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Shelter Dog Reactivity in the Big City: Daisy’s Success Story


Dogs living in a big city may face big challenges related to their environment and the expectations placed on them. As a long-time shelter worker and dog trainer, I’ve seen countless leash-reactive dogs enter the system who are ill-equipped to cope with life in a sprawling metropolis like San Francisco, where I live, and that includes two of the three dogs I’ve adopted myself. Those of us embroiled in sheltering and canine behavior modification may be familiar with the common refrain, “He just needs a backyard/farmland/island of his own and… Continued


Meet Kim Monteith of the British Columbia SPCA


Kim prioritizes the well-being of both animals and people in her work. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior/training or pet care, and what you are doing now? With over 25 years in animal behavior and pet care, my journey began with a pet-sitting business and then volunteering at the British Columbia SPCA in various roles, including trainer and dog walker, which ultimately led to a paid position as an animal care attendant. During this time, I also had the opportunity to… Continued


Prescription and Veterinary Diets–Are They Medicine? Are They Worth the Added Cost?


by Don Hanson Pet foods sold as “prescription” or “veterinary” diets are typically promoted as treating medical issues like skin allergies, kidney disease, cancer, and more. They usually are much more expensive than regular dog food. For example, an 18.7 lb. bag of one company’s kidney diet sells for $104, while a 15 lb. bag of its regular dog food costs $46, half the price of the “prescription” diet. These alleged medical diets are often sold by veterinarians or outlets that will only sell you the food if you provide… Continued


Say Goodbye to Cash Flow Woes: Expert Tips for Managing Your Training Business Income


In this article, the experts at dogbiz share tips for managing cash flow for your training business. Ask dogbiz Q: Hi dogbiz, I’ve recently started my own dog training business (woot woot!), but I’m finding it challenging to feel safe about the money part. It feels like a big adjustment after having a regular paycheck for most of my career, and my income is now up and down every month. Any tips on how to navigate this aspect of the business and avoid getting cold feet? Thanks, Ryan A: Hi… Continued


When Kindness Hurts: The Importance of Self-Care for Behavior Professionals


by Anna Francesca Bradley When I first delved into the world of animal behavior over 20 years ago, there was very little, if any, emphasis on looking after oneself. The focus (and rightly so) was on clients’ well-being and doing one’s utmost to help both animal and human, and very little thought was given to the individual professionals who were throwing everything, their heart and soul, into that journey. Thankfully, awareness has changed. The Professional’s Role When I first thought about becoming a behavior modification and training professional, I did… Continued


Riff Raff: From Reactive to Relaxed


This article is the runner-up entry in the BARKS 2023 Summit Writing Competition! by Tasha Attwood Riff Raff is a 7-year-old entire (intact) male Leonberger who lives in a bungalow with his owners, Claire and Paul. They have had him since he was 8 weeks old, and he is the only pet in the household. Claire’s parents live in the house next door and have three Briards, two males named Bruce and Billy, and a female named Annie. The houses are separate but adjoined via a door in Claire and… Continued


The Surprising Similarities Between Dogs and Toddlers and How We Can Use Them to Make Us Better Pet Professionals


by Judy Luther In this post, I give a little insight into how dogs are much like toddlers when it comes to emotions and learning, and how teaching them like we teach toddlers can be so beneficial.   It was 2016 and I was heading to session #2 with a client who had a new puppy. During the first session, the mom confided she felt like she made a mistake getting a puppy with a toddler in the house, and she was considering sending the puppy back to the breeder.  When… Continued


UK Residents: Urgent Action Needed to Make a Kinder World for Pets


We have less than six months for UK citizens to get 100,000 signatures on this petition to ban electric shock collars for dogs and cats. Your signature attests, “I petition for the ban of electric shock collars due to the harmful effects they can have.” Five Reasons to Act Now: Inflicting Pain on Animals Is Unlawful Let’s explore European Animal Welfare laws, specifically the UK Animal Welfare Act of 2006, and its Five Freedoms, which are: Advocates believe the use of electric shock collars on dogs is inconsistent with animal… Continued


Are You Stuck in a Social Media Content Rut? Get Unstuck!


In this article, the experts at dogbiz share tips for breaking through creative blocks and generating fresh social media content for your business. Ask dogbiz Q: Hi dogbiz, It’s only the start of the year, and I’m already struggling to come up with fresh content ideas for my social media accounts. It feels like I’ve hit a creative block, and I’m not sure how to break through it. Any tips on generating engaging content when inspiration seems to be running low? Thanks, Alex A: Hi Alex, Ah, yes, the constant… Continued


How to Get Feedback That Doesn’t Leave You Taken Aback


  In this article, the experts at dogbiz share tips for requesting and using valuable feedback from clients. Ask dogbiz Q: Hi dogbiz, I know getting feedback from clients can be a valuable way to improve my services, but I’m nervous about how to approach it. I worry about bothering them or receiving negative comments. What’s the best way to request and use feedback without making it awkward for everyone involved? Thanks, Charlotte A: Hi Charlotte, First, kudos to you for considering feedback as an essential part of your business… Continued


Tabby’s Transformation at the Shelter


  by Tom Candy Tabby was a 3-year-old spayed female domestic shorthair cat who came to the shelter following a period of straying. Nothing else was known about her history. At the shelter, she was kept in an individual cat pen that measured 5 feet by 30 inches and was 30 inches high with a cover over the top. A raised bed was inside the pen, and food and water were located near the bed area. A litter tray was located on the far side of the cattery with a… Continued


Stubby’s Story: From Crossroads to Heart Dog


This article is the winning entry in the BARKS 2023 Summit Writing Competition! by Hannah Blumenfeld Stubby was born in western Texas in February 2020. He and his four littermates ended up in a small shelter and then spent three weeks in a foster home before being transported to a rescue in Portland, Oregon, in May 2020. His fosters in Portland had a full house—two adults, two teenagers, a 4-year-old male neutered English Mastiff, and a 4-year-old female spayed cat. They adopted Stubby as soon as his litter was cleared… Continued


Arizona Humane Society Hosts Pet Professional Guild’s Annual Summit to Promote Positive-Reinforcement Training


The partnership aims to positively impact the successful transition of rescued pets into their new homes while empowering and enhancing their welfare. The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and the Arizona Humane Society (AHS) have partnered to host a summit featuring 25 world-class presenters from around the globe at the Arizona Humane Society’s Nina Mason Pulliam South Mountain Campus in Phoenix November 1-5. The “Homeward Bound” summit event will showcase the latest techniques in humane, ethical positive reinforcement–based training, helping both organizations reach their shared goal of ensuring that humane and… Continued


Creating Calm? Why Context Is Key!


  by Anna Francesca Bradley When I first started my journey in training and behavioral therapy (with dogs), I must admit that initially my focus was quite narrow. I looked at what was right in front of me—the dog’s dislike of being touched, the fear of being left, the response to unfamiliar dogs in the park—and addressed it according to that behavior right there and then. Of course, I looked at antecedents of the behavior, possible inadvertent reinforcements, adverse events, and so on. However, although the notion fleetingly crossed my… Continued


Malena DeMartini: A Beacon of Light for Dogs Who Suffer When Left Home Alone


  Malena DeMartini shares her personal and professional journey to creating her company that provides educational programs for dog professionals and guardians to help dogs with separation anxiety.   Who are you, and what makes you passionate about animal behavior? I have been a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant for over two decades and had a beautiful introduction to animal behavior via my education through the Academy for Dog Trainers. Initially, I worked with all manner of dog behavior, from jumpy puppies to human-directed aggression. However, I developed an… Continued


Kate LaSala Helps Dog Owners Accept Their Dogs for Who They Are


  Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior/training, and what you are doing now? I’ve been an animal advocate for over three decades. I became vegetarian as a teen and have championed animal welfare as a rescuer, transporter, shelter worker, foster, volunteer, and trainer. But my life trajectory changed forever when our dog BooBoo arrived in our lives. I’ve been in private training for nearly 10 years now andremain committed to continuing education, helping people have better lives with their dogs, and… Continued


Cooperative Care with Cora: A Case Study


  by Jennifer Van Valkenburg Cooperative care is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I have come to appreciate how important body autonomy and choice can be, especially when experiencing a painful and difficult medical diagnosis. Having some control over even small things can make a huge difference in our emotional state and comfort level. The same is true of our pets. The more they can participate in their own healthcare, the better for everyone involved. I started down the road of learning about cooperative care… Continued


Meet Force-Free Puppy Trainer Colin Spence


  Force-free training … is kind. It’s what all animals should get from humans—kindness. —Colin Spence   Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into dog training, and what you are doing now? I got into the industry as a trainer a while ago as I had a 12-week-old German Shepherd puppy who was very human and dog reactive as he was very scared. He would growl and lunge while shivering. I wasgetting somewhat (I now know as) very bad advice from local UK trainers… Continued


What Do You Do When You’re the Only Force-Free Professional in Town?


  by the Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Panel This article was excerpted and edited from the PPG Advocacy Panel discussion on January 18, 2023. Moderator: Don Hanson: Chair of the PPG Advocacy Division and Shock-Free Coalition, board member of the Pet Professional Guild, and owner of Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, Maine Panelists: Niki Tudge: President and founder of the Pet Professional Guild Debbie Sheridan: Owner of Debbie’s 4 Dogs in West Hartford, Connecticut Sue Kocher: Owner of Hendo Dogs in Hendersonville, North Carolina Kim Silver: Owner of Building… Continued


Abusive Dog Training Practices and Informed Consent, Ethics and “Do No Harm”


by Niki J. Tudge Dog trainers who use punishment-based approaches and equipment designed to work by causing fear and/or pain commonly market themselves under a variety of verbiage and marketing slogans such as “balanced,” “positive relationship,” “natural methods,” “relationship building,” “positive only,” and “no food necessary.” These are all taglines that are bandied around but mislead unsuspecting owners who are looking for humane ways to train their pets. Meanwhile, the terminology used may be carefully crafted to appeal to pet guardians who may not always understand the various training methods… Continued


Meet Kim Silver: A Dog Trainer Who Dabbles in Training Parrots


“Dogs are misunderstood, and our cultural ideas about them are hurting them. Dogs need a voice, and often it’s their dog trainer who is speaking up for them. I love being that person for a dog.” —Kim Silver Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal training, and what you are doing now? I have been a professional dog trainer for 12 years. My interest in dog training was born from a compulsion-based dog training class I attended with my dog Eve in 1997. I learned… Continued


What Do Dogs, Cats, Cars and Chairs Have in Common?


The Need for a New Legal Definition of Living Property by Niki J. Tudge Are Pets Family? According to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%) … consider their pets to be members of the family.” Yet, legally, pets are still considered property or chattel. “Technically in the eyes of the law, [cats and dogs] are no different from a couch or a car” (Grimm, 2014). The terms “property” and “chattel” may be defined as follows: Property: Anything that is owned by a person or entity. Property is divided… Continued


Nelly the Desert Dog: Once a Feral Night Roamer, Now a Super Trooper


  by Sarah Bartley We arrived in the Arizona desert at the beginning of August 2022. What a relief—no stray dogs. Military bases are like gated communities. Resident dogs are always on leash or contained in a yard. A few months later, in November, is when I first saw the little orange dog curled up on the side of the road, just outside of base. I have no idea how she got there. We are literally in the middle of nowhere. I had been on my way out for a… Continued


Cats and Kids


by Andrea Carne “And in breaking news … a child was left scratched and in tears after a play session with his pet cat went horribly wrong …” Ever heard that on the nightly news bulletin? No, of course not. We may hear about dog bites from time to time and much has been written over the years about children and dogs. Indeed, many pages of books, articles and blogs have been dedicated to the topic and some fabulous commu­nity education and classroom programs have been developed to edu­cate children—and their… Continued


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