them a one-time “let’s just try this once” type deal.  And of course, by offering some sort of of benefit that would result from the situation, and would be hard to refuse.

I’m sure there are many more situations where this technique is being used.  For example, free trial gym memberships, sample foods at the grocery store, new car test drives at the dealership, free makeovers at the cosmetics counter, etc.  In all of these examples, it is products that are being offered to a customer.  However, instead of products, you could be offering an idea that you want someone to accept, or a lifestyle change, or any other type of situation.

The trick is, that once the customer tries out the product (or idea, or activity etc.), that they become hooked and as a result, they buy into that product or situation.  A little bit manipulative sounding?  But then again, it’s probably a good way to get people to try out new things that they would otherwise be too trepid to try.  What are your thoughts on this technique?


Find me on Twitter:  @jacbird and @masitblog


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Grapefruit Seed Extract – is it really healthy?

GrapefruitGrapefruit seed extract (GSE) is derived from the seeds, pulp and membranes of grapefruits.  It can be self-made by grinding the seeds and pulp and mixing with glycerine (1).  Commercial versions are made via an industrial chemical process and preservatives are added (3).

The extract is believed to have natural antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties (1).  It is also promoted as a treatment for candidiasis and even as a general domestic surface cleaner (4).

However, several studies have found that the antimicrobial properties of commercially prepared GSE are due to added preservatives such as benzethonium chloride, triclosan and methyl parabene (2, 3).


Furthermore, no antimicrobial activity has been detected in the self-made extracts (3).

Therefore it is likely that GSE does not have any naturally occurring antimicrobial properties of its own.

Additionally, Todd Caldecott, has stated concerns in his article from the Spring 2005 issue of “Medical Herbalism,” about the long-term safety of ingesting the preservatives found in commercial varieties of GSE (2).  According to Caldecott, one of the compounds, benzethonium chloride, which is commonly used as a disinfectant in cosmetic products, has been found to be a potentially harmful compound, and is not approved for internal use in the United States (2).


  2. “Medical Herbalism:  A Journal for the Clinical Practitioner”; Grapefruit Seed Extract; Todd Caldecott; Spring 2005
  3. “Terressentials:  The Truth About Grapefruit Seed Extract”
  4. “Total Health, Volume 24 (1)”; Natural Antibiotics:  Grapefruit Seed Extract; Tina Wellman.


Find me on Twitter: @jacbird and @masitblog

Popular eLearning Tools being used Today!

Note:  all articles on this site are written by Jacqueline…

The goal of this article is to give a brief overview of some popular eLearning tools that I have used or have heard of.  First off, there are some great web resources that rate and compile eLearning technology, such as:

Top 100 eLearning Tools and

Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day

And here is my own short list of good eLearning choices:

Audacity:  is a digital audio editor and recording application that can be used to create podcasts.  It has a simple tool set that works well, and allows to you apply simple audio effects


Download audacity free here:

And read a review here:

SharePoint:  allows you to create a collaborative work environment and helps with communication between remote work groups.

Features include:

  • a shared workspace
  • a document management system
  • built-in customizable wiki & blog
  • lists and document libraries
  • built-in search functionality

Learn more about it here:

Articulate Presenter:  is a slide show tool that allows you to convert your PowerPoint presentations into an interactive Flash format.
Visit the Articulate site to learn more, and tune into the informative rapid eLearning blog hosted by Tom Kuhlmann.

Adobe Captivate:  this is another screencasting tool similar to Camtasia Studio.  I have not personally used it, but the product does generally get good reviews.  Try it out at

and read a review here.

I would be interested to hear from readers who have used both Camtasia Studio and Adobe Captivate.  How do the two products compare?

Moodle:  is a free and open source “virtual learning environment” also known as an LMS or Learning Management System.  The environment is made up of different modules such as Assignment, Chats, Choices, Glossaries, Lessons, Quizzes and Surveys.

Learn more about it, and try out the demonstration site at:

Take note that the product needs to be installed on a web server, but there are some free Moodle hosting providers available such as

Survey Monkey:  this is a free survey and questionnaire tool with good reviews.

Try it out at

Camtasia Studio:  I use this product to create online training videos, and show users how to do something that is easier to learn by watching, rather than reading.  This program is easy to use and you can render your video into various formats such as wmv and Flash.  You can also import audio and images, and add effects.

Try it out here:

Jing:  this is a free screencasting tool also developed by TechSmith.  It is compatible for both Mac and Windows, and is ideal for quickly sharing vidoes online via the free hosting service

Learn more about it here:

A Science Blogger Overview: Welcome to the Fascinating World of Marmorkrebs!

Marmorkrebs1 copyWhile browsing through Twitter one day, I came across Dr. Zen Faulkes who is a scientist adept at using social media and blogging to communicate his research and ideas.

He is a Canadian researcher living in Texas doing behavioural research on the unusual crustacean creature, Marmorkrebs.  He is interested in the evolution of behaviour and nervous systems, and particularly the origin of new behaviours.  He uses Marmokrebs as his model organism for the following reasons.

  • They give lots of embryos year round, giving lots of research samples
  • They don’t need males to reproduce
  • They are good to use if you don’t have a lab set-up to maintain sea creatures
  • And, they are going to help Dr. Zen answer his evolutionary question:  why do crayfish have giant neurons that some other crustaceans don’t have (such as hermit crabs)?  (See his review paper: Faulkes, Z. (2008). Turning Loss Into Opportunity: The Key Deletion of an Escape Circuit in Decapod Crustaceans Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 72 (4), 251-261 DOI: 10.1159/000171488)

Marmorkrebs is an all-female species of marbled crayfish that reproduces asexually by parthenogenesis.

To learn more about his fascinating model organism, Marmorkrebs, visit this page:

To learn more about parthenogenesis in general, check out this article:

Please visit Dr. Zen’s faculty page to check out his many research articles.

Visit Zen Faulkes on Twitter: