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Managing Expectations

A wonderful Australian study published July 6 looks at the expectations of potential dog adopters and considers them in light of the potential adopters’ previous dog ownership experience (or lack thereof). It’s a nice look at what people are thinking as they contemplate adopting a dog and whether their expectations are realistic. The authors look at high rates of dog ownership — and satisfaction with dog ownership, as well as at high rates of relinquishment of dogs. Seeking to understand these numbers, they asked prospective dog owners about the expected… Continued

Multinational Canine Behaviour Modification

Over the last two years or so, my behaviour practice has welcomed more and more dogs from overseas. Sometimes these are canines with profound behavioural difficulties.  I have always assisted several imported dogs per year but there seems to have been an explosion of dogs from a variety of countries, thanks to the efforts of many local and larger International welfare charities rescuing such animals from dire conditions.  So this year alone, I have assisted dogs from USA, Russia, various countries in Africa, India, Romania and many European countries. The… Continued

Does Ignoring an Unwanted Behavior Really Work?

By Debbie Bauer I often hear the advice given to ignore the behavior we don’t like and it will go away.  But is this really true?  In my experience, and in the experience of many others, ignoring a behavior does not cause it to go away.  In many instances, ignoring can even cause the behavior we are trying to get rid of to escalate. Ignoring a behavior can cause it to escalate. If we are trying to ignore a behavior and it escalates, we will often at some point give… Continued

Pet Guardians Need Help Finding Professionals

As a professional dog trainer taking behavioral cases I see how confusing it can be for pet owners to know what sort of help they need and where to find it. Lack of regulation and transparency in the industry can lead pet guardians into pitfalls. This happened to a client whose dog was fearful of other dogs during leash walks. He would bark and lunge, but then retreat. The owner sought help from a trainer who took her dog into his care for several days. The trainer called her a… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Dr. Lynn Bahr – July 10, 2018

Guest: PPG Cat Committee, PPG Summit presenter, and founder of Dezi & Roo, Dr. Lynn Bahr. Topics: Dr. Bahr’s recent PPG blog post, Why Every Cat Needs a Place to Hide and her article in BARKS, Pain Underlying, in which she discusses the issue of pain, how well cats can hide it, and the impact chronic pain can have on behavior. Dr. Bahr also talked about the long-term physical and behavioural effects of declawing cats, a procedure that is banned in over 20 countries but is still widely practiced in the United States. Listen here. Subscribe… Continued

Pet Professional Guild to hold inaugural Australia summit in Sydney – Two weeks to go and 15 spots left!

Convention guarantees three full days of high-level education and networking opportunities for pet training and behavior professionals. The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) will hold its inaugural Australia summit on July 26 – 29, 2018 at the Bankstown Sports Club in Bankstown, NSW. PPG represents pet industry professionals globally and who are committed to results based, science-based, force-free training and pet care. Aimed predominantly at pet industry training and behavior professionals, the principle goals of the event are to build a greater awareness of PPG as the go-to organisation for force-free… Continued

July 26, 2018: New Study Compares Personality and Behavior of Companion vs. Free-Ranging Bali Dogs in Bali

The study, Companion and free-ranging Bali dogs: Environmental links with personality traits in an endemic dog population of South East Asia, examines the personality traits of dogs based on their lifestyle “either living as human companions or as free-ranging animals, exploring at the same time the impact of demographic variables (such as age, sex, and neutered status) on personality.” Read study.

Fear Free™ Vet Visits: A Feline Behavior and Training Specialist’s Journey

By Victoria Blais Desperately visiting a veterinarian I had never seen before, I had a sick feeling in my stomach when I was encouraged to put on protective leather gloves to hold my highly anxious cat, Haddie.  My normally sweet, affectionate girl, flattened her ears, pupils dilated, as she leaned away from the doctor.  Reading her cat body language, I knew we should stop, but I reasoned, “This vet specializing in felines knows what is best.”  As the vet approached Haddie, whose tail was thrashing, a loud guttural, fearful sound… Continued

Busy Toys Gone Bad

By Yvette Van Veen Toys…are neither good nor bad. Rather it’s how they are used. They can strengthen behaviour you like. If you’re not careful, they will strengthen behaviour you dislike. There are more toys out there than you can shake a stick at.  You could say that busy toys are the new stick.  Many people are convinced that if they just buy enough toys, the right toy, their dog will stop pestering them with jumping, nudging, barking, whining and more.  They hope to buy calm. But could your busy… Continued

Learning a New Way to Communicate

By Debbie Bauer Sometimes we know in advance if our dog will lose sight and/or hearing.  I have a senior dog now who is mostly deaf from age.  So far his sight seems OK, but I know it too may begin to fade.  There are some things we can do to help ease this transition for our dogs. One is to teach hand signals to our dogs for basic every day behaviors (sit, lie down, wait at the door, come) and for some of the fun tricks they know (fetch,… Continued

Leaving Dogs in Cars Can Kill Them

Like many dog owners, I enjoy taking Buddha and Gandhi in my car when I run chores. They enjoy riding with me and have learned to recognize familiar locations such as the town dump, the bank, the vet clinic and even the local car wash. When I look around during those trips, I see others with dogs in their vehicles, too. Cooler fall, winter and spring months make this practice fun and relatively safe, but summer months bring the risk of heat exhaustion and hyperthermia in dogs. People can sweat… Continued

BARKS Podcast with Sam Redmond, and Pam & Miranda Mahar – June 20, 2018

Guests: PPGBI Steering Committee member, Sam Redmond and PPG Corporate Partners, Pam and Miranda Mahar of 4Legs4Pets. Topics: Sam discusses her work with wolfdog breeders and animals of different content levels and what professionals can expect from these kinds of dogs when they see them in practice; Pam and Miranda showcase their family owned and operated manufacturing business, which has been producing USA-made indoor and outdoor cots for pets since 1988. Listen here. Subscribe to BARKS Podcasts on YouTube and Vimeo.  

2018 Podcasts

Let’s Opinionate – The Podcast for March 14th, 2018 with Veronica Boutelle Stimulating some new thoughts and giving our neurons some new tasks to promote their survival! Veronica Boutelle, the founder of business consultancy dog*tec, joins PPG co-host Niki Tudge to share opinions on the state of education in our industry.  You may not agree with everything they say but it will certainly stimulate some positive and respectful dialogue. Please click here to listen to the podcast on Vimeodog*tec The Podcast for February 21st, 2018 with Sherry Woodard & Teri… Continued

2017 Podcasts

The Podcast for December 20th with Lara Joseph Owner of The Animal Behavior Center, Lara Joseph, joins us to chat about her upcoming workshops at the PPG Behavior and Training Workshop at Best Friends: Building a Trusting Foundation and Target Training Parrots for a Successful Future and her presentations: The Evolution of Aviculture and Fine Tuning Our Training Skills with Parrots. Find the Animal Behavior Center LLC on Facebook Please click here to listen to the podcast on YouTube The Podcast for November 5th with Helen Phillips   PPGBI Special… Continued

2016 Podcasts

  The Pet Professional Guild BARKS  Podcasts 2016 Subscribe to the full PPG World Service Show Playlist on YouTube here The Podcast for December 4th with Victoria Stilwell and Janis Bradley Victoria Stilwell was in the house to tell us why she stands firmly against BSL and believes it essential to teach the public to better understand their dog’s body and vocal language, promoting responsible guardianship and educating children, in particular, how to be safe around dogs. We asked Victoria about her involvement in fighting to save dogs that have been… Continued

The Dark Side of Dog Training and Pet Care

By Angelica Steinker Original article, published in BARKS from the Guild, March 2018 pp. 14-21, features more photos of Sarge, Gunner, Blue, Max and Finn. *Caution: This article contains violent descriptions of dog death, abuse and neglect. “Prosecutions under general anti-cruelty statutes are occasionally successful but greatly hampered by the absence of legal standards pertaining specifically to training practices. Provided it’s in the name of training, someone with no formal education or certification can strangle your dog quite literally to death and conceivably get off scot-free.” – Jean Donaldson (2017) Dog training… Continued

How Big Should a Cat’s Litter Box Be?

By Jennifer Mauger I was recently in a home where the resident cat was eliminating outside the litter box on a regular basis. He was a large Maine Coon mix weighing over 20 pounds. When I went to look at the litter boxes, they were well maintained, clean, and in quiet areas of the home.  There were more than enough boxes for both of the cats too. The first thing I actually noticed was the size of the litter boxes. They were average size commercial litter boxes. When I asked… Continued

“Did You Know Your Dog Barks All Day?”

By Julie Naismith “Did you know that your dog barks all day?” my neighbour asked me one day. The simple answer was: no, I didn’t. It was this conversation that led me on the path to discovering my dog-ownership bombshell: that my dog Percy had separation anxiety. I can vividly recall how I felt that day my neighbour first said this to me. I had no idea Percy barked constantly when I was out. How could I have known? I’d had my other dog for a year with no complaints.… Continued

Scents Can Help Dogs Relax

A small study published in May looked at the effects of four scents on dogs in a shelter kennel. The focus was whether the aromatherapy would help the dogs relax. Though it’s a small study and, oddly the only one of its kind, it points to some additional ways that trainers and canine behavior consultants may be able to help clients with anxious dogs. (Odd because of how much we know about how important scent is to dogs; isn’t aromatherapy an obvious avenue for exploration?) The shelter environment is generally… Continued

YOUR Dog, No Comparison

This is a subject I’ve always meant to write about and somehow it always slips my mind until the topic crops ups with another client of mine – that of comparisons. What I mean is those comparisons we make between our own dogs and other peoples’ and maybe our other dogs or previous dogs.  It’s human nature of course and a lot of the time it cannot be helped, but to constantly compare, does us and our dogs a disservice. That one ‘great dog’ All dogs are great! Sometimes though there is… Continued

The Unintended Consequences of Shock

(Confidentiality Notice: Names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy, but the facts remain unchanged. Photographs have been used with written consent.) Betsy is a kind person who contacted a shelter in June of 2016 to help find a nice family dog to share her life with through adoption. She learned of Zelda, a female one year old mixed breed.  Zelda’s online biography suggested she was “fine” with other dogs and was “friendly” with people, but jumped on them “to say hello.” Little was known about Zelda except… Continued

Scheduling Your Rewards

So…there we are teaching our dogs lots of new things and he’s responding beautifully – treat, treat, treat (yummy!) At what point though, do we stop dishing out all these lovely delicacies? This is a question I’m asked multiple times per week.  It’s true that if we continued to treat our dogs at the same rate, at some point we’d end up with enormously fat canines – not great!   So, we have to think about something called schedules of reinforcement Determining what scheduled to use When our dogs are learning… Continued

Clicker Training for Cats (6/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Inter-Cat Aggression Living with cats who do not get along is stressful for everyone. Sometimes the cats need to be completely separated and then formally re-introduced. In many cases, the best outcome we can hope for is for the cats to coexist peacefully to a point where they tolerate each other, even if they do not actively “like” each other. To facilitate peaceful coexistence, the environment must be arranged so that the cats can easily avoid each other and do not have to compete… Continued

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