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An Open Letter from the Pet Professional Guild Addressing Pet Behavior and Training Industry Responses to the Use of Remote Electric Shock Delivered to Dogs via the Garmin Delta Smart™ Dog Training System


PPG calls on pet industry professionals to take a stand on the use and application of shock in animal training, to work together to educate pet owners in humane, scientifically sound training methods, and to take shock off the table once and for all The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is greatly saddened not only by the release of Garmin’s Delta Smart™ Dog Training System, a device that delivers remote corrections to dogs when connected to a smartphone, but also the response from some professional pet industry groups and associations relating… Continued


Introducing a Puppy or Adult Dog to a Crate


If trained properly, dogs do not see crates as ‘cages’, more as their bed, a safe place where they can go for some peace and quiet. Crate training is useful to owners as it prevents chewing, discourages toileting (most dogs will not soil their bed) and is a useful way to transport dogs during travelling. Even if you don’t plan to crate your dog, they will be in a ‘cage’ if they spend time at the vets so it’s very useful to train them to be happy in this environment.… Continued


Reflections of a Force-Free Trainer


As I enter my second year of Pet Professional Guild (PPG) membership and the 10-year anniversary of retirement from my first career (and subsequent launching of my second career) I feel it is time to reflect on where I was before and after PPG. Each of us follow our own path and yet we have come together in PPG. In my youth I foolishly thought I was the master of my own fate, determining the course of my life and controlling circumstances through choice. Growing older I realized that had… Continued


Experts United: Breed Specific Legislation Does Not Work


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. Countless animal welfare organizations and professional bodies worldwide have issued position statements that comprehensively refute the efficacy of BSL as a means of reducing dog bites and increasing public safety. Victoria Stilwell, president of the Victoria Stilwell Academy for Dog Training and Behavior, and CEO of Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training “Without exception, I stand firmly against BSL. The research has shown time and time again that BSL does not reduce dog bites in the… Continued


Real Food for Your Cat


It’s food, folks. It doesn’t have to be “people food,” it’s REAL food. I’m not sure how people got into this people vs. pet food mindset. When feeding our beloved pets, including our cats, for optimal health and behavior, a fresh, wholesome diet can be a good alternative. That said, it is crucial to balance a cat’s diet and provide the correct proportions of proteins, vitamins, and minerals. But it’s not that hard, once you get the hang of it. Today I will teach you the basics about preparing a home-cooked… Continued


What Canine Behavior Experts Say about Breed Specific Legislation


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. Countless animal welfare organizations and professional bodies worldwide have issued position statements that comprehensively refute the efficacy of BSL as a means of reducing dog bites and increasing public safety, a selection of whom are cited below. “Without exception, I stand firmly against BSL. The research has shown time and time again that BSL does not reduce dog bites in the areas where it is enacted, and has caused many innocent dogs to be taken… Continued


Just Say “Agh, Agh!”


By Brad Waggoner CPTD CTP-KPA In a group class the other day, I witnessed a couple constantly using the vaguely buzzer-like noise “Agh! Agh!” with their dog in a harsh tone of voice. What they were attempting to do was tell the dog that he was doing something wrong, though it was easy to see that the dog was having a hard time figuring out what was right. These folks have been through a couple of our classes in the past, and they understand that we use positive reinforcement to… Continued


Calling Dr. Google And Other Experts


I recently saw these words on a coffee mug: Please Do Not Confuse Your Google Search With My Medical Degree! And yes, these mugs can be customized for any profession, so I mused at how often I’ve been tempted to use those words when I hear the familiar “Well I looked on the internet about “dog behavior”, and this is what I found…” While we’re fortunate to have information at out fingertips, it just perplexes me that someone might blindly follow advice from a “Dr. Google” with questionable credentials, if any.… Continued


Dog Bites: Who Is Getting Bitten and Why?


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. Statistics show that the majority of dog bites occur in children or the elderly. The results of a study by Dixon, Mahabee-Gittens, Hart and Lindsell (2012) assessing dog bite prevention knowledge in children concluded: “Our results show a notable lack of awareness and knowledge regarding dog bite prevention among children, as nearly half of child participants failed a dog bite prevention knowledge test based on well-accepted dog bite prevention recommendations. Moreover, based on parent/guardian responses,… Continued


Breed Specific Legislation: Guesswork Based on Appearance


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. BSL (also known as Breed Discriminatory Legislation) is a law or legal ordinance that restricts or prohibits the ownership of certain breeds (or types) of dogs. In places where BSL has been implemented it varies from a complete ban of certain types of dogs to regulations imposing restrictions on ownership and special requirements including, but not limited to, mandatory muzzling; leash laws; special ‘housing’ (for example, fully enclosed cages); chaining; minimal wall enclosure height; mandatory… Continued


What Makes a ‘Good Dog’ and Do Current Dog Training Classes Teach these Skills?


I define a ‘good’ dog as a dog who is considered part of the family, can stay home alone if necessary but goes places if possible, lives in the house, goes on holidays, gets enough mental and physical stimulation, is ‘cool, calm and collected’ most of the time, takes changes like moving or an new addition to the family in his stride and most important spends his entire life with one owner. As most professionals in the pet industry I try to be an advocate for the dogs and puppies… Continued


Does Your Dog Think You’re Management Material?


When you hear the word management, I bet you aren’t thinking about your dog. But I and many of my training colleagues work hard every day to change that. Most people think of management as planning, organizing, leading and directing. Every one of these words describes the type of management you use with your dog as well. Management is a key component to dog training which is often overlooked. We are so focused on teaching our dogs specific behaviors like “sit,” “stay” or “come” that we forget about the environment… Continued


The Power of Project Trade


When I first learned of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) I had just recently worked with a handsome little elderly dog named Pete and acquired my first shock collar. Rough handling turned Pete into a hand-biter; adding a shock collar made it much worse. Taking it off Pete probably saved his life and spared his owner the heartache of euthanizing her long time pet, as many around her had been advising. I was highly motivated to see shock collars taken off all dogs and wanted to persuade a local legislator to… Continued


Breed Specific Legislation: No Evidence that It Works


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. BSL can and does result in the destruction of dogs. Research, however, would suggest that there is no evidence to support claims that BSL makes communities safer for people or companion animals. Indeed, there is little, if any, evidence to support any claims that BSL has reduced the number of dog bites. Here are some examples: • Denver, Colorado enacted a breed-specific ban in 1989. Citizens of Denver continue to suffer a higher rate of… Continued


Are You Really Performing Classical Counterconditioning?


What do the following training descriptions have in common? “My dog’s afraid of strangers. But when she stops barking and makes eye contact with me, I give her a treat.” “I hold her foot. Then I give her a treat after I clip each toenail, as long as she stays in place and doesn’t pull her foot away.” “When we have guests, I wait for him to show some calm behavior like stretching, breathing more deeply, or lying down. Then I give him a treat.” “We play LAT (Look At That).… Continued


What’s Breed Got to Do with It?


The following is an excerpt from PPG’s recently released Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation. The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is becoming increasingly alarmed at the number of dogs being seized or banned in a variety of communities worldwide based purely on their breed or appearance, allegedly in the interest of public safety. At the same time, there is little, if any, assessment of an individual dog’s behavior or environment, their owners’ knowledge of canine behavior and training, and/or their suitability as a dog guardian. PPG holds that Breed Specific… Continued


Do Dogs Have a Right to Say NO?


Aren’t dogs supposed to do as they are told and follow so-called “commands?” They are just dogs after all. Interestingly enough, only about 20 years ago we took no for a no and children who approached dogs when they were sleeping or eating were in no uncertain terms reminded to ‘let sleeping dogs lie and leave the dog alone when he is eating’. We seemed to understand then that dogs were dogs and had a right to say no. These days it seems we all get really upset when the… Continued


The Emergency Muzzle: An Essential Skill


Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Eight of Eight) This is the final post in a series of eight blogs in which we will share a few of the highlights from the PPG workshop which covered all the necessary skills needed to become a Certified Pet Care Technician (CPCT). The last day seemed to arrive very quickly.  Day four meant Rebekah King and the PPG Pet First Aid course. King began by telling the attendees exactly what pet first aid is and how we should handle an… Continued


That Tickles!


Many, many years ago I enrolled in what seemed like a fun weekend workshop with my dog. The ad read, “No limits to learning” or something similar, so of course, I jumped at the chance to attend with my dog. As we sat in the small room with other dog owners, you could feel the excitement build as the speaker grabbed his microphone to engage the crowd who, by the way, seemed very familiar with this particular speaker. Imagine my shock (the operative word here), when he started bashing positive… Continued


How to Lift, Medicate Your Dog


Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Seven of Eight) In this post we will take a look at Rebekah King’s day three presentation, Canine and Feline Health Health & Handling which included common canine diseases; recommended canine vaccination protocols, heartworm testing, infection, and disease; common feline diseases; recommended feline vaccination protocols; potential vaccine risks; common parasites; how to safely restrain an animal; administering medications and zoonotic diseases! King carefully explained something that many pet care providers and pet guardians are often unaware of: how pets should… Continued


What is Force-Free Ethical Pet Care?


Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Six of Eight) In this post we will take a look at part two of PPG president Niki Tudge’s presentation, What is Force-Free Ethical Pet Care? Caring for Pets, Protocols & Procedures. Tudge began by explaining that upon arrival at the pet care facility all pets should be examined.  This should be done while on leash, paying particular emphasis to the pet’s demeanor, making sure they remain at ease.  Feeding food treats to the mouth or scattering them on the… Continued


Relationship Is Its Own Reward


A cardinal rule in education, dog training, anything where one person is trying to affect another’s (person’s or dog’s) behavior is that the trainee determines what the reward or motivator is. If I am not interested in food, I am not going to work hard for it, no matter how tasty you think it is. A newly published study suggests that many dogs regard us, yes, us humans, as a reward! How cool is that? The paper, published in the fall issue of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, is… Continued


Desensitizing a Dog to New Equipment, Toys


Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Five of Eight) This is part of a series of blogs in which we will share a few of the highlights from day two of PPG’s recent workshop and my presentation on Pet Care Tools, Equipment and Toys – a study of pet care tools, equipment, supplies and toys that are available in today’s marketplace. The presentation covered such topics as learning how to identify appropriate equipment and understanding how to safely and practically use this equipment including desensitization protocols.  Everyone also… Continued


The Anatomy and Physiology of Pet Care


Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Four of Eight) This is the fourth in a series of eight blogs in which we will share a few of the highlights from day two of PPG’s recent Certified Pet Care Technician workshop, and Rebekah King’s presentation on Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology, the learning objectives of which were to understand dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology including all their sensory abilities so you can better and more effectively offer professional care services to all… Continued


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