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Dog Park Etiquette


If I had $1 for every time an owner told me how irate they were about something that had happened in the park when they were walking their dog – well, you know the rest!  So what are the unspoken rules about how us dog owners should conduct ourselves, what’s expected of us, what’s frowned upon, what constitutes unruly canine behaviour and how can we prevent it in the first place?  That’s a whole load of questions for one blog but let’s start at the end and work back! What’s… Continued


What Is the Purpose of a Real Dog?


Labeling normal dog behaviors like barking, digging, jumping up, chasing, growling and others as problems is something my colleagues and I have started seeing more often in our classes and consultations. However, typical puppy behaviors can include mouthing, housesoiling, not wanting to be alone, eating everything in sight, running away, rolling in smelly stuff, chasing moving objects, growling, smelling other dogs’ rear ends or biting and mouthing. These are all natural behaviors, but sometimes a new owner may simply not have fully realized what having a puppy entails. Indeed, our expectations may be high as we… Continued


Leave It: Not Just for Dead Men Anymore


The other day I was pondering the trend of talking about teaching “self-control” and “impulse control” in our dogs. I got to thinking about “leave it,” both the term and the behavior. I realized a couple things. First, the term “leave it” doesn’t pass the dead-man test. (I’ll get to that below.) Second, the behavior “leave it” is not just one, but several behaviors. Third, I realized that this combination of problems could present some difficulties when training. What is your dog actually doing when she successfully “leaves it”? You know what that means:… Continued


Choke Collar Pathology


Recently I persuaded a local pet supply store owner to sell me all his choke collars (at cost) and refrain from restocking them, in return for recommendations for safe body harnesses such as Perfect Fit and Balance. He was persuaded by data I presented to him about the pathology of choke collars. “I never knew they hurt dogs, and only carried them because people asked for them.” I never knew either, years ago when I went to a trainer seeking help with my Labrador, Jake.  She told me to use… 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). Many cats enjoy napping in the yard or chasing insects. Many more are “street cats” who patrol the neighborhood, coming home only when it is time for dinner. Cats who are allowed to go outside face risks of being stolen, contracting parasites and… Continued


News Release: Pet Professional Guild debuts event app for 2017 Orlando summit


App will provide convention attendees with an easily accessible and up-to-date interactive experience Tampa, FL – May 31, 2017 – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is debuting a free downloadable mobile app at its third annual educational summit, taking place in Orlando, Florida from November 16-20, 2017. The app will be an essential add-on for attendees and provide details on the daily schedule, presentation topics, extracurricular events, speaker photos and biographies, as well as any last minute schedule or room changes. Two months prior to the summit, PPG will add on… Continued


Do Dogs Use Tools?


More than fifty years ago, Jane Goodall made a discovery that shook some scientists — particularly those that had long lists of all the things that made humans unique and superior to nonhumans. She saw Chimpanzees using tools. Since then, other researchers have found other nonhumans using tools, from dolphins who use sponges to protect their beaks to elephants using tools to scratch itches, reach food, and plug water holes. Even crows use tools. But, as far as I know, no researchers have studied whether dogs use tools. I’d argue… Continued


Food – Just Cupboard Love?


The Power of Motivation As a behaviour consultant meeting with clients who are seeking to alter their dog’s behaviour, I am always asking owners to think about their dog’s motivation – what is it for that individual dog that will assist in initiating positive change and creating a more appropriate response? Motivation is Individual There is an important word in the paragraph above – individual. I mentioned the word ‘motivation’ in the opening sentence.  For many dogs, food such as dog treats, chicken, ham, sausage etc. will be a strong motivator, principally… Continued


Expectations, Disappointment And Opportunities


When we get a puppy or a rescue dog, as a first time or an experienced dog owner or as a competitor in a dog sport, we have certain expectations. We hope for the perfect companion or the perfect agility dog. Depending on our level of experience we try to make sure we get it right. We might research first the breeds, then the breeders, look for the best puppy pre-school and best teenage dog classes, join a club or train with our ‘doggie’ friends. However, regardless of how well… Continued


If You’re Loving It, Why Leave?


Is “choice” a code word for negative reinforcement? It can be. Seems like that’s the context where I see it pop up the most. I’ve written a lot about choice. Two of my major points are: Many people are confused about using choice as an antecedent vs. a consequence; and People are rarely referring to choices between positive reinforcers when they write about their animals having a choice. But here’s another thing that gets under my skin. These days it seems like many people who use the language of choice… Continued


Dog Food Safety Recalls


Pet food safety is a big deal to me, and to my dogs. As my dog’s best advocate I want to know what is in the bag and whether it will harm my dogs. I would like to believe I can depend upon news media to inform me of safety recalls in pet food and training treats so I can keep my pets safe, but that seems to be a false belief. In the past couple of months I learned of about eight safety recalls, including products which killed pets.… Continued


What To Do If You Find a Lost Pet


What To Do If You Find a Lost Dog or Cat Have you ever been out and about and found a lost dog or cat? I’m sure if you have, your heart started to race thinking about how you would feel if your pet was lost. I just can’t imagine what I would do if Dexter the dog got out of the house and was missing. My heart would break and I know I would be beside myself. So, what do you do if you find a lost dog or… Continued


Thinking Outside the (Litter) Box


By Marilyn Krieger Litter box avoidance is one of the most common reasons cats are surrendered to shelters and euthanized.  It is so sad and so unnecessary. Although the problem is hard to live with, it is also one of the easiest to solve.  Some of the solutions are simple — others are more involved. Male and female cats of all ages can develop litter box challenges. There is always a legitimate reason for cats to avoid using their litter boxes. They are not bad cats, nor are they misbehaving.… Continued


Letting Go of Puppyhood Things …


When should a dog stop sleeping in a crate? Most people, when faced with this question, will think about whether the dog can be trusted in the house unsupervised: Will she sleep through the night? Can I leave her alone without worrying that she’ll chew on things? Does she know that she’s not allowed on the sofa (and does she follow that rule)? Some think about convenience: The crate is big, unattractive, in the way. It’s got to go. Or they think about convenience: I like being able to crate… Continued


A Positive Outlook on Canine Aggression


It usually starts when I receive a call from a distressed client who informs me that their dog is, or has, suddenly turned ‘aggressive.’ They tell me their dog has ‘challenged’ them in some way: baring teeth, snarling, growling or may have even bitten (with various degrees of severity). Then, when I first meet with that client, they are usually in quite a state because they think their whole mutual loving and trusting relationship with their dog has been shattered, their dog has flipped personality. Some even feel scared of their canine… Continued


An Open Letter on Defining, Determining and Maintaining Best Practices within Our Force-Free Organization


Each year I am reminded of the importance of PPG’s Guiding Principles and our ability to manage them on a daily basis. As I read through them yesterday I felt it would be a good reminder for each of us to read this article written by Debra Millikan DipABST, DipDTBC, PAB in 2012 on how we define, determine and maintain these best practices. Enjoy! The question of how one defines determines and maintains best practice is one that troubles individuals, organisations and professions alike.  In the fledgling, unregulated industry of animal training,… Continued


Is Calm Really Just Another Behavior?


What is the most difficult thing to teach our dogs? Coming back or a great recall? While I do agree that this is a difficult behavior, I do think teaching calm is much more difficult. Being calm is not the same as a cued ‘sit stay’ or ‘down stay’. Without becoming too airy fairy: Calm is also not just the absence of arousal, heightened state of alert or stress. For dogs, calm means that they are content, happy, and relaxed. They are able to lie on their bed and watch… Continued


Electronic Containment System or Ambush Predator?


Much has been written about electronic shock (training) devices in their various forms. With all models a dog wears a collar fitted with an electronic device with two metal rods touching the neck of the dog, delivering electric shock. Delivery systems fall into three categories: 1) A person must press a button on a handheld remote control to initiate the shock; 2) The collar has a microphone to detect (barking) sound and trigger shock; 3) A buried wire emits a signal detected by the collar, triggering shock. I will address… Continued


How to Stop a Dog From Digging


Why do dogs dig? One of the questions I get a lot from my dog training clients is how to stop a dog from digging. This may be followed up with asking me why dogs dig in the first place. As with any dog behavior question, the answer can be summed up in two words, “it depends.” I know, probably not the answer you had hoped for, but don’t worry, I will discuss the top five reasons why a dog digs and offer you some solutions to get a dog… Continued


Getting It Right First Time


By Marilyn Krieger Like any pet, cats enhance lives and make a house a home. They excel at helping their people unwind after a stressful day. There is nothing quite as comforting as having a cat serenely napping nearby. Although cats bring joy and are great companions, they are a lifetime commitment. Think seriously before adopting—it should not be a spur of the moment decision.  Make sure that you can support and provide the cat a loving, safe environment for his or her whole life. Before making the decision to… Continued


Where Do You Stand on Raw Diets for Dogs?


A recent Canine Corner post by Dr. Stanley Coren, a well-known writer on canine cognition, strongly suggests that raw diets are unsafe. I’d like to present an opposing view of this often contentious question. Full disclosure: I feed Cali a partially raw diet; I did the same for Jana for several years and she thrived on it. I’ve seen many, many dogs’ health and fitness improve dramatically and quickly when they switched to a raw diet. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Coren; I’ve read most of his (copious) work… Continued


#iSpeakDog Campaign Aims to Bridge the Communication Gap Between People and Their Dogs


Global Educational Campaign and Website Launch the Week of March 27, 2017   WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. – March 27, 2017 – To help improve the relationship people have with their dogs, The Academy for Dog Trainers, the Humane Rescue Alliance, The Bark Magazine, and The Pet Professional Guild have teamed up to launch iSpeakDog, a global campaign and website designed to educate people about dog body language and behavior. iSpeakDog, which has launched as a weeklong campaign March 27 – April 2, 2017, comes at a time when canine behavior… Continued


The Right Touch


By Deirdre Chitwood I especially enjoy practicing Tellington TTouch® on cats at the shelter as it gives me an opportunity to use my skills in a place where there are so many different cats with so many different issues, both behavioral and health related. More importantly, it can also mean the difference between a cat spending his life in the shelter or getting adopted, and having the chance of a new start as a loved and cherished pet. I am also fortunate to have a cage-free, no-kill shelter in my… Continued


Emotion or Reason: Influencing Clients!


Harvard psychiatrist, Helen Reiss, asks this pertinent question: “Don’t we all want to be seen, heard and have our needs responded to; that’s the essence of empathy”. Professor Reiss is referring to inter-human empathy within healthcare when she makes this statement but it applies across the species barrier.    If you think about it, the very core of work such as Marc Bekoff’s call to action in his book ‘The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons To Expand Our Compassion Footprint’, Temple Grandin’s ‘Making Animals Happy’ and the entire work of Jane Goodall… Continued


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