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A Positive Strategy


As I set up my dog on the start line of an agility course, I want her to feel excited and exhilarated. At the same time, I also want her to feel relaxed within the environment and completely engaged with me, focused on my communication and maintaining our connection throughout this adventure together. In human psychology we talk about ‘flow’ as being ‘in the zone,’ i.e. giving the task at hand our full attention, oblivious to whatever else is happening. Flow is also what we want to achieve with our… Continued


Lessons in Empathy


By Kathy Wolff According to Wikipedia (2021), empathy is the “capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states.” “Hi, my name is Kathy, and I’m a Nervous Nellie.” At least, that’s the cutsie polite little name we used to call it when I was younger. I was someone who always saw the glass half empty, worried about what was going to happen… Continued


Case Study: From Reactive to Relaxed


By Dr. Sheryl L. Walker Of all my years studying animal behavior and consulting with individual clients and animal shelters, there was one case in particular that stood out, partly because it featured two incredibly dedicated guardians. Ironically, it was also one of my most complex cases. It was a case of canine anxiety- and pain-induced dog-directed aggression involving a young neutered male  named Gerhardt who had approximately six bite events between August 2009 and November 2012, beginning when he was approximately 7 months old. The environmental trigger, initially, seemed… Continued


Stress-Free Car Travel with Your Dog


Just recently I’ve helped several owners with dogs who’ve developed real aversions to car travel. Definitely this hasn’t been helped by not going places in the car during lockdown. Maybe these dogs haven’t set foot in the car at all but now they’re expected to just jump right in. But what if they are not comfortable to do so? What can we do to set our dogs up for easy, trouble free car travel? Happy car experiences should be part of the ‘habituation collage’ you put together as a new… Continued


BARKS News – June 2021


Listen to the June 2021 edition of BARKS News! Highlights include: Geek Week 2021 – Registration now open! Early Bird discount available till July 31, 2021 Geek Week presenters + sponsor opportunities Geek Week scholarships Two new PPG corporate partners: PocketSuite and Pet Pro Marketing Upcoming Facebook Live events Project Trade New BARKS Podcasts Sneak peek at July issue of BARKS from the Guild This month’s webinars New on the Guild Archive…and more. Prefer to read your BARKS News? Click here to read BARKS News online.


It’s All in the Management


By Dr. Morag Heirs When you are dealing with a deaf puppy or an adolescent deaf dog in a rescue environment, mouthing and nipping is often high on the list of problem behaviors. Do deaf dogs and puppies mouth, nip or grab more than hearing dogs? The honest answer here is that we just do not know. Anecdotally, based on the requests for help we see on forums and websites, mouthing, nipping and/or grabbing does not seem to be more of a problem for deaf dogs than it is with… Continued


Empowerment for a Better Quality of Life


By Miki Saito When looking after a blind dog, it is vital to know his abilities as well as his challenges so we do not limit his world any more than necessary. Blind dogs still need to explore and achieve things on their own. All we have to do is set up their environment differently and approach training in a new way to ensure their safety. We need to consider the potential frustration, confusion and fear caused by the loss of vision. With this in mind we need to help… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Ken MacLeod of My Positive Pup: June 4, 2021


Ken MacLeod of My Positive Pup chats about the incredible results he got with his reactive puppy Scooter via positive reinforcement training and how they inspired him teach others. Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Ken MacLeod KTA CTP of My Positive Pup is an Emmy-honored set designer, a positive reinforcement dog trainer, and a major Bruce Springsteen fan. Throughout his long career in the film industry, he designed sets for many iconic commercials, and worked on several television shows, such as Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Rain Jordan of The Fearful Dogs Project: May 29, 2021


Join Niki Tudge and Rain Jordan of The Fearful Dogs Project, as they discuss how the initiative helps dogs — and the humans who care for them — move beyond fear and enjoy their lives together with as little distress, and as much joy. as possible. Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. The Fearful Dogs Project is currently offering 10% off its Advanced Fear Abatement Mastery Program for PPG-member canine training professionals seeking the CFDP (Certified Fearful Dogs Professional) certification. Additional group rate… Continued


Playing It Safe


By Andrea Carne “Play with your cat more – and give him a meaty diet…” I wouldn’t be surprised if variations on this kind of advice has been given by vets and cat behavior consultants over the eons. And indeed, in addition to being supportive of feline well-being in general, a new study suggests it could also reduce hunting behavior and, perhaps more importantly for many cat guardians, reduce the number of prey animals brought home as unwanted “gifts.” The study, conducted by Martina Cecchetti and colleagues from the University… Continued


Alone Training


By Don Hanson Dogs are social animals, and most will actively seek out our companionship. They can quickly become accustomed to having their people around all the time (especially during these pandemic times when many of us are spending more time at home than usual), but this is not a necessarily good thing if they will need to spend some time on their own at some stage. And as much as we might want to believe we will always be with our dogs all the time, that scenario is improbable.… Continued


Play vs. Aggression


By Maureen Tay As a trainer, the issue of aggression is raised a lot. Indeed, it is the most commonly reported behavior issue by dog owners (Overall, 2013). One owner who contacted me recently had adopted a new dog and called me to say that the new dog and the resident dog were now growling at each other and going after each other’s legs and necks. But without being there to see the actual situation, it is obviously impossible to tell if these dogs are just playing or if there… Continued


BARKS News – May 2021


Listen to the May 2021 edition of BARKS News! Highlights include: Geek Week 2021 Free Pet Dog Ambassador program Shock-Free Coalition ‘Tag It’ competition This month’s Cat Call-In Lounge New PPG Steering Committee member Upcoming Facebook Live events Project Trade New BARKS Podcasts May issue of BARKS from the Guild This month’s webinars New on the Guild Archive…and more. Prefer to read your BARKS News? Click here to read BARKS News online.


The Porcine Phenomenon


By Lara Joseph As we all know, animals are fascinating, especially when it comes to their ability to learn and their individuality. I am attracted to intelligent animals who learn quickly and are able to change their behavior to get a new outcome, for example, the pig, the vulture, the parrot and the octopus. I train many animals and am often asked to train pigs. The rate at which a young, healthy pig who lives in an enriched environment can learn often stuns people, including the professional trainer. This rate… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Dr. Kristina Spaulding of Smart Dog Training and Behavior: May 7, 2021


Join Niki Tudge and Dr. Kristina Spaulding of Smart Dog Training and Behavior, as they discuss canine stress. Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. For more on canine stress, see also our BARKS Podcast with Dr. Kristina Spaulding of Smart Dog Training and Behavior: June 5, 2020. Dr. Kristina Spaulding operates Smart Dog Training and Behavior, which opened its doors in 2001 and quickly grew to become one of the most well-respected dog training and behavior resources in the area of Saratoga County… Continued


A Positive Strategy


By Tamsin Durston As I set up my dog on the start line of an agility course, I want her to feel excited and exhilarated. At the same time, I also want her to feel relaxed within the environment and completely engaged with me, focused on my communication and maintaining our connection throughout this adventure together. In human psychology we talk about ‘flow’ as being ‘in the zone,’ i.e. giving the task at hand our full attention, oblivious to whatever else is happening. Flow is also what we want to achieve… Continued


Playing It Safe


“Predation by domestic cats Felis catus can be a threat to biodiversity conservation, but its mitigation is controversial. Confinement and collar-mounted devices can impede cat hunting success and reduce numbers of animals killed, but some owners do not wish to inhibit what they see as natural behavior…” (Cecchetti et al., 2021). So, instead of interventions which work on impeding hunting behavior – including complete confinement indoors, for instance – the study looked at what it calls “non-invasive” interventions which aim to reduce a cat’s want or tendency to hunt and/or… Continued


Ask the Experts: Mastering a Schedule


A master schedule is a powerful tool, but it’s not magical. Organizing how you use your time can make you more efficient and remove a lot of stress, but it can’t change the natural laws of time. If you’re trying to fit in more than is possible to get done in a day your master schedule will break down. So your next step is taking a hard look at all that you have on your plate, and then doing the (sometimes painful) work of reducing it. What can be set… Continued


Predictive Detective Work


I often hear my clients say they don’t understand why their dog is doing this or that, or that there’s no reason or cause for the behavior at all. But of course, there is always a cause for a dog to behave in a certain way, no matter how perplexing it may seem. Sometimes, to get to that root cause, we have to don our best detective gear because it’s not always easy to figure it out. In this article, I’m going to focus on one such behavior, often described… Continued


The Complete Picture


A tail held high usually means a high emotional state of arousal or excitement, but that on its own does not tell you whether an animal is in a positive or negative emotional state. High arousal can be appetitive, meaning the animal is interested and anticipating something good, or the emotional state can be in threat and protect, so the animal is expecting confrontation. A lifted tail generally means mild arousal of interest or anxiety (threat and protect). The emotions are not strong and can easily go one way or… Continued


Thinking Outside the Box


Hei Hei is a 13-year-old male cockatiel who, at the time of relinquishment, displayed plucking behavior. During my first week observing Hei Hei, I noticed that he preferred to be outside the cage. I didn’t notice any plucking occurring at this time. At the same time, each morning I would find a few smaller feathers at the bottom of the cage but could not determine if this was related to molting, preening, or plucking. During the second week, more behavior started to surface. One night I woke up to a… Continued


Resource Guarding or Rule Setting?


In my experience, it appears that for dogs, possession is truly 9/10ths of the canine “MINE!” law, i.e. if it’s in your possession, you have the right to retain possession. These seem to be the details of what constitutes “mine” in the dog world: • You can hold it in your mouth.• You can eat before anyone else does.• You can carry it away.• You can lay on or near it.• You can cover it with your head, neck and/or chest.• You can control, deny or permit access to the… Continued


The Essence of a Dog: A Free Education from a Free Choice Walk


One cold day last spring, snow still clinging to the ground and ceding to the warm sun only on the tips of south-facing hillocks, I decided to do something new. I wouldn’t walk my dogs; nor would I walk with my dogs. I would instead be walked by my dogs. I decided to simply follow my dog Mischa for our whole walk. Wherever he chose to go, well, I’d go just the same. I crawled under logs, I lumbered across frozen wetlands sinking thigh-deep into the granular spring snow, and… Continued


BARKS Podcast: Expert Panel Discusses Growing Your Pet Business


      Join pet industry experts (above, left to right) Niki Tudge, founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild and DogNostics Career Center, Veronica Boutelle, founder, consultant lead, and DWA director at dogbiz, Colleen Ellis, founder of the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, and Tracey Lee Davis, founder of ZingPop Social Media discussing how pet professionals can grow their businesses. The chat includes packages, social media, pricing… and much more. Direct from PPG’s free-for-members business event, Up Your Business Game! that took place April 19-23, 2021. Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or… Continued


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