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How Animals Learn


This article presents an overview of the types of learning, animal emotions vs. animal behaviors, applied behavior analysis, and choice and empowerment in animal training     By Susan Nilson and Niki Tudge   Like humans, animals can learn in a healthy, humane and safe manner, or, conversely, through pain, force and fear. In cases of high emotional arousal (“emotional hijacking”), the emotional brain inhibits the rational brain and an animal will go into fight or flight mode. In biological terms, this means it is difficult, if not impossible, for… Continued


Pups and the Power of Positive Touch


  Don’t you just love being able to have that closeness with your dog? The snuggling in, the mutual touch, and just really enjoying each other’s affection? But sadly it’s not always like this. Not all dogs enjoy or are comfortable with our advances or attempts to hug, stroke, pet, or cuddle them. This can be distressing, upsetting and frustrating for both parties, especially as many people love having a dog in their lives so they can benefit from that mutual affection.   The Right to Interact? ‘Consent’ is a… Continued


BARKS Podcast with the PPG Advocacy Panel: Discussion #10 – Recognizing Microaggressions


Recognizing Microaggressions So They Can Be Managed and Avoided   Join the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Advocacy Panel for a discussion on Recognizing Microaggressions So They Can Be Managed and Avoided Pet guardians and pet professionals, listen as panel members share their expertise in a fun, free-flowing format.   Your Moderators: PPG president Niki Tudge and PPG Canine Committee chair Judy Luther Your Advocacy Panel for this discussion includes: Valarie Ross, Aaron Jones (PPG Inclusivity Committee), co-chair of the PPG Feline Committee– Beth Adelman, Dr. Zazie Todd, and Dr. Eduardo Fernandez   Listen to… Continued


Introducing Cats: Slowly Does It


By Patience Fisher   There are many challenges for shelters in finding adoptive homes for cats. As an adoption counselor, I always found it disheartening to have a cat returned to the shelter for not getting along with the resident cats. During the adoption process, the concept of slow introductions was explained, but upon the cat’s return we often found out that the introduction process had been rushed. As a result, I saw a need for a very simple, short, how-to brochure for introducing a new cat to a resident… Continued


The Topic of Microaggressions for Identification and Educational Purposes!


Introduction To some degree we are all products of cultural conditioning that instills within us biases and prejudices that can impregnate our behavior towards others. The term and concept microaggressions was first identified and termed in the 1970’s by Chester M. Pierce. The term refers to “subtle, stunning, often automatic, and non-verbal exchanges which are ‘put downs’” (Pierce, Carew, Pierce Gonzalez, & Willis, 1978, p. 66). Racial microaggressions have also been described as “subtle insults (verbal, nonverbal, and/or visual) directed toward people of color, often automatically or unconsciously” (Solorzano et… Continued


Exotic Animals and Shelter Awareness


By Lara Joseph   As animal trainers and behavior consultants, our work can appear very appealing to pet owners and those who work with and take care of animals. What we demonstrate in our training is a very important tool we can use to educate the public about how our work is done, its impact on behavior and mental stimulation, and responsibility in animal care. Being an animal trainer and understanding applied behavior analysis, using it, and showing others how to use it is very important to me. My intention… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Molly Neher and Jennifer Kolar of Atlas Assistance Dogs


Join Niki Tudge and PPG Canine Committee chair Judy Luther as they Chat and Chuckle with Molly Neher and Jennifer Kolar of PPG corporate partner Atlas Assistance Dogs. Atlas Assistance Dogs states its mission as follows: “Atlas fundamentally expands access to assistance dogs. We support people with disabilities to train and certify their own service dog using positive, ethical training methods. At Atlas, we believe anyone who would benefit from a qualified assistance dog should be able to have one.” Listen to the Podcast with Molly and Jennifer here on your… Continued


The Aftermath of “Boot Camp”


By Amanda Ballard   [At the time of writing] Kobe is an 18-month-old terrier cross, who is loved madly by his person, Lizzie. My private consultation session with them is the only one in 10 years that has moved me to tears, right there in front of the owner. It absolutely broke my heart to witness a dog displaying visible signs of anxiety, triggered by hearing very basic and commonly used verbal cues. Sadly, it would not be the last time I would witness this. There is no doubt about… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Dr. Em of Vet Med Corner


Join Niki Tudge and PPG Canine Committee chair Judy Luther as they Chat and Chuckle with Dr. Em of Vet Med Corner to discuss research based information on all things cats and dogs.   Listen to the Podcast with Dr. Em on your choice of platforms. Or just stay on this page and click ‘Play’ below. About Dr. Em     Dr. Em of Vet Med Corner is veterinarian, looking to share research based information for anyone wanting to learn! Check out her YouTube channel, Vet Med Corner.  


New Bird on the Block


By Vicki Ronchette   Over the years I have introduced several parrots into my flock of companion birds. During this time I have found there are some things that should be done early on to help shape the bird into a good companion, while also giving him time and respecting his boundaries. I have talked to a lot of people who were disappointed that their new bird’s behavior changed after a couple of months in their home. Some people call this a “honeymoon period.” I do not use that term… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Dr. Marina Bayeva: How You Can Help the Fundraiser for Ukrainian Animal Shelters


The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is supporting an important fundraiser for six animal shelters in Ukraine. In this podcast, we meet the fundraiser creator, Dr. Marina Bayeva, as well as supporting veterinarian Dr. Paula Klek and PPG’s Shelter & Rescue Division Chair K. Holden Svirsky. Find out all about how the funds raised are being used and hear inspiring stories about the animals left behind in Ukraine who are benefiting from your generous support.   Listen to the Podcast with Dr. Marina on your choice of platforms. Or just stay… Continued


BARKS Podcast with the PPG Advocacy Panel: Discussion #9 – What Key Skills Should Pet Professionals Be Able to Demonstrate and Why?


What Key Skills Should Pet Professionals Be Able to Demonstrate and Why?   Join the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Advocacy Panel for a discussion on What Key Skills Should Pet-Professionals Be Able to Demonstrate and Why? Pet guardians and pet professionals, listen as panel members share their expertise in a fun, free-flowing format.   Your Moderator: PPG Advocacy Committee Chair Don Hanson Your Advocacy Panel for this discussion includes: Sam Wike, PPG Canine Committee Chair Judy Luther, Dr. Kristina Spaulding, and Angel Rowe.   Listen to the Podcast here on a choice… Continued


I Pushed My Friend off the Sofa! Whoops… [How to deal with undesirable guest/animal interactions]


By Ryan Cartlidge   I’m not proud of it, but recently I pushed a friend – who was staying at our house – off our sofa! Find out why below (as well as how to avoid doing it yourself) … This happened during the festive season, and if you are like us, you probably have lots of people coming to visit and/or stay at this time. So what do you do if these people (who might be strangers to your animals) come in and engage with your animals in ways… Continued


­­Compulsive Eating in Dogs


By Maureen Tay   Also known as compulsive eating disorder, compulsive eating is a disorder where a dog tends to eat everything – from food items to non-food items. The specific practice of eating non-food, non-nutritive substances, such as wool or paper, is known as pica. Stool eating (coprophagia) can also be categorized under pica.   Common among Puppies Puppies are curious animals. They eat just about anything they can find, including things that are inedible. Puppies love to investigate their surroundings. An excellent way to do this is for… Continued


The Pets Left Behind in Ukraine Need You – Here’s How You Can Help Today!


By K. Holden Svirsky This article looks behind the scenes to find out how the animals left behind in Ukraine are being cared for by a dedicated and devoted network of animal lovers and professionals (including photos and video footage). It also explains why they urgently need donations from the international community, shows how the funds donated so far are being utilized, and if you want to make a contribution, tells you exactly how you can do it. Quick Links Help Animals Survive the War in Ukraine (Direct link to… Continued


Training a Blind Dog


By Miki Saito   Unfortunately, even knowledgeable and experienced trainers sometimes hesitate when it comes to working with a blind dog. It is as if they consider the dog’s blindness an obstacle that cannot be overcome. Since blindness cannot be changed, this mindset can lead trainers to believe that these dogs cannot be trained but this is, of course, untrue. The dog’s blindness does not inhibit training. His emotional state, however, may be preventing him from having a positive learning experience. As explained by Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz at the Clicker… Continued


From the Editor


Welcome to our new-look BARKS from the Guild! We’ve taken BARKS completely digital to provide you, the reader, a more seamless and user-friendly experience. No more navigating or downloading PDFs (although we will still be providing some special educational PDFs for PPG members) – just lots of easily accessible and shareable content that we will be updating regularly. The format may be different but we still have the same top-level educational and informative content thanks to our loyal band of regular contributors who, as always, are delivering in spades. Get… Continued


Advocating for Humane Techniques


This article examines the scientific data on aversive dog training methods, and discusses: Potential fallout such as habituation, learned helplessness, pain sensitivity, physical damage, emotional damage, and contact force; The stance on punishment in dog training taken by numerous professional organizations; Understanding basic behavioral science; Alternative, positive reinforcement training protocols for more optimal results.     By Susan Nilson and Niki Tudge The current scientific data, in addition to the moral and ethical concerns about mental and physical damage to animals subjected to methods using force, fear and/or pain, have… Continued


How to Manage Dogs with a High Prey Drive


This article examines what prey drive means, identifying motivations, and adapting the Predatory Motor Sequence to ensure dogs still get the opportunity to perform innate behaviors By Tracey McLennan Prey drive is one of those areas of dog behavior that can generate a lot of discussion. It is also one of those things that can cause problems for dog owners. Yet the subject remains somewhat mysterious, with little data available that could help companion dogs and the people who care for them. I got into this fascinating subject when I… Continued


Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks


This article discusses the importance of ongoing training, learning, and enrichment for dogs, from puppyhood through to old age, and provides suggestions for fun games and activities By Anna Bradley I often wonder why so many of us train our dogs for a certain period of time and then just stop. For example, we get a puppy and train him to do a bunch of skills, maybe take him to puppy school and out to meet new friends, and practice our skills out and about. Maybe we engage the services… 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


Keep Calm and Carry On De-stressing


This article discusses how feline behavior consultants can help cats diagnosed with Feline Idiopathic Cystitis     By Andrea Carne Feline Idiopathic Cystitis – or FIC for short – is a complex name for an intriguing disease, but cat behavior consultants need to be well versed in all that it encompasses, and here’s why: FIC accounts for around two thirds of all cases of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) (International Cat Care, 2018). One of the first symptoms of FLUTD (and therefore FIC) is changes in toileting behavior. And… Continued


Developing Connections with Our Horses


This article discusses the importance of spending time with our horses, getting to know and understand each other, and strengthening the mutual bond, in addition to the time we spend training and working with them     By Kathie Gregory   Many of us who share our lives with horses spend a lot of time and thought thinking about how to approach our training exercises and management practices. As such, our thoughts tend to focus on what we want to do and how we are going to achieve it. As… Continued


Ask the Experts: Planning for Difficult Conversations


This article provides suggestions on how to address the situation with a dog trainer who isn’t getting good reviews from their class students     By Veronica Boutelle Ever had to deal with a good dog trainer who is knowledgeable but whose students are not enamored of their teaching skills? Our experts from dogbiz have the answer!   Bad Reviews Dear dogbiz, One of the trainers who teaches classes for me isn’t getting the greatest reviews from our students. A few have even complained. It’s nothing terrible. She’s a good… Continued


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