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May 16, 2019: Australian Capital Territory Overhauls Animal Welfare Legislation

Under the legislation, “[p]et shops and boarding kennels will be licensed and all pets recognised as ‘sentient beings with intrinsic value’.” In addition, confining an animal, “or even transporting it in a way which causes it injury, pain or stress, will attract a maximum penalty of $16,000 and a year’s imprisonment. An identical penalty will apply for anyone who places an electric shock device on an animal, such as a shock collar.” Read article

Scared Dog vs. Happy and Engaged Dog

Here’s a little dog body language study. My dear Zani shows a lot of emotion, which means she is a good dog to observe. She is pretty easy to read and can teach us a lot. The short video below consists of two quick clips taken less than two minutes apart. In one clip, Zani is afraid, and in the other she is having a good time. I reversed the order in the video from what happened in real life. We had been on a walk and things were going fine. But… Continued

Lawn Chemicals and Dogs

Spring is a time when people work and play on their lawns. It is also when many folks apply weed killers. I did so for years and thought nothing of it.  Then in 2016 I read an article in a local newspaper and learned that a nearby village was spraying a particular brand of lawn chemical in a dog park, so I did some research. Many weed killers contain 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).  I learned there are over 3,000 sources in the scientific literature on this chemical.  I did not read… Continued

Helping Pet Families in Need

By Alicia Obando I had become quite familiar and active with the pet care and rescue organizations around my city of Chicago, Illinois. I saw that there were lots of organizations helping find homes for homeless pets. This was great work done by mostly unpaid, hard-working volunteers. Even though so many of us were working towards this cause of helping homeless pets, it seemed like it would be a never ending battle. I started thinking that maybe instead of helping the animals once they became homeless, I should try to help… Continued

Humane Education

By Stephanie Peters Humane programs that incorporate animal interaction have a profound capacity to help students on a personal level. Angel Banuelos-Price is a fifth grade teacher at Boone Middle School and she has enthusiastically welcomed my educational programs with Marmalade from the very beginning. She observes that Marmalade’s presence in her classroom reduces her students’ stress and anxiety levels, and that her attendance numbers are often higher on the days when Marmalade visits the classroom. Stacy Lehman of University Community Childcare in Ames also notes the social-emotional benefits to her… Continued

Stable Life

By Kathie Gregory In the equine world, I would say it is widely accepted that a horse may live the majority of his life in a stable, and, in my opinion, there is far less awareness concerning the impact this may have on his wellbeing. People may consider it “normal” for a horse to spend most of his time in the stable and only be brought out to do his job or to be given specific exercise subject to people’s requirements…There are numerous studies on the adverse effects of keeping horses… Continued

The “Ouch” You’ll Never Hear

By Andrea Carne …according to Bahr (2017), up until recently “it was thought cats did not experience pain at all, based purely on the fact that they tend not to show it.” In my opinion, it is safe to assume this is a major factor behind why chronic pain caused by conditions like arthritis go undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated in many older cats. This is despite several studies showing that arthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in cats and that 90 percent of cats over the age… Continued

From Foes to Friends

By Tori Ganino By the end of the second week and into the beginning of the third week since arriving at our home, Jeter was spending more time out of his room. He stayed on leash and chose my bed to be one of his favorite places to relax. One evening, Si entered the room, and with Jeter’s presence on the bed unbeknownst to him, jumped on the bed and the two were suddenly nose to nose. I immediately gave Jeter the “leave it” cue which he followed. Si jumped off… Continued

A Better Awareness of Overarousal

By Anna Bradley When mentioning “arousal” or “overarousal,” dog owners may have some idea as to their definition, but in my experience the consensus seems to be that the terms generally refer to negative trigger events. This is inaccurate, however. Arousal triggers include positive as well as negative events. Examples of positive arousal triggers may include greeting a familiar person, getting the leash out, engaging in a dog sport, or play. Examples of negative arousal triggers may include an unfamiliar person approaching the home, or going to the vet. Each dog… Continued

Busting the Muzzle Myth

By Rachel Brix Walking the busy streets of our small tourist town with my dog, the looks on people’s faces range from confusion, to disgust, to laughter, to disapproval, to openmouthed, wide-eyed shock. The cause? Just a dog wearing a muzzle. Let’s face it, we don’t see too many dogs in public wearing what looks, to some people at least, like some sort of medieval torture device. And when people who are not dog professionals see us, they may draw the conclusion that I’m mean, that my dog is dangerous, or something… Continued

From Zero to Hero

By Ariel Baber A lot of people may get annoyed when a dog wakes them up, particularly if they are woken up by him pawing at their chest and licking their face. To be honest, I’m no different. I had no idea that night why Halligan (whose registered name is Zero to Hero) was insisting I get up when he normally sleeps as long as I do. Nevertheless, I begrudgingly got up and began our normal routine of feeding him first, then checking my blood sugar and eating breakfast. It… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Marco Adda: May 7, 2019

Guest: Freelance canids researcher, Marco Adda. Topic: PPG Webinar:  Free-Ranging Bali Dogs:  Behavior, Lifestyle, Personality and Preservation Free-ranging dogs are one of the most widely distributed carnivores in the world, yet scientists are only just beginning to study their behavior. They represent a critical field of observation where human-dog interaction can reveal essential understanding about society, human and dog behavior.  Listen to the Recorded Podcast  

Dog Tired? When Exercise Wakes him Up Rather than Tires Him Out!

By Sue McCabe Many years ago, at a seminar in Edinburgh, I heard Patricia McConnell say that most dog walks wake the dog up, rather than tire the dog out. ‘But why is he not tired?’ I’m often asked. ‘I’ve taken him for a really long walk.’ We’re just back from a 10km walk followed by a sandwich in the sun. A good brisk march with plenty of variation from sniffing and fetching, meeting and greeting dogs and even swimming. Despite this apparent morning of stimulation, after we arrived home, Jellybean… Continued

How to Make the Transition to Full-Time Dog Pro

By Veronica Boutelle of PPG corporate partner, dogbiz If your dream is to work with dogs for a living but you’re still toiling full time outside the dog industry, or juggling a part-time business alongside your “real” job, you need a transition plan: A plan to get you from where you are now to working full-time in your own dog training or dog walking business. Here’s what should go into yours: Determine feasibility. Feasibility is a comparison of revenue to expenses. Is your business set up to make what you… Continued

How Long Does It Take to Train a Dog?

By Sue McCabe At puppy class recently, we started retrieve training. Students were shown this video (below), with the steps needed to train a reliable retrieve to hand.  The video compresses quite a bit of learning (weeks of short sessions) into just under 2 minutes of demonstration. ‘How long did it take to train?’ they asked. I guess the answer is never straight forward and well, it depends. ‘How long will it take to train my dog?’ is a common question trainers and behaviour consultants get asked. To understand what influences… Continued

April 26, 2019: Dog Owners More Likely to Meet Physical Activity Guidelines than Non-Dog Owners

A study conducted in West Cheshire, England has found that dog owners are considerably more active than people without a dog, and that dog walking is undertaken in addition to, and not instead of, other physical activities. The findings  “provide support for the role of pet dogs in promoting and maintaining positive health behaviours such as walking. Without dogs, it is likely that population physical activity levels would be much lower,” say the researchers. Read study

10 Ways To Improve You and Your Dog’s Behavioral Relationship

Sometimes we get a little stuck in a rut, same old, same old – its easy, life is fast, time is hard to come by.  Have you ever sat and thought about your relationship with your dog?  Too often it’s only when things go wrong that we contemplate uh oh..what can I do here to change things! How often have you looked inwardly and actually evaluated the things you do, the way your dog responds and wondered if you’re happy with the things are or whether different options exist? 1… Continued

Confessions of a Dog Trainer. Part 1: Feeding from the Table!

By Sue McCabe I have a confession. I sometimes feed my dogs from the table.  When I go out to eat with my dog we are sharing quality time, and a meal together. So as long as my dog is quiet and calm and settled, he gets to share my food or he gets a Kong of his own to enjoy. Below is a picture of my pup Jellybean having lunch with me at a coffee shop in Warwick Bridge, England. I don’t do this at home and since he’s never been… Continued

BARKS Recorded Podcast with Alexandra Kurland: April 17, 2019.

Guest: Alexandra Kurland, a graduate of Cornell University where she specialized in animal behavior,  whose area of particular interest is the development of a horse’s balance: physical and emotional. Alexandra Kurland is the author of “Clicker Training for your Horse“; “The Click That Teaches: A Step–By–Step Guide in Pictures“;  “The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker“; “JOYFULL Horses“, and “The Goat Diaries”.  She is co-producer of the weekly podcast, Equiosity. Her clicker training website: The Clicker Center. Topic: Series of PPG Webinars presented by Alexandra. Lining up the How,… Continued

April 17, 2019: Study Examines Use of Normal and Abnormal Behaviors to Affect Motivational State

The study concludes that abnormal behavior usually indicates poor welfare, regardless of whether it was initially adaptive, but points out that sometimes abnormal behavior can also be functional – including to modify motivational state. This, in turn, “makes it likely that certain changes in behavior and physiology, often associated with feelings and emotions in sentient animals, will occur.” Read study

The “Invention” of Cues in Training

Once upon a time, there was a girl who decided to teach her dog some tricks. She figured out that if she gave her dog something he liked after he did something she liked, he was liable to do the thing again. So she taught him some simple tricks using food and play as reinforcement. As she went along, her dog started finding playing training games lots of fun in and of themselves. But she still used food and play. He liked earning his “pay” and she liked giving it… Continued

Does Your Animal Have Control?

By Karolina Westlund Ph.D. of PPG corporate partner Illis Animal Behaviour Consulting Many animal trainers, veterinarians and pet owners highlight the importance of controlling animals. Controlling them, as in restricting the animals’ movement, their choices and their opportunities to control their environment through their behaviour. Sometimes you have to, for safety reasons. Obviously. But often you don’t – and more often than you might think. Actually, the trend in modern animal training is to deliberately and strategically shift control from the handler to the animal, while still staying safe. Giving control to the animal… Continued

April 15, 2019: Study Finds Emotional Mirror Neurons in the Rat

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience have tested the theory of empathy in rats and found the presence of mirror-like neurons in the rat’s anterior cingulate cortex that are responsive when other rats are observed undergoing a painful or unpleasant experience. The finding suggests that observing rats shared the emotion of the other rats and, according to Prof. Christian Keysers, the lead author of the study, “…this all happens in exactly the same brain region in rats as in humans.” Read study

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