BARKS from the Guild
FELINE Individual Styles of Play
Issue No. 13 / July 2015
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Canine Thyroid Expert Dr. Jean Dodds
BEHAVIOR Defying the Stereotype
TRAINING Coercion: The Consequences
CANINE The Devastating Fallout from Shock
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CONSULTING Yes or No? The Art of Consent Testing
TRENDS The Untold Value of a Therapy Dog COMMENT In Defense of the Muzzle
To Walk or Not to Walk? Exercise Alternatives for Dogs A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild: By the Members for the Members
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ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
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For more details and to register: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Workshops
from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545 Tel: 41 Dog-Train (413-648-7246) PetProfessionalGuild.com petprofessionalguild.com/BARKSfromtheGuild facebook.com/BARKSfromtheGuild Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson barkseditor@PetProfessionalGuild.com
Contributing Editors Jan Casey, Patience Fisher, Elizabeth Traxler
Images © Can Stock Photo: canstockphoto.com (unless otherwise credited; uncredited images belong to PPG)
The Guild Steering Committee Fiona De Rosa, Diane Garrod, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Anne Springer, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge, Catherine Zehner
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 Membership Manager Rebekah King Membership@PetProfessionalGuild.com
Letters to the Editor To comment on an author’s work, or to let us 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. 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
og walking is so ingrained in the psyche of many a dog owner - and perhaps society itself - that some may find our cover story this month a little controversial. I, for one, have always enjoyed walking my dogs (note: that does not necessarily mean that they do). Sometimes we “talk,” sometimes we don’t. I regard it as a kind of walking meditation. Solitude à deux, as the French might say. Together, but separate. So I was intrigued by this article and its proposal that not all dogs enjoy going for walks - or even gain much benefit from doing so. Our writer encourages us to watch our dogs’ faces when we are out walking, to see what is really going on. I did this with my dogs recently and saw mostly what looked like a calm focus. Sometimes they would exhibit moderate signs of stress, specifically when certain neighboring dogs rushed the fence at us as we walked past. They recovered quickly though and, all things considered, seemed to be collectively enjoying a positive mood state. They would look round at me if I said their names but, other than that, were content to meander and sniff copiously. Together, but separate. Focused. Our cover story argues that dogs get a better workout (both physically and mentally) if we interact and play games with them as the main – if not sum - part of their exercise. Different dogs obviously enjoy (and can tolerate) different things but, agree or disagree, the subject provides plenty of food for thought. Elsewhere in this issue we feature our resident pig Milo learning to be picked up on cue and look into the training advice doled out on various pig forums (which, alas, is not always forcefree) and what we can do to counter it. On the subject of not so force-free, we also investigate the common stereotyping of certain breeds/sizes of dogs, and feature the engaging tale of Ripley the Rottweiler who has become a role model for force-free training, in spite of the, sadly, predictable skepticism of the casual observer. On a similar theme we examine the marketing hype used by manufacturers of so-called electronic pet containment systems, and relate the poignant tale of Petunia and the devastating effects shock training had on this gentle rescue dog. No one should miss Petunia’s story, it is a lesson for us all. Other canine topics in this issue include transitioning feral dogs back into society, the behavior(s) commonly referred to as “territorial aggression,” surviving summer socials with children and dogs, training a therapy dog, dogs scared of walking on shiny floors and the intriguing case of deaf border collie Shep, whose deafness was only part of his overall behavior issues. In other species (pigs aside), we look into individually preferred styles of feline play and species-specific enrichment for captive parrots. We are delighted this month to feature an exclusive interview with Dr. Jean Dodds, who discusses what we can learn from a dog’s thyroid health. In addition, we look into the art - and science - of consent testing for dogs, advocate for muzzle training and, as pet professionals, how we can best set up our clients for success. Last but not least, thank you, as always, to all our contributors and readers.
n Susan Nilso
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BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Niki Tudge talks responsibility and psychological contracts NEWS, EDUCATION & EVENTS PPAB, PPGA, PPGBI,The Force-Free Summit, webinars and workshops TO WALK OR NOT TO WALK Barb Levenson explains why she believes interactive games are better exercise for dogs than going for walks STUCK IN THE MUD Lara Joseph details the pros and cons of online advice in pig training DEFYING THE STEREOTYPE Dee Goings outlines how her Rottweiler helps her demonstrate force-free training works for all breeds and sizes SLIPPING AND SLIDING Diane Garrod examines the issue of dogs scared of walking on shiny floor surfaces ON GUARD! Maureen Tay investigates what is commonly termed territorial aggression and other possible motivations for the behavior FIRST IMPRESSIONS Yvette Van Veen highlights the issues faced by feral and roaming dogs as they are transitioned back into society THE BIGGER PICTURE Morag Heirs presents the case of Shep, the border collie puppy whose deafness was only one part of the problem A CAUTIONARY TALE Kayla Sprague gives a personal account of the devastating effects of shock collar training DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE Eileen Anderson reviews the marketing language of e-fences versus the fallout of aversive devices SURVIVING THE SUMMER Gail Czarnecki and Jennifer Shryock highlight ways of managing summer socials with children and dogs THE ART OF TEAMWORK Gail Radtke describes how to qualify as a therapy dog team KEEPING IT FRESH Jane Ehrlich highlights toys for individual styles of feline play FELINE BEHAVIOR UNMASKED Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about cats ASSEMBLING THE SPECIES PUZZLE Amy Martin discusses the key to successful, species-appropriate enrichment for captive parrots THE THYROID EPIDEMIC Dr. Jean Dodds explains to Annie Phenix what can be learned from a dog’s thyroid health THE ART AND SCIENCE OF CONSENT TESTING By respecting a dog’s input we can build positive associations, says Angelica Steinker DEVELOPING MASTERY AND COMPETENCY Niki Tudge explains how pet professionals can set up clients for success IN DEFENSE OF THE MUZZLE Louise Stapleton-Frappell advocates muzzle training for all dogs MEMBER PROFILE: A STRONGER HUMAN-CANINE BOND Featuring Nee Kang of Cheerful Dogs in Singapore BOOK REVIEW:THE COMPLETE PACKAGE Susan Nilson reviews Dog Bites with Steve Brooks
© Can Stock Photo /dmussman
© Can Stock Photo/satitsrihin
The Psychological Contract
Business contract aside, Niki Tudge discusses the psychological pledge between pet professionals and their clients, and between PPG leadership and PPG members
Dear Fellow Force-Free Advocates,
In this issue of BARKS I wanted to share with you all how we, the PPG leadership team, a.k.a. the Steering Committee, feel about the level of responsibility we carry concerning our organization, you, the individual stakeholders, and the progressive movement of our industry. In our individual businesses we all deal with formal contracts and rules and regulations, and are all too familiar with the restrictions these can impose on us. However, in our line of work there is no getting around the need to have a formal contract in place that clarifies each person’s role in the arrangement. While we all strive to implement these types of contracts, many of us are not familiar with the concept of the psychological contract, a contract we step into when we are consulting, helping or leading others. This contract, unlike our formal contracts, highlights the beliefs held by each party regarding what they expect from one another on a personal level. This psychological contract is an unwritten set of expectations that is constantly at play during the term of the consulting relationship. This contract speaks to each person’s role within that contract, and the behavioral expectations that are often explicit and yet not defined. (Armstrong, 2003). Armstrong notes that the psychological contract is blurred at the edges, cannot be enforced by either party and is most often not written down.Yet it guides expectations, defines roles and helps interpret relationships between two separate parties. It also creates emotions that form and control participants’ behavior. The essence of the psychological contract is a system of beliefs that needs to be articulated to each party because, in the absence of a mutual understanding of the contract, one side of the equation is likely to feel disappointed or let down at some point. In my blog The Psychological Contract – A System of Beliefs That Needs to Be Articulated to Your Client, I discuss this contract and how it is one of the first things I take care of when embarking on any student-client/mentor relationship. I use it to set the scene. Here are the steps I take to ensure all aspects are taken care of: I have handled my initial sales inquiry professionally and have formalized a consulting appointment. The client has completed my online behavior consultation form which includes all the information I need to prepare for my first meeting safely and competently. My contract terms have been communicated, shared and signed and I am in receipt of my first appointment payment. I have attended the first consultation, conducted my functional assessment and developed a working hypothesis. I have a contingency statement describing what I believe, with a high rate of confidence, is eliciting the problematic behavior and/or maintaining it. I am beginning to formulate in my mind which of the fol-
lowing two options to implement when going forward, either a management plan or a complete behavior change program based on the stated needs and goals of the family. Family members are still operating at novice level. They do not know what they do not know. They are unconsciously incompetent. All is well. They are feeling good. The expert, i.e. me, is on site and their problems are going to be fixed. Now it is time for real discussions and contract agreements. I call this our “creating shared meaning” session. How this goes and how effective I am will determine the successful outcome of our team efforts and is critical to the success of the training program. Not only does it remove any ambiguity surrounding the relationship and the future, but it also creates a due north for how we move forwards together as a team. This chart shows the various components each party may consider important in the psychological contract: Psychological Contract – Client Point of View • The trainer will treat them fairly, respectfully and consistently. • They will obtain a clear understanding of the scope of the work, time investment and reliability of the trainer. • They will understand how much involvement and influence they will have in the process. • They will trust in the trainer to keep their word. • They will trust that the trainer will provide a safe working and learning environment. • They will understand role delineation between all parties. Psychological Contract – Trainer Point of View • The client will make an effort throughout the relationship. • The client will be compliant. • The client will be committed. • The client will be loyal to the cause and to their pet during the program
Going back to my blog, the next item to focus on is what is actually discussed during the “creating shared meaning” session. I am very open with my clients and highlight the need for complete transparency. I explain how I am going to share with them everything they need to know upfront so they can offer informed consent and agree to our plan of action. We are going to discuss each point and clarify anything misunderstood. We are going to put ourselves in a situation where, as from today, we operate as a team and make no assumptions about the journey we are embarking on. The key points we discuss are: My role versus their role – who has responsibility for training and caring for the pet and who is responsible for BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
the training and care of the (human) client. What will be expected in terms of time commitment and effort from each member of the family and how we are going to make this fun and empowering. What each session will look like, how the client will experience it, how the training sessions will move forward and each person’s role in these sessions. The specifics of all management activities that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. The specifics of all relationship-building activities that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. The specifics of all exercise sessions that will need to be incorporated into the family’s schedule. Specifically, the time and energy that will be required to conduct homework, much of it integrated into existing schedules. Safety concerns (if necessary). We make commitments regarding how things will be managed and whose role the specific management tasks are. The training protocols, the philosophy and how things will work. We do not judge or criticize anything the client has previously embarked on. We are there to make progress and focus on the future, not to assign blame for the past. What is in it for each person – we begin to create a vision for change, a vision that each member of the family wants to help create. Once this shared meaning has been created and the psychological contract is in place I can then begin my journey with my client knowing we are all on the same team working towards the same goal. I hope by now you are all asking yourselves why have I chosen to write about the psychological contract and how this fits into my message for BARKS. Essentially, as I stated in my opening paragraph, I wanted to share with you all “how we, the PPG leadership team, , a.k.a. the Steering Committee, feel about the level of responsibility we carry concerning our organization, you, the individual stakeholders, and the progressive movement of our industry.” Additionally, as I was editing my blog, it occurred to me that many of the things that happen in our daily work are not really covered or governed by the PPG’s Guiding Principles. Instead, they are covered by our desire to best serve our movement and our stakeholders and that, in fact, this is our psychological contract to our organization. When PPG first launched as a membership organization in January, 2012 we did so around a set of values and ethics. We defined our Guiding Principles, which stand as our formal contract. This contract details how we all expect each other to behave. As members of PPG’s Steering Committee, we all hold ourselves accountable to this same set of principles. What I want to do here is highlight what we believe to be the most important components of the psychological contract we stepped into when we accepted our roles on the Steering Committee. Our psychological contract comprises our obligation and responsibility to you, our members. Here are some of the points we believe to be very important components of this contract. As a PPG member, you can be assured that: 6
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
PPG operates ethically, legally and within the guidelines of its own Guiding Principles, which we consider to be progressive and at the forefront of our industry. Recognize that, out of respect for you, our stakeholders, and our obligation to conduct business professionally, we do not speculate, conduct our business, respond to innuendo or postulate on social media platforms. We will always communicate information that impacts our organization and our future to our membership via professional mediums only. As a company we will always take the high road and refrain from gossip, speculation and the disbursement of information, formal or otherwise, that is inaccurate, inflammatory or not to the betterment of our organization, our mission and Guiding Principles. When we have important intra-industry business to attend to we will do it professionally and, when necessary, under the advice and guidance of our advisors, legal team and other stakeholders. We will answer and stand up to our own call of honesty, transparency and accountability within our industry. This is our psychological contract commitment to you, our stakeholders.
President - Pet Professional Guild
Armstrong, M. (2003). Human Resource Development. London, UK: Kogan Page. Tudge, N. (2015). The Psychological Contract – A System of Beliefs That Needs to Be Articulated to Your Client. Retrieved May 27, 2015 from www.ppgworldservices.com/2015/05/23/the -psychological-contract-a-system-of-beliefs-that-needs-to-be -articulated-to-your-client PPG Guiding Principles: www.petprofessionalguild.com /GuidingPrinciples
Niki Tudge is the founder of the PPG, www.petprofessionalguild.com, The DogSmith, www.dogsmith.com, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College, www.dognosticselearning.com. Her professional credentials include: CPDT-KA, NADOI – Certified, AABPProfessional Dog Trainer, AABPProfessional Dog Behavior Consultant, Diploma Animal Behavior Technology, and Diploma Canine Behavior Science & Technology.
Message from the President, PPG Australia
et Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) is at last celebrating its existence as a legal entity, as of the third week of May, 2015. To get us started, an enthusiastic team of members, headed by Jude Tuttleby, ‘womanned’ the PPGA stand at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show, talking to visitors and stall-holders about PPGA and where it could take them, as well as handing out information cards for people to take home as a reference on how to contact us. A significant amount of midnight oil burned by our webmaster, Tricia Robinson, meant that we were able to go live with our website www.ppgaustralia.net.au in time for the show, so anyone looking for a trainer could immediately find one in the online directory. The RSPCA Million Paws Walk a week later was the next event PPGA turned out for, this time at numerous venues across the country. I am happy to report that both members of the public and local RSPCA staff showed a great deal of interest in our new venture. In the middle of May, we launched our public Facebook page, www.facebook.com/PetProfessionalGuildAustralia, and already had several hundred ‘likes’ and views in our first week. Our Australian members are in constant action in our Facebook group and we have a lot of good threads running, assistance being asked for and given, and business ideas shared. Since our website went live and provided Australian PPG members with the option to join their local chapter, several have done so and we are very happy to have them join us. On top of that, one of our main sources of new members has actually been from people who embrace the force-free ethos but, to date, have not had a place to call home in Australia, and who are delighted to be able to join a group of like-minded dog-training and care professionals. Another significant source has been people already within the force-free community who have taken up provisional membership to obtain access to PPG’s incredible educational opportunities. For the most part, the goal of these people is to eventually take the PPAB examination for accreditation and to
NEWS have closer contact with their more experienced colleagues. Australia is a big country with relatively few people and it can be a lonely life for a force-free trainer in some of our regional (i.e. non-capital city) areas, where “traditional” training methods are still the norm and a force-free trainer can be viewed with suspicion and derision. The opportunity to be part of a community in which it is safe to discuss humane training and handling methods is hugely valuable. It certainly bodes well for the future of PPG in Australia, and ultimately, the animals whose lives will be enriched through the education and care our members will be able to spread throughout the community. On the administration side, we have established sub-committees for publicity and marketing, for which we are still looking for a team leader; education, headed by Dee Scott; constitution, headed by Louise Ginman, and ethics, headed by myself. These committees will now begin the task of setting PPGA’s direction for the future and the route we will follow on that journey. Exciting times! Steph McColl President - PPG Australia
Steph McColl PCT-A is originally from New Zealand and started her dog training career in 1972 when, sadly, the only methods available were aversive. Following her migration to Australia in 1981, she concentrated on horses until 1996, when she got her first border collie and moved into positive reinforcement training. She then completed Certificate IV in Behavioral Dog Training with the Delta Society Australia, and began competing in obedience, NoseWork and RallyO with her two current border collies. She combines private one-toone dog-training and behavior consults with her role as chief instructor at Telarah Dog Training, www.telarahdogtraininginc .com, as well as owning and running a bookkeeping business.
Dr. Lynn Honeckman Joins PPG Special Council
PG has partnered with esteemed veterinarian and animal behavior consultant, Dr. Lynn Honeckman, to sit on its Special Council and help in its quest to network with vets and promote the organization to the vet community at large. “Dr. Honeckman has the respect and attention of both the veterinary community and professional dog trainers, which places her in a unique position to assist with community liaison between the two sets of professionals,” said PPG president, Niki Tudge. “It is and will continue to be one of PPG’s primary goals to help bring together veterinarians and professional trainers to benefit
Dr. Lynn Honeckman joins an elite group of professionals on PPG’s Special Council
the welfare and education of the pet owning community.” Dr. Honeckman graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1993 and is currently based in Orlando, Florida where she deals exclusively with behavior cases. “I am very pleased to join the Pet Professional Guild, an organization that is committed to science-based, force-free training and behavior therapy for our companion animals,” said Dr. Honeckman. “As a general veterinarian who sees only behavior cases, I feel very passionate about helping to bridge the gap between the veterinary profession and the pet training world. It is critical that all veterinarians, pet owners and trainers work together to create a positive quality of life for every pet we choose to invite into our lives. My mission is to bring everyone together to help improve the lives of our pets through the prevention and management of all behavior problems.”
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Update from PPG British Isles
n order to explain why we decided to call the latest international chapter of PPG, Pet Professional Guild British Isles (PPGBI), I will start with a quick geography lesson. First of all, Great Britain refers to the countries of England, Wales and Scotland as a unit. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland references the constitutional monarchy occupying the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland and small nearby islands (but not the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands): England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often shortened to United Kingdom (UK) but sometimes referred to as the constituent countries or home nations. When setting up our chapter of PPG, we asked ourselves what term would encompass the whole of Ireland and all the islands surrounding the UK. The answer was the British Isles, which encompasses the group of islands off the north-western coast of continental Europe. The British Isles not only includes the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but also three dependencies of the British Crown: the Isle of Man, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands, and over six thousand smaller isles. PPGBI is represented by PPG members in a number of locations throughout the region. The steering committee currently includes Claire Staines, Scotland; Denise O’Moore, Ireland; Carole Husein, Wales; and Stephanie Presdee and Louise StapletonFrappell, England.
These are very exciting times to be part of a membership organization committed to science-based, force-free training and pet care. The launch of PPGBI will generate yet more benefits for members at a local level, such as further training, an automatic global support network of peers and professionals, vendor discount programs, educational webinars by local professionals and a zip code index of listed members. Just as importantly, members of the international chapters will continue to have access to all of the Pet Professional Guild’s amazing resources, including a vast range of educational and marketing collateral. I asked Niki Tudge, founder and president of PPG, about the developments presently taking place and this is what she had to say: “It is a very exciting time for PPG all over the world. Our growth is very strategic and I believe if you are not moving forwards, then you are going backwards as nothing remains the same. There is lots more to come. Now that the Accreditation Program has been fully rolled out we will be focusing on our Advocacy Committee and the Educational Summit. We have a team in Australia working on a PPG member product for group classes and, in the next six months, we also plan to roll out a new advocacy program. I am very happy we are now in the British Isles and the Steering Committee there is working hard to develop some great membership benefits. We are also inviting some fabulous individuals to join us on the Special Advisory Council.” If you would like to join The Pet Professional Guild British Isles, you can do so at: www.ppgbi.com/TheGuildApplicationForm. - Louise Stapleton-Frappell CTDI PCT-A Membership Manager, PPG British Isles
SPCA South Australia has launched its Lead by Example campaign following 12 months of hard work and preparation. Led by Dr. Di Evans, RSPCA South Australia animal welfare advocate, the campaign has an innovative approach whereby it actively promotes harnesses and force-free training as alternatives to correction and “dominance” based training methods. At present, it is illegal to import prong collars into Australia (although, unfortunately, there is a loophole), electric shock collars are banned in South Australia, and check chains are commonly used at ‘old style’ training facilities. At the recent RSPCA Million Paws Walk event (a major fundraiser where dogs and their guardians participate in a group walk), a ‘chain exchange’ was set up where check chains could be swapped for flat collars free of charge. Qualified and aspiring force-free trainers approached dog guardians whose dogs were on check chains to enlighten owners about the risks of injury as well as offer them a collar swap. Reactions were mixed with some dog guardians clearly unaware of the dangers but, once explained to them, they gratefully participated in the exchange. Sadly, there was a small number of people (some of them quite young) who insisted on the efficacy of a check chain
and their desire to continue using one. Thanks must go to the trainers from Canine Behavioural School and Adelaide Pet Dog Training and several other volunteers for their tireless efforts on the day. Barbara Hutchinson is now turning the surrendered chains into jewelry at cost. The jewelry will then be sold at the RSPCA animal shelter to raise more funds. As a follow up to this event, a campaign poster and accompanying flyers have been sent to every veterinary clinic in South Australia. These include details of how clients can contact a force-free trainer and gain more information from the website. The Lead by Example campaign was developed by a working group comprising Dr. Di Evans, Sam Catford, Bev Clark, Nic Bishop, Deb Millikan, Jade Fountain and Sarah Esau. The website content has been well researched and provides relevant and current resource material, policy statements from internationally recognized associations and a compiled list of local force-free trainers. For more information, see www.rspcasa.org.au/the -issues/lead-by-example. - Debra Millikan PCBC-A AABP-CABP CAP2 DipABST DipDTBC Cert IV Training & Assessment
Leading by Example
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
New PPG Vendor Partner
ighty Dog Graphics is offering a substantial discount on all artwork to PPG members. To redeem your discounted rates, please log in to www .petprofessionalguild.com and visit the vendor discount page in the member area of the website. Mighty Dog Graphics can cover all your design needs from logos and illustrations to design work and training handout downloads.You can contact the artist, Denise O’Moore, at www.mightydoggraphics.com/contact-us.
he Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB), the much anticipated accreditation program for force-free canine trainers and behavior consultants launched in April, has announced the first-ever batch of pet professionals to pass its rigorous exam. These accredited professionals (see page 56 and www .credentialingboard.com/Professionals for a full, up-to-date list) have earned specific titles – Professional Canine Trainer (Accredited) (PCT-A) and Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (Accredited) (PCBC-A) – which may be used after their names. Register for the program at: www.credentialingboard.com /application if you would like to join them.
Pushing the Limits: Unexpected Findings about Instincts, Consequences, and Complex Skills. Learning Theory and Ethology with Susan M. Schneider PhD Monday, July 06, 2015 12 PM - 1:30 PM (EDT) Are Cats Really the Independent Animals We Believe They Are? New Research Suggests Not with Dr. Isabella Merola Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (EDT) Understand the Fallout of Punishment and What It Can Do to Dogs and People with Alexandra Santos Saturday, July 18, 2015 11 AM - 12:30 PM (EDT) Learn All About How to Train a Missing Animal Response Dog. Free PPG Member Webinar with Kat Albrecht Monday, July 20, 2015 9 PM - 10:30 PM (CDT) From Your Backyard to Harvard Yard: How Animal Trainers Can Contribute to Science. Specialized Topic Includes Some Learning Theory and Ethology with Susan M. Schneider PhD Thursday, July 23, 2015 12 PM - 1:30 PM (EDT) Advanced Training Technology Using Pet Tutor® with Wes Anderson and Amanda Hassel Thursday, July 30, 2015 7 PM - 8:30 PM (EDT) Learn How To Effectively Manage Groups of Dogs in an Off-Leash Environment with Kathy Sdao Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 1 p.m. 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Trade Show and Pet Business Event Management Skills with Niki Tudge Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12 p.m. 1:30 p.m. (EDT)
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
PPAB Announces First Graduates
PPG Workshops and Webinars
A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train 16 Obedience Cues Level - Intermediate A Five-Day Dog Training Workshop with Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge (Tampa, FL) Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train 16 Obedience Cues Level - Intermediate A Five-Day Dog Training Workshop with Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge (Tampa, FL) Monday, September 21, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday, September 25, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) Pet Care Certification Program with Rebekah King, Melody McMichael, Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge: Three-Day Workshop to Help You Professionalize Your Pet Care Business (Tampa, FL) Friday, October 9, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, October 17, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 5:30 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 BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
YOU CAN'T CAN''T MISS MISS THIS! THHIS! The Pet P Professional Profession nal Guild Educational Ed ducationall Summit November 11-13, 2015,- Tampa, Florida Lect ures and Hands-On Labs Every Day Lectures Co ncurrentt sessio se ns = plenty o ices Concurrent sessions off cho choices Your world-class ĐŬƐŽīoff ƚŚĂĨaŽƵfour-hour ƌŚŽƵƌŬĞǇͲ zŽƵƌǁŽƌůĚͲĐůĂƐƐƐƵŵŵŝƚŬŝĐŬƐŽīǁŝƚŚĂĨŽƵƌŚŽƵƌŬĞǇͲŶŽƚĞ Ǉkeynote z ŽƵƌǁ ŽƌůĚͲĐůĂƐƐƐSummit ƵŵŵŝƚŬŝkicks ǁŝwith ͲŶŽƚĞ ƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĂƟŽŶďǇƌĞŶŽǁŶĞĚǀĞƚĞƌŝŶĂƌŝĂŶĂŶĚĂƉƉůŝĞĚĂŶŝŵĂůďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌŝƐƚ͘͘͘ Ɖ ƌĞƐĞŶƚĂƟŽŶďby Ǉƌrenowned ĞŶŽǁŶĞĚǀveterinarian ĞƚĞƌŝŶĂƌŝĂŶĂand ŶĚĂapplied ƉƉůŝĞĚĂŶ ŝŵĂůďĞbehaviorist... ŚĂǀŝŽƌŝƐƚ͘͘͘ presentation animal
Dr. Karen Ov Overall erall ƌ͘KǀĞƌĂůůŝƐĂƚƚŚĞĨŽƌĞĨƌŽŶƚŽĨĐƵƫŶŐͲĞĚŐĞƌĞƐĞĂƌĐŚ ƌ͘KǀĞƌĂůůŝƐĂƚƚŚĞĨŽƌĞĨƌŽŶƚŽĨĐƵƫŶŐͲĞĚŐĞƌĞƐĞĂƌĐŚ ŝŶŶĞƵƌŽďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂůŐĞŶĞƟĐƐŽĨĚŽŐƐĂŶĚƚŚĞĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚ ŝŶŶĞƵƌŽďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂůŐĞŶĞƟĐƐŽĨĚŽŐƐĂŶĚƚŚĞĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚ ŽĨďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌ͘^ŚĞǁƌŝƚĞƐĞǆƚĞŶƐŝǀĞůǇŽŶƚŚĞĐůŝŶŝĐĂůĂƉƉůŝĐĂƟŽŶƐŽĨďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌ ŽĨďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌ͘^ŚĞǁƌŝƚĞƐĞǆƚĞŶƐŝǀĞůǇŽŶƚŚĞĐůŝŶŝĐĂůĂƉƉůŝĐĂƟŽŶƐŽĨďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌ ŽĨďŽƚŚĐĂƚƐĂŶĚĚŽŐƐ͘&ƌŽŵŚĞƌƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĂƟŽŶǇŽƵǁŝůůŐĂŝŶŝŶĐƌĞĚŝďůĞ ŽĨďŽƚŚĐĂƚƐĂŶĚĚŽŐƐ͘&ƌŽŵŚĞƌƉƌĞƐĞŶƚĂƟŽŶǇŽƵǁŝůůŐĂŝŶŝŶĐƌĞĚŝďůĞ ŬŶŽǁůĞĚŐĞŽĨƚŚĞĞǀŽůƵƟŽŶŽĨƚŚĞĚŽŐΖƐďƌĂŝŶ͕ƚŚĞŶĞƵƌŽďŝŽůŽŐǇŽĨƐƚƌĞƐƐ͕ ŬŶŽǁůĞĚŐĞŽĨƚŚĞĞǀŽůƵƟŽŶŽĨƚŚĞĚŽŐΖƐďƌĂŝŶ͕ƚŚĞŶĞƵƌŽďŝŽůŽŐǇŽĨƐƚƌĞƐƐ͕ ďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĂŶĞǁĂƉƉƌŽĂĐŚƚŽƚŚĞŚƵŵĂŶĞĐĂƌĞŽĨĚŽŐƐ͘ ďĞŚĂǀŝŽƌĂƐƐĞƐƐŵĞŶƚĂŶĚĂŶĞǁĂƉƉƌŽĂĐŚƚŽƚŚĞŚƵŵĂŶĞĐĂƌĞŽĨĚŽŐƐ͘
Limited Space - Reser Reserve ve Your Spot Today! ''ƵŝůĚDĞŵďĞƌƐͲŽŽŬĂƌůǇΘŶũŽǇDŽŶƚŚůǇ/ŶƚĞƌĞƐƚͲ&ƌĞĞWĂǇŵĞŶƚƐ͊ ƵŝůĚDĞŵďĞƌƐͲŽŽŬĂƌůǇΘŶũŽǇDŽŶƚŚůǇ/ŶƚĞƌĞƐƚͲ&ƌĞĞWĂǇŵĞŶƚƐ͊ ^^ƵŵŵŝƚhƐĂƉƉƌŽǀĞĚďǇ/͕Wd͕<W͕WW͕ĂŶĚWW' ƵŵŵŝƚhƐĂƉƉƌŽǀĞĚďǇ/͕Wd͕<W͕WW͕ĂŶĚWW'
w www www.ForceFreeSummit.com
Janis Bradley - National Canine Research Council That’s the Lab in Him Putting Aggression in Context We May Not Be the Rocket Scientists but We Can Be the Engineers: The Next Scientific Revolution in Dog Training Dr. Michelle Duda - Senior Level Board Certified Behavior Analyst Stop Barking up the Wrong Tree: How to Implement Best Practices for Coaching Ken McCort - Four Paws Animal Behavior Services Breed Specific Behavior Management and Training Learning to Think Adapting to New Environments Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz - Veterinary Behaviorist Would My Client's Dog Benefit from Medication? You're Not a Doctor but Can You Play One on TV? Chirag Patel - Domesticated Manners Shaping the Perfect Patient Laurie Schlossnagle - Side By Side Dog Training Training and Maintaining Therapy and Crisis Response Dogs Maureen Backman - Mutt About Town Muzzle Up Emily Larlham - DogMantics Loose Leash Walking: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle Relationship Essentials: Four Key Elements to Building the Successful Team Barb Levenson - Puppy To Partner Program It's Not Your Grandmother's Obedience Any More Pamela Johnson - Pam's Dog Training Academy Training Snake Aversion The Force-Free Way Canine Freestyle Collides with Disc Dogging Jacqueline Munera - Positive Cattitudes Cats for Pet Sitters A Crash Course in Cat: For Dog and Cat People Theresa McKeon - TAGteach International TAG Don’t Nag - Techniques to be “Force-Free” with the Humans in Your Life Lara Joseph - The Animal Behavior Center Pigs, Pups, Parrots and Predators Linda Michaels - Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training Understanding Research: Making the Case for Force-Free Training Pat Miller - Peaceable Paws Copy That: Teaching Dogs to Learn through Imitation Shelter From The Storm: Working Professionally with Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups How to be an "Expert Witness" Debra Millikan - Canine Behavioural School The Winds of Change: Teaching the Crossover Journey Nancy Tucker - Education Canine The Good Enough Dog: Redefining What a Good Trainer Is Diana Nichols Pappert - Animal Antics Chasing Tails: The Importance of Animal Perception and the Development of Relationships
© Can Stock Photo/endotune
Guest Speakers and Topics
Diane Garrod - Canine Transformations Learning Center Canine Emotional Detox (CED): Stress Release ‘How To’ for Challenging Canines Solving the Aggression Puzzle and Multi-Dog Household Fighting Angelica Steinker - Courteous Canine Inc, The DogSmith of Tampa Learn How to Incorporate Fun Safe and Educational Play into Your Behavior Programs and Training Emotions, the Engine of Behavior Change: Using Cognizant Behavior Consulting for Powerful Change Niki Tudge - The DogSmith Making a Case for Experiential Learning - Introducing On Task Skill Coaching Lisa and Brad Waggoner - Cold Nose College Dog Speak - What Is Your Dog Telling You? Lisa Morrissey - Courteous Canine Building Confidence through Trick Training Jennifer Shryock - Family Paws Parent Education Are You Cognizant of The Grumble Zones? Shari Sprague - PUP Rehabilitation and Conditioning Conditioning the K9 Athlete, Injury Prevention, Age Appropriate Activity, and How Structure Affects Function Sara McLoudrey - ROOT Dog Training iPhoneography for the Pet Professional Scott Baggett - Paws For Justice A Journey into Animal Assisted Interactions Emily Cassell - Courteous Canine & The DogSmith of Tampa Clicker Training for Small Pets JJ Bachant Brown - The DogSmith Florida's Gulf Coast SAR K9s: Exploring the Scent World
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Fun in the Sun - Up Your Training Game with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker A Two-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida
Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Working and Auditor Spots Available
ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/adogslifephoto
njoy two action-packed days of creative fun activities while you craft your trade and become a more well-rounded dog trainer. Under the expert guidance of Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker, attendees will learn the skills of a professional while their pet dogs also learn some new skills and tricks. Eight hours of instruction each day will be split between classroom lectures and training fun. The program is suitable for beginner and intermediate dog trainers. Key Topics Covered: s What is Learning and Behavior and
What is it Not. s The Skinny on Operant Conditioning. s The Use of Differential Reinforcement to Solve Training Problems. s Key Operant Conditioning Protocols, Shaping, Capturing, Targeting and Luring. s Reinforcement Types and Schedules. s Using Play to Motivate and Reinforce Behaviors.
Key Practical Skills Covered: s Shaping, Luring, Targeting and Capturing. s Eight Pet Dog Obedience Skills.
CEUs: CCPDT 16/IAABC 16/KPA 16/PPG 16 More information and online registration: www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1866718
Intermediate Level Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker L
A Five-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida
Monday, September 21, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) - Friday, September 25, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT)
earn how to train 16 obedience skills and all the trimmings! This workshop includes five days of hands-on learning, fun and practical applications for you and your dog. Attendees will learn the skills of a professional dog trainer while their pet dogs also learn some new skills and tricks. Participants will enjoy eight hours a day of classroom instruction combined with hands-on training. The program is suitable for both beginner and intermediate dog trainers. Key Topics Covered: s Learning and Behavior. s Functionally Analyzing Behavior. s Operant Conditioning. s Respondent Conditioning. s Canine Health and Handling. s Reinforcement Types and Schedules.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
s Using Antecedent and Postcedent Training Protocols. s Using Play to Motivate and Reinforce Behaviors. s Developing Training Strategies. s Behavior Chains.
Key Practical Skills Covered: s Shaping, Luring, Targeting and Capturing. s Differential Reinforcement and its Role in Resolving Problem Behaviors. s 16 Pet Dog Obedience Skills. s Practical Application of Reinforcement Strategies. s A Fun Afternoon Dock Diving, Lure Coursing and Agility Training. s Problem Solving for Difficult Situations.
CEUs: CCPDT 21/IAABC 36 More information and online registration: www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1840662
Pet Care Certification Program A Three-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida
Friday, October 9, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) Working and Auditor Spots Available
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
f you are a pet care provider, aspiring pet professional, dog beemergency handling skills. havior consultant, dog trainer, rescue professional, fosterer or a s Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols - a very detailed trainee in any of these disciplines, then this program will give you module that covers in depth the many potential emergency situall the skills you need to safely practice in the pet industry. It has ations you may, through first aid, need to manage prior to a pet been designed to cover everything you will need to become a in your care being attended to by a veterinarian. certified pet care technician (CPCT) and more. s Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys and Supplies - learning how Each day participants will enjoy eight hours of classroom and to identify appropriate equipment and use it safely, as well as LAB tuition and hands-on training with a selection of presenters more practical applications, e.g. desensitization protocols. covering a wide array of topics, including: s Bonus Module: Bump Start Your Business – this s How Pets Learn - includes a detailed module covers the key and critical skills required overview of operant and respondent condifor growth with an overview of how to create a tioning with hands-on examples and video analysis. simple but effective marketing plan. s Canine Behavior and Social Communication Certification Protocol learning the language of dogs and understanding the Working registrants will have the option to take a canine social behavior and communication systems; certification test online after the event to achieve the learning about affiliative and agonistic communicaCPCT designation. tion and passive and active appeasement behavAuditors will be required to complete the test iors; understanding dog bite inhibition and bite and submit videos to show competency in methresholds. chanical skills across several disciplines. s Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology a study of dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology. CEUs: CCPDT 14.5 Trainers, Behavior s Canine and Feline Health and Handling - inConsultants/IAABC 29 More information and online registration: cludes common canine and feline health issues, vacwww.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1824616 cination protocols and important daily and © Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
PPG World Service Radio Show www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPG-Broadcast
f the best o Bringing stry to chat, du the pet in and share! le k c u h c
PPG World Service is the official international e-radio web-casting arm of PPG, showcasing global news and views on force-free pet care. Join hosts Niki Tudge and Louise Stapleton-Frappell and their special guests at 12 noon EST on the first Sunday of every month!
Write for BARKS from the Guild or Blog for PPG!
We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS and our PPG Blog. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please do get in touch.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
To Walk or Not to Walk
Barb Levenson explains why she does not
walk her dogs and highlights alternatives to ensure they get sufficient physical and mental stimulation, plenty of
positive canine-human interaction,
and, last but by no means least, fun
y dog training facility is in what I refer to as a “cottage community,” i.e. an upper income residential area with a well-designed retail space that meets the needs of the community. Along the main street is a pedestrian path that is frequently used by joggers, older residents out for a stroll and the locals out walking their dogs “for exercise." Even though I have been in this area for almost 14 years, I have never used this path. In fact I have never walked my dogs for exercise. I know, I am an anomaly. But I have strong convictions as to why I do not. For years my clients have been telling me they walk their dogs for exercise. At the same time, however, many of them complain about their dogs pulling on the leash and various other behavior problems they continually experience. I recently had a client whose puppy screamed the instant she saw another dog or person on the street. The client continued to walk the puppy saying, “She’ll just have to get used to it.” Other people tell me they want their dogs to have “fresh air.” Lately, a very responsible client of mine was denied a rescue dog because she does not believe in walking her dogs. Instead she follows my lead and exercises her dogs in other, more positive and fun ways. So I decided it was time to present my reasons as to why it may not always be good to walk our dogs for exercise.
© Can Stock Photo/ksuksa
Why NOT to Walk
Better than a walk? This dog is getting a full workout from a game of Frisbee
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Why do I not walk my dogs? My clients have taught me that walking their dogs can lead to a variety of behavior issues. They then come to class to learn how to eliminate ______. I can fill in the blanks with any of the following: • Pulling • Chasing cars • Running away when the owner drops the leash • Lunging, barking and going after unfamiliar dogs • Lunging and barking at people How might these “problems” be fixed? In many cases, people might resort to some form of correction or punishment in an effort to thwart the problem escalating. But let us first discuss some of the issues. Pulling Pulling on the leash is particularly troublesome with larger dogs.
It is not so bad with little Yorkshire terriers, pugs and other dogs under 10 pounds. Most owners can deal with that. It is, however, a problem with larger dogs such as German shepherds, boxers, pit bulls and other strong dogs who have the potential to harm both themselves and their owners. You may on occasion see someone being dragged down the street, literally, by their dog. This can be particularly harmful physically to the dog who may be coughing and gasping for breath as he tries to move at a faster pace to get to wherever he wants to go. A well-meaning or unknowing owner may respond to this pulling dilemma with a choke chain or a pinch collar which, in effect, will punish the dog for trying to go at a trot or a canter, the speed he would normally use if he was actually free to enjoy the outing. I do not believe this is fun for the dog.
fearful and wants the scary things to stay away. This can be where the trouble begins. If a dog is barking at strange dogs or people, the owners may feel compelled to “correct” the behavior. They might pop the leash or scold the dog. Many clients tell me these reprimands are more for the benefit of the people their dog is directing his displays toward. As owners, they want to appear to be responsible. This type of response does not work, however. In fact, it may well do the opposite with the displays starting earlier the next time the dog sees another dog or person. With all this happening on walks I ask, “Why? Why continue to walk the dog?” The answer I get the most is, “Dogs need walks for exercise.” When I ask if the dog is having fun, the answer is generally affirmative because the dog gets excited when the owner picks up the leash to go for the walk. After I discuss this as a classically conditioned behavior, just like we see when
© Can Stock Photo/brm1949
Chasing Cars One client came to see me wanting to “break” her dog from chasing cars on walks. Her large mixed-breed dog would walk nicely down the street until a car passed them. Then he went into “Cujo-mode” (her words) and began chasing the car. Several times he caught her unaware and literally pulled her to the ground. We were both concerned that he was eventually going to be hit by a car. I convinced her it would be safer and her dog would be happier if they could play some fetching games or some other games in the back yard instead. She took my advice and also joined an obedience class. It was amazing how much this dog wanted to work for and with her. They are a much happier duo now.
Running Away Most of the people who walk their dogs do so with good intentions. However, not all owners are equipped to train their dogs in basic obedience. One example of this is a husky owned by some people in my neighborhood. They walk the dog several times a week. However, several months ago the dog got loose from the wife and she spent a good half hour trying to catch him and coax him back into the house. As soon as she got close to the dog he went into a play bow and took off in another direction. This could have been quite serious if it had happened out on the main street. I had terrible thoughts of the dog running directly into an oncoming car or truck. A solid recall would have been very useful in this case. Barking or Lunging at Unfamiliar Dogs and/or People Dogs who were not well socialized in early puppyhood, or even well-socialized dogs going through a fear period, often develop nervous, defensive behaviors when confronted with strange dogs and/or people on walks. Owners may call me about their six-, eight- or 10-month-old adolescent dogs who have developed these behaviors, i.e. barking and/or lunging at other dogs/people in an effort to keep them away. Some clients believe the dog is protecting them. I believe it is more likely that the dog is simply
The behavior “fetch” can become selfreinforcing for a dog
we pick up the car keys for example, I start asking questions. Is the dog truly having fun on the walk? Is the walk enhancing the client’s relationship with the dog? What is really happening once the walk begins?
Dogs Having Fun – or Not
To answer the question of whether dogs on walks are really having fun I decided to observe some of the dogs walking past my training facility. I took close note of their faces, body postures and actions to try to figure out what was going on with each one. The first dog looked like he was not all that interested in his owners and seemed to find the environment much more stimulating. The partnership seemed to be more between the two people walking rather than between them and the dog. The second dog appeared to be learning to pull on his leash. If his owners came to one of my training classes I would advise them to give the dog another behavior to replace the pulling, maybe to BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
COVER STORY How good a workout are these dogs getting and how much fun are they having?
walk beside them and get reinforced for that behavior. The third dog started barking at me as he went by. It seemed that he had some fear of strangers. What was he learning by taking walks? He learns that there are a lot of scary people in the world and he wants them to stay away. Continued walks with this dog may lead to lunging and barking at both people and dogs whenever they get too close. The last dog I observed was a young Yorkshire terrier walking with her owners. She seemed to be very concerned about things. Was she beginning to learn that the world is scary? Was she learning that walks are fun or did they seem stressful to her? Her body language said she did not want to come over and meet me but she did not seem interested in her owners either. Observations completed, I once again asked, “What part of this is fun? Where is the relationship between the companion dog and his owner? What is really going on during these walks? What is the dog learning? Why is it so important to walk when there are more interesting things we can do with our dogs?”
Thinking Outside the Box
Anyone who knows me understands that I march to the beat of my own drum. I am always thinking about what is best for the dog. This can make me something of an outsider. “Everyone does it. Everyone walks their dog,” people say. In fact one client posted a “negative” review complaining that I do not like dog parks or doggy daycare and that I do not walk my dog. I had to laugh because she was right. I admit to all of that. My main concern though is for the emotional and physical safety and health of my dogs, as well as my relationship with them. My personal philosophy is based upon creating a complete partnership with my dogs. I do this so I can live with them comfortably. And part of that partnership includes a managing partner, i.e. me. This by no means makes me the “alpha” in the house. However, someone has to set up the rules and structure and ca16
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
© Can Stock Photo/olgacov
nine brains, no matter how highly developed, are not quite up to the task. This is where I step in as managing partner. Within that partnership I want to be perceived by my dogs as the best and most fun resource in the universe. Dog trainer Susan Garrett calls it, “Being the Cookie.” For example, I want them to choose playing with me over chewing on the sofa. I want them to learn I am more fun and reinforcing than the sofa. This is not really hard to do since the sofa just sits there and does not play back. I also want to exercise them sufficiently so they do not feel the need to chew on the sofa in the first place. I want my dogs to think I am more interesting than the environment. Of course, the environment has some fascinating smells, especially those out on the street or where the deer and the antelope play. But if I interact with my dogs in a fun and playful way and offer them lots of reinforcement for ignoring the environment, then working and playing with me will be just as rewarding. In my managing partnership role, work is play and play is work. They are one and the same. If you buy into my paradigm that the dog-human relationship should be all fun and games, I recommend you look more closely at the faces of dogs who are being walked. I was recently driving down my local main street and saw a couple walking their two dogs. One was a greyhound and the other was a dachshund but it seemed to me like no one was having much fun. The owners appeared to be taking their jobs quite seriously and were not talking. The greyhound looked rather bored and was focusing on the ground. In my opinion, as a sight hound he would have been much happier chasing something that moved. Maybe lure coursing would have been a good option for him. The dachshund seemed to be struggling on his short little legs to keep up with the couple. He did not appear to be having fun. As I watched, I wondered if people look at their dogs when they walk them. Many of my clients tell me their dogs cannot wait to go for their
walks. I wonder if this is because they do not have any other interactions with their owners. Walks often take the place of training or teaching the dog to do something positive, such as fetch. Some clients tell me they do not feel guilty about not doing other things with their dogs because they make sure they walk them several times a day.
Q: If we do not walk our dogs, what do we do with them? A: We train, play and interact with them.
That answer is where the trouble starts. My form of exercise requires thinking, planning and some real effort and energy on my part in order to create the best and most stimulating life I can for my dogs. I prefer to have all interactions with my dogs to fit into a program of fun and games. One of the first and most important behaviors I teach them is fetch. Most of them do not start out wanting to fetch or liking it all that much. As a result I have had to shape the game. I start out as though I am teaching a trick and start reinforcing approximations of the fetching behavior. By my putting enough reinforcement or value behind the behavior, my dogs grow to love to fetch. The behavior itself becomes self-reinInteracting with dogs via fun and games takes some planning and effort on the part of the owner
© Can Stock Photo/ksuksa
The Role of Exercise in the Neuroeconomy of the Dog
© Can Stock Photo/Decade3D
The canine brain: Studies have shown that neurotransmitter activity is influenced by exercise
he experimental study of exercise indicates that it exerts a considerable, and potentially therapeutic, influence on the physiology of dogs. In addition to the release of various HPA system hormones (beta-endorphins, ACTH, and cortisol), exercise also increases the production of NE. Many studies with animals (especially rodents) have shown that neurotransmitter activity is influenced by exercise. Besides enhancing noradrenergic activity, exercise was also found to increase serotonin levels in the central amygdala (Chaouloff, 1997). These combined influences are believed to be responsible for some of the beneficial mood effects associated with exercise. The finding that exercise enhances serotonergic activity is of considerable importance with respect to the use of exercise for the management of stress-related behavior problems. Within the brain’s neuroeconomy, serotonin plays an important modulatory role over stress and the control of undesirable impulsive behavior. [Various] studies support the hypothesis that exercise, especially daily and long-term exercise, has potentially beneficial effects on the neuroeconomy of the dog. Many dog-behavior consultants and trainers have long recommended exercise for the amelioration of a wide variety of behavior problems. Although the research is far from conclusive, the beneficial influence of exercise in combination with appropriate behavioral (e.g., basic training and behavior modification) and environmental interventions is a sensible approach to the management of stress-related [and other] behavior problems.
Source: Lindsay, S. R. (2000). Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training Volume One: Adaptation and Learning, pp. 112-113 Iowa State Press/© John Wiley & Sons Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
forcing to them. In fact it is so reinforcing I can even use fetch as a reinforcer step when I want to create more speed that he is in certain behaviors. As an examenjoying himple, fetching allows me to deself, and I am velop drive for weave poles with having fun too. all my dogs. I use the toy as a reAnother exerinforcer at the end of the poles. cise game Fly For me, the most reinforcing loves to play is part of using fun and games for what I call the exercise is the look on the faces “Food – Down of my dogs as we are playing. This Game,” seen in this This dog does is one of the earliest videos I took of fourth video. In addition not appear to my dog Classy when I was just starting be enjoying his to running to the food, I leash walk in to teach him to fetch. He was only 10 am also training and rethe slightest weeks old at the time. This gave me a good inforcing his drop on way to start to build a game of cooperation berecall. It is also an ex© Can Stock Photo/Anke tween us. It was also a great way to exercise and tire cellent game for out my puppy but, most importantly, he was having fun. strengthening our relationship. Fly is off leash, playing with me This later video shows Classy as we play Frisbee. As I also use and having fun. For him, all is right with the world. fetching as reinforcement for behaviors, watch Classy as he gives In this final videosFly is simply having the time of his life outme a fast drop (one of my drop on recall games) before I throw doors. He is getting excellent aerobic exercise and having fun the Frisbee.You can see from his body and face that he is enjoywith me too. I compare this to the dogs I had observed out on ing the game and is anything but bored. Would he be happy if the their walks and again wonder which form of exercise is better game went on and on? I know he would. for the dog. The third video shows another fetching game where I have In my opinion everything falls into this category: Play = Work taken the two-toy game to another level and am using two and Work = Play. In all the videos my dogs are playing with me dumbbells.You can see the look on Fly’s face and the spring in his and learning something, even if that something is simply cooperating with me. Compare that to the average dog out on a There can be no walk and then ask yourself which form of exercise is betdoubt that this dog is ter and more enjoyable for the dog. This is exactly why I reveling in the game do not walk my dogs. n
Garrett, S. (2011, March 22). Be the Cookie. Message posted to www.susangarrettdogagility.com/2011/03 /be-the-cookie Video Classy Learns to Fetch: www.youtube.com/watch ?v=DIdVkq9e-ZI Video Classy Plays Frisbee: www.youtube.com/watch?v =2r15swt2VP4 Video Fly and the Two-Toy Fetch: www.youtube.com /watch?v=sCg7kuYFFws Video Fly Plays the Food – Down Game: www.youtube .com/watch?v=K0kqlDZXsN0 Video Fly Outdoors: www.youtube.com/watch?v =FssHgVU7rxM&feature=youtu.be
© Can Stock Photo/DragoNika
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Barb Levenson BS has been competing in dog sports since 1981 and teaching obedience and agility privately since 1985. She has titles in Obedience, Agility and Herding and heads the Barb Levenson Dog Training Centers, www.barblevensondogtraining.com, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her first book Flatwork for Agility was released in 2007.
Stuck in the Mud
Lara Joseph details the pros and cons of online advice in terms of training pigs and
explains what she is doing to promote force-free training methods
ini, pocket and teacup are all adjectives used to describe pigs and are specifically designed to impart a certain image to any potential pet pig owner. What might one think of when one hears the word "mini?" 'Something weighing under five pounds' might come to mind, or 'something that fits into a purse.' While both considerations might be correct, when referencing a pig, they will only be accurate for about two months. What happens then, when the pig gets bigger than five pounds? Along with these misleading descriptions, the internet is now awash with behavior advice that will make any trainer or behavior consultant who practices learning theory cringe. The growing list of Facebook groups for pet pig owners includes many pages focusing on mini and pot bellied pigs. It was while browsing some of these pages that I first became aware of a popular new “technique” known as Move the Pig (MTP). In a nutshell, this entails walking up to a pig who is sleeping or resting and forcing him or her to move. MTP allegedly makes the pig learn that the owner is the “top” or “dominant” pig. Support for this method is, sadly, overwhelming. On a more positive note, the positive approaches for changing animal behavior employed by force-free trainers and behavior consultants are just as effective when used on the people who promote the above techniques. The majority of our work in this respect involves showing the owner or caretaker how to fluently apply our methods to the animal in question. Thus, after becoming aware of some of the methods being recommended for pigs, some of my peers and I immediately started to share our videos featuring force-free methods on social media. We also started sharing our concerns about the side effects of using aversives, force and coercion to control behavior. Although we were met with some resistance, the support was overwhelming in the main. A few years ago, it was suggested that I contact a very popular pig trainer for advice on working with large pigs who were showing signs of aggression such as biting, lunging, charging and head swinging. The trainer told me to punch the pig in the nose. I asked if this was a one-time solution or something I would have to continue to do (although, obviously, I would never use this approach). I was advised I would probably have to continue using this method indefinitely. I shared my concern about using a positive punisher that was not going to change the pig's behavior and was told there was no other option. I recently talked to representatives at another nationally known pig shelter, who suggested I pick up the 100 pound pig and bite his ear. I was told this mimics how pigs “show dominance” with each other. Obviously our concerns with these approaches are many and, unfortunately, it does not end there. I recently watched a YouTube video by a well-known pig breeder
Milo features in a number of educational videos to spread the word about force-free training for pigs
that was receiving a lot of support on Facebook. The video demonstrated how one should jab the pig in the back of the ear whenever he lunges or bites. The person in the video said it worked and that she had only had to do it twice. Her pig, apparently, has not bitten since. We made notes throughout the video and then began shooting our own video showing alternative approaches to modifying this same behavior. Our videos have already been posted online and we are ever more intent on sharing alternative solutions to these punitive and painful techniques. (See video: Milo Being Picked Up on Cue.) Using aversives, force and coercion can work… but they are not without their consequences. This is the message we are sharing and will continue to share on social media. What happens when the pig breeder’s mother tries using her hand to pet this same pig? Will the pig generalize the jab to all hands and all people? What happens when a child comes into the house to pet the pig? What happens when the grandfather comes over to walk by the pig while he is resting after the caretakers have been using the Move The Pig “technique?” Pigs are strong. Pigs are very fast and can outrun many dogs. Pigs are also prey animals and often have to rely on increased aggression to protect themselves. Almost all aggressive behaviors I have seen in pigs have started out with the pig defending himself from humans or another animals. The signs of fear are subtle and the aggression that BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Training Tips by PPG Members #1
follows is preventable. Signs of fear include freezing, the tail stops wagging, the ears move forward to listen, the hair stands up on the back of the neck, a distinctive squeal, and the pig turns to look from his side. But these signals can indicate more than fear. Once that human or other animal reacts to a lunge by jumping back, the pig has learned this behavior works and that it serves its purpose. If that lunge did not bring as successful a result as the pig intended, maybe a bigger more forceful lunge will do the trick next time. Milo is the educational Juliana pig we work with at my training center. He is featured in many videos on the aforementioned Facebook pages showing how to get a rock solid recall as an alternative to MTP. We let Milo show other pig owners how a station (teaching an animal to target to an area and not move until cued to do otherwise) can become very reliable and bring desirable results as an alternative to jabbing the animal in the back of the ear or punching him on the nose. (See, for example, video: Shaping Milo to Accept a Harness.) In our videos we also show any mistakes we make in our training sessions and what we do to counterbalance the experience. Encouragingly, the viewers have so far provided extremely positive feedback to this. In this way, we will keep spreading the word and educate current and future pet pig owners about force-free training methods. n
ith the variety of animals that comes through my training center, we have to train some of them without contact for safety reasons. One of these animals is Rico, our 11-year old umbrella cockatoo. Rico only allows physical interaction with a handful of people. He is also easily overstimulated which, through observation, we have learned quickly results in biting and chasing. To avoid this, we encourage our staff to first build a relationship with him by asking him to go to a certain perch in his cage and station there (i.e. stay there until cued to do otherwise) while we reinforce him through the cage bars. His reinforcer is often attention rather than food. Compounding this relationship with the staff member, we train him to remain stationed while another staff member sets a crate inside his cage. While one person sets down the crate, the other reinforces Rico on his station through the cage bars. Once the person exits the cage, Rico is cued to fly down to the crate. There is a rope on the inside of the crate’s door and we have shaped Rico’s behavior so that he pulls on it. It is easier for Rico to stand in his crate to pull on the rope. When he stands inside and pulls on the rope, he gets higher valued reinforcers. When he shuts the cage door while inside the crate, we reinforce him for stationing at the back of the crate. This allows both distance and safety for us to go into his cage, lock the crate door and then move Rico, still in his crate, outside of the cage to service the cage or safely take him where he needs to go. This is a behavior he looks forward to completing every time and enhances his relationships with the various staff members. Stationing is an invaluable behavior for animals who do not like to interact with too many people
© Can Stock Photo/liseykina
Pigs do not like to be picked up so Milo is learning this behavior on cue via positive reinforcement
Video Milo Being Picked Up on Cue: www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyPRu148p5A&feature=youtu.be Video Shaping Milo to Accept a Harness: www.youtube.com/watch?v=81l4doDUIPs
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. Lara is a professional member of The Animal Behavior Management Alliance and The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
- Lara Joseph The Animal Behavior Center LLC www.theanimalbehaviorcenter.com
The Reliable Recall
etting a consistent recall from your dog can literally mean his life or death. It is certainly one of the most important cues we can teach our dogs, yet at the same time is often the most neglected. There are a few very important things to remember about getting a great recall:
1. Do not say the word “come” unless the dog is on a leash or heading straight for you. Otherwise he will hear you say it but may choose to ignore you, thus deeming the cue “optional.”
2. When the dog comes to you, you are happy – no matter what he just did or how long it took you to get him back to you. If you reprimand him when he comes to you, he will most likely think twice about coming to you next time. 3. Continue to treat your dog with a high value reward for a long time. This is not something to start intermittently rewarding for quite some time.You want the dog to know it is always good when he comes to you, that he will get something good and may even get to go play again.
4. Do not just call the dog to have him do something he does not want to do, like take a bath, get a nail trim or leave the park. A reliable recall is an important behavior yet is often neglected
© Can Stock Photo Inc./Bigandt
Training Tips by PPG Members #2
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Defying the Stereotype
Dee Goings saved a “chewy” Rottweiler pup from euthanasia and now uses her as an
example to challenge common misconceptions and demonstrate how force-free training is applicable to all dogs, no matter what their size, breed or reputation
hen people think of a Rottweiler, they often think, unfortunately, of a large hulking mass on a choke chain or shock collar. My girl, Ripley, could not be more different. She came to me from a family who had purchased her from a working dog breeder and had her flown out to them. At 12 weeks, when she started teething, they gave her a dustpan to chew on. She then started using the owner as a chew toy and so they called me. At the age of 15 weeks Author Dee Goings Ripley was lined up to come to me for a has had enormous board and train program where we were success honing Ripley’s going to teach her appropriate chewing high work behavior as well as basic manners. But ethic via the day she was to arrive I got the phone force-free training call that would change both of our lives forever. Ripley’s family had decided to have her euthanized. They considered her to be a vicious dog due to her grabbing her owner’s arms to chew on. Unfortunately, the behavior had been rewarded by the owner pushing Ripley away or unintentionally playing with her to try to get her to stop. Happily, Ripley was not put down. Instead she came home with me for good. We started working on her training immediately and the behavior I saw was not vicious at all, but indicative of a very high work ethic. Ripley was bred to be a Canine Working Unit. She was thought to be the calmest puppy in the litter. This is why the breeder selected her for the family since she was considered to be more of a family pet than a working dog. Immediately we started working with Ripley using only food. I kept her meals divided and used every opportunity to train her. Within a week I had a dog that had a solid sit and stay even at that tender age. Her down became flawless as she would throw out her front legs to get her morsel of kibble. She had the ability to stop on a dime and come trotting to me with her big smile and tongue hanging out. As long as we worked she did not even want toys. She wanted to work. At 24 weeks Ripley had a small run-in with a harness that rubbed her raw. When I took her to the vet’s office the doctor suggested she be sedated. He kept telling me, “She’ll bite us if we don’t muzzle and control her.” This was the first time I was to hear about how my beautiful, happy girl was going to be out of control at the drop of a hat. When I explained that she and I 22
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
were working on gaining obedience competition skills, he was clearly nervous about not muzzling her. I had not muzzle trained her and I never want a vet visit to be traumatic. That day she performed her wonderful down and lay with her paws in my hands while I rubbed her legs. The vet was able to shave the back of her neck while she took treats whenever I offered. We all made it through without a hitch. That is when I knew she had a future in obedience. Ripley is now 11 months old. She has been able to work tirelessly and not once have we used pain or coercion in her training. When we go out people ask all sorts of things, such as: “What brand of e-collar was she trained on?”, “Who was your trainer to make the dog so submissive?”, “Which boot camp did you send her to?” and so on. I proudly tell them that we have worked together using only positive reinforcement training methods. Ripley is only away from me when she stays home with her dad while I work with other dogs. Otherwise we always work together. Every experience for her is a training session and we make them all fun. She knows working equals play, rewards and all good things. She has never once experienced pain to train with me. People ask me how I managed to get Ripley to be so obedient. Here are just a few simple steps can help you on your way: Step One: The Sit. I use a sit for everything. I taught Ripley to sit in order to get things in life. She sat, she got food, she sat, she got toys, she sat, and she got to curl up on the couch with me. I use a version of Dr. Sophia Yin’s Say Please program. I started out using a clicker and every time her bottom would hit the floor I would click and say “sit” as she got a treat. I took an empty egg crate and filled each hole with 10 pieces of food in order to track. Every time she sat and got a piece, I took a piece out of the container. Once we had a reliable sit and she was no longer missing cues, we moved onto using it for other things like getting up on the couch. Soon Ripley was eating her food out of the bowl as she had moved from needing rewards every time she sat. We played the lottery with her. We would reward her sit every now and then and often we used her toys instead. Step Two: The Down. A lot of the time we lure a dog into a down to teach them how to do it. Ripley was no different and
we put the treat to her nose and slowly moved it down between her front feet and then pulled it out to get the behavior. As I teach with hand signals as well, we also would point to the floor as we went. As Ripley was scheduled for euthanasia at the soon as Ripley age of 15 weeks due to “vicious” behavior had her front legs extended I would click and give her the piece of food. As we were working we reduced her meals and used her regular food to reward her. She has always been eager to work. When we use the word down, we are very careful we do not use it except when we want her to lie down. If she climbs on the couch and we need her to move we use “off” and not “down” as we do not want to confuse the cues. What we ended up with was a reliable down that she could do at any time. Step Three: The Walk. This is the part I see owners struggle with the most. When I work with a reactive dog, whenever the dog goes to the end of the leash we have him come back and sit for a treat. What we get as an end result is a dog who watches us as we walk and who we can reward and treat occasionally as we go. This was exactly how we taught Ripley to walk on a leash. As I was walking her with obedience competition in mind, I kept her to my left side and as soon as the leash would get tight would stop moving completely and make a kissy noise to have her come back to me. Once she was near me I would say “sit” and reward her for sitting. As soon as she got the treat we would start moving again. Within a couple walks Ripley was walking beside me practically prancing and looking up at me the whole time. Step Four: The Wait. I hear a lot of owners say they do not want their dogs to dart outdoors and want them to be calm when people come to visit. This is where the wait comes in handy. I started teaching Ripley the wait by holding my hand out and stepping back one step, saying “wait” while she is in a down or sit. Upon her staying where she is, I step back and feed her a small treat. We start doing this for longer durations and with me farther away. We slowly increase either distance or duration at first so as not to raise the stakes too quickly or make it confusing. As we got farther away, we returned quicker so Ripley was able to succeed in her wait. While this is just the beginning of what we have worked on with Ripley, it has been tremendously helpful already. Instead of having a 115 pound puppy who might jump up and behave obnoxiously in public, she is instead attentive to me and the people who want to pet her. We still hear comments about how we “obviously” had to punish her to train her to be so obedient. When I
tell people I have never punished her people are (unfortunately) surprised and even disbelieving. When I work with reactive dogs, Ripley is now my non-reactive counterpart. She can sit and literally just watch me for hours. She is my rock of solid good behavior, especially in public. When we were first starting out and it was suggested by another local trainer that I look into shock collars for her since, apparently, you “cannot train a stubborn Rottweiler without using shock,” I made an offer for him to come and see us any time. Her new vet (we switched after the previous fearful doctor wanted us to muzzle her) loves how she is so calm and well-behaved. When we compete she is known as Ripley the Rottenweiler as she has a wild streak and loves to fling her toys into the air as she plays. So the next time someone tells you that your choice of breed is “stubborn” and must be trained with corrections and punishment, you can tell them about Ripley, the dog who can perform a rock solid stay while her owner walks two blocks away and who has never once been punished Because of the stereotypes surrounding her breed, casual observers, sadly, often find it hard to or corbelieve Ripley was trained without punishment or force rected. n Dorothy "Dee" Goings is a professional dog trainer based in Jacksonville, Illinois. She owns Peace, Light & Love For Dogs, www.pllfordogs.wix.com/home#, is a C.L.A.S.S. evaluator, Blue Buffalo TrueBlue trainer, AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator, AKC STAR instructor, and PPG pet first aid certified. She has been teaching for the last five years and specializes in behavior modification.
THE FORCE-FREE SUMMIT: REACHING FOR A HIGHER STANDARD SAVE THE DATE!
The Pet Professional Guild has announced its first ever convention, to be held in Tampa, Florida on: Wednesday, November 11 Friday, November 13, 2015. More details at www.petprofessionalguild.com/Force-Free-Summit BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Slipping and Sliding
It is not uncommon for dogs to be scared of walking on shiny floor surfaces. Diane Garrod
outlines seven possible factors that might cause this problem and how trainers and behavior consultants can help
© Can Stock Photo/Laures
t is no fun for a dog who is far-sightedness often. Both condiscared of walking on shiny floors. tions are measured using a series of Slipping and sliding and being lenses and a retinoscope. worried or afraid every step of the Dr. Shannon Budiselic states: "As way can diminish confidence.Yet a rehabilitation therapist, I’m conone can find countless videos on vinced that not all hesitancy to use YouTube of people amused at their hardwood floors is behavioural, and elderly dog having a hard time walksome of my observations from ing on a slippery floor, or at dogs of years of treating dogs who have all ages sliding across shiny floors. In lived on these floors suggests otherreality, it is no laughing matter. Dogs wise… A thorough physical examiafraid of shiny floors could, in fact, nation by your veterinarian or be crying out for help. rehabilitation therapist will help you For example, a dog may be sufdetermine any underlying physical fering from something similar to issue that may be causing the anxipost-traumatic stress disorder that ety (like sore hips, poor eyesight)." causes him to have panic attacks. He Measuring how well a dog sees might have a thyroid condition. Acrequires a Canine Eye Registration This papillon appears vigilant as she cording to Dodds and Aronson makes her way across the shiny floor Foundation test such as is required (1999), there appears to be a link for show dogs. Orthopedic Foundabetween thyroid dysfunction and aberrant behaviors, disorientation Association (OFA) eye certification examinations are tion, fearfulness, phobias and anxiety (see also Interview with Dr. screening exams performed by board-certified veterinary ophJean Dodds on pages 50-51). thalmologists. The exams can take place either in the veterinary With increased urbanization and affluence have come dogoffice or at a special clinic held in conjunction with another unfriendly lifestyles. Homes that are clean, ergonomic and effievent (such as a dog show). The eye certification exam consists cient are fashionable. Contemporary trends in interior design of indirect ophthalmoscopy and slit lamp biomicroscopy. Accordcan have a distinctly adverse effect upon the quality of canine life. ing to the OFA, it is not a comprehensive ocular health examinaOverly clean, smooth floors such as wood laminate or polished tion but rather an eye screening exam. tile surfaces are not comfortable for dogs to walk on. They also The Case of Logan increase the noise level in the home. Mugford (as published by Jensen, 2007, p. 226) states that the behavioral repercussions of Logan is a rescued English golden retriever who has trouble such floors may include motivating the dog to find refuge on the walking on slippery floors. From day one of working with him, I furniture. saw that this extremely fearful canine client had trouble maneuPanic in dogs can take on many forms and this can include vering on floors. It was not something that came and went but a constant. From the beginning, I focused on Logan's eyesight as them being unsteady on their feet. Slippery floors do not absorb the main issue, given that all other tests had been completed and sounds. They are also visually-challenging making it difficult to come back normal. In the meantime, during our board-and-train stand, move, stop or stay in one place. Slick flooring can crop up sessions, I taught Logan to walk backwards so he could back out elsewhere too: in stores where we take our pets to socialize, at of scary places. He seemed to walk better this way, even up stairthe veterinarian's office and at the groomers. There are seven reasons a dog might be afraid of shiny floors wells. I laid down carpets to help him to get from one area to another and increased distance incrementally, as well as had him or feel unable to walk or maneuver on them. walk in nonslip dog socks. Trying a number of wrap combinations, a TTouch® method, I noticed he walked a lot better be1) Eyesight Near-sightedness and far-sightedness have been documented in cause it allowed him to hold his head higher. His habit was to dogs. However, dogs are generally considered to be myopic, i.e. hunch his shoulders with his head close to the ground and walk suffering from near-sightedness. Dogs do not tend to suffer from on floors this way. 24
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Logan, sporting slip-proof back-leg dog socks and a racing stripe wrap, stands on a carpet square to get from one spot to the next. He walked better and more confidently this way, but still cautiously and apprehensively. Distress is evident in his face
Today, Logan can maneuver on floors in a store situation, and can move around confidently when he stays with me for a boardand-train. His foot placement is much more precise. However, he has trouble viewing something held over his head. For this reason I continue to urge that Logan have his eyes tested by a qualified veterinary ophthalmologist, even though a veterinarian has since checked his eyes and found nothing physically wrong.
2) Otitis Tinnitus The inner ear provides a required frame of reference for movement. Equilibrium is controlled by the body's electrical impulses, which are registered on hair cells located in the three semicircular canals (the end organ for balance). These signals transmit the current status of the body in relation to the horizon (Kidd, 2004, p.1). My own dog,Valor, has otitis tinnitus (interna), which is a deep inner-ear affliction. It causes him to be unable to walk on slippery floors. He can panic and whine because he is unable to get from one spot to the other. If he rushes forward, he slips and slides as though on ice. This comes and goes; he can go for months being able to walk fine on shiny floors and then, all of a sudden, be unable to do so.Yet he has no problem walking on asphalt, cement, grass or training room floors. He also ducks if he fears something will fall from a counter or something like a broom might fall. Again, this is not consistent but sporadic. Consequently, I am very familiar with this malady and what can be done to help a dog gain more confidence walking across the floor. Otitis media and otitis interna cause a dog to have difficulty balancing. He may stumble and fall, stagger or trip when first getting up, or circle in one direction. It can cause him to be unable to walk on slippery floors. If you see any of the symptoms that indicate a lack of balance (such as staggering or falling), see a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis. Usually the dog will need to be anesthetized in order for the inner ear to be viewed. Antibiotics may be required.
Valor (right) and Logan find the safety of carpet squares on slippery floors a confidence builder
3) Proprioception Many causes in this list may cross over, but the one recurring element is that the dog is uncomfortable walking on the flooring and has a lack of confidence in his balance, footing and proprioception. Balance is the ability to keep body weight centered over the body's base of support. If too much weight is displaced away from the center, the dog can lose his balance and fall. Proprioception is the ability of a dog to know what position or orientation his legs and paws are in while he is standing or walking. Through a series of complicated neurologic connections, small sensors located within the joints relay messages to the brain about where the forelimbs and hind limbs are at all times. The brain then controls the muscles to help move the legs in order to keep the body balanced. Loss of proprioception causes abnormal placement reactions in the limbs, abnormal limb position at rest (legs crossed or paws turned under) and abnormal wearing of the toes. Loss of proprioception is a nonspecific indication of neurologic disease. If loss of proprioception is suspected, then working on a variety of nonslip surfaces may help. The use of a wobble board, used in agility and K9 conditioning workouts, as well as exercise balls and carpeted stairs can help. Interspersing carpet squares with linoleum tiles as an exercise in variable surfaces can build confidence.You can also simply use carpet squares on slippery floors and then extend the distance between the squares incrementally and slowly so the dog has success moving across them. 4) Neurological Disorders Neurological disorders may cause dogs to be unable to maneuver on slippery floors. Back end weakness, arthritis, degenerative myelopathy, weak limbs, cognitive disorders, back problems and nerve damage can all also increase fear of walking on slippery floors. Suspected neurological issues must be assessed by a qualified veterinarian/veterinarian behaviorist specializing in these disorders. BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
5) Orthopedic Problems Being fearful of slippery surfaces may be a sign of undetected orthopedic problems. With health conditions ruled out, the dog's problems can be assessed from a behavioral standpoint. However, sudden onset fear can be a sign of arthritis, ruptured cruciate ligament and other neuromuscular problems. According to Dodds and Aronson (1999), ruptured cruciate ligament is one of the clinical signs of canine hypothyroidism in the neuromuscular problems category. Walking on a shiny floor may be painful for a dog with orthopedic issues. Splaying out, back end tuck and slide or a wrong turn of a foot can all cause additional issues so it is very important to provide surfaces that the dog can feel safe on, like rubberbacked non-slip carpet swatches or rugs. Think in terms of giving a dog a visual pathway for footing confidence. Work with a veterinarian to diagnose problems causing pain. The dog will need regular care and attention. 6) Long Nails/Excess Fur Between Pads This is the easy reason. Clip nails, cut fur short between pads and help the dog overcome her fear. The practical answers are: carpet swatches placed increasingly further apart, nail covers, dog booties and socks or paw wax. Dogs learn by association and consequences. Changing the emotional association of slippery floors is the process.Various tools can help. 7) Fear Puppies exploring the world can develop a fear of walking on shiny floors if they have had a bad experience during a sensitive period of development. Introducing all types of variable surfaces to puppies on which they can successfully maneuver can be a critical step in their development and confidence. A dog who has a bad experience with shiny floors may develop a genuine, learned fear as her perception of the floor is keeping her from escaping. The dog becomes sitting prey. Imagine the fear. Fear is the common factor in all seven reasons I have discussed. Fear is an adaptive response to a threatening situation.
This is Duncan in my Confident Transformations class. He had great difficulty walking on the training room floors, as well as floors in his home.To help him get from one spot to another we used carpet swatches as safety zones and then spread them out further and further.Today Duncan can maneuver on most floor surfaces
What happens when a dog experiences fear? When he gets input from slipping on a floor it goes straight to the amygdala. According to Panksepp (2005), fear manifests here in the midbrain and stays there, whether there is a real threat or not. It remains there ready to surface if the right circumstance presents itself. Long-standing fears such as this are the most difficult to rehabilitate. The inappropriate expression of fear characterizes anxiety disorders. A dog who cannot maneuver on a slippery floor may be experiencing anxiety and panic and, in that context, it is not funny at all. It is a very real and debilitating feeling for the canine. Experiments in animals and humans, as well as introspection, indicate that memories for emotional events are particularly vivid and long-lasting. This is also true for learned fear (Kapatkin, Arbittier, Kass & Smith, 2007). Finding help for a puppy is the key element to helping her work through this learned fear. The right, knowledgeable forcefree professional can help with the puppy's continued early development and build confidence. Doing so promptly is important. The more the pup exhibits this fear, the stronger the fear will become.
What Does Science Say?
A study by Kapatkin, Arbittier, Kass and Smith (2007) found that there were no significant differences in ground reaction forces between the linoleum and the carpet surface for thoracic or pelvic limbs for â€œnormalâ€? dogs vs. all other gait variables measured. Data analysis was done on peak vertical force, peak impulse, breaking and propulsion peak forces and impulses. Three-way repeated measures analysis of variance was used to separately evaluate the effect of floor type on force plate measures in foreand hind limbs, while controlling for side (left versus right) and experimental replicate. Mean force and 95 percent confidence interval for the six variables analyzed for all limbs on each sur-
This dog is wearing non-slip dog booties
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
© Can Stock Photo/meinzahn
face were calculated. What is compelling about this study is the word normal. It can then be assumed that, if a dog is slipping on shiny surfaces, we are observing abnormal behavior and the dog has an issue, as outlined in the seven reasons above. Potential police dogs are tested on all types of surfaces, including shiny floors, to see if they can walk on them without slipping and sliding. This is very important to determining if they will be candidates or not. Again, they are looking for normal canines. This is more evidence that dogs who are afraid of shiny floors are not normal, and are crying out for help (Odendaal & Slabbert, 1999). A study by Louise Winblad von Walter (2010) aimed to establish whether it was possible to separate dogs who were fearful of floors and gunshots from dogs that did not fear them. This was done by studying behavior and changes in heart rate, hematocrit, plasma cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, vasopressin and β-endorphin concentrations in 13 dogs during a floor test and a gunshot test. Seven dogs who were fearful of floors had higher heart rates than six dogs who were fearless. However, seven dogs fearful of gunshots had higher heart rates, hematocrit and plasma concentrations of cortisol, progesterone, vasopressin and β-endorphin than six fearless dogs.
A dog who cannot maneuver on a slippery floor may be experiencing anxiety and panic
The next time a dog is afraid of shiny floors, understand he is crying out for help. Help him. n Disclaimer: Please consult with a professional about a dog afraid of shiny floors.This is not a normal behavior. Professionals include: a qualified force-free canine behavior consultant, a veterinarian, a veterinarian behaviorist, a physical rehabilitation veterinarian, or a canine eye specialist. Make sure your dog has a team to address this issue. Professionals are trained to assess behaviors and provide programs customized to each individual. Use care when selecting professionals and beware of bad advice. Acceptance of this disclaimer and assuming full responsibility is the pet guardian's priority. Diane Garrod BSc PCT-A is a certified Tellington Touch® Practitioner (CA1), ATA Certified Treibball Instructor and holds certificates in theriogenology, science in writing and animal behavior. She is behavior consultant/trainer and owner at the Canine Transformations Learning Center, www.caninetlc.com, in Washington State.
Bear, M. F., Connors, B. W. & Paradiso, M. A. (2007). Neuroscience: Exploring the brain. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Budiselic, S. Dogs and Hardwood Floor Safety – A Rehab Perspective. Retrieved May 21, 2015 from www.equilibriumvrc .wordpress.com/2013/10/17/dogs-and-hardwood-floor-safety -a-rehab-perspective Dodds, W.J. & Aronson, L.P. (1999). Behavioral changes associated with thyroid dysfunction in dogs. American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association Annual Conference, 80-82. Retrieved May 21, 2015 from www.canine-epilepsy-guardian -angels.com/behaviorandthyroid.htm Jensen, P. (Ed.). (2007). The Behavioural Biology of Dogs. Trowbridge, UK: Cromwell Press, pp 226. Kapatkin, A. S., Arbittier, G., Kass, P. H., Gilley, R. S. & Smith, G. K. (2007, August). Kinetic gait analysis of healthy dogs on two different surfaces. Veterinary Surgery, 36: 605–608. www .onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1532-950X.2007.00311 .x/abstract Kidd, R. (2004). Structure of the canine ear. The Whole Dog Journal, 7 2004 p. 1. Retrieved May 21, 2015 from www.whole -dog-journal.com/issues/7_10/features/Canine-Ear_15661 -1.html Odendaal, J.S.J. & Slabbert, J.M. (1999). Early prediction of adult police dog efficiency—a longitudinal study. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 64 1999 269–288. Retrieved May 21, 2015 from www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii /S0168159199000386 Panksepp, J. (2005). Affective consciousness: Core emotional feelings in animals and humans. Consciousness and Cognition, 14, 30-80. www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii /S1053810004001187. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2004.10.004 Winblad von Walter, L. (2010). Physiological and behavioural responses to fear and discomfort in dogs and goats. Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Licenciate thesis. Retrieved May 21, 2015 from www.pub.epsilon.slu.se/2414 BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Maureen Tay discusses some of the emotional states behind what is often termed territorial
aggression, and highlights other possible motivations for the behavior
ave you ever walked Fence fighting can often be attributed by a house and got the shock of your life to frustration when the resident dog appeared out of nowhere and started charging towards you? The dog may be growling, snarling, rushing the gate, barking vociferously (or a combination thereof) while, it would appear, trying to guard, defend or protect his home. According to O’Heare (2003), territorial aggression involves the defense of an area against those who are unfamiliar, is usually a highly familiar area, and is often characterized by alarm barking, growling, snapping or lunging. O’Heare cites “the approach or presence of an unfamiliar or feared person or dog in the dog’s territory” as the triggering stimuli and notes that the behavior can also be fear or anger related. The terminology surrounding “territorial aggression” continues to be debated but, whatever one ultimately elects to call it, as trainers, we need to know what is causing the dog to have such a response. Other issues may be at work too, such as resource guarding or barrier frustration (either of which could apply in the earlier example of the barking dog rushing the gate). The issues may overlap, or be completely separate.
Territory is important to dogs. It gives them a sense of familiarity, a place that they know as their own and where they feel safe. It is similar to us humans. We will protect our property no matter what. According to O’Heare though, “many situations involving what looks like territorial aggression seem to be related more to frustration than fear.” Bearing this in mind, barrier frustration can occur if a dog is behind a window, fence, gate or even on a leash. It can develop in any dog if he is refrained from interacting with his environment, whether it is something he wants to get closer to or something he finds threatening. An example of barrier frustration would be a dog who barks and alerts his owners when there is someone waiting outside the front door, yet turns into a licking, wagging and friendly canine when the person enters the house. I do not recommend leaving your dogs in the front and/or back yard if no one is home. When your dog gets bored with patrolling the yard, any new movement or activity outside the bar28
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rier may well attract his attention. People, dogs, cats and other animals may become be extremely interesting to him. However, since he cannot run up to them, greet them, or investigate further, he might start getting frustrated.
Barrier Frustration - The Three Major Factors: #1. The barrier frustrates the dog. #2. The new movement or activity is very interesting © Can Stock Photo/PavelShlykov and may act as a harassment/tease and trigger the dog to the point of frustration. #3. Barking, jumping, chewing, pacing and redirected aggression release the frustration. Frustration can evoke aggression. Here is a human example: getting stuck in traffic when you are rushing for a meeting. First, you experience frustration.You start rubbing your face and hair with your hands. As the frustration builds up, it evokes aggression and you might start cursing or banging the steering wheel. Woe betide any fellow driver who provokes you at this point. One of the ways for a dog to release all that pent-up frustration is to bark, jump, lunge and pounce relentlessly. I have clients who have been bitten by their dogs in their attempt to intervene when the dog is behaving thus. This is what we often call redirected aggression. In multi-dog households the dogs may even turn to attacking each other.
Learned Behavior: Getting What They Want
Dogs learn behaviors that make them feel good. This can happen without human input. Let me give you a scenario: your dog has been alerted to the sound of footsteps outside the house and started barking. Shortly afterwards the footsteps went away. Later that day your neighbor walked by en route to her house. Your dog started barking at her. Shortly afterwards she disappeared from view.Your dog is learning that barking works in that it chases people off his property. The behavior may have been motivated by anger, fear and/or frustration but, either way, he almost definitely felt good about it and will continue to do it. The sensation of relief is a powerful reinforcer. Wary and fearful dogs in particular often exhibit signs of this learned behavior. Genetics aside, lack of socialization can be a significant factor. Dogs who were not exposed to enough people
© Can Stock Photo/Steveball
Barrier frustration can occur when a dog is on a leash and unable to interact freely with her environment
when they were younger or whose owners did not invite many guests to the house may become fearful and uncomfortable when other people approach them and/or their property. It is common for dog owners to try to stop any behavior that they find unacceptable. Dogs are very good at picking up differences in human body language and tone of voice. Picture this: you have arranged to have a dinner party. This would be the first dinner party since you got your dog. When your guests show up, your dog started barking and growling at them.You, being the host for the event, feel embarrassed about your dog's reaction and tell him to keep quiet, but he continues to bark relentlessly. You start feeling pressured or getting annoyed. Guests might be wondering why you are unable to “control” your dog. Maybe you are tempted to raise your voice or take him to another room for a time-out. Looking at this scenario from the dog’s perspective, the person he trusts and loves most in the world is reacting rather differently to him on this occasion than she usually does. Before this, his person had never raised her voice to him or banished him to another room. This is the first time it has ever happened and it so happened it was in the presence of new people. It does not take much to connect the dots and, as this scenario repeats itself, there is the real risk that the dog will start to associate new people coming to the house with his owner's scary behavior. He may start to feel that the unfamiliar people are unsafe or threatening. He may well feel the need to defend himself and/or his territory and the only way to do so may be, in his eyes, to react as fiercely as possible to scare off the intruders. A good solution for modifying a dog's behavior in this context would be a desensitization and counterconditioning program. This may require hard work, depending on the severity of the problem, and some expert guidance.You have to pair good things with what your dog has previously learned to associate with bad things. If he has learned through association that strangers are bad, you will have to change his opinion by conditioning him through positive associations that other people and/or animals are actually a good thing.
If you have a dog who is generally wary and fearful, inform your guests beforehand to not stare at him or approach him. Should they approach him, it might evoke a snap and in a worstcase scenario, a bite. Prevention and management are both very important when it comes to training.You may want to place your dog in another room with a loaded Kong before your guests arrive so that he feels safe and has something enjoyable and challenging to occupy himself with. Management such as this can also be an effective tool in helping the dog feel calm and safe. Work with him to ensure he does not go over threshold and do not hesitate to enlist the help of a professional behavior consultant to initiate a desensitization and counterconditioning program, if appropriate. If management seems to be the better option for the dog, that can be an invaluable alternative too. n
O’Heare, J. (2003). The Canine Aggression Workbook (2nd Ed.). Ottawa, ON: DogPsych
Maureen Tay is the chief trainer at KasPup UniFURsity, www.kaspupunifursity.com. She is also a licensed Family Paws Parent Education educator, a certified canine first responder and an accredited dog trainer recognized by The Panel for Accreditation of Dog Trainers in Singapore. She is currently studying to be a service dog trainer at the International College of Canine Studies.
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BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Yvette Van Veen has worked extensively with feral and roaming dogs from all over the
world. Here she highlights the particular issues faced by such dogs as they are transitioned back into society and how we, as trainers, can help them adapt
ourteen years ago, a series of serendipitous events led me toward a career working with feral and roaming dogs. At that time, free-roaming dogs were not a common discussion topic and the prevailing notion was that these animals were not capable or fit to become pet dogs. The majority of the dogs I initially came into contact with came from rural areas of Ontario and Quebec in Canada. Over time, they also included dogs from Taiwan, Romania, Mexico and Africa. While research existed on how feral animals behaved in remote areas, the means with which to re-introduce them into homes was rarely mentioned, if at all. During one of our first puppy play sessions I can distinctly remember watching a group of young puppies viciously attacking one another and thinking: “This is not what Dunbar said would happen.” There are differences between terms such as feral and roaming. Feral means that members of a species or offspring have escaped captivity to live in the wild without human intervention. Not all dogs wandering the streets or surviving in rural areas are feral. Many dogs roaming freely are owned. While they may wander, they have a home to return to and a legal family. We call them roaming dogs. Strays, by contrast, are not owned. Abandoned or lost, they previously had a family and perhaps even a home. Ownership and reliance on humans reflects upon the dog’s socialization opportunities. A lost dog with a history of living with people in a home has a different set of experiences than a dog that is born in a remote, sparsely populated area, never having lived with people. The dog that is never in proximity to people is rare indeed. Rescuing a stray dog is not the same as rescuing a feral and it may be impossible to determine the dog’s history unless residents and rescuers can provide relevant information. Feral, roaming and stray dogs are all domesticated dogs. Living in the wild does not change the species to which these dogs belong and they are not wild dogs. The typical feral dog is difficult to describe. Natural selection presents a tremendous amount of variation. Each geographical location often has natural and artificial barriers that limit gene 30
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flow. This can affect the morphology or appearance of dogs living in one population versus another. For example, the dogs of Waskaganish, Quebec curiously have a high incidence of dwarfism. Residents in various areas import dogs from distant areas from time to time so even remote communities are influenced by the same breed fads present in urban society. Behaviorally, one can expect to see significant variation. Behavior traits are a combination of the genetic material available and the impact the local culture has on a dog’s behavior. Animal control ordinances often act to cull and remove problem dogs. The dogs from Taiwan, for example, have all come to class with their ear clipped. A clipped ear means that the dog has been deemed worthy of living. In some areas, urban notions of dog control means that many of these dogs are chained so are no longer free to roam. For some, this means lack of accessibility to food. Others are unable to escape predators. Differences also exist between littermates. Females often mate with multiple male dogs, resulting in littermates that are half siblings. One prolific breeder can spread common traits through a population. Rescuers often name dogs so when they say, “that’s one of Ruby’s pups,” the statement carries the implication that the dog behaves in a certain manner. There is no one description that fits all free-roaming dogs but if there is one common attribute it is that they are adaptive survivors. Those who adapt are those who survive. The environment provides a continuum of socialization where some have more opportunities than others to become comfortable around people. When we choose to rescue and work with these dogs, we are transitioning them from one environment to another. We are asking them to adapt. In his article Feral Animal Studies in Animal Science: the Uses and Limitations of Feral Animal Studies to Contemporary Animal Science, McBride points out that there are two possible outcomes. The animal either adjusts or gives up. He states that chronic welfare problems are due to an animal’s inability to adjust to environmental conditions. Once we make the choice to move an animal from being free-roaming to being a pet in a home, it is our job to make that transition as easy as possible. Ethically, we are duty-bound to assess each animal and to ask if a Dogs of James Bay Area
cessity. Banjoe, one of the short-legged dogs from Waskaganish, This can is now living successfully in an urban home negatively affect bite inhibition. Use hand feeding as an opportunity to teach gentle jaw pressure and provide socialization experiences with a well-adjusted dog. Adjust these play groups to accommodate the diversity of behavior. Some puppies will have temperaments on par with well-behaved purebreds. Others will come to class already gunning for a fight so select potential playmates wisely. Do not be afraid to jump to counterconditioning immediately if the dog displays signs of resource guarding, touch sensitivity or other problems. Fortunately, one commonality holds true regardless of the dog. All dogs learn the same way and the laws of learning work on all dogs. At the end of the day, all you can really do is look at the individual, understand what the past may have been and create a solid training plan. The better we apply training techniques, the better we make up for deficits in the dog’s history. I suppose the main difference between roaming dogs and those that are pure bred is that they do not have the advantage of whelping pens, ultrasounds, enriched playpens and daily handling. Most importantly, they do not have the same socialization opportunities. So if a free-roaming dog roams into a classroom, treat that dog like an individual. The behavior of these animals is diverse, encompassing dogs from one spectrum to another. Be open to seeing the dog before you. n
Photo by S. Brookfield
transition is in the individual’s best interest or not. Once we do make the decision to move a dog, there are still issues that commonly arise. Free-roaming animals are unaccustomed to restraint. Crates, doors, leashes and fences are foreign concepts to them so introduce each new form of confinement with the knowledge that it will be a difficult adjustment. Simply throwing a peanut butter stuffed toy into a crate may work for a biddable purebred puppy but it will generally not work for a dog who was born free. Immediately apply desensitization and counterconditioning to all dogs who are learning to adjust to confinement. Gradually introduce on leash encounters, first from a distance and gradually moving closer. Pair these encounters with high value food treats to create positive associations toward on leash dogs. Stray dogs, abandoned into rural areas by urban residents are often not welcome in many communities and dogs may face aggressive and violent human behavior, thus forming negative associations. Restore trust and introduce new people slowly. Plan thoughtfully and gradually introduce gestures such as raised arms or sounds such as yelling to assess and prevent fearful reactions. Be cognizant of the fact that not all rural dogs roam free. As animal control ordinances spread into these areas, they may encourage chaining. Along with the expected chain rage, tethering exposes dogs to predators and prevents them from fleeing to safety. Females in heat are especially vulnerable and attract males that pester them during heat cycles. Unable to retreat, they go through periods of constant anxiety and sleep deprivation. Roaming provides the opportunity for animals to obtain food via scavenging, hunting small prey, catching fish and even foraging for berries. Batten down the hatches and create strong self-control around food. Be aware that small animals in the home may have formerly served as food source. Long-term supervision and management may be necessary. Always incorporate resourceguarding prevention as a precautionary step. A key aspect of survival is learning to avoid legitimate dangers quickly. Animals who require repeated exposure to harmful situations will not survive long. Free-roaming dogs often create negative emotional responses quickly. Whether using a vacuum, blender or giving a nail trim, introduce them slowly. Think of each new experience as an opportunity to create a positive first impression and do not try to trick dogs into scary situations, a move that typically backfires. For example, showing and offering treats before Van Veen’s dog, trimming a Kip, was born to a roaming mom nail often reand brought into sults in a dog foster care aged that misfour weeks trusts treats. Puppies often are separated from littermates prior to seven weeks of age due to ne-
McBride, G. (1984). Feral Animal Studies in Animal Science: the Uses and Limitations of Feral Animal Studies to Contemporary Animal Science.Vol. 58 No. 2, pp. 474-481. doi:10.2134/jas1984 .582474x: www.animalsciencepublications.org/publications/jas /abstracts/58/2/JAN0580020474?search-result=1
Yvette Van Veen PCT-A is dog behavior consultant and owner of Awesome Dogs, www.awesomedogs.ca. She is also a long-time columnist and multiple Dog Writers Association of America award nominee, and currently writes a regular column for The Toronto Star. She has worked with rescue dogs for more than 14 years, focusing mainly on rural, roaming and feral rescue dogs from communities throughout Ontario and Quebec, Canada. She’s also the creator of Awesome Dogs Shareables, www.facebook.com /Awesomedogsresources, an educational meme site providing resources and training tips in small, shareable formats.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
The Bigger Picture
Morag Heirs presents the case of Shep, the border collie puppy who was labeled stubborn
and easily distracted, and explains why his deafness was only one part of the problem
ithin my day to day life as a canine professional, I am regularly asked for advice on cases where standard training approaches seem to be failing. In some of these cases, deafness or visual impairment is also part of the picture. The case* I will talk about here illustrates a situation where deafness is just a single component in the jigsaw puzzle of any dog’s behavior, rather than the main explanatory variable. * Note: All names and any identifying details have been altered.
© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
Shep’s owners were too busy for an energetic, intelligent border collie. His deafness was only part of the issue
Shep is a farm-bred, black and white, 18-month-old border collie. He was purchased at an auction mart by a busy couple who ran both a home-based business and a medium sizedfarm. This was their first dog, and the hope was that Shep would provide some company for the wife and be generally useful with the livestock (cattle and sheep). The female owner attended basic puppy classes with a local veterinary practice, taught by one of the veterinary technicians (who had no specific pet dog training qualifications) from approximately five months of age through to 14 months of age. During these sessions the owner often found it difficult to engage with Shep and reported that he seemed to completely ignore her when out on walks. Shep was particularly interested in anything that moved including sheep, cats, cattle but also leaves, grass and so on. The vet tech had tried getting the owner to use thrown leaves as a reward in one session rather unsuccessfully. Shep was somewhat food motivated, but if the exercise was too difficult he very quickly moved away and entertained himself instead. At around 16 months of age, Shep was examined by the vet for a regular check-up and the vet noticed that he seemed very unresponsive to normal noises. Some investigations later, and the vet concluded that Shep was very likely to be bilaterally deaf although otherwise very healthy. The owners were referred to me for specialist help and training. 32
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• No recall (the owner had resorted to tying Shep to a friend’s dog via his collar so he could run around but would definitely come back). • Chasing livestock, leaves, birds (Shep would rush off immediately when he spotted birds on the horizon, and frequently disengaged from training to chase leaves). • Pulling strongly on the leash. Initially when preparing for the consultation, I had printed off a range of training guides aimed at deaf dog owners and sent some over by email in advance. From the initial phone chat, it sounded as though we had a fairly typical situation of an adolescent collie with added complications of deafness. The owner was keen to get help. She mentioned during the phone call that she was worried about being able to cope with a deaf dog. This set off some warning bells for me because she had already been living with this same deaf dog for nearly two years. I wondered about
the sudden change. When going through the usual family routine as part of the consultation to establish how much time they had to spend with Shep, and what he needed to be able to cope with, it became apparent that both owners were exceptionally busy. There was around an hour a day when Shep could be given undivided attention in total. The rest of the time he was either tied up in the yard (to prevent him wandering off and chasing things) or in the pantry area of the kitchen. The owners worked from around 5:30 a.m. through till 10 p.m. at night, and while they were variously around the house, Shep could not be with them for most of this time. As mentioned earlier, Shep had been intended as a working dog and it was hoped that he would ease some of the demands of farm work.
Assessment and Training
During our initial assessment and training session, Shep proved to be relatively friendly towards humans and calm around other dogs. A big-boned, steady collie, Shep was a dream to handle from a trainer’s perspective and very quick to respond to hand signals once these were given consistently and within his line of
sight. Shep did not startle when touched and was quick to reorient to a gentle shoulder tap or thrown treat. He was initially reluctant to engage with the female owner, perhaps due to a history of unsuccessful and frustrating training experiences. With a lot of supportive guidance for the owner Shep began to make a conscious effort to work with her and give eye contact – an absolute essential in training and particularly with a deaf dog. This mirrored much of my previous experience with deaf dogs (and hearing dogs for that matter) both in private practice and in rescue shelters: once the human starts to make a conscious effort to communicate in a clear, consistent manner with predictable and desirable rewards, many dogs will reciprocate. In this example, previous training attempts had been deeply frustrating for both dog and owner, resulting in damage to their relationship. We closed the session with a frank discussion about the time and effort required to train a dog, any dog, and with specific reference to Shep being deaf. We worked together to create a training plan, including suggested daily activities and short sessions. We also discussed options for a friend or helper to also take Shep out on walks and do some of the basic attention training. I raised the possibility of rehoming him through a reputable rescue to ensure lifetime back-up although the owner became quite emotional during the conversation. We agreed that it might be workable to keep him but only if we could improve his quality of life and fit in some short essential training sessions. We met face-to-face for a further session and I continued to support the owner via email and phone calls over the next month. However it became clear that, due to a chance in circumstances, both owners were now even busier and without reliable household help. Shep was not getting any worse but neither was he receiving the attention he so desperately needed. Eventually the decision was taken to rehome him and Shep is now enjoying a full and exciting life in a country home. This particular case illustrates a number of interesting points. Although on the face of it, it was an interesting training challenge on how to help a deaf working lines collie focus more on his owner, the deafness was, in fact, a very small part of the picture. Shep was a remarkably calm and tolerant dog so, when the previous training had been punitive or frustrating, he simply switched off and
entertained himself. This left a legacy of Shep being unwilling to engage with the owner but this was overcome relatively easily. More crucially, this was a couple with no previous experience of dogs who had bought a working dog as a puppy at an auction. Somehow the vet tech had not picked up on the pup’s deafness in any of the training sessions and, as a result, the dog was labeled as stubborn, easily distracted and so on. The owners were under the impression that Shep would not need any special training to work sheep or cattle, so had been encouraged to focus on teaching him to lie down. Despite being well-intentioned, the owners were incredibly busy and simply did not have enough time in their lives for a dog of any breed, let alone an active intelligent collie. The deafness had partially contributed to some of the problems but it seems likely the situation would have been broadly similar or even worse with a hearing dog. Once the decision was finally made to rehome Shep and the owners were able to work through their feelings of guilt and responsibility, there was a clear sense of relief. At a chance encounter last month, the female owner commented how much happier she now felt knowing Shep was in the right kind of home, and that she now realized they were simply too busy to have a dog in their life. n
In the next issue we will look at another case study, this time featuring a terrier whose late-onset deafness (due to medical problems) was blamed for aggression problems, and discuss how accurate this diagnosis might have been. Morag Heirs PhD MSc MA(SocSci)(Hons) PGCAP Human and Canine Remedial Massage Therapist, is a Companion Animal Behavior Counselor who runs Well Connected Canine, www.wellconnectedcanine.co.uk, in York, UK. She works with deaf and blind dogs professionally, provides training and support for the Deaf Dog Network and is the behaviorist for Sheffield Animal Centre (RSPCA) and York & District RSPCA branches in the UK.
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A Cautionary Tale
Kayla Sprague gives an intensely brave and personal account of the devastating effects
that shock collar training, applied by a previous owner, had on her late dog, Petunia
efore entering the world of dog training I had never really had an opinion on shock collars. To me they were just another kind of collar, another way to train a dog. I was unaware of any negative effects. After studying more about positive reinforcement training, however, I began to see another side to them as I realized exactly what they did and how they worked. It made me think about how this type of collar can mentally, physically and emotionally affect a dog. Then, on September 10, 2013, I got a first-hand look at the side effects of such implements. It was an experience that will forever change me. We received a call about a dog sitting in Animal Control with her intestines exposed. When we arrived we realized it was not, in fact, her intestines but a massive tumor hanging from her abdomen. She was uncomfortable but still very full of life. The news from the vet was not too optimistic though. She was diagnosed with mammary gland cancer and given four to six weeks to live. The rescue that had pulled her from Animal Control decided that euthanasia was the best option for her. Instead I told them that I would hospice foster her as I felt it was not her time to go. She was not in any pain and had just been dealt a bad hand ending up with Animal Control. I agreed to take Petunia home and allow her to pass peacefully in a calm environment. When I got home I pulled out a pretty pink collar from my drawer with Cupcake’s old ID tag and thought, “Well little girl, as you’re staying for a bit you’ll need this.” I thought it would be a breeze, just snap it on and she’s good to go outside. WRONG! Wow, was I wrong. The collar clicked and she whipped round to take off my arm. I was stunned. What just happened? This sweet little girl had all of a sudden became an attack dog. She barely missed my arm. She panicked. She paced. She was not having the collar but I could not get close enough to remove it. I could not clip a leash to it. I could not even touch it. I stopped to wonder what could have caused such a negative reaction. After much ado I finally got the collar off her and she was instantly a different dog again. She would no longer look at me, however. She panicked when she saw the collar in my hand. She gave avoidance signals. I knew from then on that collars were going to be a difficult thing but, unfortunately, as we lived in town and had leash laws to abide by, she would need to wear one. 34
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
I had the next day off work so decided we needed to work on reintroducing the collar into her life. I grabbed my trusty clicker and go-to treats and set out on a mission. I began by just laying the collar on the floor and each time she looked over and acknowledged it I clicked and treated. We did this several times before I moved the treats closer to the collar. We completed this step until she was able to move around the collar without panicking. I then began to lay the treats on the collar and have her take them from there. We did several short sessions throughout the day. After a few successful sessions I felt we would start again tomorrow. The next day we started over again. This time she only gave me avoidance signals. She whale eyed, lip licked and turned away. Sadly, this was a huge improvement from the previous day. She no longer ran from me like I was a terrifying person. I was able to set the collar down and as soon as she saw the treats we were able to begin our session. This time I included me touching the collar. I would touch it and immediately click and treat. Again this session lasted as long as she remained comfortable and under threshold. Everything moved at her pace. At the first sign of discomfort we would stop the session and remove the collar from sight. We would then spend time calming. I would lay and massage her. I would talk to her. If we were able to start another session in a relaxed state of mind we would. If she could not we were done for the day. Over periods of days and sessions I was able to pick the collar up and move it towards Petunia. I worked at a slow pace until I could get the collar near her while it was in my hands. She began to realize that a collar touching her was not a negative experience any more. Finally and after many sessions I was able to place the collar around her neck without snapping it. Eventually after months and months I was able place it on her neck and snap it into place. I put it on and then immediately took it off. We began to slowly lengthen the amount of time that she had the collar on. I cried tears of joy the day I was able to say “collar time” and she came over, sat facing away from me and allowed me to place her collar on her. The look on her face when she saw my “OMG” moment said it all to me. She had a look like, “Mom, I did it! Look at my collar!” I could not contain my excitement. All my dog training clients and pet parents were bomAuthor Kayla Sprague spent months teaching Petunia that her collar was not an object of terror
barded with the news. Petunia wore her collar successfully for many months. Her fear had finally gone. I always had the suspicion that Petuniaâ€™s fear of her collar came from wearing a shock collar. I know many Australian cattle dogs are trained this way. My suspicion was pretty well confirmed in one moment. One evening Petunia and I were cuddled up on the couch, incidentally something else Spragueâ€™s suspicions that Petunia had been the recipient of shock collar training were that it had taken her suddenly and unexpectedly confirmed quite awhile to do, - with devastating results with our fuzzy blankets. We spent a bit of time snuggled before I needed to get up. As I was getting up I felt it, a static shock that ran from my body to hers. She screamed. She yelped. She freaked out. She cowered. She ran from me. I could not touch her for hours. My heart
broke to know that I had done this to her.Yes it was unintentional. Of course I would never ever shock her but Petunia did not know this. In her eyes I had betrayed her. I bawled for hours and sat wondering how this would affect our relationship. That night she would allow everyone but me to look at her or touch her. The next day she finally allowed me to interact with her. A few weeks later she decided to roll in something nasty and I needed to bathe her. Sadly my fear was correct. I took her collar off with no issue. I went to place it back on afterwards and she barely missed taking out my arm again. Everything we had worked on had gone out the window. I felt heartbroken but prepared myself to start all over again. Sadly, Petunia passed of cancer before we were successful. I now look at her collar with mixed emotions. In Petuniaâ€™s honor I have set out to eliminate as many shock collars as I can and to inform people of the impact they have. I hope one day to see that shock collars are no longer available for use. My strength in this fight is knowing Petunia will always be by my side. n Kayla Sprague is a dog trainer based in Jacksonville, Illinois. After adopting a reactive pit bull she set out to help dogs overcome everyday challenges. She realized how much she loved to help dogs and their owners co-exist successfully, stating that every dog that has came into her life has been a lesson worth learning.
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Don’t Believe the Hype
Electronic pet containment systems are marketed as safe and benign ways to keep dogs in their yards. Eileen Anderson reviews the marketing language, then contrasts the actual
problems with these fences as they relate to known fallout of aversive devices
lectronic pet containment fences come by many names, including e-fences, in-ground fences and radio fences. They comprise a system whereby a dog wears a radio-controlled electronic collar that shocks him whenever he crosses a certain perimeter, usually created by a buried wire that is marked with flags. The marketing collateral provided by the manufacturers of the product and by the stores and individuals who sell them implies they are safe, painless and foolproof. It would have the buyer believe the product offers a simple solution for situations where it is difficult or not permitted to put up a real fence. Unfortunately, however, electronic fences are not safe, they are not foolproof and they are not painless.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Photo by John Stawicki, Cape Fear Positive Dog Training
he approaches the boundary of the signal area he receives a warning beep. If he does not return, or goes through the boundary, he receives a shock to his neck that can range from a tingle to very painful, depending on the setting you choose. The instructions describe how you will test the shock on your dog when you adjust the settings, but there is no objective way to tell exactly how much it will hurt him or whether it will effectively stop him at the barrier when he is excited. Also, if he triggers the shock by going through the boundary, he will then be outside the designated area and free to roam. Any attempt to cross the boundary again to return to Electronic fences, designed to keep pets from roaming, are the yard will result in a warning beep, not guaranteed to be safe or harmless, despite what the marketing collateral might assert which he has just been conditioned to associate with an electric shock. This may deter him from returning. The instruction manual describes how to train your dog to stay inside the boundaries. However, Marketing vs. Reality the electronic fence system cannot be guaranteed harmless or A typical product description for an electronic fence will say it is reliable, nor does it have any way to prevent other animals or safe and simple. Its references to the collar will make it seem like people from entering your yard. it is comfortable for the dog. It will highlight the dog’s enjoyment of his yard. When describing the deterrent effect, it might say the About Electric Shock dog will hear a sound as he approaches the wireless fence and then receive a static correction, avoiding the word shock, and im- In order to make an informed decision about using an electronic plying that what the dog feels is a mild sensation. The implication fence, it is necessary to understand a little bit about the effects of electric shock on animals. The shock collar and electronic is that the product is benign, humane and easy to use. fence industries go to great lengths to make the shocks induced To contrast, here is how I would write a product description of an electric fence using complete descriptions of the processes by collars seem benign, calling them stims, taps, sensations, pulses or pressure, but they are inarguably electric shocks. In experiinvolved: The electronic fence system uses a shock collar connected to mental psychology and animal behavior studies, electric shock is the standard laboratory method to scare or hurt an animal and a radio transmitter with the goal of keeping your dog inside a put it into a state of stress. In Dr. Martin Seligman's classic experchosen area. Electric shock has been used in laboratory experiments for decades for behavioral studies to put animals in a state iments on learned helplessness, application of inescapable shock was the mechanism by which dogs shut down and stopped reof stress or fear and is also linked to increased aggression.You sponding (Seligman, 1968, p. 256). will plug in the transmitter in your house. The transmitter emits Shocks are sudden, painful and usually unlike anything the ania 17.5 kHz radio signal.Your pet will wear a shock collar that will mal has ever felt before. The shocking mechanism of collars for be triggered by a change in the signal. The collar must be faselectronic fences is the same as that of other shock collars. The tened tightly on the dog’s neck so the probes will poke through most recent studies of shock collars (Cooper, Cracknell, Hardihis fur and press firmly into his skin. Even when not generating a shock, the collar is likely to be uncomfortable. While the collar is man & Mills, 2013; Cooper et al., 2013) showed that shock collars are detrimental to dogs’ welfare. Cooper et al. (2013, p. 28) receiving the standard signal your dog is safe from shock. When
showed that the salivary cortisol of dogs trained with shock rose when they were wearing the collars. The dogs trained with shock also exhibited more behaviors associated with a negative emotional state (Cooper et al., 2013, p. 32). Cooper, Cracknell, Hardiman & Mills (2013, p. 4) used trainers experienced with the use of shock collars and the shock collar training was conducted within the manufacturer’s specifications. This addressed criticisms of previous studies that the collars were used incorrectly.Yet even with expert trainers, the dogs that were trained with shock exhibited more behaviors associated with stress. The study concluded, “even with best practice as advocated by collar manufacturers and trainers, there were differences in the behaviour of dogs that are consistent with more negative emotional states (including anxiety and aversion) in some dogs trained with e-collars, that these differences persist for the duration of the initial training periods, and that there is some evidence of elevated arousal upon the later return to the training situations by these dogs.” (Cooper et al, 2013, p. 16). Shock collars used for electronic pet fences can cause all of the problems cited in the studies. In addition, there is often no human supervising the dog, which is a major reason for having the fence. That absence means that there is no one to help if the collar malfunctions. There is one study that specifically addresses electronic fencing systems: Can Aggression in Dogs Be Elicited Through the Use of Electronic Pet Containment Systems? by Richard Polsky (2000). Dr. Polsky is appropriately conservative about making broad generalizations but his data are strongly indicative of problems. He analyzes five cases of dog-to-human aggression specifically associated with being shocked by an electronic fence and charts the situations and specific behavior of the dogs. He cites previous research that has shown that shock-induced aggression is typically intense and vicious, with repeated bites. (We should take note that shock is also used in laboratories to induce aggressive behavior in animals.) In addition, aggression induced by shock tends to be without the warning signals that dogs usually give when prompted to aggression by external events, and this was borne out by the dog attacks associated with e-fences. Dr. Polsky’s final statement is as follows: “…manufacturers need to acknowledge the risks involved and make consumers aware that the systems are not foolproof and that some dogs could attack a person as a result of having received electric shock.” (Polsky, 2000, p. 356).
2. Elicited or redirected aggression. Animals can respond to pain or fear by directing aggression at an individual who is not causing that pain or fear, such as a nearby human or another animal. 3. Injury. When using a device designed to cause discomfort or pain, injury from high magnitude, duration use or malfunction is possible. Following are examples of the way these known side effects of the use of aversive stimuli typically manifest themselves with electronic fences.
Association of Shock with Environmental Stimuli
One of the ways dogs (and humans) learn is through the pairing of environmental stimuli. Dogs learn quickly what events might predict other events. If the owner gets out the clippers it means the dog is about to get his toenails trimmed. When the owner picks up the leash it means they are probably about to go for a walk. Dogs develop emotional responses accordingly. A dog can very easily come to a fear response and/or aggress towards people and other dogs due to the fence and collar, because if he sees anything that excites him and causes him to run across the boundary, either to flee or aggress, he will get shocked. If that pattern gets repeated just a few times, for example, seeing the mail carrier being paired with receiving a shock, the appearance of the mail carrier will be associated with being shocked. There is also the possibility that if multiple dogs are enclosed in such a way, they may become aggressive to each other as a result of receiving shocks. This could happen because of association, i.e. a dog comes to associate the shock with the proximity of his yard mate. It also could be redirection, as described in the next section. Even if there is a visible boundary for the dog and the owner has followed the training instructions for the electronic fence, that training can never be guaranteed to be resilient during every possible situation. The excitement caused by a stimulus beyond the perimeter can override the learned avoidance of the fence.
Azrin & Holz (as published by Honig, 1966, p. 442) state that methods involving pain, startle, force or pressure have been shown to cause many undesirable side effects. Among the known effects of the use of aversive methods on animals, three are commonly associated with the use of electronic fences: 1. Associative escape/avoidance. Avoidance is a desired effect of the fence. It is hoped that the shock collar, set to trigger at a set boundary, will cause the dog to avoid that boundary and stay inside it. However, avoidance may not be limited to the fence. The dog may come to fear and avoid objects in the environment, other dogs, people, vehicles or many other things because they have become associated with the shock.
Photo by John Stawicki, Cape Fear Positive Dog Training
Use of Aversive Methods
Note the perimeter marked with innocuous looking white flags. According to various studies, dogs exposed to shock exhibit more behaviors associated with stress, such as anxiety and aggression
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Getting shocked is a strong aversive to a dog already in a state of arousal or fear. For instance, a dog may fear the UPS truck. When it comes he tries to run away, crosses the perimeter and gets shocked. Now the UPS truck is even scarier because it has come to predict sudden sharp pain. Even a friendly dog can be conditioned to be aggressive due to the electric fence. For example, a retriever mix that loves children is enclosed by an electronic fence. He gets really excited about children. When some children come by, the dog may rush forward to greet them, hit the perimeter and get shocked. That does not have to happen many times before the dog can come to associate children with being hurt. The dog’s friendliness may be lost forever and he may become aggressive. Owners have no power over what their dogs learn to associate with the shock when in the yard alone. Electronic fence collars are automated electronic devices and, if working correctly, will trigger any time the dog crosses the boundary. Negative experiences like this increase the likelihood of the dog developing fears and even aggression.
What happens if the dog runs through the perimeter to chase something and gets shocked? He is outside the fence in the presence of whatever triggered him to dash through the perimeter and has just received a painful and startling shock. He might keep running. He also might attack the thing that was associated with the shock, such as another dog or a person. If he does not do this immediately and a helpful person attempts to lead him back to the house, he will get shocked again when he crosses the boundary. This is yet another opportunity for redirected aggression. Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall reports that there are cases of humans being bitten when they pulled dogs over the boundary of an electronic fence (2013, p. 108-109).
As with any electronic device, the collars can fail. There is no regulation or external quality control on shock collars. Cooper et al. (2013, p. 12) found that two of the collars purchased for the study were faulty, including one that repeatedly got stuck with the shock on. There is another problem besides possible malfunction of the collar. The methods that the instructions describe to decide the shock setting for the individual dog depend entirely on the dog’s visible response to the shock. In general, one is instructed to experiment on the dog, starting with a very low setting and raising it until the dog reacts. Unfortunately, a response from the dog is 38
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
not an accurate way to calibrate how much pain he is experiencing. Some dogs are very stoic. Also, many shock collars do not have equal gradations between the numerical settings. For instance, the difference between setting 3 and setting 4 can be the difference between annoying and terrifying. It is guesswork with the dog’s well-being at stake. Finally, the pain experienced by any dog can vary with changes in the environment. The elecThe shock collar and electronic trical resistance of dogs varies greatly fence industries depending on whether they are wet or go to great dry and that change would correlate lengths to make the shocks with a wet dog getting a higher ampliinduced by collars tude shock on the same setting of the seem benign collar. (Cooper et al., 2013, p. 33).
Photo by John Stawicki, Cape Fear Positive Dog Training
There are two other serious problems with the use of electronic fences that are not directly related to fallout from aversive stimuli.
The Dog Is Not Safe An electronic fence may keep a dog in but it cannot keep anything else out. Electronic fences leave the dog unprotected from humans, animals or anything else that comes by the house or into the yard. The electronic fence offers dogs no protection from being teased, harassed or stolen by humans, attacked by other animals, or ingesting or interacting with anything inappropriate that someone tosses into the yard. There is often absolutely nothing between the dog and the rest of the world. Even a large, imposing dog is still vulnerable to harm in this situation.
Liability If someone comes legitimately onto a property and the dog harms him, the property owner could be held liable. As discussed above, electronic fences provide no safety to the dog. They also provide no safety to others from the dog. The dog already may have an increased propensity for aggression due to previous shocks. He may come to associate the warning signal with scary things in the environment, again because of previous shocks. In most communities there are provisions for delivery people, mail carriers, utility workers and meter readers to legally enter a property. They are not trespassing. They may not see a boundary. A dog has complete access to such a person without danger of shock because there they are together inside the boundary. Overall reports that there are "numerous reports of human injury under exactly these circumstances.” (2013, p. 108-109). An owner can be held liable. A dog that is not subject to a physical restraint system like a fence or a tether can be considered out of control. After such an event, the dog has a bite history and may be designated dangerous. If the owner is allowed to keep him, he or she may have trouble getting or keeping homeowner’s insur-
ance, and there may be restrictions placed on the dog’s activities. No electronic fence company, or individual who sells them, has any control over what comes into a dog’s environment. But the property owner is responsible for what happens there.
Freedom for the Dog?
The marketing materials of the electronic fence companies often feature photos and videos of dogs playing happily on huge, lush green lawns without a care in the world. They repeatedly promise freedom for the dog. But frankly, is a dog alone in a yard, with an automated electronic shock collar strapped tightly around its neck, really free? According to Overall: “It's a myth that [electronic fences] provide dogs with more freedom. In fact, these devices violate three of five freedoms that define adequate welfare for animals: • Freedom from pain, injury, and disease • Freedom to express normal behavior • Freedom from fear and distress (2013, p. 108-109). I believe most people who install electronic containment fences have their dogs' best interests in mind. The salespeople have told them the collars don’t really hurt the dog. They may figure in any case that a little tap once in a while is worth it for their dog’s safety. However, as discussed here, the pain and consequences are probably not trivial and that the safety is definitely illusory. n
CANINE Submit a Case Study or Member Profile for BARKS from the Guild! If you’d like to share your experience with other PPG members and to be featured in BARKS, check out our easy to fill templates Member Profiles: www.emailmeform.com/builder/form /4K20TaXhYd84DN03pf5s Case Studies: www.petprofessionalguild.com/CaseStudyTemplate All you have to do is fill them in, send them to us and we’ll do the rest. It couldn’t be easier!
- Additional contributions by Karen Peak of West Wind Dog Training, www.westwinddogtraining.com, in Prince William County,Virginia
Cooper, J., Cracknell, N., Hardiman, J. & Mills, D. (2013). Studies to Assess the Effect of Pet Training Aids, Specifically Remote Static Pulse Systems, on the Welfare of Domestic Dogs: Field Study of Dogs in Training. United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs AW1402a Cooper, J., Wright, H., Mills, D., Casey, R., Blackwell, E., van Driel, K. & Lines, J. (2013). Studies to Assess the Effect of Pet Training Aids, Specifically Remote Static Pulse Systems, on the Welfare of Domestic Dogs: Field Study of Dogs in Training. United Kingdom Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs AW1402 Honig, W. (Ed.). (1966). Operant Behavior: Areas of Research and Application. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, pp. 380-447. Overall, K. (2013). Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, pp. 108-109 Polsky, R. (2000). Can Aggression in Dogs Be Elicited through the Use of Electronic Pet Containment Systems? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 3 (4), pp. 345-357 Seligman, M. E., Maier, S. F. & Geer, J. H. (1968). Alleviation of Learned Helplessness in the Dog. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 73 (3p1), pp. 256-263 Eileen Anderson BM MM MS is a passionate amateur dog trainer who writes about learning theory, her life with three dogs, and force-free training in her blog Eileen and Dogs, www.eileenanddogs.com, and a number of other publications.
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BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Surviving the Summer
Gail Czarnecki and Jennifer Shryock provide some invaluable tips for families on how to
best manage summer socials with children and dogs
s dog professionals we often need to look beyond dog training when helping families with dogs and children. There are many additional things to consider, particularly when family time includes more chaotic activity and unfamiliar children than the dog is accustomed to. We present here some information that can be shared with clients to help them navigate busy summer social lives with children and family dogs. Family gatherings, barbecues, sleepovers… Summer is full of fun times for families. Sometimes this can mean extra stress for the resident dog(s) but there are several ways that can help make such occasions positive for the four-legged as well as twolegged members of the family.
Does the Dog Enjoy Company?
While we want to include our dog in the family fun, he may prefer to relax in a quiet room with a meaty bone. Watch your dog for signs of stress. Is he comfortable with lots of people in your home? How does he react to active children? Yawning, lip licking, turning away and checking in with you can all be signs that your dog is not comfortable with the situation. While your dog may enjoy spending time with your children, the situation may change when their friends are visiting. Noisy, active children can get on the nerves of even the most tolerant dog. Many children do not understand dog communication or the proper way to interact with dogs. Full, aware, adult supervision is essential. If your dog is feeling uncomfortable, remove him from the situation. Place him behind a baby gate or in his crate or a separate room with a delicious, long-lasting treat.
© Can Stock Photo/MaszaS
Include the Dog
If the children are old enough to follow directions and listen to safety rules and guidelines while including the dog then you really can have some fun. Always remember that you are your dog’s advocate and, if at any time he becomes stressed or overexcited, it is up to YOU to remove your dog or the children. If your dog does enjoy interacting with children, there are some fun and educational ways that he can be included in the sleepover fun. As always, any time the dog is present, a responsible adult should be actively supervising and guiding the activities. The children can play the Doggone Safe doggie detective game, the Doggone Crazy board game. While Dogs can be included in the fun as long as they do not get stressed or overexcited
playing the game, they can observe the dog’s body language and determine how he is feeling right then. If it is a birthday sleepover the dog could take the wrapping paper from the birthday child and either bring it to you or drop it into a garbage can. This will take some pre-planning and basic training but will be a hit with the children and your dog will have fun earning treats. Doggie Red Rover is another fun game. The children take turns calling the dog and tossing a treat as the dog approaches. Some dogs can get overexcited with this game so it should end after each child has had a turn or if the dog starts getting overaroused. Everyone enjoys a conga line, right? The last child in the line can drop treats behind him so that the dog can join in. Hide and seek with the children or items they hide is also always fun for the dog. Which cup? Hide treat under a cup or a variety of cups and let the dog “find it.” This has many variations. Bobbing for apples? Why not have pup bob for biscuits? Silly but fun. Doughnuts on a string. Two children stand on chairs and hold a long line of string with a doughnut hanging. The dog demonstrates his sit and wait to get the doughnut. Speaking of party games, how about letting the dog take a turn during the Limbo.
The following skills can help your dog when guests come over. Each of these skills can be taught through shaping with a clicker: Go to his place when the doorbell rings. Polite greeting. Leave it – a dog that can resist the temptation to grab food from the hand of a child is greatly appreciated. A happy call-away – practice calling your dog away from a distraction while getting him into a happy frame of mind. Touch- hand targeting is perfect to help move a dog from one area of the room to another. All games where the dog is included should be short and heavily supervised. Play with only one dog at a time. Once the game is over the dog should be returned to a nice quiet “sanity” spot away from the chaos. Possibly hide away with the parents somewhere to watch a movie. Leaving a dog out during a busy party of children is never a good idea for the either party. Set your dog up for success by including him in the preparation and being proactive, and don’t forget to have fun. n Jennifer Shryock BA CDBC is a certified dog behavior consultant specializing in dog and baby/toddler dynamics. She is the founder of Family Paws Parent Education, www.familypaws.com. Gail Czarnecki PhD is a certified dog trainer at Gail Czarnecki Dog Training, www.gailczarneckidogtraining .com, specializing in safe dog-child interactions and pet manners.
The Art of Teamwork
Gail Radtke describes the process for qualifying as a therapy dog team and details some of the many values these canine and human volunteers contribute to their communities
A Therapy Dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and in stressful situations, such as disaster areas - Wikipedia
n a previous article I wrote about how my dog, Lanie, became a St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy dog in British Columbia, Canada (The Miracle Mutt, BARKS from the Guild, October 2014, pp. 36-39). Lanie was a year old at the time and had a beautiful, friendly temperament. A friend suggested that we apply to the SJA program and I thought it would be the perfect outlet for her natural abilities. Although Lanie and I had already done a great deal of obedience training at that point, I wanted to make sure she was well-prepared for the SJA evaluation and, and, assuming were we successful, for our visits to senior facilities. I started introducing her to novel equipment items such as wheelchairs, assistance walkers and crutches to begin to desensitize her to them. To create a positive association I brought in a high-value food item that I knew she loved, cheese. The concept was: Lanie looks at the wheelchair, Lanie gets a piece of cheese. In this manner we were gradually able to get closer to each individual object. We slowly worked our way up to being right beside it and then touching it. The next step was for me to sit in the wheelchair and interact with Lanie and then move in the wheelchair Therapy dogs with her trotLanie and Tawny take ting alongside a break me without a care in the world (except for, “Where’s my cheese?”) This is the type of preparation I would recommend for anyone who wants to get their dog involved in therapy dog work. Exposure to crowds and being touched by unknown
Kaylee Chamberlain reads to Buttons as part of the PAWS reading program
people can be stressful for dogs but, if we pair the experience with something of high value to the dog, such as Lanie’s cheese, we can slowly desensitize them and teach them to remain calm in the most chaotic environments. Most therapy dog work is in senior facilities and hospitals. By re-creating elements of the physical environment dogs will experience during their visits prior to actually being in a facility, we can help them feel calmer and more confident about how to react during the new encounter. The SJA Therapy Dog program I am involved with has several branches throughout the province of British Columbia. Our specific location incorporates Abbotsford and Mission and currently there are 36 handler teams (consisting of the volunteer and their dog) in this area. In 2014, our branch area volunteered a total of 3,478.5 hours, and, in the entire province, therapy dog teams volunteered an impressive total of 34,121 hours throughout the year. The teams mainly visit retirement homes, hospitals and hospices. The Abbotsford/Mission branch also operates the PAWS reading program, which aims to improve the reading skills of children by having the child read to the dog. Our branch currently has the PAWS 4 Stories program in eight schools. Several times a year our volunteer teams also visit the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia during exam time. This enables students to take a break from the stress of exams and studying to spend time interacting with the therapy dogs and their handlers. The other unique program our teams are involved in is visiting the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW) in Maple Ridge, British Columbia (see also The Miracle Mutt and Endless Possibilities, BARKS from the Guild, BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Puppy Gertie Mae (center) with other dog/handler teams at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women
Students at the University of the Fraser Valley take a break from exams with the therapy dog teams
Children relax and read to a therapy dog as part of the PAWS 4 Stories reading program
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
May 2015, pp. 43-45). The diverse programs SJA has in place gives both handlers and dogs the opportunity to experience different environments and interact with people from all age groups and walks of life. To become a therapy dog team, one must complete a series of steps such as a criminal records check, a suitability interview and an orientation to the program. Once the volunteer has been established into the program, it is the dogâ€™s turn. Dogs need to be at least two years old, in good health and be able to successfully complete a behavioral testing evaluation. Although obedience skills are wonderful to have, it is not about who has a great sit and stay. Instead, a calm temperament and social skills are the proven winners. Dogs must be accepting of a friendly stranger, sit calmly for petting and handling, and be non-reactive around other dogs and noisy distractions. The dogs are put through a series of stressful re-enactments to ensure they do not startle or become distressed, and that they are able to remain calm. One key factor is that the dogs must really enjoy being physically handled by all different kinds of people. To qualify for the PAWS 4 Stories program, volunteers must first be an established therapy dog team with a minimum of 10 visits at another facility. They can then apply to take part in the Childrenâ€™s Test Evaluation and, if successful at that level, can move into the program. In Canada and the United States there are many therapy dog programs whereby interested parties can get involved and volunteer in their community. The American Kennel Club has an extensive list of organizations in North America for anyone interested in learning more. It is important to know the difference between a therapy dog and a service dog and understand the respective laws and regulations. A therapy dog is a pet dog and does not have the same broad access as a certified service animal to accompany their person in public areas, airplanes, restaurants or indeed wherever else a certified assistance/service dog has full access to go. There is often a misunderstanding that therapy dogs can accompany their persons in the same manner as service dogs but, unfortunately, this is not the case. The fact that problems have occurred with people trying to gain privileged access with their pet dogs has instigated a call for a clarification in British Columbiaâ€™s laws under the Guide and Assistance Dog Act (see Guide Dog and Service Dog Act Changes Target Fraudulent Pooches). As a certified trainer and an evaluator in training for SJA therapy dogs, I have had to explain the differences between the two countless times and take it as my responsibility to share this information. It is not ill-intentioned when someone calls and says they want their dog to qualify as a therapy dog so they can take him to work with them. There is often, however, a misinterpretation regarding the difference between the roles and the laws and regulations. My dog Lanie was an SJA therapy dog since 2011 but has now retired from duty due to health issues from knee surgery in 2013. Although the surgery went well and she gained back her mobility, there are days when I can tell she is not her bright and playful self. I would never want to risk her reacting poorly to being touched in her knee area. My other dog Tawny Mae was
also a certified therapy dog with SJA and was there with me when we established the prison program at ACCW. Sadly, Tawny Mae passed away suddenly in March this year. Her legacy now lives on in the newest member of our family, Gertie Mae, who, just like her, is an Australian cattle dog red heeler. My goal is for Gertie Mae to step into Tawny Mae’s role when she is old enough to be evaluated as a therapy dog. At almost 16 weeks old, Gertie Mae has already visited the prison program on multiple occasions. The ongoing exposure to the physical environment and the people will make an enormous difference for her when the time comes for to undergo the evaluation process. During one visit she was able to meet over 75 people as we moved around different areas of the facility. Such experiences will be invaluable in preparing Gertie Mae for her future role. I will be writing more about Gertie Mae’s journey to becoming a therapy dog in upcoming issues. n Gail Radtke CPDT is a retired correctional supervisor and former instructor of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada. Gail has combined her passion for dogs and teaching and is a Family Paws Parent Education presenter and has recently completed her DipCBST. She is the owner and operator of Cedar Valley K9, www.cedarvalleyk9.ca, in Mission, British Columbia.
Radtke, G. (2014, October). The Miracle Mutt. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 36-39: www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/barks_october _2014_pet_professional/37?e=4452575/9892405 Radtke, G. (2015, May). Endless Possibilities. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 43-45: www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild /docs/bftg_may_2015_online_version_opt/43?e=0 American Kennel Club Therapy Dog Program: www.akc.org /events/title-recognition-program/therapy/organizations Guide Dog and Service Dog Act Changes Target Fraudulent Pooches: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/guidedog-and-service-dog-act-changes-target-fraudulent-pooches -1.3040374 PAWS 4 Stories: www.sja.ca/English/Community-Services /Pages/Therapy%20Dog%20Services/Paws-4-Stories.aspx St. John Ambulance Become a Therapy Dog Volunteer: www.sja.ca/English/Community-Services/Pages/Therapy Dog Services/Become-A-Therapy-Dog-Volunteer.aspx The Guide and Assistance Dog Act: www.disabilityalliancebc .org/docs/gadabriefingnotejuly2010.pdf
Therapy Dogs International: www.tdi-dog.org Therapeutic Paws of Canada: www.tpoc.ca/programs
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BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Jane Ehrlich describes how each cat has his or her own preferred style of play and, accordingly, highlights some of the various types of cat toys on the market
t is just not enough you know, the tossing of a ball or stuffed mouse and expecting Noodles to stay entertained as he bats it back and forth for all of… a minute.You have to get involved! Play is about crucial and loving time between you and your cat. Think about the process a cat has when she’s play-hunting: Focusing. Stalking. Leaping. Pouncing. Grabbing. Biting. Clawing. Attacking. Winning! That is what you’re imitating with your cat toys (not fingers). In addition to taking the time (ideally, several ‘play sessions’ a day) and having the motivation (your cat is not just an accessory or fluffy couch-potato, right?), you have to have good toys. That means toys that are attractive to the cat in spite of the fact that many of them are marketed to you instead. Why is such an importance put on play? Aside from the fact that it is cute and fun, it also means releasing normal, healthy energy - as well as aggression and frustration - in a positive way, softening loneliness and depression. It motivates couch-potatoes and eases introduction of new people. It helps with bereavement, bonds the two of you and bonds cats with each other. It keeps cats physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Which toys? We know they do not have to be expensive. Think about what snatches a cat’s attention. Toys have to provide what a cat wants and needs. Look at the websites then either make something yourself or bribe a handyperson to fashion something similar for a lot less money. All is fair in love and cats. Or something like that. Cardboard stacking modular units (like Catty Stacks at $15 per unit) mean Noodles can claw and climb and wind in and out of new spaces.You can make them out of sturdy cartons from the grocery store and packing tape. Wooden crates — they are out there — are even better. Add fleecy blankets (next to nothing from Goodwill) and catnip stuffed into knee-highs or other toys Her Majesty loves. CatsTrapeze ($75) is a hanging series of pillows and canvas hammocks — and is definitely something you can fashion yourself. The cushions mean cozy napping while the climbing means less scratching on the table leg. Do not forget the scratching posts of course. If your cat is not using them, ask yourself why. Different cats prefer different angles, seriously. Some like vertical, some like horizontal, some 44
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
angled. Some prefer corrugated cardboard, while others prefer sisal rope or even a good chunk of wood. Wrap a good nubby texture around a two-by-four and hang it from a door knob. The Smart Cat Peek-A-Prize toy box ($30) is a particle-board box with holes into which you can poke a dozen different small toys. Kitty then has to winnow them out with her dexterous paws. Again, you could easily make one. I have had mine for years, and, depending on the varying toys stuck in there, my cats keep busy with it. Google ‘cat toys’ — and then get pen and pencil and get inspired. Ask friends what keeps their fur-kids fascinated. Do not forget the good freebies that can be excellent for a cat’s play. A stuffed sock, for example, or a bottle cap. A piece of crumpled paper (scented with catnip? A smear of tuna juice?) or a paper bag. Both are free and fine but cannot just be left lying around all the time. Cats need you to keep everything enticing. Another idea is a piece of string with feathers tied to the end. Prey leaps and slithers away from the animal, not towards her.You can hide it under rugs, around doors, under sofas and behind cushions. The best interactive toy to my mind is the fishing pole kind. Toys like Cat Dancer (an un-coiled length of piano wire with small cardboard sticks on either end) whose movement is beautifully unpredictable. When you boing it in the air, it becomes bird-prey. Along the ground, it is mouse-prey. Or you can swoosh it around so it wavers and weaves across the floor. I also like Da Bird, which is a long black pole with a long string and a bunch of feathers at the end that whirl as you whip it through the air. Neko Flies are also good. The clear pole is short but the attachments have a long strong string, at the end of which are furry, leggy bits you buy separately. Although some of them are not that enticing, the best of them in my opinion is Cat-i-Pede, a twosectioned bug with rubberbandy legs that drag nicely across the carpet just like a … well, bug. Few cats can resist these. The point is: make these things move, hide behind things and dart out unexpectedly. In other words make them act like prey. Remember it is the motion just as much as the item. There are also some toys to possibly avoid. I find some elecDifferent cats respond to different styles of play
© Can Stock Photo/Inc./AZALIA
Keeping It Fresh
© Can Stock Photo/Inc./adogslifephoto
tric ones lose their entrancing magic after a half hour. For example, Fling-a-Ma-String, which hangs from the door knob and uses an elastic ribbon shooting a string along a pulley from top to bottom, did not keep my cats entertained once they figured it out. The problem with toys using a laser light — including the small ones humans use — is that there is no closure. No cat can catch anything. And that is the whole point of playing and hunting. If you use a laser toy, make sure it lands on a treat when you finish so the cat obtains a reward. The round cattrack toy where a white ball whizzes around a circle is fine for a while but, again, I found my cats became bored after a while as there is nothing to catch. In general, the more electrically complicated, the faster the cat gets weary after she figures it out. Some balls too, although filled with kibble or treats, are too large. Bear in mind that if toys are larger than the size of prey the cat would naturally go after, it is probable she will not be interested in it. Catnip toys are good, if your fur-child responds to the stuff. Some cats do not and we have yet to understand why. We do know that kittens do not as their brains have not, apparently, developed enough to ‘get’ it. I love the catnip cigars because they are the perfect length and shape for cats to grab and kick out on their backs. But you do have to toss them, retrieve them (if necessary!) and toss again. Then put them away after 10 minutes. Catnip can lose its ‘zizz’ for a cat after several minutes so it should be brought out now and then to keep it novel. According to Choice Pet Market in Phoenix, Arizona, the banana-shaped catnip cigars ($7) “fly off the shelves.” Other popular toys at the store include little two-inch rubber springs that boing off surfaces when batted around ($7 for a six-pack), as well as the various wands that dangle not only feathers but bells and tiny mice.
Predatory play forms an excellent outlet for stress, boredom and frustration
these ready-made time periods, you will have a much more successful play time. Do not wake up the cat to play as, obviously, you are unlikely to get a big response. Ideally, we would interactively play every day for each “crazy” time. At the least, pick one of those times and make it a rule to play during that time every day. Just before bed is good as it may help keep kitty quieter during the night. If daily playtime is not possible, play is always helpful in times of stress, change or particular trouble. The more often the better. How long should sessions last? I do not hold, as one TV pundit does, that cats should be panting by the end. Tired and happily fatigued, yes. Flop down and wave a paw as if to say, ‘Whatever… I’m interested, sort of, but I’m pretty much done,’ terrific. But panting means it has been a little too exerting. Noodles will let you know when he is done. He will also be happier and healthier. And you won’t have done too badly, either. n Jane Ehrlich is a professionally trained Feline Behaviorist with over 27 years experience. She spent 18 years volunteering with the RSPCA in both clinical and behavior work and has her own consulting business Cattitude Feline Behavior, www.cattitudebehavior.com, in Phoenix, Arizona, although her clients are located worldwide.
There are three rules to keep the play fun: 1. Find out what style(s) your cat responds to. Some cats, like my Bouvier, love the seemingly-irrational darting, freezing, darting and hiding motion of mice and insects. Lottie, on the other hand, loves things flying through the air, settling, then flying off again, near-nose diving, then whooshing up again. Dangle anything in front of Grace and she yawns. After all, prey does not zoop toward the animal, does it? But if I keep it teasingly out of reach rather than some distance away so Her Majesty does not have to work toooo hard, then she’s game. Jerking items under the rug works well for her too. I have to make an extra effort to keep things fresh or she bores easily. But a small pom-pom marinating in a jar of catnip is something she loves to bat while the others watch. 2. Rotate toys to keep them fresh. 3. It is her time of day, not yours. There are certain times of day when your cat sleeps and others when s/he tears around the house. When? Patterns. Pay attention and you will notice. Most cats have a few periods of time each day when they are alert and ready to go. Quite often one of these periods is about when we are winding down to go to bed, sometimes called the evening crazies or zoomies. If you tap into BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Feline Behavior Unmasked
Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about feline behavior problems and feline behavior in general
Q: How do I get my cat to go from a litter box to using Litter Robot? She is not interested.
© Can Stock Photo Inc./okssi68
A: Nor would I be. I must admit, I do not advise those great-forconsumer, lousy-for-cats electric litter box gizmos. People (and their cats) use them, but we are already asking cats to be abnormal in their elimination habits. They normally eliminate in a different area every time for one thing and, knowing they are vulnerable to other animals, they chose safe, flat areas. Conversely, we expect them to use the same box, wherever we put it, and not necessarily when the litter or box is clean. Their sensitive pads (which do not toughen as dogs’ pads do) then have to scrape pellets and crystals instead of soft dirt or sand. Ouch! Add to that the sound of machinery minutes after the cat exits Eliminating in the same place every time is not a normal feline behavior
the contraption. Not to mention that the cat has to hop up onto a platform to get to the hole. Also, the whole thing is covered which traps smells. Not nice, especially for the cat’s sensitive nose. However, if you realllly want to try one of these, do not force it. A little desensitization is in order first. Try this: buy the same box your cat is using, cover it, and see if she will get used to that. Then put some of the cat’s used litter into the new gizmo and some of the crystals into the old box so she can get familiar with the change in texture. Decrease the amount of litter very gradually in her covered box. As her box has more of the new litter in it and the new box has some of the old (don’t turn it on yet!), it is hoped she will segue to the new one. Let her use it for at least a week without the machine running. Is she comfortable? If so, turn the Litter Robot on. The cleaning mechanism starts seven minutes after the cat has vacated the thing, so unless she is in the vicinity and the sound disturbs her (a treat after she has used the box wouldn’t hurt), that should be all right. Slowly does it. It could take a few days or a few weeks. If she refuses to use it, dear owner, let her alone.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Q: How do I stop Smidge from opening my cat food cabinet? It is the kind where she can just fit her paw around the handle and push it open. We have come home several times to find one snoozing kitty, full of kibble, and a cabinet door swung open with litter all over the floor.The problem is that that area is the best place to keep Cats are masters at finding a way to get what they want the bag and there is nowhere else to put it. We do not want to use a childproof lock.
© Can Stock Photo Inc./shotsstudio
© Can Stock Photo/BENGUHAN
A: Clever cat. Are you sure you cannot put the bag up high in a closet with a plastic cereal-dispenser for the kibble? Two other suggestions: spray the area with something lemon scented. Cats often dislike that smell and will avoid it. I would also consider using canned food instead of kibble. It is better for hydration and digestion, and we already know the myth about hard food cleaning teeth, i.e. it doesn’t. (Talk with your vet about that one!) n
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Assembling the Species Puzzle
In the second of a four-part feature, Amy Martin discusses the key to successful, species-appropriate enrichment for captive parrots
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better - Albert Einstein
s I discussed in my previous article (Stimulation for Psittacines, BARKS from the Guild, May 2015, pp. 48-50), enrichment is the doorway to well-being. When an animal is able to actively engage in natural behaviors specific to his species, mental and physical health are enhanced. When a parrot in captivity has the opportunity to make empowered choices and perform species-specific natural behaviors, it enables him to thrive. His stress levels will be reduced and stereotypical behaviors minimized.
If we want to provide enrichment, we must ensure that it is relevant and supportive to the species. To do that, we need to be aware of that species’ specific characteristics. These physical characteristics and classifications will set the stage for what we need to provide to the animal in captivity.
What Is a Parrot?
Before we talk about species-specific parrot enrichment, let us go over what is considered to be a “parrot.” Parrots are a wide class of birds in the Psittaciformes order. There are 356 species and well-differentiated subspecies of parrots in the world. Cockatoos, Macaws, Amazons, parakeets, lorikeets, lovebirds and hundreds of other birds are considered to be parrots. Most parrots have: s Zygodactylous feet: the toes of each foot are arranged in pairs, with two toes in the front and two pointing backward. s Strongly hooked/curved beaks. s Exuberantly colored plumage. s A variety of feather types: species with pointed wings and long tails tend to fly great distances; rounded wings and blunt tails typify species who are more adept climbers. s Stocky, large heads. s Powerful, short, curved, articulated bills. s Highly developed tongue and jaw musculature. s Relatively short legs. Before Providing Enrichment to a Captive Parrot We Must Acknowledge Three Facts:
1. Parrots are not a domesticated species Humans have been selectively breeding companion pets such as cats and dogs for thousands of years. This has not been the case with companion parrots. Whether a parrot was captive bred or wild caught, they are not domesticated animals. In fact, we can
Tui parakeets eating mangoes in the wild
trace the lineage of most companion parrots to two or three generations from their wild ancestors in their native habitats.
2. Parrots are species, not breeds Breeds of dogs and cats are grouped under one genus and one species: Canis familiaris or Felis catus. Although a Maine coon looks very different from a Siamese, they are both the same species. Comparatively, there are hundreds of species of parrots. Some parrot species are even classified in a different genus. We might be able to make some generalizations about the nutritional, emotional and physical needs of dogs and cats because of their species, but we cannot generalize parrots. Each species of parrot has very specific dietary, emotional and physical needs.
3. Natural behaviors are necessary to individual parrots Parrot behaviors in captivity can often be linked back to the natural behavior of their species in the wild. A parrot’s natural behaviors, even the ones that cause parrot guardians much frustration, are natural. If we can learn to look at a particular behavior, then make a concerted effort to do research on that species (or subspecies), we can learn if it is a behavior that is innate to that particular species. If that is the case, we can then encourage the behavior to occur in a healthy and more productive way. Factors to Consider When Creating Species-Specific Parrot Enrichment
If we want to provide successful and appropriate enrichment for BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
an individual parrot in captivity, we have to do some research. These are some of the factors we need to consider: 1. The natural history of the parrot species. 2. The individual parrot’s history. 3. The individual parrot’s unique characteristics and preferences. 4. The safety of the parrot. 5. Desired (natural) behaviors that we want the parrot to engage in. I will cover the first two factors in this article. Forthcoming articles will discuss the other three factors.
Knowing the Parrot Species’ Natural History The natural history of individual parrot species is directly relevant and has a direct impact on a parrot’s life in captivity. Natural behaviors are healthy and contribute to a parrot’s overall wellbeing. The enrichment we offer a parrot in captivity needs to reflect this natural history.
Wild species of parrots at a natural clay and salt lick
Quaker Parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) in their natural communal nest in the wild
Yellow-collared lovebirds foraging on the ground
Captive Moluccan cockatoos enjoy an enriching rain shower, mimicking their wild habitat
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
A key concept in environmental enrichment requires that we know ‘species-typical’ information. It is then important to select enriching strategies that are behaviorally relevant and morphologically feasible for the captive animal in question - Lutz & Novak
Parrots in the wild live very busy and varied lives. They spend their days communicating, socializing, foraging, bathing, preening, establishing nest sites, mating, excavating a nest and raising their young. And all of this can vary greatly depending on the species of parrot. Depending on the species of parrot in the wild, he may: s Prefer undisturbed rainforest at higher elevations and riparian (riverine) forests. s Depend on safe tree cover. s Nest in hollowed limbs, trees or in the upper canopy of the forests. s Prefer deciduous trees. s Feed on specific fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers and nectar. s Roam large areas searching for clumps of their favorite foods. s Seek out fruits well before they are ripe. s Have monkeys, snakes eagles and other large mammals as natural predators. s Use cacti, termite mounds or rocky outcrops to make his home. s Flock to mountains of clay known as "salt licks," which contain minerals essential to his diet. s Be able to eat some poisonous fruits. s Be found in croplands digging up newly sown seed. s Spend 40 percent of his day foraging for a highly varied, seasonal diet. s Require insects and their larvae in his daily diet. s Come to the ground only to drink. s Spend hours on the ground foraging with flock members. s Dig up insects from the ground, pry bark from trees and scrape meat from bones. s Feed on pine cone seeds.
Live in multi-species or single-species flocks. s Scream to define territory, as a play behavior, to maintain constant contact with flock mates, and to communicate messages to other birds in his community. s Socialize with other parrots and share communal roost trees. s Spend most of his day and night shoulder to shoulder with his mate. All of these factors are relevant. What a parrot species would choose to do, have, be, or where to go in the wild needs to be considered before we create species specific enrichment. I encourage parrot caretakers and guardians to ask the following questions before they provide enrichment for their companion parrot or parrots in a shelter: s What would these parrots be doing 24 hours in a day if they were living in the wild? s Are they crepuscular or diurnal? s Would they naturally climb or fly to navigate their habitat? s Are they active chewers, foragers or diggers? s Do they need to bathe in water? s What kind of water? Rainfall or a shallow pool? s Do they need to bask in the sun? s What kind of sun? Dappled afternoon sunlight or full morning sunlight? s How far would they have to travel for their food? s Do they forage cooperatively? s Are they a solitary species? s What exact behaviors does this species do naturally in the wild? s What kinds of food are found in their country of origin? s What do they feed upon? s Are these parrots adapted for a particular food source? s What species of plants do these parrots live around? s Who are these parrots’ natural predators? s How are these parrots adapted for survival? s What type of habitat do they live in? s How much time does this parrot spend on the ground? Before we provide any kind of enrichment we need to know the answers to these types of questions. The answers you find are the puzzle pieces and clues that will lead you to the types and methods of enrichment you should be providing for a specific species of parrot. We need to learn to ask: How can I provide a quality of life in captivity that mirrors the life this parrot would have in the wild?
Enrichment is about the individual animal; it is a study of one
Individual History A parrot’s individual personality, needs and life history matters. Often they are just as varied as our own. What a parrot experienced prior to his or her life in captivity or being transferred to your facility matters. Think of his life history prior to today as a
Graphic by Amy Martin
timeline of the negative and positive experiences he had with other pets, people, places and parrots. All of these individual life experiences combined create the parrot you live with now and they matter.
Investing in the Individual Parrot The species’ natural history and the individual’s history are starting points for where we should begin to provide appropriate enrichment for each individual parrot in captivity. It is important that we take the time to put the pieces of the species puzzle together. The goal is to closely mimic a parrot’s natural habitat and what his species would be doing in this particular habitat while pairing the individual parrot’s preferences. I encourage parrot shelter managers, parrot guardians and parrot caretakers to learn who each individual parrot is and what his individual needs are. Discover his natural behaviors. Learn the history of the individual animal and the natural history of the species. Once you learn these, you have the tools to start creating an appropriate species-specific enrichment options for each parrot. n
This is Part Two in a four-part series about parrot enrichment.
Lutz, C. & Novak, M. (2005). Environmental Enrichment for Nonhuman Primates: Theory and Application. ILAR Journal. 46: 178-191: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15775027 Martin, A. (2015, May). Stimulation for Psittacines, BARKS from the Guild, pp. 48-50: www.issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs /bftg_may_2015_online_version_opt/49?e=4452575/12622747 Amy Martin owns and solely operates Conscious Companion®, www.consciouscompanion.com/my-background.html, serves on the board of directors of the Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary, www.capefearparrotsanctuary.org and is a member of the advisory team for Family Paws Parent Education, www.familypaws.com. When she is not consulting, writing, or educating the public through workshops, she teaches Wetland Ecology (B-WET) in the field for Prince William County Middle Schools, and is a Make-A-Wish Granter for the MidAtlantic Chapter.
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
The Thyroid Epidemic
Canine thyroid expert, Dr. Jean Dodds, explains to Annie Phenix what owners, trainers and
behavior consultants can learn from a dog’s thyroid health
ave you ever wondered what you can learn from your dog’s thyroid levels? One of the most important books I have ever read as a dog trainer who works with reactive dogs is Dr. Jean Dodds’ The Canine Thyroid Epidemic: Answers You Need for Your Dog (2011, co-authored with Diana R. Laverdure). This book was an eye-opener for me and helped me start putting the pieces together for a potential medical reason as to why seemingly normal dogs might start showing unwanted behaviors such as aggression, hyperactivity or compulsivity. In the past it has proven difficult to convince some owners, trainers and veterinarians to at least rule out a thyroid problem for troubled dogs. With Dr. Dodds shedding more light on the issue here, it is my hope that more of us who work with dogs will start to place a stronger emphasis on recommending that owners see their vets to check thyroid function wherever it might be relevant. Dr. Dodds received her veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1964. After working for several decades in upstate New York doing non-invasive studies of animal models of inherited bleeding diseases, she moved to southern California in 1986 to start Hemopet, the first nonprofit national animal blood bank. Today, Hemopet’s range of nonprofit services and educational activities include: * Providing canine blood components. * Adopting retired greyhound blood donors as companions through Pet Life-Line. * Specialized diagnostic testing using all green patented technology and consulting in clinical pathology through Hemolife. * Teaching animal health care professionals, companion animal fanciers and pet owners about hematology and blood banking, immunology, endocrinology, nutrition and holistic medicine. When I test one of my own dog’s thyroid levels, I have my local veterinarian draw the blood and request it be sent it to Dr. Dodds’ Hemopet Laboratory. This way I feel sure that all aspects of a potential thyroid condition detected through lab work is done correctly and thoroughly. I also recommend any of my clients who test their dog’s thyroid do the same. BARKS: What do you think has caused the canine thyroid epidemic?
Dr. Jean Dodds: It appears to be a combination of a real increase in thyroid disorders in humans and animals, along with an increased awareness of the condition followed by appropriate diagnostic testing. It likely stems from more inbreeding and line breeding of dog breeds and cross-breeds known to be historically at risk for thyroid disorders combined with environmental 50
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Dr. Jean Dodds is highly respected in the animal health and veterinary diagnostic fields
pollution, depletion of the ozone layer around us, and the increased use of pesticides, herbicides, other chemicals and even over-vaccination.
BARKS: Are purebreds more likely than mixed breeds to have a thyroid problem?
JD: Not really, but more purebreds are usually tested for breeding purposes and if their breed is known to be predisposed. Mixed breed dogs typically get thyroid tested when they are brought to a veterinarian for a health issue or wellness examination and routine laboratory testing.
BARKS: If a dog is showing dog-to-dog aggression, do you automatically suggest a thyroid panel be done on that dog?
JD: Yes we do, because aggression in a formerly sociable pet is abnormal, whether it is dog-to-dog or dog-to-human. Thyroid dysfunction needs to be ruled in or out as one of the possible causes and, importantly, a complete thyroid antibody profile should be run rather than a simple T4 or free T4.
BARKS: What exactly should owners ask their veterinarians to test for in order to be able to truly check thyroid function?
JD: A complete thyroid antibody profile like Hemopet’s Thyroid Profile 5, or the equivalent profile at Michigan State University (MSU), Antech Diagnostics or Idexx Laboratories.
BARKS: Some veterinarians tell their clients that only “older dogs” can have thyroid disease. How do you respond to that?
JD: That used to be the case 15-20 years ago when the typical hypothyroid dog was four to six years old and we did not have
specific testing for autoimmune thyroid disease. The youngest case I have identified was a seven-month-old golden retriever with elevated levels of thyroid autoantibodies and bizarre behavior. Today, affected dogs can start to show some behavioral issues and signs of weight gain at puberty or shortly thereafter. Most dogs now are clinically hypothyroid by ages two to four years. BARKS: From a veterinarianâ€™s perspective, how do you recommend that trainers approach vets about the thyroid canine epidemic and its impact on canine behavior?
JD: A simple straightforward explanation with documentation, if asked, about the relationship between thyroid function and behavior should suffice. As trainers, you know how important it is to rule out any underlying medical or metabolic abnormalities before starting behavioral intervention and modification. Some of these dogs just have urinary tract or ear infections, which are painful.
BARKS: Are current veterinary students learning about the importance of testing and regulating the thyroid?
JD: In my view, teaching in this field in undergraduate and graduate veterinary education is inadequate worldwide.
BARKS: Do you have a percentage of how many dogs suffer from thyroid disease?
JD: This is a difficult number to pin down, but it varies from 1540 percent amongst the various breeds and cross-breeds. At least 80 percent of cases are believed to be due to underlying heritable autoimmune thyroiditis. The vast majority of dogs are hypothyroid. Interestingly, older cats display just the reverse situation. Only a tiny number of dogs are hyperthyroid (if they have thyroid cancer, eat too much red raw meat containing the gullet part of the carcass or are overdosed on thyroid medication). n
Dodds, J. & Laverdure, D. (2011). The Canine Thyroid Epidemic: Answers You Need for Your Dog. Dogwise Publishing. Hemopet: www.hemopet.org
Annie Phenix CPDT-KA at Phenix Dogs, www.phenixdogs.com, is a positive reinforcement trainer, an award-winning writer and a former publicist. She also writes a weekly column for Dogster.com, www.dogster.com. She and her husband share their lives in sunny Colorado with her five dogs, six donkeys and two horses.
Potential Symptoms Symptoms or or Indications Indications of of Thyroid Thyroid Dysfunction Dysfunction Potential
Alterations in Cellular Metabolism s lethargy s stunted growth s weight gain s hyperexcitability s mental dullness s chronic infections s cold intolerance s neurologic signs: s exercise intolerance - polyneuropathy s mood swings - seizures s aggression
Neuromuscular Problems s weakness s knuckling or dragging feet s stiffness s muscle wasting s laryngeal paralysis s megaesophagus
Reproductive Disorders s infertility s prolonged interestrus interval s lack of libido s absence of heat cycles s testicular atrophy
Dermatologic Diseases s dry, scaly skin and dandruff s chronic offensive skin odor s coarse, dull coat s bilaterally symmetrical hair loss s "rat tail" s "puppy coat" s pyoderma or skin infections
facial paralysis head tilt "tragic" expression drooping eyelids incontinence ruptured cruciate ligament
s s s s s s
s s s s
s s s s s
silent heats hypospermia pseudopregnancy aspermia weak, dying/stillborn pups seborrhea with greasy skin hyperpigmentation seborrhea with dry skin myxedema
Hematologic Disorders s bone marrow failure: - low red blood cells (anemia) - white blood cells - platelets
Ocular Diseases s corneal lipid deposits s keratoconjunctivitis sicca or "dry eye" s corneal ulceration s Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome s uveitis s infections of eyelid glands (Meibomian gland) Gastrointestinal Disorders s constipation s diarrhea s vomiting
Cardiac Abnormalities s slow heart rate (bradycardia) s cardiac arrhythmias s cardiomyopathy
Other Associated Disorders s IgA deficiency s other endocrinopathies: s loss of smell (dysosmia) - adrenal s loss of taste - pancreatic s chronic active hepatitis - parathyroid s glycosuria
Behavioral Disorders Typical clinical signs: unprovoked aggression, sudden onset seizure disorder, disorientation, moodiness, erratic temperament, hyperactivity, hypoattentiveness, depression, fearfulness, phobias, anxiety, passivity, submissiveness, compulsiveness, irritability
- Dr. Jean Dodds www.hemopet.org/education/jean-dodds-veterinarian.html
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
The Art and Science of Consent Testing
Angelica Steinker explains how, by respecting a dog’s input about social situations, trainers
can build positive associations and prevent future problems
onsent testing is the process of observing a dog’s body language to see if he is fine with whatever environmental change has been presented to him. It can be used informally or formally. Informal use would be during play or social interactions, when two dogs or a dog and a human are interacting. All the tester needs to do is observe if each party wants to interact. Formal consent testing is when a situation is staged and whereby the tester determines the dog’s desire to interact or not by observing body language. Body language that is distancedecreasing is considered to be a yes, I want to interact. Body language that is distance-increasing is considered a no, I do not want to interact. Consent testing allows the dog to say yes or no to situations and interactions.
Consent Testing Uses:
• Socialization: Use consent testing during socialization to avoid flooding. Flooding is when socialization exposure ceases to be fun and begins to be stressful. Flooding is not a part of socialization and ideally is minimized. It is not something that a professional uses intentionally. Behavior Modification: Many problems in behavior • modification occur because of accidental flooding. By using consent testing, accidental flooding can be avoided and programs based on counterconditioning and desensitization are much more likely to be successful. • Building Reinforcement History: Simply put, a dog who is allowed to say yes or no and who is supported in his decision is going to form a stronger bond with his trainer and owner than a dog who is accidentally or deliberately flooded. • Pet Therapy Visits: Individuals engaging in pet therapy with their dog will be more successful at minimizing stress and maximizing fun if consent testing is used at all times during all visits. If a dog says no, a handler can simply state that the dog needs a bathroom break. Dog Sports: Not every sport or dog sport situation is • for every dog; you should empower the dog you are working with to be able to say yes or no.
How to Consent Test
To perform a consent test, simply expose the dog to another dog, person or situation and observe his response. A dog who is meeting another dog and immediately turns away is saying no, I would rather not meet this dog. This communication needs to be accepted and distance between the two dogs needs to be increased. If the two dogs need to be integrated this process can be done gradually. When a dog is meeting someone new, observe his body language to determine if he wants to interact with this person or 52
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
not. If the person is touching the dog, this interaction can be stopped and the dog’s reaction can be observed: does the dog move closer to the person and reinitiate contact? That is a yes. Or does the dog turn away from the person and engage in another activity? That is a no. When entering a room or area, does the dog readily continue into the space? That is a yes, I want to go there. Or does he turn 180 degrees to head back to where he came from? That is a no, I don’t want to go there. Forcing a dog to engage in contact with another dog, person or area he is not comfortable with may predispose him to develop issues that can range from fear to full blown aggression. It is important to not take it personally if a dog says no to interacting with you or your dog. It is not personal, but it is very useful information. To accurately interpret a consent test you must be able to observe the dog being tested for distance-increasing or distancedecreasing behaviors. Behaviors intended to increase distance function as a no response to the consent test while behaviors intended to decrease distance function as a yes. Some common distance-increasing behaviors are: s Tongue flick s 90 degree head turn away from person, dog or object s 180 degree body turn away s Backing away s Stress gulp s Freezing s Breath holding s Tail wag with straight spine s False smile with whale eye
It is important to know the dog you are consent testing well or to be highly experienced with consent testing to be able to accurately interpret a yes or no. If you are not sure about the body language you are observing assume the dog is saying no. If you want to learn more consider enrolling in a course on canine communication. Some common distance-decreasing behaviors are: s Snuggling up to the dog or person s Licking the dog or person s Gently nuzzling the dog or person s Play bowing s Freezing and then rapidly unfreezing with a soft spine s Tail wag with a soft spine s Happy facial expression with almond eyes s Moving toward the dog or person
© Can Stock Photo/satitsrihin
© Can Stock Photo/Vishneveckiy
© Can Stock Photo/miss_j
Some of the signals are the same for both lists; this may seem confusing, and that is because it is. Reading dogs’ body language is something that is scientifically proven to be influenced by experience. In general, the more years you have been around dogs the more accurately you will be able to read their body language.
© Can Stock Photo/vasilisak
This dog is showing signs of a desire to increase the distance between him and the person handling him
State of Conflict
When a dog is leaning into a person to initiate closer contact it indicates a “yes”
This dog is resisting attempts to make him go somewhere he does not want to go; he is clearly saying “no”
Both cat and dog appear to be saying “yes” here
Some dogs feel two things at the same time. It is not uncommon, especially for herding breeds, to exhibit both distance-increasing and distance-decreasing behaviors at the same time. These dogs will approach, lick and then retreat. Conflicted body language must be interpreted as a no. Consent testing improves your communication, reinforcement history and ultimately the results of your work. Just say yes to consent testing! n Cognizant behavior consulting (CBC) is an approach that provides behavior consultants and their clients with guidelines that create boundaries and establish ethics. CBC deals directly with the emotional components of behavior consulting. It focuses on the needs of both the client and the dog in order to improve their emotional states.This column will present a different component of CBC in each issue. Angelica Steinker PCBC-A owns and operates Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, www.courteouscanine .com/Florida, a full service pet service business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. She is the national director of training for DogSmith Services, www.dogsmith.com, and co-founder of DogNostics Career College, www .dognosticselearning.com.
HOST A WEBINAR FOR PPG!
We invite our members to get involved and contribute their unique skills to our webinar program! If you would like to host a webinar for your fellow companion animal trainers and behavior professionals, submit your ideas to: www.PetProfessionalGuild.com /PresentaPPGmemberWebinar.
Topics may include training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics... or anything else you can think of. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!) BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Developing Mastery and Competency
Niki Tudge details the various ways in which pet professionals can make sure their clients
n the world of dog training, as we become more experienced at our craft we often become less competent at training others - unless we are actively engaging procedural training skills. Why is this? Largely, as experts, we view our training tasks differently than our students. This means we are unconsciously competent. We exercise our skills and knowledge so automatically that we are no longer aware of what we are doing. This is why, in many cases, an expert teaching a novice can be very difficult. I remember a couple of years ago when a friend of mine asked me to explain the game of cricket. I love cricket and became very passionate about the opportunity to teach an American friend to understand this fabulous game. As a side note, so everyone can appreciate just how much I love cricket, I was the first and only girl ever to play in my school’s cricket team. I believe this achievement still stands to this day! In any case, after a few minutes, my friend looked very confused so I pulled out a sheet of paper and quickly began drawing the wicket, the fielding positions and explaining the rules. Confusion still reigned, however, until my partner walked in and proceeded to take over the teaching session. Within a couple of minutes he had explained the game very clearly, had maintained an active interest from his student and was now preparing the student for level two, the fielding positions. Why had this happened? After all, I am a certified people trainer! Very simply, for two reasons. Firstly, I am a subject matter expert and therefore process information about cricket very differently to my student. My partner understands enough about cricket to explain it but still remembers the challenging task of having to learn about it from my father. Secondly, it never occurred to me to explain to my student that the batsmen do not have to run when they hit the ball. This is a concept that any American finds hard to understand as they grow up watching baseball. Without that critical piece of information nothing much else I said made any sense. The lesson to be learned here is that it is not always best to ask an expert unless they have a fundamental understanding of teaching or training practices. Much of our expertise as dog trainers and behavior consultants has been built up over years of practice, experience and trial and error. We have acquired many of our capabilities through declarative knowledge, i.e. knowing “what” rather than procedural knowledge, knowing “how.” In our roles as trainers, however, we 54
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Graphic by DogNostics
glean as much as possible from training and behavior consults, and set them up for success
often find ourselves having to transfer knowledge to clients using context, examples and hands-on procedure, otherwise known as procedural knowledge. Research suggests that when people learn to do something or master a skill as declarative knowledge, it is not easily transferred into procedural knowledge unless the trainer has a system and process for doing just that (Stolovitch & Keeps, 2011). Mastery 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. The four levels are as follows: 1. Unconscious Incompetence The student is in this state because he does not know what he has to learn. He does not know what he does not know. 2. Conscious Incompetence The student becomes increasingly aware that he does not know what he is doing and that he lacks key skills. 3. Conscious Competence The student has developed considerable skills but still has to think and assess what he is doing as he is using them. 4. Unconscious Competence The student is now very competent to the point of being unaware of how automatic and instinctively he is performing the skills.
We can now look at these levels in terms of our clients.
Level One When we arrive at a client’s home for the very first appointment they know they need help because they have not been able to solve their own problems. They do not know, however, the extent of what they do not know. This means they have no idea about the level of commitment that is going to be needed, how many lessons it may take, the homework they will be assigned, the expected financial investment or the practice required. They
are often happy to see us, relieved that the cavalry has arrived, and are keen to get started.
Level Two During the first lesson there is typically a lot of new information flowing back and forth.Young or inexperienced trainers often use it as a platform to demonstrate their own competence. At some point during the first session, or Dog trainers may inadvertently shortly afterwards when the overwhelm their clients with client is left alone to reflect, they information when they are teaching them something new may realize they feel incompetent. If this feeling kicks in during the session itself, we may see the client become slightly withdrawn or overly serious. We may mistake it as concentration. Some clients may use humor to protect their vulnerability and others may come across as short-tempered. Poor training delivery and information overload can expedite this feeling of inadequacy. If the trainer does not follow a structured training process or provide multiple demonstrations and exercises, then this adult - who is competent and functional in most, if not all, other aspects of their life - will begin to feel insignificant and unsure about their own capabilities. In my opinion, many inexperienced trainers lose focus at this point. If the client is left feeling inadequate or insignificant they are hardly likely to want to invest any more of their money into professional dog training services. They will either retire from the exercise or seek advice from elsewhere. The choice they make depends on their resilience. If they feel this way at any point during this level, it can cause setbacks later in the training program, particularly if we do not stick to the script and instead move the goal posts or expect too much too soon.
ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/alkir
then to practice and perfect. During the first few practice sessions with a client on a particular skill, we must select and focus on individual criteria to help them perfect it. If, while we coach them through their first trials we attempt to reinforce too much, then no one skill will be mastered. It is better to step back and focus on just one skill. It is hard enough to multi-task when you are competent but, for novices especially, this results in a lot of mistakes. For example, during the first few minutes of training a new skill, a novice trainer may focus on just a couple of things, e.g. the timing of the
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Level Three If we are successful in our endeavors and can keep clients motivated and on task then, after a few lessons, they will become consciously competent. In many cases this is where they start to feel satisfied. Most pet dog owners have no motivation to achieve mastery. However, they do have enough skills to achieve their goals and be able to troubleshoot at home if they run into difficulties.
Level Four In order to achieve or develop mastery, all the component skills at the various levels have to be mastered. A weakness in one level will result in knowledge gaps and means the foundation will be weak. As we work with our clients and they learn to develop their skills, they move from novice to competent. This means they not only know how to train their dog, but also how and when to apply the knowledge we have transferred to them. To move clients from a novice level to a more competent level, we must present them with information and tasks that require them to use the skills to the point of autonomy, as well as enable them to transfer what they learn from our training sessions to new situations.
If we explain to our clients how to do something, demonstrate the skill a few times and then leave them with a homework assignment to practice it on their own, we are doing them a huge injustice. Before we leave we need to supervise them practicing while we coach. As trainers, we have a responsibility to leave our students with assignments both parties know they can competently complete. Their job is
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BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Ambrose, S., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C. & Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning Works. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass. Stolovitch, H.D & Keeps, E. J. (2011). Telling Ain’t Training (2nd Ed). Alexandria,VA: ATD Publications.
Niki Tudge is the founder of the PPG, www.petprofessionalguild.com, The DogSmith, www.dogsmith.com, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College, www.dognosticselearning.com. She is a certified people trainer, certified facilitator and project manager and has business degrees from Oxford University, UK. Her professional credentials include: CPDT-KA, NADOI – Certified, AABPProfessional Dog Trainer, AABP- Professional Dog Behavior Consultant, Dip Animal Behavior Technology, and Dip Canine Behavior Science & Technology. See www.dognosticselearning.com /DogNosticsFacultyBusinessExpert for more details.
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© Can Stock Photo/tombaky
bridge and the delivery position of the reinforcement, or the position and mechanics of the lure. They may choose to ignore the client’s stance, the way they are holding the leash and other small inaccuracies. By isolating individual mechanical skills and reinforcing them, the trainer can help the student commit that task to muscle memory, as well as experience quick and easy successes. I have observed many trainers set up a student with a practice session and then continually interrupt with advice to correct all kinds of skill components. This is very frustrating for the student, who is denied any feeling of accomplishment or quick success. As trainers, we must learn the process for getting this right, i.e., how to break down skill components and help clients develop competence by first mastering small skills and then adding new ones one a time. Then, to help with knowledge transfer we must encourage clients to apply their new skills as quickly as possible to real life situations. If we effectively analyze what is to be trained and present this in a hierarchy of component skills that ensures our students master the preliminary skills first, there is no reason why they cannot become highly competent at training their pets. n
In Defense of the Muzzle
Louise Stapleton-Frappell explains why she believes all owners should muzzle train their dogs
was in two minds as to whether to write this article but decided it was important to do so for the sake of many people and their dogs. Jambo, my beautiful Staffordshire bull terrier, and I recently took part in an event to help raise money for our local dog rescue, 4 Paws Adoptions. Jambo had his very own kissing booth and was able to help out some of his less fortunate canine friends by selling kisses. When photos of Jambo in his kissing booth were posted on Facebook there were an awful lot of negative comments. Why? Because Jambo was wearing a muzzle. Many people stated that they thought it was cruel to muzzle him. Some said that we were giving the breed a bad reputation and many more said that they would never put a muzzle on their dog. I understand that muzzles can sometimes look a little bit scary but I was amazed at people’s reactions. There are diverse reasons for using a muzzle. I believe that all pet owners should teach their dogs to feel comfortable and relaxed while wearing one, so that, if the time comes when a muzzle is required in an emergency situation, extra stress is not placed on their beloved companions. Many veterinarians and groomers will muzzle your dog. Sometimes when you visit the vet your dog will be taken into the back for treatment. If your dog shows any signs that he may bite, he will be muzzled. If he is not used to wearing a muzzle then it will most likely increase his feelings of fear and anxiety and could mean an escalation of nervousness the next time you visit the vet. Some of you will be thinking that your vet does not require you to muzzle your dog but I assure you, if your pet is ever in a lot of pain or injured, then a muzzle will and should be used to protect those caring for him. In this situation a dog’s reflex reaction can be to bite no matter how calm and friendly he may normally be. As an aside, you yourself should also muzzle any dog who is injured before you attempt to give first aid. A dog bite will still be reported to the relevant authorities whatever the circumstances, and the last thing you would want to do is add to an already difficult situation. A muzzle can also be an indispensable tool when working with an aggressive dog. The muzzle allows you to work on a program of behavior modification using force-free methods to help overcome the dog’s reactivity. It allows the trainer to work in the vicinity of other people and dogs, keeping everyone safe. I would go as far as saying that, if your dog acts aggressively towards other dogs or people, he should be wearing a muzzle when in
Jambo (left) and Tessa have been trained to feel comfortable wearing muzzles in case of emergency - and because of breed specific legislation
public. The muzzle will not only protect other dogs and people, it could also protect you and your dog. If your dog bites someone, you could be fined a substantial amount of money and your dog could be seized and even euthanized. The muzzle should not, however, be used as a substitute for working on a dog’s behavioral issues as this could lead to an escalation of his reactivity. If your dog is overly reactive you should not take him to places frequented by lots of people and dogs. I would recommend working with a certified force-free trainer who will use positive reinforcement, desensitization and counterconditioning in a behavior modification program. Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in some countries requires that certain breeds of dog must be muzzled and on a leash when in public. This is the reason why Jambo has to wear a muzzle. Although I vehemently disagree with legislation that targets specific breeds, failure to abide by the law could result in a hefty fine and even the seizure of a beloved pet. You may be lucky and not have this type of discriminatory legislation where you live but what would happen if you were to travel somewhere that dictated muzzle wearing to be mandatory? How much more relaxed would you be if you knew your dog was happy to wear a muzzle? Some countries require muzzles for all dogs over a certain weight. Local legislation where I BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
live in Spain re- A muzzle did not stop Jambo from quires all dogs raising money weighing over for his local dog 44 pounds to shelter, 4 Paws be muzzled and Adoptions leashed when in public. This is the reason why Tessa, my beautiful German Shepherd, must now be muzzled when we go out. I advocate against BSL, which condemns a dog because of the way he looks without taking into account the way he behaves. I do, however, acknowledge that having such restrictions is much better than an outright ban (which some breeds face in some countries). The muzzle can be an invaluable tool to use while introducing your dog to another dog, a cat or any other animal that is to become a member of your family. It can give you peace of mind while you employ a program of desensitization. There are a few different types of muzzle available but the most common ones are basket muzzles and mesh/nylon muzzles. For most situations, I recommend a basket muzzle. Although a dog wearing this kind of muzzle can look a bit like Hannibal Lecter, it allows him to pant (and therefore to regulate his body temperature) and to drink. It is also easy to feed your dog through the slots in the muzzle, which is an absolute must when carrying out positive reinforcement training. Mesh/nylon muzzles do have their advantages too as they are ideal for quick use, for example a visit to the vet, and can be easily folded and put in your pocket/bag. I would not, however, recommend them for longer periods of time as it is much more difficult for the dog to pant and keep cool. “Softie” muzzles can be an ideal option as they offer a comfortable fit that also allows the dog to pant but I would not advise them if the purpose for wearing the muzzle is a dog’s aggression. Please avoid using Gentle Leaders, Haltis or other head halters as substitutes for a muzzle. They may partially close a dog’s mouth, but will not prevent bites, and, in any case, this is not what they have been designed for. Tessa and Jambo both have basket muzzles and nylon and mesh muzzles. Please measure your dog carefully before purchasing his muzzle as it is important that it fits correctly. There are even sizes that are especially suited to shorted-nosed dogs. The soft muzzle Jambo wore in his kissing booth is cut in such a way that it fits the shape of his face. It has a narrower 58
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band than the typical soft nylon muzzle and is also a looser fit, allowing him to open his mouth sufficiently to pant, drink, eat and, of course, kiss, while not allowing full opening or the ability to bite. It is also slightly padded to make it more comfortable. I chose this muzzle for the day as, normally, if Jambo were to be wearing his muzzle for such a long period of time, I would use his basket muzzle (the blue Baskerville Ultra he is wearing in the photo on page 57). However, I did not think people would appreciate a hard piece of plastic bashing their faces. Dogs will feel more relaxed when wearing their muzzle if they have been trained to do so. Whatever the reason for the muzzle, whether it is dictated by law, to enable you to work on your dog’s reactivity issues or for that “just in case” future event when a muzzle might be required, it is absolutely essential to make sure your dog is happy wearing it. Here is a video I made which demonstrates in simple, easy to follow steps, how to muzzle train a dog: How To Teach Your Dog To Love Wearing A Muzzle. You want your dog to view the muzzle as something positive. If you follow the techniques I use in the video, your dog will learn to love his muzzle.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Do not just use the muzzle for visits to the vet. Put the muzzle on your dog and do something he loves. If he only ever wears the muzzle when “bad things” are going to happen, he will quickly build a negative association with it. - Do not put a muzzle on your aggressive dog and let him loose in the dog park. Instead, contact a qualified force-free trainer and work on the dog’s issues in a stress-free environment. - Do not muzzle your dog because he is chewing your furniture. (Keep him away from temptation and provide him with lots of chew toys.) - Do not muzzle your dog because he is reactive towards strangers/children/other dogs and they have come to visit. (Put your dog in a different room and contact a certified force-free trainer to work on his issues.) - Do not muzzle your dog because he suffers from separation
anxiety and can be destructive while you are out. (Contact a qualified force-free trainer to work on his issues). - Do not muzzle your dog because he raids the rubbish bin while you are at work. (Move the rubbish bin.) - Do not muzzle your dog and think you can safely leave him unattended. When muzzles are used for the right reasons they can be a positive tool but they are not a replacement for training your dog. Jambo’s friends,The Canine Crusaders, Sapphire and Cobalt, campaigning against BSL in the UK.They have to be muzzled when in public but that does not stop them from looking amazing.Their muzzles are often bedecked with jewels
The next time you see a dog in a muzzle please realize that he probably has a very responsible owner who is doing his utmost to keep his companion and others safe. When more dog owners begin to use muzzles in routine training, for traveling and even as an opportunity to do something fun with their dogs, then the muzzle’s appearance will become less startling as it becomes more commonplace and, hopefully, muzzled dogs being automatically labeled as aggressive will no longer be the case. n
Video How To Teach Your Dog To Love Wearing A Muzzle: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE19qm07_Vs Video Jambo’s Kissing Booth: www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvbp4Khu7UM The Canine Crusaders, Sapphire and Cobalt: www.facebook.com/TheCanineCrusaders Jambo - Staffy Bull Terrier Trick Dog on Facebook: www.facebook.com/StaffyChampion Jambo and Tessa on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/dogtricksonline
Louise Stapleton-Frappell PCT-A is a CTDI (through Do More With Your Dog) and holds force-free instructor certification from In The Doghouse DTC (Nando Brown). She is also currently doing the clicker trainer super trainer course with Kay Laurence. She writes a blog Jambo - The Story So Far, www.louisestapletonfrappell.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/jambothe-story-so-far detailing the impact of Breed Specific Legislation on Jambo’s life and Jambo also has his very own Facebook page, www.facebook.com/StaffyChampion?fref=ts.
Pet Professional Guild has partnered with BarkBox to provide all members with a 20% discount.
* Order a monthly box of dog goodies for your canine friend! * Special rates available for gifts for dog friends * A portion of proceeds from each box will go to help dogs in need The promocode can be found in the Member Area of the PPG website: www.PetProfessionalGuild.com /benefitinformation www.barkbox.com BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
Forging a Stronger Human-Canine Bond
In the ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS features Nee Kang of Cheerful Dogs in Singapore
ee Kang is a Singapore-based certified professional dog trainer, scientist and animal behavior consultant who aims to combine a deep insight into animal behavior and research with her many years of dog training experience. Armed with a sound understanding of how dogs learn and communicate, and using effective, dog-friendly, and low stress handling techniques, Kang has been helping owners and their dogs in Singapore and elsewhere for many years. She also writes articles on behavior modification and training for local and international magazines. Q:Tell us a little bit about your own pets:
A: My adventures with dogs started when I was a child and Timmy followed me home from school. Timmy was a stray mongrel who came with his little bag of ready tricks: sit up, roll-over and play bow. We grew up together, exploring neighborhood nooks and crannies on lazy walks after school. Then came Benji, a shelter pup, whose brindle coat and smiley brown eyes twinkled with an ET-like intelligence. Duke, a stray beagle mix, was third in the musketeer line. He was succeeded by Shelley, also an adopted shelter pup, and the only girl among the boys. Shelley took to clicker training at the age of 14 while I was training to become a dog trainer. Over the span of more than 30 years, Timmy, Benji, Duke and Shelley taught me much about dog behavior and how to care for them, perhaps preparing me unconsciously for this stage of my grand adventure.Â Kiyo, a golden retriever, is the new kid on the block and another shelter rescue. Together we began our journey into the fascinating world of formal dog obedience training and behavior modification. As an adolescent dog, Kiyo lacked some manners that can cause once-loved dogs to be abandoned. He was notorious for jumping, mouthing, pulling on the leash and bolting. On walks, he would sometimes lunge and bark at passing dogs.Â It was hard work but, through teamwork, Kiyo is quite the changed dog. He works with me to help dogs who are reactive to other dogs in behavior modification classes. We published an eBook on Apple's iBookstore, Survival Among Humans: A How To Guide To A Sociable Dog, where Kiyo demonstrates some of his 60
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core skills. Currently we contribute ongoing articles to SPCA Singapore's Bulletin and information through their Facebook page. Through our publications we hope to provide some helpful training tips for all dog owners. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, Kiyo lost his left eye in a cataract operation but, because he had built up confidence and calmness over the years, he took that trauma in his stride and remains as cheerful a dog as ever. We love our ongoing adventures in the world of canine education - where learning is fun.
Golden Kiyo helps his owner Nee Kang with her reactive dog cases
Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?
A: I have always loved dogs and wanted to be a vet when I was a child. However, it was expensive to go to vet school and my family could not afford it. So instead I obtained my PhD in zoology in the field of behavioral ecology and taught animal behavior as a university faculty. But, because I was both fascinated by science and the arts, I then became a radio presenter on the national classical music station. In 2009, while still working in the corporate world, I became a certified dog trainer and finally came full circle to work with dogs, my primary passion.
Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer?
A: I have always been a force-free trainer. With my previous dogs, I had considered taking them for obedience training in the 'dark' days when old-fashioned aversive methods were used, but I had always felt uncomfortable about it so, fortunately, never did. Instead, when I was training to be a dog trainer myself, my 14-year old dog, Shelley, and I discovered the joys of clicker training. Shelley has now passed on but my current dog, Kiyo, is fully trained force-free.
Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?
A: It is a matter of compassion for nature, which is very much part of why I am a trained behavioral ecologist. Dogs are sentient beings and the use of force just does not gel with a relationship that is based on mutual trust and enjoyment of each other's
company. It is also a case of us, as owners, being responsible for both our dogsâ€™ physical and mental well-being. I have learnt so much and loved every day of my 40 years with each of my five dogs and I want to help others find that kind of companionship. Q: What awards or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods?
A: My passion is in helping people integrate their dogs, whether they have been rescued or purchased, into their family structure. Hence I focus on building skills for the dog that allows him to be part of the family. To this end, I have achieved the PhD level with Kiyo in the APDT Canine Life and Social Skills exam, which tests how reliable our social and life skills are in the real world we live in. Q: How has the PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer?
A: It is another resource of great information and knowledge to enhance my continuing education as a trainer. Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise?
A: Behavior modification for reactive dogs.
Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for most commonly encountered client-dog problems?
A: Clicker training. I love that sparkle in the eyes of a clickertrained dog when the fun begins. And lots of rewards, whatever the dog loves. However, many of my clients, when they come to me, are often at their wits' end and my key goal at that time is to quickly give them some tools to start working with their dogs so they can start to see some improvement. This will encourage them to go further and explore other positive reinforcement techniques. So desensitization and counterconditioning are the main behavior modification techniques I use and teach my clients for various client-dog problems, e.g. dog-dog reactivity, doghuman reactivity, neophobia. Basic obedience skills like sit, down, stay and nice loose leash walking are also quickly installed with rewards as motivators so that clients get that 'wow' factor from the dog they had been struggling with. Nothing gives me more of a buzz than seeing a client's eyes light up with happiness for the first time when they see their 'problem' dog doing something they like, and when they can get their dog to do it too.
Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?
A: That people start to read their dogs better, understand why the dogs are behaving that way, and what they can do as a team to learn together. Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Educating and training people and their dogs. In my sessions I always start by demonstrating what the client's dog can do, even
if it is polishing up a sit, then will do a quick overview of the science behind how we are training and guide them in reading their dog's body language to watch for signs of stress or fear. It is wonderful when both humans and dogs get and deserve their click-treat. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?
A: Ethologists Niko Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz and Jane Goodall and naturalists like David Attenborough. Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin have all influenced my view of the world we live in and how we all came to be. In dog training no one in particular was a force in getting me started along that journey, but I have learned a lot from reading books and watching DVD seminars from wonderful trainers like Patricia McConnell, Trish King, Pia Silvani, Ian Dunbar, Sophia Yin... They guide me in my journey helping dogs and their humans. Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?
A: The quickest fix I ever had was a golden named Prince, who just would not go past a certain spot on his walks. It was right under a highway bridge and I noticed that, when vehicles went over it, there was loud thump. After observing Prince for a while, I decided to throw a stone across that invisible boundary in an attempt to distract him in a retrieving game. It worked and Prince has been happily going on his walks since that day. The funniest was actually with my very first client and her poodle, Bayley. Bayley had run out into the garden, found a dead bird and had run under a coffee table with it. The owners were terrified that she would eat the bird and started trying to get her outside, which, of course, only made her less likely to do so. I calmed them, grabbed a toy and started playing throw with my client, completely ignoring Bayley. Within seconds, she came out from under the table to join the game and the dead bird was quickly whisked away undamaged. Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out?
A: Study, learn, practise, analyze, self-criticize and learn some more. What scares me in a way is how anyone can set themselves up as a dog trainer or pet professional with very little true knowledge or skill. As a new trainer, do not just rely on cool marketing to get clients and, even if you do, you owe it to the dogs to make sure you know and have enough of the appropriate techniques and skills to make a difference. When I first started out, I took the 'easy' cases - basic obedience and the odd unruliness here and there. Now I see more aggression cases where owners have experimented with trainers who do not apply force-free techniques. Do not be a dog trainer because you think you can. Be one because you want to make the human-dog bond stronger and better than before.Â n Cheerful Dogs is located in Singapore www.cheerfuldogs.com To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, complete this form: www.emailmeform.com/builder/form/4K20TaXhYd84DN03pf5s BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
The Complete Package
In Dog Bites with Steve Brooks, the author has created a work that is engaging and
educational in all things canine nutrition, behavior and training. Reviewed by Susan Nilson
n Dog Bites, Steve Brooks has crafted an intriguing mix of behavior, training, recipes (both human and canine), celebrity dog owners and Chinese medicine in an informative, light-hearted package with a serious, educational message. Advocating the rationale behind positive reinforcement training from the get-go, Brooks neatly segues into a lengthy list of â€œdog bites,â€? i.e. tasty treats designed to make a dog even more motivated during training. By using analogies such as dogs being motivated by praise, salary and promotion just like humans are, Brooks makes the science of behavior accessible to even the most novice dog owner. He also details all the places such training can be practiced (during walks, prior to mealtimes etc.) and reveals some neat tricks such as stuffing a hotdog down a short length of hosepipe for a dog to lick or sniff when trying to redirect his attention during stressful situations. Elsewhere, Brooks discusses the importance of management in behavior problems, extols the virtues and mechanics of clicker training, and explains the basics of dog training while simultaneously debunking the alpha/dominance myth. Luring, targeting, desensitization and counterconditioning are all explained in a way that makes them easy to understand for any dog owner, whether or not they are schooled in the terminology of behavior. Brooks also includes a section on aggression and fear which covers common issues such as resource guarding and leash reactivity, and explains the accompanying body language and facial expressions
BARKS from the Guild/July 2015
(both subtle and covert). All essential stuff for any dog owner. Onto the food section, where Brooks outlines what to look for in terms of nutrition in the food we buy for our dogs, the virtues of various feeding regimes and includes a useful, comprehensive list of foods that are harmful (as well as those that are beneficial) to dogs. The 100-page recipe section is impressive in its variety, with treats and meals ranging from apple sauce, baked squash, cauliflower with bacon, salmon pate and barbecue oysters to buffalo burgers, chicken soup and mutt meatloaf. Some recipes are for canines only, some for humans only and some for both. Brooks includes plenty of colorful photos to accompany his culinary creations, making them all the more enticing. Next come some handy tips on canine illness and first aid and even a foray into traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and essential oils. Believe it or not, but who could resist finding out whether their dog is vata, pitta or kapha? Towards the end of the book, Brooks relates some amusing tales from his years of training dogs, including those of celebrities such as Robert Downey Jr. and Sheryl Crow. There is even a secret solution for skunk spray which will have any dog smelling as fresh as a daisy afterwards. Rounding it all out with some information on tricks and fun games for dogs and children, Brooks has created something charming and unusual that covers a wealth of topics and information. With recipes guaranteed to be an inspiration for anyone involved in dog training, whether professionally or as a pet owner, and the focus on positive reinforcement and its application to a variety of behavioral issues, Dog Bites is a fun, educational read guaranteed to leave the reader with a broader knowledge than when they started. n Dog Bites with Steve Brooks Steve Brooks (2014) 288 pages Dog Ear Publishing ISBN â€“ 978-145753-132-3