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Ask the Experts: Maximizing Your Training Space

By Veronica Boutelle Make sure to use your space in ways that truly work for you. You’ve achieved your dream of having a facility. Be careful you get to enjoy it. That means passing on services that require you to spend time in ways you’d rather not (for example, tied to a day care floor instead of out day training, or overseeing a large staff when you’re really not comfortable doing so, etc.). Read article

What’s Shocking about Shock?

By Don Hanson The Shock-Free Coalition did not come to its conclusion that using shock for the training, care, and management of pets was unnecessary and harmful out of the blue. Its position is based on the careful review of the growing number of peer reviewed, scientific studies that demonstrate that shock is not only unnecessary, but is harmful, both physically and psychologically. The current scientific data, in addition to the moral and ethical concerns about mental and physical damage to animals subjected to methods using force, fear and/or pain… Continued

The Escape Artist Dog

By Beth Napolitano According to PAWS (2019), we are justified in worrying about our dogs’ safety when we are out with them in public places: “Escaping is a serious problem for both you and your dog, as it can have tragic consequences. If your dog is running loose, he is in danger of being hit by a car, being injured in a fight with another dog, or being hurt in a number of other ways. Additionally, you are liable for any damage or injury your dog may cause and you… Continued

Thinking Inside the Box

By Andrea Carne “If it fits, I sits.” How many Facebook memes and YouTube videos depicting cats squished into boxes and other small spaces have you chuckled over? It might be a packing box, a shoebox, even an egg carton – often far too small to actually fit the cat comfortably – and yet the said cats seem blissfully happy with their chosen spaces. While no definitive research study has come up with an answer, most behavior consultants agree boxes and other small, enclosed spaces provide a safe, secure hiding… Continued

Teaching Students, Training Kittens

By Breanna Norris Where to begin training a kitten? We started in the same place we would with any other species, a nose target. I brought a variety of target sticks for students to use…After training nose targets, the students went on to work on crate training, shaping going around a cone, stationing to a platform and cooperative nail trims. The crate training progressed quickly for all four kittens, with Bagheera the star. We started with all four kittens on lab tables (although for other training some teams opted to… Continued

Group Housing Solutions

By Kathie Gregory Horses have evolved as a social species to live in groups. The group is essential to the survival of the species, providing safety in numbers, working together to detect and assess any potential threat. The fact that many horses are now kept in a domesticated environment where there are no predators has not changed their survival mechanism. As such, significant issues arise from a lack of social contact, not being part of a group, and the lack of opportunity to form friendships. It is intrinsic to the… Continued

Considering Canine Aggression from a Scientific Perspective

By Susan Nilson “The skull shape is going to determine the bite level. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into the amount of damage done by a bite and very little of it has to do with the dog’s ability to control himself. A dog jaw is a third order lever. This means the force is in the middle between the load and the fulcrum. This is physics 101. Dogs do not all have the same bite mechanics or bite potential…My issue with bite levels is that predictions are… Continued

Learning from Mother Nature

By Lara Joseph Sadly, behavior issues are skyrocketing in the realm of exotic animal care. Most of what I see is due to ongoing, stressful conditions and, often, the signs of stress are not recognized in the companion animal community or facility staff, who are not always educated appropriately. A lot of the behaviors I see are due to frustration, lack of choice, and the result of an animal not being able to control their own consequences. Read article

Saying Goodbye

By Alicia Obando According to Tzivian et al. (2015), the loss of a pet may be “very stressful to the owner, whether these deaths were caused by euthanasia, accident, or by the progress of illness. The longer one has a pet, the greater the attachment can become, and this strong attachment may provoke a distress reaction upon a pet’s death. Many people grieve for their pets in much the same way as they do for the deaths of their friends. Families are known to experience a range of emotions in… Continued

Dealing with Dog Bite Liability

By David Pearsall As most pet professionals are aware, a general liability policy will protect you against bodily injury or property damage to others caused by your negligence (or your staff’s negligence while working for your business). Typically, a $1,000,000 liability limit is recommended. Please be aware that under most general liability policies, defense cost is outside of this limit, and the insurance company will defend you if a lawsuit is brought against you/your business. There is also a medical payments limit (typically $5,000 – $10,000) which is used to… Continued

Case Study: Barks Aggressively at Dogs, Counterconditioning, Changing Emotions

On walks, Daniel the Deerhound Lurcher barks aggressively at other dogs. At home, he is a well-behaved, quite self-contained but friendly boy, four years of age. The owner has had him for two years. He lived on a narrow boat For the first two years of his life, Daniel lived on a narrow boat, so he has had several years to rehearse barking at other dogs in order to make them go away.  When he barks aggressively, it works!  The dogs carry on walking. Living on a boat, I’m sure… Continued

No Recall? Is It Really Your Dog’s Fault?

Of all the doggy and doggy parent issues, not coming back when called has got to be nearing the top of the list. There could be lots of variations of this, a casual sauntering back when your dog feels like it, taking in a few sniffs along the way. Maybe your dog might be one of those explosive types, let off the leash and, crikey, she’s off like a bullet and, before you know it, is a speck in the distance. Meanwhile, you begin that Olympic sprint before collapsing in… Continued

Teaching Your Dog to “Go Say ‘Hi'”

By Danette Johnston I am not a fan of dogs greeting on leash for several reasons but I do like to teach dogs a “GO SAY HI” cue for the following circumstances: Times when it may be OK for the dogs to meet on leash. For emergencies when another dog or human is approaching without consent. Therapy work. GO SAY HI is a bit of a fake-out cue. What GO SAY HI means to me (and my dogs) is: go ahead and step toward that dog/human, sniff for 1-2 seconds and then come back… Continued

June 18, 2019: New Study Examines Evolution of “Puppy Dog Eyes”

A new study has found that facial musculature between domestic dogs and gray wolves differs only around the eye. The study reports that exaggerated eyebrow facial movements in dogs cause their eyes to “appear larger, giving the face a more paedomorphic, infant-like appearance, and also resembles a movement that humans produce when they are sad.” This potentially elicits a “caregiving response from humans, giving individuals that inherit the trait a selection advantage with humans.” The researchers conclude that “the data suggest that selection—perhaps mainly unconscious—during social interactions can create selection pressures… Continued

Actually, I **Can** Get My Dogs’ Attention

I was thinking the other day about how and why I have a dream relationship with my dogs. They are cooperative. They are sweet. They are responsive and easy to live with. You know how I got there? Training and conditioning them with food and playing with them. They weren’t the most difficult dogs in the world when they came to me, but they weren’t easy, either. Clara was a feral puppy who was growling at every human but me when she was 10 weeks old. Zani is so soft and… Continued

Prehistoric Dogs and Humans

Dogs and humans have a long history of living and working together, unique among species on this planet. In the modern age dogs wear many hats…companions, herders, protectors, search and rescue, guides for the blind, bomb and drug sniffers…just to name a few. During prehistoric times dogs served our ancestors as well. In “The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction” Pat Shipman, a retired Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University, chronicled in exquisite scientific detail the alliance between the two predator species. That alliance conveyed… Continued

Are Head Halters Like Prongs?

By Yvette Van Veen Are Head Halters Like Prongs? Head halters took the training world by storm years ago.  Some trainers are hanging up their head halters because they simply don’t like how dogs seem to fight them.  Other trainers, those who use force have long tried to make the claim that head halters are no different from prong collars. Generally, the argument made is that if you use a head halter then you really are no different from a trainer who uses prong collars.  That we are in denial.  That aversives are necessary.  That we… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Dr. Lynn Bahr: June 6, 2019

Guest: Dr. Lynn Bahr DVM, the CEO of Dezi & Roo Dr. Bahr serves on the Board of Director of Pandemonium Aviaries, Fear Free Advisory Board, Parliamentarian of the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics, and is on the Cat Committee of the Pet Professional Guild. Topic:  Scratch, Scratch, Scratch The benefits of allowing cats to scratch and how to encourage them to scratch appropriately. This podcast will include tips, tricks, and tools to help cat owners live cohesively with their clawed cats. We will discuss why it is good for… Continued

Animal Trainers: Take Animal Emotions into Consideration!

By Karolina Westlund Ph.D. of PPG corporate partner Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting Is the dog fearful, or crouching? Does it matter, when you’re training? The world of animal trainers is divided, and I find that some trainers avoid the subject of animal emotions altogether. “There’s no need to factor in and understand emotions, just deal with the observable behaviour”, is the gist of what some trainers and animal professionals say. No doubt their unwillingness to consider emotions stems from the Father of Behaviourism, influential to this day. Skinner said: “The ‘emotions’ are excellent examples… Continued

June 5, 2019: NY Legislature Votes to Ban Declawing in Cats

New York lawmakers have passed a bill sponsored by Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) to ban cat declawing, meaning New York State is set to become the first to outlaw the procedure. The State “joins several cities in banning declawing, including Los Angeles and Denver; several other states, including California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, are also considering bans, according to the Humane Society of United States, which hailed the New York bill.” Read article

Eight Tips When Traveling with a Puppy 

Traveling with a dog can be a great adventure for both you and your trusty canine. Now that you have a new puppy in the home, you want to take him on epic road trips and travel the world. But, there are a few things to consider and prepare for prior to your epic dog-friendly road trip. In this article I will help you and your puppy get off to a good start traveling in a car. Active puppy socialization prior to your trip is essential. When you brought your… Continued

Case Study: Over-Excited, Frustrated, Habituation and Freedom

Dylan is an enthusiastic, friendly young dog, if a little over-excited at times. He is beautiful, but someone coming to house is a very exciting thing for the young 16-month-old Labradoodle. When I arrived the lady was doing her best to control him. She repeatedly told him to sit and stay on a mat just round the corner where he couldn’t see me. She was fighting a losing battle. It’s hard to control a dog that is so over-excited. In this state of mind he can’t be expected to exercise much self-control.… Continued

May 31, 2019: Manitoba Vets Vote to Ban Declawing

Manitoba has become the sixth Canadian Province to ban the practice of declawing cats, a procedure that amputates the first joint of a cat’s toes. Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta banned the practice earlier this year, while British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia prohibited it in 2018. New Brunswick is expected to join them in July. Read article

Double Asset or Double Trouble?

There comes a time in many dog owner’s lives where the thought is sprung…. ‘I wonder if Fido would like a friend?’ Inextricably bound with the idea are feelings of excitement, guilt, worry because there are so many aspects to consider if you’re going to go through this whole doggy journey twice over!  Let’s take a look at some of those. Who are you doing this thing for? Question this first. You love dogs, I love dogs, we all love dogs & that’s great but think seriously, yes most of… Continued

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