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A Simple Walk: Training a Puppy

There’ve been days this long, long winter — days when the sun hadn’t been out in weeks, the wind was shrieking and the mercury read 35 but the wind chill was a bit less — that I wondered what in the world I was doing out walking my puppy all over the streets of my town. Oona is just over seven months old now. She tops 110 pounds. When you touch her, she’s springy and taut with new muscles. She’s an Irish wolfhound, a force of nature now, and she… Continued

Car Woes: A Tale of Botched Socialization

Poor shivering, quivering Huckleberry. Not because it’s cold out; she couldn’t care less about that. This is fear. Huckleberry is about to experience something that makes most dogs jump for joy, and she’s beside herself with fright: She’s going for a ride in the car.   Part of this is my fault. When we adopted her three years ago, Huckleberry was a country bumpkin from the wilds of western Virginia, naive to the ways of Suburbia. Like so many rescue dogs, she was overwhelmed by the kaleidoscope of odd sights… Continued

Cooperative Towel Drying Your Dog – Part 1

Meet Cali, the Jack Russell Terrier. Cali is a client’s dog, who came to us for training after she bit three different people in less then a month. She was approximately 18 months when she started training with us. We were her “last hope” to keep her alive. Cali’s initial training started at 10 weeks old, with a different trainer. The trainer was called in because she was guarding her food bowl from the family. This trainer worked with Cali for about a year. Continually punishing her more and more… Continued

Ground Scratching: Why Does My Dog Do It?

Why do some dogs scratch with their paws after they eliminate? I recently read a discussion on Facebook about the meaning of this dog behavior. Some people’s speculations about the reasons for the behavior included: Avoiding something or another behavior (displacement) Expressing anxiety Expressing boredom Relieving stress Expressing frustration Calming oneself Calming another dog Expressing enjoyment of a previous activity Being stressed Expressing high arousal Marking (territorial) Marking by scent Marking visually Note that all but the last three of these have to do with an emotion or internal state. I was interested in… Continued

From Bait Dog to Happy Pet

By Catherine Clark He is tall, dark and handsome. His name is Jacob. And he is a five-and-a-half year-old black Labrador retriever. Jacob was my fourth foster through Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida and was just over a year old when I began fostering him. One of my first duties as per the rescue organization was to take Jacob to see Angelica Steinker at Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa. Jacob was rescued in Florida’s panhandle. When found, he was full of cuts and bites. At the vet, he was… Continued

Don’t Buy That!

The other day I was not able to get out to buy groceries, so I asked a friend if he’d mind picking up some items for me. I handed him a list which looked something like this: Don’t  buy the following: Bananas Cauliflower Cereal Soy milk Swiss cheese Cherry soda So my wonderful friend came back with a bag of potato chips, apples, chocolate bar, eggs, whole milk and hamburger buns. I told him I didn’t like any of those things either. Well he was a little upset, but being… Continued

Train Your Dog Early and Often!

If you got a puppy around the holidays, now is the perfect time to start training classes. The prime time for socializing is before 16 weeks of age.  By 12 weeks, your pup has received most or all of his vaccinations. He is generally physically and mentally mature enough to really benefit from group training classes. Ideally, the class would be open only to puppies less than 16 weeks of age. However, in some areas, it may be difficult to find this specialized type of class. If no class just… Continued

Bridging the Communication Gap

By Angelica Steinker This article was originally published on page 52-53 in the January 2015 edition of BARKS from the Guild, a bi-monthly magazine published by the Pet Professional Guild. Cognizant Behavior Consulting (CBC) is an approach to behavior consulting that provides consultants and clients with guidelines, boundaries and ethics. It is an emotion-centered approach that identifies and makes use of a needs-based approach for both the dog and human client. Active listening is the process by which a consultant gathers information about dog and human clients, making use of… Continued

The Dignity of Being an Individual

By Pamela S. Hogle It’s hardly a new idea: Treat dogs as individuals. In 1963, Clarence Pfaffenberger wrote a book called The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior. A line in that book eloquently states what I see as the ideal approach to educating dogs. Pfaffenberger writes that the first time a puppy is removed from his or her litter, separated from his or her littermates for training, the puppy is given “the dignity of being an individual.” He means, I believe, that a trainer who is focused on a single dog — not… Continued

Pet Professional Guild – A Message From Niki Tudge

BARKS January 2015 Presidents Message Fetch your copy here Dear Fellow Force-Free Advocates, Another year has gone by and I ponder whether to review all of the great things we have achieved together over the past year or to focus on what we are planning for 2015. Since I am writing this in early December and it will only be read for the first time in this, our January issue of BARKS, I guess the decision is made. Let’s talk about the coming year… As always the New Year brings… Continued

How Does Matching Law Affect How We Train Our Obedience Skills?

written by Niki Tudge Much of what we do in everyday life is all about choices. At any given moment we can work or we can do something more pleasurable, let’s say take our dogs for a walk.  I can choose to do some work or train my dogs. I could then go to the beach or go to the store. I could food shop or go for a massage. I could deposit money in my bank account or buy a lottery ticket. I could train my dogs or schedule… Continued

We Can Argue over TV. Our Dogs Have to Put Up with It

To take this photograph I have been searching for a football match on TV – a first! Most of my PPG blogs arise from the stories of dogs I have been working with that have got me thinking. Many of the people I visit have their TVs on all the time, whether or not they are watching anything. I myself live with someone whose hearing is not as good as my own and who has different tastes to myself. I find it impossible to concentrate on what I am doing… Continued

False Bravado: Reframing the Old Dog Training Myths

By Karen Deeds, CDBC If you work with dog owners or cruise the dog behavior groups on Facebook you will often see dogs that are labeled ‘dominant’.  I hear this most often in client homes where they have multiple dogs and have categorized one as the dominant or “alpha” dog because of his or her interactions with the other dogs. He/she is often described as the dog who is stealing all the toys, pushing the others out of the way at the doorways, hoarding all of the chew bones or… Continued

A Puppy in Winter

By Bob McMillan It’s true, I did not time this very well. It was Indian Summer when I got my Irish wolfhound puppy, Oona. We frolicked in the yard among the butterflies and roses. This month, Old Man Winter’s hung a big “kick me” sign on my Tennessee county. The Arctic chill let up just long enough for it to rain. Again. The yard is either slime or… frozen slime. It’s unfit for either polar bears or mud ducks. And Oona is a canine juvie now. With cabin fever. A… Continued

My Dog Said “Sorry” To My Cat. I Think.

My dog Huckleberry and my kitten Cato play rough-and-tumble games all day. Huckleberry chases Cato, Cato pounces on her neck, Huckleberry fake-bites his leg, he jumps on her belly and fake-gnaws her ear. They’re friends. Not “friends” like the dog and cat who sleep together in the dog’s bed because it’s the softest, warmest spot in the house and they both want to stake their claim to it. Real friends, who have devised a code of fair play that transcends their differences in size, strength and species. You can watch… Continued

Pet Professional Guild Opens Registrations; Announces Impressive Speaker Line-Up for First-Ever Force-Free Convention

Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has opened registrations for its inaugural educational convention, The Force Free Summit – Reaching for a Higher Standard, to take place at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel in Florida on November 11-13, 2015. Aimed predominantly at pet industry training and behavior professionals and savvy pet owners, the principle goals of the summit are to build a greater awareness of PPG as the go-to organization for force-free training professionals, to build a stronger collaboration amongst said professionals, and to build communication and networking opportunities with the veterinary community. Summit 2015… Continued

Pet Professional Guild Raises the Stakes in Virtual Competition

Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is offering an unprecedented range of prizes to entice the participation of members, supporters and pet owners in its virtual community event, The International Day of Celebration for Force-Free Training and Pet Care (ICFF), taking place between now and February 17. Like its predecessor last year, ICFF 2015 entails a photo and video competition where members are invited to submit entries in various categories. However, the prizes on offer this time round are even more alluring, with a free pass to PPG’s… Continued

Helping a Fearful Dog Feel Safe

If you have a fearful dog, you probably read all sorts of conflicting advice about what to do about that. Everybody’s got an opinion, and unfortunately some of them include very poor methods. Even if we rule out the methods that are obviously based on aversive practices, like prong collars or shock systems, we are not out of the woods. A lot of the suggestions made regarding fearful dogs, while well-meaning, are not helpful in the long run and can easily cause our attempts to help the dog backfire. My favorite… Continued

“Only You Can Prevent__________”

That slogan, which has been delivered for over seventy years by the iconic Smokey Bear, is so familiar that we automatically finish the sentence with “forest fires”. If Smokey had said, “Only you can put out forest fires”, the message would have been very different; as well, some might have been compelled to submit applications to their local firefighting training academy! As I walk around my neighborhood that is heavily populated with dogs, I see time and time again, the human trying to “put out the fire” that is the… Continued


Happy New Year everyone! Like so many of you, this is a time when I reflect back on the old year and think about how I would like to improve things for the new year ahead. Dogs just want to have fun. When it comes to dogs and dog training, there are some many areas that can use our attention. If you are a dog sport competitor, you may focus on a new title or skill in your chosen event. If you are more casual dog owner, you might want… Continued

The Dangers of Stereotyping

A couple of years ago I was in England visiting my family just before Christmas. As is usual for this time of year in the UK, the weather wasn’t particularly nice. The rain was pouring down, the wind was blowing and it was icy cold. My mother and I had decided we would go to a nearby shopping centre and spend the day buying presents for family and friends. On leaving the warmth of the car I pulled up the hood on my sweatshirt, thankful for the extra protection it… Continued

Dogs Scared of Men?

As Patricia McConnell says in a blog on her website: Why Dogs are More Afraid of Men, “people in the training and behavior field know that almost all shy dogs are more afraid of men than women, even if men have been nothing but kind to them their entire lives. We’ve always speculated that it had something to do with the way men walked (more assertively?) or their bigger chests, larger jaws, and/or deeper voices. But we’ve never really known for sure what it was – perhaps it is related to… Continued

Built for Speed… and Service

By Bob McMillan Greyhounds might not be the first dog you’d think of if you were looking for candidates for service dogs for U.S. war veterans. They’re bred for explosive bursts of speed. No other breed is better equipped for sprinting than the greyhound. They have chests, lungs and hearts larger than other breeds and even their blood is different — greyhounds have more red blood cells to deliver more oxygen to muscles for running. They have a higher percentage of “fast twitch” muscles than any other breed. So how… Continued

The PPG Key Charter – Renew Your Passion

PPGs Key Charter is supported by our Vision, Mission & Values and collectively known as The PPG “Guiding Principles” As we come close to our third year of operation I wanted to share this message with you all. I personally find it very pleasurable to read and it is as meaningful today as it was when it was first written. Read our full Guiding Principles here The Guild Key Charter States That: a)  By combining and coordinating our knowledge, efforts, skills, talents and passions to pursue a common purpose, we… Continued

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