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Fallout is Not Good for You…or Your Pet (Part One)


Recently I received an application from a potential client, who I will fictitiously call Jane Doe. Jane reported how she brought a boxer puppy into her life. Her primary concern was that her puppy was excited around new people, jumping on them, and she pulled on the leash. Jane took her pup to a group class, but her puppy was usually put behind a fence and got little help from the trainer. Excitability, jumping on people and pulling on leash sounded like typical puppy behavior and I thought, “Oh good,… Continued


Puppy Not Listening to You? Here’s Why and What to Do!


  “I love it when my pet doesn’t listen to me,” said no one ever. So what happens when your calls fall on deaf ears (when your dog isn’t actually deaf)? What else might be going on if you feel your puppy isn’t listening or responding to you?  There are many reasons why your pet is failing to respond to you. We’re going to get into it here, and help you with tried and tested strategies that will help your pet listen to you. Why is My Puppy Not Listening… Continued


I’ve Been Rescued by a Pet


This blog post is the Runner-up in our Pets and Their People PPG Summit Blog Contest which invited entrants to submit a blog post on the topic of being rescued by a pet. This week we celebrated Dezra’s Gotcha Day! Ten Years!! We adopted Dezra on August 17, 2013. Ten years ago, I could not have imagined where I am now. Dezra truly changed my life, and the lives of many other dogs when she joined our family. After our dog Theo passed away, my husband and I were looking to… Continued


How to Interact with a Dog – Respecting Personal Space


While many people recognize and address the physical health of their pets, the same cannot always be said for their pets’ mental well-being. Sadly, I’m not surprised, as some people fail to recognize the importance of mental health in humans, believing behavioral issues are character flaws rather than symptoms of illness or distress. Behavior problems with pets are on the rise. Often, they occur due to an aspect of a pet’s mental health and emotional well-being. Feeling Safe Every dog, like every person, has a personal space bubble. Each person… Continued


Becoming a Cat Person


This blog post is the Winner in our Pets and Their People PPG Summit Blog Contest which invited entrants to submit a blog post on the topic of being rescued by a pet. I was never a cat person. First of all, I had a cat allergy. A few hours near a cat and my nose started dripping like a faucet. Strike one. Soldiering through my congestion, the animal-lover in me desperately wanted to pet my aunt’s cats when we visited for holidays. She led me into the bedroom and let… Continued


Ask a Trainer: Help for a Dog Who Growls at Strangers


Q. My newly adopted 2-year-old female golden retriever is lovely with my husband and I, but growls (and has once snapped) at strange men. I realize she was probably abused by some man in the past. How do I help her get over this problem? – via Facebook Messenger A. I would ask a few questions if you were to come to me as a client with this situation. First, how long have you had her? Dogs in a new environment need time to decompress before meeting people. Were the men… Continued


Looking for a Fun Way to Enrich the Life of Your Cat? Give Agility a Try!


Modeled after the equestrian sport of show jumping and adapted first by the dog world, feline agility is a team sport whereby a handler directs a cat through a preset obstacle course. By the very fact that agility is a team sport, it can strengthen the bond between you and your cat. Agility has physical and cognitive benefits too. It gets everyone off the couch, burns calories, and builds muscles. Because it draws on environmental memory, agility helps cats adapt more easily to new situations. Finally, agility uses cats’ natural… Continued


Top 5 Stress Busters for Pet Parents


Sharing your life with a pet can be wonderful; they offer us so much in companionship, comfort, and unconditional love. But let’s face it, pet parenting is tough. The responsibility of having a living creature completely dependent on you, and the desire for them to be well-behaved pet citizens can become overwhelming and a source of much frustration and anxiety. The simple truth is training any pet doesn’t always go as planned. Stumbling blocks and setbacks are completely normal and should be expected. There will be exercises and training that… Continued


Visiting Public Dog Parks, or Not


  It seems public dog parks are popping up all around the county I live in, and clients frequently ask me “What do you think about dog parks?” to which I reply, “I like the concept, but not like the consequences.” What Is the Concept of a Dog Park? A fenced property is provided for public use where folks may take their dogs to either play by themselves or with other dogs. Some parks have a single fence while others are divided into small dog spaces and large dog spaces.… Continued


When Pet Surrender Is Your Best Option


It is sometimes perceived that people who surrender their pets to a shelter don’t care about them or want what’s best for them. In pet rescue, a field that is frequently overburdened, underfunded, and rife with compassion fatigue, our brains may adhere to the most convenient scapegoat. But that same overwhelm and lack of resources is not exclusive to the shelter worker; it may plague the surrenderer as well. Those surrendering their pets would often prefer to go another route but are lacking in time, money, energy, and/or support. If… Continued


How to Make Your Pet’s Space Cozy


We all have a favorite place to relax and unwind. For some of us it might be our bed, favorite chair or a peaceful reading area. Our pets are no different, and although they can’t curl up with a good book, they do like a comfortable, safe space to relax and rest.  Rest and relaxation is as important for our pets as it is for us. So how do you go about creating the perfect resting spot for your pet?  Choosing the right spot for your pet to relax The… Continued


Should I Play Tug with My Puppy?


Should I play tug with my puppy? Yes, with only a few simple rules. There are many myths in the world of dog training. One such myth is that playing tug with a dog encourages aggressive behavior. There is no evidence supporting that notion, so you can relax and play tug with your pup. So, why are puppies so mouthy? One common, if not universal, complaint I hear from puppy families is that their pups grab their clothing and tug. Consider that everything in the puppy’s world is a new… Continued


Do Pets Experience Emotional Trauma?


[Trigger warnings: abuse, hostage-taking, kidnapping, threats of violence] I recently met a gentleman who, upon learning I worked with animals, stated “I don’t know how you feel about this, but I demand my dog do whatever I ask him to do, immediately when I ask, and I have no problem hitting my dog.” He also was quick to tell me his dog loved him and they had a great relationship. I later learned his dog is 14 years old. Well, no dog should be treated that way, but older dogs… Continued


Pet Parenting Can Be Hard. It’s Okay – You Are Not Alone.


Pet guardianship can be trying at times. The good news is that if you’re reading this letter, you’re doing a great job! As professional canine behavior consultant and frequent Pets and Their People content contributor Don Hanson simply states in his article on building trusting and joyful relationships with pets, “No pet is preprogrammed to exist with humans harmoniously. Therefore, you will need to kindly and patiently teach your pet what they need to know.” If you’re thinking to yourself, that sounds easier said than done, the pet professionals who… Continued


Animal Training Foundations for Future Success


I’m very much into practical training and tend to focus on building behaviors that make managing and handling animals easier. Practical Training Foundations The benefit of this approach is that most of the behaviors I focus on build a foundation for the more advanced behaviors that people ultimately want. Teaching your horse to line up at the mounting block is great, but not if your horse is throwing his head up when you try to halter him in the stall, or is cutting you off when you’re trying to walk… Continued


Summer Fun for Dogs & Puppies


It’s summertime (in the Northern Hemisphere) with longer days, meaning that we can spend more time enjoying the nice weather with our puppies or dogs. For Dogs Who Love Water If you are spending time in the garden, make sure you provide shade and water. If your dog or puppy enjoys a paddle, then you can provide a paddling pool for your pup to play in and you can buy toys that float. Be careful with your dog or puppy around your sprinkler and limit the use or buy a… Continued


What Is Canine Kennel Cough?


Symptoms & Prevention* Canine cough, or kennel cough, are lay terms for Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). There are many bacteria and viruses which can cause this illness. However, the most prevalent of the bacteria that cause this illness is Bordetella bronchiseptica. This illness involves an inflammation of a dog’s trachea and upper bronchi, similar to bronchitis in a human. The air flowing over the inflamed tissues can be very irritating, which causes the dog to cough. *Editor’s note: This information does not replace the advice or instruction given to… Continued


Help Your Pet Enjoy (not just tolerate) Brushing and Nail Trims!


You can help your pet enjoy basic care, such as brushing and nail trims, at home. Here are our tips so that some common husbandry procedures can be pleasurable for everyone involved. Cooperative care and basic home pet care activities that help to keep pets healthy like grooming, bathing and nail clips have come a long way from the days of just ‘getting on with it.’ We now give our pets much more control and choice over these procedures so that they find them enjoyable. Brushing Your Pet Brushing your… Continued


Rocket Man vs Squirrels – What to Do When Dogs Overreact to Things in the Environment


Do you live with a dog who goes bonkers upon seeing squirrels or rabbits during walks?  I often hear that complaint from pet stewards. Five years ago, I taught Rocket basic manners. He learned quickly but his family reported that, true to his terrier nature, he became very excited upon seeing squirrels and rabbits and launched himself toward them, earning the moniker of Rocket Man. The result for the person holding the leash was sore knees and shoulders, as Rocket unexpectedly bolted ahead. It was particularly concerning during winter conditions… Continued


Ask A Trainer: Help! My Dog’s Barking is Getting Worse


  Q. My 3-year-old whippet barks as soon as someone arrives next door, especially with a dog. This has gotten worse and I am at a loss to know how to stop him. – via Facebook A. Thank you for your question. We need to try and work out why your dog is barking. For example, is your dog barking because he is defending the house? Or is he worried? Or excited by people and/or other dogs? When someone arrives next door, is your dog’s barking triggered by him seeing… Continued


When You See Service Dogs with Their Handlers in Public, Remember These Three Tips


Service dogs are trained to provide specialized services to individuals with disabilities in order to help them live more independent and fulfilling lives. Service dogs are an invaluable resource for individuals with physical and mental disabilities. With this context in mind, it is important to understand proper service dog etiquette. Here are three tips to remember when you see service dogs and their handlers in public: Tip #1: First and foremost, it is important to remember that a service dog is not a pet. Service dogs are highly trained to… Continued


House Training 101: Tips and Tricks for a Mess-Free Home with Your New Puppy


You brought home your new puppy and quickly discovered they are a peeing and pooping machine. House training a puppy can seem like a daunting task. It can feel frustrating at times. I mean, who wants to clean pee and poop? No one! But I’m here to tell you that it’s totally doable—and in less time than you might think. By following my tips and tricks, you’ll have your puppy house trained in no time flat. Let’s address one important thing before we get started… you ARE going to miss… Continued


Why is Play So Important for Your Relationship with Your Dog?


Isn’t playing with your dog just the best? Playing with your dog is something that can be done anytime, anywhere. We can use play as a great way of bonding with our dogs, and also use it as a motivator for training.  Bonding with Your Dog Through Play Here are our thoughts on why play is so good for strengthening the relationship between you and your dog:  It gives your dog a workout. Play is a great way to exercise with your dog, help them burn off some energy and… Continued


Why Sleep Is So Important for Equids


Horses, donkeys and mules have different sleep/wake cycles than humans. They spend about 12% (horses) or 13% (donkeys) of their 24-hour day sleeping. They also tend to have multiple short sleeps during a 24-hour period, and these periods can be both during the daytime and during nighttime. Types of Sleep What’s important to know is that, like humans, equids have more than one type of sleep. There’s light dozing, deep sleep and REM sleep (dream sleep). Most people are familiar with a dozing horse or donkey, with low head, half… Continued


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