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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.  

A Cautionary Tale

By Kayla Sprague When I got home I pulled out a pretty pink collar from my drawer with Cupcake’s old ID tag and thought, “Well little girl, as you’re staying for a bit you’ll need this.” I thought it would be a breeze, just snap it on and she’s good to go outside. WRONG! Wow, was I wrong. The collar clicked and she whipped round to take off my arm. I was stunned. What just happened? This sweet little girl had all of a sudden became an attack dog. She… Continued

Why Your Dog Doesn’t Know Sit

By Yvette Van Veen When I was a young girl, my grandmother would send gifts of books from Czechoslovakia.  The books were filled with stunning moving pop-up illustrations.  I learned a lot from those books.  I learned how those illustrations popped up.  I learned how one moving part operated another moving part.  What I failed to learn was how to read Czech.  My attention was so fixated on the illustrations that I memorized the words.  I recited the story based on the illustration.  I never focused on the letters.  Illustrations… Continued

September 6, 2018: French Survey Highlights “a High Ratio of E-Collar Use in a Country without Regulations”

Questionnaire distributed to 1,251 dog owners reports that 26 percent of the owners use e-collars, 11.9 percent use bark-activated collars, 4.5 percent use electronic boundary fence collars, and 14.2 percent use remote-controlled collars. Authors state that e-collar use was found to be “significantly associated with 3 factors: dogs weighing over 40 kg, non-neutered status, and dogs used for hunting or security activities. In addition, the data collected showed that e-collars were mainly used on young dogs (<2 years). The vast majority of e-collar users (71.8%) used the collar without professional advice, and 75% of… Continued

How to Achieve Purrvana

By Daniel “DQ” Quagliozzi Okay cat guardians, summer is coming to an end and it’s time to make some resolutions that are going to count for your cats. It takes a joint effort between cat and caretaker to make positive changes manifest in the right way. If you can make the right causes for your cat, a bounty of kitty abundance awaits in a place that I like to call, “Purr-vana”, where all of your cat’s needs are met in an environment that honors what it truly feels like to… Continued

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