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Are Cats Just Like Us?

By Beth Adelman MS My husband and I spent the entire spring laughing every time we saw an ad for the movie Keanu that showed an impossibly adorable kitten dressed up like a gang member. Now we are also laughing at the ads for The Secret Life of Pets, which, like virtually all animated movies about animals, suggests the only way to make them interesting is to pretend they are just like us. Animal behaviorists call this anthropomorphizing—attributing human characteristics to a non-human—and in scholarly circles it’s a crime punishable… Continued

The Art of Reading Dogs

Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Three of Eight) This is the third in a series of blogs in which I will endeavor to share a few of the highlights from PPG’s recent Certified Pet Care Technician workshop along with some of my own personal ‘take home’ points from the viewpoint of both an attendee and a presenter! Day one had begun with a two hour presentation from PPG founder and president Niki Tudge, Caring for Pets – Protocols and Procedures Part One.  The end of a… Continued

Taking the Pulse of Dog Training

As a professional (force-free) dog trainer I am always looking for help from researchers who investigate canine cognition and behavior, to glean new information and ways to apply knowledge gained from science. Since you are reading this I suspect you do the same. Sometimes the little things make a big difference, such as how a person approaches a dog. Recently I worked with clients who reported their adolescent Mastiff was calm all day while the wife remained home with the dog. When the husband returned from a long work day… Continued

Bringing a New Cat into Your Dog’s Home. Should You?

If you are a dog person, you may be a cat person too! The allure of the feline purr and silliness of a kitty may be too much to pass up. But, will your dog feel the same way? My wish is that dog guardians really take a good look at their dog’s behavior and lifestyle before making this decision. Adding any pet to your home isn’t something that should be taken lightly. Your dream of harmony may just turn into chaos if your dog is not ready or a… Continued

Empowerment: A Key Factor in Dog Training

Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part Two of Eight) The Pet Professional Guild recently held a Certified Pet Care Technician workshop at its Florida HQ. Topics covered included: How Pets Learn, Canine Behavior & Social Communication, Canine & Feline Anatomy and Physiology, Canine & Feline Health and Handling, Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols, Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys & Supplies, Consent and Preference Testing, and Pet Care Policies and Protocols. In this series of blogs I will endeavor to share a few of the highlights from… Continued

An Introduction to Clicker Training

Clicker training is a way of training that has become increasingly popular due to its simplicity, effectiveness and gentle approach. The idea behind it Animals will naturally repeat a behaviour that has good results, and not repeat a behaviour that does not have good results. Trainers can use this, by rewarding a behaviour they want the dog to repeat. The difficulty is in rewarding at exactly the right time. This is where the clicker comes in. What is the clicker? A clicker is something that the animal wouldn’t normally react… Continued

New Study Aims to Understand Behavior of Lost/Missing Cats

Lost cats that are not found by their families are a major contributing factor to the feral cat, homeless cat, and shelter cat populations. This is evident when you realize that the national “Return to Owner” (RTO) rate for stray cats that end up in animal shelters is 2 percent.  That’s only 2 percent! Through education and research, Missing Pet Partnership (MPP), a Seattle-based national nonprofit organization, is working to change those statistics. “The majority of indoor-only cats that escape outside don’t travel very far,” says Kat Albrecht, founder of… Continued

Pet Care, the Force-Free Way

Report from PPG’s Four-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop (Part One of Eight) PPG recently held a four-day pet care technician certification workshop at its Florida headquarters. Topics covered included: How Pets Learn, Canine Behavior & Social Communication, Canine & Feline Anatomy and Physiology, Canine & Feline Health and Handling, Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols, Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys & Supplies, Consent and Preference Testing, and Pet Care Policies and Protocols. As you can see, the four-day workshop in Wesley Chapel covered all the necessary skills you will… Continued

Not Just a Trainer

By Veronica Boutelle MA Ed, CTC It’s funny sometimes the things you find yourself doing. I imagine doctors don’t anticipate spending half their lives wrangling with insurance companies when they first imagine what it would be like to help people be well. Most real estate agents probably don’t understand up front how much of their lives will revolve around filling out complicated contracts— they just want to show houses and match people with the right homes. And dog trainers— well, we just want to train dogs and improve the bond… Continued

July 4th Chill Out!

By Fran Berry With the 4th of July holiday upon us, this article may seem like a day late and a dollar short, however, A client recently contacted me on an unrelated matter, and casually mentioned that she was all prepared for dealing with her noise phobic dog during this weekend of fireworks by purchasing a ThunderShirt, a bag of cannabis cookies from her local pet boutique, and acepromazine that her veterinarian had prescribed. Now to be clear, I don’t give veterinary advice, however I don’t mind referring my clients… Continued

6 Ways to Prepare Your Dog for Fireworks Starting TODAY

Oh no. Noisy holiday rolling around again, and your dog is scared of fireworks? Even though it’s just a few days before the holiday, you can make a plan and take action to help your dog be less afraid of the unpredictable scary sounds of fireworks, firecrackers, whistles, and even guns. Get Ready Here are some things you can do today. Get some great treats and start carrying them around. Whenever there is any kind of sudden or startling noise, including stray bangs and booms as people start to test their noisemakers,… Continued

A Crazy Quilt of Laws

I spent much of the day prepping for two short classes I am teaching on service dog access law. I am hoping to turn these presentations into PPG Webinars, so stay tuned! I’ve done this before, but most recently, I had an entire semester to teach students about access law and other dog-related laws. We spent seven weeks on the crazy quilt of federal laws that govern public access for people who have service dogs. Paring the vast amount of information down to two one-hour presentations is tough. I decided… Continued

Why It’s Important to Teach Your Dog to Love Wearing a Muzzle

By Maureen Backman, MS, CTC, PCT-A of The Muzzle Up Project How wonderful would it be if dogs were conditioned to love wearing their muzzles early on so that if they needed to wear one later in life, it would not be an aversive event for them? The following scenarios illustrate why muzzle training is important for every dog: Aggression If he bites, I’ll muzzle train him. All dogs have the ability to bite. Most dogs display various warning signals prior to biting. These signals may be obvious, such as… Continued

Are You Ready for Your New Puppy? For How Many Years?

Puppies are just too cute, it is almost beyond words! However these cute puppies grow up very quickly and become ‘real’ dogs. The puppy stage only lasts for a few months and the honeymoon phase is often over after a couple of weeks of sleepless nights and urine stains on the carpet. So make sure what you really want is a dog and not just the puppy. Pointing out the obvious, a puppy is a 12 to 15 year commitment and a lot of things can change during this time.… Continued

Introducing a Puppy and an Adult Dog: Take it Slow

Remember “Lessons for My Puppy,” my collaboration with Marge Rogers? She made some videos that I loved so much that I wrote blog posts to go with them. Marge is still out there working with dogs and making great videos, and I’m featuring another one today. Although there is a lesson for a puppy in this video, and also a lesson for the adult dog, the biggest lesson here is for puppy owners. (Isn’t that usually the case, when you come to think of it?) In the video she shows how… Continued

Training is Simple as A-B-C

Animal training can serve useful purposes, be great fun and strengthen the human-animal bond. It can also frustrate folks, especially if they have not formally studied learning theory.  Welcome to Learning Theory 101. Training is as simple as A-B-C. The “A” stands for antecedent and that is what occurs before a behavior. “B” stands for the behavior that you observe and “C” is the consequence of that behavior. If I ask my dog Buddha to sit using a word, that verbal cue is the antecedent. It gives Buddha a prompt.… Continued

Competition in the Dog Training World: Is It Necessary?

By Joanne Ometz I am a graduate of Turid Rugaas’ first US offering of her dog behavior counselor/trainer certification course. Most people in the US know Rugaas for her book, On Talking Terms with Dogs, and the study of canine body language is a big part of what I learned. But what is not well known is that she has a full curriculum that she has taught in Europe for many years. Before that, I was the organizer and de-facto teacher for a local dog club where the focus was on fun,… Continued

Changing Perspectives

I don’t know if it’s the same in the UK and the US but, here in Australia, I hear frequent laments from force-free trainers about the difficulty of competing with hard sell trainers of some of the more, shall we say, “traditional” methods. Often these laments relate to difficulties in getting access to vet clinics for their puppy classes. My problems were similar. Three vets in my area recommend my services but their premises are too small for class work. Another that recommends me has a secure outdoor area – well grassed… Continued

Dogs Back Then…..and Now

I don’t remember, here in England back in about 1954 (I was 10), ever seeing a dog on lead. I don’t actually remember seeing many dogs at all. My brother, my friends and I would also be free to walk or cycle around the roads near home or go and play in the woods. My first memory of a dog was when one rushed out of a garden barking ferociously at us. The friend I was with ran. I instinctively kept on walking. Slowly. Not looking at the dog. Perhaps even as a… Continued

A Puppy Owner’s Short Guide to Chewing

Chewing is natural, it helps to clean teeth and relieve stress. Puppies need to chew, but they also need to learn what to chew. Safe chew toys: Kongs, chew toys designed for dogs Not safe chew toys: Furniture, small children’s toys, cables Safe chew toys can be made more interesting by stuffing them with food – dog meat, biscuits, cheese, hotdogs etc. Make sure that whenever you leave your dog he has access to a few safe and interesting chew toys. When your dog starts chewing something he shouldn’t – don’t… Continued

The Smartest Dog?

The other day, I got a good laugh reading the bumper sticker of the car in front of me: “My Dog Is Smarter Than Your Honor Student!” This got me wondering as we “pet-parents” often do, about how smart my own dogs are. By coincidence, I happened upon a newsletter from a local veterinarian’s blog listing the top seven most intelligent dog breeds (border collie, poodle, German Shepherd, golden retriever, Doberman, Shetland sheepdog, and Labrador retriever). Unfortunately my dogs were not on the list, but undeterred, I went to the American… Continued

The Conscious Equestrian – Extinguishing Force From the Rider’s Repertoire

By Sara Richter CPDT-KA As an equestrian coach and riding instructor, most of the clients that I work with come to me with a pre-existing knowledge of traditional horsemanship. One of the most prevalent challenges that I face in my line of work, is transitioning those riders from aversive techniques to force-free methods of riding. Many riders have trouble fathoming that control can come from a non-compulsive approach when they have been using traditional methods with “success” for years. After all, sitting on the back of a 1,000+ pound animal… Continued

Report from the Pet Professional Guild 4-Day Pet Care Technician Certification Program Workshop

Professional Pet Care requires knowledge, skills, individual competency and a high level of responsibility. I recently had the pleasure of attending and presenting at a 4-day workshop designed to do just that.  In this blog post, I am going to give you a brief overview of the topics covered and some of the assessment exercises required to qualify as a Certified Pet Care Technician.  Don’t worry, I will also share more information about the workshop and all the fun and learning which took place, along with my personal ‘take-home’ points,… Continued

See the Dog in Front of You

Anyone who has had more than one dog in their life has probably fallen into the pitfall of living many years with their “perfect” dog and then suffering a devastating loss. When another dog eventually enters our life we compare, looking at the dog before us through misty eyes and seeing the dog we wish we still had. Sometimes this sets everyone up for frustration and disappointment. At other times the consequence of faulty vision is catastrophic. My first two Labradors were safe and reliable off leash. Samantha was a… Continued

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