© Can Stock Photo Inc./amanaimages
BARKS from the Guild
TRAINING The Art of Management
Issue No. 22 / January 2017
CANINE Introducing a New Puppy
BEHAVIOR The Three C’s of Enrichment
EQUINE Teaching Emotional Resilience PET CARE A Better Grooming Experience FELINE The Benefits of TTouch
PLUS a 10-Page Report from PPG’s 2016 Summit
The Business of Results The Role of the Functional Assessment in Devising Effective Individual Training Programs
A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild
from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33545, USA Tel: +1-844-462-6473 PetProfessionalGuild.com petprofessionalguild.com/BARKSfromtheGuild facebook.com/BARKSfromtheGuild Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson barkseditor@PetProfessionalGuild.com
Images © Can Stock Photo: canstockphoto.com (unless otherwise credited; uncredited images belong to PPG)
The Guild Steering Committee Kelly Fahey, Paula Garber, Carole Husein, Rebekah King, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Claire Staines, Louise StapletonFrappell, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge, Sam Wike
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: PetProfessionalGuild.com/Forcefreeindustrypublication Please submit all contributions via our submission form at: PetProfessionalGuild.com/BFTGcontent
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 Membership@PetProfessionalGuild.com for all subscription and distribution-related enquiries. Advertising Please contact Niki Tudge at Admin@PetProfessionalGuild.com to obtain a copy of rates, ad specifications, format requirements and deadlines. Advertising information is also available at: PetProfessionalGuild.com/AdvertisinginBARKS
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
s expected, PPG’s second educational summit last November was an enormous success, with hundreds of pet professionals descending on Tampa, Florida for a week of learning, networking and fun. Just like at the inaugural event, Dr. Karen Overall brought the house down with what has rapidly become her trademark informative, pithy, and passionate keynote address, and you won’t want to miss what she had to say about dominance theory. Read all about it on pages 10-11. Find out more, too, about the new No Shock Coalition, which was announced by PPG president, Niki Tudge, in her opening remarks. Our extended summit coverage also includes a selection of key quotes from guest presenter, Dr. Marty Becker, and general session presenters, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Chirag Patel, Ken Ramirez and Victoria Stilwell, as well as a seven-page pictorial documenting all the aforementioned learning, networking and fun. If you missed it, make sure you sign up for this year’s event details are to be announced very soon! Still on the subject of education, our advocacy pages feature August 2016 Project Trade ambassador, Erica Beckwith, and the tale of Cassie, a 20-lb terrier mix whose owners had tried prong collars, a slip lead and a shock collar to address her reactivity. We also chat to the first ever canine training technicians - accredited, as awarded by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board. Congratulations James Butler and Kate Denman! Meanwhile, our cover story is penned by Niki Tudge, and focuses on the differences between a training program, a behavior change program, and basic management, as well as detailing what each should look like and when they should be implemented in order to achieve the best possible results for the client. As always, we have plenty of coverage on all things canine and training, including emotional learning and operant conditioning, the power of play, how to introduce a new puppy to a resident dog, how to best choose a teacher dog to work as your partner in reactivity cases, the importance of management in behavior modification plans, and how to make a trip to the groomer’s a less stressful experience. We also feature an interview with Cherie Mascis, outgoing manager of Dog Town at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. In our behavior section, we discuss the use of choice, control, and complexity to empower the animals in our care, while our feline section focuses on Tellington TTouch®, and features a range of compelling case studies detailing the enormous effect the practice has had on several resident cats at a Florida rescue. Elsewhere, our equine section highlights one of the common challenges trainers face when introducing positive reinforcement training to a horse, and the significance of teaching emotional resilience to ensure a horse is happy, content, and better able to cope with life’s unpredictabilities. A big thank you once again to all our incredible contributors. If you would like to join them, please make contact with us at email@example.com. In the meantime, a very Happy New Year from all at PPG, with many more exciting developments to come in 2017!
n Susan Nilso
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NEWS PPG cat committee, PPG Australia, PPGBI educational events, new live Facebook chat, PPG World Service, webinars and workshops, Project Trade, and more EVENTS Susan Nilson reports on PPG’s 2016 Summit, featuring highlights of Dr. Karen Overall’s keynote address, guest presentations and a seven-page pictorial THE POWER OF PROJECT TRADE Erica Beckwith reports on her experience swapping aversive training gear for service discounts PPAB ANNOUNCES FIRST EVER TRAINING TECHNICIANS Introducing CTT-As James Butler and Kate Denman THE BUSINESS OF RESULTS Niki Tudge discusses the differences between a training program, a behavior change program, and basic management THE ESSENCE OF LEARNING Angelica Steinker talks emotional learning and explains why using positive punishment is a problem THE POWER OF PLAY Laura Ryder introduces the Canine Adventure Course BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE Kathie Gregory discusses if, when and how to introduce a new puppy to the resident dog TRAINING TIP: WHY A CLICKER? Claire Staines introduces the magic of the clicker DOGS WHO TEACH Diane Garrod discusses training tips for teacher dogs and how best to choose a partner ARE YOU MANAGEMENT MATERIAL? Tiffany Lovell explains why management is an essential part of every dog owner, trainer and behavior consultant’s toolbox INDIVIDUAL DOGS, INDIVIDUAL NEEDS Diane Garrod speaks to Cherie Mascis, outgoing manager of Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE Vicki Ronchette explains how to create better grooming experiences for dogs THE THREE CÊS OF ENRICHMENT Lara Joseph uses choice, control, and complexity to empower the animals in her care THE RIGHT TOUCH Deirdre Chitwood highlights the benefits of using Tellington TTouch® at cat shelters WHO CARES ABOUT FOOD ANYWAY? Michelle Martiya discusses a common challenge trainers face when introducing positive reinforcement training to a horse FINDING THE BALANCE Kathie Gregory explains the significance of teaching emotional resilience to ensure a horse is content PROFILE: HAPPY DOGS, HAPPY GUARDIANS Featuring Louise Stapleton-Frappell of DogNostics Career College and Happy Dogs Estepona, Spain
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
© Can Stock Photo Inc./amanaimages
© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
© Can Stock Photo Inc./TrishZ
PPG Announces Cat Committee Appointments
PG has announced the appointments of a new chairwoman and a new member to its cat committee. With immediate effect, Paula Garber, owner of Lifeline Cat Behavior Solutions in Westchester, New York takes over as chairwoman, while veterinarian Dr. Lynn Bahr, CEO of Dezi & Roo Pet Solutions Specialists in Marietta, Georgia joins the eight-person committee. Existing committee member, Francine Miller of Call Ms. Behaving in Carlsbad, California continues in the role of vice chairwoman. Incoming chairwoman, Paula Garber holds a master’s in education from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is a certified animal training and enrichment professional and certified feline training and behavior specialist through the Animal Behavior Institute. She is also certified in low stress handling through Dr. Sophia Yin’s course, Low Stress Handling of Dogs and Cats, and is pursuing a diploma in feline behavior science and technology from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute. She currently serves as an advisor to the board of FurBridge, a non-profit animal rescue and community outreach program in Ardsley, New York. A consummate cat advocate, Garber hosts an annual event for volunteers to build winter shelters for free-roaming cats in her community. Garber has also joined PPG’s steering committee. New committee member, Dr. Lynn Bahr is a graduate of the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine whose areas of interest and special care for felines include health and wellness, lifetime enrichment, hospice care, strengthening the animal-human bond, ending the practice of declawing, and the ability to “speak cat.” She also serves on the board of directors at Pandemonium Aviaries. “PPG’s No Pain, No Force, No Fear tagline applies equally to cats as it does to dogs,” said Garber, who takes over from outgo-
ing chairwoman, Jane Ehrlich. “Expanding PPG’s feline resources to help anyone who works with cats to learn new techniques and skills that improve cat welfare and strengthen the human-cat bond is one of my primary goals as chairwoman of PPG’s cat committee.” Bahr, meanwhile, said that joining PPG’s cat committee was an obvious choice. “As a feline only veterinarian my life has been devoted to cats and the people who love them,” she said. “Along with the highly intelligent group of dedicated and committed feline experts who currently sit on the committee, I hope to impact many more lives than I am able to do in the exam room. Strengthening the human-animal bond through education is one of the programs I look forward to helping with, as well as, efforts to expand our feline membership. It takes a village to promote responsible pet ownership and I am honored to be a part of this initiative.”
o help improve the relationship people have with their dogs, The Academy for Dog Trainers, the Humane Rescue Alliance, The Bark Magazine, and PPG have teamed up to launch iSpeakDog, www.ispeakdog.org, a global campaign and website designed to help people better understand dog body language and behavior. iSpeakDog, which will launch as a week-long campaign March 27 – April 1, 2017, but is already posting on Facebook, www .facebook.com/iSpeakDogWeek, comes at a time when canine behavior is being studied more than ever — revealing that people often misinterpret what their dogs are doing and saying. Sadly, millions of dogs are relinquished to shelters each year because of supposed behavior problems, which are often simply dogs being dogs. “With a better understanding of why dogs do things like chew, dig, bark and jump — and how guardians can use that knowledge to enrich their dogs’ lives without harming their homes or their own safety — our hope is that more dogs will be able to find homes and stay there,” said Alexandra Dilley, director of behavior and training for the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C. To test if there really is a knowledge gap, Alexandra Horowitz, renowned ethologist and bestselling author of Inside a Dog, conducted a study in 2009, on whether the “guilty look”
that many people claim to see in their dogs after they urinate on the rug or tear up the couch is, in fact, a look of guilt. Her research found that it was not. Instead, the look represented dogs who were afraid of being punished. Along those same lines, “There are tons of videos online and on TV of dogs ‘being funny,’ but more often than not, the dogs in the videos are actually scared. It’s heartbreaking,” said iSpeakDog founder Tracy Krulik. “My hope for iSpeakDog is that we can help people recognize fear, as well as joy, in their dogs so that we can give them better care.” The website will help teach people how to figure out for themselves what their dogs are doing and why. The site will break down the common behaviors shown by dogs that tend to frustrate their guardians (i.e. jumping up on people, chewing shoes and pulling on leash) and explain the different emotional states that can drive such behavior (i.e. growling and snapping is often a sign that the dog is scared). It will also provide virtual event kits and other resources for professionals to host their own dog behavior and body language educational events during the campaign week and beyond. Those looking to participate in the campaign or to learn more should use the #iSpeakDog hashtag and follow iSpeakDog on Facebook and Twitter, www.twitter.com /iSpeakDogWeek.
Incoming cat committee chairwoman and PPG steering committee member, Paula Garber
New cat committee member, Dr. Lynn Bahr
#iSpeakDog Campaign to Bridge Communication Gap between People and Their Dogs
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Emily Cassell Launches Help Page for Pocket Pet Behavior Problems
PG member Emily Cassell has started a Help page, Small Animal Resources, www.facebook.com/smallanimalresources, for those needing advice about their small pets. The page is designed to be an ask-and-answer type forum for people who may need guidance, such as what food is appropriate, how to enrich a small animal, or just about anything related to the care of a pocket pet.
PPG Australia Announces Executive, General Committees for 2017
PG Australia (PPGA) held its annual general meeting at the end of 2016, and has since announced the 2016/17 executive and general committee to include: Stephanie McColl, president; Barbara Hodel, vice president; Jude Tuttleby, secretary; Tricia Robinson, membership manager; and Charlie Barker, treasurer. The general committee comprises PPGA members Dee Scott, Diane Oakley, Gill Anderson, Louise Ginman, Louise Newman, Meg Hannan, Margaret Gray, and Petra Edwards. “A big thank-you to all the members of last year's committee who have returned this year, and a big welcome and thankyou to Margaret [Gray] and Petra [Edwards] who have joined the ‘A Team’ this year,” said PPG Australia president, Stephanie McColl. “We have some exciting things unfolding in the year ahead, and some very exciting things in PPG Australia president, the wind for PPGA.” Stephanie McColl
PPG Participates in RSPCA Australia Animal Welfare Seminar
or many years, the Australian Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has held an annual animal welfare seminar, an event which encourages lively debate and brings together key experts in animal welfare and research. Held in November at the University of Melbourne,Victoria, the 2016 seminar, A Dog’s Life – Are We Treating Dogs as Our Best Friends, focused solely on dogs. Experienced speakers covered such topics as A Dog’s Life in Remote Indigenous Communities, The Long-Term Impacts of Being Raised as a Racing Greyhound, Pedigree Dogs – When Aesthetics and Welfare Conflict, and Assessing the Adequacy of Legal Reforms to Stop Puppy Farms. Debra Millikan, PPG board and steering committee member, contributed to the seminar with a presentation titled Dog Training... Then, Now and into the Future. “This was an excellent opportunity to promote both the current and future programs of PPG,” said Millikan. “Project Trade, the Pet Dog Ambassador program, the PPG scholarship program commencing in 2017, and the recently announced No Shock Coalition all received hearty support from the audience. “Contributing to public forums is a wonderful promotional opportunity to represent the PPG and its PPG board and committee many programs and benefits,” steering member, Debra she said. Millikan BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Live Facebook Chat for PDA Program
n Friday, January, 6, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. ET, PPG will conduct a live Facebook chat with Debra Millikan, committee chair of the Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) development team in Australia. PDA is a five-level pet dog credentialing program for pet owners. The program was officially launched in May, 2016 and aims to encourage guardians to continue training and developing new skills, abilities and knowledge. Instructors are licensed to hold and teach the PDA five-level curriculum in their locality while assessors can both teach and assess pet dogs. PDA is a PPG program and only PPG members can be assessors. If you would like to learn more about how it works, join us for the live chat, www.facebook.com/events/302235693508893 /?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1480005659720437.
New Ask the Experts Column in BARKS
s of March 2017, BARKS from the Guild is to feature a new Ask the Experts column hosted by dog*tec, www.dogtec.org, whereby business experts Veronica Boutelle and Gina Phairas will respond to PPG members’ questions. Topics may span such things as setting rates, policies, marketing, dealing with difficult clients, employee issues, networking, building your business, etc. Essentially it will cover anything business-related. If you have a question for the experts, please email it to BARKS from the Guild, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PPG Archive Hits 1,200 Articles
PG’s online archive now holds over 1,200 articles, podcasts and videos and is still growing at a rapid rate. Articles are categorized in the archive under broad headings such as canine, feline, equine, avian, piscine, porcine, murine, leporine, behavior, training, pets, business, consulting, news, opinion, education, advocacy, trends, interview, book reviews and member profiles. The search feature helps users locate specific topics via category, author or keywords. The database is updated regularly with material that has been recently published or sourced. All PPG World Service podcasts are available in the archive, as are all of PPG’s recent blog posts, educational and advocacy handouts, and press releases. Other articles include select educational blogs and articles from a variety of industry-leading contributors, a host of scientific studies pertinent to behavior and training, plus everything ever published in BARKS from the Guild since its inception in 2012. If you are looking for something specific, make the PPG archive your first stop! You can find the archive at www.petprofessionalguild.com/Guild-Resources. 8
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Kathy Sdao and Veronica Boutelle to Host UK Educational Events
o Pay and Lucy Bennett invite PPG members to a Weekend of Learning with Kathy Sdao, www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the -weekend-with-kathy-sdao-tickets-26882306703?aff=eac2, on Saturday, 23 and Kathy Sdao will Sunday, 24 Septem- present on the fundamentals ber, 2017, at the of how animals learn Hallmark Hotel near Manchester Airport, England. Sdao (pictured, right) will be speaking about the fundamentals of how animals learn. PPGBI will be in attendance sharing information and resources with the delegates about PPG, Pet Professional Accreditation Board, Pet Dog Ambassador and Project Trade. Meanwhile,Veronica Boutelle (pictured, left), founder of dog*tec, will host three one-day seminars, How to Run a Dog Business: Putting Your Career where Your Heart Is, www .pwpseminar.co.uk/index.php, on Monday, March 20, 2017 Veronica Boutelle will host in Manchester, England; three seminars on how to run a dog business Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Bristol, England; and Friday, March 24, 2017 in Woking, England.
Join Project Trade!
roject Trade is PPG's international advocacy program that promotes the use of force-free equipment for pets by asking pet owners to relinquish choke, prong and shock collars, and any other devices that are designed or function to reduce behavior through pain or fear. Project Trade is an opt-in program for PPG members that has been designed to create incentives for pet owners to seek professionals who will exchange aversive training and pet care equipment for alternative, more appropriate tools, training, and educational support. For more details, see www.projecttrade.org.
PPG World Service Radio Show Schedule
he PPG Radio Show, www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPG-Broadcast, takes place on the first Sunday of every month at noon (ET) and there are usually extra shows too. There is always an incredible line-up of guests and the show is educational and fun. Here is the current schedule (note: subject to change):
Sunday, February 5, 2017 - Noon (EST) Kamal Fernandez: Living with high drive dogs in domestic situations and the effective use of toys as rewards. Lori Nanan: Breed Specific Legislation and future plans for Your Pit Bull and You, an educational resource for dog owners of all breeds. Register to listen live: www.attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4285883508722414339
Sunday, March 5, 2017 - Noon (EST) Tristan Flynn: Assessing and working with reactive dogs and Breed Specific Legislation with reference to pet day care. Register to listen live: www.attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7236627472376623363
© Can Stock Photo /damedeeso
Sunday, January 8, 2017 - Noon (EST) Maria Colleen Daines: The Dangerous Dogs Act and Breed Specific Legislation. Erica Beckwith: Project Trade and why it is important to get shock and other aversive tools off the table. Register to listen live: www.attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4648904865485345795
You can submit a question for any of the guests here: www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/m37XVZeJ2cL3p0e7lD
Earn Your CEUs via PPG’s Workshop and Webinar Program! Webinars
TrickMeister Journeyman - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course with Louise StapletonFrappell (5 of 5) Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - 1 p.m. (EST)
The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs with Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens (Tampa, Florida) Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 8:30 a.m. (EST) Sunday, February 19, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. (EST)
The Effective Use of Toys as Rewards with Kamal Fernandez Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 1 p.m. (EST) From Frantic Fran to Wholehearted Holly: Ban Burnout with a Practice of Self Care with Yolanda Harper Monday, January 16, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EST) It's Not That Crazy - Voluntary Injection Training with Emily Cassell Saturday, January 28, 2017 - 7 p.m. (EST) Errorless Learning: Setting Up For Success with Kate Mallatratt Friday, February 3, 2017 - 1 p.m. (EST) Step Off the Treadmill - Time Management for Dog Trainers with Gina Phairas* Monday, February 20, 2017 - 11 a.m. (EST) *Free member webinar
Foundation Skills for Dog Sports and Heel Work 101 with Kamal Fernandez (Tampa, Florida) Saturday, March 18, 2017 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, March 19, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Clicker Training for Advanced Competition Obedience, Proofing, Ring Prep and Competition with Kamal Fernandez (Tampa, Florida) Saturday, March 25, 2017 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, March 26, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. (EDT) Details of all upcoming workshops can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Workshops.
Details of all upcoming webinars can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/GuildScheduledEvents A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars.
Details of this month’s discounted webinars can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Discounted-Webinars.
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
#PPGSummit 2016: Beyond Dominance
Susan Nilson reports on PPG’s second educational summit, featuring highlights from keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall’s address on the “insidious” nature of dominance theory Ready to launch: (left to right) PPG president Niki Tudge, keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall, PPG special counsel Dr. Lynn Honeckman and summit presenter Pat Miller
undreds of pet professionals descended on Tampa, Florida in early November last year for the second ever Pet Professional Guild educational summit. Like its predecessor, the event was an enormous success thanks to the incredible line-up of speakers, the range of education presented, the fun extra-curricular activities, the enthusiasm of the attendees, the support of the vendors and exhibitors, and the hard work of the staff and volunteers. Making a return at the 2016 event was popular 2015 keynote speaker, Dr. Karen Overall, who was joined by pet industry luminaries such as Dr. Marty Becker,Victoria Stilwell, Ken Ramirez, Malena DeMartini Price, Chirag Patel, Pat Miller, Ken McCort, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Janis Bradley, Emily Larlham, and many, many more. As has quickly become tradition, PPG president, Niki Tudge kicked off proceedings with a light-hearted welcome address that provided an update on PPG’s many initiatives, both current and planned, including Pet Dog Ambassador, Project Trade, Pet Professional Accreditation Board, the inaugural virtual Pet Care Summit, the expanding PPG cat committee, the PPG training hotline and member and client call center, BARKS from the Guild, the PPGBI Mini Summit, the PPG scholarship fund (to be rolled out this year), and the new Be A Tree educational packages that will soon be available to PPG members. “I want to set the tone for our summit: have fun, and enjoy, engage and educate,” Tudge said. She then announced the No Shock Coalition, an upcoming advocacy initiative with the goal of building a strong and broad movement worldwide that is committed to eliminating shock devices from the supply and demand chain. “It is the belief of the No Shock Coalition that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain, punishment and fear,” said Tudge to resounding applause. 10
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
PPG president Niki Tudge (left) introduces PPG Summit keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall
Tudge then introduced Dr. Karen Overall, who proceeded to deliver her presentation, Current Trends: Beyond dominance and discipline with characteristic passion and aplomb. Overall commenced by explaining that she had had an “epiphany” regarding how “insidious” dominance theory is in the field of dog training and behavior. “Dominance theory has shut off scientific research and has crept into medicine to the point where we think we can do things to animals whereby we are asking them to ‘submit’,” she said. “[At the vet’s office] we put them on a table even though they don’t want to be put on a table. And why would we teach a dog to heel? That’s just about control. It’s not a natural behavior. In pop psychology, dominance theory is insidious and has crept into everything we do with dogs and it’s wrong. It has gotten in the way of modern science and I’ve just about had it. Every single thing we do with dogs hurts them because we don’t see them as individuals or cognitive partners. We always test cognition by asking dogs to speak our language. We add this extra hurdle.” Overall explained that, according to Hare et al., dogs differ from both chimps and hand-reared wolves in their ability to act on signals from humans that indicate where food or objects are hidden, and that dogs respond like humans, demonstrating similar cognitive processes.1 “In addition, dogs have the ability to make cognitive associations via fast mapping,”2 Overall said. Overall stated that her take home message was to be cautious about how we label behaviors because, while labels do not structure social relationships, they can do damage. “The words you choose may not reflect either the behavior or its meaning, and may not be defined the same way by others,” she said. “Describe behaviors: in ethology and in veterinary behavioral medicine, behaviors ARE the data. Unfortunately, the dominance, discipline and coercion approach has affected every aspect of how we interact with dogs from basic training to treating troubled dogs. We MUST abandon these cruel, scientifically unsupported labels and approaches and replace them with a hu-
mane, scientifically-based approach that is dog-centric and atOverall believes that the misapplication of terms may reveal tempts to understand situations from the viewpoint of the dog.” more about humans and their concerns than might have been inOverall explained that the concept of dominance was origitended. “No terminology should make us more brutal in what we nally developed for use in describing territorial interactions in encourage intraspecifically or interspecifically,” she said. “If we birds. believe that any social structure is created and maintained by “‘Dominance’ in this context pertains to an individual’s ability, force, we have no option but to use forceful behavioral techgenerally under controlled conditions, to mainniques. Such techniques are outdated, not helptain or regulate access to some resource (e.g., ful, and dangerous: they make dogs – and food, space),” she said. “There is still no guaranhumans – fearful, anxious and more aggressive.” tee of priority of access. If what we wish to unOverall shared that she lives with two dogs derstand is how animals organize their social who, in their previous lives, wore shock collars interactions and what happens when something and who, she said, will “never completely get goes wrong, a more balanced, interactive, and over it.” “Shock collars and e-fences should be dynamic approach is needed. No terminology banned from the face of the planet,” Overall should blind us to the species-typical viewpoint said, pointing out that researchers are “moving (e.g. the dog from THE DOG’S viewpoint).” away from the viewpoint that regards dogs as Overall stated that humans have been charcapricious charges that must be controlled and acterizing dogs “as if they were Facebook disciplined to one viewing dogs as partners friends,” yet the reality is that they are cognithat share a history of coevolution, work and tive individuals. “There are fingerprints in their increasing urbanization.” DNA that suggest convergence or coevolution “Dogs work for accurate information,” with humans in neurochemical patterns,” she Overall said. “Accurate information minimizes said. “A lot was lost – and is still lost - in pop risk and increases predictability. The relative Dr. Karen Overall: “In pop psychology, abilities of individuals to provide and respond psychology and cultural translation. It’s critical theory is insidious and has to realize that most of the training terminology dominance to such information, given any context, struccrept into everything we do with dogs and approaches came from self-appointed ‘exand it’s wrong. It has gotten in the way tures social relationships. Understanding the of modern science.” perts’ without the power of science behind complexity of social signaling and cognition can them. Within the scientific literature the word ‘dominance’ was help us to provide a humane, mutually beneficial environment for never actually used in the way it is used in training today, which dogs that includes a dog-centric consideration, where we work is, essentially, patriarchal and often misogynistic.” in a collaborative partnership with dogs who share our lives.” n Hare, B., Brown, M.,Williamson, C., & Tomasello, M. (2002, November). The Domestication of Social Cognition in Dogs. Science 298 1634-1636. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from www .evolutionaryanthropology.duke.edu/sites/evolutionaryanthropology .duke.edu/files/site-images/Hareetal2002.pdf 1
2 “During speech acquisition, children form quick and rough hypotheses about the meaning of a new word after only a single exposure—a
process dubbed “fast mapping.” …Fast mapping…appears to be mediated by general learning and memory mechanisms also found in other animals and not by a language acquisition device that is special to humans.” - Kaminski, J., Call, J., & Fischer, J. (2004, June). Word Learning in a Domestic Dog: Evidence for “Fast Mapping.” SCIENCE 304 5677, 1682-1683. Retrieved December 7, 2016, from www.msu.edu/course/psy/401/snapshot.afs/Readings/WK3 .PresentA.Kaminski%20et%20al.%20(2004).pdf
The Big Reveal: The Official Summit T-Shirt
PG member Laura Nalven of Atta Pup Dog and Puppy Training in Hagerstown, Maryland submitted the winning design for the official summit T-shirt (pictured above right with PPG steering committee member, Kelly Fahey). n BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
New Look for 2016: Guest Speaker and General Presenters
PG’s 2016 summit expanded on the previous year’s program, and each full day featured one or two general sessions that were open to all attendees. Four popular presenters took up these slots: Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, who presented By the Case: Come see what a behaviorist’s caseload is like; Chirag Patel, who presented Behavior Science beyond the ‘Quadrant’ and ‘Learning Theory’; Ken Ramirez, who presented Evolving Challenges for
the Positive Reinforcement Trainer in the Modern World; and Victoria Stilwell, who presented Inside Your Dog’s Mind. In addition, Dr. Marty Becker joined the event as a guest speaker and educated the audience on the Fear FreeTM Movement he has developed, which aims to “take the ‘pet’ out of ‘petrified’” and get pets back for veterinary visits by promoting considerate approach and gentle control techniques used in calming environments. n
“Nobody gets into this business to make life worse for animals…Nobody wants to take their pet to the vet – it’s stressful.The reasons people don’t go to the vet are: 1. Stress to the pet. 2. Cost. 3. Stress to the owner.The Fear Free initiative looks at physical and emotional well-being. Everything we do is to remove fear and stress.” - Dr. Marty Becker
“The end goal of training should be animal welfare.The primary goal of training is something that directly benefits the individual animal such as physical exercise, mental stimulation and cooperative behavior.We put the animal’s needs first. Choice is a huge reinforcer for animals. If you use force then choice is pretty much off the table.” - Ken Ramirez
What They Said...
“Pet owners will bring complaints that are non-specific: aggression, destructive behavior, howling/barking, and house soiling, and you need to be able to look at the context to determine if the behavior is abnormal or not.” - Dr. Soraya JuarbeDiaz
“Science looks at seeking nature’s truths and a specific effort is taken to gather and evaluate information in a deliberate and systematic manner.We should always be thinking about what is the function of the behavior.We need to understand behavior not just from how it looks, but why animals do what they do.” - Chirag Patel
#PPGSummit 2016: Group Photos
PG members traveled from all over the world to attend the 2016 Summit, including all regions of the USA, plus Canada, Australia, UK, Spain, and Finland. We recorded them all in our series of group photos (see pictures, right, and opposite page). “We are thrilled to see so many members representing so many different geographical areas,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. “PPG strives to be a member-centric organization and the summit provides us with the perfect opportunity to interact with our members and find out how we can help them drive their businesses and make them even more successful, all the while spreading the force-free message.” n
Pacific North West, USA
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
“Domestication has given dogs their own kind of intelligence: a higher tolerance for coping with novelty, the ability to adapt better to environments and situations, and the ability to form relationships with dogs and humans. Dogs have aligned themselves with the most dangerous predator on the planet and have evolved to read our signals. ” - Victoria Stilwell
#PPGSummit 2016: Group Photos
South West, USA
Mid West, USA
South East, USA
North East, USA
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
No Pain No Force No Fear: The PPG Tattoo Competition
he PPG tattoo competition was entertaining as always, with participants impressing judges,Victoria Stilwell and Niki Tudge (bottom right) with their creativity. As a result, prizes were generously - and somewhat randomly - distributed, and a good time had by all. n
Vendors and Exhibitors: Essential Support Network
A big thank you to all our sponsors, vendors and exhibitors!
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
#PPGSummit 2016: Prize Winners
PPG president, Niki Tudge (left), PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan (center) with Australiaâ€™s first ever canine training technician - accredited, Kate Denman
New dog trainers: (left to right) Courtney Roberts, Sheila Blanchette, Karen Mizell, Tiffany Lovell and Anthony De Marinis (inset shows De Marinis with Victoria Stilwell)
PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Terri Shackleton
PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Kat Martin
BARKS from the Guild editor, Susan Nilson (left) with Leanne Hugg
PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Erica Beckwith
PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Andrew Murphy
PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan (left) with Tricia Dunlop
PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Sally Saxton
PPG president, Niki Tudge (right) with Emily Musgrove
PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Lauri Bowen-Vaccare
PPG president, Niki Tudge (left) with Rachel Harris
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
#PPGSummit 2016: In Pictures
#PPGSummit 2016: In Pictures
The Power of
Erica Beckwith reports on her first experience swapping aversive training gear for service
discounts, and the enormous difference it has already made to one dog and her owners
y first Project Trade swap was exhilarating, and it almost did not happen. I joined Project Trade several months ago, and to be honest, I had not done very much to advertise or pursue trades. Then, at the beginning of a behavior consultation in August last year, my client pulled out all the equipment she and her husband were using or had used for their reactive dog, Cassie, a 20-lb terrier mix. She had said on the phone, “We have tried everything,” and she was right. She pulled out harnesses, prong collars, a slip lead and a shock collar. They were desperate—as so many reactive dog owners are—to stop the behavior. If you have ever owned or walked a reactive dog, you know how frustrating and embarrassing it can be to have your dog turn into a whirling dervish at the end of the leash every time another dog appears. Unfortunately, without meaning to or being aware of it, using equipment that caused pain to try to address the behavior had likely made Cassie’s reactivity worse. Every time she saw other dogs, she had been shocked, or choked, or had prongs dug into her neck. Because dogs learn through association, she was learning that seeing dogs was always bad news for her—it hurt to see other dogs! The owners stated that they had to use the shock collar at the highest level when they were in the car, and that was the only thing they felt helped. It is not really fair to blame dog guardians for using painful or scary equipment. There is so much misinformation on dog training available—wrong and outdated advice online, in books, on television—that it can be confusing. Professionals are telling dog guardians that prong collars do not hurt, shock collars just “tingle” a little, or that for some dogs (or some behaviors), positive techniques do not work. One might even say our industry is a bit of a mess, so to speak, and it is the owners and dogs who suffer. My clients are lovely people who wanted to enjoy walks again, and just did not know how else to do it. Via non judgmental discussion, I talked with my clients about how these devices actually work, and what else their dog was experiencing at the same time. They were immediately ready to switch methods and have me train Cassie to enjoy the sight of other dogs, but were considering selling their devices. Again, who could blame them? It was money down the drain, plus they were now going to be paying me. On the way home, I remembered I was a member of Project Trade, and I could help these wonderful clients even more than I had originally thought! I called and explained what Project Trade was, and how much they could save if they swapped their gear for a service discount, which turned out to be quite a chunk of money. We signed the Project Trade statement, and as the wife turned over the equipment, she joked, “Here are the torture devices!” No one made them feel like they were terrible people for 20
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Some of the aversive training gear author Erica Beckwith swapped for service discounts that has led to a huge difference in a specific case of canine reactivity
using a shock collar, and Project Trade enabled them to learn a kinder approach without losing money. Cassie is now flying through our training plan, and is more attentive and calm outdoors. She is learning that seeing dogs when on leash now predicts wonderful things happening. She is on a front clip harness, which has cut down on pulling and makes her easier to steer, and her people have learned and put into practice the all-important “turn and go” if she sees dogs on leash that are too close. They carry chicken for walks, and have seen a huge improvement in all three of their dogs. They are committed to the force-free approach following the outstanding results they have witnessed. We are still working through our training plan, but Cassie is currently able to walk past dogs on the other side of the street during training sessions, all the while looking back at mom and dad instead of lunging and barking. On a personal level, watching the change in this little dog as we removed the aversives and introduced force-free methods, was a powerful reinforcement of the effectiveness of sciencebased training, and the potential of Project Trade. n For more details on Project Trade, see: www.projecttrade.org Opt in to Project Trade by filling out this online form: www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/1n41beFf3j Erica Beckwith CTC CPDT-KA is a professional dog trainer in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the owner of A Matter of Manners Dog Training, www.amatterofmannersdogtraining.com. She graduated from The Academy for Dog Trainers and loves training dogs to do tricks, especially her three mutts at home. She also enjoys dog reactivity cases, and watching dogs and their people gain confidence as they put their new coping tools into action.
PPAB Announces First Ever Canine Training Technicians
James Butler in the UK and Kate Denman in Australia are the first graduates of the Pet Professional Accreditation Board’s CTT-A program James Butler took on a “crazy” border collie, and has never looked back
he Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) recently added a new level, designed specifically for professional canine training technicians, to its accreditation process. Holders of the new qualification earn the title Canine Training Technician (Accredited), and are able to display the letters CTT-A after their names. The CTT-A credential has been introduced as a Level One qualification and was developed specifically for professionals who are highly skilled and experienced in the practical art of dog training, but may not hold any formal titles in their field. To acquire the accreditation, candidates are assessed on their knowledge of canine communication and social behavior; recognition of the need for relaxation strategies; general training and management; emotional well-being managed through adequate mental and physical stimulation; ethics; the science of learning; and training tools and equipment. Candidates are also required to submit filmed evidence showing them teaching a dog (or dogs) five randomly selected basic skills. In another film clip they must explain what a conditioned emotional response is and how to achieve it. They must also demonstrate how they have changed a dog’s reaction to a neutral or unpleasant object or situation to an alternative, positive response. Lastly, candidates are required to submit two videos of them teaching actual training classes. PPAB has established a set of eligibility criteria, and has published a comprehensive Study Guide to assist candidates as they move through the process. At the end of last year, PPAB announced the first ever CTT-A 22
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Kate Denman appreciated the mix of learning theory and practical training skills presented by the CTT-A
graduates: James Butler in the UK and Kate Denman in Australia. BARKS asked them why they elected to do the credential and how they believe it will help them in their careers. “Seven years ago I was in and out of trouble, but then I met a crazy eight-month-old border collie, Swift, whose owner was not looking after her,” said Butler. “Despite her ‘craziness,’ I fell for her and reached an agreement with her then owner to take her. I quickly fell in love with the breed. I wanted to know all about these dogs and how to train them properly. I found trainers like Emily Larlham and Zak George and got hooked on training. Swift saved and changed my life and that is what drives me to be the best guardian I can be to my dogs.” Butler explained that to earn the credential, applicants have to pass the eligibility criteria with enough CEUs and training hours both in a class setting and on a one-to-one basis, have valid insurance, adhere to the PPAB guiding principles, and provide references. “I then had to pass a knowledge-based quiz, and video myself teaching five new behaviors using luring and shaping to achieve a finished behavior,” he said. “Next, I had to make a video explaining and showing how to create a conditioned emotional response to something that a dog saw as a neutral stimulus. In addition, I had to film two 15-minute unedited videos: one of a puppy class and one of a 6-12-month or adult class to show how I teach a class force-free and that I can demonstrate what I'm trying to teach, as well as how I manage the class and the environment.” Denman, meanwhile, having always lived with a menagerie
How Do You Think Having the CTT-A Credential Will Impact Your Career? James Butler: “Professionally, it will help me to show that I believe in education and that I have been accredited by the leading organization that believes in force-free animal training. Dog owners, thankfully, are becoming more aware and I want them to know that I do as much as I can to keep up with modern, force-free training methods. This credential will help me achieve that. As a professional, it has given me more confidence in my own skills and also made me more confident to be in front of the camera doing tutorial videos, which will help my clients. “Gaining this credential means the world to me. Eighteen months ago I was sitting at home wanting to be a trainer but had no idea how to go about it. Then I met [PPGBI members] Elaine Pirie and Claire Staines and they encouraged me, but no way did I think then that I would become an accredited trainer and part of such an amazing organization. I try to do as much as I can to further my knowledge and will continue to do so dreams do come true.”
The CTT-A certificate
Kate Denman: “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to get my CTT-A, and think it will be invaluable to my dog training career. I’ll definitely be looking at PPAB’s other accreditations once I’ve got more experience under my belt. “My tip for trainers thinking of getting their CTT-A is ‘go for it’! Just start filming, and make sure you submit all the paperwork and videos exactly as requested.You won’t regret it.”
(currently including dogs Monty, the border collie cross, and Alaska, the blue heeler cross), decided in 2014 to follow her passion and move into dog training. “I’m quite a ‘fussy’ student in that I want a professional accreditation from a recognized body, not just something that’s off the back of a cereal packet,” she said. “I was really excited to get the opportunity to sit for the CTT-A and get recognition for what I’ve learned so far. I particularly valued the mix of assessing relevant learning theory and practical training skills. “The examination was a good test of the knowledge that underpins what we do as dog trainers. It wasn’t designed to ‘trap’ students, but was an opportunity to demonstrate an understanding of these key elements.” Denman said that the video submission criteria were “exacting,” but that careful planning enabled her to ensure that all elements were covered. “Conditioning a positive emotional response is such a powerful tool, and I really learned a lot about its application when I filmed this section,” she said. “I read the guide really carefully and made sure I covered luring and targeting, filming in different environments, and providing explanations for things if they were called for,” she added. “The practical skills evaluation was exactly that – practical – the sort of exercises we teach students in class and in one-on-one consultations. Setting up to film group classes required a bit more organization, but I found that most students were more than willing to help out when they understood what the accreditation was for and the fact it was recognized worldwide. I found the hardest thing was overcoming my hatred of appearing on camera.” There is, to date, no government oversight in the fields of pet training and behavior in the United States and elsewhere,” added PPG president, Niki Tudge. “PPAB was created to establish independently-assessed, highly-respected credentials that demonstrate not only accredited professionals’ academic accomplishments and 'real-world' expertise, but also their commitment to results-based, science-based, force-free training and pet care. We look forward to adding a long line of CTT-As to the growing number of force-free training and behavior professionals worldwide.” n
If you are an applicant in the system and on the road to accreditation, there are several tools at your disposal!
The CTT-A ID card
For more information on the Canine Training Technician (Accredited): www.credentialingboard.com/CTT-A For the CTT-A Study Guide: www.credentialingboard.com /resources/Documents/CTT/Final%20Canine%20Training %20Technician%20Study%20Guide.pdf
s The Examination Study Guide: www.credentialingboard.com/Study-Guide s The Case Study Template: www.credentialingboard.com/Case-Study-Information s The Video Review Form: www.credentialingboard.com/page-18095 s The Facebook Applicant Support Group - To join, email: Niki@credentialingboard.com s ABA Dictionary: www.credentialingboard.com/Dictionary
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
When working with clients and their dogs, professionals must determine whether training, behavior modification, or management - or a combination - is the most effective way forward
The Business of Results
Niki Tudge discusses the differences between a training program, a behavior
change program, and basic management, and details what each should look like to achieve the best possible results for the client
he purpose of conducting training sessions is to deliver results for clients and their pets. They are a tool we employ when our clients or their pets in some way need to improve their performance or behavior, and we embark on them because we believe it will help them. One of the first things the professional needs to establish, having completed a functional assessment and developed the contingency statement (see box on page 25), is what the training plan will look like. Personally, I am usually already considering this during the initial client consultation and am working towards figuring out the family in terms of the following: • Where are they now on the mastery scale of training skills (see box on page 27)? • How big is the gap between the pet’s current performance and the agreed upon goal statement? • What is the family’s lifestyle and how active are the individual family members? • How many of the family members are invested in the daily care of the pet and the pet’s future training? 24
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• What do I feel their level of commitment is, both financially and from a time investment perspective? • How compliant do I feel they will be, even though we have discussed and agreed to the psychological contract (see box on page 26)? None of my individual thoughts or self-drawn answers are judgments. They are merely realistic criteria to consider when I am tentatively devising my personalized training program for the family.
How Will the Plan Look?
Some of the key points that must be considered to determine how the training plan might look include: a) Is there a difference between how the pet behaves and interacts with different family members? b) Is there a real opportunity for improvement? We like to think, especially as trainers, that there are many ways we can help improve a dog’s behavior. We must remember, however, the client’s goals and adhere to protocols that will reach these goals
COVER STORY iltenberger (2004) states that there are three methods for functionally assessing behavior: indirect and direct observation, and experiential. This behavior analytical approach is known as a functional assessment and it systematically identifies the functional relationship between the behavior and the environment. Only when this relationship has been identified can efficient and effective solutions be developed and implemented. The primary purpose of the functional assessment is to “identify the function of the problem behavior,” and what it serves to achieve (Miltenberger, 2004, p. 261). The process “systematically identifies the relationship between behavior and the environment so that efficient and effective solutions can be developed” (Tudge, 2012). (See also The Process of Conducting a Functional Assessment in Pet Dog Training). In some cases, it will only be necessary to use one or two of the above methods to examine the functional relationships. With more complicated behavior problems, and/or when multiple contingencies are occurring, it will be necessary to also conduct a functional analysis of the behavior. The first part of functionally assessing behavior occurs via an informant interview. This is where anecdotal information about the problem behavior is sourced. The informant interview is considered an indirect method of assessment as it utilizes interviewing skills and questionnaires to capture and gather data. If, at the close of the informant interview, you do not have a high level of comfort with your contingency statement, or you cannot develop a hypothesis from the anecdotal data gathered, then it is time to move onto step two, direct observation. This process occurs when behavior is observed and the relationship between the variables is measured and correlated. During the process, the consultant observes the behavior and records important data. The last part of the process is the functional analysis, where relationships between the behavior and its environment are tested. A functional analysis should only be carried out if the informant interview and direct observation did not reveal trends in the problem behavior, and/or components of the contingency statement are still unclear to the consultant.
Graphic: Rick Ingram
The Functional Assessment
in the most expedient way. Dog trainers can help their clients build obedience behavior c) We need to establish who in the family will be involved repertoires. Dog training involves teaching a dog new skills, such in the training process and who should be participating. If a family as teaching a sit/stay, to prevent the dog from begging at the member is very instrumental in the care of the pet then they table, or teaching the dog to come when the owners want the must always be encouraged to take part in the training sessions. dog to return to them. I consider this as pet dog training, i.e. d) Are the necessary systems in place to support the helping clients teach their dog new skills that will help him better training we are about to begin? For coexist in our human world and in the Key Question: Will the pet’s performance family home. example: be improved via a basic obedience • What changes need to be Behavior counseling requires the made to the dog’s living environment? involvement of a behavior consultant training program or will it require a • What changes need to be who works with a client to help full-on behavior change program? change an existing problematic behavadopted by the family members? ior. Many behavioral problems present themselves with some ele• What equipment will need to be purchased to support ment of fear as the emotional foundation. This is often the training program? manifested in a response such as anxiety, anger or frustration. • How much time needs to be allocated to management, Fear is a very normal self-protective response for dogs as they exercise, feeding, training and care? • Will the pet’s performance be improved via a basic obe- have to be good at adapting and reacting to potentially dangerous situations in order to survive. dience program or a full-on behavior change program? Fear in dogs is either innate, which means it has an evolutionThe last point is very significant. In my opinion, there are ary significance (such as a fear of loud noises, strangers, isolation noteworthy differences between a dog trainer and a dog behavor fire), or it is ontogenic, which means it has been learned ior consultant, as well as their skills and the roles they play. through experience. Changing a problematic behavior or a conditioned emotional response requires a broad understanding of learning and behavehavioral contingencies state the if-then conditions that ior, combined with a toolbox of specialized skills to implement set the occasion for the potential occurrence of a certain the appropriate behavior change protocol. It is not possible to behavior and its consequence(s). train fear out of a dog or resolve aggression simply by teaching a
The Contingency Statement
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
The Psychological Contract
© Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock
© Can Stock Photo/HelleM
he psychological contract summarizes the beliefs held by both trainer and student about what they expect from one another. It is an unwritten set of expectations that is constantly at play during the term of the formal contract. The interactions you have with your clients are a fundamental feature of the trainer-student relationship. Each role is a set of behavioral expectations that are often explicit and not defined in the business contract (Armstrong, 2003). See also Creating Shared Meaning, BARKS from the Guild, March 2016, p. 59-61.
dog obedience skills. To demonstrate the difference between the two courses of action I will detail a behavior modification protocol based on helping a dog with separation distress and then compare it with a basic common training issue, how to teach a dog to sit. This comparison will show the complexity of handling a behavior change program versus the teaching of a new skill to a wellrounded dog. First though, we will examine how Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov was unaware that his findings regarding respondent conditioning would help so many dogs with fear or anxiety
A systematic desensitization protocol - used to change behaviors such as fear, panic and anxiety - can be developed on completion of the functional assessment
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
related problems. To start with we will review the terms and process for systematic desensitization (SD) and counterconditioning (CC).
Prior to developing a systematic desensitization protocol we must first complete a functional assessment and have a contingency statement we are extremely confident about. The contingency statement must identify controlling antecedents and the behavior and/or the hypothesized maintaining relationship between the behavior and its consequence. A determination can then be made about which behavior change protocols should be used: respondent, operant, or a combination of both. Behavior change programs for dogs that are demonstrating fear or panic behaviors must be based on protocols associated with respondent conditioning. Systematic desensitization protocols are used to change behaviors that are controlled by the autonomic nervous system, which are driven by emotions such as fear, panic and anxiety. The goal of this process is to change the respondent(s), i.e. the conditioned emotional response(s). If a dog is showing signs of fear or panic, then the antecedent is having an aversive effect and the behavior is being negatively reinforced. Systematic desensitization protocols develop a hierarchy of stimulus intensity with graded exposure through the hierarchy, while counterconditioning takes place at each step. To effectively design a systematic desensitization protocol we need to know the specific conditioned stimulus that elicits the fear, panic or anxiety so we can construct a graded hierarchy, starting with levels that only elicit attention, as opposed to sensitization or potentiation. When planning the graded hierarchy, we need to take into consideration the stimulus variables that could elicit emotional responses, such as the distance from the stimulus, the duration of exposure to the stimulus, distractions in the environment, the orientation of the stimulus, and any motion or contrast within the stimulus exposure. For each of these variables we will need to develop a stimulus exposure hierarchy. When designing the systematic desensitization plan we also need to have knowledge of the setting events that provide the context for and influence the behavior. We need to recognize that respondent behaviors motivate operants because they establish operations, making it “more likely” that the animal will engage in “escape or avoidance behavior.” (Miltenberger, 2004). Understanding if the operants are being negatively or positively reinforced is important. If the antecedent is aversive then the behavior is being negatively reinforced. If we can provide the same reinforcement for a more suitable behavior, then the process of generalization can be expedited and behavior maintenance may be more easily supported in the future. When constructing a systematic desensitization protocol it is critical to ensure that the pet begins the process in a relaxed and happy manner and stays this way throughout each of the trials, i.e. at sub-threshold.
astery means a high degree of competence within a particular area of knowledge. Ambrose et al. (2010) propose that, for students to develop mastery, they need a set of key skills that they practice to the point of fluency so they know automatically when to apply them appropriately. During the transition to mastery, students move through various levels of consciousness and competence. Ambrose et al. (2010) describe this as a four-stage developmental path from novice to expert that goes from unconscious incompetence, to conscious incompetence, to conscious competence and, finally, unconscious competence. See Developing Mastery and Competency, BARKS from the Guild, July 2015, p. 54-55
Graphic: Rick Ingram
Preparation can be made to positively reinforce calm, operant behaviors to encourage and maintain a happy and relaxed state. Otherwise, counterconditioning cannot occur. Too much excitement can also negatively impact the counterconditioning if the animal is too distracted from the problem stimulus. Understand during this process that the pet should be happy. A happy emotional state is incompatible with anxiety or fear. Too many desensitization and counterconditioning programs begin with a pet that is “neutral,” which is counterproductive to our goals. During the counterconditioning component of the systematic desensitization process there must be a contrast between the “open bar” and the “closed bar.” In other words, when the fear eliciting stimulus is presented, all great things happen. These are then quickly removed with the exit of the fear eliciting stimulus. There must be both a temporal relationship and a contingency between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus for conditioning to occur and for the problematic emotional response to be replaced with a new more appropriate response (O’Heare, 2007). It is more effective during counterconditioning to have fewer trials but that each one be successful, rather than rush the process and set yourself (and the dog) up for failure.
Sample Outline of a Behavior Change Case: Changing Separation Anxiety
Evidence shows that separation distress related behaviors are respondent behaviors. They are a combination of the body’s panic and fear systems. The amygdala, a section of the brain that stores memories associated with emotional events, activates behavioral and emotional responses to fear (Lindsay, 2005). Separation distress is defined as “physical or behavioral signs of distress or panic… only in the absence of, or lack of access to, the attachment object.” (O’Heare, 2004). To change this kind of behavior, an individual behavior change program needs to be developed and must be based on a functional assessment. First, we should rule out any existing medical conditions that may be causing problematic behaviors. We also need to eliminate the possibility that some behaviors manifest themselves as separation distress but are actually based on other inadequacies in the dog’s life, such as boredom, lack of exercise, external distractions, or inadequate mental stimulation. Problematic behaviors that may result in such cases include excessive barking, whining and chewing, amongst other displacement behaviors. The extent of the behavior change program will be based on the severity of the problem, the owner’s goals and the level of commitment. In some minor cases, it may only be necessary to implement daily management protocols to keep everyone relaxed, safe and sound. More severe cases will require daily management, counterconditioning, and a systematic desensitization program. As with any type of behavior modification program, punishment, or any form of harsh treatment, should be avoided at all cost. Research shows that punitive rearing practices, traumatic experiences, isolation, and rehoming can be considered risk factors to separation distress behaviors. Dogs that exhibit separa-
tion distress behaviors have lost their ability to form healthy relationships with the “object of attachment.” The dog is not able to predict or control his basic need for safety and has no ability to “establish an adaptive behavioral framework.” (Lindsay, 2005, p. 198). The dog’s environment must become predictable and stable so he can begin to establish a healthy relationship with the attachment object (O’Heare, 2004). As a foundation, the dog in question should undergo basic obedience training using the least invasive methods. Shaping is the preferred tool for developing operant behaviors. This empowers the dog to experiment with alternative behaviors and thus helps him grow in confidence while developing social independence. Daily training exercises also engage the dog in pleasurable activities that provide mental stimulation. Pleasurable activities restrict the limbic system from activating negative emotional responses (O’Heare, 2005). Obedience training heightens a dog’s “attentional and impulse control abilities – two vital cortical executive functions” that are supportive of a dog’s ability to adapt under stress (Lindsay, 2005, p. 226). Newly acquired obedience behaviors can then be incorporated into everyday life situations and the dog should then only have access to highly valued resources through the owner. This encourages the dog to look to the owner for guidance. A more specialized and pertinent diet may be helpful for dogs that experience high levels of stress. Foods that contain wheat, corn, animal by-products, chemicals and/or inadequate protein levels can significantly impact a dog’s behavior. Diets that are defiBARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Graphic: Rick Ingram
Sample Outline of a Training Situation: Teaching a Dog to Sit
Antecedent - Behavior - Consequence Teaching a dog the “sit” behavior can be done by capturing, targeting or luring. I believe that capturing the behavior is preferable because then the food lure does not have to be faded from the antecedent package. Luring, when used correctly, is very efficient too. Whether the ‘sit’ behavior is lured or captured, as soon as the dog’s rump hits the floor the behavior is marked and reinforcement is delivered. For many of us this means clicking and treating, or saying “yes,” then delivering the treat. The dog is reinforced for a one-second sit and we repeat this five times. Between each trial the dog is encouraged to move forward as the handler moves backward calling the dog’s name. This resets the dog so the next trial can be performed. Alternatively, a reset cookie can also be used. Simply toss the cookie away from the dog and, when he has eaten it, he should return back to you for another trial of “sit.” The sit behavior is then built into a short duration behavior by reinforcing a three-second sit and then five-second sits in sets of five trials. When the dog will sit reliably for five seconds (and if the behavior has been captured as opposed to lured), we then in28
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
troduce the hand signal and/or the verbal cue, “sit.” This means that the next time the dog begins to sit we immediately give the hand signal. If the behavior has been lured, this is when we begin to fade food from the hand motion. Graphic: Rick Ingram
cient in certain amino acids can impact the serotonin levels in a dog’s brain, causing him to be more emotional, overly reactive and sensitive. Always refer your clients to a veterinarian or canine nutritionist for diet advice and recommendations. In addition, a very structured exercise schedule must be put in place for a dog exhibiting separation distress behaviors. Exercise is an important part of managing stress. It has a therapeutic effect on a dog’s physiological state in that it induces the release of endorphins and enhances serotonin activity, which supports the regulation of mood and the control of impulsive behaviors (Lindsay, 2000). A dog that is well exercised will be more relaxed. This will contribute to a healthy state of mind and assist in any obedience training exercises because the dog has been set up to be able to learn new things. In contrast to a case such as this, I will now detail briefly a basic training protocol for teaching a dog to sit on cue.
You can capture, lure or target a sit behavior When the dog is reliably sitting for five seconds from either a hand signal or the verbal cue, we then switch to an intermittent reinforcement schedule. At this juncture we will decide if we are going to build on the sit behavior in terms of duration or distance, working on only one dimension at a time until the terminal behavior is achieved. When new dimensions are introduced then the reinforcement will be put back to a more frequent schedule.
Graphic: Rick Ingram
Graphic shows the different reinforcement schedules used over number of responses and minutes
Behavior Change,Training, or Management?
Management Only Management refers to situations when clients do not wish to undergo full behavior change programs for whatever reason, so it becomes our role to best advise them on the most appropriate management activities that can be put in place to: a) Reduce the likelihood of the problematic behavior occurring by changing the pet’s environment and controlling the problematic stimulus. b) Facilitate better education so the client understands canine behavior and social communication. c) Ensure the most appropriate equipment is being used for the welfare of all concerned, e.g. crates, leashes, treats, etc. d) Provide the pet with the necessary mental and physical enrichment in his environment. e) Impact and improve the relationship between the pet and his family.
Training Programs Training programs refer to the cases where we have established very quickly that we are dealing with what the client may say is a “naughty” dog, or a dog that has never had the benefit of attending a positive dog training skill program. In cases like this, there is no evidence of problematic conditioned emotional responses resulting from fear-based issues, and we simply need to help the owner teach the pet how to live happily amongst humans. These programs will include some management activities to prevent inappropriate behavior occurring while we train new skills. We will progress very quickly in terms of getting the job done and teaching the pet the necessary behaviors, such as sit, down, come, stay, off, leave, okay, relax, go to your crate, on your mat, etc. More often than not, the program will commence as soon as the informant interview is complete and, often in the first session, we are already talking to clients about “charging the clicker” and how to capture, target and lure new behaviors. By the end of this first session we are comfortably leaving the clients with some homework to complete, while they feel happy that they can impact their pet’s behavior positively through a fun process. Behavior Change Programs Behavior change programs are far more complicated and require a different set of practitioner skills, as well as a more in-depth knowledge of consulting skills. They require a competent understanding of learning and behavior, canine communication and social behavior, and respondent conditioning protocols and procedures. These types of programs will enlist activities from the previous section on management, but will also utilize the empowering effect of teaching a dog new skills using positive reinforcement and negative punishment. In addition, they will involve the implementation of a full systematic desensitization and counterconditioning program. Active and ongoing project management is a key component in working through a behavior change case and the following will need to be incorporated into the plan: 1. Gathering of all the pertinent information. 2. Understanding your problematic stimulus so a counterconditioning program will be effective. 3. Understanding of current reinforcement. 4. Prevention of problematic behaviors. 5. Teaching new skills. 6. Systematic desensitization and counterconditioning sessions. 7. Lesson planning and order of events. It is easy to see and understand why, when we communicate these options to our clients, they do not want to, or cannot, commit to a full behavior change program. It is far more time intensive, which of course impacts the financial commitment. Behavior change programs have to be conducted as private sessions and, for many of our clients, this can place them out of reach financially. If you plan appropriately during the initial stage, then you will know whether you are starting a short session (or sessions) for management activity implementation, training skill sessions to teach the pet new skills, or a full behavior change program.You will then be able to schedule your lesson plans, the content, the
order of activities and potential outcomes. Without an appropriate plan of this type results may be inconsistent and less effective than would be desirable. One of the reasons many training programs do not yield the expected results is that they are launched without the relevant knowledge regarding the client’s gaps in skills and knowledge. If there are philosophical differences, then these need to be addressed at the onset and not three lessons into the program. Ultimately, motivating students is a key part of coaching. In our work, we cannot use money as a motivator. Students need to have a positive training environment and a good relationship with their teacher. It is our role to create this environment. Be consistent, respectful, flexible, creative and encouraging, care about your students and celebrate every success with them, however small. n
Armstrong, M. (2003). Human Resource Development. 9th edn. London, UK: Kogan Page Lindsay S. (2000). Applied Dog Behavior and Training (Vol. 1). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Lindsay S. (2005). Applied Dog Behavior and Training (Vol. 3). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing. Miltenberger, R.G. (2004). Behavior Modification Principles and Procedures. 3rd edn. Belmont, CA: Thompson O’Heare, J. (2007). Aggressive Behavior in Dogs. Ottawa, ON: DogPsych Publishing O’Heare, J. (2005). Canine Neuropsychology. 3rd edn. Ottawa, ON: DogPsych Publishing O’Heare, J. (2004). The Canine Separation Anxiety Workbook. 5th edn. Ottawa, ON: DogPsych Publishing Tudge, N. (2016, March). Creating Shared Meaning. BARKS from the Guild (17) 59-61. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/barks_from_the _guild_march_2016/59 Tudge, N. (2015, July). Developing Mastery and Competency. BARKS from the Guild (13) 54-55. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_july _2015_online_version_opt_1/54 Tudge, N. (2012, June). Rehabilitation - A Tale of Compliance. BARKS from the Guild (2) 35. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg-june2012 -final-062512/35?e=4452575/3711961 Tudge, N. (2014, July). The Process of Conducting a Functional Assessment in Pet Dog Training. Pet Owner Advocacy. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from www.petowneradvocacy.com /the -process-of-conducting-a-functional-assessment-in-pet-dog -training Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB–CDT is founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild, www .petprofessionalguild.com, The DogSmith, www.dogsmith.com, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College, www.dognosticselearning.com, and president of Doggone Safe, www.doggonesafe.com. She has business degrees from Oxford Brookes University, UK and has achieved her DipABT and DipCBST. Recently, she has published People Training Skills for Pet Professionals – Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients.
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
The Essence of Learning
Angelica Steinker talks emotional learning and operant conditioning, and explains why
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
o understand why positive punishment poses a problem for dogs - not just in terms of their welfare but also emotionally we must first achieve shared meaning on the definitions of emotional learning and positive punishment. Let’s start with the latter. Operant conditioning is an integral part of learning and behavior and occurs in three stages. The first is the Antecedent, i.e. The brain ensures information linked what happens before the behavior. The sec- to survival is never lost ond is the Behavior itself, and the third is the Consequence, or what happens after the behavior. These stages form the ABC of operant conditioning. Positive punishment is one of the four possible consequences that can happen after behavior. The others are positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement and negative punishment. The positive in this paradigm refers to the fact that something is being added to the environment, rather than something that is viewed as “positive” by a dog. Negative refers to something that is being removed from the environment. Reinforcement is something that will make a behavior more likely to occur. Conversely, punishment is something that will make a behavior less likely to occur. Positive punishment is thus something that is added to the environment with the intention of stopping a behavior, or making the preceding behavior less likely to occur. Unfortunately, this can make for “flashy” results: for example, just one application of an electric shock stops a dog dead in her tracks. That can make humans feel powerful. However, these re-
sults are very misleading when you start to consider emotional learning. Emotional learning is the most powerful form of learning. It trumps operant conditioning and even respondent conditioning because it is linked to survival. In nature it makes sense to prioritize stimuli (i.e. things a dog can perceive). If a dog is hunting a rabbit but suddenly a bear jumps out, it makes sense for the dog to shift his focus from lunch to survival. This transition occurs because the emotional message of fear shifts the dog’s brain into emergency mode. As such, emotional learning in a context like this is linked to fear, and fear triggers “super learning,” including heightened attention and memory. A human example of this is the ability to recall details of where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001. We most likely cannot recall any details of the day before or the day after, but we recall that day very clearly because of the shocking news, and the subsequent emotions we may have experienced. Biologically, this makes a lot of sense. The brain tells us that this information is something linked to survival and allocates extra resources to memory and attention so it is never lost. One might say, of course, that this could sound like an endorsement for the use of punishment: use shock and other aversives because they create super learning. But the truth is, this type of fear-based super learning risks ultimately creating an anxious brain or post-traumatic stress disorder, because pain causes fear. © Can Stock Photo Inc./Orson
using positive punishment is a problem
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
her brain has been permanently altered. Let’s then close the door on the use of positive punishment, or indeed any aversive stimulation that triggers pain and fear. It is just not worth the risk. n
Dogs who have been trained via punishment and the use of aversives are at risk of developing anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder
© Can Stock Photo Inc./adogslifephoto
Pain g Fear g Emotional Learning g Anxious Brain An anxious brain is overly concerned with safety and is in a constant state of heightened arousal. An anxious brain also has an exaggerated startle response. Shock collar trainers sometimes refer to these dogs as ones whose owners used “too much electric.” If, then, only “too much” positive punishment creates an anxious brain, is it worth risking the use of positive punishment? Ethically, the answer to this question has to be no. Why? Because every dog is an individual and it cannot be predicted what any individual can tolerate. For punishment to be effective it has to be “accurate” in both intensity and timing every single time. Is this possible? No. In dog training slang, dogs that are sensitive may be referred to as “soft” dogs while dogs that are “tough” are referred to as a “hard.” The truth is though, we have all seen dogs that were supposedly “hard” in the hands of rough trainers and witnessed those dogs fall apart. It seems that even a “hard” dog cannot endlessly tolerate pain and fear without ending up with an anxious brain. This is emotional learning at work. The use of positive punishment is extremely risky and the risks outweigh the benefits, especially when emotional learning is considered. It is only fair to dogs to err on the side of caution and it is only fair to owners to prevent the creation of dogs with anxious brains. Once a dog’s brain has become anxious, a veterinary behaviorist may be able to treat her, but that dog will never be the same again. Just like we will never forget where we were on September 11, 2001, that dog will never forget her “training” -
Angelica Steinker PCBC-A owns and operates Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, www.courteouscanine .com/Florida, a full service pet business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. She is the national director of training for DogSmith Services, www.dogsmith.com, and cofounder of DogNostics Career College, www .dognosticselearning.com.
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Canine Musical Freestyle with the structure and format of Rally-O Obedience. It emphasizes precise execution of fundamental freestyle & obedience skills while encouraging creative & novel behaviors. www.rallyfree.com
The Power of Play
Laura Ryder introduces the Canine Adventure Course, which was designed to provide
dogs – and their owners – a fun way to play
lay is powerful. As a professional dog trainer, I utilize the power of play when working with owners and their pet dogs, and place a large focus on helping them bond with their dogs. Strengthening the human-animal bond through play works, and it works because it is fun! The Canine Adventure Course The Canine Adventure was developed to Course provides dogs give dogs and their with a fun way to play owners a novel and fun way to play. Engaging obstacles are spread out around an area, and both dog and owner work as a team to investigate and complete each one. Hay bales, tires, logs, steps, tunnels, ramps, and a giant ball pit are just some of the obstacles the dogs can explore. For professional dog trainers, it is a fun event to provide to existing clients and is also a way to promote your business to a large number of potential clients. The Canine Adventure Course has also become very popular as a fundraising event for local charities and rescue organizations. Dogs complete the Canine Adventure Course on leash. Treats, toys and plenty of praise are all highly encouraged to reward the dogs as they work their way around. Prizes for first place do not exist – the course is completely non-competitive. Instead, each dog and owner team proudly takes home a completion rosette for joining in. These core principles give dogs of all training levels an opportunity to participate and have fun. Re-
moving any competitive components also removes stress and pressure, which owners can unintentionally place on their dogs (or themselves). Another important feature is the use of skilled staff on the course. Staff assist dogs and owners as they tackle the obstacles, as well as keep a watchful eye out for any canine stress signals, and then offer advice and guidance where needed. Some owners may be unaware of subtle stress signals in their dogs so having trained staff on hand provides the perfect opportunity for education. The staff also create a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and, most importantly, keep it fun for the dogs. Because dogs complete the Canine Adventure Course on a leash, there is, of course, the occasional leash that goes tight. This is a good way to open up a dialogue about the use of harnesses with clients who may have a dog that is pulling on leash when out walking, etc. If I notice a “puller” on the course, I have a chat with the owner and give them some management strategies such as more yummy treats for their dog walking next to them, a short sniffing walk to calm the dog and burn off some excess energy, and the benefits of a front attach harness. The trained staff are also there to assist and will dive in and help a client with a dog who might be pulling. If a dog does try to run ahead, we suggest the owner slows down the pace, maybe stops and asks for a
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
CANINE Owners are often inspired to do more with their dogs once they see how much fun the dog is having
The Canine Adventure Course is non-competitive, ensuring it is enjoyable for all participants
few “attentions” or “sits” and then, once they have the dog's Resources focus, we continue. Canine Adventure Course (Producer). 2016. Canine Adventure There are exciting new dog sports emerging all the time and Course [Video]. Retrieved December 4, 2016, from they all present a lot of fun for their participants. However, to www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYo66l_Zq7E&t=4s compete in a dog sport can involve months, if not years, of trainCanine Adventure Course: www.canineadventurecourse.com ing, time and dedication. For many, the love of their sport makes it extremely motivating and rewarding, A and it is wonderful to see Laura Ryder CPDT-KA is a professional dog trainer from such passion between dog and owner. On the other hand, there Perth, Australia who runs a variety of training classes, workare thousands of pet dog owners out there who love their dogs shops, demonstrations, and seminars along with her very popand want to have fun with them but, for various reasons, they ular Canine Adventure Course, www.canineadventurecourse have not been drawn into the world of competitive dog sports. .com. Through the power of play, Laura engages both dogs and This is where the Canine Adventure Course stands alone - any owners. pet dog can join in the fun. And from personal experience, when pet dog owners see how much their dog enjoys completing the Animal Jobs Direct is passionate about course, they start to show an interest in animal welfare and dedicated to raising what other dog sports are available and feel standards in animal welfare through inspired to do more with their dog. education. We are accredited as a A Creating a Canine Adventure Course recognised course and training provider by manual has been developed to give professional dog trainers, dog clubs, rescue organi4 National Awarding Bodies. We offer over zations and community groups the 100 accredited animal care courses necessary tools and resources to successdesigned in consultation with employers, to fully set up and run their own events. From increase employment and career prospects. promotion and sponsorship ideas, sourcing and creating obstacles, setting up and runPlease visit our website or contact us for ning the event, to engaging with new clients All our free careers and training advice. and promoting your business, the manual is courses packed full of everything there is to know advocate force-free about creating your very own Canine Admethods venture Course. It is available as an e-book ONLY and you can see how much fun dogs really do have in this video, Canine Adventure Course. n
ou y Do t to n wa with rk ls? o W i ma An
Tel: 0208 6269646 www.animal-job.co.uk BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Building for the Future
Kathie Gregory discusses if, when and how to introduce a new puppy to the resident dog
to ensure the best chance of success
ringing a new puppy into the home can be stressful for both resident pets and the newcomer. Dogs are social animals but that does not automatically mean they are happy living with any type of dog, or even another dog at all. Making the right decisions when deciding on a puppy is essential if they are to live together and develop a great friendship. Consider your dogâ€™s personality. Some dogs may feel threatened by another dog in their home, particularly those who have had significant negative experiences of dogs. Some dogs thrive with constant canine company. Some have a strong As dogs learn to sense of personal space and whilst read and trust each other, play they enjoy playing with dogs, do sessions can be not want them around all the time. longer and less supervised Breed, age, previous experience and lifestyle all contribute to your assessment of whether your dog would like to live with another dog. Similarly, there is the assumption that if you lose a dog, the remaining one will not be content on his own and you must get another to compensate. The first thing to note is that another dog is not the same as the friend he may now be missing. Rather, he has to develop a whole new relationship with a new dog and for some, this is not what they want to do. If a dog has lost his pal when he is an older dog, he may be content meeting his friends when out, but happy to have his home to himself. It can also increase the remaining dogâ€™s stress level if you introduce a new dog whilst he is still grieving. Waiting to see how your dog adjusts to being on his own can make the decision clearer. Once you have determined that your dog would benefit from living with another dog, then the next consideration is whether it is the right time to add a puppy to your family. The questions are: 1. Do You Have Enough Time? A puppy gives your dog someone to play with, thereby giving you more time, but that will not happen for a few weeks or months. In the meantime you will have less time as you will have to go back to managing a puppy again. Added to that, you also have to manage the developing friendship between the dogs. Where before you had time to get things done when your dog did not need your attention, now you have to monitor those times too as it is easy for misunderstandings to occur with two dogs that 34
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
do not know each other.
2. How Emotionally Balanced Is Your Dog? If your dog is still a youngster in the throes of hormone surges, gets over excitable, and does not always pay attention to your cues, the situation is not going to improve with the addition of a puppy. Dogs learn from each other and one will often copy the other. This is not restricted to the youngster learning from the older dog; it can work the other way round too. If you need to get the dogs to calm down, listen, or respond it could be very difficult to achieve if both dog and puppy are unable to control their arousal levels. When the brain is emotionally aroused it is very difficult for a dog to calm down, process, and respond to what he is being asked to do because the capacity for rational thinking is inhibited. With practice though, the dog can learn to calm his arousal levels and allow his brain to think but he needs to be taught how to do this. If you cannot interrupt and have to wait until your dog has played out his excitement before you can get through to him, then he may become even more aroused with a puppy around. Their quiet and excitable times are unlikely to coincide so when one starts to calm down, the other is still excited, and off they go again. Another dog to run around and play with is very satisfying and can have a beneficial and calming effect. However, at least in the short-term, it is more likely you will have two excitable dogs. This is not a problem as long as you are aware and can manage it. But if your dog is a youngster, it may be a good idea to wait until he has learned to manage his emotions, at least to some degree, before you get another puppy.
Choosing a Breed/Individual
Having breeds with very different activity levels and preferences may or may not work out well. A puppy pestering an older dog to play can result in frustration for both of them.You can help them sort this out as their friendship develops and they learn to
Resident dogs will take time to get used to a new puppy; owners must be sure not to rush the dogs
read each other, but there may be an ongoing consideration if you need to meet very different activity needs of two dogs. This is just as relevant if you are looking at a rescue or a crossbreed puppy. Look at the breeds that make up the puppy. This may be known, or be a best guess. As there is more than one set of breed traits to consider, determine how they come together to form the puppy's personality and assess how they influence activity levels and interests. Obviously, watch the puppy’s behavior while bearing in mind that this might be different in a home environment.
Bringing Puppy Home © Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
© Can Stock Photo/Smit
Toys may need to be managed carefully when introducing new dogs
Consider a puppy’s personality and how well he will fit in with your current dog, then do the introductions very carefully
Dogs may or may not elect to sleep on the same bed
How you manage first introductions makes a difference to the dogs’ future relationship. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that applies to dogs too! First introductions may be better done in a neutral area. A stranger is not necessarily welcome in the home, and your dog may not react well if an unfamiliar puppy suddenly appears.Your dog needs time to get to know the new puppy. If the first interactions are done on neutral ground, there is less chance that he will be worried or anxious when he subsequently sees the puppy in the home. If you have an easy-going dog who likes other dogs, is used to meeting dogs outside your property, or having play dates in the garden, you may choose to introduce the new puppy outside the home or in the garden. If having another dog on your property is a new experience, it would be wise to let them meet away from the home and spend a bit of time together before you return home.
Slowly Does It
Once you get home, give the puppy time to have a wander around the garden and house. If there are two of you, it can be useful to have both dogs on a leash and wander around separately, so the puppy is not overwhelmed by your dog following him about, and your dog can get used to another dog in his home at something of a distance. If you are on your own, decide which dog to have on leash. This may be the puppy, if your dog is responsive to you and can do what you ask. It may be whichever one of them is more focused on following the other about so you can make sure the dog who is not trying to interact is not overwhelmed by attention. Use this time to assess how they are coping and how to manage interactions. Have something in place so you can give both dogs their own space if they need it. A stair gate between rooms is very useful. The dogs may need time to adjust, and sometimes they just need their own space. If they immediately get on well, be aware of their body language and signals just in case either of them needs some time apart. It is always wise to take things slowly, and having the ability to separate the dogs at meal times or if they get overexcited is sensible. This is also useful as activity levels and needs will be different for adults and puppies In time, they will synchronize, but until then it can be challenging. Who you spend time with depends on who needs the emotional support first, then spend time with each of them to promote calmness, satisfy drives, excitement levels, etc. so the emotions play out and they can then be together again. BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
© Can Stock Photo/Gordo25
Different dogs play in different ways, influenced by age, arousal levels, hormones, and previous play experience. The response of each dog further influences how play develops. Good play involves both dogs reciprocating body language, and play being even between them; they both take a turn at chasing, mouthing, etc. Problems occur when one has had enough and the other continues, things go over the top, or when their perspective changes. Dogs that are new to each other are best having short play sessions so both have a positive experience. The longer they know each other, the more trust they develop and the less play needs to be supervised. When your dog and puppy first play, be on hand to distract them when it gets excitable, or if one does not look comfortable, and always err on the side of sooner rather than later. It is easier for them to start a play session again, than recover from a bad experience if it goes wrong. The most easy-going dog can defend his dinner or a treat if the circumstances are right. Always manage food around multiple dogs, as any disagreement can have lasting effects. Feeding them together can cause stress and insecurity so give them separate eating areas especially in the short term and assess as their friendship develops. Toys may need to be managed to different degrees. If there are any concerns over your dog being possessive with toys, management is a must. Both dogs need to feel safe around toys, which means putting strategies in place so that neither one is worried, or on the receiving end of a rebuttal.You might only have toys out when you can supervise play, and they are put away in between sessions.You may play with one dog to keep him busy if the other has a favorite toy he wants to play with. In situations where dogs fail to cope with another dog around toys, separate
them for toy play. How things progress depends on the dogs' responses. Take your cues from their body language. Always err on the side of caution and stop things before they get over the top, not after. Sleeping arrangements are dependent on the situation. The puppy may not sleep through the night and if he wanders and gets into your dogâ€™s bed, how is your dog likely to react? If there is a significant size difference it is safer for them to sleep apart until the puppy grows a bit so he does not get inadvertently squashed. What you choose depends on their personalities, and how their friendship is developing. As the dogs get to know each other and become more comfortable, start to reduce your input when you know you can trust them to be safe together, but step in to prevent any misunderstandings and give guidance so things do not go over the top. At this stage you have done everything possible to ensure success but you cannot control everything. Always keep safety as a top priority while you allow the dogs to develop their awareness of each other and build their communication. n
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Topics may include training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics... or anything else you can think of. Weâ€™ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!) 36
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Kathie Gregory is a UK-based animal behavior consultant who trained under Prof. Peter Neville at the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology, and is a practitioner member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers. She has worked with animals for over 15 years, mainly with horses and dogs, although she also works with cats, sheep, pigs, cows and other species. She developed freewill teaching, an expertise focusing on raising cognitive awareness and understanding, in order to give animals the ability to reach their full potential. For further information, see Freewill Teaching, www.freewillteaching.com.
Training Tip: Why a Clicker?
clicker isn't magic until you make it magic. It marks an event/behavior accurately, like taking a Polaroid in the dog’s head. First, take the clicker and pair the sound with a tasty treat. Once the dog understands that the click means "that's right," we can use it to create all sorts of great stuff with our dogs. A good clicker session is an excellent way to get your dog thinking. Since the brain uses more energy than any other part of the body, it is an excellent way to keep your dog active.
Lothlorien Dog Services, Linlithgow, Scotland www.lothloriendogservices.co.uk “In clicker training, the clicker is the neutral stimulus that becomes a conditioned reinforcer.” - Burch, M. R., & Bailey, J. S. How Dogs Learn (1999)
© Can Stock Photo/Quasarphoto
- Claire Staines PCT-A IMDT
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Dogs Who Teach
Diane Garrod discusses tips on training a teacher dog, the qualities needed, and how to best choose a partner
teacher dog is a trainer's partner who helps in the process of changing the behavior of challenging dogs. These are usually dog-dog issues but can also be doghuman issues. Teacher dogs should be respected as a valuable and even vital part to the process, and their well-being and comfort should come first and foremost. The client will most likely only be concerned about their own dog; the teacher dog is the trainer's role and concern. In my case, I have two or three teacher dogs available, and at least one in training so all the work is not up to one dog.Vacations and breaks for the teacher dog are important as it can be stressful working with wayward canines and their people. I take work with my partners seriously and cannot imagine how those who work with dog-dog issues do so without a teacher dog by their side. However, choosing a teacher dog should be taken seriously and evaluated carefully, and the dog should be positioned for successful interactions where he feels most comfortable. Being able to listen to the teacher dog, read his body language and give him breaks are all important aspects of his care. There are other terms used for dogs that help in rehabilitation or transformations of other dogs. These include decoy dogs and demo dogs, as well as the all-encompassing teacher dog. What is the difference?
The definition of a decoy is a dog who works on leash in distance work, standing or sitting in a static position to be viewed by a dog-dog reactive dog, or on leash parallel walking, approaches and retreats, and/or sudden environmental change (SEC). A decoy does not bark at reactive dogs, and is steady enough to feel safe on the leash during this very important work. Dogs are brought in and taken away in short bursts. A decoy dog can be a demo dog but feels most comfortable on leash.
A demo dog is a team player on or off leash during a class situation and who mostly demonstrates skills to classroom students and their dogs. A demo dog can also be a decoy dog and may become a teacher dog.
A teacher dog is the most versatile of dogs and can be a decoy or demo dog, but he is reliable with voice cues on and off leash. This dog understands all forms of canine body language and responds appropriately in play, on or off leash, and to cues by handler. The teacher dog is a true partner in working with all types of challenging dogs and their people. He is dog friendly, handles stress well, and has a bond and relationship with his guardian/ 38
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Author Diane Garrodâ€™s teacher dogs (clockwise from left) Valor, Kody and Skye (in training)
handler where he is listened to and responded to in making important decisions. This is the dog that can go anywhere, is a joy to work around and with, and grows in understanding of the job and what needs to be done. This dog teaches other dogs to be confident, to be more reliable, to play and to know boundaries in the case of bully, â€œTarzan,â€? and rude dogs. Off leash, he is reliable in a variety of cues and quick to respond.
Training a Teacher Dog
Having had teacher dogs for over 10 years, I have often been asked whether teacher dogs are born or made. This is seemingly easy to answer on the surface, but is in fact much more complicated. My teacher dogs have been human-reactive, and/or dogreactive. One of my dogs, who used to bite and react to other dogs, is being trained progressively to be a decoy, a demo and a teacher dog. Ideally, finding a "bomb proof" dog would be the way to go, whether looking at puppies and their genetic heritage or in a rescue. My thought is that if I had to wait for the perfect dog to be born to do the job, I would be waiting a long time. Quite a few teacher dogs have made excellent decoy dogs for instance, or demo dogs, but a good trainer working through behavior can work with a less than perfect dog. My own dog, Kody (CGC, Therapy Dog, RN, MS) is now my
best teacher dog, but initially had mild reactivity to dogs, was a horrendous puller and was highly prey driven. Today he has worked with thousands of dogs over a 10-year period. His specialty is highly challenging medium and large dogs. My dog, Chancellor was human-reactive but great with dogs, especially puppies and small dogs, and so is a great team complement. He loved working as a teacher dog for eight plus years before he passed away almost two years ago at the time of writing. Currently,Valor is rising up to become a full-time teacher dog at 5 years old (he has been working since the age of two), and Skye, my rehomed rescue dog is a teacher dog in training.
10 Steps to Training a Teacher Dog
A teacher dog needs: 1) Ongoing socialization with all types of dogs, people, situations, sounds and objects. 2) Solid foundational skills that translate into intermediate then advanced skills that help him cope with his real life tasks. These include target/touch, a solid, quick, reliable recall, a quick response emergency recall, attentiveness to the handler and cues when working and to body signals given, not to mention all the basic obedience skills. Distance work is as important as solid wait/stay. Working to get a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification or similar would also indicate a lot about temperament and suitability. 3) The ability to take cues in highly distractive environments on and off leash. 4) To focus on the task and handler with a "go to work" cue and a clear release cue. 5) To be comfortable in a crate or at least an X-pen (both are preferable) and behind barriers. He should not fence chase or be worried about a dog who barks at him, so teaching him to be calm in all situations is a critical skill. (Note: Keeping the teacher dog safe in all situations is the handler's job.) 6) Off leash reliability to work with challenging dogs that progress to that level of interaction. In addition, a call away that is quick, an around cue, a distance down, a solid stay, attentiveness to hand signals such as pointing to spots where you want the dog to move, or go around an object etc. are all invaluable skills. Kody (right) works with clients Logan and Pogo: Kody used to be dog reactive but has since worked with thousands of dogs
The more advanced training a dog has in this area, the more valuable he will be as a teacher dog. 7) To know when to disobey and to use common sense in deciding whether it is safe to approach. This translates into a solid handler-teacher dog relationship and bond that are focused on the task at hand, the environment, the signals, and making decisions reliably. This is an area that cannot be taught and comes with time and working on points 1 - 6. A the dog gains experience with the task, he quickly and reliably knows what to do or not to do. 8) Exposure to all types of dogs on leash, at play, with dog friends, indoors in many types of buildings, feeling relaxed when riding in cars and trucks, and being comfortable in dog parks where appropriate. 9) To start at decoy and demo dog levels to assess his comfort with the task, and to see where he works best and with what types of dogs and people. This should be taken seriously and with the intent that the teacher dog is a true partner and not "made to do the job." It should be an intense pleasure for the dog to work. 10) To build a solid owner-handler bond and relationship when off-duty, using challenging problem-solving tasks, intelligence games, continued striving toward excellence of all skill sets, participation in dog sports, and proofing everything a teacher dog might need to be able to do in an active, real teaching situation.
Most of my teacher dogs have been raised from puppies and exposed to all 10 factors in their training. My dogs do not do fulltime teaching until they are 2 years old or when they show they are ready. They start as decoy and demo dogs at approximately 13 months old and work as part-time teacher dogs. They watch other teacher dogs and I get a feel for what they are good at, comfortable with and excel in.
Teacher dogs can work as long as they enjoy it and are reliable in the process. My Kody is getting to the end of his full-time work Valor (right) works with client Buster: a good teacher dog can work with all types of challenging dogs
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
at 12 years old. He is showing signs that would like to work less and gladly hands over the reins to 5-year-old Valor and 3-year-old Skye.Valor has helped hundreds of dogs in his three years of working. He started at 13 months old with his first task, an adolescent standard poodle. He prefers puppies and small dogs but works well with fearful dogs and mild to medium reactivity levels. Skye has worked with 10 dogs total to date and is not good with puppies or rambunctious adolescents. Like Kody, he prefers older dogs and fearful dogs. He will be a solid replacement for Kody. Both Valor and Skye have worked with dogs off leash and have gone through the 10 steps toward training a teaching dog (see previous page). From there, it is based on the clarity, communication, the routine of the handler and to ensure each dog is a happy worker. Older solid dogs can make good teacher dogs. It is also possible to go to a shelter and proof a rescue dog. The dogs should not be fence chasers or bark excessively Valor (left) and client dog Logan: Valor started training as a teacher dog at other dogs. They should also be able to pass dogs with- when he was 13 months old and has now worked with hundreds of dogs out incident, be eager to learn, and able to focus on what 5) In SEC work, where a dog appears out of nowhere to the handler is saying and doing. They should be able to focus on the client dog either on or off leash. problem-solving activities and games, and be mannerly on and off 6) In teaching dog owners how to handle off leash dogs leash. Shelter dogs can absolutely be trained if all the other they might encounter with their reactive dogs. pieces are in place. 7) Leash reactivity. What should not occur is making a dog work with a reactive 8) Reactive dog, growl classes. or aggressive dog before he has had solid training. That would be 9) Teaching dogs with social deficits how to play, or how as volatile as expecting to have an agility (or any dog sport) to interact with another dog off leash, and to help a chalchampion before the dog has learned all the basic skills and had lenging dog feel comfortable enough to have a dog friend or the exposure to the show ring that is needed. friends. There are a minimum of cases where a dog is a natural and 10) Teaching puppies and adolescents off leash, especially just seems to know what to do and how to do it. Those dogs are dogs who are rough players, bully dogs, “Tarzan” dogs, dogs rare. who body slam, etc. Can reactive dogs be teacher dogs? It depends on whether Dogs who make good teacher dog partners ideally are their behavior issues can be worked through and how intense those with a solid temperament (a.k.a. bomb proof), who are the behavior was in the first place. For a dog that is aggressive or eager learners and enjoy other dogs and people. Teacher has intent to do harm, it goes without saying that it would be dogs are individuals too and should be respected as partvery rare case for him to become a decoy or demo dog, let ners. The handler must make sure the dog’s stress levels realone a teacher dog. The best results might come with a mild to main within normal ranges and that he is given rest periods. medium level reactive dog, and fearful dogs make excellent Alternate with another teacher dog if required. The dog’s teacher dogs once they work through their issues. I have several body language should be watched closely so a session can be clients I would trust working with me as a teacher dog, and have aborted promptly. A good teacher dog will go anywhere and asked them to do so. eagerly listen to cues on and off leash without reacting to those who react to them. Ultimately, taking the time to deAreas Where Teacher Dogs Are Most Helpful velop a teacher dog will reap huge rewards in results-ori1) Working with fearful dogs that have social deficits. ented behavior modification. n 2) Working with challenging dog owners teaching them how to manage a harness, leash, mark/reward before they begin workDiane Garrod PCT-A CA1 BSc is a Tellington TTouchTM pracing with their own dog. titioner, a certified American Treibball Association instructor, 3) Working as decoy and demo dogs where needed in early and a charter member for the National Association of Treibball stages and sessions. Enthusiasts. She is also the owner of Canine Transformations, 4) Doing work behind barriers with challenging dogs from www.caninetlc.com, based in Langley, Washington, where she high level aggression to mild reactivity. Barriers might be X-pens, conducts Treibball workshops, classes and private consults. She inner fence barriers, or baby gates. This might also include being specializes in canine aggression and reactivity and is the creon leash as a static dog, being on or off leash in a solid sit, down ator of the Canine Emotional Detox, a stress release protocol or stand/stay as is needed for the particular individual and situafor challenging canines. tion. 40
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
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Are You Management Material?
Tiffany Lovell explains why management is an essential part of every dog owner, trainer and behavior consultant’s toolbox
Harnesses and leashes are excellent management tools for dogs in a variety of situations
hen you hear the word management, what do you think of? I bet the first picture that pops into your head is not your dog. That is, unless you are a professional dog trainer. Those of us who make a living helping others train their dogs understand what a big part management plays in the overall success of that training. Management is defined as the process of dealing with or controlling things. In the context of dog training, this would translate to dealing with or controlling the environment around you and your dog. This is key to ensuring the safety and happiness of the dog and everyone around him. We humans can get so wrapped up in training our dogs’ specific behaviors like “sit,” “stay,” or “come” that we forget about the environment around us and how it directly affects his ability to respond to those cues. Don’t get me wrong, teaching a dog these and many other behaviors is extremely valuable and should be a part of any training plan. It just cannot be the only piece of the puzzle. Management comes in two forms. The first is tools or items, which I will address shortly. The second is observation and action by the owner, the dog’s advocate.Your dog may sit beautifully for you, on cue the very first time while you are standing in your living room with no distractions. But what happens if he is too stressed or uncomfortable in another situation or environment? He may not feel safe enough to sit when asked. We often see this in veterinary waiting rooms where pets are nervous and uncertain about what is going to happen to them. Instead of repeating, “Sit! Sit! Sit down!” to your dog in a harsh, irritated tone, it would be better to manage the situation. This might mean moving farther away from other people and dogs to a quiet corner where your dog can focus on you. It could be deciding to wait in the car with your dog until the vet staff is ready for you. You could request an appointment time when there will be fewer
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
© Can Stock Photo/tdjoric
© Can Stock Photo/woodygraphs
Dog parks, although well-intentioned, are not for every dog
people and pets in the waiting room. This is usually first thing in the morning, right before lunch, or at the end of the day. When out and about with your dog, management is paramount. Walking along a busy sidewalk full of people, other dogs, and the occasional bicycle or skateboard can be extremely overwhelming for many dogs. Being proactive and prepared will go a long way to ensure you both have a pleasant outing. Throwing some yummy treats in your pocket to keep your dog’s focus on you, or distract him from something heading his way, is such a simple and fun way to implement management. It is also imperative to continually scan the environment so you can be ready to move and create distance between your dog and whatever, or whomever, might be approaching. If you know that your dog doesn’t like other dogs or people invading his space, it is up to you to keep him out of a potentially dangerous situation. In fact, I will go one step further. If you have a dog who is reactive towards humans or other dogs in public, the best management decision you can make is not placing your dog in that situation in the first place. He will be much happier napping at home while you enjoy the corner café with friends. This also brings to mind public dog parks. Many people assume that every dog, regardless of size, age, temperament, or play style, needs to regularly visit a dog park to be happy and healthy. I, and many of my professional dog training colleagues, wholeheartedly disagree. While the original concept was a lovely idea, dog parks have many dangers and unintended consequences that people are unaware of. For some dogs, the sights, sounds and smells can be extremely overwhelming and downright frightening. Imagine if I took you to a concert, led you over to the mosh pit (on a leash, so you could not leave) and all but forced you to walk right in and join the chaos with a bunch of strangers. I am sure there are a few of you who would consider that a great
my husband jokes about it, we both feel it is some of the best money we have ever spent because of the peace of mind we have knowing our dogs are safe and happy in their own yard. I could write an entire article on why underground fences are a bad idea (many already have), but I will simply point out that they do absolutely nothing to keep your dog safe from others coming into your yard. This could be an aggressive loose dog, a wild animal, an uninvited child who is then bitten, or a thief who thinks your dog is valuable. These fences deliver an electric shock to your dog if he crosses an invisible line. This is simply inhumane and often creates reactivity and aggression in otherwise lovely dogs (for more on this topic, see Don't Believe the Hype, BARKS from the Guild, July 2015, p.36-39). When transporting your dog in the car, it is wise to use one of a few management options to keep everyone safe. Many people choose to have their dog travel inside a crate. Others use special booster car seats or harnesses that attach to a standard seatbelt. Each one is designed to prevent the dog from jumping or crawling around the interior of the vehicle and becoming a danger to the driver. They are also meant to keep your dog safe in the event of an accident. Many trainers like myself receive calls or emails from dog guardians asking for help with their “out of control” dog who is barking incessantly at the mailman, UPS truck or other dogs outside the window. While I am more than happy to assist them with changing their dogs’ behavior with systematic desensitization and counterconditioning, many people light up when I explain they could first try managing the situation. This might mean using window coverings or frosted glass. They could move their furniture so the dog cannot access the window. If they know what time of day the mail carrier comes, they could have the dog occupied in another room with a yummy treat or toy at that time (frozen, stuffed Kongs are wonderful). If the dog is reacting more to a sound than a visual stimulus, owners can use white noise or the sound of music or television at certain times of the day to drown out whatever he was alerting to. Even if they choose to do the work necessary to change A physical fence is an ideal management tool for keeping dogs safe in their own yards
© Can Stock Photo/friesenfgp
time. However, the majority of us would find it rude, scary and definitely not enjoyable. Again, if you determine your dog is not enjoying the dog park (mosh pit), please stop taking him there. It may not sound like it, but this is one of the best forms of management there is. Knowing your individual dog and doing what is best for him in every situation is what it is all about. There are plenty of ways for your dog to get his exercise and it is simply not true that every dog has to love playing with a group of other dogs. Management happens at home, too. Depending on your lifestyle and schedule, you may not have many regular visitors at your house. That means your dog does not often experience this scenario either. If this is the case, he may display what you consider to be “bad behavior” when your guests arrive, often in the form of excessive barking or jumping. Other dogs become frightened of these unexpected invaders and either run and hide or show displays of aggression such as growling or snapping. Regardless of how your dog has responded to visitors in the past, implementing simple management techniques can prevent these behaviors in the future. For a dog who jumps, having him on leash at your side prevents him from making contact with your guests. It also makes it much easier to reinforce him the moment he stands still or sits. If your dog is frightened of or aggressive towards visitors, placing him in a calm, quiet part of the house with a food toy to keep him busy is a wonderful way to keep everyone safe and happy. When you bring a new puppy (or any new dog) into your home, managing the environment is key. Without a plan in place, you are all set up for failure right from the start.You would not think twice about baby-proofing prior to bringing home a small child, so why should puppy-proofing be any different? In both scenarios, it is common sense to place items out of reach and secure breakables.You may also consider using a crate or tethering your puppy to you with his leash so he does not have the opportunity to wander off and get into trouble. Remember, management is prevention and prevention is always better than having to repair or replace something. Speaking of leashes, they are a quintessential management tool. A leash is simply designed as a safety device to keep your dog close to you and out of danger. It should never be used to “steer” him by yanking or jerking him by the collar, or to punish him in any way. I do not recommend retractable leashes for many reasons, not least because your dog can end up 20 feet away from you before you even realize it. This can be very dangerous if you are in one of the settings I described above with unfamiliar dogs, people, and moving vehicles. A harness is another excellent management tool that can be especially helpful with dogs who tend to pull at the end of their leash. Muzzles may be slightly more controversial for some, but when used properly and humanely they can be an effective training and/or management tool for a dog who displays reactivity or aggression. Another management tool is fencing. I am referring to physical fencing. I would never recommend underground, a.k.a. “invisible” fencing (more on that in a minute). My husband often tells people we have more money in fencing than some of the cars he has owned. We have a 6-foot wooden privacy fence. Even though
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their dog’s barking behavior, we would still implement these or other management solutions as part of the training protocol. This is because we must prevent the unwanted behavior from being practiced and reinforced to have success teaching the new behavior. It is important to understand that management does not make you a lazy trainer or guardian. It does not mean you stop teaching your dog basic behavChewies or food toys can be used as management tools to iors and good manners. It simavoid scenarios that may be ply means you understand potentially arousing emotionally that planning ahead, assessing situations and making the right choices for your dog are useful and necessary tools in
© Can Stock Photo/jorgophotography
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
your training toolbox. As such, management is not a tool to be used by professional trainers only. It is an absolute necessity for every dog guardian and should not be seen as a sign that you failed at training a specific behavior. On the contrary, it shows you are thinking ahead and always advocating for your dog. Taking preventative measures to keep everyone safe and happy is the mark of an excellent trainer and pet parent. n
Anderson, E. (2015, July). Don't Believe the Hype, BARKS from the Guild (13) 36-39, retrieved December 13, 2016, from www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_july_2015 _online_version_opt_1/36).
Tiffany Lovell is a certified professional dog trainer and owner of Cold Nose College, www.coldnosecollege.com, Space Coast, Florida. She has a degree in animal-assisted interactions and is a certified separation anxiety trainer. She offers in-home, private training and behavior consulting in Brevard County, Florida and assists dogs with separation anxiety anywhere by working remotely. A former veterinary nurse, she also holds a certificate in low-stress handling techniques from Dr. Sophia Yin.
Individual Dogs, Individual Needs
Diane Garrod speaks to Cherie Mascis, outgoing manager of Dogtown at Best Friends Animal Society, about stress, enrichment, behavior modification and working with the resident canines
n the article, A Journey of the Heart Often, just giving the dogs more things to do can (BARKS from the Guild, November change behavior - Cherie 2016, p. 34-35), I wrote about my life- Mascis, outgoing Dogtown manager changing experience volunteering at Best Friends Animal Society (BFAS) a state-of-the-art, no-kill animal sanctuary located in Angel Canyon in Kanab, Utah. While I was there, my roommates and I spent a lot of time in Dogtown, which is a unique place for homeless dogs and, according to BFAS’s website, “an oasis of healing, love and happiness like no other for pups in need. It is a special place where a dog can enjoy just being a dog. It is so much more than an animal shelter.” The website goes on to state that Dogtown is a “refuge for canines who need another chance at life, an opportunity for a happily-everafter that has thus far eluded them.” It is a “gated community,” with buildings that house various groups of dogs that come from all walks of life. “Some of the dogs are traumatized from abuse or neglect,” the website states. “Others are shy or under-socialized. Some have very special medical needs. But once they arrive at Dogtown, their healing begins. Along with top-of-the-line medical care, these dogs get all of the TLC and training they need to recover from their pasts so that they can be adopted into permanent, loving homes, a dream that is realized for most of the dogs. Dogtown is home for the dogs as long as they need it to be.” During my stay at BFAS, I had the chance to speak with Cherie Mascis, outgoing Dogtown manager, to find out more about this philosophy.
BARKS: Tell us about the methods of training used in Dogtown and how it works for even the highest risk dogs.What is Best Friends’ approach to the training/teaching of dogs?
Cherie Mascis: We use relationshipbased, force-free training and help the dogs develop life skills like basic manners: wait at the door, calm greetings, walking on a loose leash, getting comfortable in a crate for the car or plane ride to their new homes, etc. We use clickers to mark the behavior because it is a more consistent sound. The dogs or caregivers may change areas and having a consistent sound that means, “Yes! I like what you just did and a treat is coming,” really helps the dogs. We also work to help the dogs overcome issues that would prevent them from being adopted like being reactive to other dogs on leash, over-the-top excitement, or resource guarding. We are also very successful with helping shy dogs.
BARKS: What is Best Friends’ approach to modifying behavior as opposed to actual training? CM: We primarily use a combination of desensitization and counterconditioning to change the way a dog feels about something that [he] originally found scary or threatening. Helping them to change the association from “that thing is scary and I have to bark or run,” to “good things like treats happen when that thing is around.”
BARKS: Does Best Friends incorporate environmental enrichment to modify behavior, or behavior issues in all animals, and if so what type?
Dogtown is a refuge for dogs that need another chance at life
CM: We provide environmental enrichment in many ways. Often, just giving the dogs more things to do can change behavior. If we have dogs that seem overwhelmed by all the activity at the sanctuary, we may move them to a quieter location in a different run or different building, or provide them with time daily or weekly in a quiet office. They have large runs to explore and, if they live alone, we can place new scents and toys in the run or hide food items. We play music, use aromatherapy, have volunteers read to them, etc. We also allow dogs to live in group housing BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
BARKS: How is stress managed with dogs at Best Friends? Enrichment and stress seem to be big topics for shelters, rescues, and humane societies.What would be considered a feasible stress release protocol for BFAS Dogtown dogs? CM: Each dog’s needs are decided on an individual basis. Our dogs are walked by volunteers and/or staff daily on interesting trails that other dogs and wildlife frequent. We have volunteers sit in runs and read to the dogs, groom them, or just love on them. For dogs that need some mental stimulation, we provide food puzzles (we have a variety of difficulty levels); our behavior consultants offer many classes that staff can bring dogs to NoseWork, Canine Life and Social Skills, Treibball, etc. For those few dogs that come to us so anxious that they really can’t focus on enrichment or training and aren’t adapting well, we may ask for a veterinary consult and try them on neutriceuticals or antianxiety meds. We also have quiet office time for many dogs, and allow them to go on outings and sleepovers with volunteers and staff.
BARKS: Where do the dogs at BFAS come from and what are the requirements for them being accepted?
CM: The dogs primarily come from our Network Partners [a free program that shelters and animal rescue groups can participate in to get help in a variety of areas from marketing to animal behavior]. We also have a strong relationship with our local towns of Kanab, Fredonia and Colorado City and will usually accept impounded dogs that have not been claimed. We do have a space limit, especially for dogs that do not get along with other dogs, are extremely shy, or have aggression issues with dogs or people. At this time, we are only accepting dogs that can live in group housing and are safe around visitors.
At Dogtown, each dog’s needs are assessed on an individual basis
Dogtown uses relationshipbased, force-free training to help the dogs develop life skills
BARKS: What dogs would not be good fits for a Best Friends experience?
CM: Dogs that are very high energy [or] that do not have impulse control often struggle here because there is so much going on all the time, such as people walking by, golf carts and other vehicles, dogs running the fence lines, and they get in a state of perpetual high excitement, fight with their run mates and are hard to keep weight on. We are also not accepting dangerously human aggressive dogs that have no known triggers, primarily out of concern for our staff’s safety, but we also worry about the quality of life for the dog.
Environmental enrichment is a key component of Dogtown’s work with its resident canines
BARKS: When dogs come into BFAS, is there a temperament test to determine where they go from the intake headquarters - and if a temperament test is used is there a specific one?
CM: Our admissions staff gets to know the dogs through handling and doing dog/dog play dates to find out where the dog might best fit at the sanctuary. Before they are allowed to go on sleepovers or outings with volunteers, the dog is assessed. We 46
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Two Dogtown residents enjoy a play date
have developed our own temperament/assessment test that works for us. We assess a variety of things like comfort with petting, hugging, being picked up, having their feet handled, excitement, being startled, and a brief food guarding test, to name a few. We place dogs in categories, such as those comfortable around families with kids 10 and up who might volunteer, those dogs that might be jumpy, mouthy or a little fearful of some people and would be better suited to being handled by adults, and those that need more focused behavior modification and might be staff only, at least for the time being. n
Best Friends Animal Society: www.bestfriends.org Garrod, D. (2016, November). A Journey of the Heart. BARKS from the Guild (21) 34-35. Retrieved November 25, 2016 from www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_nov_2016 _online_lores/34
Diane Garrod PCT-A CA1 BSc is a Tellington TTouchTM practitioner, a certified American Treibball Association instructor, and a charter member for the National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts. She is also the owner of Canine Transformations, www.caninetlc.com, based in Langley, Washington, where she conducts Treibball workshops, classes and private consults. She specializes in canine aggression and reactivity and is the creator of the Canine Emotional Detox, a stress release protocol for challenging canines.
Dogtown is home for the dogs as long as they need it to be - until they can find their forever homes
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A Positive Experience
Vicki Ronchette explains how to create better grooming experiences for dogs At Nola’s first grooming experience, author Vicki Ronchette spent time towel drying and snuggling with her
efore I was a professional dog trainer, I was a veterinary assistant and a pet groomer. I owned a grooming shop from 1990 to 1998 and started grooming again just last year when my best friend opened Fluff Dog Grooming in San Leandro, California. Fluff is different from most grooming shops and I am very proud to work there. We work hard to give the dogs in our care as positive and low stress an experience as possible. I don’t think we can ever say that we are 100 percent stressfree because for some dogs grooming is stressful, but what we can do is work with these dogs gently and thoughtfully while still getting the job done. As a shop and as an individual there are a lot of things that can be done to minimize stress for the dog.
As a Shop
As a shop, we are positive in nature. There are only four groomers in total and usually there are only two or three of us working at any one time. Being positive and gentle is a requirement to work in the shop and we have a reputation for being successful with shy or fearful dogs and senior dogs. We work closely together so how and what we do is out in the open for all to see. Not only that, but there is no “back” at our shop. This means that the entire shop, except for the bathroom and the tiny laundry area, are open for the public to see. I like this about us. What you see is what you get. This is ideal for owners as it allows them to see how we do what we do. The only downside is that the dogs can see their owners, and it can be hard for some of them if their owners come in to collect them before they are ready. If it really upsets the dogs, we just ask the owners to wait until we call to let them know their dog is ready. 48
Pekingese housemates Pika and Elsa like to be with each other so a chair for one to sit on while Ronchette works on the other makes them more relaxed
At this puppy's first grooming, Ronchette used a washcloth to introduce him to water on his head rather than overwhelming him with the spray nozzle
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Our appointments are staggered so rather than having all the dogs dropped off at 9 a.m. and picked up at 5 p.m., we schedule a few dogs at 9 a.m., a few dogs at 11 a.m., a few at 1 p.m., and so on. We groom the dogs as they arrive so most of them are sent home within about two hours. This is much less stressful for dogs that do not enjoy hanging out at the grooming shop as they are not left sitting in the shop, which may be very loud and full of dogs, or very quiet and laid-back depending on the day and the dogs we have in that day. The dogs that enjoy the company of other dogs are free to be loose in the shop when they are not being groomed. We are not 100 percent cage free; we have crates that dogs can go in if they are drying, finished or simply feel more comfortable in a crate. However, the dogs that want to play and enjoy other dogs can be out on the floor. I bring my 10-month-old löwchen to work every day and she loves dogs so is a great playmate for young dogs and puppies that want to play. This can really help dogs with socialization. Given that I am a trainer, and two of the groomers have been assistants in my classes, all of us who work there have a lot of experience with running play groups and puppy classes
As a Groomer
As I mentioned, I am set up in a shop that promotes positive reinforcement and gentle handling with an emphasis on a low-stress experience. That helps me as an individual because we all work together and think alike. Additionally, I have my own experience and personal techniques that I use to make it easier on the dogs I groom.
It should go without saying that any rough handling is going to make the grooming shop experience a more stressful one for the dog. I have seen some groomers roughly handle dogs, only to create a cycle of the dog moving and growing more anxious while the groomer grows more frustrated and angry. Not only is it inappropriate to handle the dogs that way, it is not helpful in making the dog easier to groom. We always have treats on hand and use them with dogs that are unsure about grooming. We have different types of treats including things like peanut butter that we can smear onto the wall of the bathtub, which can help keep a dog’s mind off of the actual bathing. When I am working on a dog that is not sure about a certain area of grooming such as the toenails or having the hair in front of his eyes trimmed, I will frequently start out by just petting the dog and relaxing him, and not doing anything at first. As he starts to relax I will trim one or two nails, then stop and offer him a treat. Or maybe I will cut a little bit of the hair around the eye, perhaps even one tiny snip, then we stop and take a break. Some dogs will eat treats in between nails or trimming and others will not. The latter still appreciate getting a lot of breaks to just relax for a moment. How I hold a dog while grooming can also affect his overall experience. I hold dogs in a way that allows me to do what I need to do but also helps them feel comfortable. For instance, I was recently grooming a dog that was not comfortable standing while I worked on his back feet. When he sat down I checked to see if Hobo has no use of his rear legs; this fleece he was more comforthammock allows him able with me working on to relax instead of being held up them in that position and, since he was, we finished up that way. I have worked on many dogs that are old and have a limited range of motion and I am always careful with how high I lift a leg or how long they are asked to stand. If a dog is determined to face the front door and windows, I just move to the other side and allow it, rather than fight with him and frustrate us both. There are many ways to effectively hold a dog for grooming and finding the one the dog is most comfortable with and accepting of will make things easier for both of you. When grooming a new dog or puppy, especially one that may be worried or concerned, I do as minimal work as possible on the first visit or two. Instead of a full haircut, I might just give the dog a bath, trim his nails, trim the hair in front of his eyes, and brush him out. This method of easing them into the process is really helpful for some dogs because you are starting with less and adding more as they become more comfortable. I have even sent dogs home without getting their hair cut or having a bath, if
we realized that doing anything more would be too much for them on that day. Clients understand and appreciate when we are looking out for the dog’s best interest and considering his comfort level.
There are a variety of tools that I have found to be helpful in creating a more positive experience for the dogs I groom. For instance, we have a fleece “hammock” that is hooked to the grooming arm and can hold up small dogs that have a difficult time standing. I usually make it so their feet are touching the ground, which helps them feel more secure, then they do not have to attempt to stand while I groom their legs. Another helpful tool is a stretchy loop of fabric, not unlike a sweatband that people wear around their wrists, which fits over the dog’s head to minimize the sound of the blowers or blow dryers. The sound of the equipment is sometimes the part that frightens the dog the most so using something to muffle the sound can be really helpful. If you don’t have the elastic loops, you can simply put cotton balls in the dog’s ears. Just be sure not to push them too deep and remember to take them out afterward. For nail trims, the type of clippers you use can affect how the dog responds to the procedure. I like to use plierstyle clippers as opposed to the guillotine-style. Some dogs find nail clipping aversive but do fine when we use the dremel to file their nails down. Again, it is important to go with what works for the dog and gets the job done. The key to creating a positive experience for a dog at the grooming shop is really about looking at him as an individual and modifying things as needed to make it easier for him to accept. Moving a loud dog further from a sound sensitive dog, adding an extra couple of towels to a dog’s crate while he dries, and clipping the hair in front of the dog’s eyes with scissors or thinners instead of clippers are all little adjustments you can easily make to help him have a better experience. Don’t be afraid to use treats and take your time to help a dog work through something he is uncomfortable with. It might take you a little more time, but in the long run you will end up with a dog that is much more comfortable, relaxed and trusting for his grooming appointments. n Vicki Ronchette CPDT CAP2 is the owner of Braveheart Dog Training, www.braveheartdogtraining.com, 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.
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
The Three C’s of Enrichment
Lara Joseph looks into some of the abnormal repetitive behaviors exhibited by animals in
managed care and how to address them
could talk about animal enrichment all day. As an animal trainer, it is my primary reinforcer as it allows me to observe and appreciate first-hand the rewards mental and physical enrichment training provide to both parties. When any animal comes to my training center, one of the first things I focus on is determining if he knows how to forage (i.e. search) for his food. If he does not, I begin shaping the behavior, incorporating training and foraging at the same time. This process can be a little tricky because I need to use his favored food items for training and for foraging. Therefore, I often begin by using his second or third favored food to shape the foraging, while using the first for training. As training continues, so do the reinforcers. Preferences one and two go into Bonkers, a bobcat cub at Indian Creek my pocket, and three and four go into Zoo in Toledo, Ohio the foraging toys. Soon, the more I pair is learning about enrichment at a myself with the animal’s favored treat, young age the sooner the opportunity to be with me becomes one of his primary reinforcers. Once this pairing happens, I begin using proximity, vocalization, and curiosity as reinforcement to prevent satiation. If an animal understands how to forage for his food, it helps with almost every aspect of implementing a behavior modification plan. When enrichment coincides with training, the three C’s are put into motion: choice, control and complexity. When these take effect, all three play vital roles in empowering an animal, often in limited or controlled-choice environments.
Choice is involved in everyday situations. One might think the more choice, the better, but that is not always the case. When an animal has a history of limited choices or little to no enrichment, providing too many choices in the living environment might be a large stressor. Depending on the individual, his natural history and history of reinforcement, many times the options, or amount of choices, need to be shaped. Shaping entails reinforcing successive approximations toward a target behavior. To start this process, I often approach the animal with choices A and B. Once he begins choosing, I change the consequences of each choice. Once I identify his area of curiosity, I begin changing the consequences of each choice intermittently. I add another choice and another. As a result of shaping 50
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the new behavior, the animal becomes more likely to choose to interact with an object and/or his environment outside of a training situation.
Being able to experiment and manipulate the outcome of consequences each time he interacts with an object or his environment gives an animal control. When trainers incorporate the choice of interacting with object A or B, perching on object A or B, the temperature of room A or B, or to even interact at all, they are creating situations that provide an animal with this basic feeling of control. In turn, the opportunity to control outcomes can provide more choice, and the more choice trainers provide through enrichment, they may (or may not) empower the animals in their care with a sense of control over their living environment.
Shaping challenges in an animal’s environment is something I see caretakers struggle with on a regular basis without even realizing it. Any environment can get stagnant over a period of time if it does not change. In my experience, the more an animal’s environment stays the same, the less he tends to interact with it. The less he interacts, the less he manipulates outcomes, and the less he manipulates outcomes, the fewer choices he makes. What effects do these restricted choices have on the animal and his decision-making skills? If environments stay stagnant, what physical and mental enrichment are those non-changing environments providing to empower the animal? What happens when his environment drastically changes and he has no control in the matter, such as being rehomed? Like choice, complexities need to be shaped. The challenge for the trainer is determining each step in a training plan. Attempting too much when shaping the next progressive step might be too complex for the animal. And if the animal does not understand, he is likely to stop interacting with the environment. It is important, then, for the trainer to interact and manipulate the animal’s environment using enrichment training that offers choice, control and shaping complexities, but to take it one step at a time. The three C’s all have a place in a behavior modification plan.
BEHAVIOR Molly, a ring-tailed lemur, manipulates the source of one of her several primary reinforcers
Choice is the main focus in positive reinforcement training, and the effective use of an animalâ€™s primary reinforcers allows us to maintain a safe and healthy control while working as a team. Training the same thing repeatedly can become predictable and boring for both the animal and his trainer, and this is where the shaping of increasing complexities is important. When I first begin training or working on a behavior modification plan with any animal, one of the first things I do is incorporate enrichment, especially if it is not there. If it is already there, I begin observing different ways in which I can use it to increase the complexity, redirect attention, create independence, occupy time, and empower the animal through choice and control. At my training center, we are currently working with an African-pied crow, Kronos, and a ring-tailed lemur, Molly, from a zoo. Both have different histories of interaction, association with humans, and enrichment. I was able to approach and feed Molly by hand through several training sessions within the first day. With Kronos, on the other hand, I had to begin with reinforcing calm when I walked through the door of the room. When first approaching Kronosâ€™s enclosure, I had to look at him through the reversed camera on my phone. The sight of me looking at him head-on caused him to fly from his perch. I had a lot of training to do before I was even able to clean his enclosure or change his food and water dishes. When we began his enrichment, he only had a few toys we could hang, and they had to be hung from the outside of his cage. Hanging the toys close to a perch, or inside his cage, clearly caused fear, which was manifested in his flat feather placement, erratic flying and vocalizing.
Kronos, the African-pied crow interacts vocally and visually with author, Lara Joseph. Both of these were once aversives but have now been shaped into now being two of his most highly valued positive reinforcers
Kronos has now been with us for two months. Through enrichment, including training, several people are now able to go in and out of his cage, interact with him vocally in close proximity, and change foraging and caching enrichment opportunities inside his enclosure. Kronos gets a changing enrichment with increasing complexities daily. He has to retrieve all of his favored foods from foraging toys. We are excited and proud to show the public this empowered bird who now calls strangers to his cage for interaction. We recently took Molly, who is now prepared for her future role as an ambassador, back to the zoo. She has been empowered through enrichment training and shows great confidence when interacting with the public - working for her enrichment while doing so. When I present to large audiences, I always inform the attendees that positive reinforcement training puts the animalâ€™s choice back into the equation of behavior modification, and to empower the animals in their care by giving them choice, control and complexities. They deserve it and will thank you for it. n Lara Joseph is the owner of The Animal Behavior Center LLC, www.theanimalbehaviorcenter.com, 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.
www.tawzerdog.com BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
The Right Touch
Deirdre Chitwood highlights the benefits of using Tellington TTouch® at cat shelters and explains how and why cats respond to the practice
especially enjoy practicing Tellington TTouch® on cats at the shelter as it gives me an opportunity to use my skills in a place where there are so many different cats with so many different issues, both behavioral and health related. More importantly, it can also mean the difference between a cat spending his life in the shelter or getting adopted, and having the chance of a new start as a loved and cherished pet. I am also fortunate to have a cage-free, no-kill shelter in my county which offers hospice care to aging and dying cats. Tellington TTouch® offers a gentle form of bodywork consisting of circles, lifts and strokes. There are over 20 different TTouches that use different parts of the hands and fingers. There are also TTouches for different parts of the body such as the ears, mouth, tail and paws. The standard circular TTouch is called the Clouded Leopard. This is applied by gently curving the fingers and using the pads to push the skin around in a small (1⁄2 inch to 1 inch in diameter), clockwise, one-and-a-quarter circle. Imagine a clock on your animal’s body and move the skin from six on the clock all the way round until you reach six on the clock again, and then go on to eight or nine on the clock. Keep your wrist straight yet flexible and off the body. Breathe calmly and rhythmically and keep your fingers, hand, arm and shoulder relaxed. If possible, place your other hand on the cat’s body to form a better connection. With cats, it is often best to place the fingers a little apart and allow each finger to make its own circle. We use a very light pressure with cats, equivalent to a comfortable pressure on your eyelid. The Clouded Leopard TTouch can be used to calm your cat on the way to the vet or in the vet’s waiting room, as well as to reduce stress and nervousness. The basic TTouches are the same for all animals including humans. The only real difference is that cats are incredibly sensitive creatures and, therefore, one’s attention to pressure (so that it does not become too heavy) is of paramount importance, as is the cat’s body language. For example, a wagging tail is not a sign of happiness as it may be in a dog. Rather, it is a signal that the cat may be feeling overloaded. Cats can get overstimulated very quickly as many owners will already know. Cats are well-known for suddenly striking out when they are being petted (a.k.a. petting and biting syndrome) so we often give them short breaks during a session to process the TTouches. If you continue until a cat hisses, you have gone way too far. Less is definitely more with cats. Also, cats do not like to be restrained so being able to touch a cat you do not know can take a little time. I often find that playing, or feeding a few treats or some favorite food can be a good way to introduce myself before beginning a session. Cats are responsive to different textures so we use a lot of different fabrics, such as sheepskin, towels or a soft cloth to dif52
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Initially, Dimples (left, pictured with new friend Scout) was not social with other cats
fuse our contact, as well as feathers, brushes, pointed paintbrushes or make-up brushes to give them a different experience. It is also important to note that cats often show changes in their behavior after a session rather than during a session, which you more often see with dogs and other animals.
Case Study: Milton
Milton was rescued in North Florida and brought to Domino’s House Cat Rescue League, Palm City, Florida in August 2013. He had been found blind and hungry wandering in the neighborhood where his former owner, an elderly woman, once lived. She had died about a year before and he had been thrown out to fend for himself. He tested positive for feline immunodeficiency virus and was neutered on his arrival. He would usually strike out if someone tried to touch him and, perhaps not surprisingly, was defensive around food. The first time I saw Milton he was lying in a crate with his body hunched up in his litter tray surrounded by urine. He looked a sorry sight. Both his eyes were clouded over with cataracts and his ears has been badly damaged from cat fights. He was not moving and appeared to be in a state of shock. I turned off the music to quieten the atmosphere and opened
the door to allow some fresh air into the room. I began working with the two other cats nearby who were friendly so Milton could get accustomed to my presence and perhaps sense the other cats relaxing. I then began speaking very softly to Milton, a technique which we call “toning,” which I felt was very important as he could not see me. He did not move so I sat down on the floor next to his crate and continued toning so he could get used to my voice. I put a long feather through the bars of the cage and began stroking the top of his head, around his ears and shoulders. Cats usually like to be touched on these areas of their bodies so it is a good place to begin. I then stroked the feather against his whiskers. Cats and dogs often like to be touched here and find it calming and soothing. After a few minutes, I gave Milton a break to allow his body to integrate what I had done, then worked a little more gradually building up the duration. Within a short while I was able to stroke down his back and round the sides of his body, and then began doing circular movements with the feather. I proceeded to use two different kinds of feathers in the same way to give him different experiences and to gently begin to stimulate his body. After another break, I put a sheepskin attached to a stick through the bars of the cage and began stroking him with it. I then opened the cage door and repeated what I had done. Milton still did not move. Encouraged that he had not tried to strike me and sensing he was relaxing, I put on a large padded glove and approached him very slowly. I began stroking him very gently with the back of the glove. We always prefer to begin contact by using the hands with the back of the hand or fingers - a touch we call the Llama TTouch - rather than starting with the Clouded Leopard or any other TTouch. This can be in either a stroking or one-and-a-quarter circle motion. I did a couple of strokes and then stopped. Milton began to accept the touch and gently pushed his head into the glove. I felt I had made a connection with him. This first session lasted about an hour. Having made good progress I decided to continue the next day. When I arrived Milton was in exactly the same place in the same posture. I repeated what I had done the day before but was able to do it in less time. When I started to use the sheepskin on a stick he seemed to enjoy the feel of it and sat up, moved Milton was found in a poor state and was shut down when he first came to the shelter; here he enjoys the Clouded Leopard TTouch around his ears
around and then sat down again. He repeated this four or five times. I sat back and wondered if he was ready for me to use my hand without the glove. I was a little unsure and felt he needed something to help him feel more relaxed and confident before I could do this. I decided to use a wrap, in this case some soft feltlike fabric cut into a 2½-inch by 4½-feet wide strip. I used my gloved hand to gently place the fabric over Milton’s body. I felt him begin to relax so I started using the sheepskin on a stick to stroke his head. I gently moved my hand (without the glove on it) down the stick and touched him with the back of one finger, then two and then three, withdrawing my fingers and going back to just using the sheepskin in between. Working with all animals takes a lot of patience and while TTouching we always move in very small increments, and on their terms. If something is too much for them then we move back to what we were doing before. We allow the animal to guide us in the work. This way they feel more in control which helps them to become more confident and able to trust. We allow the animal to usher us in, and if we pay attention they can become our greatest teachers. How would you feel if, the next time you went to the dentist, he tied you in the chair and ignored your requests? It takes more time but is much more effective in the long term, and, in my opinion, is the only ethical way to be with animals. My sessions with Milton continued over the next few weeks during which time I was able to touch him all over, using a whole array of different TTouches. After session six he was allowing the other volunteers to pet him and after session seven, he was allowed out of his cage and to roam freely with the five other cats in his enclosure. Milton continued to improve and became one of the most sociable and loved cats in the shelter. Whenever I went to see him he would come over for his special TTouches. He would even let me work with him whilst he was eating. There was never any indication of defensive or feral behavior, and Milton became in every way like a domestic cat.
Teddy is a neutered male aged around three years. He was born at Domino’s House and adopted as a kitten but returned to the shelter because they said he was not friendly. Being a sensitive cat, Teddy withdrew into himself and had become scared and defensive. The only person who could touch him was Maris, the rescue’s founder and owner. Thinking I could use Maris as a bridge of connection, I asked her if she would introduce me to Teddy on my next visit. When we walked into the room he was crouching between the wall and a cage. Maris took hold of Teddy and I suggested we quickly wrap him in a towel. At first he was not very happy about this but gradually began to calm down. I started toning to Teddy and speaking softly to Maris, explaining how and where to touch him. She began gently touching his head, shoulders and sides with the back of her fingers (Llama TTouch) and then did some light, gentle strokes with a relaxed hand over the same areas. I then began touching Maris’s arm so Teddy could see I was not a threat and to build a connection through Maris. All the time I was using eye signals, slowly blinking and looking away to calm Teddy down. BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Norwegian dog trainer, Turid Rugaas has identified about 30 different signals that dogs use to calm themselves and others, like a language of appeasement. Other animals and humans use many of these signals. If you observe your cat you will notice he does not blink when he is scared or alert, but when he is content or trying to slow you down, he will blink and partially close his eyes. If you respond by slowly closing your eyes, it seems to acknowledge and accept his effort to connect. Often cats will blink again and they may now look at you with softer eyes. Sometimes glancing away and/or slightly turning your head after the blink can be useful too. This tool is especially beneficial when working with scared or Dimples would only interact with one or feral cats, or any cat that is nervous or two people at the shelter initially frightened of being touched. here she enjoys a After a short while I began touching Llama TTouch Teddy with the Llama TTouch over the towel, on his shoulders and body, and then on his head while Maris held him in the towel. Maris and I continued to work with him in this way for about 15 minutes and then decided it was enough for the first session. Maris told me that when she went into the room later that day, Teddy was sitting on top of the cat furniture and did not run away, which had never happened before. When I arrived for Teddy’s next session a week later he was again sitting up on top of the cat furniture. I began by blinking at him and after several blinks he blinked back. His whole demeanor had become more relaxed. I then approached him really slowly, the whole time blinking, looking away and licking my lips which is another useful calming signal. Over about seven minutes in a rePeaches enjoys laxed posture, I moved from outside the the Clouded Leopard TTouch screen door of his room to where he was sitting, which was a distance of about 3 feet. I find the longer I take to introduce myself and allow the cat to get used to my presence, the quicker he will learn to trust me. I then very slowly approached Teddy with feathers on a stick and began to stroke his head with them. He did not move, and after a while began to close his eyes. I very gradually moved closer. Still stroking him with the feathers, I began to move my hand further up the stick and then slipped in a touch with the back of my index finger, then two fingers, then the back of all my fingers. I kept stroking him this way with my fingers and intermittently with the feath54
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ers. Then I put the stick with the feathers very quietly down and was able to touch him with just the back of my fingers (Llama TTouch). I turned my hand over and slowly began to do some Clouded Leopard TTouches on the top of Teddy’s head and then on his shoulders. He gave a big sigh, curled up, put his head down and closed his eyes. I began to gently stroke his left ear with my thumb following the shape of the ear from the base to the tip and then his right ear doing the same. Then, with the back of my hand, I stroked his whiskers against his face. He was looking very relaxed now so I began doing Clouded Leopard TTouches on his shoulders again and then moved further down his body. It is always important to go back to where the animal feels safe before moving to a place where he might feel less safe. Within a minute or so I was able to go halfway down his body. I felt I had already won a good level of trust with him. He seemed almost asleep now so I thought I would leave quietly and allow him to process the work. During the next session I was able to keep touching Teddy despite the noise of workmen outside. The following day, Maris said Teddy was doing much better and was now jumping off his kitty condo to greet her when she went into his room, making a little meow sound as if to say, “Hello.” Teddy is now fully socialized. He even jumps down and rolls on his back whilst I stroke him. Hair slides are one of the TTouches that Teddy and most medium- to longhaired cats enjoy, and a slightly different version can be used with short-haired cats. Take a small bunch of hair gently between your thumb and index finger and slowly slide up the hair from the roots to the tips at approximately a 90degree angle to the roots. Hair slides are a wonderful way to introduce a cat to grooming or for a cat that dislikes to be brushed. The Hair Slides are also useful for activating circulation, reducing tension and calming highly strung or hyperactive cats.
Case Study: Dimples
Dimples is a 7-year-old short-haired female cat who has lived all her life at the shelter. When I began working with her she would let only one or two particular volunteers stroke her after they had fed her many treats. Dimples would spend her whole time crouched on a shelf high
with your forefinger on the inner side, slide the finger and thumb from the base of the ear to the tip and repeat several times covering different portions of the ear with each slide. By sharing these case study highlights my aim is to showcase some of the TTouches and techniques we use with cats, and to illustrate how they can be used successfully in a shelter environment. Hopefully they may also provide those working with cats another tool to consider when dealing with frightened, shy or unsocialized animals. n
Tellington TTouch® Training: www.ttouch.com Tender Touch (includes videos of the basic TTouch, the Clouded Leopard, working with a cat, and the benefits of the body wrap): www.tenderttouch.com TTouch on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/TellingtonTTouch
Initially Teddy was scared and defensive and could not tolerate human touch using feathers on a stick helped him make the transition
up on a wall and did not seem particularly sociable with the other cats. I worked with Dimples once a week over several weeks, using blinking and feathers on a stick initially and eventually just my hand for many of the TTouches. After one session when I was able to TTouch her hindquarters and tail, both of which were very stiff, her whole demeanor changed. It appeared to me that a lot of tension, which had been locked up in these areas of her body, had now been released. The following week when I came to see Dimples she was walking around outside and behaving like a very sociable cat. She now has a gentleman friend named Scout who climbs into her enclosure every day to snuggle.
Deirdre Chitwood is a certified Tellington TTouch® practitioner of companion animals and a member of Truly Dog Friendly Training. She has a private practice, Tender Touch, www.tenderttouch.com, in Stuart, Florida where she lives with her husband and five cats. She offers workshops around the country as well as hosting regular workshops at her local cat shelter where she also volunteers. She studied the Tellington Method two-year Practitioner Certification Program in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the UK. and has been privileged to assist Linda Tellington-Jones in workshops.
Case Study: Peaches
Peaches was brought to the shelter when she was 3 months old. She was found behind a fruit stand (hence her name) living as part of a feral colony. Peaches has been at Domino’s House for nine years now and although very socialized, has extremely bad skin allergies. She receives cortisone injections when needed. The first time I began working with Peaches she was crouching down looking very uncomfortable. When I began touching her I could feel the skin on her entire body was crusty. Over several weeks, however, the TTouch has helped improve her appetite and increase her energy levels, and the skin on her tail and other parts of her body is now almost normal. One of the TTouches I used with Peaches is the Ear TTouch. This is one of the most important TTouches as it can reduce stress, induce relaxation, improve digestion, boost the immune system and much more. Position yourself to the side and just behind your cat so you can support the head with one hand. Using the other hand, place your thumb on the outside of the ear and BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Who Cares about Food Anyway?
Michelle Martiya discusses a common challenge trainers face when introducing positive
reinforcement training to a horse
or many people who have discovered positive reinforcement for equines and decided to introduce it to their own horse, donkey, or mule, they are often faced with one very unexpected challenge: the horse just doesnâ€™t seem interested! To many of us, this is very much counterintuitive. After all, we are now offering the horse a reward every time he does what we ask so, of course, we would expect him to try lots of things to get that reward. But when he just stands there and does nothing, or worse, walks away, it can leave us feeling quite confused. When working with horses, it is common to start with charging the clicker and/or targeting. Targeting is one of the easiest behaviors to teach. The person holds out their target, the horse touches the target, the person clicks and gives the horse a handful of food, and holds out the target again. This happens maybe two or three times, sometimes more, and then suddenly the horse may stop reaching out to touch the target. He may even walk away, leaving the person standing there wondering what on earth just happened. Usually the food is blamed for the horse's lack of interest. He must either not be food motivated, or he doesnâ€™t like what is at hand, so the person proceeds to offer all kinds of different foods in subsequent training sessions to try to find the one that will motivate him. Another common reason given for the horse's lack of interest is boredom, so the person tries to teach him a multitude of different behaviors to find one that might just catch his attention. The reality is, in almost every case I have seen, neither food nor boredom is the reason for a horse's seeming lack of interest. The real reason is, to the horse, the person is simply not really doing anything, so he figures there is no reason for him to stay there and he is free to go. Consider Natural Horsemanship, for a moment, or any other kind of training that you have done based on pressure/release (negative reinforcement). Often, in our interactions with horses, we are constantly pressuring them to perform behaviors. Either pulling on their halters, kicking at their 56
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sides, or swinging a rope at them to "move their feet." In such instances, we are the ones that make all of the animal's decisions and often he is not allowed to make any decisions for himself. Consider then, what a drastic change it is for the horse to suddenly be asked to behave on his own. When we first introduce targeting, we hold the target up in front of the animal and wait for him to reach out and touch it with his nose. We have now encountered potential problem number one when introducing positive reinforcement to a ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/TrishZ horse. At best, he may have never been fed by hand before and may seem a bit surprised. At worst, he may have been punished for looking for food on your person and may find eating out of your hand aversive. This aversion can quickly cause a breakdown of a horse's desire to work with you. The second problem comes in the behavior itself. When we first introduce the target to an animal, most of them will instinctually, or perhaps out of curiosity, reach out to investigate it. This may happen a number of times, giving the impression the animal has learned the behavior. When he stops offering the behavior, we are left wondering why and automatically assume he must not like the food or is bored. What has really happened though is that he has already investigated the target and has dismissed it as something not of value. He has not yet learned that the behavior of touching the target is what earns him the food. Thus, you are now standing there offering a target that your horse has already dismissed as unimportant, and you are no longer giving him any food. Since he no longer registers the target, is not getting any food, and does not know what else to do, he will likely just stand there and do nothing as he has been taught, or he will walk away. The most obvious solution to this problem is to first charge the clicker. However, with many horses, I find that this same problem often exists even with charging the clicker before introducing the target. So how do you change this? How do you motivate your horse, and help him make the association between the behavior, the click, and the reinforcement? When starting a horse with target training, he may appear disinterested or unmotivated after the first few attempts
Capturing the behavior of a horse paying attention to you is a good way to charge the clicker when starting training
© Can Stock Photo/martinan
The answer, I believe, lies in first establishing a new relationship between you and your horse. This can be done through capturing. I recommend that people introducing positive reinforcement to their horse go out with their clicker and treats and just 'hang out' with him, preferably in a location that has few distractions, but where he can be at liberty. As you hang out with the
horse, act distracted and do not pay too much attention to him. Wander around or play with your phone, but at the same time be aware of what he is doing. If he gives you any kind of attention, such as looking at you or coming over, immediately mark that behavior, give him some food, and take a few steps away, going back to whatever you were doing. Each time your horse pays any attention to you, mark the behavior, reinforce him, walk away and go back to whatever you were doing.You are capturing the behavior of paying attention to you. As your horse's attention increases, so will yours. The next time your horse comes up to you, say a few words to him or pet him a little before you walk away. Soon you will notice he is coming up to you purposefully and even following when you try to walk away.You have now successfully charged the clicker, made the association between the behavior, the click and the reinforcement, and established a new relationship with your horse. Happy training! n Michelle Martiya owns Dragon Horsemanship, www .inspiredhorses.com, in Boca Raton, Florida where she offers equine training and behavior modification services, both in person locally, and virtually via video submissions and live Skype sessions all over the world. She specializes in working with wild mustangs and abused, fearful equines, be it horse, donkey/burro, or mule. She can also be found on Facebook, www.facebook.com/dragonhorsemanship.
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Finding the Balance
Kathie Gregory explains the significance of teaching emotional resilience to ensure a horse
is happy and content, and better able to cope with life’s unpredictabilities
n the horse world, emotions are not always addressed and may often be the least understood.Yet the emotional state of the horse should be the starting point from which to base every interaction we have with him, and every decision we make on his behalf. Emotions influence every thought and every action. The brain has two parts: the thinking brain and the emotional mind. When the thinking brain is at the forefront, the emotional mind provides emotion, color and context to the information processed. But when the emotional mind is at the forefront, it can overtly influence perception and consequently, actions. Any strong emotion can temporarily cause this effect, both good and bad. When the mind functions effectively, the emotion subsides in a timely manner and the brain is returned to a normal balanced state with the thinking brain at the forefront. Sometimes though, and for various reasons, this does not always happen and the emotional mind can remain aroused long after it should have returned to the background. In other instances, the emotional mind may permanently remain at the forefront. Both situations impair the ability of the thinking brain to function effectively. Every person and animal is subject to the influence of their emotional mind. The level of influence depends on the individual. Those we term “highly strung” have a stronger input from the emotional mind than those we term “unflappable.” There is an important caveat here, and that is whilst a horse's emotional mind is overtly influenced by his circumstances, we do not know what the true natural balance between the thinking brain and the emotional mind is. A highly strung or unflappable horse may only be that way because of the ongoing influences that affect his mind. Anything that causes an emotional response can change the natural level. Unpleasant emotional responses are remembered with clarity for a very long time so that the horse may avoid a repeat of the scenario that caused the response. This is a sensible strategy to ensure a species has the best chance of surviving as it navigates through life. In the wild, unpleasant experiences would trigger a response so the horse does not repeat something that may be of detriment to his well-being and survival. Domestication inevitably causes a horse to be in unpleasant situations that he would not experience were he a wild animal, nor would he choose to experience given the opportunity. The result of such unpleasant emotional responses can shape the horse’s personality and perception of the world, and therefore his response to everything he experiences. Stress, anxiety, fear and pain are likely to be a part of many of our horses’ backgrounds due to the way in which we typically keep them and how we train and handle them. There is a growing number of people who are embracing the force-free method using positive reinforcement and making their horses’ environ58
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Some horses will have stronger emotional resilience than others based on temperament and prior experience
ments as natural as possible. Being aware that previous experiences can still influence behavior can help you understand why your horse responds as he does and enable you to make a plan to reduce any influence. Emotional influences can be in the form of a long-term chronic state that leads to a changed perception and behavior. This state of mind causes the brain to be in survival mode, i.e. fight or flight. The system has been activated, and there are varying degrees of response from mild to extreme; essentially, the body is getting ready to protect and defend itself. There are several problems with this state of mind: • It is more difficult to process information. • Thinking is impaired, so learning is harder. • Responses are not logical. • The horse (or any other animal) can be unpredictable.
• Avoidance behavior is common. • Reactions can be intense/extreme. • Reactions can be shut down/ subdued. • The emotions experienced also cause physiological changes resulting in poor health and performance. This state of mind is a reactive one – even if the horse is only in a mild state of anxiety, the activated fight or flight system will view every input as a potential threat to protect or defend itself against. This means that anything the horse perceives as unpleasant will increase the strength of the fight or flight response. These responses are inhibiting (static) or activating (movement) so behavior may become more subdued and shut down, or more reactive, or manic. I hesitate to use the word aggressive, as it is so misunderstood, but when a horse behaves in such a way, people often see it as challenging and an attempt to gain dominance. However, the majority of aggressive behavior comes from a perspective of fear and a need to survive. Instincts kick in as the brain sees no possible alternative. Every emotion has an effect on perception and behavior, and every time you interact with your horse you increase or decrease the strength of an emotion.You may also cause a different emotion to present itself. If you do a number of things in succession, you may get what is called trigger stacking. This is when the horse has an emotional response to an action, and before that emotion has dissipated another action causes another burst of the emotion, adding to the first emotional response. If we view emotional responses as a scale from mild to extreme, a number of things that cause the same or different, but ultimately escalating, emotional responses can add up to the horse being in an increasingly stronger/higher emotional state which results in outbursts of unpredictable behavior, mania or aggression. If the horse subdues his emotional mind, it goes in the opposite direction and the horse shuts down, and getting any response becomes more difficult. Whatever species we consider, some are not able to keep their minds in emotional balance. These are the individuals that need to be taught how to do this so that regulating emotions, and not letting them overtake reason, becomes a familiar pathway for the brain, rather than emotions sweeping them along. The same is true for horses whose emotional minds are at the forefront. Because of previous experiences we need to teach them how to recover from their changed perceptions so they are able to regulate their emotions.
Being aware of your emotions is one part of emotional resilience. However, in order to be able to adapt to an unexpected event or changes in a situation and respond within what we would call a balanced and appropriate arousal level (without undue stress, anxiety, fear, or consequential emotional damage), the other aspects of emotional resilience also need to be in place. These include: • Feeling safe. • Being in control of one’s own life. • Ability to express oneself without fear of reprisal. • Freedom from physical pain. • Freedom from emotional pain. • Freedom from stress. • A lifestyle that allows normal behavior for the species. • Emotional support and care. • Healthy diet. • Relaxation and sleep. • Exercise. • Play. • Overall balance in life. When all these aspects are combined we can achieve a strong emotional resilience. Some horses will have a naturally strong emotional resilience and some will not, but we can teach and develop a stronger emotional resilience in every horse. The above list shows the general areas that need to be managed to promote emotional resilience. Some you will have complete control over, some partial, and some will be out of your control depending on your individual situation. All of the areas listed have an impact on your horse’s perception of himself and the world. By making changes that improve, enhance and strengthen his perception of self, you also affect how he perceives what happens in his life. We can then build on this by teaching alternative strategies to those he has employed in the past. One important point here is that an emotionally secure and aware horse has a strong sense of self and is then able to keep the thinking brain at the forefront of decision-making and not be swept along by the emotional mind without cognitive input. A second, and more important point is that a horse that is looked after in this way has a happy and content life, something we should give every animal in our care. Look at and assess each point on the list. How does your horse perceive each aspect of his life? What can you do to change his perception of an asDomestication inevitably causes horses to be in situations they pect that is emowould prefer not to experience tionally or physically BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
A horseâ€™s body language relays his emotional state and is information that should be used by the trainer
damaging, or not as good as it could be? Which area does he find difficult and struggle to cope with? What can you do to change his perception and improve his overall view of his life? Once you have identified and improved on those areas, you then need to look to yourself. Changing the environment and management of your horse is the first step toward creating emotional resilience. You are the second. When teaching or improving emotional resilience, the starting point from which to base every interaction you have with your horse and every decision you make on his behalf is guided by his emotional state at that time. Learn his body language, likes and dislikes, moods and emotional states. Look, listen and assess. Use every response he gives you as information to help you. Try something else, what are the changes in his response? The more you can work in small steps of starting a conversation with him, listening to his reply and responding to that, rather than continuing to do whatever you were going to do, the more you will know how he thinks and feels. This gets easier until it becomes second nature, and you automatically assess and adjust without thinking about it, developing your skills so you are both engaged in a productive conversation. There are so many benefits to teaching and improving emotional resilience. Practical benefits include improved safety and reliability, an eagerness to engage with you, and improved results in whatever you do with your horse. Physical health is affected by emotional well-being, and improved health, fitness and a reduction in severity of some conditions is also seen. Psychological benefits include not spooking so easily, coping better with things that worry him, and responding to changes or new situations calmly. He will also be easier to bring back to cognitive awareness if he does go over the emotional threshold. n Kathie Gregory is a UK-based animal behavior consultant who trained under Prof. Peter Neville at the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology, and is a practitioner member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers. She has worked with animals for over 15 years, mainly with horses and dogs, although she also works with cats, sheep, pigs, cows and other species. She developed freewill teaching, an expertise focused on raising cognitive awareness and understanding, in order to give animals the ability to reach their full potential. For further information, see Freewill Teaching, www.freewillteaching.com.
BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
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Happy Dogs, Happy Guardians
In our ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS features Louise Stapleton-
Frappell of DogNostics Career College and Happy Dogs Estepona
ouise Stapleton-Frappell grew up in Yorkshire, England, surrounded by beautiful countryside and lots of animals. Border collies, German shepherds and chow chows were all part of the family. Having received her bachelor’s from the University of Leeds, England, she took her first teaching post at a school in Cartagena, Spain. This was soon followed by a move to southern Spain where she added German shepherd/Doberman cross, Bess, to the family. A local veterinarian then put her in touch with a respected police dog trainer who passed along his knowledge, and thus began her love of teaching both dogs and people. Staffordshire bull terrier, Samson, was soon added to the family and was followed by present family members, German shepherd, Tessa, and Staffordshire bull terrier, Jambo. StapletonFrappell soon discovered the world of dog tricks, to which she was introduced by Rich Clarke and Nando Brown. As a result, Jambo, at the age of just 16 months, became the first Staffordshire bull terrier to ever become a trick dog champion. Stapleton-Frappell was one of the first 20 people worldwide to become a professional canine trainer - accredited, through the Pet Professional Accreditation Board. She has also studied with Kay Laurence to gain her CAP3 (with distinction), is a certified trick dog instructor, a fun scent games instructor and an instructor and assessor for PPG’s Pet Dog Ambassador program, www .petdogambassador.com. She has her own dog training business in southern Spain and regularly holds manners, trick and fun scent game courses and workshops. She also teaches clients on an individual basis. A PPG steering committee member and membership manager of PPG British Isles, Stapleton-Frappell is known to many PPG members as co-presenter of PPG’s World Service radio show. She is also a faculty member of DogNostics Career College, a steering committee member of Doggone Safe, www.doggonesafe.com, regional coordinator of Doggone Safe in Spain, and creator and instructor of TrickMeister, www .dognosticselearning.com/Titles, a comprehensive online forcefree training program from DogNostics Career College, aimed at increasing the knowledge and training skills of both dog guardians and pet professionals. Q:Tell us a little bit about your own pets.
A: My beautiful German shepherd, Tessa, is 10 years old. She loves doing simple tricks, going for walks in the countryside, rides in the car and playing fun games with her “little brother,” my gorgeous Staffordshire bull terrier, Jambo. Jambo has been aired on Talent Hounds television in Canada and was also featured as a Victoria Stilwell Positively Success Story. He has his own Facebook page, www.facebook.com/StaffyChampion, through which we share our message about the importance of force-free training and do our best to promote a positive image of pit bull-type dogs.
Jambo, the first ever Staffy trick dog champion (left) with big sister,Tessa who also enjoys performing tricks
Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider? A: I love to teach and I have a passion for dogs so what better than to combine the two. Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer?
A: I was very fortunate that the people who influenced my training all promoted the use of rewards. Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise?
A: Teaching all behaviors as tricks. It doesn't matter if it is a sit, down, come, spin or twist - I believe all learning should be fun and as such, I teach all behaviors as tricks.
Q: How has PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer?
A: PPG has helped me continue to further my education in a way that I do not believe would have been possible otherwise. Everything from webinars from some of the pet industry's leading force-free professionals, to the PPG educational summit, to the Pet Dog Ambassador program... As I have the pleasure of being co-presenter on the PPG World Service radio show, I therefore also get to interview some of the leading names in our industry. PPG is like a huge family. In my role as membership manager of BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
PPG British Isles, I communicate daily with our members, all of whom offer amazing support to each other. PPG is led by some amazing people who I am proud to call my colleagues and friends. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this incredible organization.
Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for the most commonly encountered client-dog problems?
A: Using reinforcement strategies and incompatible behaviors that fulfill the same needs as the problem behavior being carried out. A jumping dog? Teach him to shake hands instead and reinforce him with some yummy treats and all of the social interaction he craves. Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?
A: Seeing happy dogs and happy guardians. The bond people share with their dogs is like no other. To be a part of their wonderful relationship, and help them learn together, is an absolute privilege. Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?
A: I am a passionate advocate of force-free training, promoting a positive image of the "bully" breeds and advocating against Breed Specific Legislation in favor of breed-neutral laws and education about dog bite safety and prevention. I believe that everyone should know how to teach their dog using science-based, rewards-based, force-free training methods, and that all learning should be fun. Q: What is your favorite part of the job?
A: Watching people learn. Watching their dogs learn. Watching their relationships thrive.
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BARKS from the Guild/January 2017
Q: What awards or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods?
A: I couldn't possibly begin to list them all. We have won awards locally for everything from obedience to best-in-breed. Tessa has novice trick dog titles and Jambo has trick dog titles going all the way from novice through to champion. He is also now working his way through the TrickMeister titles.
Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?
A: There are so many. As I previously mentioned, a very special police dog trainer, Manolo, who unfortunately he passed away in his mid-forties, was instrumental in my early days of training. In the more recent past, I had the pleasure of attending many classes with Rich Clarke, a fantastic trainer who now lives in the UK. I both studied under and worked with Nando Brown at In The Doghouse DTC, www.inthedoghousedtc.com. I have also had the incredible fortune of being able to study under the tutelage of Kay Laurence at Learning About Dogs, www. learningaboutdogs.com, and am now in the enviable situation that my colleagues at DogNostics Career College are none other than PPG steering committee members, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge and Rebekah King.
Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out? A: Continue your education. Have fun. Strive to be the best you can be. Don't be afraid to do what you do best and refer cases that are outside your area of competency to others who are better equipped to handle them. n
DogNostics Career College is located in Tampa, Florida www.dognosticselearning.com Happy Dogs Estepona is located in Estepona, Spain www.happydogsestepona.com
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The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...
Published on Dec 28, 2016
The bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, canine, feline, equine, p...