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PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: How Can We Ask Questions from Non-Verbal Animals? The Basic Science of Choice

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona Session Details: Presenter: Dr. Alexandra Protopopova Session Title: How Can We Ask Questions from Non-Verbal Animals? The Basic Science of Choice (Part 1) Session Type: General Session (1.5 Hours) Modern dog training recognizes that efficacy is simply not enough; ethics in dog training is equally, if not more important. A big part of being an ethical trainer is learning how to understand the animal’s point of view. Whereas using body language to gauge comfort level is one method,… Continued

Sign Up for the Virtual Summit!

PPG and PPGBI are to join forces and host an international online event next month to celebrate the launch of the Pet Rescue Resource Behavior and Welfare Toolkit, a brand new product designed by PPG’s Shelter and Rescue Committee. Registration for the Virtual Summit is already open for business and you can sign up either through the PPG or PPGBI website. Registrants will gain access not only to the live event, but also to audio session recordings for their own personal use for 12 months. Read article

Building a Shock-Free World for Pets

The Shock-Free Coalition will be launching a 61-day pledge drive on April 1, 2020 and will be awarding prizes to those that get the most people to sign the pledge at This event is open to anyone that has signed the Shock-Free Pledge and will end on May 31, 2020. Read article 

Ask the Experts: Finding Longevity

Change is hard, especially when you’re already stretched thin. And feelings of guilt and fear are challenging to wrestle with. It’s always painful to adjust a relationship or end an era, and the fear of missing out—of leaving a void for another trainer to step into—can be paralyzing…keep in mind that while everything on your plate likely has value, that value is not all equal. You know you can’t continue to fit everything, so you must pick and choose based on how well each thing vying for your time and… Continued

A Change of Perspective

Let’s take the example of an elderly horse. An owner may base all their decisions about him with his age in mind, but there are still other things to consider. When, then, they ask questions such as, “Does the horse need a rug on or not?”, “Should he be brought in at night or not?”, or “What should he be fed?”, the answers should take into account all aspects of the horse and his environment and not just the fact that he is elderly. This would include assessing his body… Continued

Lessons from Exotics

As my experience working with this lemur pair shows, training the multiple varieties of species the exotic world encompasses helps us fine-tune our application and understanding of the Laws of Behavior: What does that behavior mean? When does the behavior happen? When doesn’t it happen? Is this a positive reinforcer or an aversive and how do I find out? Am I actually using a negative reinforcer and, if so, how can I change my approach? Read article

Reading Cats’ Minds

Has your cat shown a physical change to the way he goes about his normal daily routine? Has he stopped jumping up into his favorite chair, couch or cat tree? Often, this is the first sign that there may be some pain issues going on. Jumping hurts, so the cat simply avoids it. Has the cat’s gait changed? Does his walking style seem a little odd? Again, he may be experiencing pain and is walking in a way that helps alleviate the discomfort. Read article. 

From Shelter Dog to Service Dog

Much of the debate surrounding service animals in public spaces has to do with how well-behaved the animal is and whether the animal is experiencing an undue level of stress. While many behaviors can be trained, some natural ability and inclination for the task expected of them is also required. For example, a 10-lb Chihuahua would not be expected to pull a wheelchair; and a dog uninterested in environmental noises could find it challenging to rouse from a deep sleep to alert a hearing-impaired or deaf person. Read article . 

Tell Us What You Really Think

“…humans are very noun-centric. We name everything. Dogs, however, may have very little use of nouns. Instead, they may be verb- or action-centric. So, when they hear “ball” they may actually think, “get ball.” Because dogs do not have the neural real estate for language processing, it is imperative that humans use their words concisely and consistently for dogs to understand them. Speak the dog’s name, followed by a one or two-word cue. Anything more than that is a distraction and will only serve to slow down learning.” – Dr.… Continued

Message Received!

The “high squeaky voice” rule is meant to provide the dog with more motivating, stimulating auditory input that – in theory – will excite the dog in a positive way. This may or may not be true for that dog, and even if it is, the handler has to be able (and willing) to sustain that behavior…Trainers face the challenge of figuring out the dog’s preferences as well as the handler’s, and then trying to find common ground between the two. If we forget the handler’s needs as a receiver,… Continued

Shock-Free Coalition Launches Pledge Drive to Educate Pet Professionals and Guardians on the Risks of Using Shock as a Training Tool

Initiative will offer an array of educational prizes as incentive for participants to share their knowledge with fellow professionals, clients and pet owners and recruit signees TAMPA, Fla. – March 2, 2020 – PRLog — The Shock-Free Coalition, a global advocacy program spearheaded by the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) to end the practice of using electric shock to train, manage, and care for pets, has announced the launch of a 61-Day Pledge Drive to educate consumers and pet professionals about the benefits of using reward-based training as opposed to the risks associated with using shock… Continued

Me, the Pet Professional Guild, and My Village People

By Coleen Ellis I’m just coming off an amazing weekend with yet another Pet Loss and Grief Companioning Certification class under my belt! Not unlike any of the other classes, the attendees are all about animals! Just like every other class, it’s a fabulous few days spent with my tribe! And, I know they felt the same way. However, this class was a bit different, and I was honored to have even been invited to be with this group of professionals and a part of their mission. An invitation by… Continued

Quick Cat Behavior Tip: Counter Surfing

By the Pet Professional Guild Cat Committee Important Reminders about the Behavior Getting up high is a natural feline behavior that enables cats to survey their territory and feel safe. Other reasons cats might jump onto counters include to obtain food, look out a window, get attention, find something to play with, hide, or avoid a dog, toddler, or another cat. High spaces that cats consider acceptable or desirable need to be in places that are interesting to them and/or where they feel safe—which, depending on the circumstances, may mean… Continued

PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: Zen Games – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona Session Details: Presenter: Dr. Deborah Jones Session Title: Zen Games – Should I Stay or Should I Go? Session Type: Lecture/Lab (1.5 Hours) As trainers, we use Zen games as a way to teach dogs the concept of impulse or self-control. A dog who understands this concept is a much easier dog to live with and to train. Dogs who are in control of their behavior are more thoughtful and less reactive; they think before they act.… Continued

Dog Behaviour and Managing Our Frustrations

We wouldn’t be human if frustration didn’t sometimes creep in when managing our dogs, particularly when helping them overcome training and behavior related issues. I don’t think it’s possible not to experience these emotions and I never blame owners for feeling exasperated or at the end of their tether at some stage. It’s important always to consider the impact training or behavior issues have on their owners, families and family structure, especially if other fragilities are already present. So what can we do if we are helping our dogs through… Continued

Feline Behavior Unmasked: Emesis in Cats – Common but Not Normal

By Dr. Liz Bales  Q: I have 2 cats. One throws up constantly. She has thicker fur (she a tortie) than the other. I try to brush her as often as I can but she’s not a huge fan. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! A: This is such an important and misunderstood topic. We can help a lot of cats and the people who love them with this information. Most cat parents deal with cat vomit. Vomit is so common in the regular life with cats that we have… Continued

Official News Release: PPG Announces Virtual Summit to Celebrate Launch of New Pet Rescue Resource

April event will mark unveiling of Behavior and Welfare Toolkit, specifically designed to help increase adoption and retention rates in the shelter and rescue sector WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. – February 17, 2020 — The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has announced an educational Virtual Summit taking place on Thursday, April 2 – Friday, April 3, 2020 to mark the launch of its new program, the PPG Pet Rescue Resource – A Behavior and Welfare Toolkit. The Pet Rescue Resource Behavior and Welfare Toolkit is a comprehensive educational product, designed by PPG’s… Continued

The Five Freedoms and Shirley

I had planned to write about a different topic today, but life often gets in the way of our plans — such as having to euthanize one of my pets yesterday. She was just shy of 15 years and that is very old, for sheep. Her name was Shirley and she has a story to tell. My wife and I first met Shirley in the spring of 2006 at a lambing event on a nearby farm. There must have been 100 sheep with scores of their babies, all available for… Continued

Jumping…A Perfectly Incompatible Solution!

As an animal behavior consultant, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, ‘How do I stop my dog from jumping up?’  Now there are, of course, multiple reasons why dogs may jump up – excitement, learned responses to given contexts, continued reinforcement (whether intended or not), or anxiety, to name a few. The first point I would make is that identification of the causes of jumping is paramount  – what is the dog thinking and feeling in a given situation that drives the behavior? What is his… Continued

Guess What – That Dog Video Is Probably Fake!

By Eileen Anderson Many of us are beguiled by videos where dogs appear to be doing something very human or beyond what we usually consider to be their intelligence level, and some creators of dog videos exploit this tendency to get clicks. They make it appear that the dog is doing something he is not, or attribute some pretend, human-centric motivation or interest. And there are people who are willing to alter videos or create mashups so one of these things appears to be happening. Innocent Misrepresentation of Dogs Some… Continued

PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: Please Don’t Stress Me-owt! Feline Stress and Stressors in the Shelter, the Veterinary Clinic, and the Home

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona Session Details: Presenter: Paula Garber Session Title: Please Don’t Stress Me-owt! Feline Stress and Stressors in the Shelter, the Veterinary Clinic, and the Home Session Type: Lecture (1 Hour) The emotional needs of cats are often not addressed as readily as their physical and health needs, typically because feline emotions are not easily recognized or understood. The impact of the physical and social environment on cats’ physical and behavioral health is significant and should not be underestimated. For… Continued

PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: Building Positive Boundaries for the Refined Suburban Canine – Teaching Dogs to Enjoy Their Yards without the Need for Electronic Devices

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona *Early bird discount available if you register before January 31, 2020! Session Details: Presenters: Judy Luther and Niki Tudge Session Title: Building Positive Boundaries for the Refined Suburban Canine – Teaching Dogs to Enjoy Their Yards without the Need for Electronic Devices Session Type:  Lecture (1.5 Hours) Electric fences as containment tools are very common in our residential communities. Many locations restrict or ban the use of physical fences leaving pet owners with little choice but to… Continued

PPG Summit 2020 Sessions: Growing Collaborative Care and Your Business

BARKS presents session details from PPG’s 2020 Summit and Workshops in Phoenix, Arizona *Early bird discount available if you register before January 31, 2020! Session Details: Presenter: Tia Guest Session Title: Growing Collaborative Care and Your Business Session Type: Lecture (1 Hour) It is an exciting time to be a dog trainer as the concept of collaborative care grows to reach pet owners, veterinarians, vet staff, and others involved in caring for our pets. It is also a perfect time to position ourselves as a resource. By offering training services… Continued

Feline Behavior Unmasked: Kitten Socialization

By Francine Miller  Q: Should I socialize my kitten? I’ve heard that this is important for puppies, but is it important for kittens too? A: Yes! Although very few people are aware of how important this is, the socialization period is the time when all primary social bonds are formed and constitutes the single most important period during the cat’s life. During this phase, striking behavioral changes occur because of growth and experience. Socialization can occur between a kitten and humans, or between a kitten and its “natural enemies,” such… Continued

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