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Pet Professional Guild Announces Geek Week 2021; Invites Proposals for Presentations from Industry Experts

Following on from success of inaugural event, second edition of Geek Week will take place on November 13-17, 2021 The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has announced that the second edition of its virtual event Geek Week will take place on November 13-17, 2021. Jointly hosted by PPG, Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) Australia, INTODogs UK, Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA), and Pet Professional Guild British Isles (PPGBI), this year’s event will build on the success of the inaugural 2020 event and take on an expanded, more streamlined format. PPG… Continued

Compare My Dog Dot Com!

We most definitely live in a ‘comparison society.’ Many of us are prone to comparing ourselves to others, their merits or otherwise, what they’ve achieved, what they own, don’t own, their assets – everything, in fact! I find this a lot in the dog world, e.g. ‘my previous dog never did this,’ ‘my other dog does this much better,’ or ‘I’ve owned dogs all my life and never had these issues’ and so on. Or maybe it might be comparisons with others. e.g. ‘my neighbor tells me what I’m doing… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Victoria Stilwell: April 23, 2021

Join Niki Tudge and Victoria Stilwell of Positively as they chat about all things “positive.” Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series It’s Me or the Dog. She is also editor-in-chief of, which features a roster of Positively Contributors comprised of the world’s leading veterinary behaviorists, dog trainers and behavioral scientists, and CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT) – a global network of world-class positive reinforcement dog trainers. She is also… Continued

A New Trend in Dog Boarding

By Rachel Brix Pioneered by Dr. Hal Markowitz in the 1960s, enrichment originated from a focus on zoo animals. He called zoos “concrete wastelands” (Bender & Strong, 2019) and was determined to improve the animals’ lives in captivity. He first developed ethograms, or inventories of behaviors, for each species; then, after determining the animals’ needs, came the task of how to meet those needs in captivity. Our pet dogs, although not captive wild animals, still have instinctual and natural behaviors. Although domestication has softened many of these behaviors, as we… Continued

BARKS Podcast: Expert Panel Discusses Sales in the Pet Industry

        Join pet industry experts (above, left to right) Niki Tudge, founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild and DogNostics Career Center, Gina Phairas, founder, consultant lead, and dogbiz U director at dogbiz, Colleen Ellis, founder of the Two Hearts Pet Loss Center and Dr. Robert King, director of graduate business programs, assistant professor of marketing, and Wilder professor of business at West Texas A&M University as they discuss the business of sales for pet professionals. Direct from PPG’s free-for-members business event, Up Your Business Game! taking place April… Continued

Life Beyond Leash Reactivity

As far as behavior consults go, it’s fair to say that reactivity is probably my most commonly encountered issue. The term ‘reactivity’ has become, I feel somewhat of a buzzword over recent years but what I’m referring to in this post is dogs who are reactive on the leash when they encounter unfamiliar dogs. Symptoms might include vocalization (barking, whining, howling, growling, yapping for example), lunging, pulling and straining, wild and frantic spinning, attempts to bolt and multifarious postural displays – from the very subtle to the overt. Some dogs… Continued

BARKS News – April 2021

Listen to the April 2021 edition of BARKS News! Highlights include: FREE member event Up Your Business Game! New PORTL workshop dates New member job posting board & member profile options New Facebook live sessions Sneak peek at May BARKS from the Guild What’s new on the Guild Archive and BARKS Blog New BARKS Podcasts This month’s webinars and more. Prefer to read your BARKS News? Click here.

Why You Should Avoid “Obedience” Training Tactics for Dogs and Consider this Alternative Instead

By Animal Courses Direct Firstly, let’s look at the definition of obedience – ‘It is a form of social influence that involves acting on the orders of an authority figure.’ The word ‘obey’ is all over the internet when it comes to training dogs, and unfortunately, it is giving the wrong signals to dog guardians and their position of power. Whilst trying to achieve a status of authority could be a desirable outcome for a parent, teacher, or law enforcement, it’s not the same when it comes to your dog.… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Dr. Karolina Westlund: April 9, 2021

Join Niki Tudge and Dr. Karolina Westlund of Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting as they discuss emotional learning. Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Read Dr. Westlund’s January cover feature in BARKS from the Guild: Associate Prof. Karolina Westlund of Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting helps pet parents and animal professionals attain happier animals that thrive in the care of humans. She grew up pining for a kitten and pestered her parents until they finally gave in. The resulting black, green-eyed, half-Siamese cat she got for her seventh… Continued

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

By Kristi Benson 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… Continued

A Safe Escape

By Dr. Lisel O’Dwyer The Adelaide Hills, South Australia have recently faced severe brushfires, an unfortunate situation that has prompted the discussion of the logistical differences between evacuating and housing horses versus dogs and other small domestic pets in the face of natural disasters such as brushfires and floods. The most obvious difference between evacuating dogs and horses is that it is, of course, much easier to evacuate dogs. The average horse owner can only transport his or her horse(s) with a horse float (also known as a horse trailer… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Alex Pietraszko: March 26, 2021

Join Niki Tudge and Alex Pietraszko, head of marketing for PPG corporate partner Animals Courses Direct, discussing all the great programs they offer to pet professionals — as well as the new courses they are working on (more details about courses below).  Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Animals Courses Direct is the largest organisation in the UK offering Ofqual regulated animal care courses that meet rigorous government regulated standards. Their Ofqual qualifications comply with Animal Activity Licensing Regulation requirements and the  animal courses… Continued

The Itch to Scratch

By Andrea Carne  Regardless of whichever behavior issue I have been called upon to assist a cat guardian with – whether it be inappropriate toileting, aggression towards humans, or aggression between cats in a multicat household – I can almost guarantee that when I ask at the end of a consult, “Is there anything else you wanted to chat about while I’m here?”, the response will always include some variation of, “How do I get them to stop scratching the furniture?” My first response is generally to explain that scratching… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Dr. Dorothy Heffernan: March 19, 2021

Join Niki Tudge and guest Dr. Dorothy Heffernan as they discuss all things equine. Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. See also Straight from the Horse’s Mouth where Dr. Heffernan discusses transitioning to bitless horseback riding in a BARKS blog post. Dr. Dorothy Heffernan is a psychologist who applies her knowledge of learning, cognition and neuroscience to help horse guardians improve their horses’ lives through a changed approach to management, training and environment. She uses a force-free approach to training and enjoys making science… Continued

Navigating the Storm

By Mary Jean Alsina “I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott Many dogs who come into this world quickly learn that there are many storms of which to be afraid. These storms come in many guises: other dogs, bearded men, men in general, vacuum cleaners, leaves rustling, visits to the vet and a whole myriad of other spooky things. Fearful dogs see the world around them as a very unsafe environment in which to live, relax and enjoy the lives… Continued

BARKS News – March 2021

Listen to the March 2021 edition of BARKS News! Highlights include: FREE member event Up Your Business Game! PPAB credentials now in French White House dogs Cat behavior call-in lounge New Facebook live sessions March BARKS from the Guild What’s new on the Guild Archive and BARKS Blog New BARKS Podcasts This month’s webinars and more. Prefer to read your BARKS News? Click here.

BARKS Podcast with Lisa and Brad Waggoner: March 12, 2021

Join Niki Tudge and guests Lisa and Brad Waggoner of Cold Nose College in Murphy, North Carolina, as they discuss their work with the dog training program, RESCUED: Saving Detainees and Dogs One Life at a Time, at the Colwell Probation and Detention Center in Blairsville, Georgia. The program focuses on the rehabilitation of detainees through training their dogs using positive reinforcement training techniques. Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Lisa Lyle Waggoner is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, a Pat Miller Certified Trainer-Level… Continued

A Cautionary Tale

By Kayla Sprague Before entering the world of dog training I had never really had an opinion on shock collars. To me they were just another kind of collar, another way to train a dog. I was unaware of any negative effects. After studying more about positive reinforcement training, however, I began to see another side to them as I realized exactly what they did and how they worked. It made me think about how this type of collar can mentally, physically and emotionally affect a dog. Then, on September… Continued

Pet Professional Accreditation Board launches French language option for training and behavior credentials

LECANTO, Fla. – March 9, 2021 – The Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) has completed translation of its study guides and instructions into French in a move that will make a force-free credential immediately accessible to French speaking canine training and behavior consultants worldwide. Two Québec, Canada-based canine training and behavior consultants, Lucie Malouin and Raphaël Pépin, are behind the drive to translate the program, having undertaken and acquired their PCBC-A credential and recognized the need to help other French speaking people undertake the same process. Malouin, of Complètement Canin, and Pépin, of… Continued

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

By Dorothy Heffernan With a growing interest in ‘least intrusive, minimally aversive’ (LIMA) training methods and the ‘least intrusive effective behavior intervention’ (LIEBI) model, many equestrians of today are increasingly starting to consider the option of riding their horses without using a bit. Bits have traditionally been used to train and control horses, but few people question why this might be, or how they actually work. But there isn’t really a single answer to this “why,” because different cultures have their own approaches towards horse training. One single fact is… Continued

New Certificate Course: Helping Your Dog in the Post-COVID World

The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour Ltd. (ISCP) has a reputation for excellence, with students and graduates in over 61 countries. The ISCP only promotes reward based, positive training methods. The school holds the emotional lives of dogs as a priority, and has signed the Shock-Free Coalition Pledge. The ISCP is accredited by UK Rural Skills. The ISCP is also registered as a college and training provider with the CMA, and with CPD UK. The school is an official vendor for the Pet Professional Guild, and is approved… Continued

A Letter to the First Dogs about Training Gear

Woofs from Gizmo’s Office Hey Major and Champ! I wanted to drop you a quick note and congratulate you both on your new “digs!” It’s great watching fellow canines once again enjoying the lush green lawns of the peoples’ house. Your hoomans do a great job of caring for you and it’s obvious you are important members of the family. However, I did notice that you are sporting some kinda “old fashioned” collars. Those collars are sooooo “last decade,” if you know what I mean. These days, collars are pretty much only… Continued

The Right Dog Harness for the Job

By Joan Hunter Mayer of PPG corporate partner Transpaw Gear® What do selecting a harness for your dog and shoe shopping have in common? More than you might think! When you venture out- or online- to purchase a pair of shoes, or an outfit, it generally boils down to selecting the right option to fit the person and the activity. For instance, a snazzy pair of stilettos might be great for an evening out, but would they be a good choice for running a marathon, strolling on the beach, or… Continued

Fear at the Vet: Examining Risk Factors

BARKS: How important is the behavior of the guardian in the context of attending the vet; was this found to have any influence on the dog’s behavior/emotional state? Petra Edwards: Behavior of the guardian wasn’t investigated in the above study (Edwards et al., 2019b), however Csoltova et al. (2017) found that guardians patting and interacting with their dog in a positive and supportive manner had dogs that showed fewer signs of fear than guardians who did not interact with their dog. I love this because it also beautifully discounts that… Continued

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