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Trick Bunnies

Rabbits are highly sensitive, smart, and sensible. They quickly thread environmental events together in a pattern and have a highly perceptive understanding of what is going on. Teaching them is not unlike teaching puppy class, where you watch the puppies catch onto the behavior more quickly than their humans realize they are learning something. Rabbits respond quickly to the environment, which makes them perfectly suited to learning patterns and chaining behaviors, which often means that the rabbit has learned the behavior before the trainer even realizes it. Our team has… Continued

Once More, with Feeling

Observation of cats across a multitude of research studies shows they frequently monitor their environment, evaluating what’s around them and adjusting their responses to suit. Those responses are influenced by their emotional systems. If we take the definition of an emotion as “a strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others” (Lexico, 2020), there’s no way we can deny that cats have emotional responses to situations and therefore experience emotions – or feelings – as drivers of that response. (Issue 45, November 2020, pp.38-39). Read article

Management of An Aggressive, Fearful, or Reactive Dog

If you cannot walk your dog safely or if you continue to expose him to his triggers, you are better off staying at home. If you do take him for walks, choose locations and times when you are least likely to encounter his triggers. When walking a dog with reactivity/aggression issues, you must be constantly aware of your environment. It is not a time to be daydreaming, thinking about tomorrow’s schedule, chatting on your cell phone, conversing with a friend walking with you, or listening to music. If your dog… Continued

The Need for Safety in Learning

It is worth noting that in environments where basic needs cannot easily be met, it is easier to capture feral animals. An animal who is starving or dying of thirst or needs shelter will move into potentially unsafe situations in order to satisfy the basic need(s). By contrast, in a resource rich environment, if the animal has ready access to food, shelter and water, they may consistently avoid any situations that make them feel unsafe, such as a bowl of food placed in a humane trap. we can artificially elevate… Continued

Playgroups for Shelter Dogs

Barrier frustration is a common phenomenon…The barrier prevents the dog from accessing other dogs for normal social rituals, resulting in emotions of frustration that wouldn’t be present if the barrier were not present. Barrier-frustrated dogs often play well with other dogs off-leash. This behavior occurs frequently in many shelters where dogs have limited access to other dogs. Even professionals cannot typically eyeball whether aggressive behavior seen when dogs meet through a fence or when on leashes is “true” aggression or simply frustration. They look the same. Unfortunately, this results in… Continued

How to Become a Better Animal Trainer

By Karolina Westlund Ph.D. of PPG corporate partner Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting It took me years to realize this, but there are some approaches that really propelled my learning about animal behaviour management in general, and animal training specifically. Here are the four tactics or concepts that I’ve found most useful: 1. LEARN FROM MANY TEACHERS I still remember the goosebumps I got when I first came across a professional animal trainer and got to see her in action. I saw a monkey change his behavior over the course of a short… Continued

Managing an Aggressive, Fearful, or Reactive Dog

By Don Hanson When you have a dog that is exhibiting aggressive behavior, you have a responsibility to keep yourself, your family, your pets, and your community safe. A dog that is behaving aggressively is experiencing some form of emotional stress, so it is your responsibility to identify and keep him away from the stressors that trigger the behavior while working with a professionals who can help you. #1. Get Help from an Accredited Professional as Soon as Possible Helping change aggressive behavior is not a Do-It-Yourself project, nor is… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Dr. Hannah Capon of Canine Arthritis Management: December 21, 2020

Join PPG president Niki Tudge and Canine Arthritis Management (CAM) founder Dr. Hannah Capon (right) as they discuss the newly launched CAMadvocate Program. The CAMadvocate Program is the only comprehensive course for canine professionals on the market. Taught by veterinary professionals with years of experience. Every module is packed with videos, downloads, links and access to further learning. Carefully composed self test quizzes after every module to cement your learning. From the moment you step into this course you will start improving the lives of dogs. The new program is… Continued

The One Thing No Amount of Studying Can Teach You about Dogs

By Michelle Underwood *This post is a selected entry from the Pet Professional Guild Writers’ Competition for Geek Week 2020* Observing dogs, particularly my own, is one of my favorite pastimes. I love how we can try and understand their world, but we sometimes have no idea what they are really experiencing. Dogs have such individual personalities and sometimes I don’t get hung upon the what and the why too much, I just enjoy their characters’ and the things they do for who they are. To me, being in the forest… Continued

Maintaining a Rewarding Relationship with Your Dog

By Tiff Shao *This post is a selected entry from the Pet Professional Guild Writers’ Competition for Geek Week 2020 * The aquamarine waters looked extra enticing as we approached the river crossing. It was a hot August day and the previous section of the trail offered no shade. My dog Braeburn splashed in the chilly, mountain-fed waters and drank his fill. We had a few miles under our soles, and a total of five days to trek 40 in total. Our locale was the Bob Marshall Wilderness – land of… Continued

My Service Dog Changed My Life – And I Didn’t Even Want Her

By Aida Garcia *This post is a selected entry from the Pet Professional Guild Writers’ Competition for Geek Week 2020 * I am a disabled combat veteran. At one time, I lived and breathed the Marine Corps. From the day I stepped foot on the yellow footprints, I had no doubt this was what I wanted to do with my life. But after 12 years in, my career came to an end – and not the end I expected or wanted. I was crushed and lost. I went through some very… Continued

How Good Are You at Assessing Your Animal’s Emotional State?

By Karolina Westlund Ph.D. of PPG corporate partner Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting I recently did a little experiment on Facebook. First, my friends and followers helped me name the company’s new mascot, and they also told me what species he was. Apparently, he’s a racado (rat-cat-dog), and his name is Willis. The experiment that many people helpfully participated in consisted of assessing his emotional state in different images on my Facebook page. Meet Willis. What emotional states is he in? © Karolina Westlund I must admit, not all my friends and followers saw… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Paula Garber and Tabitha Kucera of the PPG Feline Committee: December 4, 2020

Niki Tudge, PPG president, chats with the PPG Feline Committee chair, Paula Garber and vice-chair, Tabitha Kucera about all things feline. Topics range from pet cats and veterinary visits, to what we know we don’t know about cats, and to feral cats and the myths about cat colonies. The trio also spend some time talking about all the great things the Feline Committee is doing, including the popular Cat Lounge!  Listen to Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click ‘Play’ below. Paula Garber is the owner of LIFELINE Cat… Continued

What Makes a Cat a Cat?

By Dr. Liz Bales What is the essence of a cat? When we understand what motivates a cat’s behavior, we understand what to expect from a cat — as a human companion and a companion to other cats in our homes. With this information, we can rethink the criteria for a minimally satisfactory physical living space in the confinement of our homes. Well-being for all living things begins with basic survival. How do cats survive and stay safe? How do they eat, drink, and sustain themselves? What are the threats… Continued

Dog Training in “3D”: Harnessing the Concepts of Distance, Duration and Distractions

By Joan Hunter Mayer of PPG corporate partner Transpaw Gear® At TransPaw Gear, we want people to have adventures with dogs that are safe and fun. One way to help ensure that happens is by teaching dogs a few key skills. Concepts that apply to teaching and refining many different behaviors are the 3Ds: distance, duration and distractions. Let’s look at each one in turn, including an example of how a versatile, well-fitting, force-free dog harness can help dogs and their humans achieve training successes together. Distance Distance, when applied… Continued

Dudley the Wonder Fish

By Sharon Empson It has been a little over a year since I trained Dudley as part of my Karen Pryor Academy Certification as a Pet Trainer. Not wanting to add more furry pets to our home, I chose a fish as my “other species.” I bought Dudley at a pet shop when he was about a little over an inch long. Cichlids are intelligent fish. I read an interesting article that stated you can see the intelligence of Cichlids in their hunting techniques. The N. Livingstonii buries itself in… Continued

Puppy House Training 101

By Sally Bradbury House training is all about creating good habits. Young pups have very small bladders and very little bladder control, so they need to be in the right place when nature calls. To house train successfully in as short a time as possible you must take your puppy outside as follows: • When he wakes. • After eating. • After taking a drink. • Before, during and after a period of activity. • When you arrive home. • Before you go out. • Before bedtime. • During breaks… Continued

The Giveaway: On the Loss of a Beloved Pet

For the first time, I missed the writing deadline for my monthly PPG blog this month.  Sadly, it was unavoidable, as I could muster neither the energy or the words to do so. We each lose our beloved pets, and in the past couple of years I have read far too many posts from PPG colleagues expressing the loss of their pet, most of whom have been dogs.  I read each post with tears in my eyes, sharing the sorrow with my dear force-free colleagues, remembering my own painful losses.… Continued

8 Pawsome Autumn/Fall Tips for Dog Guardians

It seems like no time since the year was just beginning and the trees were coming into bud. And yet somehow, despite the scourge of COVID-19, this year has whipped through and we’re almost facing its end already.  So with the advance of these beautiful autumnal colors on our trees, what do these changes bring for dog guardians and what can we do to make life just a little bit easier for all of us? 1. Mud! Autumn, or fall, brings mud! Gone are those lovely warm summer walks with… Continued

Feline Litter Box Problems: The Needs of the Many

By Andrea Carne The Star Trek character Spock once said: “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one.” (Meyer, 1982). This movie quote popped into my mind upon reading the findings of a new study into stress levels of multicat households experiencing toileting issues. Stay with me on this – it will all become clear! I’m sure most cat behavior consultants would agree that the number one behavior problem reported by cat guardians is inappropriate toileting – both urine spraying… Continued

Four on the Floor

By Donna Savoie Who doesn’t LOVE a puppy? And it is wonderful when puppies LOVE their owners’ guests. But it is also important to start teaching puppies not to jump up on guests sooner rather than later. Guests inevitably say “I don’t mind” whilst petting an exuberant jumping puppy but this strongly reinforces the jumping behavior at a very early age. Jumping up can be especially problematic later when the dog is fully-grown. Puppy Training Protocol The following training protocol will help the owner manage both the puppy and guest,… Continued

Overcoming Fear of Vet Visits

By Susan Nilson and Angelica Steinker  Based in Adelaide, Australia, Petra Edwards is currently working on her Ph.D, which focuses primarily on how dogs experience visits to the veterinary clinic while also looking at possible strategies that could be implemented to reduce or prevent stress. Last year, she and her co-researchers published the papers, Fearful Fido: Investigating dog experience in the veterinary context in an effort to reduce distress and Investigating Risk Factors That Predict a Dog’s Fear During Veterinary Consultationsin an effort to see what measures could be implemented… Continued

Lockdown Learning from Home

By Animal Courses Direct, a PPG corporate partner Short CPD Courses for Dog Lovers brought to you by Animal Courses Direct We know that things may be uncertain with a second lockdown, so now is more important than ever to keep our minds busy and make the most of the time at home. Whilst it is hard to stay focused, it’s important that we focus on ourselves and bring a daily structure back to our home life. So, how to make the most of these 4 weeks? Why not take… Continued

Waving Loudly

By Morag Heirs The automatic check-in is one of the most valuable skills to teach your deaf dog. There are a couple of different options, but the principle is to instill a strong habit of visually checking in with the handler at frequent intervals. The dog does not have to actually come back to your side (as in a recall) but just make eye contact so, if you needed him to lie down or recall, you would be able to signal for this. While it is essential that our dogs… Continued

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