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Nelly the Desert Dog: Once a Feral Night Roamer, Now a Super Trooper

  by Sarah Bartley We arrived in the Arizona desert at the beginning of August 2022. What a relief—no stray dogs. Military bases are like gated communities. Resident dogs are always on leash or contained in a yard. A few months later, in November, is when I first saw the little orange dog curled up on the side of the road, just outside of base. I have no idea how she got there. We are literally in the middle of nowhere. I had been on my way out for a… Continued

Cats and Kids

by Andrea Carne “And in breaking news … a child was left scratched and in tears after a play session with his pet cat went horribly wrong …” Ever heard that on the nightly news bulletin? No, of course not. We may hear about dog bites from time to time and much has been written over the years about children and dogs. Indeed, many pages of books, articles and blogs have been dedicated to the topic and some fabulous commu­nity education and classroom programs have been developed to edu­cate children—and their… Continued

Study, Find a Mentor, Don’t Quit Learning—Sage Advice From Dog Training Professional Angel Rowe

  Pet Professional Guild member Angel Rowe shares how he became a force-free dog training and behavior professional, and offers tips and advice to those starting out in the field.   Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior/training, and what you are doing now? Growing up I always had a dog. I loved being around the dogs more than people and really wanted to be a vet. However, as I got older life led me down the path of training. I started… Continued

How to Break Up Dog Fights

by The Pet Professional Guild From time to time, one may have to act quickly to prevent injury to either dogs or humans when one or more dogs get into a bad scuffle or an all-out fight. Unlike a training scenario in which we would reject the use of aversive methods, this is considered an emergency where safety and minimizing injury are the immediate concerns. An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure The first line of defense against the occurrence of fights is a good working knowledge… Continued

Daily Dog Training Conversations

by Michelle Martiya “He knows you’re the treat person.” Do you know the easiest and fastest way to get your dog to respond to you like they respond to me? BECOME THE TREAT PERSON, TOO! Do you know how I know if you’ve been stingy with the treats or tried bribing your dog instead of reinforcing your dog? Your dog ignores you when I’m there and only pays attention to me! I know when you’ve been doing your homework and generously offering your dog treats because your dog either pays attention to… Continued

How to Book More Clients in Your Dog Training Classes

by PocketSuite As a dog trainer, you give your all in a session, whether you have two students or ten. But, of course, you want to fill those spots to make that hour count. If you want to land more clients for your dog training classes, keep reading! We compiled these expert tips to show you how to book more clients for your dog training classes. #1 Optimize Your Dog Training Website Your website is the first point of contact for potential clients. A professional website goes a long way… Continued

Why Not Debate Somebody in Real Time?

  by Niki Tudge Two years ago, I was asked to debate a controversial figure on a podcast, and for several reasons, I turned it down. I was asked repeatedly, bordering on harassment, even though I gave what I believed to be a sufficient answer. Politely, I answered no. The first part of my answer was that I have limited bandwidth, and I place my efforts where I feel I have the most impact. The other part of my reasoning was based on the following. Going onto a podcast, Zoom… Continued

Meet LT Taylor, Whose “Hyperfixation” on Dogs Led to a Career in Animal Training

  Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior and training, and what you are doing now? My mother is a dog breeder, so our house always had several dogs growing up, from Jack Russell terriers to Old English mastiffs. I became interested in behavior and training as a teenager, but then veered toward humane education and spent several years working at the San Francisco SPCA after graduating college. I loved working in sheltering but wanted to be more involved with the operations… Continued

Time, Space and Choices: Improving Welfare for Shelter Cats with Dr. Zazie Todd’s Purr

by K. Holden Svirsky “Cats are jewels,” I told my family after visiting Cat Town in Oakland, California. I felt lit up, like something magical had happened in the hour I’d spent there, kneeling on the floor in the open-space “cat zone,” and later peeking into the special studios of the adoption center. I was eager to see what I’d learned from reading Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy by Zazie Todd, PhD, come to life and practice. While chatting with Cat Town’s program manager, Dilara Göksel Parry, CCBC,… Continued

How Writing a Book on Canine Behavior Changed My Life

by Annie Phenix When my publisher’s acquisition editor called me out of the blue in July 2021 to ask if I would write a second edition to my first canine behavior book, The Midnight Dog Walkers, my immediate response was a firm “no.” I had many reasons to decline. I had removed myself from the arena, so to speak, and wasn’t active in training groups or going to conferences. I considered myself semi-retired, and while I still consulted with dog owners, my focus was not on the dog training industry… Continued

20 Problems With Punishment in Animal Training

by Dr. Karolina Westlund Recently there was a video post in my Facebook feed that caught my attention. Typically, on Facebook, I’m a bit of a lurker. I’m not very active, and when I do watch videos I often don’t share, like or comment – even when perhaps I should. This time, I watched, feeling my jaw gradually dropping in disbelief, and then I actually left a comment. I wrote: “I’m speechless”. And that was it. I know, kinda lame. But I didn’t have time for an essay, and then… Continued

The Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Grain-Free Pet Food Debacle

Was It Bad Science or Shameless Greed and Fraud? by Don Hanson There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that feeding your dog grain-free or BEG (boutique, exotic ingredient, grain-free) diets puts them at increased risk for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), according to an update on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website (FDA, 2022). This is excellent news! People can now feed their pets a grain-free or BEG diet without fear. However, it is also tragic news, as how this investigation was handled was a travesty. It… Continued

Common Stumbling Blocks to Behavioral Recovery for Dogs and How to Overcome Them

  by Diane Garrod In response to a survey of more than 1,000 pet parents in the United States by Kinship Partners (2021), 62% said their top priority is their pets’ happiness, and 80% said their pets deserve more of their time. Seventy-one percent said they could not have survived the pandemic without their pets. (A link to the full results of the survey and infographics can be found in the references.) Even so, pet parents often have unrealistic expectations of their dogs, and when addressing a behavior problem, these… Continued

Meet Laura Cassiday of Pawsitive Vibes Cat Behavior and Training

  Laura Cassiday takes cat owners from hopeless to hopeful using her feline expertise and force-free training techniques.   Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior and training, and what you are doing now? I studied English and professional writing in college and grad school, and worked a couple of writing and editing jobs. In 2017, I was so bored and miserable that I just quit without any real plans. I took some time to figure out what I wanted to do with… Continued

PPG Advocacy Panel: What Do You Do When You’re the Only Force-Free Professional in Town?

Join the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Advocacy Panel for a discussion on What Do You Do When You’re the Only Force-Free Professional in Town? Pet guardians and pet professionals, listen as panel members share their expertise in a fun, free-flowing format.   Your Moderator: PPG Advocacy Division Chair Don Hanson   Your Advocacy Panel for this discussion: PPG Founder and President Niki Tudge, Debbie Sheridan, Kim Silver, Sue Kocher, Judy Luther and Beth Adelman.   Mentioned links: Advocating Together (article) PPG’s Guiding Principles Listen to the Podcast here on a choice… Continued

Pets, Emotions and Anthropomorphism

by Don Hanson Emotions are complicated and messy. So much so that as a youngster watching Star Trek in the 1960s, I was attracted to the Vulcan ethos of suppressing all emotion and replacing it with logic. However, I eventually learned that without emotion, we are devoid of joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. But, unfortunately, the price for those positive feelings is negative emotions such as anger, emptiness, frustration, inadequacy, helplessness, fear, guilt, loneliness, depression, feeling overwhelmed, resentment, failure, sadness and jealousy. The fact… Continued

Advocating Together—The Mission, Vision and Values of the Pet Professional Guild

by Niki Tudge Each of us wants to bring about change in our industry. We yearn for a day when pain and fear are no longer used in the training and care of pets. We have a mammoth job ahead of us, and it most certainly is not a sprint but a marathon. It is possible to hold professional autonomy and support your choice of humane hierarchy while also taking a stand and position against the use and application of tools designed with one purpose: to inflict pain or fear.… Continued

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Winter Outdoor Safety Tips for Pets

Just like people, dogs vary in how well they tolerate cold weather. In addition to significant physical injuries like frostbite and hypothermia, exposure to cold weather conditions can cause dogs (and cats) undue stress and suffering. Here are some tips from the Pet Professional Guild for keeping pets safe, comfortable and happy during the cold winter months. As with smaller breeds of dogs, be extra cautious when allowing cats outdoors in cold weather.      

Crossover Trainer Regine Manicom Uses a Better and Kinder Way to Get Amazing Results

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into animal behavior and training, and what are you doing now? I have a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Guelph, and animal behavior has always been of special interest to me. I started out just training my own dogs. Sadly, my first two dogs were trained with choke chains (there was nothing else around, and I didn’t know any better), but in the late 1980s, I was introduced to Ian Dunbar and then Karen Pryor… Continued

Chat & Chuckle with Jeanette Davis of Feline Rescue Association and Silver Whiskers Animal Rescue

Join PPG Feline Division Chair Laura Cassiday and Joanna Wachowiak-Finlaison, also with the PPG Feline Division, as they chat and chuckle with Jeanette Davis of the Feline Rescue Association and Silver Whiskers Animal Rescue in Baltimore, Maryland, about keeping community cats warm in the winter. Listen to the Podcast here on a choice of platforms. Or simply click the ‘Play’ button below. Recorded on December 23, 2022.   Jeanette Davis is a professional cat lady who lives in Baltimore, MD. She manages over 10 colonies in the Baltimore area and regularly engages… Continued

Tips for Ensuring Safe and Happy Holidays for People and Dogs

By Niki Tudge All behaviors that dogs exhibit are designed either to access pleasurable situations and desirable objects or to avoid and escape unpleasant situations and undesirable objects. (Note: This is based on what each individual dog considers to pleasant or unpleasant, not the human, and it is important to be aware that the canine and human opinions may differ in any given situation!) A dog’s communication systems are greatly ritualized, and have evolved specifically to avoid or cut off conflict. This has made dogs, as a species, very successful… Continued

What Is Enrichment for Animals?

  by Diane Garrod When the term “enrichment” is verbalized, its meaning is often not clearly understood. When I’ve asked clients, “What enrichment does your dog get?” I’ve gotten answers like ball play or a walk, or a long pause of nothing because the client is not sure what enrichment is or means. This got me thinking about the differing categories of enrichment for animals and led me to dig deeper into the science and definition of enrichment. Is it the same for dogs as it is for horses and… Continued

Canine Enrichment with Scent Detection

By Emily Coleman In early November 2022, my dog Deja and I journeyed off to the sunny climes of Crystal River, Florida, in search of adventure! And odor … By this I mean we attended the Pet Professional Guild’s three-day Scent and Scentability workshop.    Expert detection-dog handlers Dr. Robert and Karen Hewings, both retired professional police dog handlers, provided loads of valuable insight. Robert and Karen now run the UK College of Scent Dogs and were kicking off an international tour. In total, they presented five days of quality… Continued

One for the Birds

by Lara Joseph Aviaries are large outdoor enclosures designed to give birds space to fly, walk, learn and explore in a naturally occurring environment. Providing an aviary in which to train birds is an important form of enrichment for them. Birds, like other animals learn, from their environments. Birds with behavior problems might scream, pluck, or resort to nesting behaviors. Conversely, birds in aviaries have an opportunity to interact with their environments in positive ways and can demonstrate positive behaviors to replace abnormal, repetitive, or undesired behaviors. An aviary improves a… Continued

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