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Itchy Dog or Stressed Dog?


The relationship between stress, behavior and animal health is complex and varied. Chronic, long-term stress interacts in various ways with personality type, behavior and immune health in both people and nonhuman animals. It’s not often straightforward to decipher which causes which when we evaluate chronic stress and health, however. Skin conditions have long been considered to be indicators of psychological distress although only recently has evidence for this begun to accrue. A growing number of research studies now provide evidence that emotional stress is linked to skin conditions such as… Continued


Reducing Fear – and the Importance of Choice


Counterconditioning is one of the most important techniques in animal training (arguably top five). Simply put, ‘conditioning’ means ‘learning’ and ‘counter’ means ‘opposite.’ Relearning might be another way of putting it. Practically speaking, it’s about changing someone’s learned associations. An example! Let’s say we have a dog, who’s started trembling and panting whenever she arrives to the vet’s office. She has probably learned to associate the vet’s office with aversive events. Strange sounds and smells. Unfamiliar people looming. Needles poking. A string of events that ends up with something painful…… Continued


Trick Bunnies


By Emily Cassell  “So, where do you plan to hold your trick classes?” asked the interviewer from Do More with Your Dog! I hoped she was ready for the answer: “I don’t actually plan to hold in-person classes,” I explained. “The reason I am trying to get certified is so that I can create a Spark group for bunnies.” If you aren’t familiar with Do More with Your Dog! or their trick titling program, let me fill in some gaps for you. Do More with Your Dog! was the first sanctioning… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Sara McLoudrey: February 19, 2021


Join Niki Tudge, Sara McLoudrey of Synergy Behavior Solutions as they chat about dog training and behavior consulting. Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred platform. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Sara McLoudrey CPDT-KSA, FearFree Level 1 and Certified Trainer, Low-Stress Handling Silver Certification, FitPaws-MT, TagTeach L3, is the behavior modification and training coordinator at Synergy Behavior Solutions, a veterinary behavior practice in Portland, Oregon. She has been a professional animal trainer since 2004, founding ROOT Dog Training in suburban Chicago. ROOT started as a single proprietor in-home training business, that grew… Continued


BARKS News – February 2021


Starting this month, we are trialing a podcast version of BARKS News. We would love to know if this is of value to our members, so please have a listen and then take a moment to let us know what you think! Sometimes people prefer to listen rather than read, so we are trying to offer more communication options for members. Listen to the February edition of BARKS News Or, simply click on the link below This BARKS Podcast is sponsored by 2 Hounds Design. Check the members’ area of… Continued


That Lightbulb Moment


By Bob McMillan Most of us have had that “ah- ha!” moment when we look at a dog and suddenly see more than a drooling collection of fur, bright eyes and animals instincts; when we realize here is a creature of another species who has feelings, intelligence, a sense of fair play and is very much self-aware. We are no longer looking at a shaggy lump, and this is no fanciful talking cartoon character. We are looking into the eyes of “The Other.” It may be a gradual realization. It… Continued


Ask the Dog!


By Ada Simms Many dog trainers and dog owners probably have a closet full of front attaching or no-pull harnesses. It shows that our interest is about the dogs and their comfort, therefore we experiment. Could we find one that goes on easier or one that provides more control yet is still comfortable for the dog? As I thought about whether I should use brand names or not for this article, I came to the conclusion I would not be doing justice to the companies that I have not bought… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Debra Millikan and Lucie Malouin: February 5, 2021


Join Niki Tudge, Debra Millikan of the Pet Professional Guild and Lucie Malouin of Complètement Canin in Québec, Canada as they chat through the process of becoming accredited through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB). Learn about PPAB’s eligibility, skill and knowledge testing – and much more. If you have unanswered questions about PPAB, the credentials, how they were developed, the different levels, the knowledge testing, the skill assessment, the process, or anything else at all, this is the podcast for you! Listen to the Podcast here on your preferred… Continued


Itchy Dog or Stressed Dog?


By Dr. Naomi D. Harvey The relationship between stress, behavior and animal health is complex and varied. Chronic, long-term stress interacts in various ways with personality type, behavior and immune health in both people and nonhuman animals. It’s not often straightforward to decipher which causes which when we evaluate chronic stress and health, however. Links between Stress, Behavior and Health An animal’s behavior can impact aspects of its physiology, such as its immune system, and conversely, the animal’s physiology and immune system can affect its behavior. According to Lopes (2017)… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Leslie McDevitt of Control Unleashed®: February 5, 2021


Join Niki Tudge as she Chats and Chuckles with Leslie McDevitt about the upcoming educational event Reactive to Relaxed: Next Steps in Control Unleashed.  Reactive to Relaxed: Next Steps in Control Unleashed will take place virtually on March 8, 10 and 12, 2021 – three webinars with 6 hours of education! 1. Pattern Games – March 8, 2021 / 5 p.m. ET. 2. Look at That – March 10, 2021 / 5 p.m. ET. 3. Cooperative Counter Conditioning – March 12, 2021 / 5 p.m. ET. All webinars will have… Continued


It’s a Dog’s Life


By Cecilia Sumner Not surprisingly, I love living with dogs. I embrace their essential dogginess. Barking, jumping, digging, hunting, these are all normal canine behaviors. I recognize I need to provide an outlet for these behaviors to keep my dogs happy and stress-free. Many pet owners struggle with understanding their dogs’ behavioral needs. While dogs evolved alongside humans, in recent history, our environment and expectations of our dogs have changed. Increasingly we fit our dogs into small compartments in our lives, often rendering us unable to allow them an appropriate… Continued


How to Start A Dog Grooming Career


By Karen, Canine Studies Tutor at Animal Courses Direct, a PPG Corporate Partner Dog grooming can be a wonderful, pleasant experience both for the dog and the groomer. It provides so many benefits and can help create wonderful bonds between man and man’s best friend! Dog grooming covers a variety of activities – bathing, brushing, fur trimming, nail clipping, ear cleaning, checking eyes and teeth and anal glands. So, a career as a dog groomer involves a large amount of job variety day-to-day. Many breeds of dog are just fine… Continued


Pit Bull Pete: One Dog’s Journey with Fear


By Daniel Antolec  As an accredited professional dog trainer and certified canine behavior consultant I have devoted myself to helping anxious and fearful dogs. My journey on that path began on August 28, 2012 when I first began working with Ranger, a two-year-old Australian shepherd who was evaluated by another trainer, and whose euthanasia had already been decided based upon his poor quality of life. Ranger, like so many of my behavioral cases, had a multitude of fears. These included neophobia, separation anxiety and extreme leash reactivity. After three months… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Claire Staines of Lothlorien Dog Services: January 22, 2021


Join Niki Tudge as she Chats and Chuckles with Claire Staines of Lothlorien Dog Services in Linlithgow, Scotland, UK about all things UK dog training and behavior.  Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below.   Claire Staines is an accredited professional canine trainer, a Victoria Stilwell professional dog trainer, and a mentor and faculty advisor for the Victoria Stilwell Academy. She is owned and educated by her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, is an avid lover of the breed, and assists in behavior modification for Ridgebacks that… Continued


Banking the Positive


‘Banking the Positive’ is actually a comment I wish I could take credit for, but it’s actually something one of my clients said. She came up with it during a conversation we were having about her dog during some walk and train sessions. The phrase perfectly captures several concepts relevant to training, such as: Timing Quitting while you’re ahead Not bowing to that human compulsion of pushing things too far Grabbing that window of opportunity with both hands Offering lots of lavish praise I love it! I had to make… Continued


The Power of Play


By Margo Patrick *This post is a selected entry from the Pet Professional Guild Writers’ Competition for Geek Week 2020* My goal is to educate and facilitate health, wellness and communication through building or repairing the relationship known as the human animal bond, utilizing principles and standards derived from my first professional career as a registered nurse and my certifications in human animal intervention and, soon, applied canine ethology. I employ a dynamic, multidisciplinary force free approach involving overlapping principles of behavior, ethology, core emotions and emotional affect space. I believe… Continued


Once More, with Feeling


By Andrea Carne A friend gave me a coffee cup some time ago which reads, “Cats know how you feel…they don’t care, but they know.” Well, recent research reveals that such comical turns of phrase are untrue. Not only can cats perceive our emotional state, but they will react accordingly through their own stress levels. Before getting into the nitty gritty of research findings, however, let’s begin by looking in general at cats and emotion. I mean, despite what some choose to believe (including, perhaps, the creator of my coffee… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Julie Brewer of Little Tykes Dog Hub: January 8, 2021


Join Niki Tudge as she Chats and Chuckles with Julie Brewer of Little Tykes Dog Hub in Grimsby, UK about positive reinforcement training and the way to best engage and educate clients.  Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Julie Brewer has a master’s in clinical animal behavior from University of Lincoln, UK, a diploma in companion animal behavior and training from COAPE, a diploma in photography and digital imaging, a diploma in advanced veterinary nursing, and is a registered veterinary nurse. In 2018, while… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Veronica Sanchez of Cooperative Paws Service Dog Education: January 9, 2021


Join Niki Tudge as she chats with Veronica Sanchez of Cooperative Paws Service Dog Education about service dog certification.   Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Veronica Sanchez M.Ed CABC CPDT-KA is the founder of the Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach™, an educational certification program for professional trainers. She teaches dog trainers how to train service dogs and how to incorporate service dog training into their pet dog training businesses. She also offers a variety of online courses on different aspects of service dog… Continued


Eat, PURR, Love


By Andrea Carne Read the next sentence very carefully (and with a large pinch of salt): Feeding your cat one meal a day might be best. I can almost hear the gasps from cat guardians across the world! “Feed my cat once a day? Are you crazy?” I hear you say. “What do I do when I get the 5 a.m. ‘wake up and feed me’ paw in the face? Calmly explain that there’ll be no food until 6 p.m.?” And I can also imagine what feline behavior specialists may… Continued


Ask the Experts: Virtual Training


Benefits: Emphasize the benefits of online training. Don’t just state that you’re offering it, sell it! Tell potential clients on your website and when you talk to them how thrilled you are with the advantages (and outcomes!) of this way of training. It Works: Show people how it works. Help potential clients understand what training this way will be like—both to inspire them and to assuage concerns or confusion they may have about it. Sometimes we just need to be able to imagine ourselves in a situation. You can do… Continued


Ask the Experts: Innovation, Creation


…the pandemic essentially hurled our industry into the future as trainers were forced to adapt quickly to continue to serve dogs and their people. We probably would have gotten here eventually, but at our industry’s usual snail’s pace the things we’ve learned (such as the benefits of working online and all the lessons learned there) would have taken far longer. The fast track may have been a bit discombobulating, but many trainers who stepped outside the box and took a good look around have decided to put that box in… Continued


Companion Bird Foster Programs – A Review


I have volunteered at several local brick-and-mortar rescues (private shelters) in my area (north of Boston, Massachusetts) and have seen, over time, companion birds being returned because of the same behavioral issues. Adopters may say that a bird was “not trainable” or “would not bond” with them. Now, the rescue’s policy is to improve the welfare of the companion bird by getting him into a good and knowledgeable home. This strategy may reduce the undesired behavior. However, some rescues avoid placing birds in foster homes because, if returned, the upheaval… Continued


Dominance: The Horse’s Perspective


In reality, dominant behavior in the world of the horse is a way of gaining and maintaining access to valuable resources without breaking the elastic connection between herd members. It is a way of reducing the risk of injury and lowering the stress — and, according to Linklater et al. (1999), the resultant impact on health — of constant aggression. A horse who is very thirsty may use a dominance display to gain preferential access to a water hole. But that’s it. He gains access, he drinks and he leaves.… Continued


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