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Common Stumbling Blocks to Behavioral Recovery for Dogs and How to Overcome Them

  by Diane Garrod In response to a survey of more than 1,000 pet parents in the United States by Kinship Partners (2021), 62% said their top priority is their pets’ happiness, and 80% said their pets deserve more of their time. Seventy-one percent said they could not have survived the pandemic without their pets. (A link to the full results of the survey and infographics can be found in the references.) Even so, pet parents often have unrealistic expectations of their dogs, and when addressing a behavior problem, these… Continued

What Is Enrichment for Animals?

  by Diane Garrod When the term “enrichment” is verbalized, its meaning is often not clearly understood. When I’ve asked clients, “What enrichment does your dog get?” I’ve gotten answers like ball play or a walk, or a long pause of nothing because the client is not sure what enrichment is or means. This got me thinking about the differing categories of enrichment for animals and led me to dig deeper into the science and definition of enrichment. Is it the same for dogs as it is for horses and… Continued

Dog Speak: The Language of Barking

At a recent public event I attended, the question asked most by companion dog owners was, “How do I get my dog to stop barking?” As professionals, of course, the first thing we want to do is ask more questions. “When does the dog bark?”, “What time of day?”, “What are they barking at?”, “What are they getting out of it?”, “What do you do when they bark?”, “What do you want them to do instead?” and so on. We can all think of people who talk too much yet no… Continued

The Benefits of Using Food Rewards

This article addresses some of pet owners’ common concerns and criticisms surrounding the use of treats in dog training     By Diane Garrod   In some circles, using treats in training has gotten something of a bad rap. But I have to ask myself, why is there even hesitation about this? Using food in positive reinforcement for results IS science. It is a proven, highly productive technique that involves pairing good things with triggers, or reinforcing behavior so it is repeated, or giving a “paycheck” for a job well… Continued

Can you FIX my dog?

When clients contact me, they often ask, “Can you fix my dog?” It has become something I smile about now, but nonetheless a pet peeve.  There’s nothing wrong with the word itself, but let’s take a look at it applied to a living, breathing animal. Used as a verb to FIX something by definition is to fasten (something) securely in a particular place or position and that is not something to do with dogs, although I am sure your imagination can give a quick picture of what that might look… Continued

Do Animals Grieve?

“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we… Continued

Ten Ways To Use Problem-Solving Games in Behavior Modification

Mental, intelligence games and problem solving activities can be used in a behavior modification program.  We use games in environmental enrichment, but why couldn’t we use them, like we use toys in behavior modification? How would you do that, you ask? And, you might not know that this can be done? So let’s explore the 10 ways physical-type purchased intelligence games (like Nina Ottoson, and Dog Kingdom Pet Supply) can be used, as well as homemade games (1) and problem solving activities (2) that uses the dog’s brain to mentally… Continued

Growl versus Scowl

Growling is often punished. If we understand that growling is communication and that there are many different types of growls, then we would respond as if a human was scowling at us.  or  Scowling says a lot without sound. Imagine adding a growl to the above looks. The definition of a scowl is to frown in an angry or bad-tempered way or an angry or bad-tempered expression. We would listen to the implications directed toward us and give this human space, take it as a warning.  Dogs do everything with… Continued


When was the last time you heard “my dog is dominant” or “my dog is trying to be dominant with (fill in the blank)” or “my dog doesn’t see me as the dominant one”? Dominance in dogs is scientifically proven to be a myth. The AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) in its concern for the resurgence of dominance theory issued a position statement.  By definition the state of being dominant according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as “a dominant position especially in a social hierarchy”.  This definition is… Continued

Why Prong Is Wrong – Physically and Psychologically

A man’s best friend deserves better Prong collars are used to decrease behavior and involve waiting for the dog to do something wrong, like pulling, and then jerking the dog. Used “correctly” they ride high up on the neck. Starting with a play on words, replace the P in Prong with a W and, well you get the picture.  The PPG BARKS from the Guild Editor has asked me to write a blog on prong collars and I graciously accepted.  Apparently people want to know why prong collars are harmful (physically… Continued

Corrections. Paradigm Shift?

Let’s face it, humans are “trained” to correct other humans. We correct our spouses, our children, our co-workers and so it isn’t a stretch that this thinking spills over into dog training. We wait for something to go wrong or for someone to do something wrong so we can then correct it. The reality is corrections evoke fear and erode trust. I certainly wouldn’t want this man in my face, would you? Why are animals subjected to this type of body language? Corrections The word itself is offputting. When it… Continued