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Ringing the Bell to Go Out: Avoid These 4 Common Errors!


Zani learns to ring the bells This post is for the people who have tried–and failed–to teach their dogs to ring a bell to go outside. I suspect there are a lot of bell ringing failures out there. Not that it’s so hard to teach a dog to poke a bell with his nose or paw. But it can be tricky to teach him when to do it, to let him know that this is a way to communicate with you about a certain thing. I went through the top hits… Continued


September 19, 2018: Pet Professional Guild Celebrates Shock-Free Coalition with Photo/Video Competition Showcasing Force-Free Training


By Pet Professional Guild The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has marked November 17, 2018 as the International Day of Advocacy to celebrate the first anniversary of the official launch of its international advocacy initiative, the Shock-Free Coalition. The focal point of the celebration will be Let’s Celebrate +R, a photo and video competition where pet professionals and enthusiasts can showcase the best of positive reinforcement-based pet training and education. Let’s Celebrate +R will run from seven days prior to seven days post November 17. Entry will be via both PPG’s North America/International and Europe websites with prizes issued… Continued


Targeting Like a Pro


By Lara Joseph I have worked with several birds that have been labeled aggressive. One of the first things I teach them is to target. If I ever find myself in an accidental or uncomfortable situation, I can quickly rely on the former target training to guide that bird’s beak, or animal’s mouth or feet away from me so I can get myself out of a compromising position. This works very well and prevents the need to use force in trying to avoid anything worse occurring. Before targeting a raptor or… Continued


A Two-Way Conversation


By Kathie Gregory What is often missing in the horse human relationship is “conversation.” In many instances, communication with a horse often involves telling him what to do. If he does not comply, he is told again, sometimes in a stronger manner, which may also include force or punishment. Unfortunately, taking the time to listen to what a horse is saying, to understand him and adjust for his response, is usually a strategy more often employed when working with dogs than horses. Whilst some horses are seen as companions and… Continued


Money in the Bank


By Patience Fisher People often assume their cats are fine because they are not doing anything to upset the people in the home. Cats avoid broadcasting stress—in terms of survival, showing weakness could be fatal and result in them being preyed upon. We see this when medical problems remain hidden for weeks as the cat quietly copes. In the same vein, cats will often cope with stress caused by environmental factors. Cats in over-crowded conditions, or with too few litter boxes, poorly placed litter boxes, too few hiding places or… Continued


Adapting To Change


By Lara Joseph …changes outside the everyday routine, such as traveling or having visitors, can be a huge source of stress…Cats and dogs aside, think of how we keep other species of animals, either at home or at educational facilities. Many of these animals spend the majority of their lives in an enclosure, mostly for their own safety, and there are some important questions we need to be asking. Do their environments change? Do some of the challenges they face on a daily basis compare with or complement how they… Continued


The Human Impact


By Anna Bradley As dog owners, trainers, and behavior consultants, we have a deep empathy with our dogs and, consequently, we understand how troubling struggling to cope with a given situation, context, event etc. may be for our dogs. What though, do we feel? I think sometimes this aspect is neglected, but it very much shouldn’t be. It is a very important aspect of behavior therapy to address the human as well as the animal slant. Frustration, sadness, hopelessness, failure, embarrassment, pity, even anger are just a few of the… Continued


What the Experts Say about BSL


By BARKS from the Guild Scientists, canine behavior and training professionals, animal welfare associations and veterinary behavior bodies worldwide have all contributed to the debate surrounding Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), and much literature is available detailing the reasons why it has been shown to be ineffective in dog bite prevention and improving the safety of the public at large. In its Position Statement on BSL, PPG announces its opposition of any law or regulation that discriminates against dogs purely because of their breed or appearance, stating that a neutral approach… Continued


Canine Car Anxiety


By Lori Nanan Many people are left scratching their heads when it comes to car sickness and anxiety. It often feels much like a chicken or egg question: which came first? Why is my dog getting sick in the car? Is it because he’s anxious about being in the car and this makes him feel sick? Or is my dog suffering from motion sickness and has become anxious in the car because of this?…Before moving forward in the plan, it is important that we are doing so based on observation… Continued


Ideas for Touch Signs to Use


By Debbie Bauer You can give touch cues in many ways – you can use your hands, your feet, your body, your breath, the equipment you use with your dog, an extended touch stick, etc.  Any way that you can make contact with your dog’s body to provide information can become a touch cue. The most common way I communicate with my blind/deaf dogs is with my hands.  I do give certain cues with my feet because it is easier for me than bending or because it blends more perfectly… Continued


Appearances Can Be Deceiving


Adoption is a popular option among many families who wish to bring a dog into their lives. Sometimes, their goal may be to adopt a specific breed. Science Daily defines “A dog breed is a group of dogs that have very similar or nearly identical characteristics of appearance or behavior or, usually, both, primarily because they come from a select set of ancestors who had the same characteristics.” Many of us have our favorites and mine happens to be Labradors. Of the five Labs I have lived with the last… Continued


September 13, 2018: Pet Professional Guild Response to Joint Industry Code of Conduct


“While PPG commends the initial move made jointly by the IAABC, APDT and CCPDT, it calls for a bigger initial step to be made. Surely all professionals involved in the training, care and management of pets can agree that there is never a scenario, morally or ethically, where the implementation of electric shock can ever be justified or deemed necessary. PPG thus proposes an alternative first step: that electric shock is taken off the table once and for all.” Read full response here.


Pet Professional Guild Response To Joint Industry Code of Conduct


Official Pet Professional Guild (PPG) response to the announcement (September 11, 2018) by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), and the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) that they have combined to adopt a unified Code of Conduct, a Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for professional animal behavior consultants and trainers. Download the pdf. PPG wishes to acknowledge the efforts of all those who participated in the development of the combined Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and… Continued


Clicking your Dog for Doing Nothing!


By Sue McCabe Recently, while out with my gang, two dogs rushed a fence, barking their hairy heads off as we passed. I clicked and rewarded my dogs even though they did nothing. Later on the walk, two horses passed us and my dogs looked at them. Again I clicked and rewarded them for doing nothing. Them as Jellybean stopped to sniff a couple of doggy friends, I clicked and rewarded him doing nothing. Did I truly click the dogs for nothing? Of course not. There is never an absence of behaviour.… Continued


BARKS Podcast with Morag Heirs: September 11, 2018


Guest: Morag Heirs of Well Connected Canine; PhD, MSc, MA(hons)(SocSci), PGCAP, Accredited Talking Dogs Scentwork trainer, and TD Rally Judge. Topics: Heirs’ article in BARKS, Fast and Furious, that discusses training deaf dogs to participate in dog sports such as canicross and flyball Listen to the Podcast here.  


The Power of Project Trade


By Erica Beckwith …at the beginning of a behavior consultation in August last year, my client pulled out all the equipment she and her husband were using or had used for their reactive dog, Cassie, a 20-lb terrier mix. She had said on the phone, “We have tried everything,” and she was right. She pulled out harnesses, prong collars, a slip lead and a shock collar. They were desperate—as so many reactive dog owners are—to stop the behavior. If you have ever owned or walked a reactive dog, you know… Continued


New Bird on the Block


By Vicki Ronchette Over the years I have introduced several parrots into my flock of companion birds. During this time I have found there are some things that should be done early on to help shape the bird into a good companion, while also giving him time and respecting his boundaries…It is important to realize that you should always do your best not to push the bird to interact. If your newly adopted bird is shy, nervous or defensive and does not want to be handled, it is wise to… Continued


A Change of Lifestyle


By Marilyn Krieger According to a study by the Humane Society of the United States, based on data collected from 600 veterinarians, two out of three veterinarians recommend keeping cats indoors, citing vehicles and transmittable diseases as the two greatest potential dangers (HSUS Veterinarian Study, June 2001)…Here is the dilemma: How does one convince the outdoor-loving cat that she should undergo a major lifestyle change and stay indoors where it is warm and safe? Every cat is unique with his or her own personality. Some cats welcome the opportunity to… Continued


Dog Speak – The Language of Barking


By Diane Garrod Barking communication has a very clear progression and purpose. It starts abruptly between two and four weeks of age, with most puppies showing a response as if they are startled by their first bark. Initially, barking occurs in a play-soliciting context and is not associated with serious aggression until after eight weeks of age, when puppies will respond to their dam’s growl…Excessive barking is one of the top five reported behavior problems, comprising between 6 – 35 percent of all complaints to canine behavior consultants. Over-barking can… Continued


A Miniature Puppet Master


By Bob McMillan It took me a while to understand Bentley. He came to us with two others rescued by my daughter, who moved in after a job layoff. We already had two Scottish deerhounds and a wolfhound, so we were now a house of six dogs and two testy cats. The floor squirmed with fur. In the chaos, Bentley kept to the fringes and quietly studied the situation. He’s a dapper little guy with a Chihuahua face on a sleek hound body, easy to lose in the shuffle of… Continued


What’s in It for the Horse?


By Max Easey The first thing to be aware of when considering how horses learn is that all animals – without exception – will choose to repeat any behavior that “works” for them. When we own an animal like a pony or horse, an animal that we are going to handle or ride, it is essential to train them for safety reasons. The purpose of training a horse is to teach him cues for the behaviors we want him to be able to do. The end goal is for us to… Continued


Reading Humans


By Angelica Steinker Canine communication is at the heart of dog bite prevention and behavior consulting. Learning the art and science of reading dog body language is what keeps professionals safe. However, dog behavior consultants focus almost exclusively on dog body language. Recently, I read Joe Navarro’s international bestseller, What Every BODY is Saying, a book that is crammed with immensely interesting information about human body language…Nonverbal communication is a science just like any other. This science deals with the studying of facial expressions, gestures, physical movements, body distance, touching,… Continued


From Shelter Dog to Service Dog


By L. A. Bykowsky and Chere McCoy Six months ago Stella was at the HSVB waiting for that special someone to take her home and love her forever. It so happened that I went in one day looking for a super special dog to be my service dog. Stella and I took one look at each other and knew right away that we were meant to be a team – but there would be hurdles to cross first…I should explain that I am a United States Air Force veteran and my… Continued


September 10, 2018: New Study Discusses Genetic Breed Heritage Testing of Shelter Dogs


Authors conclude that: “…when we consider the complexity of shelter dog breed heritage and the failure to identify multiple breeds based on visual identification coupled with our inability to predict how these breeds then interact within an individual dog, we believe that focusing resources on communicating the physical and behavioral characteristics of shelter dogs would best support adoption efforts.” Read study.  


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