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BARKS Podcast with Dr. Jean Dodds, DVM: December 12, 2018.

Guest: Dr. Jean Dodds DVM, Founder of Hemopet  Topic: An article regarding vaccinations that was inaccurately attributed to Dr. Dodds and has been circulating. Dr. Dodds reviewed the article, rebuts statements and corrected the vaccination protocol. Listen to the Recorded Podcast Here

Road Trip with Your Dog | Dog Travel Tips

Hitting the open road with a dog can be a great adventure. There are so many great dog-friendly destinations you can explore, but traveling with dogs can be a challenge if you aren’t prepared. To get you and Fido ready for your next vacation with your dog, I have 5 of my best dog-friendly travel tips. 5 Dog-Friendly Road-Trip Tips 1. Plan Ahead– When taking a road trip with a dog, it’s always easier if you plan ahead. You don’t have to have everything set in stone, but researching your… Continued

Career Aptitude Testing … for Dogs

What if there were a test that could tell you whether a dog would make a good assistance dog or detection dog or search & rescue dog … or whatever career you hoped the dog would choose? Researchers Evan MacLean and Brian Hare are working on it. Their recently published study, “Enhanced Selection of Assistance and Explosive Detection Dogs Using Cognitive Measures,” describes initial attempts to create a sort of career aptitude test for working dogs. What I love about this study: It recognizes that dogs’ cognitive abilities a) exist,… Continued

November 26, 2018: Study Investigates whether Dogs Know when They Are Wrong

New research has investigated the presence of metacognitive abilities in dogs and found that, if dogs know they do not have sufficient information to solve a problem they will actively try to seek more information. Researchers discovered this by conducting three consecutive experiments “in which dogs had to find a reward that was hidden behind one of two V-shaped fences with a gap at the point of the V.” They “varied whether dogs had visual access to the baiting procedure or not” and found that the dogs “checked more often through… Continued

Dogs and ‘Digging In’

I work with many owners of rescue or re-homed dogs and one topic I’ve thought about many times, sometimes raised by owners themselves and possibly a little controversial, is do we sometimes give up on our dogs too easily? Of course, an important aspect of this is whether we have the necessary, realistic expectations when taking on a dog in the first place. In my experience, sometimes a dog and owner combination just doesn’t work for an infinite number of reasons – just like a human relationship!  In this situation,… Continued

Portland Blog Competition: Canine Aggression – The Public Perception

By Hannah Blumenfeld  “Not a nice dog,” says the woman on the sidewalk. Lucy and I had just walked past her, and although I was shoving treats in Lucy’s mouth, the woman locked eyes with my beautiful beast. This scares the bejeezus out of Lucy, so she barks. And, yes, sometimes lunges. I do not correct the woman; I don’t tell her that Lucy is, in fact, a very nice dog. A couple months earlier, we were walking past a family of four. First came the mom and older daughter.… Continued

November 20, 2018: New Video Reveals Secrets of the Feline Tongue

Researchers created 3D scans of cats’ tongues to create a video showing how “sharp, tiny cones on cats’ tongues give their coats and skin a deep clean, instead of merely spreading their spit around” and explaining how cats exploit the use of surface tension to keep themselves clean: “Slow-motion footage of several housecats grooming revealed the felines flared their tongues outward as if taking a big lick of an ice cream cone so the papillae stood perpendicular as they move through the fur.”  Read article

My Dog Is Afraid of the Clicker. What Should I Do?

I wrote this article especially for people who are either new to using a clicker or have not dealt extensively with a fearful dog. If your dog is scared by the noise of the clicker, slow down. Switch to a verbal marker for now. Don’t immediately focus on trying to achieve softer clicks. Here’s why. Rat terrier Kaci says, “Train me!” Some years ago, I used to train my friend’s rat terrier Kaci. She is the star of my “backing up” video and was an all-around champ of a dog. She… Continued

Managing Dog-Dog Greetings

Recently I attended a dog event and observed about 30 dogs and their handlers come and go in the course of three hours. Most of the dogs were taken to one another for greetings. Call it the curse of knowledge, but I see such interactions through the lens of human handling skills and canine body language. Sometimes what I saw was relaxing and fun and at other times I worried about the outcome, especially when handlers allowed overly aroused dogs to engage each other. There is a correlation between arousal… Continued

Choose Professional Development Conferences Wisely, or the Return on Your Investment May Disappoint You!

We all have limited time and resources so choosing which conference to attend each year is an important decision for all professionals. There are several things to consider when making your choice to ensure we make the most efficient and effective use of our precious time and resources. The first thing to consider before clicking the ‘buy now’ button is, does the conference align with your philosophical approach to training and behavior-change and of course your ethical compass? Secondly, you need to ensure that the conference you are considering will… Continued

When Day Care Is Bad for Your Dog

By Danette Johnston If your dog currently attends dog day care or you are thinking about starting, here is some food for thought… I have owned and operated a dog day care and training facility for over 18 years now. I have a lot of experience in this arena, have learned a ton (thank goodness) in the past 18 years and my opinions and recommendations on dog day care have changed. When I opened in 2000, dog day care facilities were a brand-new thing. I used to recommend day care… Continued

Litter Box Victory

By Jennifer Van Valkenburg In this post, I am going to talk about a very basic feline need – going to the litter box. Cat owners may wonder, when there is a perfectly good litter box, why does their cat think it is preferable to use the floor, the laundry basket or maybe even the bed to do her business? The answer can be complicated. First, go to the vet to check for any physical/medical problems such as urinary tract infections (UTI). UTIs are very painful. As a result, a… Continued

Portland Blog Competition: Aggression by Any Other Name

By Stephanie Peters “Help, my dog is aggressive!” This is often the first thing that I hear from potential clients when they contact me for a training or behavior consultation. They may be troubled by certain behaviors their dog is demonstrating, and are either panicked that they have somehow caused the behavior, or worried that their dog is inherently “flawed.” Our culture sometimes has a tendency to pathologize aggressive behaviors in our beloved pets—who are, let’s remember, animals—and there is something of a dearth of information available to pet guardians… Continued

Dogs Are Exceptional, Despite Attempts to Argue Otherwise

Headlines like this really bother me: Dog intelligence ‘not exceptional.’ Compared with what? How are you defining ‘intelligence’? Seeking answers to these questions, I downloaded and read the full study, which is available for free. It’s 20 pages, plus 8 pages of references. It’s primarily a review of existing literature on the cognitive abilities of a wide variety of nonhuman animals. So, compared with what? The researchers decided that they needed to compare canine cognitive abilities with those of species related phylogenetically, or by evolution; ecologically, or related in terms… Continued

Training the Wild Friends at Best Friends

By Vicki Ronchette [An] astonishing thing happened with a different tortoise who we were told was overweight and needed exercise. This tortoise started out happily taking food but then stopped eating. However, she continued to stay with the group of people. I asked the caretaker if this tortoise enjoyed being touched and he said that she did, so I asked him to show us how he touches her. He explained that she seemed to like being scratched on her legs close to her shell. We continued our stationing training, but… Continued

Great Expectations

By Susan McKeon Before retirement, most greyhounds will not have experienced many of the day-to-day sights, sounds and activities that companion dogs are accustomed to and that we take for granted. It is fair to say that, in most cases, early socialization of a racing greyhound is not a top priority within a racing environment. For most racing greyhounds, their exposure to the world is limited to their racing kennel, paddocks and the track. They have not generally seen or encountered microwave ovens, televisions, stairs, other breeds of dogs, small animals… Continued

Home Alone: The Painful Puzzle

By Terrie Hayward Separation anxiety in a dog is the “equivalent of a full-blown panic attack in a human being due to the anxiety and fear of being left alone. The severity of the panic attack and the way each dog manifests and displays it may be different, but the physiological basics are the same. Fear and anxiety are best friends, and the hormonal and neuro-chemical processes that happen when these emotions are triggered are not under simple mind control, certainly not by dogs (and generally not by humans, either).”… Continued

October 24, 2018: Study Looks to Identify Factors Associated with Long-Term Working Dog Success

Given that “a relatively high proportion of potential working dogs fail to make full operational status, or are later withdrawn from service,” this new study investigates traits such as energy, interest and responsiveness and finds that “the combination of these traits may be important for a long-term working life” of police and military detection dogs. Read study

Spice Up Your Walks!

Long explorations in the country, splashing around in the sea, trekking up hills, they’re the reasons we love having our dogs and enjoy their companionship.  From time to time though, sometimes things become just a little bit ‘samey’! We can use this special time together as an opportunity to be more enriching and engaging and overall more bonding and fun! GIVE WALKS TIME I know this is easier said than done because we are all short on time, but where possible, allow that extra time for both of you.  I’ve… Continued

An Alternative Perspective

By Sara Richter It is no surprise that horses perceive the world differently than humans do…Dr. Temple Grandin describes the vision of horses in her 1989 piece, Behavioral Principles of Livestock Handling: “The latest research on color vision in farm animals shows that they are dichromats with cones (color sensitive retina cells) most sensitive to yellowish-green (552-555 nm) and blue purple light (444-445 nm)2. Humans are trichromats and see the full color spectrum. Dichromatic vision may make the animal more sensitive to seeing sudden movement. It may explain why grazing animals… Continued

Breaking the Cycle

By Lara Joseph Molly is my nine-year-old Solomon Island eclectus parrot who lost her home a few years ago. What a beautiful little bird she is and I just could not understand why anyone would not want her any more. Well, I soon found out why she was surrendered. Before she lost her home she had developed this ear piercing “beep” sound that resembled that of a fire alarm when the battery needs to be replaced. Except Molly’s beeping sound was even louder than that! Read more.

Identifying Enrichment

By Lara Joseph In order to change a behavior, we must replace it with another behavior… In my role as an exotic animal trainer, several of the undesirable behaviors I encounter are lunging, screaming, kicking, grabbing, rushing enclosure doors as keepers try to enter, defensive posturing, abnormal repetitive behaviors, and self-mutilation, amongst many others. What, then, is our approach? Often, when approaching a behavior issue, I observe how an animal interacts with her environment when there are no humans in close proximity. I do this so I can begin identifying what items… Continued

Living in Fear

By Daniel Antolec  After an assault, one farmer had to sell three draft horses because they were no longer safe when he used them to pull equipment as human activity behind them triggered the horses’ hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and dangerous flight responses. Another family could no longer use their $40,000 mare for breeding due to sexual abuse. Yet another lost their horse after it was so badly injured it had to be euthanized. Read more.

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