Page 1 #PPGSummit

The 2nd Pet Professional Guild Force-Free Educational Summit TAMPA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 7 - 11, 2016

Special Souvenir Coverage By BARKS from the Guild TM


#PPGSummit 2016: Beyond Dominance

Susan Nilson reports on PPG’s second educational summit, featuring highlights from keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall’s address on the “insidious” nature of dominance theory Ready to launch: (left to right) PPG president Niki Tudge, keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall, PPG special counsel Dr. Lynn Honeckman and summit presenter Pat Miller


undreds of pet professionals descended on Tampa, Florida in early November last year for the second ever Pet Professional Guild educational summit. Like its predecessor, the event was an enormous success thanks to the incredible line-up of speakers, the range of education presented, the fun extra-curricular activities, the enthusiasm of the attendees, the support of the vendors and exhibitors, and the hard work of the staff and volunteers. Making a return at the 2016 event was popular 2015 keynote speaker, Dr. Karen Overall, who was joined by pet industry luminaries such as Dr. Marty Becker,Victoria Stilwell, Ken Ramirez, Malena DeMartini Price, Chirag Patel, Pat Miller, Ken McCort, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Janis Bradley, Emily Larlham, and many, many more. As has quickly become tradition, PPG president, Niki Tudge kicked off proceedings with a light-hearted welcome address that provided an update on PPG’s many initiatives, both current and planned, including Pet Dog Ambassador, Project Trade, Pet Professional Accreditation Board, the inaugural virtual Pet Care Summit, the expanding PPG cat committee, the PPG training hotline and member and client call center, BARKS from the Guild, the PPGBI Mini Summit, the PPG scholarship fund (to be rolled out this year), and the new Be A Tree educational packages that will soon be available to PPG members. “I want to set the tone for our summit: have fun, and enjoy, engage and educate,” Tudge said. She then announced the No Shock Coalition, an upcoming advocacy initiative with the goal of building a strong and broad movement worldwide that is committed to eliminating shock devices from the supply and demand chain. “It is the belief of the No Shock Coalition that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain, punishment and fear,” said Tudge to resounding applause. 10

BARKS from the Guild/January 2017

PPG president Niki Tudge (left) introduces PPG Summit keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall

Tudge then introduced Dr. Karen Overall, who proceeded to deliver her presentation, Current Trends: Beyond dominance and discipline with characteristic passion and aplomb. Overall commenced by explaining that she had had an “epiphany” regarding how “insidious” dominance theory is in the field of dog training and behavior. “Dominance theory has shut off scientific research and has crept into medicine to the point where we think we can do things to animals whereby we are asking them to ‘submit’,” she said. “[At the vet’s office] we put them on a table even though they don’t want to be put on a table. And why would we teach a dog to heel? That’s just about control. It’s not a natural behavior. In pop psychology, dominance theory is insidious and has crept into everything we do with dogs and it’s wrong. It has gotten in the way of modern science and I’ve just about had it. Every single thing we do with dogs hurts them because we don’t see them as individuals or cognitive partners. We always test cognition by asking dogs to speak our language. We add this extra hurdle.” Overall explained that, according to Hare et al., dogs differ from both chimps and hand-reared wolves in their ability to act on signals from humans that indicate where food or objects are hidden, and that dogs respond like humans, demonstrating similar cognitive processes.1 “In addition, dogs have the ability to make cognitive associations via fast mapping,”2 Overall said. Overall stated that her take home message was to be cautious about how we label behaviors because, while labels do not structure social relationships, they can do damage. “The words you choose may not reflect either the behavior or its meaning, and may not be defined the same way by others,” she said. “Describe behaviors: in ethology and in veterinary behavioral medicine, behaviors ARE the data. Unfortunately, the dominance, discipline and coercion approach has affected every aspect of how we interact with dogs from basic training to treating troubled dogs. We MUST abandon these cruel, scientifically unsupported labels and approaches and replace them with a hu-


mane, scientifically-based approach that is dog-centric and atOverall believes that the misapplication of terms may reveal tempts to understand situations from the viewpoint of the dog.” more about humans and their concerns than might have been inOverall explained that the concept of dominance was origitended. “No terminology should make us more brutal in what we nally developed for use in describing territorial interactions in encourage intraspecifically or interspecifically,” she said. “If we birds. believe that any social structure is created and maintained by “‘Dominance’ in this context pertains to an individual’s ability, force, we have no option but to use forceful behavioral techgenerally under controlled conditions, to mainniques. Such techniques are outdated, not helptain or regulate access to some resource (e.g., ful, and dangerous: they make dogs – and food, space),” she said. “There is still no guaranhumans – fearful, anxious and more aggressive.” tee of priority of access. If what we wish to unOverall shared that she lives with two dogs derstand is how animals organize their social who, in their previous lives, wore shock collars interactions and what happens when something and who, she said, will “never completely get goes wrong, a more balanced, interactive, and over it.” “Shock collars and e-fences should be dynamic approach is needed. No terminology banned from the face of the planet,” Overall should blind us to the species-typical viewpoint said, pointing out that researchers are “moving (e.g. the dog from THE DOG’S viewpoint).” away from the viewpoint that regards dogs as Overall stated that humans have been charcapricious charges that must be controlled and acterizing dogs “as if they were Facebook disciplined to one viewing dogs as partners friends,” yet the reality is that they are cognithat share a history of coevolution, work and tive individuals. “There are fingerprints in their increasing urbanization.” DNA that suggest convergence or coevolution “Dogs work for accurate information,” with humans in neurochemical patterns,” she Overall said. “Accurate information minimizes said. “A lot was lost – and is still lost - in pop risk and increases predictability. The relative Dr. Karen Overall: “In pop psychology, abilities of individuals to provide and respond psychology and cultural translation. It’s critical theory is insidious and has to realize that most of the training terminology dominance to such information, given any context, struccrept into everything we do with dogs and approaches came from self-appointed ‘exand it’s wrong. It has gotten in the way tures social relationships. Understanding the of modern science.” perts’ without the power of science behind complexity of social signaling and cognition can them. Within the scientific literature the word ‘dominance’ was help us to provide a humane, mutually beneficial environment for never actually used in the way it is used in training today, which dogs that includes a dog-centric consideration, where we work is, essentially, patriarchal and often misogynistic.” in a collaborative partnership with dogs who share our lives.” n Hare, B., Brown, M.,Williamson, C., & Tomasello, M. (2002, November). The Domestication of Social Cognition in Dogs. Science 298 1634-1636. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from www 1

2 “During speech acquisition, children form quick and rough hypotheses about the meaning of a new word after only a single exposure—a

process dubbed “fast mapping.” …Fast mapping…appears to be mediated by general learning and memory mechanisms also found in other animals and not by a language acquisition device that is special to humans.” - Kaminski, J., Call, J., & Fischer, J. (2004, June). Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for “Fast Mapping.” SCIENCE 304 5677, 1682-1683. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from .PresentA.Kaminski%20et%20al.%20(2004).pdf

The Big Reveal: The Official Summit T-Shirt


PG member Laura Nalven of Atta Pup Dog and Puppy Training in Hagerstown, Maryland submitted the winning design for the official summit T-shirt (pictured above right with PPG steering committee member, Kelly Fahey). n BARKS from the Guild/January 2017




New Look for 2016: Guest Speaker and General Presenters

PG’s 2016 summit expanded on the previous year’s program, and each full day featured one or two general sessions that were open to all attendees. Four popular presenters took up these slots: Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, who presented By the Case: Come see what a behaviorist’s caseload is like; Chirag Patel, who presented Behavior Science beyond the ‘Quadrant’ and ‘Learning Theory’; Ken Ramirez, who presented Evolving Challenges for

the Positive Reinforcement Trainer in the Modern World; and Victoria Stilwell, who presented Inside Your Dog’s Mind. In addition, Dr. Marty Becker joined the event as a guest speaker and educated the audience on the Fear FreeTM Movement he has developed, which aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. n

“Nobody gets into this business to make life worse for animals…Nobody wants to take their pet to the vet – it’s stressful.The reasons people don’t go to the vet are: 1. Stress to the pet. 2. Cost. 3. Stress to the owner.The Fear Free initiative looks at physical and emotional well-being. Everything we do is to remove fear and stress.” - Dr. Marty Becker

“The end goal of training should be animal welfare.The primary goal of training is something that directly benefits the individual animal such as physical exercise, mental stimulation and cooperative behavior.We put the animal’s needs first. Choice is a huge reinforcer for animals. If you use force then choice is pretty much off the table.” - Ken Ramirez

What They Said...

“Pet owners will bring complaints that are non-specific: aggression, destructive behavior, howling/barking, and house soiling, and you need to be able to look at the context to determine if the behavior is abnormal or not.” - Dr. Soraya JuarbeDiaz

“Science looks at seeking nature’s truths and a specific effort is taken to gather and evaluate information in a deliberate and systematic manner.We should always be thinking about what is the function of the behavior.We need to understand behavior not just from how it looks, but why animals do what they do.” - Chirag Patel



#PPGSummit 2016: Group Photos

PG members traveled from all over the world to attend the 2016 Summit, including all regions of the USA, plus Canada, Australia, UK, Spain, and Finland. We recorded them all in our series of group photos (see pictures, right, and opposite page). “We are thrilled to see so many members representing so many different geographical areas,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. “PPG strives to be a member-centric organization and the summit provides us with the perfect opportunity to interact with our members and find out how we can help them drive their businesses and make them even more successful, all the while spreading the force-free message.” n

Pacific North West, USA

BARKS from the Guild/January 2017

“Domestication has given dogs their own kind of intelligence: a higher tolerance for coping with novelty, the ability to adapt better to environments and situations, and the ability to form relationships with dogs and humans. Dogs have aligned themselves with the most dangerous predator on the planet and have evolved to read our signals. ” - Victoria Stilwell

#PPGSummit 2016: Group Photos

South West, USA

Mid West, USA

California, USA

Florida, USA

South East, USA

North East, USA



BARKS from the Guild/January 2017





No Pain No Force No Fear: The PPG Tattoo Competition

he PPG tattoo competition was entertaining as always, with participants impressing judges,Victoria Stilwell and Niki Tudge (bottom right) with their creativity. As a result, prizes were generously - and somewhat randomly - distributed, and a good time had by all. n


Vendors and Exhibitors: Essential Support Network

A big thank you to all our sponsors, vendors and exhibitors!

BARKS from the Guild/January 2017


#PPGSummit 2016: Prize Winners

PPG president, Niki Tudge (left), PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan (center) with Australia’s first ever canine training technician - accredited, Kate Denman

New dog trainers: (left to right) Courtney Roberts, Sheila Blanchette, Karen Mizell, Tiffany Lovell and Anthony De Marinis (inset shows De Marinis with Victoria Stilwell)

PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Terri Shackleton

PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Kat Martin

BARKS from the Guild editor, Susan Nilson (left) with Leanne Hugg

PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Erica Beckwith

PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Andrew Murphy

PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan (left) with Tricia Dunlop

PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Sally Saxton

PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Emily Musgrove

PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Lauri Bowen-Vaccare

PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Rachel Harris

BARKS from the Guild/January 2017


#PPGSummit 2016: In Pictures

#PPGSummit 2016: In Pictures

BARKS from the Guild January 2017 PPG Summit Coverage (Tampa, FL 2016)  

Report and pictorial from PPG's second educational, force-free summit, held in Tampa, Florida, November 2016.

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