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Get With Your Money Pet Professionals & Small Business Owners!

by Niki Tudge Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! Wherever you go, you are bound to see numbers. Addresses, license plates, phones, prices and of course, money! Numbers connect us all to each other in many more ways than we might imagine. Our world revolves around numbers. Some of us enjoy dealing with numbers while others have a fear of them. I know some people who have a math or number phobia and this greatly impacts the performance of their business. If you own or operate a small business it will really help… Continued

Pet Loss and Grieving

In my opinion, the only downside to having a dog is the brevity of their life span.  Recently, I said good bye to my canine friend of 15 years, Dale. Dale had a good long life for a large dog, but it was still too short to me. I will be forever grateful for all the things she taught me. Dale was the last dog I trained using punishment and the first dog I trained with a clicker. She was incredibly athletic. Through her, I became involved in the sport… Continued

Pet Professional Guild Celebrates National Mutt Day with Mutts Gallery; Poignant Tales of Rescue

Tampa, FL – The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is celebrating National Mutt Day with the creation of its very own Mutts’ Gallery. The gallery features photos of PPG supporters’ mutts along with incredible tales of their rescues, their achievements once given a second chance in life and the impact they have had on their owners’ lives. “There are countless tales of the heroics of mixed breed dogs over the centuries,” said Niki Tudge, PPG President and Founder. “In our PPG Mutts Gallery alone there are stories of mutts rescued off the streets and highways… Continued

Be Brave – Take a Stand, Move Shock Off The Table!

by Niki Tudge   For a force-free trainer, shock collars are off the table. There is never a need or time when considering using one would be acceptable. Why? An effective pet dog training program is one component of your dog’s physical, mental, environmental and nutritional well-being. Training should be conducted in a manner that encourages learning, creates confidence, prevents aggressive or fearful responses, and energizes the dog. Training should not only be effective, it should be fun, and support appropriate socialization and emotional stability so your dog can successfully… Continued

What Does “Aggressive” Look Like Anyway?

I was recently looking for photos of dogs displaying “aggressive behavior” for an article in BARKS from the Guild, the quarterly publication produced by the Pet Professional Guild. There were plenty of them in the image library. Pictures of dogs showing their teeth that is. The only problem was, not a single one of the dogs was actually being aggressive even though they had been tagged as such. All I could find were photos of dogs showing their teeth with soft lips and facial expressions, and pictures of dogs playing,… Continued

Enjoyable Walks: More Than Just Dog Training – a Holistic Approach

This is the story of a new client I went to the other day with two three-year-old re-homed German Shepherds: Princess and Duke. I was called because walks are a nightmare for the whole family, the lady in particular. First a bit of background. The five family members are very conscientious dog owners. The dogs are fed raw food which the lady has thoroughly researched. They have been taught many training tricks and much time is lavished on them. The last of Princess’ eight puppies went to a carefully checked… Continued

A Little Truth in Advertising, Please

Can a dog trainer advertise that they’re “force-free” and then strap a shock collar on your dog? Surprisingly, they can — and some do. This puts dog owners in a bad place if you believe positive training is the only acceptable way to help your furry friend learn your rules. How do you wade through the sometimes outrageous claims dog trainers make?  What red flags do you look for? First, realize that dog training is an unregulated industry. Doctors, lawyers, big rig drivers, hair dressers and nail technicians all have to… Continued

It’ll Be a Cold Day in July…

Thanks to the polar vortex, Lexington, KY enjoyed near-record low temperatures in the mid-50s (Fahrenheit) and lower humidity this past week of July. I took advantage and walked Zip and Trevor in my neighborhood after work most evenings. One evening Zip and I shared dinner outside. Sometimes Zip has difficulty grasping the food from the bowl as he’s missing some front teeth, so I will spoon feed him a portion of his meal as I do in this video clip. How much of this reluctance to eat alone is because Zip… Continued

Getting Started in Getting Organized

by Niki Tudge One of the hardest parts about getting organized is sorting and sifting through all the “stuff”. But all this “stuff” can cause distractions and take up valuable space. When you find yourself among stacks and piles of “stuff” it feels really overwhelming. So let’s breathe and take the first step to de-cluttering your life and get started on a path to better organization. If you get more organized then you can be much more productive, more efficient with time and more effective in each of your tasks.… Continued

Corrections. Paradigm Shift?

Let’s face it, humans are “trained” to correct other humans. We correct our spouses, our children, our co-workers and so it isn’t a stretch that this thinking spills over into dog training. We wait for something to go wrong or for someone to do something wrong so we can then correct it. The reality is corrections evoke fear and erode trust. I certainly wouldn’t want this man in my face, would you? Why are animals subjected to this type of body language? Corrections The word itself is offputting. When it… Continued

Not All Dog Bites Are Created Equal

Dogs bite because they have teeth is a saying among dog trainers. It is not said in the spirit of sarcasm, though in some benign cases it could be applied, it is said in an attempt to remind people, all people that dogs have teeth and they use their teeth and mouth for many aspects of their life. The point is; respect it and get used to it so you can communicate with teeth- and mouth- centric creatures in a safe and positive way. Here are some facts about dogs and… Continued

A Little Night Music, Please

By Bob McMillan It’s a question I’m sure that Beethoven and Mozart asked themselves at some point in their illustrious careers: “Sure, the crowned heads of Europe love my stuff, but how do dogs feel about my music?” Well, as it turns out, dogs are big on classical music. Researchers have studied it. Really. The question came to mind the other day when I read that the Dog TV channel has hired Grammy-winning musician Andrew Dost to write some relaxing tunes for dogs who are stuck at home alone while… Continued

Does Your Dog REALLY Want to Be Petted?

Newsflash. Not all dogs want to be petted. But you wouldn’t know it from watching videos on YouTube. What you can learn on YouTube is that there are lots of dogs whose owners “think” they are enjoying petting. But they aren’t. This is another one of those disconnects between dog and people language. People who clearly adore their dogs – and whose dogs love them – post videos of said dogs saying in every polite way they know how that they would like the human to STOP. And in all of… Continued

Stress and Dog Training

I’d like to thank The Pet Professional Guild for asking me to blog for their website. I feel there is no better organization for pet dog guardians or pet professionals to be members of.  I’m honored to be part of the PPG team both as a professional member and as a contributor of information via their blog roll. My blog series for PPG is geared towards the very active and very inclusive dog-human dynamic. Essentially if your companion dog is as much every part of your life as your human… Continued

My Dog Is a Sociopath!

My dog is a sociopath! Well he must be because I’ve never seen that “guilty” look on his face when I come home and he has destroyed something! Apparently most dogs are very guilty creatures. Just Google “guilty dogs” and you’ll see an array of photos and videos, some of which have gone viral. Heck, Good Morning America invited Denver the Guilty Dog on their program, along with his housemate, Macy, who was not a guilty dog, but a “sneaky dog”…hmm. It is just my luck to have a dog who… Continued

Getting to Know You: The Human-Canine Bond

By Bob McMillan Everybody with a dog knows that Fido needs to learn the household rules, but it’s easy to put the cart before the horse. Before a dog learns to sit, much less goes on to agility trials, obedience competitions, flyball or musical freestyle events, he needs a rock solid foundation —  a quality bond between the dog and the owner. It’s something that’s often talked about but sometimes misunderstood. If you’ve got it, it’s obvious. If not, it’s never too late to fix it. The human-canine bond isn’t… Continued

It’s Okay to Comfort Your Dog!

U.S. folks and Canadians, get ready for the fireworks! This is partially a re-post from 2013, but I’ve added some new resources. People in the U.S. and Canada are getting ready for national holidays that often include all sorts of loud pops and booms from fireworks and firecrackers, even cannons and guns. These kinds of noises scare some dogs very badly, and during these holidays the noises are unpredictable and can go on for a long time period. A lot of folks worry about comforting their dogs when they are afraid,… Continued

Ode to a Kong

I think that there shall never be/A toy as useful as the K-O-N-G/They give our dogs stupendous joy/Who hasn’t used this wonderful toy? Have you ever used a Kong? I find creative stuffing is the key to success. So often my clients tell me they have one, but that the dog isn’t interested. Then, I shove a tiny delicious treat in the small end, pack in some kibble and seal it with a semi soft treat. Voilà, the dog is entranced! A stuffed Kong is useful in so many ways.… Continued

Resource Guarding: Knowing the Signs

Daisy was a serial resource guarder. Whether this was genetics, early learning, her experiences living rough or a combination of all three, I found out about it the hard way when I walked past her one day and she was chewing on a bone in a doorway. Of course, I should have thought of it but didn’t. I got too close for her liking so she nipped at my shin. Fortunately she had (and still has) a degree of bite inhibition so it wasn’t deep – but she did draw blood. I… Continued

What the Nose Knows

By Bob McMillan A whiff of cinnamon can whisk you back to that day years ago when you baked cookies with grandma on a rainy Saturday. You stroll into a florist to buy flowers for a party and the smell of the flowers floods you with memories of your father’s funeral. A single scent can ruin your day, energize you, give you hope and affect your decisions  — it’s the power of scent and memory. Our sense of smell has come under intense scrutiny by scientists and marketeers in recent… Continued

Gun Dogs: Just a Commodity?

The other day I visited Rufus, a beautiful  four-year-old chocolate Labrador. He had, until a year ago, been gun dog trained. Whilst harsh training methods may well work in the moment, there is usually future fallout of some sort. In my opinion, gun dogs ‘used’ by people solely for hunting are regarded as a commodity and nothing more. By this I mean that the dogs are trained and owned specifically to do a job and that’s it. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself but they are often kept alone… Continued

Is That “Smiling” Dog Happy?

Maybe, but maybe not! We humans tend to get warm and fuzzy feelings when we see dogs “smile.” It’s true that some dogs’ mouths open in a cute smile when they are relaxed and happy. But a dog with his mouth open could alternatively be panting from pain, stress or fear. Can we tell the difference? The following pairs of photos show my dogs stressed (left column) and relaxed (right column). The dogs have their mouths open in all the photos. The usual disclaimers apply. When you run across someone’s still photo with… Continued

We Are All Individuals, BSL or Not

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) categorizes a dog as dangerous simply because of what breed he/she happens to be. This is the same as if we were to say, for example, that all people with long blond hair should be put in prison. A few people with long blond hair have indeed acted aggressively so it makes total sense to lock them all up. Oh gosh, what am I saying? I have long blond hair: better incarcerate me now, just in case! One of the members of my family happens to… Continued

Thumbs and Empathy

By Bob McMillan I spotted it driving down a rural road in Tennessee just before dawn one morning on my way to work. At the edge of my headlights, strolling nonchalantly down a driveway, was a coyote, unperturbed by my passing car. My first thought was, “You lucky dog. You go where you want to go, do what you want to do when you want to do it. You’re free, the master of your own domain.” I was a little sleep-addled, obviously, because my three dogs were back home doing exactly… Continued

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