BARKS from the Guild March 2016

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BARKS from the Guild

Issue No. 17 / March 2016

TRAINING From Tigers to Dogs

CANINE Reverse Breed Prejudice AVIAN Undesirable Vocalization

Š Can Stock Photo Inc./pitrs

SERVICE DOGS Making the Grade CONSULTING The Power of Emotional Contagion FELINE Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

TRENDS Dogs at Work in Prisons

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie: The Importance of Sleep and Relaxation in Behavior Modification A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild: By the Members for the Members


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from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545 Tel: 41 Dog-Train (413-648-7246) Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson

Images © Can Stock Photo: (unless otherwise credited; uncredited images belong to PPG)

The Guild Steering Committee Mary Jean Alsina, Kelly Fahey, Rebekah King, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge BARKS from the Guild Published bi-monthly, BARKS from the Guild presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as well as reviews and news stories pertinent to our industry. BARKS is the official publication of the Pet Professional Guild.

Submissions BARKS encourages the submission of original written materials. Please contact the Editor-in-Chief for contributor guidelines prior to sending manuscripts or see: Please submit all contributions via our submission form at:

Letters to the Editor To comment on an author’s work, or to let PPG know what topics you would like to see more of, contact the Editor-in-Chief via email putting BARKS in the subject line of your email. BARKS reserves the right to edit for length, grammar and clarity.

Subscriptions and Distribution Please contact Rebekah King at for all subscription and distribution-related enquiries. Advertising Please contact Niki Tudge at to obtain a copy of rates, ad specifications, format requirements and deadlines. Advertising information is also available at:

PPG does not endorse or guarantee any products, services or vendors mentioned in BARKS, nor can it be responsible for problems with vendors or their products and services. PPG reserves the right to reject, at its discretion, any advertising. The Pet Professional Guild is a membership business league representing pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training and pet care philosophies, practices and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean: No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Prong, No Fear, No Physical Force, No Physical Molding and No Compulsion-Based Methods.


From the Editor

e have another packed issue of BARKS this month. I am constantly blown away by the quality of the editorial contributions we receive from PPG members and the depth of knowledge and skill they represent, so want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributes, both regularly and on an ad hoc basis. If you would like to join them and share your experience, knowledge and expertise, drop us a line here at BARKS. Our Cover Story this month focuses on the very important issue of rest and relaxation, something that may sometimes get overlooked in a behavior change program. As the article states, helping a dog to relax and attain deep sleep on a daily basis can go a long way towards releasing stress – particularly when dealing with a challenging dog. As professionals, we are perfectly placed to set up the environment to enable this to happen. On the subject of training, we reveal the details of two amazing new training initiatives for dog owners and pet professionals – TrickMeister and Pet Dog Ambassador. Read all about them in the Education section. There is plenty more on the topic of training, including an article about one PPG member who started out training just about every exotic you can think of, but was told she would not be able to train a dog using the same (force-free) methods. Needless to say, she proved her doubters completely wrong. We also have the second instalment in the tale of Stella the Chihuahua cross, who went from being abandoned in a shelter to a service dog in training for her owner’s PTSD. Our Canine section includes the intriguing concept of reverse breed prejudice, i.e. when people expect your terrified/ anxious/reactive/fearful/poorly socialized golden retriever to be a happy, bouncy, friendly, social dog because, as is commonly believed, “all goldens are friendly.” Except the ones who are not, of course, and our article underlines the challenges therein. Our Trends section features an inspirational piece recounting the experiences of a therapy dog team that regularly visits a correctional institution. It is hard not to be moved reading about the profound effect such visits have on staff, residents and other visitors. Elsewhere, in our Feline section, we focus on feline cognitive dysfunction, about which there seems to be little, if any, research in spite of the fact that cats commonly live well into their teens and even their 20s. We also look at how to set up cats to cope better with life’s potentially stressful events. In our Avian section we investigate how to best create a successful bird cage set-up, and feature the delightful tale of Molly, the eclectus parrot who was abandoned because she had a habit of making a beeping sound like a smoke alarm when the battery needs replacing – except louder – for a minimum of 15 minutes every time. Although the behavior had been inadvertently reinforced for over a year, Molly’s turnaround was surprisingly quick, thanks to the skill (and patience) of her guardian. Rounding it all off with the Business section, we examine emotional contagion and how it can be applied to behavior consults, as well as how to formalize each person’s role in the behavior consulting process.

n Susan Nilso

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NEWS #PPGSummit 2016, PPGBI Mini Summit, feline and advocacy committees, business memberships, corporate partnerships EDUCATION Launch of TrickMeister and Pet Dog Ambassador initiatives, plus PPG workshops and webinars PPG SUMMIT 2016 #PPGSummit: Everything you need to know in a nutshell LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE Diane Garrod showcases the magic behind relaxation, calm and deep sleep to change behavior in dogs FROM TIGERS TO TERRIERS Dawn Goehring describes her realization that force-free methods are equally effective, whether training exotics or dogs LEARNING BECOMES ALMOST EFFORTLESS Louise Stapleton-Frappell explains why reframing behaviors as tricks can help trainers change their approach A CHIHUAHUAÊS SUCCESS STORY L.A. Bykowsky and Chere McCoy detail Stella the rescue dog’s continuing progress with service dog training THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDBACK Lisa Tenzin-Dolma outlines the significance of communication with dogs during training to ensure a better learning experience SELECTING A TRAINING TREAT Donna Savoie explains why the reinforcement must be both practical and something that the dog loves IS IT WORKING FOR YOU? Ada Simms explores the common behavior of jumping up MAKING THE CASE FOR SPACE Tonya Wilhelm tells the tale of the inverted prejudice she experienced with her dog-reactive golden retriever THE THREE-BARK RULE Diane Garrod presents a useful technique to manage the common issue of over-barking, no matter where the location NATURE VS. NURTURE Gail Radtke discusses the significance of genetics and early learning in terms of relevance to puppy temperament testing PRISON DOGS Daniel Antolec relates his experiences as part of a therapy dog team visiting a local correctional institution NO DEFINITIVE ANSWERS Jane Ehrlich examines the issue of feline cognitive dysfunction and wonders why there is so little research available MONEY IN THE BANK Patience Fisher discusses the importance of setting up cats to cope better with potentially stressful experiences SUCCESSFUL CAGE SET-UPS Vicki Ronchette highlights the importance of setting up a bird’s living space to suit individual needs and preferences BREAKING THE CYCLE Lara Joseph explains how she quickly modified a highly undesirable vocalization in Molly the rescue eclectus parrot SPREADING THE JOY Angelica Steinker explains how emotional contagion can be applied to dog behavior training and consulting CREATING SHARED MEANING Niki Tudge discusses how to formalize each person’s role in the behavior consulting process PROFILE: GOT THE KNACK Featuring Judy Bernard of Proper Paws Dog Training in Concord, Massachusetts

© Can Stock Photo Inc./tadija



#PPGSummit 2016 Launches Video, Updated Schedule and T-Shirt Design Competition


PG has launched an informational video, /watch?v=hxrdnHEsUOQ&, to provide members with details of the 2016 Summit in a quick and easily accessible format. Following on from the resounding success of the inaugural event in 2015 and based on member feedback, PPG has promised an even bigger and better summit this year, complete with over 30 internationally acclaimed presenters, superior accommodation options, an expanded schedule in a relaxed environment for greater networking opportunities, and enhanced menu options and evening activities (see also pages 16-17 for more details). Summit 2016 will take place at the Sheraton Tampa East hotel which allows pets and is offering a special discounted rate for summit attendees. Like last year, PPG is offering a choice of three attendance packages, which include various combinations of accommodation, meals and entertainment, enabling attendees to personalize their itinerary and overall summit experience. Monthly payment options are available to both members and non-members. PPG is also running a design competition for the official Summit T-shirt. Not only will the winning design be featured on the T-shirt, the winner will also gain a FREE entry to the Summit! The contest is open till Saturday, April 2, 2016. See www for specifications and details of how to enter. Meanwhile, the Summit presenter schedule,, is being regularly updated so make sure to keep checking back to stay informed.


Special Deal Available for #PPGSummit SWAG Bags!


PG invites members to contribute their promotional items to the official Summit SWAG bag. Get your message to all attendees for just $300 (actual value $700)! Benefits include: • Your business logo in the Official Summit Guide. • Your logo on the Summit website. • Your logo on the Summit “Sponsor Thank You” poster. See -Opportunities for more details.

Alsina Joins PPG Steering Committee


PG has announced the appointment of Ringwood, New Jerseybased Mary Jean Alsina, www.the, to its steering committee as part of ongoing efforts to promote humane, force-free training methods for all pets in a currently unregulated industry. “To be a part of a growing group of people who believe in the science behind a force-free world for our animals is the ultimate professional accomplishment for me,” said Alsina (pictured above, with Sierra). BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



PPG British Isles Announces Educational Weekend Meet


ave the date for Pet Professional Guild British Isles’s (PPGBI) first-ever educational weekend, taking place in Leeds, England from Saturday, September 10 - Sunday, September 11, 2016. PPGBI steering committee members Carole Hussein, Denise O’Moore, Stephanie Presdee, Claire Staines and Louise StapletonFrappell will all be present at the event, which will involve two days of fun networking with your peers and a number of educational presentations from some of the pioneers of the force-free training movement. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and chat with PPG founder and president, Niki Tudge, who will be joined by PPG steering committee member, Angelica Steinker, board member, Sue Winter and membership manager, Rebekah King.You can join the event on Facebook, 4661747/ and find more details at

PPG Media Update


ARKS from the Guild now has its very own new URL, A sister publication has also been launched, NEWS from the Guild, which is PPG’s monthly member newsletter. NEWS will be released in the middle of every month via email as a supplement to BARKS. Subscribe to NEWS at Meanwhile, PPG World Service is now on Facebook. Stay up-to-date with podcasts of recent shows and details of upcoming special guests at PPG also has its very own online News Room. Read all the latest press releases at /Pressreleases.

New Advocacy Committee Handouts and Hotline


he PPG advocacy committee has released two more in its series of educational handouts: • Educational Handout #4: The Three Second Rule - Giving Dogs a Choice, /Documents/Advocacy%20Handouts/Handout%204%20The %20three%20second%20rule.%20Giving%20dogs%20a%20choice. pdf • Educational Handout #5: Understanding Resource Guarding and Knowing When to Seek Help, www %20Handouts/Handout%205%20Understanding%20Resource %20Guarding.pdf The advocacy committee has also launched a hotline for pet owners who need help with locating a training or behavior professional if they have not been able to find anyone locally. An online form is available to those residing outside the USA. Callers can either leave a message or fill out the form and someone will get back to them within 24 hours. More details at The hotline number is +1 (914) 357-5481. A further initiative by the advocacy committee involves tasking individual PPG members to creatively explore ways of advocating for pets and promoting shared core values. 6

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Advocacy committee chairman, Daniel Antolec, cites here a few examples from US members: “Monica Allaire-McMahon of Barrington Barks and Behavior LLC recently informed us that she has worked for three years to inform and educate Pet Tails Rescue about the merits of force-free training and methodology. Now the rescue has endorsed force-free methods and equipment and provides a (PPG) link to those they serve so they may find a force-free professional in their area,” Antolec said. "Jesse Miller, Ph.D., has begun appealing to California pet supply retailers with a letter citing numerous scientific data, requesting that aversive training devices be removed from retail sales. He is also applying his expertise in academic ethics to put together a comprehensive policy review of how dog training is regulated in the US. "Several PPG members also hosted a (Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin) booth at a Pet Expo. The booth was staffed by veterinary and training professionals who spent the day reaching out to and informing many of the 12,000 Expo visitors. Visitors were asked to sign a force-free pledge and were given educational materials and a roster of nearly 50 local force-free professionals.” Antolec is keen to hear more about PPG members’ initiatives and success stories. If you would like to contribute, email him at

NEWS PPG Expands Resources for Feline Behavior Specialists


PG has launched a new educational initiative catering specifically to feline behavior professionals and cat owners. The rollout includes a dedicated feline resources section on the PPG website, expanded articles on all things feline in the PPG online archive, as well as monthly educational webinars and handouts for members and cat owners. Based on results from the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association estimates that, in the 79.7 million households with pets in the United States, there are about 85.8 million pet cats, versus 77.8 million pet dogs. A 2008 survey by the World Society of the Protection of Animals showed that cats outnumber dogs by 1 to 3 million in European households. Since their launch in January, the feline behavior webinars have been extremely popular amongst both feline and canine behavior professionals. Topics on the agenda include commonly reported issues such as destructive scratching and aggression as well as low stress handling, new introductions to resident cats and dogs, force-free nail trims, medicating and environmental enrichment. In 2015, PPG formed its Feline Committee, comprising a group of feline behavior experts who are the driving force behind the new initiative. In standing with PPG’s mission to advocate for the voiceless and educate pet owners on the merits of force-free, humane, scientifically sound training methods and pet care, the committee recently published its first educational handout, titled The Alternatives to Declawing, Its topic is one of the most common feline behavior problems reported by cat owners, i.e. scratching the furniture. The aim of the handout is to educate cat owners as to why the inhumane and painful practice of declawing is banned in many countries. Instead, it offers realistic and practical options to modify the scratching behavior that is typical to felines (but often problematic to their owners). “The Feline Committee was created to promote cat behavior issues to PPG members, their clients and the general public,” said Jane Ehrlich, chairwoman of the Feline Committee. “Given that cats are the most popular pet in the United States, it is surprising

that much of the research and veterinary school curricula are largely devoted to dogs. “In addition to our educational initiatives, we hope to help correct that lack of species balance via a number of feline experts who will present at the PPG Summit later this year. Issues that commonly send cats to shelters, keep them in disfavor with their owners and/or run the risk of euthanasia, such as 'inappropriate' soiling, aggression and destructive scratching, will all be addressed.”

PG has launched special business membership and corporate partnership options to aid both professional members and industry-related companies gain greater access to educational and promotional benefits. Following a suggestion from member Don Hanson of Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, Maine, PPG has rolled out its business membership option whereby a group of employees at the same business may join for an annual fee of just $150. The membership is controlled by the business owner who can add up to four more employees to the account. Apply for business membership at The corporate partnerships, meanwhile, offer three different options for industry-related companies at competitive rates ranging from $450-$850 annually. Benefits include the opportu-

nity to build awareness of a company’s products or services directly to their target audience of pet professionals, as well as access a number of promotional opportunities via PPG. Depending on the level of investment, corporate partners will have opportunity to receive discounted advertising in BARKS and the PPG Summit Guide, a discounted vendor booth at #PPGSummit 2016, regular posts on PPG’s social media, their business logo on PPG’s website, adverts on PPG World Service podcasts, and the option to contribute webinars, blogs or articles to BARKS. “We feel it is important to partner with like-minded companies to help our members gain access to the right tools for their businesses,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. For more details on corporate partnerships, see www

New Opportunities for Business Members and Corporate Partners


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PPG World Service Radio Show Schedule


Diana Nichols Pappert: Do animals think? A closer look at how genetics and the environment influence behavior Yvette Van Veen: Feral and roaming dogs; transitioning them back into society Register at:


Cat Webinars

You can submit a question for any of the guests here:

PPG Workshops and Webinars

Training Strategies For Success (Tampa, FL) with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Thursday, April 21 - 9 a.m.(EDT) Friday, April 22 - 5 p.m. (EDT) A Force-Free Pet Care Certification Workshop (Tampa, FL) with Niki Tudge, Angelica Steinker, Rebekah King and Melody Michael Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 22, 2016 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs (Tampa, FL) with Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, September 25, 2016 - 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Details of all upcoming workshops can be found at:

Live Webinars TrickMeister - Your Force-Free FUN Dog Training Program (Online Course via Webinar) with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Tuesday, Mar 1, 2016 - 1 p.m. (EST) Friday, July 1, 2016 - 2:30 p.m. (EDT) The Use and Application of Training Mechanics to Help Develop Impulse Control with Jolein van Weperen Saturday, March 12, 2016 - 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. (EST) Does Canine Hypothyroidism Really Affect Behavior? with Lisa Radosta Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. (EDT) 8

Š Can Stock Photo /damedeeso

f you haven’t already tuned in, make a note to listen to the PPG Radio Show,, on the first Sunday of every month at 12 noon (EST). There is an incredible line-up of guests and the show is always educational and fun. Here is the current line-up (subject to change): Sunday, March 6, 2016 - 12 noon (EST) Dr. Michelle Duda: Stop barking up the wrong tree: how to implement best practices for coaching Amy Martin: Compassionate training for clients Gabrielle Dunne: Doggone Safe/Be a Tree Register at: Sunday, March 20, 2016 Special Edition - 6 a.m. EST Debra Millikan: The Pet Dog Ambassador program Register at: Sunday, April 3, 2016 - 12 noon (EST) Laurie Schlossnagle: Training and maintaining therapy and crisis response dogs

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Learn How to Identify and Manage Cat to Human Aggressive Behaviors with Jane Ehrlich Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. (EDT)

Details of all upcoming webinars can be found at: A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars.

If You Are Passionate about Competency, Ethics and Transparency in the Pet Industry Join PPG Today!


Training Strategies for Success

A Two-Day TrickMeister Apprentice Level Workshop in Tampa, Florida


with Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 9 a.m. (EDT) - Friday, April 22, 2016, 5 p.m. (EDT)

teering committee member and PPGBI membership manager, Louise Stapleton-Frappell PCT-A will be traveling to Tampa, Florida next month where she will present the Training Strategies for Success workshop for the new TrickMeister training program. TrickMeister is a new training initiative for dog owners and pet professionals which features the opportunity for dog guardians to earn Trick Team Titles with their canine companion, alongside an educational DogNostics webinar program. Participants can do the trick titles, the online educational program, or both. The workshop is ideal for professionals wishing to increase their knowledge and skill set, as well as anyone who is interested in mastering the fun in dog training while increasing their team knowledge and skills. “TrickMeister is a unique program aimed at both dog guardians and professional trainers,” said Stapleton-Frappell, who created and authored the program. “The aim of the TrickMeister courses is to teach the science behind the training as well as all the skills needed to train a pet dog, with a big emphasis on enjoyment. We firmly believe that all training should be fun but knowledge-based. We also believe in setting the learner for success. This applies both to our human learners and their canine friends.”

Workshop Agenda

• Click it! • Pay for it! • Cue it! • Top gun reinforcers. • Strategies for effective delivery. • Luring for success. • Let's play: spin, twist and figure 8. • Five out of five! • Learn your A, B, C s • Proof it! • Say yes! • I have to hand it to you! • Let's play: hand touch, TrickMeister recall and be a statue! • Target stick tips and tricks. • Let's play: target that trick. • Capture that behavior! • Let's play: say cheese! • Shape it! • Let's play: know your behavior! • Mold it! • Let's play: combine it! Rewind and reverse park!

Learning Objectives

• Improve your mechanical skills. • Learn how to clearly and effectively mark your training criteria with a clicker.

• Learn how to safely and effectively deliver the reinforcer. • Learn how and when to add your new cue. • Understand the hierarchy of rewards. • Learn various reinforcement strategies. • Learn how to lure behaviors. • Learn how to train in sets. • Gain an understanding of antecedents and how they will affect the behavior. • Learn how consequences dictate behavior. • Understand the relationship between antecedents, behaviors and consequences. • Learn how to proof behaviors with variable body language. • Learn how to proof your cue - place behaviors under stimulus control. • Learn how to use a verbal marker. • Understand the practical applications of a hand target. • Learn how to teach a hand touch. • Learn how to skillfully use a target stick and its practical applications. • Learn how to capture behaviors. • Understand shaping. • Learn how to micro-shape behaviors. • Learn how to select criteria for minimal error and effortless learning. • Learn how to reset for success. • Learn how to use environmental props to help you mold new behaviors. • Learn how to combine the strategies for success!

Louise Stapleton-Frappell is the proud owner of Jambo, the Staffordshire bull terrier trick dog champion. See Jambo in action in this video, Jambo - Trick Dog Extraordinaire!: /watch?v=892iZosMQN4. CEUs: PPAB 16/Pending CCPDT, IAABC, KPA More information about the TrickMeister program on pages 10-11 and in this video ‘About the TrickMeister Certification Program’: Online registration: BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Introducing TrickMeister

TrickMeister - Mastering Fun and Increasing Your Team Knowledge and Skills is a new

training initiative for dog owners and professional trainers featuring the opportunity to earn Trick Team Titles, alongside a DogNostics educational webinar program

© Can Stock Photo/Quasarphoto



rickMeister - Mastering Fun and Increasing Your Team Knowledge and Skills is a unique program aimed at increasing dog owners’ and pet professionals’ training skills and knowledge.You will learn all about the art, craft and science behind dog training, as well as how to teach your canine companion a host of useful behaviors and fun tricks. The program focuses specifically on enjoyment for all parties, with an emphasis on setting up both humans and canines for success. At TrickMeister we believe that everyone should know how to train their pet using science-based, rewards-based, force-free training. This new training program will tell you how.

Education Courses

There are three DogNostics TrickMeister courses available:

Course 1: Apprentice (foundation) Course 2: Journeyman (intermediate) Course 3: Master (advanced) Each individual course consists of webinars, additional reading, additional videos, optional graded homework tests and video submissions, a course mentor, and a closed Facebook page.You will earn The TrickMeister CEUs for each individual webinar within a course, and an program offers a variety of overall course level atteneducational dance certificate. We would courses and trick titles definitely encourage you to BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

sign up for a full course. The individual webinars from within each course will, however, be made available for purchase through PPG.

Training Titles

There are three TrickMeister titles available. Each TrickMeister title builds on the previous level, allowing the dog and handler team to demonstrate their partnership, knowledge, skills and abilities. The TrickMeister titles include Apprentice, Journeyman and Master. As you work through and master each level, you will be able to display the corresponding credentials after your dog’s name.

EDUCATION WhatÊs the Difference?

Teaching tricks enables all parties to relax and focus on having fun

Apprentice - You will earn the right to display DN-TMA after your dog’s name.

The TrickMeister educational courses and Trick titles are two totally separate programs.You do not need to take the courses in order to earn the titles. The titles are for you to show off your training skills and the amazing partnership you share with your canine companion and they are open to both the public and pet professionals. The only prerequisite for the titles is that you abide by PPG’s Guiding Principles, /PPGs-Guiding-Principles. The titles must be taken in order, starting with Apprentice, followed by Journeyman, and, finally, Master. However, if you would like a more in-depth understanding of how to teach any companion animal using science based, rewards based, force-free training then we would urge you to take one, two or all three of the educational courses too. These will give you the knowledge and skill set you need to teach your dog any behavior you want. The courses are also open to both the public and pet professionals and you can sign up for as many courses as you want. As stated above, if you are just interested in attending specific webinars rather than taking the whole course, you can do that too as all the recorded webinars will be made available for individual purchase.

Journeyman - You will earn the right to display DN-TMJ after your dog’s name.

Why Tricks?

Master - You will earn the right to display DNTMM after your dog’s name.

Trick Dog Champion Jambo the Staffordshire bull terrier demonstrates a shaped paw target

Tricks help change the mindset of the person teaching and enable everybody to relax and focus on having fun. They also strengthen the bond you share with your dog. Tricks can be both physically and mentally demanding and, as your training companion learns how to “play the game,” you will see an increase in his/her confidence and creativity. Teaching tricks can result in better health, as well as help to use up excess energy. Learning tricks can even help reactive dogs by helping them to focus on rational thinking, which inhibits emotional arousal. Learning how to teach tricks will also lead to an increased knowledge of rewards based, science based, force-free training and your training skills will improve. As a bonus, most tricks are behaviors that can be incorporated into everyday life. Check out these videos to get a better idea of the skills you and your dog will be able to reach! A,B,C of Apprentice Tricks starring Jambo: TrickMeister Apprentice - Submission Video Example: /9I9ZKnRXZlU For more information and online registration, go to: See also page 9 for the Two-Day TrickMeister Apprentice Level Workshop ‘Training Strategies for Success’ BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Introducing the Pet Dog Ambassador Program

PPG has designed the Pet Dog Ambassador program to recognize the efforts dog owners make to give their companion canines a happy, fulfilled life as well as offer them the chance to test their knowledge and training skills in real life scenarios

PG is set to roll out its Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) program worldwide next month. The new program is geared specifically towards providing dog guardians with the opportunity to test their knowledge, skills and ability to manage their canine companion(s) in real life settings. A key aim of the program is to acknowledge the hard work and commitment that guardians and their dogs undertake to make their shared lives enjoyable, and recognize these efforts as they begin, from a puppy’s very early training. The program also aims to encourage guardians to continue training and developing new skills, abilities and knowledge. “We wanted an assessment process that tested real life situations,” said Debra Millikan of PPG Australia and a driving force behind the development of the program. “What we have created is a progressive assessment that will strengthen dogs' and their guardians' skills, both in a class situation and out in the real world. The program has been designed to help people drive business to their practices while providing everyday skills to pet dogs and their owners at five different levels. It differs from anything else that is currently available in the sense that there is much more real life testing.”

- increase the guardian’s knowledge and understanding of local laws in their locality. - equip dogs and guardians with the skills to be out in the wider community in settings such as cafes and outdoor eating areas, off leash areas, busy streets and beaches. - demonstrate the advantages of a well-trained dog.

Assessment Levels

The PDA Program has five levels. Each level builds on the previous one to strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of dogs and their guardians. The levels comprise: - PDA1 (Puppy) - PDA2 - PDA3 - PDA4 - PDA5 (Champion) Before starting the program, the dog’s guardian must complete an online open book quiz that checks their knowledge on dogs and their needs. The quiz must be completed before starting Level One or Level Two which are the entry points to the PDA program.

Program Benefits

The benefits of the PDA program aim to: - improve the relationship between pet dogs and their guardians. - help guardians gain a better appreciation of force-free dog training and its applications to everyday living. - improve the knowledge of socially responsible pet guardians. - help dogs and their guardians to better manage being in public spaces and places. 12

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The Pet Dog Ambassador program will test real life situations

© Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock


Level One (Puppy): Dogs, like people, learn best when they are young. Qualified assessors appraise puppies in class. This can be the class teacher (if they are PPG qualified to assess) or an assessor brought into class for the purpose of awarding the work done by participants.

Level Two (Any Dog Over the Age of 6 Months): Level Two builds on the work undertaken at Level One but is at a level where those who did not under-

take Level One can still have an easy entry into the program. This too is assessed in a class situation. Levels Three and Four: These levels build further on the dog’s and guardian’s skills, knowledge and ability.

Level Five (Champion): This level is where everything the dog and guardian have learned is put to the test in real life settings. There are location options available to help assessors make real life training relevant to their clients. Assessors may also create other scenarios that may be appropriate to their local surroundings.

Earning Qualifications

The dog earns qualifications as he passes each level of assessment. The qualifications are placed after the dog’s name and are: - PDA1 for Pet Dog Ambassador – Level 1 (Puppy) - PDA2 for Pet Dog Ambassador – Level 2 - PDA3 for Pet Dog Ambassador – Level 3 - PDA4 for Pet Dog Ambassador – Level 4 - PDA5 for Pet Dog Ambassador – Level 5 (Champion)

Who Can Be Involved? 1. Guardians and Their Dogs Guardians and their dogs who have been working with a forcefree trainer are able to undertake assessment on the condition that the trainer considers the team suitable candidates. Some dogs have behavior problems that might negate their entry into some or all levels of the program in the name of safety. Guardians must be willing to abide by the PPG’s Guiding Principles,


tion for good behavior (albeit this is no guarantee) must be easier to home.


All dog guardians who have reached the legal age of accountability in their country of residence (usually 18 or 21 years) are encouraged to become actively involved in the PDA Program. The program is suitable for all, including guardians and/or dogs with a disability or special needs.

Junior Candidates

Junior candidates are those who have not yet reached the age of legal accountability. Junior candidates may, with written permission from a parent or guardian, enter the PDA Program with a dog considered suitable by a PDA instructor or assessor. The assessor has the choice of whether or not to assess junior candidates.

Canine Candidates

Dogs of any breed or mixed breed aged 4 months old and above are eligible to participate in the PDA program. However, it is mandatory that all dogs have a veterinary health check before joining. Limitations are in place with regard to aggressive or reactive dogs as not all dogs are suited to taking part in every level of the program. The Pet Dog Ambassador program is open to owners, training instructors, shelters and rescues

Why Pet Dog Guardians Should Get Involved - By training through all levels of the program guardians are able to be guided by force-free trainers when behavioral problems arise. - By stepping through each level, both dog and family maintain and/or increase their skills, knowledge and abilities. 2. Pet Dog Training Instructors Pet dog training instructors who are willing to train within the PPG Guiding Principles. Why Pet Dog Training Instructors Should Get Involved - The program allows for a structured approach to both class and private lessons. 3. Shelters and Rescue Facilities Shelter and rescue facilities that allow their staff to train within the PPG Guiding Principles. Resource materials are available to instructors to assist with instigating the program. The program helps to build and retain clients and also promotes PPG’s forcefree methods that better develop lasting relationships between dogs and their guardians. Why Shelters/Rescue Facilities Should Become Involved - A defined program to help develop dogs that people will want to adopt. - A defined program that will help to enrich the lives of the shelter/rescue dogs. - A shelter/rescue dog who comes with a built in certifica-

Photo: Janet Coelho, Adelaide Pet Photos

The Application Process

Full and associate dog training professional PPG members can apply to become PDA assessors by completing an online form, passing an online exam and paying an application fee. The exam will be a multiple choice theory test and candidates will be given videos to watch and mark to see if their assessments are congruent with those of PPG’s PDA committee. Each assessor will have an online account where they can keep track of their students and their various levels. Dog guardians can apply online independently and find an assessor or assessors who will encourage clients to undertake assessment. Guardians must complete an online open book theory test and dogs must be vet checked, complete with health certificate signed by a veterinarian (updated every two years). For more information and online registration, go to: BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Force-Free Pet Care Certification Workshop A Four-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida

with Niki Tudge, Angelica Steinker, Rebekah King and Melody McMichael


Thursday, May 19, 2016 9 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, May 22, 2016 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Working and Auditor Spots Available

rofessional pet care requires knowledge, skills, individual competency and a high level of responsibility, and this four-day workshop has been designed to provide attendees with just that. The workshop will cover all the necessary skills they will need to become a Certified Pet Care Technician (CPCT) and more.

s How Pets Learn - includes Key Topics Covered

Working Registrants: To achieve your CPCT designation you will need to successfully complete all the hands-on components of Become a Certified Pet the program over the four days, culminating with a final open Care Technician book multiple choice test on day four. at this four-day Auditors:You will be required to complete the hands-on workshop components of the workshop, submit video evidence within 30 days of the workshop, and successfully pass the open book online multiple choice test.

a detailed overview of operant and respondent condi© Can Stock Photo/gurinaleksandr tioning with hands-on examples and video analysis. s Canine Behavior and Social Communication - learning the language of dogs and understanding the canine social behavior and communication systems; learning about affiliative and agonistic communication and passive and active appeasement behaviors; understanding dog bite inhibition and bite thresholds. s Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology - a study of dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology. s Canine and Feline Health and Handling - includes common canine and feline health issues, vaccination protocols and important daily and emergency handling skills. s Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols - a very detailed module that covers in depth the many potential emergency situations you may, through first aid, need to manage prior to a pet in your care being attended to by a veterinarian. s Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys and Supplies - learning how to identify appropriate equipment and use it safely, as well as more practical applications, e.g. desensitization protocols. s Consent and Preference Testing - Anyone can talk to dogs and you will learn to read canine body language to effectively communicate with them. Using consent and preference testing you can create an effective non-verbal communication system which empowers dogs to say yes or no to simple questions. Using these methods you can positively engage with the pets you are caring for in a fun and interactive manner. s Pet Care Policies and Protocols – Learn about pet care service standards, operating protocols and procedures to support a high quality and ethical pet care business. s Bonus Module: Bump Start Your Business – This module covers the key and critical skills required for growth with an overview of how to create a simple but effective marketing plan. 14

Certification Process

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

CEUs: PPAB 12/CCPDT/IAABC More information and online registration:

Sponsor a Swag Bag Insert at PPG Summit 2016!



The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs A Two-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida

with Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens

Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, September 25, 2016 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Working and Auditor Spots Available

athy Sdao, associate certified applied animal behaviorist, and Lori Stevens, CPDT-KA, SAMP and senior Tellington TTouch® training practitioner, share a deep love for senior dogs and have combined their decades of animal care and training expertise to teach this heartfelt and practical workshop. Their goal is to empower you to joyfully and actively engage with and support your aging dog. They will share several methods to keep your dog’s mind and body agile and strong and will also discuss many ideas for making everyday life easier for your senior dog. The result is a dog who is more competent and confident in the face of physical and cognitive challenges, and who has additional opportunities for staying healthy and active.

Who Should Attend? s People who live with aging dogs, including both senior and "peri-senior" dogs.

s Professionals who have an interest in helping their clients with aging dogs.

s Anyone interested in dogs and how to support them during the aging process.

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

Workshop Agenda s Defining and observing seniorhood. s Kindle the spark of life. s Everyday life with seniors. s Maximize emotional resilience. s Touching and wrapping. s Expect changes in compliance. s Movement and conditioning. s Keep them eating. s Let us play. s Thoughts on life’s final transition. s Discussion/Q & A.

The workshop will cover making life easier for senior pet dogs © Can Stock Photo/Hannamariah


What You Will Learn s Effects of aging and what you can expect. s Various healthcare options that complement mainstream vet-

erinary care. s TTouch® bodywork and wrapping techniques, including leg and body wraps. s Strategies for minimizing age-related anxiety and maximizing emotional resilience. s Methods for modifying cues to accommodate sensory limitations. s Movement and conditioning exercises that benefit aging dogs. s Games to keep mind and body active. s Help for senior dogs who have difficulty standing up or climbing stairs. s Tips for dealing with loss of appetite. s Considerations regarding end-of-life decisions. CEUs: PPAB 12/CCPDT 12 More information and online registration:

Looking for Something? Check PPG’s Online Archive First!

The PPG archive currently holds over 700 articles. All categories are represented, including behavior, training, business, PPG news, book reviews, product reviews, member profiles, opinion pieces and scientific studies. If you want to search on a particular species, categories currently covered are canine, feline, piscine, porcine, avian, equine, murine and leporine.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



#PPGSummit 2016: Bigger and Better!


WHERE? The Sheraton Tampa East Hotel, Florida WHEN? Tuesday, November 8 - Friday, November 11, 2016 Payment terms available - three value package HOW? options to choose from FOR ALL THE DETAILS AND TO REGISTER: 16

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


WHAT? c c c c c c c c c c c

Internationally renowned speakers all under one roof Superior accommodations at the same affordable rates Longer meal and coffee breaks Expanded schedule Each morning will feature a General Session with all attendees in one room Afternoon sessions will feature seven presentations Optimized networking opportunities Enhanced menu choices and food options Fun, entertaining evening activities Sign up for LABS only if you wish to participate with a dog All Lecture and LAB sessions duplicated over different days

WHO? c c c c c c c

Dr. Karen Overall Dr. Marty Becker Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz Victoria Stilwell Ken Ramirez Chirag Patel Emily Larlham

c c c c c c c

Ken McCort Janis Bradley Pat Miller Malena DeMartini-Price Jacqueline Munera Maureen Backman Pamela Dennison


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Diane Garrod showcases the magic behind


relaxation, calm and deep sleep to change behavior in dogs

"When you feel dog tired at night, it may be because you've growled all day long." Unknown

y current new dog, Skye's issues include being a face biter, an extreme resource guarder, and reactivity to dogs and people. A huge part of his day currently involves relaxation and calming techniques and deep sleep. This is as important as training, behavior modification and appropriate exercise and mental activity. Skye would have been put to sleep 33 days ago (at the time of writing). Teaching him to relax, to be calm and to sleep deeply are all a part of his behavior modification program. Knowing the dog and the individual he/she is helps set the stage. Skye likes warmth and lying in front of a fireplace. Warmth helps release tension, relaxes muscles and allows for deep sleep. Lack of sleep can be the difference between a dog who can cope and one who cannot, a dysfunctional dog versus a functional dog, and can result in all kinds of health issues due to stress. Helping a dog to relax, to be calm, and to deeply sleep daily releases the stresses in daily life that go beyond the normal. Studying this myself over the past six years and developing the Canine Emotional Detox (CED), a stress release protocol for challenging dogs, attaining deep sleep is a process. The stage needs to be set, the dog needs to willingly let his guard down. Feeling relaxed and calm means the healing process of deep sleep is ready to occur and this is when stress release begins. This may be one of the most difficult pieces of information to 18

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

relay to companion dog owners experiencing daily behavior challenges. They just want to see results so simply saying a dog needs 12 to 14 hours of sleep and then how to achieve that will be enough. What is behind it all and why it works is what the professional wants to understand and know. If a dog is relaxed and calm it changes his ability to cope. It helps him have better focus, and be more energetic – in a good way. Relaxation is also simply incompatible with reacting, aggressing and fear. In dogs, relaxation cannot be forced, it has to occur naturally and ultimately result in deep sleep. Setting the stage, i.e. changing the environment is the key. In humans, the desensitization procedure, originally developed by Wolpe (1958), is one of the most powerful tools in behavior modification and it is not uncommon for a severe phobia or long-standing source of anxiety to be removed in a few weeks. Why would that not also be the case for dogs?

Sleep Deprivation

The study of sleep deprivation in dogs is nothing new. According to Bentivoglio & Grassi-Zucconi (1997), experimental studies on sleep deprivation were initiated by the Russian physician and scientist, Marie de Manacéine, who studied sleep-deprived puppies kept in constant activity. She reported in 1894 that the complete

COVER STORY absence of sleep was fatal in a few days, pointing out that the most severe lesions occurred in the brain. Bentivoglio & Grassi-Zucconi go on to cite the research of Italian physiologists Daddi & Tarozzi (1898), who kept dogs awake by walking them. The dogs died after nine-17 days, which was attributed to a state of autointoxication of the brain during insomnia. They also refer to the work of psychiatrist Cesare Agostini (1898): “In Agostini's laboratory, two adult dogs were kept in a large metallic cage with a floor made of tin and with bells at each corner, so that each movement of the animal was accompanied by an "ear-splitting jangling noise". The animal was under the continuous surveillance of personnel assigned to 6-hour shifts, who moved the cage as soon as the animal seemed to fall asleep. One of the dogs survived 17 days and the other 12 days... On the basis of the animals' behavior during the forced insomnia, Agostini argued that total sleep deprivation induced a "progressive exhaustion of psychic activity", and the experimental findings suggested that total insomnia per se may cause death.� (Bentivoglio & Grassi-Zucconi, 1997). It is not a stretch to see that this has significance in a solid behavior modification program. It actually changes behavior.

physics definition of the restoration of equilibrium following disturbance. If we go with the second definition, the physics definition, a disturbance could be a dog's reactive state, aggression or fear inducing event where, once completed, the dog needs to come back into equilibrium before relaxation can occur. Relaxation and the resulting deep sleep are both key to stress release.

Behavior Change

How do you incorporate a relaxation process into a behavior modification plan? Especially when what commonly happens is a suggestion to increase exercise.


Exercise is excellent and should be a part of that process only if it is not stressful, filled with multiple triggers and distraction stacking that the dog is not desensitized and counterconditioned to handle. Exercise should release glucocorticoids (a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland; for example cortisol is a

Relaxation and Sleep

When considering the importance of sleep as part of a stress release process for dogs, we must first look at some definitions for calm and relaxed.

What is Calm?

Reprinted with permission

Calm is not showing or feeling nervousness, anger, or other emotions. Synonyms of calm are serene, tranquil, unruffled, unperturbed, unflustered and untroubled. Clearing the mind helps a dog to think and learn better, to make good decisions and to process the information we are teaching him.

What is Relaxation?

Relaxation is the state of being free from tension and anxiety, or the BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


COVER STORY Charlie gets the chance to relax and achieve deep sleep daily

glucocorticoid released by the adrenal gland), not create them.

Benefits of Relaxation

Photo Courtesy: Lynda McCormick

Digestion is regulated by many chemicals. After eating, a relaxation period lasting at least 20 minutes can aid in digestion. This allows the dog to digest his food without suffering stomach aches, gas etc. If a dog is experiencing these symptoms, he may either be gulping food or racing outdoors without a post-digestion relaxation period. Post-eating relaxation is crucial to a dog’s well-being as digestion is important for gut health.

Benefits derived from relaxation as a part of a behavior modification program include: 1. Free of tension = muscles start to relax. 2. Free of anxiety = ability to learn increases. 3. Leads to release of stress (distress/acute stress or chronic stress). 4. Leads to well-being, feeling safe enough to willingly relax, and eventually calming and deep sleep, all in unison with processing of good information. What tools can help achieve relaxation and stress release? Here is a list of relaxers – you can probably think of others. • Warm towel or thundershirt. • Relaxing touch – TTouch® or animal massage. • Tiring mental activity. • DAP diffuser or collar. • L-theanine/Lactium supplement. • Relaxing environment, setting the stage. • Music for dogs – audiobiotechnology. • Creating a distraction free zone, a safety zone. • Chewing activities to release mouth tension. • Appropriate exercise to release glucocorticoids.

After Exercise

Definition of Deep Sleep

Down Time

Achieving calm, relaxation and deep sleep are as important as exercise, as they help a dog's stress levels even out, create good stress (eustress), and allow a dog to learn better. A dog's day should include required down time. The state of being relaxed prepares the dog's body from the inside out by fostering deep relaxation, drawing him into a solid learning state-of-mind, and providing a full brain workout for better focus, speed, attention, memory, flexibility, which results in faster and longer lasting rehabilitation. When, then, should a dog relax during the day?

After Eating

The same holds true for exercising. Relaxing 20 minutes after exercising and before eating aids in reducing respiratory rate and will be better for digestion. The rule is to wait until respiration has come down prior to eating after exercising. Going back to the definition of relaxation – we want to see the state of being free from tension and anxiety. Relaxation restores equilibrium. 20

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

According to Wikipedia: “Slow wave sleep is the constructive phase of sleep for recuperation of the mind-body system in which it rebuilds itself after each day.” Slow wave sleep has been proven necessary for survival. Some animals, such as dolphins and birds, have the ability to sleep with only one hemisphere of the brain, leaving the other hemisphere awake to carry out normal functions and to remain alert. “Slow-wave sleep (SWS), often referred

to as deep sleep, consists of stages three and four of non-rapid eye movement (nREM) sleep, according to the Rechtschaffen & Kales (R & K) standard of 1968.” (Wikipedia, 2015). How can relaxation, calm and deep sleep be used in a daily process and behavior modification program? There are many ways relaxation can be used and be beneficial. Post-eating or post-exercise relaxation after a class or private session is an ideal time so the dog can process all of the good information he just received. In other words, whenever a dog has engaged in activities such as training, grooming, dog sports, out for a walk etc., all are ideal times to implement a relaxation period with the goal to achieve deep sleep. Ideally, a dog should have four relaxation periods a day plus post-eating or post-exercising, interspersed with toy play, games, training, problem solving and exercise. A dog continually processing good information is better able to cope with everyday life and will have the ability to remain functional. The cycle would be: relaxation; toy play, games, ball play; relaxation; training period/obstacle work or exercise; relaxation; and then mentally tiring activity (problem solving) followed by relaxation. Repeat. Relaxation in this context occurs in hour-long periods. I have gathered this information through a six-year study, involving 320 researched cases, on achieving a stress release protocol for dogs (see graphic, ‘The Path of the Canine Emotional Detox/CED,’ bottom right). The graphic depicts a cycle that not only achieves stress release over a 72-hour period of repetitive clockwise implementation, but can also embody a dog's ideal day once the protocol is completed.

“We were able to avoid putting our dog Rollo (pictured) on amitriptyline (a tricyclic antidepressant affecting chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and used to treat symptoms of depression) when, by accident, we discovered how much better he coped with life when we started using a fan at night during some hot weather.The white noise allowed him to sleep through things that used to wake him. It was such a revelation. It was like sleep was the missing part of the jigsaw, after that it has all fallen into place.” - Alex Bliss, BSc

COVER STORY Adaptability and Coping Skills

One important clue to adaptability and coping skills is the ability to remain functional. The degree to which basic functions are disrupted tells us how much any given stress or situation is affecting the animal. Sleep is one of those important functions.


Functional dogs sleep approximately 12-14 hours per day. Dysfunctional dogs, when stressed/distressed, display hypervigilance that precludes sleep, constantly interrupted sleep, insufficient sleep, and/or excessive sleep. When working with dogs; ask yourself. How functional is this animal? Trainers should be evaluating these questions in their functional assessments of challenging dogs. • Where is function impaired, and to what degree? • Is function in any area impaired sufficiently to warrant medical intervention? • What negatively affects the animal’s ability to function? • What positively affects the animal’s ability to function? These points should be considered prior to developing a solid behavior modification program because all of these relate to changes in behavior.

What Stress Does to Dogs

Lack of appropriate sleep results in a dog that escalates in stress level. Just as in humans, chronic stress (stress that has leveled out and the dog is unable to come down from it quickly) causes seri-

© Diane Garrod, Canine Transformations Learning Center

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


COVER STORY Wally was recently published in Dr. Bernie S. Siegel's ‘Love, Animals & Miracles,’ a book of stories about dogs who were saved despite huge odds. Here he experiences what deep sleep feels like and starts to heal as a result.

Photo Courtesy: Lyn Kiernan

ous medical problems in dogs, such as: • A weakened immune system. • Digestive diseases. • Heart disease. Acute stress can sensitize the dog to specific environments and people: • Creating a more negative association than before. • Escalating behavior problems in the long run. According to Campbell (1975): "Stress in dogs, like stress in people, contributes to health issues. This can affect the ability to relax and cope with real life.”

Desensitization and Relaxation

Using relaxation as a part of a strong behavior modification program means we need to understand why and how. One technique used in a force-free program is systematic desensitization. Why would relaxation and desensitization be good partners? • Gradual counterconditioning of anxiety using relaxation as the incompatible response. • One of the most powerful tools in behavior modification. • It is not uncommon for a severe phobia or source of anxiety of long-standing to be removed in a few weeks. • In humans, it is one of the most researched procedures. We are changing behavior by changing emotional responses and relaxation is a desensitization technique. Desensitization has three basic components: training in relaxation, construction of hierarchies, and counterconditioning.

Muscle Relaxation

Muscle relaxation training is usually helpful for desensitization. My modality of choice is TTouch®, coined as ‘the touch that

If a dog is relaxed and calm it changes his ability to cope relaxation is the state of being free from tension and anxiety


Rescue dog, Wally in a TTouch® wrap, takes a break from an obstacle course and enjoys a calming stretch

Photo Courtesy: Lyn Kiernan

teaches.’ TTouch® is used to relax, focus and calm an animal through bodywork leading exercises and obstacle coursework to build confidence. TTouch® works with the tactile sensory system, the center of perception of temperature, pain, vibration and touch (skin and membranes). Tactile is the first communication system (all of these systems communicate to the body) as a protective mechanism, such as when a bug lands on us or as a discriminatory mechanism (vibration and pressure – located just under the skin). The pressure is what is calming. That said, other modalities such as animal massage, warmth and other techniques for dogs such as acupressure, acupuncture can be used alone or in unison. Other tools could include body wraps, thundershirts, anxiety wraps, calming caps, and calming bands. The body wraps have a significant effect on animals in terms of increasing focus, calming and improving body awareness. When applied to an animal or person, the body wrap provides pressure touch, as well as enhancing the brain's perception of where the body is in space.

The Neurology of Sleep

Why is sleep so important? Taking a more in-depth look at sleep, it is understandable that the more we learn about sleep and what happens during it, the process takes on a distinct complexity. There is a lot going on internally during sleep in the various stages, including the production of these chemicals: • Growth releasing hormone - secreted to facilitate the healing of muscles as well as repairing damage to any tissues. • Prolactin - a hormone released by the pituitary gland. • Hypocretin - a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness, and appetite. • Melatonin - a hormone made by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control sleep and wake cycles. • Acetylcholine - the neurotransmitter produced by neurons referred to as cholinergic neurons • Neuropeptide Y - a 36-amino acid neuropeptide that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and in the autonomic nervous system of humans; slight variations of the peptide are found in many other animals. • Neuroactive steroids -

© Can Stock Photo/Hannamariah


steroids which, independent of their origin, are capable of modifying neural activities. • Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and galanin - GABA, galanin, and other relaxing chemicals are continually produced to keep the body and brain asleep. Some neurotransmitters, like GABA, are classically thought of as facilitating sleep versus facilitating arousal (as norepinephrine would do). Each of these chemicals has different roles in maintaining sleep cycles. After a dog has fully relaxed, neurotransmitters and sleep signals continue to lull brain activity (keeping out stimuli). During this time, other waste materials accumulated during the wake cycle are able to be transported and removed from the brain, promoting a feeling of refreshment and well-being upon waking. Sometimes a dog will awaken so refreshed he may seem unsure of his location or appear more relaxed than he has ever been.

Many dogs enjoy warmth and lying in front of a fireplace. Warmth helps release tension, relaxes muscles and allows for deep sleep

Lack of Sleep

A lack of sleep can lead to a serotonin depletion. Melatonin is created during sleep, which modulates the release of serotonin, a mood enhancer. There is a reason for the expression “getting out of the wrong side of the bed." It is very important that deep sleep (known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep) occurs. “Non-REM is a period of sleep for rest. Muscle tension throughout the body is reduced, and movement is minimal. The brain can command the body to move during non-REM to briefly adjust body position. Temperature and energy consumption are lowered. An increase in activity of the parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system slows down heart rate, respiration, and kidney function, but digestive processes speed up.” (Bear, Connors & Paradiso, 2006, p. 595). Quiet rest is not a substitute for sleep. Some dogs do fight deep sleep as it means letting their guard down. They can also fake sleep, lying on their sides, and yet have their radar ears picking up every sound and movement. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to serious physical and behavioral problems. It makes sense that sleep then should be an integral part of a behavior modification program. Here are nine reasons why a solid relaxation program can help in the behavior modification process: • Ensures physiological changes. • Ensures body builds good chemicals. • Releases bad stress. • Prepares body from the inside out. • Fosters deep relaxation. • Draws the dog into a solid learning state-of-mind. • Provides a full brain workout for better focus, speed, attention, memory and flexibility. • Results in faster rehabilitation. • Results in longer lasting results. If a dog is relaxed, calm and has had appropriate deep sleep, then this can go a long way towards being incompatible with reacting or aggressing. In dogs, relaxation may have to be taught. It cannot be forced but has to occur naturally and ultimately result in deep sleep to help with the behavior change process. Setting the stage for the process to occur is the key. n

© Can Stock Photo/artfotoss


Bear, M., Connors, B., & Paradiso, M. A. (2006). Neuroscience Exploring the Brain, Brain Rhythms and Sleep. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins Bentivoglio M., Grassi-Zucconi, G. (1997, July). The pioneering experimental studies on sleep deprivation. SLEEP, 20(7), 570576. Retrieved February 14, 2016 from /ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=24281 Campbell, W. (1975). Behavior Problems in Dogs. Santa Barbara, CA: American Veterinary Publications, Inc. Wolpe, J. (1973).The Practice of Behavior Therapy (2nd edn.). Elmsford, NY: Pergamon Press


Jouvet, M. (1967, April). Neurophysiology of the States of Sleep. The American Physiological Society, 47(2). Retrieved January 13, 2016 from /contents.php Rechtschaffen, A., & Kales, A. (1968). A Manual of Standardized Terminology, Techniques and Scoring System For Sleep Stages of Human Subjects. Los Angeles, CA: Brain Information Service/Brain Research Institute, UCLA Tellington TTouch®: Diane Garrod BSc PCT-A is a certified Tellington Touch® Practitioner (CA1), ATA Certified Treibball Instructor and holds certificates in theriogenology, science in writing and animal behavior. She is behavior consultant/trainer and owner at the Canine Transformations Learning Center,, in Washington State.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



From Tigers to Terriers

Dawn Goehring describes her journey from training exotic animals with force-free methods


to her realization that the same methods were equally as effective in dog training regardless of the views of the naysayers

ollowing my graduation from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College in Moorpark, California in 1991, I had secured a job training wild and domestic animals at a theme park for their shows and outreach programs. I had already worked with a vast array of animals at college including tigers, baboons, parrots, pigs, and mongooses but the one species I realized I had little experience with was the domestic dog. I decided to do something about this so I applied to a dog training company, only to be told by the owner during our first phone interview: “Just because you train tigers does not mean you can train dogs.� That really struck a chord with me. I did not understand how it could be true. It was the start of my dog training career. I was lucky enough to be able to work with a variety of wild animals in my theme park job at the same time as I was training dogs. I became successful in the realm of dog training but, unfortunately, choke collars were the tool of choice back then. I had even used the occasional pinch collar. Dog training at that time was not about reading the dogs, but about getting results. However, the turning point came for me when I was watching a shelter dog I had rescued perform in one of our shows. I had trained her tricks through luring and shaping, just like I had trained many of the wild animals. Lady loved doing her tricks and was so happy to perform. Her obedience training, however, was conducted with a choke chain. I soon started to realize that the body language she displayed when performing her tricks was very different from that she displayed in her obedience training. This was the turning point of my career. I decided to try teaching obedience like I did with the wild animals, hands off, no leashes or collars. I figured that if I could train a tiger without ever touching him, I could certainly train a dog the same way. I will always remember the video I saw of well-known trainer Gary Priest training a baboon to accept insulin shots without being restrained or entering the enclosure. Just because we could physically control a dog, did not mean we should. I still tell clients this to this day. I spent seven years training wolves, from pups to adults, as well as a coyote pup, hand raised parrots and pigs, raccoons and more. I realized that the principles of conditioning transferred to all species. Training wild animals requires an understanding of the animal, learning about the species and how they communicate. It took patience to sit and observe the animal before, during and after training. One of my learning experiences came from training a bird that I did not bother to do any research about ahead of time. I was excited to get started and set off with my clicker and treats. After several repetitions, I found the bird was no longer eating the treats but offering them back to me with a strange sound. If I 24

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Having started out training wild and domestic animals at a theme park, author Dawn Goehring (pictured) was surprised to be told this did not mean she would be able to train a dog

Goehring was impressed when she saw a baboon being trained to accept insulin shots without restraint

Contrary to popular belief at the time, Goehring knew if she could train a tiger without ever touching him, she could undoubtedly train a dog the same way

had done my research I would have realized that feeding in this particular species was a courtship ritual and I was now the object of his affection! It was a point well taken and, from then on, I certainly did my homework before attempting to train any species that were new to me. If leashes were used, they were only for control, not corrections. This concept helped me to want to take the time to do the same with dogs. Just as with wild animals, there were no cookie cutter solutions. Every behavior had a reason and it was the trainer’s job to work out what that was before working on a plan to change it. Working with wild animals had taught me to be patient and to do my best to read the animal I was working with to avoid confrontation and bites. This was completely in reverse to what I had been taught as a dog trainer. I am still amazed that I never got bitten by a dog when I first started out in dog training. Back then, behavioral enrichment was another aspect of working with wild animals that had not been promoted much with dogs. I would make enrichment boxes and toys for most of the animals I worked with: boxes of paper and cardboard for the raccoons, hide and seek for the coyotes, and chewable toys for the birds. I started playing around with games and toys for the dogs as well. It was such a joy to watch them play and discover new games. I was soon inventing games and toys for clients to challenge their dogs. Today we have so many amazing enrichment ideas and I am a strong supporter of mental stimulation for dogs. My rescue dog, Lady, became the poster child for force-free training. I would take her to class and show clients heeling exercises with the choke collar on and then without it. Her body language and attitude was night and day. This was a shining example of how “correction” training made her behave like a robot, not to mention that she did not enjoy it. I would give clients the choice back then, after seeing the demeanor of the dog, which type of training they preferred. I was lucky to be involved in all this as, fortunately, the dog training field was shifting towards a more positive approach. Over the next several years I was overjoyed to see many resources coming out that took a less confrontational approach. It makes me sad to see that some people still feel the need to physically control a domestic dog and use confrontation to “make” the dog do what they want. I look back to the day when I was 20, out of school and ready to take on the world of training. I am thankful I had the experience of training wild animals before I started with dogs. I may not work with exotics any more but I still apply the concepts of enrichment and the hands-off approach to my clients. It was 24 years ago that I entered the dog training field, and if you ask me what one thing that has stood out to me after all that time it is that if you can train tigers force-free, you can most certainly train dogs! n Dawn Goehring graduated from the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College in California and started out training exotic animals before moving on to dogs. She then wondered why aversive methods were used in dog training given that they were not deemed necessary in working with wolves, monkeys or tigers. Based in Hawaii, at, she currently teaches dog training classes and conducts private lessons, as well as working in the commercial and film industry with some of her 13 rescue dogs.


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BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Learning Becomes Almost Effortless

Louise Stapleton-Frappell explains why reframing behaviors as tricks can help trainers


change their approach to the learning process

hy do I love teaching tricks and why do my dogs love learning them? This question has a very simple answer: Because tricks are fun! I really enjoy the process of deciding what I am going to teach and planning how to break it down into bite-sized portions so that I can effectively teach it to my learner. I love the actual teaching process and the ways in which my training buddy lets me know how much he is both understanding and enjoying the game.Yes, that’s right, I said “game!” When behaviors are taught in an easy to understand manner, with the appropriate motivation/reinforcement and with a fun-filled, joyous attitude from the teacher, they should feel like a game. The learner then immerses himself in the game and learning becomes almost effortless. The journey begins - a journey that takes you on a fun filled voyage culminating in that eureka moment when the student understands what he has been taught. Why would one want to teach tricks to one’s dog? If you have read any of my entries on PPG’s BLOGS by the Guild, you will know that I often use the word trick as a synonym for the word behavior. I believe that by calling behaviors tricks we embark on the teaching process with a different attitude. As we are thinking more about having fun, we tend to be more relaxed in our demeanor. This does not mean, however, that we have not thoroughly planned what we are about to teach. Nor does it mean that we are going to be slapdash with our training or that we have not continued our education to further our knowledge. It just means that we usually have a very positive attitude and that our pupil thrives under our tutelage. I bet there are at least two teachers whose classes really stand out from your school years. One of them will, hopefully, stand out for all the right reasons.You enjoyed their classes. The teacher taught in a thoughtful Tricks can way and made be used as a synonym for you feel rebehavior laxed. This at26

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Author Louise Stapleton-Frappell breaks tricks down into easy steps and uses positive reinforcement to teach the learner the criteria she has pinpointed. Her dog, Jambo (pictured) is a trick dog champion

titude promoted an atmosphere conducive to accelerated learning.You probably achieved some of your best grades in this class and with this teacher. The other class or teacher you are most likely to remember will, without doubt, be the one that you did not enjoy. It will be the class that you probably struggled in, or the class in which, although you could easily do the work, you just did not enjoy doing it.You felt no sense of accomplishment at the end of this class, just a sense of relief. Sadly, I think many dogs and their guardians must feel this way when they are unfortunate enough to select a training class with a less than enthusiastic teacher or worse still, a class that uses punishment rather than motivation and rewards. What are tricks, anyway? When I am asked this question I usually answer that every behavior is a trick. Manners, behaviors (obedience), agility, nosework, rally, heelwork to music, freestyle, disc-dogs, narcotics dogs, search and rescue dogs, guide dogs, service dogs… The skills these dogs are taught can all be labeled as tricks. There are simple tricks such as “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “leave it,” and “come,” and there are more elaborate tricks that incorporate spins, twists, bows and leg kicks into fun routines that will have an audience applauding. How old should your dog be if you want him to learn how to do tricks? You can start teaching tricks to your dog at any age. An 8-week-old puppy will have great fun doing hand touches, sits and downs while an 18-year-old senior will find a new lease of life when he starts learning new skills. It is never too early or too late to start teaching tricks. Just remember to always take your dog’s physical abilities into account by making sure the tricks are appropriate for him. Never teach tricks that could be detrimental to his physical development or well-being. How do I teach tricks? I teach them in the same way that I

would teach any behavior. I break the trick down into easily achievable steps and use positive reinforcement to teach my learner the criteria I have pinpointed. Once we have successfully accomplished one step, I add in new criteria to build on what we have already learned.You can see how a behavior is broken down in this video of my Staffordshire bull terrier, Jambo, unloading the washing machine and placing the items into a laundry basket. Another video shows a compilation of Jambo performing tricks such as tidy your toys, rewind, figure eight, backstall, stick ‘em up and bang you’re dead. Neither are teaching videos but both demonstrate the end result. When do I find the time to teach all these tricks? Believe it or not, I do not spend hours teaching tricks. I find the most successful learning occurs with a fresh and enthusiastic student and teacher. I like to keep sessions short and make sure that they are always fun. While working on this article both my dogs did a few tricks: An “on your mat,” a “watch me,” a “guilty,” and a “speak” gave me a few minutes break and enabled me to continue to “proof” some previously taught behaviors. Everybody can find a few minutes throughout the day that they can devote to training. When training is fun, it is something that all parties look forward to. When you really enjoy doing something you will always find the time to do it! What I am trying to say is that you do not need to find an hour a day or even 30 minutes.You will be amazed at what you can accomplish in just a few short sessions throughout the day. Why do I use rewards? This is very easy to answer. Positive reinforcement training techniques help me to set my dog up for success. It is not just about using rewards, it is about motivating your canine companion. The positive consequence of his “action” means that the behavior being taught will strengthen and is more likely to be repeated in future. New neural pathways are formed. The learning process speeds up and gathers momentum. The more you use positive reinforcement techniques, the more enthusiastic your learner becomes. The bond you share with your dog will go from strength to strength. Those of us who choose to share our lives with companion animals have a duty to treat those animals in a respectful way. Positive reinforcement allows us to do exactly that. Trick training will bleed into every area of your life together. All behaviors can be taught in the same way. There is never a need for force, fear, pain or intimidation. If you see your pet doing something you do not like then simply ask him to do something you do like instead. The more tricks you teach, the more alternative fun


behaviors you have to fall back on whenever you need them. What is it that makes both teaching and learning tricks so much fun? The fundamental reason for this is the positive attitude to learning and the positive reinforcement that both student and teacher receive; the new behaviors conquered; the sense of accomplishment; and the feeling of happiness when I watch my student’s expectant look – waiting for the next cue. Surely I should be teaching my dogs more important things? Just because I am labeling behaviors as tricks it does not mean that I do not prioritize the learning. Most people would consider sit, down, stay, come, loose leash walking, leave it and watch me as essential learning. These are the tricks that I would teach first. If there was something else I considered paramount to a dog and his guardian’s well-being, then that is what I would also work on first. Ultimately, I love teaching tricks because I love the journey and the outcome - and so do the dogs that I teach. n


Stapleton-Frappell, L. (Producer). (2015). Jambo Gets the Washing Out [Video]. Retrieved December 29, 2015 from Stapleton-Frappell, L. (Producer). (2015). Jambo Trick Dog Fabuloso [Video]. Retrieved December 29, 2015 from


BLOGS from the Guild:

Louise Stapleton-Frappell BA (Hons) PCT-A CTDI CAP3 DN-FSG is a super trainer clicker trainer who has performed as a dog trick instructor at In The Doghouse DTC. She works hard to promote a positive image of the "bully" breeds and advocate against Breed Specific Legislation. Her Staffordshire bull terrier, Jambo,, is a trick dog champion. She is also the proud author and instructor of the TrickMeister training program,, membership manager at PPGBI and regional coordinator of Doggone Safe in Spain. WITH

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A Chihuahua's Success Story

In Part II of this three-part article, L.A. Bykowsky and Chere McCoy detail Stella the rescue


dog’s preparations for her service dog training

t is imperative for a service dog to have a strong obedience foundation that is set with voice cues, hand signals and body language, and reinforced with treats and praise. All obedience and task training must be force-free. Before getting into our training for the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC), let me first speak of the treat reward. Treats are, of course, all important when beginning training. As her training progressed, Stella went from receiving a treat every time she successfully performed (voice or hand signal) to every third or fourth time, and finally to treats every once in a while. When training, the tastiest healthy treats possible assist in ensuring success. Stella’s first lesson was “heel,” i.e. walking beside me (I am a disabled veteran) just a bit to the left of my ankle with her head erect and checking her position in relation to me, glancing up every once in a while when I gave her the “watch me” cue. Learning to speed up, slow down, turn right, turn left, weaving through objects on the floor and in our path was quite complicated and we practiced constantly. Says Stella: “Having a mom who has balance problems… Let’s just say I got crushed a couple of times till I was able to pick up on her body language to avoid this unhappy circumstance. I was proficient at the “heel” within a two month period.” Along with the “heel” came the “sit.” I would say “sit” and hold a treat above Stella’s nose and slightly backwards so that her back legs folded with her rear on the floor. This was then was combined with the “heel” exercise so that Stella learned to sit whenever I stopped moving. Next was the “down.” Being a Chihuahua mix, lying down on a hard floor is not Stella’s thing and she much prefers carpet, dirt or grass. The instructors at Dogs For Life, Inc. (DFL) are well versed in ‘Chihuahua behaviors’ so Stella was allowed to do the “down” on carpet for the first few months. Whenever she did a “down” by herself, I would pop a treat in her mouth and say, “good.” Stella quickly learned that offered behaviors receive praise and treats, and make a hand signal and voice cue easier to learn. “Come” might be the most important cue for both my and Stella’s safety. No matter where she is or what she is doing, when she hears “Come!” she is off and running as fast as possible to me. Larger treats and lavish praise have attributed to her learning this quickly, Cues such as “watch,” “come,” “heel,” “sit,” “down,” “stand,” “stay,” “wait,” and “settle” may be used in combination. The “sit” or “down” may be given with the “wait” (another cue is about to be given) or “stay” (do not move from that spot no matter what happens). Proficiency in all cues ensures success for the obedience test. 28

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Service dog in training, Stella demonstrates a sit stay off leash

An example of a combination might be when greeting a friendly stranger as we are walking. “Watch me” (Stella looking up at me while continuing to heel) is used to get her attention as we approach the stranger and the cue is then given to “stand” or “sit.” Stella’s reaction must be to follow the cue, not to wiggle around and start sniffing the stranger’s feet or jump up (or any other undesirable behavior). Another example might be weaving through a crowd. We start with “heel,” then when going left, the cue is “easy” (slowing the pace), and turning right “quick, quick” (speeding up the pace). With practice, turning and weaving soon become automatic and eventually no voice or hand signals will be needed. In October 2015, Stella and I arrived at DFL's Friday obedience/public access training session. It turned out to be the CGC test (surprise!) with no notice and no treats allowed. My body language signaled stress so Stella began to lick her lips and yawn to help calm me. When it became our turn, we did everything to the required standard; all the training, hard work, and practice had paid off. After a few weeks we received Stella’s CGC certificate. Components of the CGC include: approaching a friendly stranger, behaving politely when other dogs approach, reaction to distraction. (i.e. food lying on the ground, joggers, shopping carts etc.), supervised separation (owner disappears out of sight and leaves dog with trusted person/s), coming when called, sit or down and staying in place, walking through a crowd, sitting politely for petting, appearance and grooming, and out for a walk (walking on a loose leash). Public access training is conducted in combination with obedience to ensure Stella will be stable, well-behaved and unobtrusive in the public. When obedience training is in the advanced


stages, DFL trainers take the teams out to various public places. Our first outing (three months into the program) was to a small coffee shop with two trainers and one other team. I was very nervous and Stella kept yawning and licking her lips to calm me. The instructors gave the cue to “table” or “mat” for the dogs while the humans in the group chatted away. Suddenly Stella popped up into a sit and was immediately given the hand signal for a “down.” She quickly picked up on what was required of her. Our first outing was a success. As a result I felt calmer and public access training became much easier. Public access training includes: a controlled unload out of a vehicle, approaching a building, entry through a doorway, heeling through buildings, a 6 foot recall on lead, sit on cue (under various conditions), down on cue (various conditions) off lead, being led by another person, being in a restaurant, a controlled exit, and a controlled loading into vehicles. These are the ones Stella must pass for the Assistance Dogs International Public Access Certification Test. At DFL the training included team training, riding in an elevator, food shopping, and public transportation. Late in November 2015 while at a training session incorporating a surprise test, the Assistance Dogs International Assistance Dog Public Access Certification Test, Stella and I passed with grades of A (Always) and M (Most of the time) more than half the time. We trained diligently to get this far. There is just one more hurdle and then Stella will be wearing the “Service Dog” patch and helping me live a more normal, fulfilling life. Part III of Stella’s story will include blood pressure alert (who knew), task training/certification and her graduation ceremony. n

Dog at work: Stella at the supermarket

Stella practices holding a down stay, half on the mat and half on the bare floor

Part I of this article, From Shelter Dog to Service Dog, was published in BARKS from the Guild, January 2016, pages 34-35. Read it at /barks_from_the_guild_january_2016/34


American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen: /dog-owners/training/canine-good-citizen Assistance Dogs International: www.assistancedogsinternational .org Dogs for Life, Inc.:

Public access training: Stella makes a new friend

Stella holds a stand stay

Stella moves off the mat and masters the down on the bare floor

L. A. Bykowsky is a veteran and former federal agent (retired) who spent the last 10 years of her career working as an explosives specialist and canine handler in south Florida, deploying as needed for assignments worldwide. She retired in 2011, ending her federal experience by training military working dogs, and began volunteering with her retired bomb dog as a pet-assisted therapy dog team for Dogs For Life (DFL). She now trains assistance dogs for DFL and works in project development, coordinating the service dog program for veterans. Chere McCoy is retired from the U.S. Air Force and was a founder/director (retired) of Ferret Friends Disaster Response International, covering everything from the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew to the North Dakota floods. She has also been a horse and dog trainer for over 35 years and is currently a Service Dog in Training team member. BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



The Importance of Feedback

Lisa Tenzin-Dolma outlines the significance of communication with dogs during training to


ensure a more effective and enjoyable learning experience

© Can Stock Photo/michaeljung

magine how you would feel if you were trying to figure out how to carry out a new task and no one was telling you whether you were getting it right or wrong.You may start to feel anxious, confused, frustrated – or all three. We can ask questions and (hopefully) receive answers that point us in the right direction if we feel unsure, but our dogs are often left with no choice but to use trial and error while they try to work it out for themselves. Unless we give clear guidance and feedback, our dogs will not know what it is that we are asking of them, and if there is no response from us they may just give up trying. Instant feedback is a vital tool that teaches dogs appropriate and desired behaviors. It strengthens the connection within the relationship, speeds up the training process and teaches dogs that they can trust us to communicate effectively with them. The first step in giving effective feedback is to pay attention to your dog’s body language. Does he look confused? If so, then find another way to be clear in your request. Is your dog anxious or distracted by the presence of other dogs or people? Are you in a busy, over-stimulating environment? Then take him somewhere quieter and less stressful so it is easier to maintain focus. Always use a calm tone of voice and clear hand and body signals as dogs are excellent readers of our non-verbal communication and the tones of voice we use. The second step is to keep lessons short – no more than a few minutes at a time. This is just as relevant whether you are teaching your dog to keep all four paws on the floor when visitors arrive, to sit when asked, to willingly relinquish something in order to learn to “trade,” or to learn social skills around other dogs. Like us, dogs can get bored and lose interest when they are repeatedly asked to do the same thing over and over again.


Positive Feedback

Effective feedback is an essential component in successful dog training

Mark the behavior immediately with a happy “yes!” or “good!” paired with a treat and petting, or a short tug-toy game or ball-throwing session – whichever floats your dog’s boat the most.You can, of course, also BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Dogs are expert in reading human body language. A happy facial expression is an important element in giving positive feedback

© Can Stock Photo/Dusan

use a clicker to mark the behavior by clicking the moment the dog does as asked and following this through immediately with a treat. Carry on marking the behavior every single time until it becomes automatic. After that you can gradually ease off on the rewards, but it is useful to still give occasional rewards to ensure the dog’s continued interest. After all, however much you may love your job, would you do it without pay for years on end? Randomly rewarding some responses – or the best responses – is known as intermittent reinforcement. Intermittent reinforcement is “enough to reinforce the behavior, but not enough to make the behavior dependent on the reinforcer.” (Burch & Bailey, 1999).

Eliminating an Unwanted Behavior

To eliminate an undesirable behavior, simply remove your attention, i.e. ignore it. Attention is a huge motivator for a dog. For example, if your dog is barking and you have to raise your voice to ask him to stop, as far as he is concerned he is getting the attention he wants and will most likely be encouraged to continue. By ignoring the barking until he pauses to draw breath, and then marking that moment of silence with praise, a treat or a game, he will learn that silence really is golden. This way the dog is getting positive feedback for being quiet.You can then add a hand signal as he pauses. Holding up your hand with your palm out in the traffic cop “stop” signal will soon become his cue for silence, richly rewarded immediately afterwards, of course. Using a hand signal means that you do not have to say a word, which also avoids causing any confusion.


At the same time you can encourage an alternative behavior. For example, if your dog is jumping up teach him to sit on cue, as sitting is incompatible with jumping.


As professional canine behavior consultants and trainers already know, the ABC of behavior stands for antecedent, behavior, consequence. The antecedent is the stimulus that causes a dog to perform a behavior. The behavior follows as a direct result of the antecedent, and the consequence is what happens immediately after the behavior is performed. When you give instant feedback your dog quickly learns to associate the behavior with your response, and therefore learns whether it is going to be rewarding to repeat it or not. Of course, there may be other factors involved that are reinforcing the behavior too, and being aware of specific contexts is essential, especially when dealing with problem behaviors.

Author Lisa Tenzin-Dolma: “Dogs can get bored and lose interest when they are repeatedly asked to do the same thing over and over again.” Pictured here with lurcher, Skye (left) and Romanian feral rescue, Charlie

ItÊs All in The Eyes


Smile a lot – real eye-crinkling smiles - when you give feedback. Dogs are experts at reading our faces and, like humans, use what is called the left-gaze bias to decipher our emotional states by looking at our faces (Guo, et al., 2009; Racca, et al., 2012). If you are not feeling the love and only your lips are smiling, your dog will know.

Be Interesting

Predictability in your responses is important while your dog is learning something new, but if you also make yourself interesting to be around, he will want to stay focused on you. Keep the feedback coming, and vary the rewards occasionally so that your dog is never sure whether he will get cheese, chicken, a toy or a game. This makes training much more fun and keeps the dog interested. n

Write for PPG!

Burch, M., & Bailey, J. (1999). How Dogs Learn. New York, NY: Wiley Publishing Inc. Guo, K., Meints, K., Hall, C., Hall, S., Mills, D. (2009). Left gaze bias in humans, rhesus monkeys and domestic dogs. Animal Cognition, 12(3):409-18. Retrieved December 22, 2015 from Racca, A., Guo, K., Meints, K., & Mills, S. (2012, April). Reading Faces: Differential Lateral Gaze Bias in Processing Canine and Human Facial Expressions in Dogs and 4-Year-Old Children. PLoS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036076

Lisa Tenzin-Dolma is the principal of The International School for Canine Psychology & Behaviour,, and founder of the Dog Welfare Alliance,

We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS from the Guild and BLOGS from the Guild. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please get in touch.

Email: BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Selecting a Training Treat

For training to be successful, the reinforcement must be something that is both practical for the situation and something that the dog loves. Donna Savoie explains

If a dog is highly motivated by toys they can be used as reinforcers in training as an alternative or complement to food treats

hen training a dog, it goes without saying that the reward must be something the dog loves.You may have purchased a 10 pound top quality prime rib roast for your dog, but if he does not like it or want it, then it simply is not a good training treat.

Food Treats

Have a variety of different flavors of training treats on hand. Whether you are going to a class, for a walk, a hike, a visit to the pet store or to visit friends, having a variety of treats on hand will help keep your dog interested. If your dog is wondering, "what do I get next, what do I get next?" as opposed to, "yeah yeah, another piece of steak," he will be more attentive during training. Building anticipation for the reinforcer is a big part of treat training. Food treats should be cut up or broken up into small peasized pieces.You want your dog thinking about earning his next piece rather than taking 20 seconds to eat the one he just got and then not remembering why he got it. Packaged treats or home cooked treats? Both, definitely both. Packaged treats provide convenience and shelf life and variety in flavor and texture. Watch the labels though. Just like we can eat a few potato chips now and then but (ideally) should not make a meal out of them (at least not often), your dog should not be eating two cups of junk food on a daily basis. Single ingredient training treats are the best. Many of the top shelf training treats sport labels that show just "beef," or "chicken" etc. These treats are optimum as far as healthy treats go. Some treats include other healthy ingredients as well. Learn to read labels and learn what ingredients to avoid. 32

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Photo courtesy: Tonya Wilhelm

Š Can Stock Photo/mrdoomits


Treats can be prebought or home baked; taste, shape, size and texture should all be taken into consideration depending on what you are training and what the dog considers it worth working for

Home cooked training treats are always a good choice. Leftover meats make nice training treats. Cut them up into small pieces and either put them in a dehydrator or even in the oven on a very low setting to dry out a lot of the moisture. Some other considerations when selecting a training treat for your dog is shape and texture. Why is shape important? You do not want your treats to bounce and roll around. Treat placement during training is important and sometimes downright crucial. During loose leash walking for example, if you are dropping the treats on the floor, and the treats are bouncing and rolling all over the place, then the dog is not maintaining the optimum position while getting his paycheck. Rather, he is getting excited by the rolling and bouncing treats and not learning what you are trying to teach. In this example, the dog is actually learning to ignore you and chase the treats instead or, worse, is learning to pull ahead of you. Texture is important too, for you mostly. Wet or greasy treats can be slippery and cause you to drop them which means the dog is getting freebies. What are you training? What you are working on can also be a factor in what treat to use. Fast work such as name game, four on the floor and initial sit training (i.e. when you want the dog to get paid and get back to work just as quickly) require a treat that the dog can eat in a fraction of a second and keep on thinking about how to earn another. Treats that take longer to eat, such as a dehydrated crunchy chicken breast for example, can be used for getting duration in a stay in the early stages of down/stay training. Or, treats that take longer to chew can be used to keep your dog busy while listening to a lesson so that he is not pestering you. This is especially important for young dogs in training or newly adopted dogs who are new to training. A long shaped treat

may be easier to handle for luring so, for example, the dog may nibble at it on his way into the down position. Give some thought to what you are teaching, what your dog loves, the taste, texture, size and variety as well as the importance of treat placement when you are selecting your training treat for the session.

Non-Food Treats

Tug toys, balls, squeaks etc. can all be used as a training treat. Some dogs are more toy motivated than they are food motivated, depending on the environment, the training task and the dog himself. One of the disadvantages of using toys for training is that they are difficult to hide. Treats can be placed in a bait bag or pockets and be out of sight but most toys are difficult to hide. While food is easier to work with, toys make an excellent train-


ing treat in many situations, for example when teaching impulse control. If you are going to use toys as a training treat, it is important that the dog never gets those particular toys for free any other time. A tug toy with real fur on it, for example, could be a highly desirable toy reserved especially for training. By giving some thought to what you are going to use as a reward in training, you can tailor it to an individual dog’s preferences and retain the dog’s interest and enthusiasm more efficiently. And remember, every time you interact with your dog, you have rewarded the behavior being exhibited in that exact moment. n Donna D. Savoie CDBC CPDT-KA CBATI ABCDT is the owner and president of Pack of Paws Dog Training,, LLC in Southbridge, MA. Redstone Media Group, in partnership with the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is delighted to announce that all PPG members are now eligible for 50% OFF ($12 for six issues) a oneyear subscription to Animal Wellness or Equine Wellness magazines.

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For people who are serious about their dogs!

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Is It Working for You?

Ada Simms explores the common - yet often unwanted - behavior of jumping up


and describes how it can be addressed with impulse control games, exercise and behavior modification

ost people do not like it when a dog jumps on them. If The repeated reinforcement of this behavior day in it happens, it is quite likely that they will view your and day out can easily become a habit. This works sweet dog as an out-of-control brat. Dirty paws and well for the dog because he is being reinforced getting scratched are two of the occupational hazards, not to for jumping and has now habituated the behavmention that it may scare people, or, the worst case sceior. The longer the puppy or dog continues nario, your dog jumps up and the person, senior or toddler though, the habit becomes harder to change. who is the object of his attention falls down and gets Even angry attention is attention - the dog just hurt. As innocent as it may seem ("my dog just loves wants to be noticed. A mistake people often people so much"), an injury can quickly become a liabilmake is giving a dog attention when he is ity. performing an undesirHere is a true story: A wonderful sweet dog had able behavior. This started attending my puppy classes and star puppy happens in a number classes. The dog was now 14 months old and of ways, for example, weighed 75 pounds. He was as sweet as can be. saying the dog's name in a frustrated However, he continued to jump up at people manner. Someone has not played the when greeting them. The owner had called for name game! The name game teaches the my help because the jumping behavior had acdog that his name is held in the highest estually caused an injury. Apparently the dog was with her in teem and he therefore feels good when he the yard and usually stayed very close. An elderly neighbor hears his name. The most difficult part of happened to be walking by and the dog ran over to him, jumped this is not using the dog’s name to interrupt unup and knocked him down onto the pavement. The man broke wanted behavior, chastise or scold. If the dog pairs his his wrist as he went to brace his fall. An ambuFrom a dog’s point of view, jumping up is name with something bad, you are teaching rewarded with coveted attention, making him to ignore it because, in his mind, somelance was called, as well as Animal Control. The the behavior more likely to be repeated owner had to pay for the hospital visit and the thing bad may occur if he responds when he © Can Stock Photo/ESIGHT follow up therapy. Animal Control gave her two citahears his name. If that makes no sense to you, I am tions, one for an unleashed dog and one for a dangerous dog. A sure you experienced it when you were a child. There were two dangerous dog! In the eyes of the man, he had been attacked by distinct tones my mother had. One was cheery as she called my the dog. Animal Control did not know the dog so went on the name and I would say, "Yes". The other tone was one of testimony of the injured party. Luckily, they did not take the dog anger/frustration. Even as a youngster, I knew what that tone to the shelter to be kept until the court date (this is usually for meant. Clearly I had done something wrong and my response two weeks and the owner has to pay for boarding). Fortunately, was to ignore or go and hide (depending on the volume). the dog’s owner's home owner's insurance paid for the medical Or, having said the dog’s name in an angry or frustrated tone, care. If the dog had been a pit bull, German shepherd, Rottweiler, we then continue with additional verbiage of "no jumping," "sit, Doberman etc., she most likely would have been dropped from sit, siiiiiiit," "off," "down," or "stop it." In other words, we are now the insurance company altogether. having a conversation and giving our dog the attention he wanted. How did we get from having a sweet jumping puppy to a He may stop but this is most likely to be because our voice is instrong jumping adult dog? The laws of behavior are just that timidating, not because he has learned anything. In fact, we have what it is reinforced will be repeated. This is known as actually managed to eliminate a teaching moment. When fear is Thorndike’s Law of Effect, i.e. any behavior that is followed by present, learning does not take place. Instead of this, here are pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behavior some steps that can be taken to change the unwanted jumping: followed by unpleasant consequences is likely to be stopped. It all starts with the small cute puppy who gets petted when #1: Play the Name Game. Your dog will love this game and if you practice it every day, he will become conditioned to respond he jumps up. We let other people pet him. “Aha!” thinks the when his name is called (search YouTube with "name game puppy, “jumping up gets attention.” From the puppy’s viewpoint, clicker" to get some ideas). I still play this with my six-year-old when he jumps up he gets attention. Why wouldn’t he keep dog. Food is used as reinforcement when a dog is learning bedoing it? So often owners unintentionally reinforce the jumping cause it is a quick way to get lots of repetitions.You can add in behavior by giving the puppy attention when he does it. 34

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"life rewards" too. Think about what your dog values. A game of tug or fetch or going for a car ride are all rewarding for my dog. It can be as simple as a butt rub. It is your job to know what your dog values (not what you think he may find valuable).

Teaching nose-to-hand targeting is very useful here and dogs love this game. Once the dog has a grasp of this and is conditioned to touch the palm of your hand with his nose, changing the cue from "touch" to "say hi" is quite easy. Once the dog has practiced this with you and people who are familiar to him, you can then proceed to use it for polite greetings elsewhere.You will direct the new person to stand sideways and lower their hand with the palm facing forward. Give the dog the cue to "say hi." The dog will then touch the person's hand and at the same time you will "click" or verbally mark the behavior, whereby he will come back to you for the treat/reinforcement. Some people are more on the reserved side and do not feel comfortable speaking up. A possible solution to this is to buy a vest that says "Dog in Training" or "Ask to Pet." Some of my clients have done this and said 99 percent of people respect the request stated on the vest and do not approach. In the end, if you only give attention to your dog when he is about to jump or already has, you have unwittingly trained him to repeat the behavior because he is successful when he does it. Instead, be proactive, reinforce calmness and use stationary cues (sit and down) so the dog has an alternative behavior to offer for reinforcement. In addition, make sure the dog is getting the appropriate exercise for his size/breed and the laws of behavior will become evident. Reward/reinforce wanted behaviors and they will be repeated, that is the law. n There is always the risk that a jumping dog may knock someone over

© Can Stock Photo/Lopolo

#2:The Default Sit. In class, the sit is captured and rewarded. This means that the dog will offer the behavior without prompting. As the butt just about touches the floor, mark the behavior with a clicker or a verbal marker and give a food treat within one second. There is no physical contact, we neither pull up on the lead nor do we say, “sit.” Instead we wait for the dog to offer the behavior many times. When he has done this, we give it a cue, “sit.” Now sit can be used for waiting at the door, at meal times, before the ball is thrown and, of course, getting attention or being petted. The dog will know that sit is rewarding and, when he is not sure what to do, will elect to sit because of the reinforcement history. It will become conditioned and automatic when sufficiently reinforced.

#3: Prevention. If a stranger came up to your child and reached out to touch them, would you allow it? You would probably think, "no way." In the same way you have to be bold enough to protect your dog like you would your child. Have the dog on a leash at any time when there may be a chance you will come upon people who want to greet him. Tell people that your dog has to sit calmly before they can pet him. If they still approach without waiting, just turn around and walk away or block access to your dog. My leash of choice is leather, 6 feet long and ½ inch wide. I place knots every 12-18 inches. When the dog is sitting and the leash is loose enough for him to sit comfortably with no pressure on the collar (I prefer a harness) but there is not enough leash to allow jumping, I stand with my foot near or on the knot. Now the leash is stable and cannot slide, leaving my hands free to click and treat.

Ada Simms CPDT-KA OSCT is the owner and trainer at Reward That Puppy Dog Training Inc, www, in Rochester, New York, where she conducts classes and private sessions. She has earned titles in obedience and agility with her two dogs.

Distance is Your Friend

If your dog cannot be calm at a distance of 5 feet, back away till you are at the distance where he will offer a sit and take treats. Preferably the dog will look at you for the reinforcement. I have noticed sometimes dogs become more excited when people give treats, and so greet them already expecting a treat. Note: in some behavioral cases, depending on the dog, I use the treat/retreat exercise.With puppies it really depends on the individual. BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Making the Case for Space

Sadly, breed stereotyping is commonplace in the world at large, with pit bulls, Rottweilers,

Dobermans, Staffordshire bull terriers and German shepherds getting especially short shrift, but it works in reverse too. Tonya Wilhelm tells the tale of the inverted prejudice she experienced with her dog-reactive golden retriever, Theo, who everyone assumed would be friendly and affectionate

Despite the common belief that all goldens are “friendly,” Theo was not at all friendly with other dogs

Theo’s guardian, author Tonya Wilhelm, was able to keep Theo below threshold when on walks, other dog owners notwithstanding


t was five o’clock in the morning and I loaded up my pockets with tasty treats, poop bags, and an air horn. With a forced smile on my face and a quivering voice, I said to my golden retriever, Theo, "Are you ready to go for a walk?" Next, I placed Theo's head collar on and gave him a yummy piece of beef. I slowly opened the door and peeked around outside, with Theo still inside behind me. I looked down the street in both directions as far as I could see. I took a deep breath, and said, "Let's go," as I took a quick step outside. In an upbeat voice, I jollied Theo up and hit the pavement. There was a great park with lots of space just across the street, and Theo loved walking there. We were "on." Theo was paying attention to me, and we were having a good time sniffing the vole holes and playing training games. I suddenly noticed a woman about 50 feet away with her dog. Theo and I stepped off the path and into the open grassy area. As the woman and her dog moved closer, I continued to play with Theo, running through some of his tricks and training skills. He was focused on me and responding well. As the woman closed the gap between us, I took Theo further into the grass away from the walking path. To my dismay, the woman and her dog started 36

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into the grass toward us, instead of continuing down the path. I kept moving Theo farther and farther into the grass, not making eye contact with the woman. But she kept getting closer, with her dog pulling hard at the end of the leash. Finally, as I reached the end of the grass and hit the tree line, I asked Theo to sit, stay while I put my body in front of his to block the woman. I stretched out my hand in traffic cop mode, and called to her, "He's not dog-friendly, please stop!" She looked shocked and said, "I didn't know goldens could bite." True story. As a dog trainer and dog enthusiast, I often hear the breedbiased advice that gets bandied about. That breed is “mean,” you need a “firm hand” when training that breed, don't trust that breed with cats, and so on. But what is not talked about as often is that even the "friendly” breeds can have issues. The pendulum swings both ways. All too often, people will see a dog they assume is friendly and social and rush up to him and his owner. They often do not stop to ask if they can say hello or pet the dog, they just go in for the reach or hug. Or they may bound in with their dog in tow, assuming the two dogs will hit it off, without even thinking twice. Theo passed in 2009, but when he was in my life I was on pa-

trol every time we stepped out the door together.You see, Theo had issues with other dogs. When he was an adolescent, something traumatic happened during a stay at a local doggie daycare. After that day, he no longer enjoyed the company of other dogs. Because I spent a lot of time practicing and working on Theo's issues, people assumed he was friendly and social when they saw us out for a walk. After all, I made it my priority to keep Theo under his threshold, so he always looked as if he were friendly, happy and social. Another concern I have with this kind of breed stereotyping is the safety of children. Too many parents leave children unsupervised with their “friendly” breed, assuming they are safe. Goldens “don't bite,” after all. Or, they allow their children to lie on top of the dogs, pull their ears, take their bones or toys… the list goes on and on. This, of course, is another topic all on its own. After Theo's passing, I brought another “friendly” breed into the household, a cavalier King Charles spaniel. As might be expected, I am now an active volunteer and behavior consultant for various cavalier King Charles spaniel rescue groups. And once again, breed stereotyping has reared its head. I often get calls and emails from frantic foster families about the issues their foster dogs have. They call about not being able to feed all the dogs to-


gether because the foster dog growls; or the foster dog barks at unknown dogs when going for a walk. People who have been into this breed for decades are often shocked when this behavior happens, because, again, cavaliers don't behave like that. I always keep in mind that this is a dog, and dogs have individual personalities. I just assume every dog guards valuables until I know better. My take-home is that every dog deserves personal space, just like people do, regardless of the dog’s breed, size or appearance. If you want to decrease that bubble, please Every dog needs and deserves personal ask the person before approaching space, regardless of and wait for their answer. If it looks their breed, size or appearance - and like the person and dog are working despite commonly or seem agitated, simply move on held stereotypes and do not take it personally. And don't forget to ask the dog too! n Tonya Wilhelm of Global Dog Training,, is a Toledo, Ohio-based dog training specialist, author and public speaker who has traveled the United States promoting positive, holistic dog training at seminars and pet expos. She has helped thousands of dog parents build happy relationships with their dogs, has authored several books and is a frequent contributor to a variety of blogs and magazines.

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* Order a monthly box of dog goodies for your canine friend! * Special rates available for gifts for dog friends * A portion of proceeds from each box will go to help dogs in need The promocode can be found in the Member Area of the PPG website: /benefitinformation BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



The Three Bark Rule

In Part II of our feature on problem barking, Diane Garrod presents a useful and effective

n the first part of this article, Dog Speak - The Language of Barking (BARKS from the Guild, January 2016, pp. 41-43, I examined canine communication and presented some tips on how to manage and prevent over-barking. As promised in that article, I will now explain in greater detail the “three bark rule.” Although there are several ways to prevent, manage and train your dog not to bark, the three bark rule technique shows how easy it is to diminish and even eliminate non-alert barking without using aversive methods. The three bark rule establishes that it is okay to alert bark. Dogs use barking as a communication tool and do not bark specifically to annoy people. The Dogs use barking as three bark rule shows the dog a communication his communication is respected. tool and do not specifically Then, to end the barking a sim- bark to annoy people ple, pleasant cue is taught. Start at the End To train the three bark rule, you start at the end, meaning you back chain the sequence of cues. This is familiar terminology to clicker trainers. The entire sequence becomes Thank you, two, three, done, or any end cue chosen. It consists of counting out the two, three in your head or simply saying it verbally. The done cue can be anything i.e. done, quiet, shhhhh, cookies, uncle, etc. The thank you portion of the chain signals respect to what your dog is barking at, confirms it, and indicates you will take care of it. In the beginning, looking plus placing a soft palm on dog's shoulder will be needed to acknowledge the communication. Soon your neighbors will not even know you have dogs, because they will bark only to alert. If multiple dogs are in the household, train each dog separately before bringing them together. Training the End Cue Start training your ‘done’ cue first. 1 - Every time your dog is being quiet, say your done cue, then click and treat. The end cue, for instance 'done,' means turn away and come. If you see your dog sitting quietly at the window, this is an ideal time to practice the done cue. The key to the done cue is it means to turn away and return or come. 38

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

2 - Walk or run backwards when you say your end barking word so the dog turns away and comes to you quickly for a reward. Mark the behavior by clicking for the action of turning away and treating for the position of returning to you. Turning away redirects the dog's attention away from what he is barking at. Delivering the Reward Wait three to 10 seconds before delivering the reward so it becomes very clear to the dog that the done cue does not mean you are rewarding "barking." Waiting several seconds before delivering the reward allows a period of quiet, helping the dog to forget what he was barking at in the first place. When you are confident you have a great quiet cue established then - and only then - add the cue to the entire sequence during barking. Thank you, two, three, done. Here is how it will go: 1 - The dog barks. 2 - Get up and go over to the dog. 3 - Place hand lightly on his shoulder and say first cue "thank you." Later you can eliminate getting up, but in the learning stages it is critical to the communication sequence. 4 - Continue with two, three (mentally or aloud, it does not matter). If it is said out loud, the dog will eventually stop barking at two or three and should be highly rewarded for doing so. Dogs will also start to monitor barks and even stop barking just to look. 5 - Adding the end cue. 6 - Get ready to cheerfully say your done cue when three is mentally thought or expressed out loud. As you do, run or walk backwards to the kitchen or other room where the reward is waiting and easily accessible. If you have trained this cue well without the addition of barking, your dog will stop barking immediately, turn away, and race to return to you for his reward. Wait three to 10 seconds to deliver the reward. Use this as a time for attentive eye contact. © Can Stock Photo/kristina888


technique to manage the issue, no matter where the location

Prevention and Management Once the dog's attention is redirected it is time to block the

dog's view of whatever is stimulating the barking and get him busy with an activity. Troubleshooting What if my dog does not stop barking when I say my done cue? First, was done cue said in the same tone as it was trained? It should be done in a pleasant delivery without emotion or an aversive tone.Yelling your cue word is not correct and only adds drama. Second, was enough time spent training the end cue? It is possible to add other distractions before adding to barking, such as toys, the dog walks away and the cue is said, the dog is looking out of the window and the cue is said, and so on. Practice makes a perfect cue. If everything was done correctly, then the done cue has not been trained long enough where it means quiet to your dog. Go back to step one and start over. There has to be a consequence for barking past the cue word done. A dog can become over-excited or over-stimulated and violate the cue. If all is in place and the dog barks past the done cue, there is no reward. Simply, the over-barking is ignored and the training should be started over. Otherwise, block the view and provide your dog with some relaxation time in a crate or x-pen, in a room or on his mat. This will bring him down from the adrenaline rush of barking, which caused him to bark after the cue. This must be done without comment, talking or aversion, and is simply a brief time out. This is also a time for you to figure out which part you might have skipped over in the sequence of training. Analyze why the barking did not end, and outline what you were doing wrong. Then you can regroup and try again later. Eventually, the magic will appear in the form of a dog who remains quiet and looks, stops barking before the end cue, or eagerly ends when told. In summary, it will take positive reward-based repetitions and proper timing of the clicker to get it just right. The click comes only as the dog immediately turns his head The three bark rule and body away from whatever he shows a dog his communication is is doing. The reward is delivrespected.To end ered after the dog trots hapthe barking a simple, pleasant pily over to receive his cue can reward. be taught Make sure the click comes for the action of the dog turning away from and not while he is barking. Wait three to 10 seconds before delivering the treat. The more good behavior is rewarded, quiet or not barking, the more the good behavior will continue. Soon the dog will be counting out his own barks. More importantly, he will know Š Can Stock Photo /cynoclub


his communication is being taken seriously and that his alert barks are valued. The three bark rule increases and establishes a better team relationship and bond. What an excellent way to begin a lifetime of proper reward-based training techniques. n


Garrod, D. (2016, January). Dog Speak - The Language of Barking. BARKS from the Guild, pp.41-43. Retrieved January 19, 2016 from _the_guild_january_2016/41 Diane Garrod BSc PCT-A is a certified Tellington TouchÂŽ Practitioner (CA1), ATA Certified Treibball Instructor and holds certificates in theriogenology, science in writing and animal behavior. She is behavior consultant/trainer and owner at the Canine Transformations Learning Center,, in Washington State.

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BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Nature vs. Nurture

Gail Radtke discusses the significance of genetics, early learning and environment in terms


of relevance to puppy temperament testing

s an evaluator for the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program and a professional dog trainer, I often hear something along the lines of: “My puppy is super friendly, she would make such a great therapy dog!” A few years back SJA did actually allow dogs at the age of one year to be evaluated and enter the program. More recently, however, they have changed their policy to stipulate that dogs must be a minimum of two years of age to start training. The rationale for the decision is a greater awareness that dogs are still maturing and developing at such a young age, and that behavior can change a great deal during this developmental time period. This prompted me to consider the validity of puppy temperament testing and how accurate this might be in predicting future behavior and personality. Temperament testing involves conducting a series of exercises and tests that the pup must complete. For example, some tests try to determine a pup’s response to noise or whether he is confident or fearful. There are many more tests that are specific to the pup’s future job, such as becoming a police, military or guide dog. The research on puppy temperament testing is conflicting. There appears to be no concluding evidence that testing at a young age can determine the outcome of a pup’s adult behavior. According to Asher et al. (2015), “conducting assessments on juvenile or young adult dogs, rather than dogs less than 12 weeks of age, could improve a test’s predictive value.” Developmental factors and age “can be expected to have major effects on behavior, and temporal stability over the short term does not preclude behavioral changes over the long term.” (Riemer et al., 2014). Taylor & Mills (2006) stated that it is “of concern to find that not only are many tests not apparently designed in consultation with behavioral scientists, but also that they have not been presented formally in scientific literature.” Often we see puppies for sale stating that they have been temperament tested, yet the potential owner has little to no understanding of Regardless of whether a puppy is friendly, there appears to be no concluding evidence that temperament testing at a young age can determine the outcome of his adult behavior


© Can Stock Photo/MatHayward

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Temperament testing involves conducting a series of exercises and tests that a puppy must complete

© Can Stock Photo/goldenKB

the types of testing that would be required to qualify the test as valid. Dogs have four periods of development: neonatal, transitional, socialization, and juvenile. Within each of these stages are sub-stages such as the fear imprint stage, occurring between 810 weeks of age and starting again at 6 months of age. During this stage puppies are highly sensitive to environmental stimuli (Aloff, 2011). Testing a puppy at such a young age would not necessarily reflect the environmental experiences that will influence future behavior. Regarding, for example, a puppy that is not fearful at 11 weeks of age, one cannot reliably predict that the dog will not become fearful as an adult. We have to consider how dogs learn and how behavior is shaped through experience. A dog can be conditioned to become fearful or aggressive by being exposed to a stimulus he is uncomfortable with - even if he was a happy-go-lucky puppy. It goes back to the age old argument of nature vs. nurture. How much of personality and temperament is determined by genetics or experience? Kaminski & Marshall (2014) state that puppy testing is important but emphasize that it must be retested in puppyhood, at a juvenile age, and later in adulthood. Getting a puppy that has been temperament tested may sound appealing but we need to look deeper into how and why the testing was done, who conducted the test and whether it has any validity. This takes me back to the many comments I hear from dog owners who say their puppy would make a great therapy dog because he is so social. Owners often ask my opinion on whether their dog would make a good therapy dog; my answer can only be, “It all depends.” Even if a puppy is tested at a young



Aloff, B. (2011). Puppy Problems. Washington: Dogwise Publishing Asher, L., Blythe, S., Roberts, R., Toothill, L., Craigon, P., Evans, K., Green, M., & England, G. (2013). A standardized behavior test for potential guide dog puppies: Methods and associations with subsequent success in guide dog training. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(6), 431–438. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101237 Harvey, N.D., Craigon, P.J., Sommerville, R., McMillan, C., Green, M., England, G. & Asher, L. (2015).Test-retest reliability and predictive validity of a juvenile guide dog behavior test. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 0(0). doi: Kaminski, J & Marshall, P (2014). The Social Dog. San Diego, CA: Academic Press Riemer, S., Muller, C.,Viranyl, Z., Huber, L., & Range, F. (2014). The Predictive Value of Early Behavioral Assessments in Pet Dogs – A Longitudinal Study from Neonates to Adults. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101237. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101237 Taylor, K,. & Mills, D. (2006, November). The development and assessment of temperament tests for adult companion dogs. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 1(3), 94–108. doi:


St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program: /Community-Services/Pages/Therapy%20Dog%20Services /default.aspx

age (normally between 6-10 weeks of age) and passes, this does not factor in the development stages still to come and the environmental experiences the pup will go through into adulthood, which will all help shape his ultimate behavior and temperament. One does not have to look far to find an enormous amount of puppy temperament tests available on the internet but we would have to ask how valid they are based on the scientific research available. Why then do so many breeders and trainers offer them? In my opinion, “temperament tested puppies” sounds impressive, designed to be appealing to existing or potential puppy owners. My advice to people that want to pursue future therapy dog work is to ensure their puppy has ample opportunity to learn via positive association from as many experiences as possible. Educating owners on puppy development and how to avoid negative experiences is important, as is, of course, making sure they work with a force-free trainer. Just because your pup aced the temperament test, it does not mean you are home free all the way into adulthood. There are too many changes are ahead for your pup. n Gail Radtke CPDT is a retired correctional supervisor and former instructor to the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada. Gail has combined her passion for dogs and teaching and is a Family Paws Parent Education presenter and has recently completed her DipCBST. She is the owner and operator of Cedar Valley K9,, in Mission, British Columbia.



Prison Dogs

Daniel Antolec relates his experiences as part of a therapy dog team visiting a local correctional institution and the profound effect such visits have on staff, residents and other visitors Photo Courtesy: Faye Antolec

hroughout my life I have tried to be a good citizen, obeying laws, helping others and practicing empathy and the Golden Rule*. In my long career I served as an emergency medical technician and a police officer, and saved lives along the way. It never occurred to me that at 59 years of age I would find myself in prison…with my best friend, my black Labrador, Buddha. Indeed, it was Buddha’s eighth birthday. Buddha and I have passed the Pet Partners evaluation process and are registered as a therapy team. Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, is one of three institutions we visit. Columbia is a maximum security prison where the warden and psychiatrist authorized a new program in 2015, allowing therapy dog teams to visit inmates. The program was off to a great start until one day one inmate murdered another, and shortly after that another inmate stabbed a correctional officer. The facility was locked down for two months and the program stopped abruptly. Buddha and I had visited prior to the lockdown and the atmosphere was pretty upbeat. After the program resumed, I could see how the fatigue and stress were weighing heavily on those within the prison. By celebrating Buddha’s birthday in the prison I hoped to lift the spirits of staff and inmates alike. In 2012, Frontiers in Psychology published an article, Psychosocial and psychophysiological effects of human-animal interactions: the possible role of oxytocin, which reviewed evidence from 69 original studies on human-animal interactions (HAI). “Studies clearly indicated positive effects of HAI in several different domains and in humans of different age groups, with and without special medical, or mental health conditions,” said the study. “Interacting with animals influences social interaction between humans and related factors important in this respect, such as trust, empathy, aggression, and a positive mood.” The study noted that HAI provided clear evidence of: Antolec hands out his and Buddha’s business card to whomever he meets during a prison visit


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Author Daniel Antolec and black Labrador, Buddha, ready to visit the maximum security prison: “Everywhere Buddha went all eyes were cast upon him and I saw stressed faces change to smiles and laughter.”

1. Improvement of social attention, behavior, interpersonal interaction and mood. 2. Reduction of stress-related parameters such as cortisol, heart rate, blood pressure. 3. Reduction of self-reported fear and anxiety. 4. Improvement of mental and physical health, especially cardiovascular health. Limited evidence of the following was also noted: 1. Reduction of stress-related parameters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine 2. Improvement of immune system functioning 3. Improved pain management 4. Increased trustworthiness of and trust toward other persons 5. Reduced aggression 6. Enhanced empathy 7. Improved learning Since 2012 there have been many additional studies on the benefits of HAI and I have witnessed some of the benefits directly. During our 90 minutes at Columbia, Buddha received eight inmate visitors, met a dozen of the staff and an equal number of persons in the lobby who had come to visit friends and loved ones. Everywhere Buddha went all eyes were cast upon him and I saw stressed faces change to smiles and laughter. Nearly everyone near me laid their hands gently upon him. There were only two therapy teams at the facility on this day so inmates were limited to a 10-minute visit and had to wait their turn. I greeted each man, shook hands and introduced myself. Then I introduced Buddha and handed out his business card. One of the wonderful things that happens during a prison visit is that Buddha meets each new person without judgment of


past mistakes or poor choices. He does not care how a person looks, how old they are, or the color of their skin. The inmate is likewise free to establish a new relationship without feeling obliged to fulfill an image or identity that one must maintain in prison society. We were simply two men petting a friendly dog, having a conversation. Some men reflected upon what they once had, what they lost and what they hoped to gain upon their release. I could not help but share their hopes and dreams, wanting a better life for them than the one they had. The vast majority of violent offenders were themselves abused as children, as were a very large percentage of drug offenders. Growing up in a house with a violent parent I understood how easily I could have slipped into an anti-social lifestyle. Even as I arrested individuals in my adult life I always felt empathy and understood how easily the roles could have been reversed. Buddha’s first visitor was a young man of about 25 years. In spite of his large stature what impressed me most was his baby face and quiet voice. As he gazed at Buddha he immediately spoke of the dogs he left behind, and nearly broke into tears. He had raised a puppy as a teenager and had been forced to

life melt away, all due to the touch of a dog that did not know of his crime and passed no judgment upon him. Buddha and the young man accepted each other in the moment, and I was privileged to facilitate the brief time they had together. Another inmate who entered the visiting room stood in line waiting for his turn, clutching something to his chest. The staff informed me the man was non-communicative and I should not expect him to speak with me. He never spoke with anyone. Ever. Like all the inmates Buddha met that day, he had been diagnosed with a mental disorder and the prison psychiatrist quietly observed from a distance. The sergeant who supervised the visitation program sat in a prominent position, ensuring safety and security. When it was the young man’s time to visit Buddha, he approached me and presented a photograph of his German shepherd and began speaking of the dog he had not seen in many years. The presence of Buddha allowed him to do something he previously had found impossible and we had a short conversation about how wonderful his dog was, and how much he loved his pet. When the visit ended I watched the man walk down the line of inmates, each of them waiting for their 10 minutes of canine

leave his 10-year-old dog behind, hoping he would still be alive when he was released from prison… in another 11 years. The other dog he had left behind had only been adopted just prior to his incarceration. He had barely had the chance to get to know his new dog and worried about the dog’s poor health and longevity. I doubted this man would ever see either of his dogs again but kept that to myself as I reflected on how I would feel if I could never see Buddha again. A dog has the power to bridge the gap between a retired police officer and an inmate and we spent our time sharing the love of a dog. As the young man spoke to me of his sadness he constantly stroked Buddha, who settled down against his leg and rolled over for a long belly rub. I commended the young man for his gentle manner and expressed how safe Buddha must have felt with him. The man smiled and I watched the strain and pain of prison

therapy. He stopped to show each of them his photograph and talked about his dog. As I glanced over my shoulder I saw the psychiatrist and sergeant smiling broadly as they watched approvingly. Dogs have the power to heal broken hearts and broken minds. Another inmate approached with considerable tension and never took his eyes off Buddha. He told me that he had been under terrible stress lately and how very much he was looking forward to the arrival of the therapy dogs. The man began stroking Buddha, who turned to face him and offered a paw. In just a few minutes the man began breathing easily and with a great sigh of relief told me how much better he felt and how grateful he was to those who shared their dogs. When his time was up he walked away with a lighter step. As Pet Partners we may never really know how important our pet dogs are to others, but I have heard inmates and prison

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared - Buddha

Everyone who encounters Antolec and Buddha in a correctional institution immediately seeks eye contact with the black Lab: “Buddha meets each new person without judgment of past mistakes or poor choices.”

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



staff tell me in very personal terms how important it is for them to have even a few minutes with Buddha and the others dogs who visit. Many of the inmates spoke directly to Buddha, telling him to stay safe, and admonishing me to take good care of him. I assured them I would do my best to keep Buddha safe, and how much we enjoyed the visit. As a law enforcement officer, the most common trait I observed among individuals who violated laws and harmed others was an utter lack of empathy, yet these inmates almost universally expressed empathy for Buddha and a desire for a better life once they had paid for their crime. American culture is a punitive one in many respects and we incarcerate more citizens per capita than any other nation. Those who enter our prisons will one day return to us. The question in my mind is whether they will return as angry hardened and resentful individuals, or human beings who have learned empathy and look forward to a better future? Hope is the engine of change. Surely, we can learn from our dogs and meet others without judgment or condemnation. Had we faced the same stresses and circumstances early in our lives, we too might have been the inmates waiting in line for the opportunity to spend a few precious moments with a dog. Pet Partners currently has 10,470 registered therapy teams and nearly 10,000 dogs are among them. Therapy Dogs International currently has 24,750 registered teams. With 70 million dogs in the United States alone, many more could become therapy dogs. If your dog has a calm and relaxed temperament, enjoys human interaction and has sound, basic training then you may wish to join ranks and share the wonders of canine therapy.You and your dog can make a world of difference. n

*Golden Rule: a general rule for how to behave that says that you should treat people the way you would like other people to treat you; a rule of ethical conduct to do to others as you would have them do to you; a guiding principle.


Beetz, A., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Julius, H., & Kotrschal, K. (2012, July). Psychosocial and psychophysiological effects of humananimal interactions: the possible role of oxytocin. Frontiers in Psychology, 3: 234. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00234 Golden Rule. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Retrieved December 22, 2015 from www.merriam-webster .com/dictionary/golden%20rule


We invite our members to get involved and contribute their unique skills to our webinar program! If you would like to host a webinar for your fellow companion animal trainers and behavior professionals, submit your ideas to: /PresentaPPGmemberWebinar.


Pet Partners: Therapy Dogs International:

Daniel H. Antolec CPT-A CPDT-KA is the owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training, www.happybuddhadogtraining .com. He also sits on the board of directors for Dogs on Call, Inc.,, and is chairman of Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Committee, www


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Topics may include training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics... or anything else you can think of. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!)

No Definitive Answer


Jane Ehrlich examines the issue of feline cognitive dysfunction and wonders why there is so


little research, given that cats commonly live well into their teens and even their 20s

© Can Stock Photo Inc./madredus

ur cats are living longer than ever, thanks to the life we are helping to give them: good food, staying safely inside, environmental stimulation, and, yes, love. Go ahead, find the data—but I firmly believe that love helps all of us last longer. The mixed part of that blessing is that we are seeing feline cognitive dysfunction (FCD) more often. Fortunately, researchers and veterinarians are taking it more seriously than ever, and finding ways to manage it. Or are they? First, some definitions: dementia is a progressive loss of cognition or mental faculties due to brain tissue damage. It is associated with aging, although younger cats can also get it due to other causes, such as head trauma. Alzheimer's is a specific kind of dementia. We do not completely understand its causes, but hereditary plays a part. However, cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is a disease that involves the degeneration and loss of brain nerve 28 percent of pet cats aged cells, resulting in behavioral changes. Age is the greatest risk 11 - 14 years develop at factor, but is not the only one. Officially, cats as young as eight least one old age related behavior problem years can present with symptoms. It is one kind of mental nary Medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, can be health disorder. caused by tissue inflammation, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, According to Dr. Danielle Gunn-Moore of the University of tumors, trauma, or metabolic conditions. “If magnetic resonance Edinburgh's Royal School of Veterinary Studies in the UK: imaging (MRI) and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid fail to reveal a “Twenty-eight percent of pet cats aged 11 - 14 years develop at physical problem in the brain, then the problem is something that least one old age related behavior problem and this increases to is probably best treated by an animal behaviorist… Diagnosis by more than 50 percent for cats over 15.” exclusion,” said Lahunta. Meanwhile, what is left may be CDS. Or How, though, do you know if Noodles is just getting older, or it may just be old age. has CDS? There are symptoms to be alert to. There is also a context: a “It isn’t easy,” said Dr. Marc Schmidt, a veterinarian in San Tan couple of symptoms may not be CDS but due to age. More than Valley, Arizona. “We make sure it is diagnosis by exclusion—that that should be checked out. Here are some examples: it is not medical, that the cat’s behavior is out of character, such as staring off into space, or getting confused.” s Aimlessness. Noodles may wander in a way he did not beAre those not also symptoms of old age? “Yes,” said Schmidt. fore, with a gait that is less purposeful. He may saunter to places “In people, they have a more defined and refined way of judging, he usually avoided.You could find him staring, and it is not his but in cats, we haven’t gotten that far. We can’t test our patients usual ‘Don’t you see that wee speck?’ look. the way doctors can with people.” s His memory has changed. He forgets where his litter box, Dr. Scott Plummer of the Veterinary Neurology Center in water or food bowl is, and his usual response to his name, or Arizona, is more succinct: “Aging and feline cognitive dysfunction ‘Here, dinner!’ is not the same. Maybe he does not respond at all. are impossible to differentiate at this time.” You know his learning curve but now there does not seem to be What could cause CDS, specifically? We do not know. The en- one. vironment has been implicated. “Air pollution and excessive s He cries, with a plaintive or anxious tone. noise may predispose to… cognitive dysfunction over time,” said s He has become cantankerous, even aggressive, and it is not veterinary nursing lecturer, Julie Cory of the College of Animal because of physical discomfort. Welfare in Huntington, England. “Neuroinflammation associated s His waking/sleeping habits, or overall cycle have changed. [with these things] can lead to oxidative damage and the devels He is not interested in activities that used to grab his attenopment of amyloid plaque [excess protein found in the brain tion, such as playtime. with CDS].” (Cory, 2013). s He is not bothered about food, even favorite treats. There Abnormal behavior like CDS, according to Dr. Alexander de is generally less gusto. Lahunta, emeritus professor of anatomy at the College of Veteris He can become needy, especially at night. Conversely, he BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



can act as if he does not know someone he knew well. s He does not groom himself, say his coat, eyes or ears as carefully as he used to. There is another symptom harder to define. I have seen it in my 16-year-old cat, Grace. She is somehow less focused, even a little faraway. She was never a ‘slow-blinker’; now she looks away sooner than she used to. It breaks my heart.There is no cure for CDS. Not for humans, and not for other animals. But what may help? Veterinarians often start with Noodles’ diet. Increased essential fatty acids, keeping carbohydrates down and adding vitamin E are often suggested. Research in humans and dogs has shown that diets enriched with antioxidants reduced amyloid production (increased in the brain with CDS, as noted by Cory, 2013) and improved cognitive function. These benefits are presumed to carry over in cats. Amyloid plaques are found in the brains of patients, both animal and human, with Alzheimers and other forms of cognitive dysfunction. Although it is not conclusive, it would seem that amyloid plays a crucial role in the development of the disease. “Nutrition is the basis for many of our tissue biochemical pathways and cycles,” said Dr.Vicki Thayer of the Winn Feline Foundation. Nutrients necessary for increased cognitive function include potassium, vitamin D, B1 and B6 and manganese. “SAM-e has also been studied to help treat cognitive dysfunction in dogs and cats,” said Thayer. This is true. However, increasing vitamins, potassium and manganese has not been proven to help. Several respected local veterinarians and two veterinary neurologists have had “little luck” with suggested supplements, from ginkgo biloba to the ofttouted S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e.), produced in the liver from methionine and often recommended for osteoarthritis. In fact, there is no firm data that indicates any supplements actively work. What about medication? The following medications are often suggested: Selegiline (l-deprenyl) is sometimes used in people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s as it can increase the concentration Cats may have more difficulty grooming as they get older

© Can Stock Photo Inc./wandee007


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

of dopamine, which is needed for cognitive processes. With dogs, success has been hard to monitor and results are mixed. “It doesn’t do much; about 50 percent of patients thought it affected their dogs,” said Schmidt. “This disease isn’t consistent nor predictable in symptom so it’s hard to evaluate.” Could not some of that 50 percent be a placebo effect in the human response to their pets? “It certainly could,” said Schmidt. Dr. Judy Karnia, of Scottsdale Cat Clinic in Arizona added: “I have not had much luck with Selegilene. This is not approved for use in cats.” Minocycline is an anti-inflammatory antibiotic which decreases nerve degeneration that is often recommended for feline CDS. What about Acepromazine? “It’s a tranquilizer. That doesn’t do much,” said Schmidt. “We’ll try anything.” What about Pentoxifylline? “It’s another tranquilizer, and enhances circulation but it hasn’t been studied that well,” said Schmidt. A veterinarian may prescribe an anti-anxiety drug, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), to ease some of the alarming signs of cognitive dysfunction. “I have not had good success with this drug either, and have not used it in cats,” said neurologist Dr. Scott Plummer of the Veterinary Neurologist Center in Arizona. However, whether it is aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s or CDS, lifestyle changes can give Noodles an easier life. For example, keep the environment accommodating. Nightlights can illuminate litter boxes. Keep them as accessible as possible to him. That may mean more of them, bigger, with lower sides, close to where he spends most of his time. If he forgets to go, periodically take him to the box. Make changes slowly. Change itself can be hard to accept when a cat is at his best, but with CDS it is a lot harder. If there are changes in his sleep cycles, keep him awake as much as reasonable during the day so he sleeps during the night. Lots of mental and physical stimulation is also important, including exercise, interactive toys (like Da Bird or Neko Flies Cat Dancer), brushing, food, puzzles, ‘activity’ toys and boxes, and even teaching tricks. Cats with active minds have more nerve connections, which means extra brain function. Obviously do not punish or yell. No aversives at all, of

Cats suffering with feline cognitive dysfunction may seem unfocused or be found staring at nothing in particular

© Can Stock Photo Inc./Tozzimr

course.You shouldn’t anyway, but remember that Noodles cannot help it. Make sure the time you spend together is loving and rewarding. That strengthens your bond and hugely improves his quality of life. He deserves that. Do not make environmental changes such as rearranging the furniture as this may be confusing. A calm, regular everyday routine can help reinforce his sense of place and decrease that “lost” feeling. All cats need these things, no argument, but does it all slow the progression of CDS? There is no proof. There are no drugs specifically licensed in North America for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in cats. Medications tried on cats have only been cleared for dogs. There have been no diagnostic tests or brain mapping. The increased protein deposits in the brain associated with CDS dysfunction come with advanced age too. There is little research, even now, that is seeing the light of day. However, with dietary supplements and increased environmental enrichment, just perhaps we can keep feline cognitive dysfunction at bay. A little.


“There is a lot of data recently for canines but there doesn't seem to be much on felines,” said Plummer. “This problem appears to be much more prevalent in dogs than in cats, and in my experience we are much more likely to find some underlying medical condition causing behavioral issues in cats.” There is controversy here but also no real answer.Yet. n


Cory, J. (2013). Identification and management of cognitive decline in companion animals and the comparisons with Alzheimer disease: A review. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 8, 291-301. doi: 10.1016/j.jveb.2012.08.001 Jane Ehrlich is a professionally trained Feline Behaviorist with over 27 years experience. She spent 18 years volunteering with the RSPCA in both clinical and behavior work and has her own consulting business Cattitude Feline Behavior,, in Phoenix, Arizona, although her clients are located worldwide.


If you are an applicant in the system and on the road to accreditation, PPAB is here to help you be successful! s

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BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

YES! 47


Money in the Bank

Patience Fisher discusses the importance of providing plenty of resources in the good

© Can Stock Photo Inc./oksun70


times, so a cat is less likely to stress in the bad times

ats are such adaptable, stoic A change to the family’s routine or Providing sufficient creatures that we sometimes resources for cats the social maturation of one of the confidence assume they are doing better builds cats may be just enough to trigger unand provides a than they are. We all know those cats foundation for wanted feline behaviors that people them to handle who share one hooded litter box in will notice. stressful situations, the corner, or who trek to one in a The coping behaviors that seem having cold, dark basement, and yet have re- like to draw the attention of owners are money in the bank liable litter box habits. How come inappropriate urination, aggression, some cats are so easy while others and scratching furniture. Unfortuare so sensitive? There are so many nately, owners may not try to get at factors at play, from genetics to early the root of the problem if scratching socializing and conditioning, that it is concerns arise. Instead, they may simimpossible to answer this question. ply declaw the cat. Aside from ethical But there is one thing we do know: considerations, research about the providing ample resources now rebehavioral side-effects of declawing is duces the chance of your cat acting in limited. It would be interesting to see ways that you might consider inapif declawing reduces the self-soothing propriate when life inevitably changes effect of scratching, by comparing and stress invariably hits. It is like havchanges in serum cortical levels after ing money in the bank. scratching between clawed and dePeople often assume their cats clawed cats. After all, there is a differare fine because they are not doing ence in the “scratching” behavior anything to upset the people in the once cats are declawed as they canhome. Cats avoid broadcasting not latch onto a post and stretch. Apstress—in terms of survival, showing propriate scratching behavior in your weakness could be fatal and result in cat is to be encouraged. It is a healthy, them being preyed upon. We see this © Can Stock Photo Inc./tadija non-destructive way for cats to selfwhen medical problems remain hidsooth. Providing cats with tall, stable den for weeks as the cat quietly copes. In the same vein, cats will sisal posts and long scratch pads in many locations throughout often cope with stress caused by environmental factors. Cats in the house enables cats to mark their territory with their scent. over-crowded conditions, or with too few litter boxes, poorly This reduces anxiety, which may decrease the chances of unreliplaced litter boxes, too few hiding places or not enough vertical able litter box use. It may enable cats to cope with common space may cope for a time. They stressors, such as the family going on vacation, house guests, or Play provides physical may reliably use the litter box, seeing an unknown cat walk through the yard. and mental not be aggressive, and not upset Play is another resource that is like having money in the bank. stimulation and is a powerful the people in the house. It is a way to build confidence and decrease stress. It is mentally destressor However, this coping and physically healthy and builds positive relationships between playmates. Even if a cat is getting plenty of playtime with the may deplete their other cats, a few minutes a day of human-cat playtime is imporability to cope tant. It strengthens the human-cat bond, and can help fulfill the with addicat’s need to hunt. Additionally, as cats age, they usually lose intertional est in wrestling each other. Instead, that energy becomes more stresfocused on hunting and fulfilling the need to seek. The owner can sors. help the cat exhibit his natural prey drive and feel the satisfaction of plotting and carrying out a successful simulated hunt. Getting in the habit of playing with your cat for a few minutes a day when he is young and motivated will pay dividends later. Keeping to a play schedule in good times will help keep your cat from


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

stressing over changes in his life, as well as give you a tool to help him if he is stressed. Having just one litter box may make it easier for homeowners to decorate their house according to their personal taste, but it limits a cat’s ability to mark her territory in a sanitary manner. A cat’s personal smell is self-soothing, and urine, feces, and scent glands are powerful ways to mark the house to make it feel like a home. Having more than one location in the house for litter boxes offers a cat a way to mark in more than one part of her territory. Even for cats that do not feel compelled to mark with urine or feces, at least one litter box per cat is essential—one more than the number of cats in the home is ideal. Cats do not always want to share a box. A litter box can be a sought-after resource that one cat signals to the others that she is keeping for herself. Cats avoid conflict, therefore it is common for a cat that is deterred from using another cat’s litter box to seek another spot for his elimination needs— and this spot could be the carpet. Cats who have been sharing a box for years may one day cease to do so. It could be that they are now socially mature— which happens between 3 and 5 years old— or it could be that one feels threatened by some change in her life. Changes that compel a cat to assert herself can often be simple things such as a piece of new furniture or a house guest. If you have been offering at least one box per cat, they are better able to cope in a way that will not upset you or soil your house. For the average owner of two cats, it may seem inconvenient to have two or three litter boxes, scratch posts and sisal pads throughout the house, but soiled rugs and destroyed upholstery are much more so.Yes, many cats live their whole life with limited resources and excellent behavior, but why take the risk? Just as many drivers never have a serious accident, it is still widely accepted that they should have insurance. And now that online companies offer beautiful furniture to hide litter boxes and to make scratching posts blend in with your dÊcor, it is easier than ever to put some figurative money in the bank for your cat to quietly withdraw later if he needs it. So please invest in your cat’s future, and put some money in the bank for him in the form of litter boxes, scratching posts, and play time. n


American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Position Statement on Declawing Cats: -us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement -declawing-cats

Patience Fisher BS is a certified veterinary assistant and recently received her diploma of feline science behavior science and technology from the Companion Animal Science Institute. Having started in 2012 by offering a petsitting and dog walking service, she now offers exclusively cat behavior consultations through her Pittsburgh-based cat consulting service, Patience, She has also volunteered at animal shelters for four years, helping with cat adoptions and specializing in fostering cats with behavior problems.



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BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



Successful Cage Set-Ups

Vicki Ronchette highlights the importance of setting up a bird’s living space to suit


individual needs and preferences

hether or not you are bringing home a new baby bird, a rehomed adult bird or just want to upgrade your current bird’s cage, it is important to put some thought into your cage set up. There is a lot to consider when putting together a bird’s cage. This not only includes the size and shape of the cage, but what it is made out of, how you will outfit it and where it will go in your home.

Cage Size

cure the bird. With smaller birds a wire cage will work, but larger birds can easily bend the wire and need something sturdier. Some species such as cockatoos can open locks and remove screws, so if you have a bird like that, be sure you have made sure the cage is secure. Finally, make sure that your cage is constructed of safe material and coated with appropriate paint. Rust is dangerous as are certain types of paints and coatings. Because birds climb around with their beaks they can ingest particles or get sick from metal toxicity. Some cages come with a play area built in at the top. This can be a really nice feature as it allows the bird out-of-cage time and an additional place to play and hang out.

If you have done any research on how to select a cage for your companion parrot, you have no doubt read that “bigger is better.” While this seems to make sense and is frequently true, it is not always the case. Not all birds are comShape, size, location and Perches fortable in a large cage or enclosure, how it is outfitted are all Most cages come with a couple of especially if they have a handicap or in- important factors to consider when setting dowel perches. Dowel perches are fine jury or are used to living in a smaller up a bird cage but should not be your bird’s only opspace. I recently downsized my lineotion. Natural branch perches are readily lated parakeets’ (aka linnies) cage beavailable and should also be offered. cause they were not at all comfortable Rope perches are excellent and are a using the entire bottom half of the good way to create pathways for your cage and never went down there. bird to travel around their cage. Be sure I have built my birds a spacious outto always check rope perches for frayed door aviary off of my bird room to areas (that can catch a bird’s claw) and enjoy some outside time, but getting replace them when they start to look them used to that space and openness shabby. has proved to be challenging. In genPlatforms are also a good perching eral, the more space you can provide option. Platforms made of wood, cork the better, but keep individual needs in and even stone can be purchased. Most mind too. of my birds enjoy perching on their platYour cage should have enough forms and I have them in all of my birds’ room for the birds to move around cages. The more birds in a cage, the and spread their wings easily. For small more perching options you need to birds it is ideal if there is room for © Can Stock Photo/LarryPowell make available. them to fly. When choosing a cage, When putting in your perches be sure not to put them above make sure that there is also enough room for toys, bowls, enbowls or other perches as they will quickly get pooped on with richment items and a variety of perches. As a general rule, wider your bird sitting over them. Place a couple of perches high in the is better than higher as this gives the bird room to move easily cage as birds like to find the highest places to sit. Because I like back and forth. to “station train” my birds to go to a certain perch when asked, I Another thing to consider when looking at cages is the bar spacing. It is important that the bar spacing is appropriate for the make sure that there is always one perch set far away from the door so that I can station the bird there while I open the door type of bird you want to put in there. In general the smaller and do things. species like budgies, lovebirds or linnies should have ½ inch bar spacing because anything larger would make it possible for them Toys to put a head through and possibly get injured. For the slightly You will want to outfit your bird’s cage with appropriate toys. larger birds like cockatiels or small conures, usually 5/8 inch or Even if the bird seems uninterested in toys keep trying. It can ¾ inch works well. For larger species like macaws or the larger take a while for some birds to feel comfortable and safe playing cockatoos you would be fine with 1 inch. Of course, you also have to make sure that the material itself is strong enough to se- with toys and it may take time for you to figure out what types 50

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


of toys he likes. I recommend trying many different types of toys and rotating or replacing them often. Hang toys in places where the bird can easily access them and where pieces of the toy will not land in food or water bowls as the bird chews it up. Once your bird enjoys toys and knows how they work, you can put them in places where it is more challenging to get to them, thereby adding another element of mental stimulation for the bird. I have found that almost all of my birds love wooden toys and have a particular fondness for soft balsa wood. Most budgies and cockatiels love toys that have shredded paper in them. Some birds like loud toys made of stainless steel or toys with bells. Try out different toys and move them around for your bird.

Regent parrot, Papaya in his cage where he chooses to hang out at the highest spot

Location of Cage

Where to put the cage depends on your home layout, the activity level of your home, your lifestyle and the individual bird. Because I have dogs and birds, my larger birds live in my home office. There are five cages in there with outside play areas around the room and hanging from the ceiling.You may choose to have a separate bird room like I have, or to integrate your bird into the main living area. I recommend having the cage against at least one wall so there is no activity behind the bird. This will help him feel more secure. In general, I recommend not keeping birds in the kitchen where there are a lot of hazards. The cage should be away from doors where there may be a draft. Birds require a full night’s sleep so if you are up late at night and your bird is in the main living area, you may need to have a separate sleeping cage in another room to ensure he gets enough rest. Simply covering a bird in an active room is not enough for many birds. Some birds get nervous of outside birds and/or animals and may not be comfortable near a window that they can easily see out of and where there are other birds looking outside.

Food and Water Bowls

Most cages come with bowls for food and water which you may or may not choose to use. I feed all my budgies and cockatiels out of ceramic bowls on the bottom of their cage because this is similar to how they would eat in the wild. For the larger parrots their food is in bowls that fit into the holders built into the cage. Be sure to have perches near food and water bowls so that your birds can easily get to them.

Remember that your bird’s cage is his home. It is important that everything about this area is safe and comfortable for him. n Vicki Ronchette CPDT CAP2 is the owner of Braveheart Dog Training,, and the author of Positive Training for Show Dogs – Building a Relationship for Success. She is a raptor handler with Native Bird Connections and lives in Northern California.

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New Cage Introductions

Some birds are not at all concerned with a new cage and will immediately start exploring any space that you offer them. Place the cage near their old cage with some fun toys, perches and food and they will climb over and check it out. Other birds are more cautious and will take more time transitioning to a new cage. I recommend placing the new cage next to the old cage and just let your bird get used to it being there. Begin to offer treats on the new cage and encourage your bird to investigate, but do not force him or set him on it if he is not comfortable. Let him take his time and feel secure.

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Breaking the Cycle

Lara Joseph explains how she quickly modified a highly undesirable vocalization that had been established and reinforced in rescue eclectus parrot, Molly, for a very long time

Molly would make a beeping sound similar to a smoke alarm that needs its battery replaced (but louder) for at least 15 minutes at a time

Eclectus parrot Molly lost her original home, quite possibly because of her undesirable behavior


olly is my nine-year-old Solomon Island eclectus parrot who lost her home a few years ago. What a beautiful little bird she is and I just could not understand why anyone would not want her any more. Well, I soon found out why she was surrendered. Before she lost her home she had developed this ear piercing “beep” sound that resembled that of a fire alarm when the battery needs to be replaced. Except Molly’s beeping sound was even louder than that! When I first brought Molly home, I did not notice the beeping sound for a while. Over time though, I noticed it would rear its ugly head once in a while, but nothing too extreme. Or so I thought. About a year later I started to notice this monotonous and very consistent ear piercing beep. When Molly started out she would make the beeping sound every 21 seconds for at least 15 minutes at a time. I know that for a fact because I counted it over a period of two minutes one time. She would rest for a few minutes and then the cycle would start all over again. Initially I thought the noise had just started out of the blue, but I was recently going through some of the videos I had taken of my birds last summer and noticed Molly making the beep sound sporadically throughout many of them. It did not happen often, but it was there. I was surprised to hear it in videos taken so many months ago. Because the noise was not annoying to me in small increments it did not catch enough of my attention to do something about it. Well, shame on me because it certainly had my attention by that point. It would have been much easier to extinguish the behavior months ago. Now it was here and it was strong. So where did I start? Obviously the noise had been reinforced for many months and was continuing to be reinforced because it was so strong and persistent. By being reinforced, Molly 52

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

© Can Stock Photo/underworld

found something of value in making the noise and I needed to figure out what it was. It did not take me long. I noticed Molly would only make the beeping sound when my husband and I were out of the room. When we were there she would not do it. I started to put it all together. I remembered different occasions when Molly would make the sound and we would walk over to her and gently ask her to “hush” or turn around and say, “Now, Molly.” I even began to notice that we were reinforcing the noise just by walking within her line of sight during or right after she made the beeping sound. If it was our attention she wanted she was certainly getting it whenever she made the noise. Even if she was not getting our attention every single time she did it, the few times she did get our attention in between were more than strong enough to keep the behavior going. My husband and I had inadvertently been reinforcing this sound for many, many months by this time. By this stage, one of the first steps in our goal to change the behavior had already been accomplished. I was able to identify the reinforcer (or why the beep existed) and why it continued to exist. My next step was to identify an alternative sound or behavior that I wanted her to use to replace the beep. I wanted to find something she already knew how to do that would get her the same, or more, attention than the beep. I would then reinforce the alternative behavior while ignoring the one I wanted to eliminate. I knew it would be easier to use a noise Molly already knew how to make. She used to make the cutest “cooing” noise. It was such a pleasant sound and now that I was thinking about this, I remembered that I had not heard this noise in a long time, probably about a year. It seemed to me that the beep had replaced the coo. Shame on me once again because this pleasant noise ex-

isted but she had cleverly replaced it with another one that seemed to work in getting her what she wanted. I could have been reinforcing the coo all along but had never given that a thought. Well, I guess it was time for me to get busy. I had a behavior in Molly that I wanted to change and the reinforcer and alternative sound had now been identified. Now how was I going to let Molly know that it was the coo that would get her our attention and not the beeping? I thought about this for a while and decided that when Molly was not making these beeping sounds I would replicate the cooing sound from a different room in the house at different times throughout the day. Now mind you, this cooing sound is one in which she is familiar and has a history of exhibiting. I would coo and then go in and deliver her the reward of my presence and attention. I would then walk out of her room and wait a few minutes. She did the beep almost immediately. I ignored it. I would then wait for another period of silence and then I would coo and walk in and deliver her reward of my attention. I was trying to build the association of the coo with delivering my attention. I repeated this numerous times throughout the day, all the while ignoring the beeps. I was counting on my consistency in ignoring the unwanted behavior while cooing and delivering the reinforcer to eventually start to work. My consistency paid off. Within the first day of trying to modify this behavior, I heard the first coo. I about fell out of my chair in excitement and in anticipation of delivering the reinforcer. I yelled, “Good girl, Molly!” and walked to the room she was in to give her my attention. I had heard the replacement behavior, the coo, and rewarded her for it, but did I reinforce it? I didn’t know at that point. I would have to wait and see if she would do it again. If she did, I wanted to make her reinforcer of even higher value in order to communicate that it was this behavior which would guarantee the delivery of this highly valued reward. Thus I planned on adding an additional reinforcer, a pine nut. Pine nuts were one of Molly’s favorite treats. I was now planning on giving her double reinforcement every time she cooed. The two reinforcers I was going to combine were the pine nut and the presence of me delivering the pine nut. I walked into another room and waited. The cycles of beeping still existed but I continued to ignore them. Soon Molly gave out another coo. I once again immediately said, “Good girl, Molly!” and went to her room to deliver the pine nut. Was she making the connection between the alternative noise and the reinforcers? I was not quite sure yet and would only know if she cooed again. I walked out of the room and she made the beep sound. I was not disappointed because I knew I had unknowingly reinforced the beeping sound for a long period of time. The amazing thing is that it was just a few minutes before I heard the next coo. I was absolutely thrilled because it had happened three times now and I was pretty sure she was starting to understand that if she delivered the coo, the goodies appeared. On the second day of training the beeping continued and I also continued to stick to my plan because I had noticed it starting to work the previous day. Within minutes Molly made the cooing sound. I was caught off guard by not having my pine nut


reinforcer on hand but I immediately said, “Good girl, Molly” and walked into her room. Within just a few minutes I heard the coo again and I made sure the pine nuts were ready. The beeping continued, but so did the cooing and the training. Learning was happening and I was both a witness and a participant in observing a behavior changing. How reinforcing for me it was to continue working with her. During the end of our second day and the whole third day of training I noticed the episodes of her cooing increasing while the episodes of her beeping decreased. Perfect! This is exactly what I wanted to start hearing. Based on what I was hearing, my plan to modify this behavior was working and I continued to remain consistent in delivering the reinforcers when I heard the coo while ignoring the beeping. Over the next few days the cooing noises started to get very frequent. The beeping still existed but I noticed that they no longer occurred in 15 minute cycles of beeping every 21 seconds. There were beeps here and there while the coos were very frequent - as were my reinforcers. About a week and a half later the behavior of her cooing had become incredibly strong. Once in a while I would hear a beep and I would continue to ignore it. The coos had not even existed a week and a half ago yet here we were just a week and a half later and the beeps barely existed. Here I am over a year later writing this as Molly and I are cooing back and forth to one another from different rooms. I have been able to gradually change the type and delivery of her reinforcer. Her reinforcer for continuing the cooing sound is now just hearing me coo back to her from another room. I am

Author Lara Joseph was quickly able to train an alternative behavior by using positive reinforcement

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



no longer delivering the reinforcer every single time she coos. I can now deliver the coo every once in a while and based on the behavior of her continuing the coo, this reinforcer is of strong enough value to keep the beep at bay. All the while in modifying this behavior I always gave Molly a choice. By identifying what was reinforcing the behavior I wanted to extinguish and then identifying her highly-valued reinforcers and using them to encourage the replacement behavior, I left the ball in Molly’s court. She was able to decide which behavior she wanted to exhibit. I did not have to, nor did I want to, use force in any way to modify this behavior. I gave Molly the opportunity to choose how to behave and it is for this reason I think her current behavior of cooing is so incredibly strong. n Lara Joseph is the owner of The Animal Behavior Center LLC,, in Ohio. She is also the Director of Avian Training for a wildlife rehabilitation center where she focuses on removing stress from animal environments. She is a professional member of The Animal Behavior Management Alliance, The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, and sits on the Advisory Board for All Species Consulting and The Indonesian Parrot Project.

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Spreading the Joy


Angelica Steinker explains how emotional contagion can be applied to the process of canine behavior training

© Can Stock Photo/focalpoint

motional contagion (EC) is the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalization, postures and movements with those of another person and, consequently, to converge emotionally (Hatfield, Cacioppo & Rapson, 1993). I propose that this emotional contagion exists interspecies as well as intra-species. This means that emotions can be “caught” from a human by a dog and vice versa. In terms of dog training, veterinarian and trainer Dr. Ian Dunbar named this process the “jolly routine.” The critical thing to understand about EC is that it is not just about catching or infecting other beings with emotions. Rather, it is about empathy. When we match the facial expression of another person (or animal), it allows us to connect and feel what they feel. Their emotion becomes our emotion for that moment, allowing us to “mind read” their emotional state. In dogs and humans, we read not just the facial expression but the entire body. And dogs, of course, read the entire human (or canine) body also. Naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin was the first to propose that the facial expressions of man and animals are extremely similar. Way back in 1872 he wrote The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals. Someone needs to travel back in time and tell him he was right – but he probably already knew that. Simonet,Versteeg & Storie (2005) have presented data, meanwhile, that appears to indicate shelter dogs who listened to a recording of playful canine panting responded with calm behaviors. This may be an indication of EC. We know that dogs respond to the play signals of humans, and this also constitutes likely EC. Rooney, Bradshaw & Robinson (2001) have shown that dogs respond to play signals given by humans. Simonet et al. (2005) also showed that “dogs experienced a significant reduction of stress behaviors during dog-laugh playback.” In addition, an increase in pro-social behaviors was ob-

The ability to converge emotionally is an invaluable skill in the pet behavior consultation process

tion to the dog-human relationship.

served during the study. Hatfield et al. (1993) proposed that EC occurs via the process of one being “sending” and another “receiving.” In humans there is evidence that women tend to be senders and men tend to be receivers. The information below is based on the Hatfield study but includes extrapola-

Benefits to Understanding EC

According to Hatfield et al. (1993) the implications of existing research are: 1. The better we understand ourselves – how we think, feel and behave – the better decisions we make about our lives and about how we interact with others, including dogs. 2. An understanding of the power of ubiquity of EC helps us correctly assess the factors that shape social interactions, allowing us to better deal with those interactions. This translates to better social skills, which is always a plus for dog behavior consultants. 3. It is necessary for people to “feel themselves into” others’ lives if they are to truly understand them. This is how we ultimately behave empathetically and compassionately. 4. A knowledge of the power of EC gives us a realistic perception as to how much we can expect to influence social interactions. Doing little experiments to see how our emotions influence our clients and dogs would enable us to gauge how we can use EC to influence a shift in emotion. 5. A knowledge of the power of EC reminds us: don’t take on too much! It can require tremendous energy to jolly up a client or dog that is in an unhappy emotional state. Know your limits, what is realistic and what is necessary. Emotions pass so sometimes it is best to roll with whatever is occurring at that moment. 6. A knowledge of the power of EC may shape public policy. EC is clearly incompatible with forceful training. Forcing is BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



about disregarding the emotional state of the other being and making your needs and wants more important than any others. Force training is bullying.

Sending and Receiving

Sending an emotion simply means that you are displaying facial expression and body language behaviors that are consistent with a specific emotion. If you are smiling broadly you are conveying the emotion of happiness. If you are crying you are conveying the emotion of sadness. The sending of an emotion can be weak or strong depending on the skill of the sender and on the intensity of the emotion. Receiving refers to a being able to visually identify the facial expressions and body language of another being and to accurately interpret the emotion that is being sent. Receiving can be strong or weak depending on the skills of the sender and the receiver. Hatfield et al. (1993) created some profiles of possible patterns that occur from strong and weak EC. Here are some points for each combination with the information adjusted to apply to canine behavior consulting: Strong Senders and Weak Receivers (can be dog or human) • Easier to read by other beings. • May be viewed as charming. • High level of emotionality. • Resistant to EC. Strong Receivers and Weak Senders (can be dog or human) • Harder to read. • Reserved. • Low level of emotionality. • Receptive to EC.

© Can Stock Photo/Pakhnyushchyy

Strong Senders and Strong Receivers (can be dog or human) • Easy to read. • Extrovert. • Receptive to EC. • May be considered charismatic. • Empathetic.


Weak Receivers and Weak Senders (can be dog or human) • Hard to read. • Introverted. • Resistant to EC. • Flat affect. • Low level of emotionality.

Contagion Testing

It is a good idea to start running some harmless experiments with your own dog(s) prior to using EC. This is to test your skills and to get a feel for how effective you are. Once you have developed some skills in sending and receiving emotions you can start branching out with other dogs. Hone your skills so you can master sending and receiving EC information.

Mechanisms of EC

1. EC is a conscious cognitive process; it is a skill and requires practice. 2. Visual assessment of facial expression and body language. 3. Understanding of facial expression and body language. 4. Accurate interpretation of facial expression and body language. 5. Mental or real life mimicry (using muscle mimicry, postural mimicry, and movement coordination) of facial expression and body language. This process of matching is what helps the receiver identify the correct emotion. If a dog is cowering, whining and attempting to flee, a dog behavior consultant mentally matches that, and correctly concludes the dog is frightened. Movement coordination can include simultaneous movement, tempo similarity and the actual coordination and smoothness of the movement. Ultimately, EC is part of the process of how we attain empathy. Empathy is knowing what another person/animal is feeling and then responding compassionately to that distress.

Hope and Joy

Clients attending a consult with their reactive dog are often frustrated and stressed. If you smile and think of a time when you were very happy and hold on to the thought and the feeling, it is a simple way to send happy emotions. This can be a start to shifting your client from frustration to hope and, eventually, joy. Be sure to verbally share with your client that most reactive dogs improve with behavior training.

Exaggeration Effect

If you exaggerate your facial expression or body language this will intensify your emotions. If you are having trouble reading facial expressions and body language you can try to exaggerate what you are seeing when you engage in mimicry. This will create an exaggeration effect and strengthen the intensity of the emotions. Do not do this during a session but rather use video to experiment with this variable.

Animal Research

Research has shown that empathy exists in the rodent brain

According to Hatfield, Rapson & Le (2009), research on empathy in animals started with monkeys in 1959 and continues today. Research has shown the presence of empathy in rodents and the rodent brain is now being used as a model for the human brain. Science assumes that if rodents and humans have empathy, then dogs (and

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

CONSULTING Happiness and joy are contagious and can be used to help alleviate tense situations

other animals) also have it. It is thus highly likely that dogs experience empathy.

Difficult to Read

Some humans cannot recognize facial expressions, and it is likely that these individuals cannot read canine facial expressions or body language either. As a result, they will most likely face a challenge using EC in their behavior training or interactions with dogs, and perhaps life itself.

EC Susceptibility

According to Hatfield et al. (1993), there are six factors contributing to the susceptibility of EC. I have provided additional information on how this relates to behavior consulting and dogs. 1. Attention. If a person is not looking at a dog or person it is not possible for them to read facial expressions and body language. Likewise, if a dog is shy or has not been trained to look at people, it is likely that facial expression and body language information will be missed. 2. Bonding. In behavior training we call this reinforcement history. If a consultant has not established a reinforcement history with a client it may be difficult for the consultant to use EC to influence the client. Likewise, a dog that has no reinforcement history with humans or with a specific human may be resistant to EC. 3. Ability to read facial expressions and body language. This is a skill for both dogs and people. It requires practice and consistent use in order to be effective. 4. Ability to mentally or physically mimic facial/vocal/postural expressions in order to read sent information. 5. Awareness of one’s own emotional state. This is invaluable for dog behavior consultants and anyone interacting with dogs or other animals. 6. Understanding that emotionally reactive dogs are more vulnerable to EC. This is important because clients who are asking for help with their reactive dogs have a potential advantage in that both they and their dogs are likely to be more easily affected by EC. Use the factors listed above to gain insight into how and when EC may be more effective, and how to maximize results. The opposite is also true so here are some factors that, accord-

© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub

ing to Hatfield et al. (1993), can create EC resistance: 1. Lack of attention on dogs’ or humans’ parts, or both. 2. No or low bonding; absence of reinforcement history. 3. Inability to read facial expressions and body language for dogs or humans. 4. No tendency to mimic, thus not completing the cycle required for EC to occur. 5. Lack of awareness of one’s own emotion, thus the reader’s emotion may overpower any emotion that is being sent. 6. Emotionally unreactive. Stoic beings will be resistant to EC. In dogs, stoicism can be the result of forceful training and abuse. Many dogs are able to recover their expressions when they are rewarded for displaying them, and if the positive punishment and negative reinforcement in their training is stopped.

Final Influencing Factors

According to Hatfield et al. (1993), some people are “sensitizers,” potentially making them more sensitive to EC. Characteristics include being hyper vigilant and/or alert, and a tendency to worry and/or dwell on problems. Likewise, there are characteristics that make one less sensitive to EC. These include people who are eager to avoid problems, repress emotions, deny emotions, ignore evidence of emotions, may be experiencing or have experienced acute suffering (this can cause insensitivity to others), and alexithymia (the inability to read emotions in oneself). Any of these attributes will likely contribute to what Hatfield et al. (1993) term “repressor traits” and thus make their holders less sensitive to EC. Consistent with acute suffering, sad, depressed people may find it hard to attend to the incoming information of a sender, thus making them less prone to being receptive to EC. Conversely, clients with higher sociability are more prone to EC, according to Hatfield et al. (1993).


Setting good emotional boundaries and grounding yourself in your positive emotional state can prevent you from catching the emotions of others. This can be effective in a behavior consult if a client is being negative, contradictory to the message of hope you are trying to deliver. Recognizing you are separate and practicing meditation may also improve your ability to use EC effectively. BARKS from the Guild/March 2016


Some individuals are more sensitive to emotional contagion than others

© Can Stock Photo/SergeyNivens


According to Hatfield et al. (1993), sending strong emotions can function “as a vaccine” against EC and thus help maintain effective boundaries.

Practical Application

Not only can you use EC in behavior consulting, you can also implement it in a variety of situations when a dog is suffering from stress. Here are some ideas for when to put it into practice: • Two or more dogs are interacting and you have just observed a tongue flick with a 90-degree head turn and another dog is holding his breath: cheerfully redirect the group of dogs by starting a game. Be sure to understand you are working respondently (centering on emotions) not operantly (centering on behavior) so there is no danger of actually increasing the tension. If the technique is properly applied, tension in the group of dogs should consistently decrease over time. If this is not the case, consult with a mentor. • A dog is at the vet office and experiencing stress while entering the actual exam room. Start throwing a joy party and play your way into the exam room. • A dog that is tense around other dogs needs to walk past another dog. Throw a happiness party and watch the stress melt away. • A dog suddenly charges a fence and is barking and lunging at a dog you are walking. Using the leash as a toy combined with EC you can jolly up the startled dog and influence the entire experience as well as prevent a negative association from forming. When you use EC you want to be sure that whatever emotion you are sending is genuine. Dogs and humans are usually good at determining sincerity and do not respond to fake emotions. If you cannot muster a sincere emotion, then keep practicing. With practice it is generally not hard to find something to be playful about. If you find a situation too tense for your standard joy response, you may want to break down the scenario into smaller steps. For example, a dog is already emotionally melting down in the vet hospital parking lot, so instead you practice driving to a parking lot a block before the vet hospital and play out your jolly routine there. 58

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Going back to the example of a group of dogs beginning to show signs of tension, say you have playfully redirected the dogs but the tension is persisting, you can also combine EC with another stimulus to make it more powerful. For example, throw the same jolly routine but use toys and/or food as well. An important skill can be to use “rapid fire” treats and a jolly routine to get a dog out of a potentially dangerous situation. Obviously do not do this if any of the dogs are known to be resource guarders. Use what you have learned in this article to start running your own EC experiments and become skilled in the science and art of EC. It is a powerful tool that has been proven valuable for many professionals. n


Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J.T., & Rapson, R.L. (1993). Emotional Contagion. Current Directions in Psychological Sciences, 2, 96-99. Retrieved February 10, 2016 from /ch50.pdf Hatfield, E., Rapson, R.L., & Le,Y.L. (2009). Emotional Contagion and Empathy. The Social Neuroscience of Empathy, 19-30. Retrieved February 10, 2016 from Rooney, N., Bradshaw, J.W.S., & Robinson, I.H. (2001, April). Do dogs respond to play signals given by humans? Animal Behaviour, 61, 715-722. Retrieved January 11, 2016 from Simonet, P.,Versteeg, D., & Storie, D. (2005). Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Environmental Enrichment. Dog-laughter: Recorded playback reduces stress related behavior in shelter dogs. Retrieved January 11, 2016 from Angelica Steinker PCBC-A owns and operates Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, www.courteouscanine .com/Florida, a full service pet service business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. She is the national director of training for DogSmith Services,, and co-founder of DogNostics Career College, www



Creating Shared Meaning


Niki Tudge discusses techniques for formalizing each person’s role in the behavior consulting process

hen you start a consulting or training relationship in injury or damage to another person, pet or property. Dog you should first ensure you have a contract with your owners are liable for damage caused by their dogs. Always have client. As a professional working with animals there clients check with their local authorities as these liabilities differ are multiple liability risks open to you. Most of these liabilities from state to state and county to county. Make sure you are fawill stem from one of three areas. If, as a trainer, you are neglimiliar with your own state laws and know where to direct gent and do not take reasonable measures to prevent a foreseeclients for more information. able injury from occurring during your contract period, then you Some states operate with a strict statutory system where pet are liable.You can also be found liable if you violate any public owners are responsible for all damages, irrespective of whether safety laws or you misrepresent your skills or knowledge to a negligence is proven or not. In states that operate under the client. one-bite rule, dog owners are responsible for damages after the There are a few things you can do to limit your risk of liabilfirst bite. Owners need to be particularly cognizant of their liability as a professional. Firstly, ensure you have the correct inity if they are working with or managing a dog with aggression issurance coverage with a reputable company that sues.You need to educate your clients on the importance of specializes in the fields of animal training and behavior. having strategies to manage and implement the necessary Secondly, always be careful when choosing your worksafety protocols at home, in the yard and whenever they ing locations and ensure they are safe from potential hazleave home. ards. Thirdly, take into consideration the movement of the dogs you are going to see, i.e. how will they access The Psychological Contract and leave the area, is there appropriate fencing, doorways, The formal contract is not the end of the professionalaccess to and from parking areas and areas where there client contract story, however. Once you have estabmay be other people? Take into consideration the risk faclished that your contract and liability waiver have tors presented by the individual dog’s behavior. Is been understood and signed, you must then conthe dog aggressive? Is there a bite or fight hissider the psychological contract. In short, this tory? Is there any flight risk? What other consummarizes the beliefs held by both trainer cerns are there? and student about what they expect from You must adhere to all county, state and one another. It is an unwritten set of exfederal laws at all times, as must all other pectations that is constantly at play durpersons concerned with the dog’s behavior. ing the term of the formal contract. The Each involved person must have signed a interactions you have with your clients © Can Stock Photo/HelleM are a fundamental feature of the trainerconsulting contract that covers the liability statements, which should include a liability student relationship. Each role is a set of The psychological contract refers to the unwritten set and limits liability, a liability waiver and an of expectations of the consulting relationship.Taken behavioral expectations that are often together, the psychological contract and the business explicit and not defined in the business indemnification policy. contract define the consultant-client relationship. As a professional, you should hold yourcontract (Armstrong, 2003). self accountable to a code of conduct. The Pet Professional Armstrong (2003) states that the psychological contract is Guild’s Guiding Principles are an example of this (see box on blurred at the edges, cannot be enforced by either party and is page 60). most often not written down.Yet this contract guides expectaYou should only consult within the range of your competency tions, defines roles and helps interpret the relationship between and, if necessary, refer clients to another professional who can the two parties. It creates emotions that form and control parbetter serve their needs. At the end of each consulting contract ticipants’ behavior. you should confirm to clients in writing a summary of training The essence of the psychological contract is a system of bethat has taken place, the progress made during the session, and liefs that needs to be articulated to the client (see box on page any training, management or safety recommendations you have 61). made for the future welfare of the pet and his/her family. If you In the absence of a mutual understanding of this contract, have any concerns regarding the pet then you should document one side of the equation is going to feel disappointed or let those too at this time. down at some point. This is one of the first things to take care of You must also inform clients that, as pet guardians and ownwhen beginning a trainer–student relationship. ers, they are open to liability risks if their dog’s behavior results Let us start by setting the scene. BARKS from the Guild/March 2016



© Can Stock Photo/4774344sean

A shared meaning session includes creating a vision for change that each member of the family wants to participate in

i. I have handled my initial sales inquiry professionally and have formalized a consulting appointment. ii. My client has completed my online behavior consultation form which includes all the information I need to prepare for my first meeting safely and competently. iii. My contract terms have been communicated, shared and signed and I am in receipt of my first appointment payment. iv. I have attended the first consultation, conducted my functional assessment and developed a working hypothesis. I have a contingency statement describing what I believe, with a high rate of confidence, is eliciting the problematic behavior and/or maintaining it. v. I am beginning to formulate in my mind which of the following two options to implement when going forward: a. A management plan. b. A complete behavior change program. vi. The family are still operating at novice level. They do not know what they do not know. They are unconsciously incompetent. All is well. They are feeling good. The expert is on site and their problems are going to be fixed. vii. Now it is time for real discussions and contract agreements. I call this our “creating shared meaning” session. How this goes and how effective I am will determine the successful outcome of our team efforts and is critical to the success of the training program. Not only does it remove any ambiguity surrounding the relationship and the future, but it also creates a due north for how you move forwards together as a team. What is discussed during this creating shared meaning session? I am very open with my clients and always highlight the need for complete transparency. I explain how I am going to share with them everything they need to know upfront so they can

The Pet Professional Guild Guiding Principles

Section One.The Non-Negotiables

To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. PPG members understand force-free to mean that: No shock, no pain, no choke, no fear, no physical force, no physical molding, no compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.

Section Two.The Professional Ethics

1. We always hold the pet’s welfare as our top priority. The pet is the vulnerable component in the consultation process as they cannot offer informed consent. 2. The professionals’ role is one that is beneficial to the pet and never to its detriment. Always seek to do no harm. 3. Do not condone or endorse any treatment by a pet’s owner that is physically or mentally cruel. We will opt out of a consulting agreement rather than attempt to manage an unethical course of action. 4. We only consult with clients who offer cases that we have the professional competence to deal with. 5. We only use procedures, protocols and training tools that are empirically based and have a proven track record. 60

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6. We always consider communications with our clients privileged. We will only break that confidentiality if a pet is being abused and the client cannot be dissuaded from using their current approach. We always act according to local and state laws in terms of reporting animal cruelty. 7. We recognize that the pet’s owner is responsible for their pet and the owner has the right to make decisions about the professional treatment of their pet. 8. Ensure all communications are professional and based in fact. When discussing industry practices, trends or issues, members will limit discussion to practices and consequences rather than the individuals using them thereby ensuring informed, professional and civil exchanges that enrich members and the industry of force-free pet professionals. 9. Apply the following ethical principles to each situation you encounter: • Respect for the freedom and dignity of others. • Do no harm. • Do good. • Act fairly. • Be faithful to promises made. © Pet Professional Guild 2015

Expectations of the Psychological Contract for Trainers and Clients

Psychological Contract – Client Point of View •

• • •

The trainer will treat them fairly, respectfully and consistently. They will obtain a clear understanding of the scope of the work, time investment and reliability of the trainer. They will understand how much involvement and influence they will have in the process. They will trust in the trainer to keep his/her word. They will trust that the trainer will provide a safe working and learning environment. They will understand role delineation between all parties.

Psychological Contract – Trainer Point of View •

• • •

The client will make an effort throughout the relationship. The client will be compliant. The client will be committed. The client will be loyal to the cause and to their pet(s) during the program.

offer informed consent and agree to our plan of action. We are going to discuss each point and clarify anything misunderstood. We are going to put ourselves in a situation where, as from today, we operate as a team and make no assumptions about the journey we are starting. The points we discuss are: • My role versus their role - who has responsibility for training and caring for the pet and who is responsible for the training and care of the two-legged client. • What will be expected in terms of time commitment and effort from each member of the family and how we are going to make this fun and empowering. • What each session will look like, how the client will experience it, how the training sessions will move forward and each person’s role in these sessions. • The specifics of all management activities that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. • The specifics of all relationship-building activities that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. • The specifics of all exercise sessions that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. • Specifically, the time and energy that will be required to conduct homework, much of it integrated into existing schedules. • Safety concerns (if necessary). We make commitments regarding how things will be managed and whose role the spe-


cific management tasks are. • The training protocols, the philosophy and how things will work. We do not judge or criticize anything the client has previously attempted. We are there to make progress and focus on the future not to assign blame for the past. • What is in it for each person - we begin to create a vision for change, a vision that each member of the family wants to help create. Once you have created shared meaning and the psychological contract is in place you can then begin the important work of implementing the plan and managing your clients through the process of change. n


Armstrong, M. (2003). Human Resource Development. 9th edn. London, UK: Kogan Page


Pet Professional Guild Guiding Principles:

Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB – CDT is founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild,, The DogSmith,, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College,, and president of Doggone Safe, She has business degrees from Oxford University, UK and has achieved her DipABT and DipCBST. She is also a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, a certified people trainer - International Training Board, Training Skills 1, 2 and 3, and a certified project facilitator - Acuity Institute. Recently, she has published People Training Skills for Pet Professionals – Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients.


Looking for Something? Check PPG’s Online Archive First!

he PPG archive currently holds over 700 articles. All categories are represented, including behavior, training, business, PPG news, book reviews, product reviews, member profiles and comments. If you want to search on a particular species, categories currently covered are canine, feline, piscine, porcine, avian, equine, murine and leporine. Within each category, every article has been assigned a broad range of keywords, so you can research just about anything, e.g. counterconditioning, enrichment, empathy, cat litter box problems, the canine brain, dog harnesses, barrier frustration, vocal parrots, stationing pigs, puppy mills or clicker training, to name just a few. If you are looking for a specific author, then you can find articles that way too. Every entry has a direct link to the original source.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

© Can Stock Photo/3pod

A team effort is critical to the success of a training program




Got the Knack

In the ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS

features Judy Bernard of Proper Paws Dog Training in Concord, Massachusetts

udy Bernard started training her own dogs for obedience competition over 25 years ago. At the time her teacher was just starting to cross over from compulsion training to positive reinforcement but thought clicker trainers were “kooks.” After refusing to use an ear pinch to teach her dog the retrieve, Bernard started looking into better ways and began training professionally when she got a new puppy 10 years ago and no trainers offered classes during the day when she was available. She now has her own training facility and teaches nine or more classes a week. She also works with individual clients who need help with behavior modification for dog-dog aggression.

Judy Bernard with her dog Synergold Perfect Storm, Canine Good Citizen and Rally Novice, aka Winter the Therapy Dog (certified through Therapy Dogs International)

Q:Tell us a little bit about your own pets:

A: I have always had one dog at a time. My first dog was a husky/English setter mix that I had through college and my first marriage. The second I got two years into my second marriage and was a golden retriever that my husband insisted must be trained, which led me into competition obedience. My third (and current dog) is also a golden, who “flunked” obedience because she is such a love. She is a therapy dog and helps me with my dog/dog aggression cases. Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?

A: Because I have a knack with dogs, enjoy the people, and want more people to understand and realize their dog's potential.

Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer?

Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for the most commonly encountered client-dog problems?

A: Click to calm; reinforcing clients for doing things correctly and seeing them shine (I use mints!). Q: What awards or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods? A: Massachusetts Rally Novice Title

Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?

A: Seeing the progress clients and their dogs make. Most recently it was seeing a reactive miniature Schnauzer finally make it out from behind the screen to join his classmates for heeling exercises without barking! He got big smiles and a round of (quiet) congratulations from his classmates.

Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you? A: I have seen what punishment and pain can do to a dog and it is not pretty. I fix other trainers’ mistakes all the time.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: I cannot lie, it is watching the puppies in my socialization groups get started in the best way possible.

Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: I started crossing over early but truly became a dedicated positive trainer about nine years ago.

A: Patricia McConnell’s superbly written books gave me an understanding of the process as well as the mind of the dog.

A: Households with children and puppies, dog-dog aggression, and early puppy socialization. I offer a free socialization group.

A: Read, attend seminars, join the class of a good trainer, watch the classes of as many trainers as possible (good and bad) so you know what is out there, and never assume you have got it all figured out (you do not). n

Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise?

Q: How has the PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer? A: It provides me with access to a broad, supportive group of people who have a myriad of ideas to address even the most vexing issues.


BARKS from the Guild/March 2016

Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out?

Proper Paws Dog Training is located in Concord, Massachusetts To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, complete this form:


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