BARKS from the Guild July 2016

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© Can Stock Photo Inc./gurinaleksandr

BARKS from the Guild

Issue No. 19 / July 2016

CANINE Obedience vs. Well-Behaved

TRAINING Gorillas, Alligators... and Treibball for Dogs CONSULTING Empathy and Separation Anxiety

PET CARE Handling at the Vet and Force-Free Grooming PUPPIES The Whys of Submissive Urination FELINE Scratching in the Right Places EQUINE Creating Mutual Trust

Cats, Babies and Children...

Why Growing up with a Pet Feline is a Good Thing

A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild: By the Members for the Members

Every great partnership starts with a handshake.

We offer professional discounts, wholesale rates, custom branded items, and more.


from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33545, USA Tel: +1-41 Dog-Train (+1-413-648-7246) Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson

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

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

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

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

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

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


From the Editor

t’s about time we had a cat on the cover again, so here we are! Our cover story this month looks into some of the common perceptions (and misperceptions) surrounding cats, pregnant women, babies and children and, while dispelling most of the myths, highlights the fact that growing up with a cat (or any pet for that matter) can help children with a host of benefits, including increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, developing trusting relationships with others, and assisting with the development of non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy. Still with cats, we have a feature on scratching, something commonly reported by owners as a problem when it comes to their prized sofa, and how straightforward it can be to redirect the behavior to a more appropriate setting. Dogs may not be on the cover of this issue, but they still feature heavily. Our Canine section includes topics such as the obedient vs. the well-behaved dog, a practical approach to dealing with leash reactivity, the potential pitfalls of puppy socialization, and submissive urination and/or deference. We also have plenty more on for the canine enthusiasts in our Training and Consulting sections, which highlight ways to empathize with clients who are dealing with canine separation anxiety, playing consent testing games with dogs and children, how to mark the exact behavior in training to build up distance and duration, and the burgeoning canine sport of Treibball, which looks like a lot of fun and just about any dog can play. We are pleased to include in this issue a section on Pet Care with articles covering recommendations to ensure a more positive visit to the veterinarian, and how to approach grooming from a force-free perspective. With the establishment of the committee for pet care professionals and the inaugural Virtual Pet Care Summit taking place on August 11-12 this year, pet care is a field of the industry that PPG will be paying close attention to in the future to ensure the needs of those professionals are met. As has been our tendency of late, we once again branch out into the fascinating field of exotics and feature two more training articles, the positive way of course. The first details working with a pair of American alligators to target and station - with the eventual goal of being able to conduct various veterinary procedures - and the other is written from the perspective of a gorilla trainer who, amongst other things, trained a 450 pound gorilla to present his thigh for injections (and, if need be, sedation for a more thorough veterinary check up). Elsewhere, our Equine section is back again and this time we discuss force-free teaching in horses and the fact that “crossing over” may not be as difficult as some trainers might think. We close out the issue with another insightful business article which anyone who needs assistance marketing their small business must read. Last but not least, we have full updates on all PPG’s ongoing projects, including Pet Dog Ambassador, Project Trade, the PPG Summit, the Virtual Pet Care Summit as well as reports on the recent PPG pet care technician workshop and PPG Australia’s activities at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show. Enjoy! BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

n Susan Nilso



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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016





© Can Stock Photo © Can Stock Photo Inc./gurinaleksandr /MarcinSl1987


© Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock © Can Stock Photo /oscarcwilliams

Photo courtesy: Jennifer Pratt




Photo courtesy: Sandi Pensinger


© Can Stock Photo/Robhainer


© Can Stock Photo/brookhouse



Photo courtesy: Spotted Dog Photography


NEWS Virtual Pet Care Summit, PPGBI Mini Summit, PPG World Service, PPG member webinars EVENTS - Steph McColl of PPG Australia reports on the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show - PPG Summit 2016 presenters EDUCATION - Louise Stapleton-Frappell reports on PPG’s Pet Care Certification workshop - Upcoming PPG workshops PROJECTS - Pet Dog Ambassador - Project Trade ITÊS A GOOD THING Jane Ehrlich reports on some of the common perceptions (and misperceptions) surrounding cats, babies, and children SCRATCH HERE, NOT THERE Patience Fisher explains how simple it is to train a cat to use scratching posts and pads rather than the furniture A WELL-BEHAVED DOG Barbara Wright wonders who really cares about obedience THE UNFAMILIAR BECOMES THE FAMILIAR Cecelia Sumner explains how she educates her clients on handling the issue of leash reactive dogs THE LANGUAGE OF DEFERENCE Carolyn Kocman discusses submissive urination in dogs THE NEED TO BE SPECIFIC Kama Brown delves into the murky waters that can be puppy socialization FEAR-FREE VET VISITS:THE WAY TO GO Jill Breitner takes charge when her anxious dog goes to the vet, and tells you how you can, too GROOMING RESTRAINTS Michelle Martiya explains how less can be more when it comes to keeping dogs under control in the salon WHEN PANIC BECOMES PEACE Jennifer Pratt explains how consultants can find the empathy and compassion to aid clients dealing with separation anxiety THE BEST PLAY Angelica Steinker explains how to play the small dog consent testing game with children KEEP ON PUSHING Diane Garrod provides an insight to the increasingly popular canine sport of Treibball ITÊS ALL IN THE TIMING Louise Stapleton-Frappell explains how to mark the behavior you want during training HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON Lara Joseph explains the ongoing process of training a pair of American alligators to target and station LIVING IN A HUMAN WORLD April Bove-Rothwell shares her experiences training gorillas via positive reinforcement CREATING MUTUAL TRUST Kathie Gregory presents a guide to force-free teaching in horses THE FOUR PÊS Niki Tudge highlights some of the tools available to pet professionals across the marketing mix PROFILE: THE FELINE CONNECTION Featuring Jane Ehrlich of Cattitude Feline Behavior in Phoenix, Arizona

© Can Stock Photo//Marcogovel


NEWS PPG Announces Inaugural Virtual Pet Care Summit


PG has announced its first-ever Virtual Summit for Pet Care Professionals taking place on Thursday, August 11- Friday, August 12, 2016. The event will feature 26 hours of virtual webinars covering a range of pet care topics such as health and force-free handling for cats and dogs, how to walk dogs positively and manage multiple dogs, canine and feline behavior and social communication, appropriate canine play, how animals learn, dog bite safety, managing a dog day care facility, and a host of business and marketing options for small business owners. The inception of the Virtual Pet Care Summit reflects the growing numbers of PPG members who work in the field of pet care, including kennel technicians, groomers, pet sitters, dog walkers, day care operators, veterinary assistants, student dog trainers, animal shelter employees, and dog trainers.Virtual summit webinars will run from 9 a.m. (EDT) till approximately 7:30 p.m. (EDT) over the two- day period with ample time in the schedule for lunch and breaks. Participants will be able to select webinars from two tracks and all webinars will be recorded and available for purchase after the event. Open to all, the Virtual Pet Care Summit features two registration options: The basic package includes 13 hours of live webinars over the two-day period at a cost per hour of $9 for PPG members and $12 for non-members, while the premium package includes 13 hours of live webinars over the two-day period at a cost per hour of $8 for PPG members and $9 for non-members. Premium package purchasers will also have access to over 24 hours of recordings and PDF handouts of each webinar. “PPG has launched the Virtual Pet Care Summit in direct response to the growing numbers of pet care professionals joining the organization to ensure we provide them with access to the best educational resources possible,” said PPG founder and president, Niki Tudge. “There is also a great need in the market for a range of force-free educational options to increase awareness amongst those working in the field of pet care - as well as pet owners themselves - that there are kinder, more effective alternatives to restraint or aversive handling techniques.” “Grooming, for example, can be a very stressful experience for many dogs,” added professional groomer and PPG member Michelle Martiya, who will be presenting on the do’s and don’ts of dog grooming at the event. “The combination of loud dryers, buzzing clippers, and being physically manipulated by a stranger can be difficult for a dog to accept. Restraint is often necessary, even on a well-trained dog, but how we introduce and use restraints can be the difference between a stressful, scary experience (which makes the dog more uncooperative for the next grooming visit), or a mildly unpleasant but temporary experience that the dog can quickly get past.” Registration for the Virtual Pet Care Summit is now open. For more details see 6

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

PPG Summit 2016: Overall Keynote Address Topic Finalized


PG’s second educational Summit is taking place at the Sheraton Tampa East hotel on Monday, November 7 - Friday, November 11, 2016 and, back by popular demand, is keynote speaker Dr. Karen Overall who will, once again, be presenting the keynote address. Part One is titled From Leashes to Neurons: Myths Debunked Why You Know Less than You Need to about 'Dominance,' Thyroid Hormones and Alternative Therapies; and Part Two is titled From Leashes to Neurons: Neuromolecular Learning and Cognitive Therapy for Dogs. Dr. Karen Dr. Overall will be folOverall will present ‘From lowed by guest speaker Dr. Leashes to Marty Becker, whose presNeurons’ in two parts at entation is titled Creating a PPG’s 2016 Fear FreeSM Environment for Summit Pets:Taking the Pet out of Petrified...Puts Pets Back into Practices. A host of other experts will also be presenting at the event, including Victoria Stilwell, Chirag Patel, Ken Ramirez and Dr. Soraya


Juarbe-Diaz, who will be conducting the general sessions before the schedule breaks down into smaller groups conducted by a host of talented presenters on a wide variety of topics (see also pages 12-13). The Sheraton Tampa East is offering a special discounted rate of $126 for Summit attendees but once the rooms are full at that rate, it will increase quite substantially so we recommend booking as soon as possible.You can reserve directly at /events/start.action?id =1512180838&key=30186160. For more information on pricing and packages, see www For the full Summit presenter schedule, see /Summit-Schedule. If you would like to promote your business at Summit 2016, why not provide a flyer or leaflet for the official SWAG Bag? That way you can get your message out to every attendee and presenter for just $300 (actual value $700). Benefits include: • Your business logo in the Official Summit Guide. • Your logo on the Summit website. • Your logo on the Summit “Sponsor Thank You” poster. See advertisement on page 26 and for more details.


BARKS from the Guild is always looking for member profiles to feature in the Profile section. If you would like us to shine the spotlight on you, all you have to do is fill out this brief form:

Project Trade: Time to Submit Your Gear!


reminder for PPG members who have signed up for Project Trade: the end of the previous month has now passed, which means you get to show off all the gear you collected. To submit your monthly claim form and photographs, please follow these simple steps: 1. When a client swaps a piece of equipment for a discount, have them sign your monthly Project Trade Client SWAP Form. 2. Give the equipment a number and log the number on this form. 3. At the end of the month, simply scan the Project Trade Client SWAP Form and upload it to the Monthly Trade Report, /builder/form/eHdjfdl2E81C5t, with a photograph of the equipment you have collected. (If you have no gear then please disregard the submission process, and the PPG advocacy committee wishes you success in the month ahead.) For more details on Project Trade, see and page 19.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



PPG British Isles Mini Summit


s previously announced, PPG British Isles’s (PPGBI) first-ever educational Mini Summit is taking place in Leeds, England on the weekend of September 10-11, 2016. Registration numbers are building up and the event is sure to provide the ideal opportunity to learn new things, get new ideas, as well as meet PPG and PPGBI members and steering committee members. Registration is open to both members and non-members at the bargain prices of just £10 ($14) and £20 respectively. A package price is also available that includes a group lunch and refreshments.The total price for the full two days is just £55 for members and £65 for non-members.

The Mini Summit boasts an impressive lineup of speakers including PPG founder and president Niki Tudge, PPG steering committee member Angelica Steinker, PPGBI membership manager Louise Stapleton-Frappell, as well as local expert presenters Helen Phillips, Carolyn Menteith and Susan Winter. See below for details of the schedule, and also The Official Mini Summit Guide is available at www./ /ppgbi_mini_summit_guide_2016. To register, see can also join the event on Facebook, /events/1689562604661747.

PPGBI Mini Summit Schedule


We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS from the Guild and BLOGS from the Guild. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please get in touch. 8

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016


PPG World Service Radio Show Schedule


he PPG Radio Show,, takes place on the first Sunday of every month at Noon (EDT). There is always an incredible line-up of guests and the show is educational and fun. Here is the current line-up (note: subject to change):

NEWS Dog Reactivity. Register at: You can submit a question for any of the guests here:

© Can Stock Photo /damedeeso

Sunday, July 3, 2016 - Noon (EDT) Judy Luther: Bond Based Training. Tristan Flynn: Assessing and Working with Reactive Dogs. Register at: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - Noon (EDT) Grisha Stewart: Behavior Adjustment Training. Register at: /8332634951684198660 Sunday, August 7, 2016 - Noon (EDT) Sarah Richter: The Conscientious Equestrian. Lara Joseph: Training Exotics. Register at: /6981185625842786818 Sunday, August 7, 2016 - Noon (EDT) Dr. Deborah Weir: What Animals Teach Us about Life and Getting Along with Each Other. Debbie Revell: The Emotional Roller-Coaster of Dog-

Workshops and Webinars


Cat Webinars

The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs (Tampa, Florida) with Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens Saturday, February 18, 2017 - 8:30 a.m. (EST) Sunday, February 19, 2017 - 4:30 p.m. (EST)

Introductions: Dogs to Resident Cats; Cats to Resident Dogs with Lennea Bower August, 2016 (date/time TBC) Food Enrichment for Adult, Senior and Geriatric cats with Amy Martin October, 2016 (date/time TBC) Low Stress Cat Handling for Veterinarians, Shelter Staff and Cat Owners with Paula Garber Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (EST)

Live Webinars Learn How to Train your Easily Frustrated Dog with Alexandra Santos Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. (EDT) Get Up and Running with QuickBooks – Your QB Quick Start Guide with Rick Ingram Wednesday, July 13, 2016 - 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. (EDT) Psychological Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Dogs with Dr. Franklin McMillan Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (EDT) Does Canine Hypothyroidism Really Affect Behavior? with Lisa Radosta Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. (EDT)

Online Course via Webinar TrickMeister - Your Force-Free FUN Dog Training Program with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Tuesday, Mar 1, 2016 - 1 p.m. (EST) Monday, August 1, 2016 - 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Details of all upcoming workshops can be found at:

Details of all upcoming webinars can be found at: A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars. BARKS from the Guild/July 2016




PPGA Takes a Stand at the Melbourne Dog Lovers Show

Steph McColl reports on PPG Australia’s participation in the huge Victoria event

he fourth annual Melbourne Dog Lovers Show took place in the Victorian capital, Australia from April 29 to May 1, 2016 during which time around 28,000 dog enthusiasts visited the event held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. The show featured over 250 exhibitors and around 500 dogs, not to mention dozens of canine experts who were on hand to entertain and educate the huge, dog-loving crowds. Attending the show for the first time, Pet Professional Guild Australia (PPGA) had a prime position as hosts of the Ask A Trainer stand. Victorian member Chiara Perri was the show coordinator for PPGA, and she and her team did a marvellous job creating a very professional environment. A full wall backdrop for the demonstration area provided insight into how force-free training works, and a huge map of Victoria with a flag representing each PPGA professional member informed the general public that force-free trainers can be found just about everywhere. The PPGA representatives all wore polo shirts emblazoned with the PPGA logo, and a speech-bubble with Ask-A-Trainer on the back. As such they could be easily identified by anyone who wanted to ask about dog training. The demo dogs meanwhile all wore yellow bandanas with the PPGA logo embroidered on them, making them easily identifiable (and looking very cute!) A group of 12 PPGA professional member trainers and their students conducted demonstrations, answered questions, provided information on force-free training, and showed that positive reinforcement training holds up even under the noise and crowds that surrounded the dogs in the show environment. Literally thousands of people went home with PPG postcards that had pet and emergency contact information on one side and the PPGA logo and website on the other. The PPGA members on the Ask A Trainer stand were thrilled to hear over and over again that the general public was highly impressed with the happy demeanor displayed by the demo dogs, as well as their willingness and enthusiasm to participate in training sessions even after three very long days.

The PPGA ‘Ask A Trainer’ stand


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Demo dogs were decked out in yellow PPGA bandanas

PPGA member Peta Clarke was the MC for the main arena events, and she made sure she missed no opportunity to promote force-free training and direct people to the PPGA stand and activities. This was the first time the force-free movement has had representation at such a high level at the Dog Lovers Show, and it certainly will not be the last. The show organizers were delighted with PPGA’s contribution, and said they had received very positive feedback on our presentations from show attendees. The PPGA steering committee was thrilled with the response from the public, and the fact that the PPGA name and the force-free ethos are much more widely-known and appreciated throughout Victoria as a result of the hard work put in by the team. This marks just the beginning of a very exciting journey for the force-free movement in Australia. n

PPGA’s force-free training demos attracted great interest from show attendees


Positive reinforcement training was the order of the day at the PPG ‘Ask A Trainer’ stand in Melbourne

Steph McColl PCT-A and president of PPG Australia 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 oneto-one 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.

Show visitors were impressed at the calm demeanor of the PPGA demo dogs

PPGA was able to reach thousands of dog owners at the show

Show organizers received a great deal of positive feedback from the general public regarding PPGA’s contribution


If you are an applicant in the system and on the road to accreditation, PPAB is here to help you be successful! THERE ARE A NUMBER OF TOOLS AT YOUR DISPOSAL: s The Examination Study Guide: s The Case Study Template: s The Video Review Form: s The Facebook Applicant Support Group - To join, email: s ABA Dictionary:

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016


#PPGSummit 2016

A Five-Day Interactive, Educational Event

Monday, November 7, 2016 12 p.m. (EST) Friday, November 11, 2016 1 p.m. (EST)

Sheraton Tampa East Hotel in Tampa, Florida

Introducing the Keynote Presenter...

Keynote Speaker


Presenters and Schedule: Hotel and Facilities: Special Hotel Rate: Meals and Entertainment: Packages and Pricing: Registration: Sponsor an Event/Include Your Marketing Collateral in the Summit Swag Bag:


Introducing the Guest Presenters...



Essential Skills for Pet Professionals

Louise Stapleton-Frappell reports on PPG’s Certified Pet Care Technician workshop

owards the end of May, PPG held a four-day workshop covering all the necessary skills needed to become a Certified Pet Care Technician (CPCT). Professional pet care requires knowledge, skills, individual competency and a high level of responsibility, and the event, which took place at PPG’s Wesley Chapel, Florida headquarters, was designed to provide just that. The workshop was opened by PPG founder and president Niki Tudge presenting on Caring for Pets – Protocols and Procedures and one of the topics she discussed was the importance of shared meaning: Does the pet care technician have the same understanding as the client? Does the owner identify a behavior or perhaps an illness in the same way a pet care technician does? I thought this was a crucial take-home point as we all need to make sure that the questions we ask provide us with the information that we need. Tudge cited the example of an elderly dog who may have a problem with teeth, arthritis, eyes, or chronic pain. If we, as professionals ask, “Does your dog have any ongoing medical concerns?” the owner may answer, “No, he doesn’t.” However, if we ask, “Do you have to administer any medication to your dog?” the owner may answer, “Yes, I do.” We are then able to follow up and ask why medication is required. The questions we ask should elicit a response that draws out the information we require. Tudge also discussed the importance of examining pets on their arrival in a pet care facility, not, of course, as a veterinary examination but pet care technicians do need to be able to check the general condition of the fur and coat, the eyes and ears for signs of parasites, fleas and ticks, and look for wounds, cuts or scrapes. If technicians find anything of concern, they do not diagnose but inform the owner and recommend that the pet be taken to the veterinarian for a complete exam. I was also on the agenda presenting on the topic of How Pets Learn. One key point I discussed was the importance of empowering our canine clients and what our strategy should be for Applying an Emergency Muzzle Make a loop with a piece of gauze (or a nylon leash) using a simple knot as if you were tying a shoe lace. Place the loop over the dog's nose with the 'knot' under the chin. Pull to close, making sure the dog's tongue is inside the mouth! Bring the two lengths of gauze up behind the head and tie in a bow Sally Saxton (left) (for quick release). If the practices placing an knot is placed on the emergency muzzle under the guidance top of the muzzle the of presenter two lengths will go Rebekah King straight over the eyes when you fasten around the head. The material or your nails could inadvertently scratch the dog’s eyes (plus the dog would not be able to see). 14

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

CPCT workshop participants. Back row (left to right): Michelle Satchell, JC Drake (Tawzer Dog), Neil Hennessey, Sally Saxton, Kody Kirby (Tawzer Dog); front row (left to right): Louise Stapleton-Frappell, Rachel Williams, Chloe the Labrador, Rebekah King, Michelle Harmon

Louise StapletonFrappell (right) demonstrates conditioning equipment to ensure a positive emotional response

Michelle Satchell (right) demonstrates the correct way to pick up a small dog under the tutelage of Rebekah King

conditioning this. The answer is that we build up a history of positive reinforcement and teach the dog he can operate safely within his environment. We develop a safe and trusting relationship, share fun experiences, and ensure all physical and mental needs are met through an enriched environment and physical activity. We avoid frustration, aversives and punishment, and use safety signals to minimize stress. I also presented a discussion of Pet Care Tools, Equipment and Toys where I focused on the importance of always endeavoring to create a positive conditioned emotional response to any new tools or toys a pet is introduced to. I included an overview of several pet toys and highlighted the many benefits of using a target stick, especially for moving or positioning a pet and also as a game and an excellent way to strengthen the bond with a pet, both for owners and professionals. PPG steering committee member Angelica Steinker was another presenter at the event and her focus was on Canine Communication and Social Behavior. Steinker discussed distance decreasing play behavior which functions to access pleasure in social encounters. Her papillon, Mo was photographed demonstrating a beautiful play bow – a distance decreasing signal, but Steinker pointed out that pictures can be misleading. One could label a behavior as aggressive when in fact it might be playful. “A photograph is just a second in time and often does not accurately portray the animal’s emotions or actions,” said Steinker. “Make sure you look at the whole context. Don’t just look at one part of the body, look at the whole of the animal’s body and the context of the behavior.” Steinker also invited workshop attendees to demonstrate some of the signals a dog might use to increase or decrease distance between himself and another dog or person. “It’s important to practice reading dogs as much as possible to understand the range of behaviors and understand the individual in front of you,” she said. Elsewhere, PPG membership manager Rebekah King provided an excellent overview of animal body structure, systems and functions in her Introduction to Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology. King’s presentation covered everything from the lymphatic system to the circulatory and endocrine systems. King also presented Canine and Feline Health and Handling during which she carefully explained the procedure for lifting a cat, a small dog, a medium dog and a large dog. King also demonstrated how to administer oral medication to both cats and dogs using syringes, peanut butter, cream cheese, Pill Pockets®, or, if necessary, to the back of the throat. This is something many people struggle with so her tips were appreciated by everyone present. The final day of the workshop featured King presenting the PPG Pet First Aid course. She started out by explaining exactly what pet first aid is and how one should handle an animal during an emergency. Amongst other things, it is essential to make sure everyone is safe and King deftly demonstrated how to apply an emergency muzzle. Attendees then had the opportunity to practice this skill using a piece of gauze as an emergency muzzle. King stressed the need to make sure that the knot of the emergency muzzle is placed under the dog’s chin and not on top of the muzzle, as that would mean that the straps going around the dog’s neck could inadvertently scratch the dog’s eyes (see box, bottom left, page 14). Overall this workshop was an excellent learning opportunity with attendees learning a host of skills and techniques invaluable – and potentially life-saving - to anyone working or living with animals. n

EDUCATION Skills Covered at the CPCT Workshop: - Association of equipment. - Approaching a dog. - Applying a harness. - Using food to distract. - Applying a leash to a collar. - Picking up a leash or item - Play tug. from the floor. - Target stick. - Attaching a leash. - Move a dog. - Safe crate exit. - Hand target. - Seven branded items. - Checking dog’s skin. - Lure forwards. - Checking dog’s ears. - Lure backwards. - Checking dog’s teeth. - Lure onto a mat. - Checking respiratory rate. - Lure under an object. - Chin target. - Lure into a crate. - Lifting a small dog. - Six distance decreasing - Lifting a medium to large behaviors. dog. - Six distance increasing - Lifting a cat. behaviors. - Checking dogs’ nails. - Six aggressive signals. - Administering eye - Six conflicted body language medication. signals. - Administering a pill. - Design a slow greeting - Administering liquid protocol. - Design customized ethogram medication. - Body condition check. encompassing six signs of - Emergency muzzle. stress and six signs of joy. - Capillary refill time check. - Consent test. - Bandage. - Preference test. - Femoral pulse. - Infect your dog with a happy - CPR demonstration. emotional state.

Rachel Williams’ dog Chloe takes a break from proceedings

Louise Stapleton-Frappell BA (Hons) PCT-A CTDI CAP3 DN-FSG is a super trainer clicker trainer who has performed as a dog trick instructor at In The Doghouse DTC. She works hard to promote a positive image of the "bully" breeds and advocate against Breed Specific Legislation. Her Staffordshire bull terrier, Jambo,, is a trick dog champion. She is also the proud author and instructor of the TrickMeister training program, www, membership manager at PPGBI and regional coordinator of Doggone Safe in Spain. BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Pet First Aid Certification Program A Three-Part Recorded Webinar

with Bethany Jordan

Tuesday, January 01, 2016, 1:00 p.m. (EST) - Saturday, December 31, 2016, 2:30 p.m. (EST)


he Pet First Aid Certification Program is a three-part recorded educational webinar that will teach you all the necessary skills you will need to manage a pet emergency. The program includes three webinars hosted by Bethany Jordan, certified veterinarian technician, CPDT-KA. Each webinar lasts one hour. When you register for this program you will receive:

s The links to all three recorded webinars. s Links to the 10 supplemental skill videos. s Information about the online test and video certification program.

Upon completion you will receive:

s Your pet first aid notebook. s A certificate of competency. Know what to do in a pet-related emergency with this online certification course

Š Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock

First Aid

The Pet First Aid program covers topics from heatstroke to snake bites, CPR and wound management, as well as how to safely transport a pet to the care of a veterinary professional. It should be remembered that first aid is literally that: aid or management that is rendered as soon as a problem is identified at the scene of an accident or injury, and as a bridge between those first to respond to a problem until the time when professional care is provided. Many people confuse first aid with specific treatment for an illness or injury. This often results in proper care never being received or care being delayed to such an extent as to compound the problem.

You will also be required to provide four short 30 second videos to demonstrate hands on competency. Full details are explained in the presentation.

Learning Objectives s Understand your role in pet first aid. s What first aid is and what it is not. s How to effectively and safely be a pet first aid responder. s Learn how to manage the most common pet emergencies until the pet is transferred to a veterinarian.

Program Contents s First aid assessment and management. s Animal handling during an emergency. s Initial assessment stages, CPR and bleeding. s Shock management. Common Emergencies Covered s Heatstroke s Lacerations s Zoonoses s Wound care s Hot spots s Broken toenails s Bandaging s Burns s Corneal abrasions s Prolapsed eyes s Fractures s Luxations s Hypoglycemia s Diabetes s Choking s Gastrointestinal s Toxicities s Insect bites and stings s Dehydration s Vomiting and diarrhea s Seizures s Feline fatty liver disease s Dog breed medication sensitivity s CPR and triage s The pet first aid kit


To receive your PPG Pet First Aid Certification you will have to complete and pass an open-book online certification test comprised of 50 questions. 16

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

CEUs: PPG 3/CCPDT 3/IAABC 3 More information and online registration:


The Gift of a Gray Muzzle: Active Care for Senior Dogs

A Two-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida (Working and Auditor Spots Available)

with Kathy Sdao and Lori Stevens

Saturday, February 18, 2017 8:30 a.m. (EST) - Sunday, Feburary 19, 2017 4:30 p.m. (EST)


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

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

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

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

The workshop will cover making life easier for senior pet dogs

© Can Stock Photo/Hannamariah

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

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

erinary care. s TTouch® bodywork and wrapping techniques, including leg and body wraps. s Strategies for minimizing age-related anxiety and maximizing emotional resilience. s Methods for modifying cues to accommodate sensory limitations. s Movement and conditioning exercises that benefit aging dogs. s Games to keep mind and body active. s Help for senior dogs who have difficulty standing up or climbing stairs. s Tips for dealing with loss of appetite. s Considerations regarding end-of-life decisions. CEUs: PPAB 12/CCPDT 12 More information and online registration: BARKS from the Guild/July 2016




Pet Dog Ambassador

PG has launched its Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) program worldwide following successful completion of the pilot program. PDA is a program whereby dog owners can test their knowledge, skills and ability to manage their canine companion(s) in real life settings. PPG members can sign up to be instructors and/or assessors, as well as get their clients involved in the program to earn certification (and a medallion for their dog) as they work through each level.

Program Benefits Aim to:

s Improve the relationship between pet dogs and their guardians. s Help guardians gain a better appreciation of force-free dog training and its applications to everyday living. s Improve the knowledge of socially responsible pet guardians. s Increase guardians’ knowledge and understanding of local laws. s Equip dogs and guardians with the skills to be out in the wider community in settings such as cafes and outdoor eating areas, off-leash areas, busy streets and beaches. s Demonstrate to the public the advantages of a well-trained dog.

Assessment Levels:

The PDA program is a five-level program. Each level builds on the previous one to strengthen the knowledge, skills and abilities of dogs and their guardians. The levels are:

Level 1 (Puppy): Dogs, like people, learn best when they are young. That is why we love to see puppies (4 to 9 months old) reach their first pet dog training goal early. Qualified assessors assess puppies in class. This can be the class teacher (if PPG qualified to assess) or an assessor brought into class for the purpose of assessing the work done by participants. Level 2 (any dog over the age of 6 months old): This level builds on the work undertaken at Level 1. It is also at a level where those who did not undertake Level 1 (because they did not fit the age bracket) can still have an easy entry into the program. This level is also assessed in a class situation.


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Level 3 and Level 4: These levels build further on the dogs’ and guardians’ skills, knowledge and ability and culminate in assessments both in real life settings and in the class situation.

Level 5 (Championship): This level is where everything the dog and guardian have learned is put to the test in real life settings. n

For more information, see

Pet Guardians’ Guide Now Available


he Pet Guardians’ Guide is a comprehensive, 38page document that comprises everything dog owners need to know about the program. This includes a host of information and resources to assist owners in the online open book quiz they are required to take (prior to commencing the program)s in order to check their knowledge on dogs and their needs.

View/download a copy of the Pet Guardians’ Guide at

Project Trade



roject Trade is the Pet Professional Guild's (PPG) international advocacy program that promotes the use of force-free pet equipment by asking pet guardians to swap choke, prong and shock collars (and any other devices that are designed to change behavior or care for pets through pain or fear). PPG members may opt in to the program and, in doing so, agree to provide incentives for their clients to switch to more appropriate training and pet care tools by giving them professional educational support at discounts of 1015 percent. PPG members who participate in Project Trade will be able to display a unique badge on their business website and have access to personalized marketing collateral at cost. They will also be listed in an online directory that will be marketed to the pet owning public. Further promotion will occur with regular updates, photographs, reports, and success stories featured across PPG's platform of publications. In addition, each month, the member who has collected the most equipment will be recognized with a certificate and featured on PPG's website. Finally, every October, PPG's advocacy committee will determine which participant has submitted the most equipment, and the winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to PPG's educational Summit, taking place this year in Tampa, Florida on November 7-11, plus a plaque and a $5,000 prize. You can opt in to Project Trade by filling out this online form: Learn more about Project Trade in this brief video,, featuring quotes from respected canine experts Jean Donaldson, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz and Dr. Jean Dodds. n

For more information, see BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Studies indicate that pets can help children benefit from increased self-esteem and self-confidence, and aid in the development of compassion and empathy

It’s a Good Thing Jane Ehrlich reports on some of the common perceptions (and misperceptions)

surrounding cats, babies, and children, and highlights some of the many reasons why

growing up with a pet cat is beneficial to everyone


t’s summertime once again, a time when many mothers are bringing their new babies home for the first time. At the same time, the worries and the questions increase regarding the family cat(s), as does the advice - wanted or not. Some of that advice is wise while some, shall we say, is ‘old school’ and rather based on myth. In my many years of experience as a feline behavior consultant, I have actually heard from clients that their doctors have advised them to give up their cats. When pressed for the reasons they have generally received comments about “added responsibility” and “possible allergies,” despite such concerns being completely unfounded. As a matter of fact, raising your child with animals can mean a strengthened immune system. In a study by Wegienka, Johnson, Havstad, Ownby, Nicholas, and Zoratti published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy (2011), the researchers looked at the association between lifetime dog and cat exposure and allergies in over 550 boys and girls from Detroit, Michigan, who were followed from birth until they were 18 years old, at which point they were tested for an allergic response to dogs and cats. The results showed that being exposed to dogs and cats during the first year of the child’s life proved to be the crucial factor that resulted in “reduced risk of allergic sensitization to that specific animal later in life, compared to those that did not have an indoor pet in the first year.” A blunt statement from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (n.d.) states that “recent research seems to show that early exposure to animals (cats and dogs in 20

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

© Can Stock Photo/Vishnena

particular) may actually protect children from developing these diseases.” Another example: doctors are still telling their pregnant patients not to scoop the litter box. “Toxoplasmosis,” they mutter darkly, as if you’re likely to be struck down by the plague with one errant spoonful of the used stuff. You can kill that one, too. It is highly unlikely that your cat will give you toxoplasmosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013), "people are more likely to get it from eating raw meat or from gardening." Toxoplasmosis is rare in the US. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) (n.d.), it is “difficult for cats to transmit toxoplasmosis directly to their care givers.” The HSUS states that there are several factors that contribute to keeping the chance of such transmission low: • Only cats who ingest tissue cysts get infected. This would be limited to outdoor cats who hunt and eat rodents, as well as cats who are fed raw meat by their owners. • Typically a cat only excretes oocystis when she is first exposed to the parasite, Toxoplasmosis gondii (or T. gondii), and this goes on for only two weeks. An outdoor hunting cat is often exposed to the disease as a kitten and is, therefore, less likely to transmit the infection as she ages. • Because oocysts only become infective after one to five days, exposure to the disease is unlikely as long as you clean the cat's litter box daily. • Since oocysts are transmitted by ingestion, in order to

COVER STORY contract toxoplasmosis a woman would have to make contact with contaminated feces in the litter box and then, without washing her hands, touch her mouth or otherwise transmit the contaminated fecal matter to her digestive system. (Humane Society of the United States, n.d.). In other words, keep scooping, sistahs. Another myth—and this is one I keep seeing on websites supposedly responsible for good cat care: keep the cat away from the crib. I do not believe anyone truly thinks a cat can suck the breath from a baby. However, sometimes people are convinced a cat can suffocate a baby by lying across his or her mouth. In my 28 years’ experience—and in the experience of every behaviorist and veterinarian I have ever spoken with about this—it has not happened. Cats do not dislike babies but often seem to sense vulnerability and are instinctively gentle with them. From the child’s perspective, caring for a pet means learning about responsibility. It means learning empathy and compassion. The child also has a companion, someone non-human to love. It is a win-win. And no, declawing is not necessary. All pet owners need to do is make sure they take their cat to the veterinarian for regular health checks, and keep her up-to-date on any flea or deworming treatments if necessary. It goes without saying that the cat should be spayed or neutered.

Coming Home

© Can Stock Photo/Siberia

The preparation for bringing the baby home to your resident cat begins before the bundle leaves the hospital and, as a matter of fact, before he or she is even born. The keys to getting your pet cat to accept a jolt to her routine with open paws are, first, soften the blow and second, make the changes gradual ones. Remember, she was your first “baby.” Here are some useful steps: • Get the cat used to baby smells and sounds. Long before the big day, wear the baby lotions and powders, and use the baby body/baby room cleaners and wipes. Let the cat sniff and get positive associations with those new smells by praising and treat-

Studies have shown that children who grow up with cats can have a reduced risk of allergic sensitization to that specific animal later in life

ing her. Familiarity is everything. • Play the cat a recording of a crying baby.You can easily find one on the internet. Start with a low volume and a short duration and work up to more realistic levels. Again, use treats and praise to get that positive association. • Have baby-toting friends and family visit for short, then longer periods. Let Noodles walk around and get used to it all. • Cats love routine remember, so do not change your cat’s eating, eliminating and playing times and places. Predictability reduces stress—on your part and on the cat’s.

The Nursery

While preparing the nursery, have the painting, carpeting and furniture-moving done in easy stages (but the whole thing done fairly quickly) for less disturbance. This will help Noodles get used to the differences in the house. Set up the crib long in advance of baby's homecoming. Get the cat involved; let her come in and see each change you make and see and smell all the baby toys but don't let her claim anything as hers. If she drags off a toy, get it back gently and hide it in a drawer. Get a few new cat toys too, ones that do not look like baby toys. It is understandable the cat may think she can play with the baby's toys but providing her with an attractive alternative will help greatly. If the cat is hesitant to enter the room, use a treat to lure her in and let her know she is welcome in the nursery when you are there. Let her get her curiosity out while keeping up your daily play sessions.Your pet cat is a part of all this, not an outsider. In the meantime you are not establishing an off-limits zone to the cat, so it is not especially tempting to her after the initial novelty has worn off. Before bringing baby home, let Noodles also get familiar with the crib, the rattles and hanging toys and

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



such. These things will all lose their novelty for her weeks before the baby arrives. After some sniffing and initial investigation, she will most likely decide it is not that interesting. Be aware that cats can leave the box with litter on their feet, fur or in between their toes. Babies put everything in their mouths, so keep litter away. There is no need to punish a cat, ever. A cat can lick the baby safely, and there is no reason why she cannot be in the same room. Some cats love to sleep in the baby’s crib or bassinet. Rather than banish her, consider buying a crib net or bassinet cover. Shooing the cat from this newly found nest may not work when you are not there to shoo so prevention is the key at least until the cat gets the message. Personally I do not see the need to make the crib and changing table uninviting to a cat. The cat will most likely lose interest regardless. If you really feel the need to do something, you might consider laying a lemon-scented cloth in there. A screen door or tall removable gate might also be used if you really must. This still allows your cat see and hear what is going on so she will feel less isolated from the fun and will be more comfortable with the sounds made by baby.

In the Hospital

© Can Stock Photo/shalamov

While at the hospital, have a family member bring home something soft with baby's (and your) scent, so your cat can get used to it before baby comes home. Praise and treat her when she sniffs it and lay the baby-scented things in a place she frequents. Ensure too that the cat is being properly cared for by someone you trust while you are away. Noodles has to feel loved and comfortable in the whole home.


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Back Home

Your view: “I can’t wait for them to meet. I love them both. Can we all be part of the same happy family? How do I keep my child safe? And my cat happy?” The cat’s view: “Oh. No. This is new. I hate new. This is change. I hate change. What is this? Oh my goodness it’s loud and it takes all her attention away! What about me??” Noodles may demand your attention of course. Have someone take the baby into another room while you give your cat a loving welcome. She has (probably) missed you so pay attention to her. Keep treats handy then encourage her to sit with you near the baby. Reward good behavior. Remember, you want the cat to associate good things with the baby. Ideally, since someone trusted has fed and played with your cat just before baby's arrival home, she will be relaxed. When introducing the baby to Noodles, don't hold or restrain the cat. Instead let her explore the baby at her own pace. Don’t be tense as she will pick up on that, and there is no need to be tense in any case. Gently let the cat know baby is not a threat. If either one is upset, take a break and try again later. Talk with your cat while you are holding the baby. There is a good chance Noodles will show mild curiosity and then wander off. If there is any sign of hissing, growling, swatting, or any other avoidance- or aggressive-type behavior, stop, pick up the baby and quietly walk away. Stop the good attention she gets from you and then resume when she calms down. Good behavior means good attention, which means no stress. Animals do not behave “badly” intentionally. We have a tendency to project human feelings onto our animals but there is some evidence that Being involved in the care of the family cat can help children to bond with her; children are known to talk to and confide in their pets


suggests dogs may feel jeal(contains scentless synthetic cat ousy (Harris and Prouvost, pheromones which can have a 2014) and many cat owners calming effect) to help reduce her Pets can play many different roles for children, including: will attest to the same in their • stress. A room like this also means They can be safe recipients of secrets and private cats. Our goal is to attend to the cat will not zoom out the thoughts-children often talk to their pets, like they do their front door (in case someone that with love, attention and stuffed animals. removing any threat. leaves it open in all the commo• They provide lessons about life; reproduction, birth, If the cat is gently licking tion). illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement. the baby’s face this is fine (as Of course, you are concerned • They can help develop responsible behavior in the long as it does not upset the with keeping everyone safe—your children who care for them. baby of course). Cats learn by baby, the cat, everybody. That just • They provide a connection to nature. smell and taste. Be relaxed means a bit of thinking ahead. • They can teach respect for other living things. and act happy when cat is When the now-mobile baby is Other physical and emotional needs fulfilled by pet ownernear the baby. If you act anxwheeled around in a toddler’s ship include: ious or fearful, your cat may chair, Noodles will have to learn • Physical activity. the art of self-defense. That usually assume the role of protecting • Comfort contact. means finding an inaccessible place you against this thing who is • Love, loyalty, and affection. causing you this concern. (for children) to relax on or es• Experience with loss if a pet is lost or dies. Know that it is extremely rare Source: American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry cape to. These may be closets, or for a well-loved cat to sudunder the bed or sofa - you might denly strike out at a baby. If the cat is bonded to the new have learned the hideaways by now. Cats need safe spots. They also need a large, tall scratching post which children cannot mother, then another family member should also be able to develop a closer relationship with her. climb. Perhaps a couple of gated areas across one quiet room into which cats can hop over but children cannot would be a good option. That area might also serve as another place for a litGuests and Safety ter box - the cat might need another one so he will not feel his Not only do you have that tiny newcomer, you may have lots of visitors too. This, no surprise, can mean stress for your cat so re- privacy has been disturbed, even unwittingly. Remember that, as the baby/toddler grows, wee hands yank, spect his feelings and have that quiet room to which he can espoke, grab, squeeze and knock a cat unintentionally. Babies and cape and calm down.You could even plug in a Feliway diffuser

Pets and Children

Cat owners can prepare their pet feline for a new baby’s arrival many months in advance

© Can Stock Photo/Forewer

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Children must be taught to treat animals with respect, including gentle handling

© Can Stock Photo/dmitrimaruta

Patience, Patience

toddlers do not understand that cats, even with their claws and teeth, are fragile. If Noodles is afraid that the now toddler will whack or bother her, she will avoid him and be defensive. Rather than this, you want the two of them to be respectful to each other and be good friends. This means no teasing and no rough play. Teach the child as early as possible to handle Noodles gently and correctly: Cats do not generally like being picked up, and should always be approached from the front, never from the rear – especially the tail. Absolutely do not tie toys onto the cat’s tail, push the cat into the stroller, dress him up, or try to make him drink from the sippy cup, and so on. Show the toddler that this is all stressful and/or hurts. Also, teach your child not to shriek— that puts everyone off, especially cats with their very sensitive hearing. The more a child know about a cat’s body language the better. The sooner the child helps with the feeding of and caring for the cat the better, and the more they will be able to bond. It is possible, but it does not by any means have to be probable, that the cat may get stressed at some point during this process. We know that elimination habits can be the first to go… If so, be watchful about litter box use. Cats urinating on baby items or their piles of clothes means an immediate chat with your vet about anxiety—and, especially, some sleuthing about making relationships between the cat and all of the resident humans as fruitful as possible. Changes in the home (and even changes in a cat’s schedule) can create problems with a cat’s emotional state. Feliway, perhaps, can be used plus much loving attention and play are two of the best stress-busters there are! 24

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

It is important to always bear in mind that your cat may need time to adjust to this new situation. A new human may be traumatic for her. If you have done your preparatory work, then she has heard baby sounds and smelled baby smells before, but now there is an actual baby and there are changes, different activities and, possibly, diverted attention too. Owners must make sure the cat does not feel pushed aside. Also, despite all the chaos, do not forget those daily sessions of one-on-one quality time and that crucial routine, whether it is snuggling, grooming, playing or talking to your cat. They all work wonders and can help relax you too. Baby, then infant, then toddler, then child can all get huge pleasure from their pet cats. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children raised with pets and who have positive feelings about them show a host of benefits (see box on previous page). These include increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, developing trusting relationships with others, and assisting with the development of non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy. In the process of all this your child has become a firm animal lover, a wonderful quality to have! Could you be a better parent to either? n Jane Ehrlich is an accredited feline behaviorist with over 27 years experience. She spent 18 years volunteering with the RSPCA in both clinical and behavior work and has her own consulting business Cattitude Feline Behavior,, in Phoenix, Arizona, although her clients are located worldwide.


American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. (n.d.). Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children. Retrieved May 9, 2016, from /library/at-a-glance/prevention-of-allergies-and-asthma-in -children American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2013). Pets and Children. Retrieved May 9, 2016 from, _Families/FFF-Guide/Pets-And-Children-075.aspx Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Toxoplasmosis Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved May 9, 2016, from Harris, C., & Prouvost, C. (2014, July). Jealousy in Dogs. PLOS One. doi: Hartwell, S. (2009). Cat Communication - Body Language. Retrieved May 9, 2016, from Humane Society of the United States. (n.d.). Pregnancy and Toxoplasmosis. Retrieved May 9, 2016, from www.humanesociety .org/animals/resources/tips/toxoplasmosis.html Wegienka, G., Johnson, C. C., Havstad, S., Ownby, D. R., Nicholas, C., & Zoratti, E. M. (2011). Lifetime dog and cat exposure and dog- and cat-specific sensitization at age 18 years. Clinical & Experimental Allergy (41) 979–986. doi: 10.1111/j.1365 -2222.2011.03747.x

Scratch Here, Not There


Patience Fisher explains how simple it is to train a cat to use scratching posts and pads


rather than the furniture

ats are almost as easy to train to use a scratching post as Scratching is an integral part of the they are to use a litter box. The biggest obstacle to their feline behavioral training is not providing adequate posts and pads from repertoire and owners are wellthe moment they arrive in their new home. A new cat owner advised to provide would not dream of not supplying a litter box, but many do not attractive scratching posts in appealing purchase a tall, sturdy post before bringing their cat or kitten locations so their home. Just as feces and urine leave scent messages behind, so pets will not resort to using does scratching. The pads of a cat’s feet contain scent glands, and the furniture the deposition of this scent is self-soothing. It also encourages further scratching in that same spot. So the first step to training your cat to use a scratching post is to buy one! Cats need to scratch for physical, mental, and social reasons. Scratching enables cats to shed the outer sheath of their claws, to maintain claw health. Sinking the claws in and stretching is also beneficial for the cat’s muscles. Scratching is a natural way for a cat to maintain mental health, especially during stressful times and is a way for a cat to help herself relax. As already mentioned, a cat’s paws have scent glands so when a cat scratches she leaves her mark and her Stretching is essential scent. This reassures her that this is her terfor a cat’s ritory. Scratching is also a cat’s way of physical © Can Stock Photo Inc./ysbrandcosijn well-being showing others - and reassuring herself Ideally, you should have a post or pad that she is part of the family. As such, it is a in every room the cat will use. If you have type of communication. For all of these reaa large family room and multiple cats, have sons, indoor cats must be provided with apa post on each end of the room, or a post propriate places to scratch. on one end and a pad on the other. The stretching that accompanies the Often, just providing the proper posts scratching, as well as the scent deposition and pads and placing them correctly is and actual scratching are all needed for the enough to convince the cat to scratch cat’s mental and physical well-being. Each where you would like. But why take any cat in the household needs to have a tall, chances? sturdy post made of material the cat can When you first bring your cat home, sink her claws into and give a good tug. A 3confine her to a room with her litter box foot tall sisal-wound post with a weighted and her tall, sturdy scratching post. If she bottom that keeps the post steady when is not afraid of you, play with her near the the cat scratches and tugs is perfect. (Avoid post, to encourage her to scratch it. A posts made of carpet—you don’t want to wand toy is ideal for this; you can even get the cat into the habit of scratching carmake the wand touch the post, so the cat pet.) gets the feel of it while she is playing. Scratching is done in core areas of a © Can Stock Photo Inc./Marcogovel Praise her and give her a treat when she cat’s territory, so placement is also impordoes so. If she is shy, give her time to get used to you by spendtant. A scratching post should be in the room where the family spends a lot of time. Cats scratch objects when they are excited, ing quiet time in her room, ignoring her. Let her observe you, see you are safe, and approach you. Be cool when she does so—too so a post somewhat in the vicinity of the doorway where family much enthusiasm is scary to a cat. members enter the house is also important. Cats often scratch After the cat has used the scratching post, it has her scent on after a nap, so provide one near good napping spots. Horizontal it. If there are no other pets in the house and she trusts you, or inclined pads are handy for places where a post won’t fit. open the door and let her explore. (If there are other pets, These pads can be of sisal or cardboard. BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



proper introductions are a must (see Slowly Does It, BARKS from the Guild, September 2015). Encourage her to use the other posts and pads by waving the wand toy on and near them. If she is over a year old, you can also sprinkle catnip on the posts or pads, which may encourage their use. (Kittens have not yet developed the catnip reaction.) Do not take hold of her feet and rub them on the post! This is counterproductive. However, you may scratch the post yourself, since the scratching sound can elicit scratching. Watch your cat during her first time exploring the house. Sofas and upholstered chairs can look like fine scratching spots to a cat, especially if she had used them this way in her previous home. If the cat has been conditioned to the use of sisal and cardboard, and there are many of these posts and pads available, your furniture is likely to go unnoticed. If the cat does get into the scratching position on your furniture, entice her away and to the scratching post using a wand toy or a treat. If you do not have a scratching post located near the furniture the cat was attracted to, you need to put one there! Praise her and give her a treat when she uses the post. Do not ever scold, much less yell or hit the cat for scratching the furniture. Excitement, whether born of play or fear, may lead to object scratching. If the cat seems focused on using the furniture and she is new to your home, you can keep her in one room with all of her supplies (litter box, scratching post, bed, toys) when you do not have time to supervise her. Do not do this to a cat who has lived in the house for a time and considers your entire house her territory; it will be too stressful, and when she finally gets out of confinement she might alleviate her stress by scratching and marking her territory. In these cases, you must temporarily cover your furniture. Use double-sided tape if she is just scratching the corners; use a thin plastic shower curtain if she is scratching other parts. Offer proper scratching surfaces right next to the furniture she is scratching. After eliminating the furniture as a choice, she will become habituated to using the posts and pads and they will acquire her

Š Can Stock Photo Inc./hannadarzy

Scratching helps cats maintain claw health, relieve stress, mark territory and spread their scent


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

scent. Both of these will lead to her wanting to use them as her exclusive scratching spots.You can now uncover the furniture when you are watching. After many successful times, you may uncover it for good. Remember to praise the cat whenever she uses the pads and posts. As you can see, if you provide the proper posts and pads from the start, and place them correctly, you may not have to do any training at all. A tall, sisal-wound post can be purchased online for under $100. Sisal or cardboard inclined planes or pads are less than $50. Just as the litter box can be the most appealing spot to eliminate, you can make the posts and pads the most appealing spots to scratch. Finally, when it is time to replace old, worn-out posts or pads, put the new one right next to the old one. Leave both of them there until the cat has been using the new one for several days. n


Fisher, P. (2015, September). Slowly Does It. BARKS from the Guild (14) 44-46. Retrieved May 16, 2016, from /petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_september_2015_online _version/44 Patience Fisher BS DipFBST CVA BSBIO is a certified veterinary assistant and owner of Patience,, a feline behavior consulting service located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She volunteered at shelters for four years, helping with cat adoptions and specializing in fostering cats with behavioral problems, and is also an academic freelance editor.



A Well-Behaved Dog

Barbara Wright asks – and endeavors to answer - the question: ‘Who cares about obedience? All I want is a well-behaved dog!’

aid the client: "Bonnie is getting us to point where we aren’t sure we can live with her any more. It is hard to believe that only 18 months ago we adopted this little bundle of joy with visions of a long life together, full of love and fun. Now we find ourselves considering that life without her would just be easier. It isn't that we haven’t taken time and effort to train her.We knew we had to put a lot of time in early on to train a dog that would be a great family pet.We attended the puppy class the vet had recommended.When we finished that we joined the local obedience club.To be frank, the problem is not her obedience. She generally will follow our instructions and do things we ask her.We are surprised, in fact, by how many cues she knows. Throughout the classes we taught her tricks we’d never even thought of. “So, you might ask, why are we finding it so hard to live with her? It’s the things she does when we aren't interacting with her. It is the things she chooses to do.The easiest way to explain it is: she is just not well-behaved. Let me give you some examples: every time someone moves in the room she gets unsettled and comes to be in the middle of the action. She steals things from counters and tables when we are not watching. She barks if she hears things at night and barks to get attention from us.We know that we shouldn’t react so that we don’t mistakenly reinforce, but how can we ignore her getting on the counter or, even worse, the barking? We have already had a neighbor complain.” The other issue is that she absolutely loses it when we can’t allow something she wants. Due to the counter surfing, we tried to place her in her crate or tether her to prevent behaviors we don’t like when we are not watching.Well, our dog, who usually enjoys The average pet wandering into the crate and resting there, would howl owner does not want and bark as if she was being tortured. to study for a master’s in applied animal “If she sees another dog while on a leash, behavior; they we will, if we were lucky to notice the dog bejust want a “wellbehaved” dog fore she does, be able to ask her to heel and then reinforce with high value treats. But if we get too close without spotting the dog before she does, she barks and lunges. She looks so aggressive, even though all she wants to really do is play. No food is good enough to get her to focused back on us. “Oh, and then lately, she has started to not come back at the end of our off-leash walks. We call her while we are at the park and we give her a reward and play

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Well-meaning owners often go to great lengths to train and socialize their new puppy, yet may still end up with a behavior problem

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with her when she does, like we were told in puppy class, but she knows when we are heading back to the car and it is like someone has flicked a switch, she will not come and play chase with us.We now have to trick her and ask other people to fetch her, otherwise we will never get home. “The problem really is the way she deals with life and making her own decisions. It is a personality problem!" As I was listening to my clients’ tales about Bonnie, I couldn’t help but remember so many other calls like this one. Well-meaning people, who had gone the extra mile to train and look after their pet, but who somehow had still ended up with a problem. Over the 12 years that I have helped family dog owners, the debate about a well-behaved dog vs. an obedient dog has grown in significance. As I have questioned many of my clients about what they want to achieve, I have come to see a correlation that the average pet owner believes that most, if not all, the following characteristics make a REALLY good pet dog. Going forward in this article, the term well-behaved dog will mean a dog that meets these three characteristics: s The dog does not choose to do unwanted behaviors when not interacted with. s The dog does not ‘throw a tantrum’ when he cannot do whatever he wants. s The dog comes when called, even at the end of the play. When the average pet owner gets a family dog, they generally want to achieve the above three criteria without: s Studying for a master’s in applied animal behavior. s Getting contradictory advice from everywhere. s Dedicating every minute of the day to training the dog. BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



© Can Stock Photo/MarcinSl1987

Quite simple really then! Pet owners are looking for a well-behaved dog, not a genius in following cues or a trick star. Nobody ever mentioned to me that they were desperate for their dog to know how to even sit or lie down. Let’s face it, if you have a dog that is well-behaved, meaning he makes the right choices in everyday life on his own, obedience is really not that important. When I first started noticing this discrepancy with my clients, I looked up the meaning of the two words: Well-behaved = behaving in a polite or correct way. Obedient = willing to do what someone tells you to do or to follow a law, rule, etc., submissive to the restraint or command of authority: willing to obey. There is a big misconception amongst some pet dog owners that canine obedience training will create a well-behaved dog. In order to help these owners with their dogs it is important, as a trainer, to understand and focus on their goal. In order to achieve this, the focus needs to be on: s Developing strong frustration control and tolerance. s Teaching the dog to be able to disengage and relax. s Creating strong stimulus control in real world scenarios. There has been lots of talk within the professional dog world about trainers and behavior consultants overshooting client expectations. The challenge is how to ensure we meet our clients’ goals with their dogs and not project our own goals. I think it is extremely important to improve our communication to our clients. However, in many cases, there is this belief that training the dog behaviors we trainers want to teach is harder than helping the owners get what they want. I cringe at this as I know, as an experienced trainer, that improving behaviors and cues as well as improving communication with the dog is not particularly difficult, when comparing to the complex personality skills that seems to be the ideal, well-behaved pet. While researching “the ultimate, well-behaved dog” I analyzed successful case studies of dogs within both my peers and clients. I was looking for dogs that fit the above bill and would be considered well-behaved pet dogs. Needless to say, it was not surprising that more of my peers’ dogs fit this bill than clients,’ but I also noticed that some of my very “training obsessed” training peers did in fact not have “well-behaved dogs” at all. Some of these dogs, while extremely successful at being obedient and learning behaviors, still consistently made poor choices when left to their own devices. I conclude that well-behaved has more to do with the education and parenting the dog receives than with the training experience of the owner. 28

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

No book has a definition of what a well-behaved dog is, and the expectation of how a dream dog should behave will vary from family to family. However, from the information collected over the years from my clients, the requirements as outlined above seem to be common ground. The following is a list of factors that, in my experience, can contribute to trainPet professionals must try to ensure they meet ing a well-behaved dog their clients’ goals for successfully: their dogs rather than s Genetics - making project their own an educated choice about which dog/puppy to get should be done in consultation with independent behavior consultant if possible. s Interactions with mom and sibling puppies, especially with mom enforcing rules. s Ideally large litters - you learn to deal with frustration if from day one you do not always eat first or get as much as you want. s Living room rearing – the more young puppies can spend time within a family set up (highly managed), the calmer and more relaxed the dog is likely to be. s Natural weaning process. s Tight consistent rules that are followed from the get go, including responsible crate training, alone training, and “four on the floor.” s A holistic parenting approach to living with the dog (prevent unwanted behavior by reinforcing what you like and ignoring what you do not). s Living room living – puppies spending time around humans but not necessarily being interacted with, in fact often being ignored. s Work on extensive stimulus control exercises and apply in as many real world situations as possible. s Develop a strong positive association with returning to the owner. s A safe, preventative physical set up, including restriction (responsible crate training). s An extensive socialization program. s Socialization experiences are kept calm without letting the puppy be the center of attention. s Repetition and positive reinforcement of wanted behaviors, especially when behavior occurs unprompted. s Teaching a disengagement cue, e.g. “enough.” s Extensive management (leash, tethers, crates, gates etc.) to prevent and avoid the dog learning unwanted behavior, while still exposing him to a variety of situations. These “boundaries” also introduce and, used responsibly, can improve frustration control.

s Prevent predictable routines and condition disappointment to become a cause for good things and to further enhance socialization to unpredictable events. s Dedicated client commitment and compliance to follow their trainer’s advice. Dogs are being euthanized in alarming numbers around the world often because they are simply not well-behaved, rather than not obedient! The argument so-called traditional trainers often bring forward about a positive approach is that positively trained dogs often lack the ability follow rules, deal with boundaries and behave in a way that is acceptable in most common family homes. As positive trainers, we can prove instead that painand force-free does not mean out of control or badly behaved. n Barbara Wright is an honors graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers at the San Francisco SPCA with Jean Donaldson who recently moved from Sydney, Australia to Singapore and has joined PPG Singapore’s steering committee. She has completed the Certificate of Excellence – Living and Learning with Animals with psychology professor Susan Friedman, and the Life Skills for Puppies course at Lincoln University, England in 2014. In 2005 she founded Positive Puppies in Sydney, directed the company until 2015 and for whom she now is a consultant. In Singapore, Wright has recently joined the volunteer team of Animal Concerns Research & Education Society,, and has started to contribute to local blogs and magazines in her venture to educate the Southeast Asian region about force-free training.

CANINE Resources

Abramson, J. (2012). The Puppy Diaries: Living with a dog named Scout. London, UK: Two Roads Coren, S. (2010). Born to Bark: My Adventures with an Irrepressible and Unforgettable Dog. New York, NY: Free Press Donaldson, J. (1996). The Culture Clash. Berkeley, CA: James & Kenneth Dunbar, I. (2003). Dr. Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book. Berkeley, CA: James & Kenneth Dunbar, I., & Ramos, B. P. (2006). Un Cachorro en Casa: ¡No Hay Tiempo que Perder!: Etapas Críticas en el Desarrollo y Aprendizaje. Santiago de Compostela, Spain: KNS Koontz, D. R. (2009). A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog. New York, NY: Hyperion McConnell, P. B. (2002). The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do around Dogs. New York, NY: Ballantine Books Miller, P. (2001). The Power of Positive Dog Training. New York, NY: Howell Book House Novak, M. M. (2012). Die mit dem Hund Tanzt. Munich, Germany: Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag Warren, C. (2015). What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World. New York, NY: Touchstone Zulch, H., & Mills, D. S. (2012). Life Skills for Puppies: Laying the Foundation for a Loving, Lasting Relationship. Dorchester, UK: Hubble & Hattie

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The Unfamiliar Becomes the Familiar

Cecelia Sumner explains how she educates her clients on handling the issue of leash reactive dogs

see more and more dogs in my Author Cecelia Sumner with Rio, one of her assistants in practice these days that are reacDS/CC programs for leashtive when they are walked on a reactive dogs leash. Some of these dogs are fine in day care or dog parks, others not so much. Either way, the restraint of the leash can cause them to put on an aggressive display. I have a two-part approach to help my clients handle and overcome this problem. The first part is management. We need to prevent the dog from rehearsing his inappropriate behavior. Every time he reacts, cortisol is released in his body and it can take several weeks for this cortisol to disperse. If the dog keeps practicing his unwanted behavior, cortisol continues to be released and the dog cannot return to normal. Instead, the arousal rate stays high and is likely to continue. To allow the dog to return to normal, the process might initially mean the owners have to stop walking in their neighborhood, cover the windows or start a crating program to reduce or remove unwanted behavior. Included in management is effective, humane equipment. My tool of choice is a front attachment harness. I find these devices provide more control and are readily accepted by most dogs. This increases the likelihood of owner compliance. If the dog's behavior might cause the owner to lose control of the dog (or Being restrained by a leash can cause dogs to behave differently to when they are off-leash

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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

fall over) and the front attachment harness does not provide enough control, I suggest a head collar. I also recommend a 4foot or 6-foot leash that feels comfortable in the owner's hand. In my experience, once the owner's anxiety about being able to control the dog is relieved they find it easier to follow a behavior modification program. Once we have the proper tools, I then give clients relaxation exercises to practice daily. These are introduced indoors in an area where the dog is comfortable. Once the dog can relax on a mat, the team can move to more exciting areas in the home. As the dog becomes more proficient at relaxing, new locations will become easier. The goal is to achieve a positive conditioned emotional response to the mat. The dog will feel calm just by lying down on it. Much of this information can be given to clients before the first meeting. I have some videos as well as informational websites detailing counterconditioning and desensitization and I provide my clients details of these in advance. This allows me to review the fit of the equipment, and check the details and comprehension of the relaxation exercises at our first meeting. While dog trainers and behavior consultants understand that behavior modification takes time, clients are not always very patient. An exchange of expectations and information ahead of time helps get to the main body of the program. I prefer to do the first several meetings at a neutral location. In the dog’s home environment there is usually a component of learned reactive behavior. By selecting a neutral location I can avoid this as well as the other distractions that may be inherent

in the client's home. Cell phones are turned off and interruptions are minimized to help both the dog and the handler stay focused. Additionally, I choose locations where I can control the environment. This allows me to avoid any nosy neighbors and sudden changes in the environment that can inhibit our first crucial sessions. The second part of the program involves the actual process of desensitization and counterconditioning. This is where the art of dog training comes to the forefront. It can take some trial and error to find out how to best expose the client’s dog to the stimulus. I know some trainers use an imitation dog for the first session. I have been fortunate enough to have neutral dogs available for this and prefer to use them. Both are good options. This is just my personal choice and convenience of availability. I generally start with my client's dog resting on his mat. I start by exposing him at a distance to the decoy dog. I like to start 50 or 60 yards away. The client, with help from me or an assistant, rewards several times and then the decoy disappears. After 30 seconds or so, the decoy reappears. If the reactive dog stays calm, the decoy comes a step closer. Again, the owner rewards several times and the decoy disappears. This process is repeated with the distance slowly closing. Depending on the reactivity level of the dog, it may take multiple sessions to close the distance to 10 or so feet. Some reactive dogs progress more easily if they move back and forth while the neutral dog lies on a mat. The process is the same, move forward and retreat, always being careful to keep the


reactive dog under threshold. Again, this can take several sessions. There is no timeline for behavior modification. All the parties involved have to be patient and move at the speed dictated by the reactive dogs and the skill of the trainer and handler. This is a classic case of taking it slowly leading to faster results. Once the dogs can be calm at a distance of about 10 feet I introduce parallel walking, still using desensitization and counterconditioning to keep the reactive dog under threshold. If all is going smoothly, the dogs are allowed to drift closer. If they become aroused or simply too interested, we drift apart. This avoids face-to-face meetings and gives the dogs an opportunity to become comfortable without a large amount of social pressure. Again, each step of the process must be taken slowly and at a speed and intensity whereby the learner can succeed. What I have found is once the reactive dog is comfortable with one dog, I can pair the familiar with the unfamiliar. The first friend thus helps smooth the way to the second friend or even to a more stressful environment. Slowly, as the reactive dog becomes more comfortable, I use the first neutral dog to create a bridge to more dogs and more locations. n Cecelia Sumner CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA PCT-A is animal behavior manager at the Humane Society of Vero Beach,, and Indian River County. She also owns Best Behavior Dog Training,, in Vero Beach, Florida and is dedicated to fostering understanding and communication between dogs and their people.


The Language of Deference

Carolyn Kocman discusses submissive urination in dogs, what it is and what pet owners


can do about it

et me start out with something of a disclaimer. Submissive urination, in this author’s opinion, is a bit of a misnomer. As I see it, the canine social system is actually based more on deference than on the concept of dominance and submission. In fact, it can be noted in more recent studies on wolf packs that the hierarchy in the pack is actually fluid, meaning it changes from situation to situation. The dominance theory that was once thought to be the case implied a more coerced form of submission. However, it is most natural for dogs to follow a fluid hierarchy where submission is not forced, but is expressed in deference to a context or situation. As such, this author would prefer to call this behavior deference urination, as it seems a more appropriate term.

What Is Submissive Urination?

Having said all that, we often still hear the term “submissive urination” batted around, but what does it refer to? Submissive urination is defined by Overall (1997) as “urination that occurs in an otherwise housebroken animal only when the animal is exhibiting species-specific postures associated with deferential behavior.” In other words, the dog urinates when she is expressing her deference to an individual who exceeds her position in the social hierarchy. Submissive urination is most commonly seen in young puppies and smaller female dogs (Landsberg, Hunthausen, and Ackerman, 2008), but it is also seen in dogs that have been kenneled, have lived in abusive environments, or have been subjected to repeated and inappropriate correction for their behaviors. Such situations can cause the dog to assume a submissive position when approached and result in urination. Deferential body language in a dog comes in a variety of forms: sitting or lowering the back end, head hanging, rolling over to expose the underside, tucking the tail between the legs, flattening of the ears, horizontal lip retraction, avoidance of eye contact, and more. Often, such postures come complete with urination and/or salivation (Overall, 1997). This posturing is actually normal for a dog that perceives herself to be in a situation where deference to the higher hierarchical rank is to be expressed. The perception on the part of the animal is often triggered by the approach of the human and/or reaching behavior on the part of the human.

Submissive urination primarily occurs upon approaching the dog but can happen in a variety of other situations. Such behavior is often the bane of the pet owner’s existence. The constant clean up, embarrassment, and inconvenience can wear on the nerves of even the most loyal dog owner. Dog owners are perplexed when their well-mannered, well-trained dog cannot control herself. Fortunately for some owners, puppies can often outgrow this behavior on their own (Landsberg, Hunthausen, and Ackerman, 2008).

What about DAP?

There have been some studies on the matter which may be of significance as we consider the subject. One such study was done by Denenberg and Landsberg (2008). This study considered the effects of dog appeasing pheromones (DAP) on the puppy expressing submissive urination behaviors. Denenberg and Landsberg (2008) stated that “[t]he purpose of the study reported here was to evaluate the effectiveness of the current, commercially available DAP collar in reducing fear and anxiety in puppies and its effects on socialization and training.” While this study indicated that such pheromones do have a positive effect on the training of the puppy, specifically with regard to submissive urination, it should be noted that training was considered integral in the treatment. While one may choose to supplement their dog’s training with DAP collars, the bottom line is that the dog will still need behavioral techniques employed in order to succeed.

What to Do:

1. Identify: It is important to identify the circumstances, situations, and stimuli that trigger this behavior in the pet. Does it only happen with certain individuals? Does the dog submissively urinate when approached with a hand out? Does it happen whenever she is looked in the eye or spoken to?

2. Stop what you are doing!: Landsberg, Hunthausen, and Ackerman (2008) put it this way: “…the owner must do whatever is necessary to discontinue those movements and interactions…” in order to eliminate the stimuli that is triggering the behavior. Thus, if the behavior occurs whenever the dog is approached by a human, do not approach the dog but rather let the dog approach you. It should be noted that a more benign greeting of a dog involves such actions as crouching down into a kneeling or squatting position, avoiding di-

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Submissive urination has been defined by Overall as an animal “exhibiting species-specific postures associated with deferential behavior”

rect eye contact, and using a soft voice when speaking to the pet. If reaching out to pet the dog, a human should not reach over the dog from atop the head or body but reach instead to the chest and upper front limb area when it is safe to do so. These methods should elicit a higher threshold for interaction.

3. Reinforce the good: Clicker training and other positive reinforcement methods are always preferred. These methods provide rewards for appropriate behavior rather than punishment for the unwanted behavior. Punishment methods must be avoided for a variety of reasons, some of which include the potential to elicit a more aggressive response, the potential for physical and psychological harm, and the potential to strengthen the unwanted behavior.

4. Distract: This tool can be extremely helpful. Distractions can provide a “way out” for the pet, so that she does not need to perform the unwanted urination behavior. For example, Peppy tends to perform submissive urination when her mom comes home from work, so her mom throws her a ball to distract her from performing this behavior. How does this work? If Peppy enjoys chasing balls, she will most likely run after the ball rather than come over to mom, roll over, and urinate. She cannot do both behaviors at the same time and she will choose the most rewarding behavior – which in this case is chasing the ball.

Next Step

Desensitization is a word that often gets thrown around in behavioral circles, but what does it mean? Most of us know the root of the word (desensitize) to mean making something less sensitive. For example, if one were having a tooth pulled, the dentist might inject Novocain at the site in order to desensitize that area of the mouth during the procedure. Often people will apply calamine lotion to a bug bite to desensitize the skin to the itching sensation. In behavioral circles, desensitization is a behavioral technique that is designed to do the much the same thing. So how might one desensitize a dog to stimuli that invokes the deferential reaction? This behavioral technique involves exposure to the stimulus under controlled conditions. Desensitization is systematic in this method. In other words, the animal is very gradually introduced to the stimulus. But desensitization is also used hand in hand with a counterconditioning process in which the aversive stimulus is paired with a positive experience. Thus, in counterconditioning a dog that is in a highly emotive state, the desensitization process of gradual introduction of the reaction inducing stimulus is paired with a relaxed state in the pet. The dog will then begin to learn that the stimulus can be a more relaxing and enjoyable experience. Behavior professionals can provide a step by step plan for a dog that is providing submissive urination responses. Serpell (1995) gives the following guidelines: 1. Do not reinforce expressions of submissive urination: It is most effective to withhold reinforcement when the dog urinates in deference, but this should also done when any deferential body language is shown (rolling over, tail between legs, etc.). If


the dog does not urinate, but still tucks her tail and flattens her ears, it is wise not to acknowledge her behavior in any way.

2. Watch behaviors closely and provide positive reinforcement of differential expressions: This means that when the dog expresses deference to the human in appropriate ways that are not consistent with submissive urination, he should be rewarded. Thus, if a dog can engage in alternative activities and not express submissive urination, he should be rewarded and encouraged in those activities. Overall (1997) suggests appropriate encouragement for the dog when performing obedience exercises without submissively urinating, for example. 3. Lower levels of stimulation should be chosen while dog is in a relaxed state; increase stimulation levels gradually: For example, if the presenting behavioral anomaly is triggered by an individual approaching within 10 feet, ask individuals to stop and allow the dog to approach them. Once this task is accomplished successfully without submissive urination, have the person approach until they reach an 8-foot distance. Gradually decrease this distance as the dog tolerates it without performing the submissive behaviors and resulting urination. With the help of a behavior professional, most owners should be able to achieve their goal in eliminating the inappropriate elimination. The most important tool that the owner can have in dealing with their dog’s behavioral issues is the tool of knowledge. Behavior professionals are well-versed in providing owners with this tool and many others so that pets and their owners can live happily ever after. n


Denenberg, S., & Landsberg, G. M. (2008). Effects of dog-appeasing pheromones on anxiety and fear in puppies during training and on long-term socialization. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 233(12), 1874-1882. Retrieved May 17, 2016 from, _Effects_of_dog-appeasing_pheromones_on_anxiety_and_fear _in_puppies_during_training_and_long-term_socialization Landsberg, G. M., Hunthausen, W. L., & Ackerman, L. J. (2008). Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat (2nd edn). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders/Elsevier Overall, K. (1997). Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Small Animals. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Inc. Serpell, James. (1995). The domestic dog: its evolution, behaviour and interactions with people. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press Carolyn Kocman decided to pursue her passion of working with animals after many years in the business world. She is currently a graduate student pursuing an MS in companion animal behavior analysis and counseling at the American College of Applied Science, which she has been attending since 2012. With only some lab work, thesis, and externships remaining before obtaining her final degree, she is actively working to open her practice which will focus largely on canine behavioral issues. She also serves on the PPG advocacy committee.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



The Need to be Specific

Kama Brown delves into the murky waters that can be puppy socialization and presents


her own approach for optimizing this critical time in a dog’s life

epartment store Target has a foyer area for customers to pass through. There are two double doors, then a long stretch of indoor space, and then a second set of double doors that enter into the store. The other day I walked into the first set of double doors and was blocked by a small crowd of people interacting with a woman who was holding a puppy. As the owner smiled and explained all about the puppy, I watched the puppy’s behavior. Squirming, head turning frantically from one person’s hand to the next, nibbling, yawning, whining, and then finally settling into a lethargic demeanor in her owner’s arms while a long row of people took turns patting her head, rubbing her paws and telling her what a sweet dog she is. Eventually, the owner put the puppy down and asked her for a sit until the puppy plopped down for about 10 seconds. The puppy walked to the end of the leash towards the door and began to chew the leash. The owner beamed and mentioned that she was doing everything she could to socialize her, just like the dog trainer told her to. The puppy was 13 weeks old. (Note: For the purpose of this article, a puppy is a dog under the age of 16 weeks.) Somehow, in today’s society, the word socialization has become pigeonholed to experiences that only involve the dog interacting physically with a new person or dog, rather than simply watching or playing with a toy solo on the outskirts of situations. In my opinion this is how a lot of puppies end up hyper, easily aroused and unable to settle in the presence of other dogs and/or new people. I believe that over-stimulated adult dogs can result from over-exposure to overly-stimulated experiences as puppies, and that puppies are accidently being put into such situations under the misperception that it is socialization. Overly-stimulating experiences can also create overly shy dogs, overly defensive dogs who nip and growl, and dogs who become frantically, over-the-top wiggly at the approach of a person. I also believe that the root of this issue comes not only from a perspective of caring on the owner’s part, but also fear that inadequate socialization will result in an unfriendly, disobedient dog. Instructing dog owners to socialize their puppies to a variety of people and new places is proving to be too vague. Rather, specific guidelines are needed and I will do my best to provide those here. First, I think it is important to divide socialization into categories, to separate socialization from obedience (more on this in a future article) and explain the vital component of choice.

Categories of Socialization (Puppies under 16 Weeks)

Things the puppy touches, sees and hears: As much as possible a puppy should be given the opportunity to inspect, sniff, paw at, roll on, look at and hear new things. What reaches the puppy’s feet, ears, nose and mouth should be given 10 times the amount of time that meeting unfamiliar people and dogs is given. If the adult dog is going to spend the majority of his public life 34

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

While it is standard practice to socialize one’s new puppy, there are varying schools of thought on how much - and exactly what should be included

on a leash being told not to pull towards other people and dogs, then the majority of his public puppy life should set him up to expect this. Don’t convince a puppy that his job is to elicit attention from everything and everyone. Go to the park or café, sit down, stay a while and let the puppy watch. Do not let him run up or pull you towards children, bikes, or other dogs if you do not want him to do that as an adult. Often we want an adult dog that is neutral to the world around him, yet we spend a lot of time convincing puppies to interact with the very things we want them to ignore when they are fully grown. To be fair, choose “rest” times for the puppy, i.e. times when the puppy will be left alone by people and dogs passing by. I personally make “rest” time 100 percent of the time the puppy or adult dog is on leash, because it makes things so consistent and easy for him. The leash becomes a cue that tells the dog nothing interesting is going to happen. This is hands down the easiest way to communicate that being on leash is not playtime, and translates well into an adult dog that settles easily in almost all situations. People and things that touch the puppy; always allowing the puppy to have the choice to interact: “Exposure is socialization” should be the new mantra. Puppies under the age of 16 weeks should be off leash or on 15-30-foot long line when something, someone, or another dog is going to touch them. The main reason for doing this is to teach the puppy that backing up is an option. Backing away is the “flight” response to fear and confrontation. Even if the situation is mild, such as brushing the dog for the first time, this is the puppy’s time of life to learn how to appropriately deal with confrontation. Always allowing puppies the chance to back away can help eliminate aggressive responses. Puppies who know they can

CANINE A Brief Guide to the Stages of Puppy Development

Neonatal Phase: Birth-2 Weeks Puppies are born deaf and blind and are totally dependent on their mother. They display reflex actions and can move in a circular crawling motion for up to about 10 feet to find the dam (known as ‘rooting’). Cannot eliminate without stimulation from the dam. Transition Phase: 2-3 Weeks Ears open and eyes respond to light and movement, can crawl backwards and forwards. Awareness Phase: 3-4 Weeks Can use all their senses fully, walk, thermoregulate and eliminate. Learn quickly and begin to play with littermates. Can eat by means other than suckling (weaning begins around 3 weeks). Canine Socialization Phase: 3-7 Weeks Beginning of the critical period of learning about the world. Small, sharp teeth appear. Learn species specific behavior from dam and littermates and begin showing appeasement gestures to dam. Optimum time for dog-dog socialization. Learn bite inhibition from playing with littermates and begin to understand social hierarchy

back up and avoid confrontation are more likely to turn into adult dogs with the same behavior. If you consider that each animal has a fuse, allowing the puppy to work through fearful situations gradually can give an adult dog a longer fuse. Forcing the puppy into the situation most likely shortens the fuse. Picking up a puppy for other people to pet, to brush, to meet another dog, to hold down for a vaccination, etc. will not tell you how the puppy is feeling. Even feeding treats can be a bad idea since the puppy may find the restraint was not worth the food, devaluing the food (and the giver of the food) in the future. Fear is shown through fight, flight or freeze. If you take away flight, you are left with freeze and fight. Almost all puppies this age will freeze, so when holding an unmoving puppy, keep in mind this may not actually be a calm, happy puppy. It is more likely a nervous puppy who has run out of options. As the puppy grows, he may decide to use his teeth to get his point across instead. Time should be spent socializing the puppy to equipment such as collars, harnesses and name tags. Allow him to sniff everything first and, if the object makes noise, let him hear too. Puppies can learn to put their heads into their collars through targeting and learn to give into the pressure of a leash or harness through collar cues.

People the puppy needs to know: This may be controversial but it is my view that puppies under 16 weeks of age do not really need to meet strangers. Unless the owner does not have at least 10 friends or family members, including neighbors, groomers and veterinary staff, the puppy will gain all the socialization he needs from multiple encounters with these people. This is an ideal situation for both the owner and puppy. This works because the puppy has the chance to build a solid history of appropriate behaviors whilst, most likely, the situation will get easier and less stressful each time. The owner is also likely to feel more comfortable dealing with people he/she knows, feel less rushed or anxious, and able to focus completely on the puppy’s behavior. The idea that we must find 100 people to expose our puppy to is based on the idea that 100 people will look, act, and smell different, thus giving the puppy a solid history of being exposed to a sufficient variety that he will calmly and happily accept touch from the

through interaction with dam and littermates. Start to avoid novel objects at around 7-8 weeks. Human/Other Species Socialization Period: 7-12 Weeks Can form deep bonds with humans/other species at this time. Have the brainwaves of adult dogs. Can go home with a human family. First Fear Impact Period: 8-11 Weeks Anything that traumatizes puppies at this stage could potentially scare them for the rest of their lives. Juvenile Phase: 10 Weeks to Sexual Maturity Learning about the world although may be more fearful. Males may lift leg to urinate and females go into their first heat. Second Fear Impact Period: Adolescence 6-14 Months May become fearful of new, and even familiar, situations. Lifelong reactive behavior patterns can form. Adult Phase: From Adolescence Onwards Fully developed behaviors. Behavior issues not addressed will become apparent, if not already so. Dogs continue to build associations with objects, people, and situations for the rest of their lives.

general public in the future. The problem with this is that we are guessing our way through a vital time in the puppy’s development as well as expending energy on non-relevant people. Strangers may pet the puppy for a few minutes and then leave. In this brief time the puppy may or may not have urinated, rolled over, jumped on, chewed on, barked at, ignored, or calmly accepted the stranger’s affection. The puppy may or may not have had time to sniff this person, watch them make strange noises such as coughing or sneezing, ride up on a bike or skateboard, carry lots of swaying plastic bags, or carry a baby, etc. The puppy may or may not have had a good experience, or even enough of an experience to repeat it willingly. We will not know if the puppy would choose to approach that person, or allow that person to approach him again in the future. Simply put, interactions with strangers do not allow us to fully access what impact the experience had on the puppy; only multiple encounters can do that. When you choose 10-15 specific people, you do not have to guess what exposure you have achieved because you will know. The puppy will have multiple chances to gain confidence, to accept touch without chewing, to play a game that teaches him sit, down or stand, to see and smell familiar things while discovering non-familiar things. The experiences will be exciting without being frenzied and the puppy and owner will both benefit. Within these eight weeks, the puppy should have logged enough hours with these people that he is relatively calm and collected when he sees them. At the end of the eight weeks we should have a puppy who confidently walks or trots over to the person and stands or sits, accepts touch without jumping up, rolling over or urinating. A calm and collected 16-week-old should be a pre-requisite to taking the puppy to meet strangers. n

Kama Brown CPDT-KA lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri and has been training dogs since 2008. She currently owns a boarding/training/grooming business with her husband and spends her weekends promoting the use of scent work and enrichment in training. She also teaches classes for competitive dog sports and overly-reactive dogs. She is a failed foster mom to three big, black dogs and an active member of her local SAR group.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016




Fear-Free Vet Visits: the Way to Go

Jill Breitner takes charge when her anxious dog has to visit the veterinarian, and explains how you can too

© Can Stock Photo/oscarcwilliams

am no fledgling when it comes to being an advocate for my animals’ health and well-being. As a former veterinary technician, I have seen my share of what goes on “in the back.” That is why I switched professions almost 40 years ago, becoming a dog trainer and canine body language expert. Recently, I had a scare with one of my dogs. All the dogs were out for their after-dinner potty, and Oscar, my sweet Labradoodle, didn’t come back right away. After a couple of minutes I called him and he came running up the hill and inside. Within 10 minutes he threw up about 2-pounds of fresh salmon, mostly skin but still a lot of raw fish. (I found out the next day that my neighbor had trimmed fresh salmon and threw the trimmings on my side of the fence. Ugh!) This is when being a vet tech pays off. I know that raw salmon can kill a dog so I called the vet, explained what had just happened, and said I was on my way. Oscar acted and looked perfectly fine, and he was, but I didn’t want to wait. I need to share that Oscar was a rescue who was neglected and never socialized as a puppy. We worked very hard at getting him to overcome his fear and anxiety. If you met him, you would never know that his insecurity runs very deep. He doesn’t love anyone immediately, but if you let him come to you, he loves you within minutes—and I mean a matter of minutes. There we were in the exam room then. Oscar was walking around the room freely while we waited, and when the door opened he moved quickly to my side, hugging me and the wall. In walked the technician, and she began to move quickly toward Oscar, reaching over him and saying in a very loud and overly cheery voice, “So what’s Oscar in for?” She tried to pet him, paying absolutely no attention to his body language, which was screaming, “Hey, I don’t know you, get out of my face!” I had to put my hand in front of his face, stop her, tell her that he was not happy with her being so close to him, and ask her to


This cat is not happy about being weighed but at least there is a mat on the base of the scale so it is not cold or slippery

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Many dogs are shy, scared and/or anxious about being handled by a stranger in an unfamiliar environment such as a cold, shiny table at the veterinarian’s office

© Can Stock Photo/nenovbrothers

move away. What happened next was no surprise, but I kept my cool and took care of my boy. Clueless, she proceeded to put a hospital slip leash over his head, which is when I said, “STOP, what are you doing?” She replied, “I need to get a weight and temperature.” Ugh! I wanted to walk right out the door, but Oscar needed help and I didn’t want to waste time trying to find another vet. I took a deep breath and told her that Oscar was a shy dog and needed a little time and more patience, and if she didn’t feel she could do this to please get another technician. She looked at me as if I were a nutcase. To her, I guess I was. For me, I was taking care of my dog and that’s all that mattered. I figured at this stage of the game she wasn’t going to listen to anything I had to say so I just demonstrated what I wanted and what Oscar needed. I got on the floor and spoke calmly and quietly, telling Oscar what was going to happen, and only allowed her to touch him when I looked up at her said, “He’s ready now if you’d like to take his temperature, and his weight is 35 pounds.” (I had weighed him in the lobby when we arrived.) I positioned his body for her and she took his temperature while he relaxed with his head on my shoulder as I petted him. The veterinarian came in a few minutes later and asked me why we were there. I told the story now for the third time. Argh! She rattled off a few things she wanted to do and I said, politely, “I know it was salmon. It happened less than 45 minutes ago and what I would like is for you to give me the medication he needs. He doesn’t have any symptoms because it just happened, and I don’t want to wait until he does get symptoms. Can you help him?” She agreed—finally. This story is, unfortunately, all too common. Often, veterinarians and their staff may not be educated in canine body language, the signs of stress, or how to handle pets in the least stressful

manner possible. This lack of education and what goes on behind closed doors in some veterinary clinics is not a pleasant topic to talk about, but it needs attention. It needs attention because there is currently a huge gap between what pets need and how to handle them in a humane way while satisfying their needs. The lack of education in veterinary and veterinary technician schools is at the crux of this dilemma; the vets and technicians are not to blame. With limited time to get their tasks done, our pets suffer needlessly. Thankfully, though, as we continue to be a more aware and educated society regarding our pets, veterinarians are being called upon to learn better practices. The Fear Freesm movement—learning to read dog body language and low-stress handling techniques—is critical in all elements of loving and working with our pet horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, and all the other animals that live with us. When we see that an animal is stressed and we can make him more comfortable, we will not need to take four technicians away from their duties to wrestle a pet, potentially hurting the animal, or have someone get bitten because the animal was misunderstood and manhandled. It is exciting to see the Fear Freesm movement take hold because fewer animals will suffer.Vets will educate their clients on how to begin handling their pups at home before they come to the clinic. They will advise them to bring their pup in for treats and a weigh-in, so he can meet and greet everyone.Veterinarians and their staff will learn how to read body language so they can recognize the signs of stress before they reach a critical threshold of anxiety and fear. While some veterinarians are taking this movement very seriously, many have no idea it exists. I am thrilled to say that the American Animal Hospital Association AAHA published Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines in 2015. They were written by a group of certified veterinary behaviorists who spe-


cialize in low-stress handling and learning how to read body language. Even more exciting is the launch of the new Fear Freesm certification program spearheaded by renowned veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker, which trains veterinary professionals according to fear-free methods and protocols. I believe it is time for pet owners and pet professionals to begin a dialogue with their veterinarians about these guidelines, canine body language and low-stress handling, so that fear-free vet visits become the norm for all practices.You, too, can have the peace of mind of knowing your pet will be with you for all routine visits without having to go to “the back,” and that your veterinarian and the staff have been trained to help your pet feel more comfortable. By working together, we can help our pets feel less fearful and enable veterinarians to do their job better and more easily, while we are assured that our animals are safe and in good hands. It is a win-win-win for everyone. n


Fear Freesm. (2016). About Fear Freesm. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from Fear Free Certificate. (2016). Fear Freesm Certification Program. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from /fear-free-certification American Animal Hospital Association. (2015). AAHA 2015 Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines. Retrieved May 18, 2016, from /behavior_management_guidelines.aspx Jill Breitner is a professional dog training and canine body language expert based in southern Oregon. She is the creator of Dog Decoder,, currently the only smartphone app specializing in canine body language.

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

YES! 37


Grooming Restraints

Michelle Martiya explains how less can be more when it comes to controlling dogs in


the grooming salon

ew businesses in the pet industry see more use of elaborate restraints for dogs than grooming salons. Muzzles keep a dog from biting, a noose keeps a dog from jumping off the table, another attachment to the front of the noose (a grooming loop) keeps a dog from spinning, and still another strap under the belly keeps a dog from sitting. Sometimes the number of restraints we use can look more like a medieval torture chamber than a grooming table. If you have ever worked in a grooming salon, this scenario is probably familiar to you: The dog is on the table with a noose around his neck attached to the grooming arm above. He is moving about while the groomer is trying to scissor some part of his body. Frustrated by his movement, the groomer raises the grooming arm. The dog struggles, so the groomer raises the grooming arm some more. Now the dog stops struggling, but it is not because he has “learned to behave.” He has stopped struggling because he is effectively being hung from the grooming arm and must devote all of his energy just to breathing. Another scenario that is probably familiar to anyone who has worked in a shop is the groomer who asks for assistance with a struggling dog. The dog is struggling and the groomer cannot hold the dog and groom at the same time so an assistant comes over to restrain the dog while the groomer works. The more the dog struggles, the more the groomer and assistant restrain him. The more the dog is restrained, the more he struggles until at some point he becomes exhausted and gives up. Unfortunately, this is the norm for many grooming facilities. But it does not need to be. Restraints in the grooming salon should be used only to keep the dog and/or the groomer safe, and should never take the place of training, or be used in anger or frustration. Ideally, the correct use of grooming restraints should: • Keep the dog and/or groomer safe from injury. • Be properly conditioned so as not to further stress the animal. • Be used only as necessary and not throughout the entire session. • Be a temporary solution to an immediate problem, with a training plan put in place between grooming sessions to work toward no longer needing the restraint. • Be the least intrusive solution to the immediate problem— the minimal amount of restraint needed for the task. • Be comfortable for the dog; if the dog struggles more with the chosen restraint, the groomer should try a different approach, or try a different restraint. Grooming can be a very stressful experience for many dogs. The combination of loud dryers, buzzing clippers, and being physically manipulated by a stranger can be difficult for a dog to ac38

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

With its multitude of restraining devices, a grooming table can often look more like a medieval torture chamber

cept. Restraint is often necessary, even on a well-trained dog, but how we introduce and use restraints can be the difference between a stressful, scary experience (which makes the dog more uncooperative for the next grooming visit), or a mildly unpleasant but temporary experience that the dog can quickly get past. How, then, should we use restraints during grooming, and how can we make these restraints a positive (or at least not negative) experience for the dogs in our care? One of the most commonly used restraints in the grooming salon is the noose that attaches to the grooming arm. This restraint should be kept loose enough that the dog can sit or stand comfortably, but still be prevented from jumping off the table. The grooming arm should NOT be raised to a point that the dog is uncomfortable, or worse, cannot breathe. Muzzles are another commonly used grooming restraint, but are rarely conditioned appropriately. If a dog must be muzzled for groomer safety, the owner should purchase a muzzle for their dog and spend the month in between grooming sessions classically conditioning the dog to the muzzle, creating a positive association to wearing it. The muzzle should be of a type that prevents a bite, while still allowing the handler to present food reinforcement to the dog while wearing it. Another option for bite prevention that is much easier to condition and less restrictive for the dog is an Elizabethan collar. For best results, this should be classically conditioned in the same way as the muzzle, but often can be conditioned enough during grooming to be used with a minimum amount of stress due to its less restrictive nature. A sling can be very useful to secure dogs that are difficult for

nail trims, or to help older dogs that cannot stand for long periods of time. Care must be taken with this restraint, however, as well as the happy hoodie (a wrap used around the head to reduce dryer noise), as both of these restraints can induce tonic immobility, a condition in which the animal enters into an almost paralyzed state while still maintaining awareness of the environment around them. As we groom, we manipulate various body parts and physically restrain the dogs without really considering it to be restraint. But to the dog it certainly is. Understanding the structure of a dog’s body is important so we know how to perform these holds without over-extending the limbs and causing discomfort in the joints. Another thing to consider is where you hold the limb—both where your hand is on the limb and where the limb is in relation to the rest of the dog’s body. For example, many groomers will hold the front leg on the forearm to trim around the foot. But from this position, the dog has enough leverage to pull his leg away, often resulting in a fight between dog and groomer as the groomer tries to secure the leg and the dog tries to pull the leg away. Holding the front leg behind the elbow, however, removes the leverage and straightens out the foot, making it easier to trim without the dog pulling back. Another common practice is to pull the front leg out and forward to trim the nails. There are a few problems with this for many dogs. First, the position can be very uncomfortable, and it is very easy to over-extend the shoulder. Second, the dog has the leverage to pull the foot away again. And finally, the dog’s foot, and the groomer’s hand, are right in front of the dog’s face and mouth, making a bite extremely likely. A better choice would be to face the dog away from the groomer, secure the dog between arm and body, and lift each foot up backwards, like a horse. A bite is far less likely, the position is more comfortable for the dog, and all four feet can be done without having to move the dog around. As much as we try to minimize the use of restraints, there are also times when we use too little, as in the case mentioned previously where the groomer holds the dog’s forearm to trim the foot. For a dog who will not stand, pulling the dog’s rear end up by the tail and dropping the dog into place is likely only to scare the dog and make him less likely to stand. A better choice would be to place a hand or arm between the hind legs and gently press upward, allowing the dog to find his feet as you lift. An assistant to help restrain the dog is not a bad idea, but the restraint should be comfortable for the dog and still allow for some natural movement. Holding a dog by one hind leg while the groomer is working on the face may not be very effective (yes, I have seen this done). Better to let the dog sit and have the assistant place a hand on each hip from behind to secure the dog, or stand sideways to the standing dog and wrap an arm around his midsection, just in front of his hips. Though restraints are often necessary during grooming, my advice is to groom consciously. Be aware of how the restraints you are using affect the dogs you are working on, and adjust your grooming practices accordingly for happier and more groom-able dogs. n

PET CARE The art of the forcefree nail trim

Michelle Martiya has been grooming pets for over 21 years and has experience in mobile, salon and doggie day care grooming. She owns the mobile grooming company Beast to Beauty, Inc., Disappointed with the way the dogs reacted when she arrived at peoples’ homes to groom, she took a dog training course in 2013 to improve her handling skills. She now offers grooming-specific training services to groomers and their clients, as well as webinars and workshops on canine behavior, grooming-specific training, and low-stress handling for groomers.


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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



When Panic Becomes Peace


Jennifer Pratt explains how training and behavior consultants can draw on their own experiences to find the empathy and compassion needed to aid clients dealing with canine separation anxiety

haring my experience as a guardian and dog trainer living and working with a dog with separation anxiety, I was initially hard pressed to come up with what I could share that would be new or inspiring when many before me had already done so well in dealing with this common problem. What was it about my 11-year-old American pit bull terrier, Mary Lou, or our situation that was unique; how would we be able to help others by sharing our story? Then one day I was driving between client appointments and found myself running a tad late. Taking the interstate between clients would save me time and get me there with minutes to spare. No big deal, right? Wrong. I myself have anxiety that can lead to panic attacks—which are essentially what our dogs with separation anxiety experience every time they are left alone for longer periods of time than they can handle. While I have conquered the social-arena area for the most part, driving on high speed interstates with options to get off spread out or during congested times can really tip me over the edge. As one can imagine, this really limits my ability to travel long distances. Frankly, it adds time to everything I do even in a Midwest metropolitan area such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and it can take me two or three times longer to get anywhere. One night after reading a passage in Jean Donaldson’s book Oh Behave! Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker, which happened to be on the subject of separation anxiety, it hit me. Donaldson (2008) wrote: “Desensitization is a technique originally developed for people with phobias.” Since then, I have been working on slowly desensitizing and counterconditioning myself to driving on interstates.Yes, you read that correctly. I am putting Wolpe and Pavlov to work on myself. While Pavlov is a familiar name in the dog training world, I suspect Wolpe may not be. Joseph Wolpe, though not the first to use the technique of systematic desensitization, perfected its use in behavioral therapy and coined the term in the 1950s (McLeod, 2008). His work during the 50s was based in South Africa with war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. At that time, a technique using truth serum was the go-to, but it had spotty success. During that time Wolpe came up with the lesser known technique, which he termed “different reciprocal inhibition technique,” that utilized assertiveness training. (Wikipedia, 2016). He posited that a person could not be angry or aggressive while being assertive at the same time. Sound familiar? Differential reinforcement of an incompatible behavior (DRI): the dog trainer’s best friend! While facing your fears and overcoming them worked with many of his patients, Wolpe found that it did not work for those with certain fears and phobias. Those patients became frustrated 40

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Mary Lou ‘s separation anxiety was so severe initially that she could not be left alone at all

rather than relieved. So Wolpe came up with systematic desensitization, “degrees” to overcoming the fears with a “fear hierarchy” utilizing relaxation and always keeping the patients under threshold. (McLeod, 2008). With all this knowledge in my big human brain, I breathed deeply to relax myself, started singing along to the radio and had my exit point all planned out. ‘Easy peasy,’ I thought. ‘Bonus in fact! I can get to my next client on time and work a little desensitization and counterconditioning exercise on myself.’ All was going well. That is until I got to my planned exit, which was blocked for construction. Slight nervousness started to creep in. More deep breathing, ‘no big deal, I will get the next exit.’ Well that one was blocked too. Then the orange cones appeared and the lanes narrowed. A big sign appeared saying, “Next exit, 3 miles.” Happy thoughts, happy thoughts, until I got about 1 mile into the three needed to access the next exit. If you have never experienced a panic attack, it is hard to image what it feels like and frankly it is hard to explain. For me, my heart begins to race, I get light headed, spots begin to appear at the edges of my vision, which steadily increase, and it feels like I am going to pass out. Once the panic inducing event is over, it takes on average an hour to feel normal again. At this point you are most likely thinking, ‘Thanks, but how does this help me and my clients?'



Case Study: Mary Lou

ary Lou is an 11-year-old spayed female American pit bull terrier. She was adopted from a shelter as a stray in March 2007 after spending about four months there. Upon adoption she was she was cautious, shy, and overwhelmed by the world and fearful of strangers. At the time of adoption, neither I nor my brother had any experience as a dog owner. Mary Lou has always enjoyed the company of other dogs and has helped a slew of foster dogs during my time working at the local shelter. Her current housemates include: Eddie, a 9year-old male neutered pit bull terrier mix,Yoda, an 8-year-old Australian male neutered cattle dog mix and Molly, an 11-yearold female spayed Labrador shepherd mix. Overall Mary Lou is a dog who takes on life with purpose and zeal, and is eager to learn. She has certain sensitivities, however, from noises such as the beep from a dying smoke detector, or a person swatting a mosquito, to cold weather snaps and Wii video games that include the user swinging the remote. Moving forward several years, my double shifts as a cook with a short one- to two-hour break to come home and care for the dogs, coupled with the house slowly emptying over a two-month period due to us relocating, added to her distress and, finally, anxiety. I first observed symptoms of actual separation distress in Mary Lou on September 15, 2014 and full-blown anxiety had developed by November 1 of that year, on the final day of work before prior to moving. Her initial symptoms included whining, mild chewing (pulling in of bedding covering her crate, intermittent barking, some shadowing of me, low key owner attachment, moderate excessive greeting and trying to escape). These escalated into constant barking/howling, sweaty paws, panting, frequent shadowing, and pre-departure anxiety. By the time we got to the stage of full-blown anxiety, her symptoms included elimination, moderate depression, self-mutilation, salivation/drooling, and excessive water consumption. Fortunately, upon the move, I was able to suspend my work outside the home to focus on Mary Lou’s anxiety issues full time. I used protocols based on those in Malena DeMartiniPrice’s Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs with additional support from my Academy for Dog Trainers community. Interventions: At the first signs of any distress, herbs, scents, background/white noise, extra exercise, rearranging crate loca-

Empathy and compassion. These words are not the same though, as one tends to lead to the other. Empathy is defined as “a person’s ability to recognize and share the emotions of another person, fictional character, or sentient being. It involves, first, seeing others situations from their perspective, and, second, sharing their emotions, including, if any, distress.” (Burton, 2015). Compassion, however, is the understanding of empathy plus a strong desire to alleviate the suffering of others. It is extremely important that we have empathy and compassion and help our clients to use them to understand and support their dogs suffering with separation anxiety. But how do we cultivate this with clients and keep these emotional states alive within ourselves? My go-to for a long time was listing examples of things people generally find scary and wait to see a twinkle of,

tions, and switching which dogs she could or could not see were all tried and observed via video phone apps. We had started Mary Lou on Fluoxetine and Alprazolam at the same time as her initial symptoms presented in September. After one month the Fluoxetine dosage was increased and I saw beneficial effects in that she was more relaxed and even-keeled. She also carried less overall tension, which you could see by how she held her body and her ability to start exploring the outside world more without needing to be right next to me. Any attempt to leave her for durations longer than she could handle were also suspended. Initially this meant zero duration. After a rather bloody tooth breaking incident, we tried the Alprazolam once after we moved so we could get some errands done and have dinner. Mary Lou was a shaking, urine-soaked mess. That was the only time I tried to leave her alone for any length of time. As a side note, she did quite well in the car on errands for a while although we had to park far away to keep her from being upset my passers-by. In total, Alprazolam was used three times. The first time it seemed to help, the second time less so, and the third time Mary Lou had a full blown panic attack so we discontinued it immediately. Via behavior modification we progressed to three hours of alone time but then reached a plateau. To help us get over the hump, in October 2015 we introduced VetriScience Composure chews which aided us getting beyond the three-hour mark. In March 2016, we also started Mary Lou on Gabapentin for joint stiffness. This particular pain relief medication was chosen for potential additional benefits in treating separation anxiety.

Progress Update: To date, we have worked up to six hours of alone time. Durations vary daily from 30 minutes to six hours. Upon arrival home, Mary Lou is relaxed, moderately excited to greet and will perform a relax/down on her own for interactions. She has even gotten giddy with our returns, will play with toys which she rarely does, play bows at us and zooms around the yard playfully. She is sometimes okay with being left in the car and other times not. Regardless, she will try to follow me out of the car and be a little whiney but mostly she is fine in the car while I run errands and sleeps most of the time. It is very much a work in progress but we have come a long way. n

“Oh, yeah. I get it. Spiders freak me out too,” from clients. While this helped to get the general idea of fear across, it still did not seem to have the impact needed. During one session I remember very well, the guardian was tired, frustrated, and wanted a life outside of her dog’s needs. I was trying to find an example other than my spider go-to in order to help her empathize with what her dog was going through when she left the house. Instead I stopped and asked, “What is one thing you are absolutely terrified of? Not squeamish or girly squeaky about. But, flat out terrified.” Without hesitation, she said “Sharks!” By the look in her eyes, I knew she meant it. I then asked how she would feel if she were swimming in the ocean and a shark fin suddenly appeared. What, if anything, would make her feel better at that exact BARKS from the Guild/July 2016


CONSULTING Mary Lou has come a long way: Drawing on their own experiences can help behavior consultants be more empathetic towards their clients and the issues they are facing with their pets

While it will be some time before I am ready to attempt another interstate session on myself due to the fact that I went over-threshold, I am progressing forward nonetheless. Being able to channel and draw upon my own experience of panic attacks has helped me to not only have empathy, but also compassion for Mary Lou and her separation anxiety. Helping your clients find their own personal “panic attack” to draw upon may be just what they need to help them help their dogs to replace panic with peace. n


moment? “A punch on the shoulder accompanied with a suggestion to brush off of her fear?” I suggested. “Perhaps, a full explanation of the evolution of sharks and their dietary preferences? Maybe a citation from a recently read news article about the overinflated reports of shark attacks on humans?” “Tell me it is a dolphin!” she said while laughing. “What? You mean that me implying you were being irrational and telling you everything was fine didn’t help you to feel less terrified of the shark?” I asked. “Inconceivable!” Once we had that personal panic-striking experience for her to draw on, she was able to both empathize with and feel compassion for her dog’s panicking about being left alone. By focusing on my two-legged client first and foremost, I was able to provide an opportunity for my four-legged client to begin her slow and steady climb to confidence with being alone.

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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Burton, N. (2015). Empathy vs. Sympathy. Psychology Today. Retrieved on May 11, 2016, from /hide-and-seek/201505/empathy-vs-sympathy Donaldson, J. (2008).Oh Behave! Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker. Dogwise Publishing McLeod, S. A. (2008). Systematic Desensitization. Simply Psychology. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from /Systematic-Desensitisation.html Wikipedia. (2016). Joseph Wolpe. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from


DeMartini-Price, M. (2014).Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs. Dogwise Publishing Jennifer Pratt CPDT-KA is the owner and operator of Wag the Dog and Company LLC, www.wagthedogandcompany .com, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She began her education helping dogs and their humans in 2006 as a volunteer then later as an employee of an open admission shelter. She was certified by the Council of Professional Dog Trainers in 2014 and is currently a senior in Jean Donaldson’s Academy for Dog Trainers’ rigorous 2-year program.


The Best Play

Angelica Steinker explains how to play the small dog consent testing game with children to ensure they know when a dog is saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’


Photo courtesy: Suzanne Rider

his article is intended to be read by children who are under the supervision of an adult while playing the game. The information included is only to be used with dogs who are known to consistently seek the contact of all children and who have absolutely no history of growling, nipping or biting. All dogs and children should always be supervised at all times. Imagine you can talk to your dog. Well, you can! But there is a trick that you have to understand to talk to your dog. Instead of using words like we do, dogs talk with their bodies. A dog’s language is based on positions and movements of the body. Once you learn how to speak dog, you will be able to know what most dogs are saying. I say “most dogs” because every dog is different. We want to be fair and leave some wiggle room. All dogs are individuals and they may not all speak body language in the exact same way. Let’s start with some basic body language. If a dog is happy, the body is generally soft and loose. In the picture (above left) the dog’s body is very soft and he is leaning in to me. He is even lifting his back leg to invite a belly rub. If a dog is not happy, on the other hand, the body language tends to be rigid. In the picture (above right), the dog is very stiff and frozen in place. A quick Her mouth is tight, her head is lowflick of the ered. If you look closely, even her toes tongue is a sign of are tense. This dog is very upset and stress in not safe to approach.You can even see dogs

This dog’s stiff and tense body language shows she is not happy and does not want to be approached

Photo courtesy: Lisa Morrissey

that her front legs are spread farther apart than her hind legs, which means she could be preparing to pounce. If you see a dog like this, you know that he is upset so move away and tell an adult. Show them this article so they can learn for themselves that dogs who freeze are very upset and may be thinking about biting if they think there is no escape from the uncomfortable situation they are experiencing. Another important part of dog body language is the tongue flick (see picture bottom, center). This is different from when a dog licks his lips; in lip licking the tongue comes out and moves to the corner of the mouth, then goes back to the spot under the nose and goes back in. The tongue flick as a sign of stress is sometimes hard to see. It is literally just a flick, a bit like the way a snake sticks his tongue out and pulls it right back in. A dog who is stressed will flick his tongue out and pull it right back in. If you see a dog flick his tongue, move away from the dog and tell an adult. Show them this article so they can also learn that a tongue flick is how dogs communicate stress. A stressed dog is often more likely to move to other behaviors, like growling or even biting. Let’s all work to keep dogs happy and not to stress them. That way everyone is happier (and safer). The good thing is that once you can read some basic dog body language, you can use it to play a game called the Photo courtesy: Spotted Dog Photography

This dog’s body language shows he is happy: His musculature is soft and relaxed and he is leaning into the person

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016


TRAINING Consent Testing Game #1: Reaching for the Dog


n this game I am reaching for Mo the papillon. In the picture on the left I am reaching for Mo and he says “yes” because he leans in to me and lets me pet him. This is fun and we have a good time. In the picture on the right I am reaching for Mo and he says “no.” He actually puts his paw on my hand and pushes my hand down and away. Mo is “full” for petting right now and does not need more. Good for Mo!

r NO

consent testing game. Essentially, all you need to know is that if a dog moves toward you, he is saying “yes” to whatever is happening. If the dog moves away, he is saying “no.” Thus, if the dog moves closer to you, that means, “Yes, I want to be petted.” And that is fun—for us and for the dog. But, just like us, dogs can say yes and then change their minds later. This is like how you feel when you are eating a snack; you eat the snack and you really like it, and if I asked, “Do you want another piece?” you would say “yes.” But at some point you are going to get full, and if I then ask if you want another piece, you would say “no.” If you told me, “No, I don’t want another snack,” it would be

silly for me to have hurt feelings over that, because it has nothing to do with me.You have just had enough of the snack and are full. So just like filling up on a snack, dogs can fill up on being petted, or any other activity or interaction. When a dog says “no,” that is just information for us. It is very good information, because we want to avoid stressing our dogs so that everyone is safe and having fun. If I reach for a dog and the dog moves away, that means that right now that dog is “full” and does not want me to pet him. I am actually happy when this happens, because it is nice to know that the dog is full and does not need anything. It is fun to know that this dog is already happy and does not need my help. On

Consent Testing Game #2: Picking Up the Dog



his game involves asking a dog if he wants to be picked up. Only ask a dog if he wants to be picked up if you know he likes it. If he does not like to be petted or reached for, you can skip this game. A dog who does not like to be reached for and petted is already telling you he does want to be picked up.You already have an answer, so you do not need to play the game. Also, only pick up dogs if an adult is around to watch and if you can easily pick up that dog. Dogs do not like to aYES r NO be picked up if they have the feeling they are going to be dropped. This is just like if someone picked you up and you felt like they were going to fall or not hold onto you tightly enough. That would be scary and you would tell that person to put you down. Dogs cannot do that, so instead they squirm and wiggle. A dog who wants to be picked up and held is one who says “yes.” Let’s see what that looks like. In the picture on the left you can see I reach for Mo and he is moving toward me and actually lifting his front end and hopping up so I can pick him up. This is, “Yes, I want to be picked up!” This is fun because we both want the same thing. In the picture on the right I ask Mo if he wants to be picked up and he says, “No.” I am okay with that because I know another time he will say “yes.” He is just “full” for being picked up right now. If I picked him up anyway, I would be hurting our friendship because it would be like me making him eat a snack he does not want. I want Mo to have a strong bond with me so I only do things when he says yes.


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

TRAINING Consent Testing Game #3: Cradle Like a Baby


his game is the cradle like a baby game. Please only ask a dog if he wants to be held like a baby if he has been held that way at other times and has liked it.You want to play the consent testing games with things a dog likes, not with things the dog does not like. Think of the snack food again. If I do not like chips, then I am always going to say “no” to chips. That is boring and not a game. Instead, ask people who love chips if they would like to have a chip. Being held like a baby is just like chips—some dogs like it and other dogs do not. In the picture on the left Mo says “yes” to aYES being cradled like a baby. But sometimes dogs change their minds while you are doing something. Just a few seconds after I started holdr NO ing Mo like a baby, he changed his mind and said, “No.” Mo got “full” of being held like a baby and said he wanted to get down (see picture, right). I knew this because he turned away from me and started to look at the floor. I love Mo so it is easy for me to let him go and put him back down on the floor as soon as he asks. There are other games we can play, like fetch and belly rubs, when he is on the floor. I am happy to play the games he wants to play, when he feels like playing them.

these two pages you can see three types of consent testing games. (Consent means asking someone else if they agree to something.) Have fun playing the consent testing games. Let us know what you learn. Remember, when your dog says “no” it just means he is “full” for that activity. Go ahead and play something else. If your dog does not want to play at all, that is fine too. Just like us, dogs are not machines and some days they may not be as playful as others. When everyone feels like playing, that is when you have the best games. Always go for the best play! n

All photos of consent testing games courtesy: Angelica Steinker

The Balance HarnessTM is designed to fit any dog's individual body type while providing comfort and complete freedom of movement

Angelica Steinker PCBC-A owns and operates Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, www.courteouscanine .com/Florida, a full service pet business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. She is the national director of training for DogSmith Services,, and cofounder of DogNostics Career College, www

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The PPG Archive currently holds over 900 articles. All categories are represented, including animal behavior, training, business, PPG news, book reviews, product reviews, member profiles, opinion pieces and scientific studies.

c Fits any shape of dog c Every strap adjustable c Made of high-quality materials c Flexible leash attachments c Available in 19 colors c Comes with optional neck buckle BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Keep on Pushing

Diane Garrod provides an insight to the increasingly popular canine sport of Treibball and


details its many benefits – for both dogs and owners

reibball (pronounced "try-ball") has come a long way since debuting in the United States approximately six years ago. Today, getting specific certificates, trialing, and matches is as easy as having an online connection. All you have to do is follow directions, take a video of you and your dog in various aspects of the sport and you have got a winning combination. In the Pacific Northwest, where I reside, that is important because we have very few choices for physical show trials and matches. The whole world has opened up for my dogs and I, and I can safely say it is time to get serious about Treibball.

Treibball is catching on quickly as a new dog sport: to start, the balls are lined up on the field in a triangle formation

What is Treibball?

According to Dianna Stearns, president and founder of the American Treibball Association (ATA), the sport has taken time to catch on as with any new sport, but “as trainers and dog owners all over the US have begun to hear about it and see the videos, we see the acceptance and enthusiasm building and growing. Because of the variations seen in the European videos, several trainers have developed their own interpretation of the game." In fact, Treibball is one of the fastest growing dog sports in America. Imagine large colorful balls lined up in a triangle on a field. Add a dog, positive reward-based training, and a goal net. Teamwork means those balls will end up inside the goal, as the handler sends an enthusiastic dog out to the point of the triangle, and cues the dog to drive the balls toward them. The dog moves into action, pushing a ball down the field to the handler and into the goal! Score! What could be more fun? Treibball is fun, positive and competitive. It is a sport that improves the relationship between the dog and his owner and promotes impulse control with a fun game of ‘push the ball to me.’ The sport itself originated in Germany in 2003 and, by 2008, had become a sanctioned competition. It was Dutch dog trainer, Jan Nijboer, who first came up with the idea. His mind had started to whirl when he saw his Australian cattle dogs push their rubber water dishes around the field after finishing herding lessons, which translated into him wondering if they would push large balls around the field. Nijboer introduced the game to his herding students and, by 2007, Sweden had hosted the first international Treibball competition. Five Reasons to Play: 1 - Treibball is low impact. Dogs do not need to jump or run fast meaning it is easy on joints so senior dogs and dogs with physical challenges can also compete in their respective classes. Distance and verbal cues are very similar to agility, yet people of any age or athletic ability can enjoy the sport because physical demands are minimal. Treibball is “low-cost and low-impact; ideal for owners and 46

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Paisley Ann, owned by Dianna Stearns, president and founder of the American Treibball Association, practices her moves

Photo courtesy: Sandi Pensinger

Photo courtesy: Fred Stearns, Stearns Photography Dogs of any age, size or breed can play Treibball, which is a low-cost, low-impact, fun, force-free sport

Photo courtesy: Sandi Pensinger

WhatÊs on Offer

NATE has several levels of competition and six height categories, allowing any size or breed an opportunity to play. The organization also has skills certificates as a staircase for dogs that are not quite ready to compete, or are too far away from a Treibball trainer. This is a good way for a team to show a level of skill.Very

Treibball builds on skills such as impulse control, foundationals and distance work

Photo courtesy: Sandi Pensinger

dogs of all physical ability levels,” said Dianna Stearns, president and founder of the American Treibball Association. “Whether an owner wants to compete in Treibball or use it as a teaching tool, it’s a great vehicle for creating better communication between a dog and owner. The owner learns to give clear direction to the dog in order to get the appropriate response, and the dog must watch the handler closely in order to follow his direction. It’s an all-positive sport, fun for all and with no verbal or physical corrections allowed." 2 - Treibball is a non-confrontational, force-free sport. Training is non-aversive, positive and fun. It is a great way to relieve stress. 3 - Any dog of any age, height, weight, or breed can play Treibball and any dog owner can enjoy it. 4 - It is inexpensive. Buy a yoga ball to start, have standard treats at the ready as well as a clicker and you are ready to go. Up to eight extra balls can be added incrementally. 5 – Treibball is all about spending quality time with your dog. It is fun, challenging and builds on skills such as impulse control, manners, foundationals, and distance work. Treibball has been done under the guise of many names, from urban herding to push and drive ball, and equated to herding sheep into a pen or playing dog billiards in the sense of pushing a ball into a pocket. National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts (NATE) founder and president, and active Treibball competitor Sandi Pensinger said: "Treibball is a sport of distance, skill and teamwork. In class, you and your dog learn to communicate in gathering large exercise balls into a goal. Handlers learn distance work, directing the dog to go out around the ‘herd’ of balls. The dogs wait for direction, go left or right, and drive the ball into the pen. Treibball skills are life skills for dogs.You train for a sport and get a better companion dog at the same time. Treibball is great for the dog that needs a project." Various organizations have formed to bring Treibball to the US (see Resources on page 49). Many dog clubs offer Treibball workshops, and more and more training facilities and centers are bringing a Treibball curriculum to their clients. Said Pensinger of NATE: My vision was to have an organization that is a true national, if not international effort, with a larger view of the world of dog sport and of treibball… NATE is still young and growing and there are plenty of opportunities to be involved at every level. The NATE online community is thriving with training ideas, challenges and helpful advice on working with your canine treibball teammate." Added Stearns of ATA:"We provide support through oneand two-day training workshops and regional trainers’ certification academies. We also sponsor competitions, provide training materials and encourage discussion through public and members-only Facebook groups and the ATA website."


Young or old… Tall or short… Pedigreed or mixed…

TE … Join NA ay l come p ! with us

Your dog is invited to play (and so are you! )

Teamwork, cooperation and communication between you and your dog: The National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts invites you to join us in the canine sport WHERE SERIOUS TRAINING BECOMES SERIOUS FUN!

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



recently, NATE video titling became a reality, with application forms available on the organization’s website. ATA started its national competitions in 2013 and since then has continued to make refinements to the original rules. The current rules will stand through 2017 before being reviewed again, and are available for free download. The World Treibball League holds matches and has titling events for teams that are looking to compete and earn titles. It is individual, independent, on your own time, at your own pace, and for those that are ready for a challenge. Titling entry forms are available on the organization’s website.

Basic Skills

"As a trainer and a behavior consultant, I see many clients whose dogs are smart and energetic, but bored stiff and working very hard at finding their own ‘creative’ amusements,” said Stearns. “Often their owners don’t know how to communicate effectively with them, or how to engage with their dogs to prevent these situations. From the beginning, I saw this game as a positive teaching experience; a fun activity for both partners, with no downside." The basic skills used to teach Treibball are: • Touch/target. • Movement. • Attention toward handler. • Staying focused. • Settling behind a ball in a stand, sit, or down. • Coming when called. • Heeling or staying close. • Shaping. • Solid impulse control, which leads to self-control during trialing. The basics of Treibball are easy to pick up Kody Bear pushes too. In a competition, both the handler and the the ball during a Treibball session dog start near the goal with the dog sitting in heel position. On cue, the dog runs out past the balls (appropriately called the “outrun”) and settles behind the balls. The dog waits there for at least five seconds, until the handler cues the dog to begin driving the balls toward the goal. Intermediate and advanced training includes:

Owner Dianna Stearns and Berry prepare to start:Treibball helps dogs to focus and pay attention to their handler


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

• Teaching a dog to work at a distance. • Teaching a dog to work around distraction. • Teaching a dog to take direction from the handler at a distance. • Increasing speed and precision. Competition can be for your personal best, for time, against other teams, or all three. "Personally, I like the distance aspects of the sport," said Pensinger. "You can't use force in distance training, you have to use motivation… I see the advantage of challenging the dog's brain and enriching [his] life. Getting teamwork and impulse control at a distance are some of the most challenging aspects of this training.”

Skill Levels

There are performance criteria to be met depending on the level the dog is at in competition. Novice dogs bring in three balls, while more advanced play involves a judge calling out which ball the dog brings in. There is a specific time the dog has to drive all the balls into the goal. The parameters of the field area, the outrun and specific ball placement are also dependent on levels. In time, Treibball will feature obstacles the dogs have to maneuver the balls into, around, up, and over. "Playing Treibball increases the dog’s attention to the handler and produces a dog that works under voice and signal control; off-leash and at a considerable distance,” said Stearns. “These skills give the owner a different level of control, and translate well into almost any other training or sport they might want to do.”

Member Benefits

Benefits of membership in the various organizations for trainers and clubs offering Treibball classes and events include: • Opportunity to earn skills certificates. • Ability to Photo courtesy: Diane Garrod register a dog and compete with that dog in trials (online trialing or show trialing). • Invitations to events. • Ability to participate in video titling, matches, cerPhoto courtesy: Dianna Stearns tifications.

• Opportunities to serve on boards and committees. • Access to use logo on dog training websites or in marketing materials. Getting your training club involved in and holding Treibball classes also has many benefits, to include: • A new and exciting activity. • A team building sport that a variety of breeds at all ages can enjoy. • Confidence building for young or shy dogs. • A way to encourage positive training, relationship and games. • Opportunity to teach clicker training, targeting, and shaping. • Challenging and fun for dogs or handlers retired from agility, that still need training games.


Stearns: “It takes some time and effort to master but it pays off in big benefits to the dog and owner. It’s not an instinctive dogsport like NoseWork, Barn Hunt or Earthdog competitions, but if you’re a committed training partner, you’ll have a lot of fun learning Treibball together and be truly amazed how enthusiastic your dog will become. “Learning Treibball can be the gateway to a better relationship." n


American Treibball Association: www Canadian Canine Treibball Association: www.treibballcanada Dog Scouts of America: National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts: www Nijboer, J. (Producer). (2012). Treibball for Dogs [DVD]. Dogwise Publishing Nijboer, J. (2012).Treibball for Dogs. Direct Book Service Wag It Games: and World Treibball League:

The Future

Stearns states that ATA's goals have always been to “publicize and promote the sport of Treibball, establish official rules and standards for American play, host regional and national competitions and award titles, and produce ATA certified Treibball trainers, for teaching the curriculum and judging competitions.” A foreign affiliate program for people wanting to use the ATA game structure overseas has also been created. “We are planning to institute regional directors, in areas across the country in the near future, to provide support for members and trainers, and to sponsor judging clinics for members to gain more experience in hosting and scoring competitions," said Stearns. Treibball is a dog sport that looks deceptively simple. Said

Diane Garrod PCT-A CA1 BSc is a certified American Treibball Association instructor, and a judge, charter member and marketing chair for the National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts. She is also the owner of Canine Transformations,, based in Langley, Washington, where she conducts Treibball workshops, classes and private consults.


If you would like to host an educational webinar for your fellow pet professionals, submit your ideas to: /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 2016



It’s All in the Timing

Louise Stapleton-Frappell explains how to ‘mark’ the behavior you want during training to build up duration and distance


o doubt you have all heard that the click/marker/bridging stimulus should be quickly followed by the reinforcer. Why click ‘stay’ at a distance? The bridging stimulus – the click – marks the exact behavior we would like to be repeated the behavior we want to increase in frequency, duration or intensity. When teaching a settled and relaxed ‘down stay’ or ‘sit stay’ at a distance, I click the behavior of my learner staying while we are both still in position at the distance we have successfully achieved (by gradually raising the criteria) and I walk back to my learner to reinforce in position. This obviously causes a delay between the click and the delivery of the reinforcer. Why would I choose this protocol? If I were to return to my learner before I clicked the behavior, I would not be clicking for a distance of, for example, 20 steps, I would be clicking for no distance at all. If I wish to reinTessa in the down/stay position at a distance


BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Author Louise StapletonFrappell (left) with her dogs (right) Tessa and Jambo demonstrating sit/stay at a distance

force a close-up duration of 20 seconds, then I would ‘mark’ the behavior from my position next to my learner. If, however, I wish to reinforce a distance of 20 steps, then that is where I need to click. In order to help set up my learner for success I begin the protocol of clicking the behavior and walking back in to deliver the reinforcer from close proximity. I gradually increase the criteria for distance. In this way my learner becomes accustomed to staying in position until I walk back in and reinforce. He develops an understanding of the protocol. I can also aid understanding of the protocol with a few practice sessions beforehand. I would start with a quick click and treat protocol – a ‘rapid fire mark and reward’: click/treat, click/treat, click/treat. I would then introduce a slight delay between the delivery of the reinforcer and the next click: click/treat… click/treat… click/treat… I would then introduce a delay between the click and the delivery of the reinforcer: click… treat… click… treat… click… treat. Walking back to my learner before I reinforce the behavior can help him to develop self-control as he has to wait in position for me to return. It also encourages him to stay in his ‘settled’ position. He does not need to move – the reinforcer is coming to him. The time delay of me walking back to my learner can actually also increase the ‘value’ of the reinforcer, as the anticipation of what is about to arrive adds another dimension to the whole reinforcement process. The video Stay - A 'Clicker Tip' demonstrates this reinforcement strategy. Could I use a different reinforcement protocol? Of course. I could, for example, throw the reinforcer to my learner rather than walking back to his position. This would enable a quicker delivery of the reinforcer but may not be as precise as, unfortunately, my throwing skills lack the precision that would be necessary to deliver the reinforcer directly to my learner. I recognize my own skill-set and I prefer to set up both my learner and my-

self for success. I have worked on my throwing skills and they are much improved but this strategy would still undoubtedly encourage movement out of position. If, however, I were teaching a ‘stay’ for animated release, rather than relaxation, throwing the reinforcer would be an excellent choice as precision would not be quite so crucial. Indeed, I could promote a rapid movement out of the ‘stay’ by clicking the distance and the duration and choosing a valuable toy as a reinforcer. Not only would I then not walk back to my learner, I would toss the toy ahead of him to encourage that jump out of position and would be promoting a speedy release to action. What about if my learner moves before I am able to get back to him/her to deliver the reinforcer? It would not be ideal but neither would it have too great an impact on the behavior as I have already marked the established criteria. Using a bridging stimulus means that I have already effectively communicated the desired behavior. I would, however, take my learner back to the ‘stay’ location in order to reinforce him – yet more communication that this is where I would like him to stay. The what, when, where and how of delivery of the reinforcer is just as important as the what, when, where and how of the bridging stimulus. How much better is this scenario than my learner holding a beautiful ‘stay’ with both distance and duration but then moving out of position while I walk back to him without having ‘marked’ the behavior he so successfully achieved? Remember the how, the what, the when and where of the bridging stimuli and the reinforcement protocol all affect the behavior being taught. Could we walk back to our learner before marking the behavior and reinforcing? Yes, we could, but would the behavior be taught as effectively? Would we be promoting accelerated learning? Would we be setting up our pupil for success? Back to my initial point: No doubt you have all heard that the click/marker/bridging stimulus should be quickly followed by the reinforcer? I think this should be re-worded: “The click/marker/bridging stimulus should be quickly followed by the reinforcement protocol.” My reinforcement protocol for a settled and relaxed ‘stay at a distance’ does in fact begin immediately after my click – it begins with my first step back towards my learner. n



* Note from the author: I would like to thank Kay Laurence for her invaluable tutelage on the subject of reinforcement.


Dognostics Career College (Producer). (2016). Stay - A 'Clicker Tip' [Video]. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from www

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

Behaviors as Tricks

o learn more about teaching behaviors as tricks, TrickMeister is a unique program aimed at increasing the knowledge and training skills of both dog guardians and pet professionals. The TrickMeister courses teach the science behind the training as well as all the skills needed to train a pet dog, with a big emphasis on enjoyment. TrickMeister believes that all training should be fun but knowledge based, as well as setting up the learner for success. Tricks are really just behaviors: manners/obedience, agility, rally, heelwork, freestyle, scentwork… service dog, search and rescue dog, sniffer dog, guide dog, show dog, companion pet dog… Whatever the sport, job or task, they are all encompassed under the heading of “tricks.” For more details see:

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BARKS from the Guild/July 2016




How to Train Your Dragon

Not for the faint-hearted, Lara Joseph explains the ongoing process of training a pair of American alligators to target and station for feeding and to accept a noose around their snouts for veterinary examinations

train many different animals but specialize in exotics and have was their primary diet. I asked if we could add in more variety, a recently begun training animals at a zoo. My position, director request that was approved. I thus began training them with rats of animal training, involves forming a team to train all animals, and began with taking 600-gram (21-ounce) rats cut into 4-gram starting with husbandry and veterinary preparation behaviors. pieces. That is a lot of training repetitions, as you can imagine. The first step was to target a lot of noses, snouts, arms, hands, To start with, I pulled up a bucket beside the alligators’ winand beaks to a target stick so, from there, I could begin learning ter enclosure and began interacting with them by feeding the individual body language of the various species and individuals. small rat pieces with a pair of tongs through the wire gate. This is Thus far how I began learning how they American alligator pair we have pri- Elvis and Priscilla have moved, how they saw things, been trained to target mates tarand if they would respond to and station via positive geting scents being softly blown in reinforcement outtheir direction. The results stretched were immediate. I saw how arms to tarthey reacted when being gets so we tossed biscuits. They were can prepare slow to respond and they did for blood not eat all of them immedidraws, and ately. When I held a piece of other anirat in front of them The alligators are mals recalland softly blew it in now being shaped ing and their direction, I saw to accept touch, building up to touching taran immediate rebeing able to put get sticks to get them onto weighing scales. We have sponse as they stood a noose over their got almost all animals stationing so we can now change snouts for up and moved in my veterinary food and water without the challenge of struggling to direction. This was examinations get enclosure doors open. The staff and zookeepers the beginning of my are already seeing the differences in the animals’ berecall training. havior, which is, incidentally, one of my several great reI was very happy inforcers. Another reinforcer is watching the bonds that I was beginning between the keepers and animals skyrocket and the to see motivation and it is very satisfyrelationships between them improve exponentially. ing to identify a In this article I want to share what I have been strong reinforcer. privy to with two animals I am training, who are, in What I saw next infact, a pair or American alligators named Priscilla and volved behavior. My Elvis. The training, learning, interaction and relationship concerns with building I am enjoying puts them among some of my faPriscilla were quite a vorite animals to train and they are incredible educafew as she would tors. come to the side of To start with, I asked the alligators’ keepers to the enclosure and climb up the side. She would keep her back show me their winter enclosure where I would begin training. two feet on the ground but her front two feet would scale the Right after that, I asked to see where they would be on exhibit wire gate. At the same time her mouth would open and she during the summer. I then asked what the keepers needed to be able to do inside their summer exhibit. They told me they had to would swipe her head from side-to-side, chomping at the location of the scent. I was told by another keeper that occasionally be able to enter the enclosure daily to clean and check the the leftover meat not eaten by other animals was tossed into the water the alligators swim in. alligator enclosure and this is what Priscilla would do. History of I inquired about how and what the alligators were fed and reinforcement identified. how often. At that time they were fed alligator biscuits, which 52

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Back to my bucket. I kept the food on the floor to help prevent any reinforcement for climbing the wire gate. I began directing Priscilla to my left and Elvis to my right. Before I fed them I would tap the tongs on the metal cage bars. This is how I put my recall on cue. Both rested regularly to the right of the enclosure so it was easy to obtain the initial stages of training Elvis to station. I predetermined that Elvis would station to the right and Priscilla would station to the left. With Priscilla, I had to keep calling her further to my left. Three taps on the metal cage bars became their cue to come. Once in position for a station, I paired high rates of reinforcement with conditioning my bridge. Before Priscilla could raise her front feet, I would bridge and reinforce, beginning to target all four feet to the ground. Once I had the initial recall and the target of all four feet on the ground, I began concentrating on another struggle I was having with Priscilla. She was snapping her mouth in all directions searching for the food on the tongs. Predictability has its place and that time was now. I experimented with delivering the food to her from different sides of her mouth as well as the front of her mouth. The area I saw the quickest opportunity for her to learn was by delivery to the right side of her mouth. I would ‘tap, tap, tap’ on the wire gate and immediately place the tongs to the right side of her mouth. With a few repetitions she learned that a small swift move of her head to her right resulted with a piece of food easily delivered in her mouth. Within a few training sessions, all four feet remained on the ground, she stayed in position to my left, and after the ‘tap, tap, tap’ she knew her food would be waiting there with a small movement of her head to her right. I then started bringing in the other trainers to keep these behaviors strong throughout the week. I did not need to train as many behaviors for Elvis but he also learned that three taps meant ‘move a few steps and food is delivered at this part of the enclosure consistently.’ While the other trainers kept the above behaviors on cue, I moved onto the next one, which was the first behavior the zoo veterinarian suggested be taught. It entailed teaching the alligators to accept a noose around their snouts for safety of the veterinarian during exams (and other contexts). I asked myself the question: ‘Are these alligators used to being touched regularly by anything other than one another?’ If not, then I chose this to be the first step in shaping a noose around their mouths. To start with I introduced a target stick to their backs with the intention of getting them used to touch and pressure on their back in the same spot consistently and predictably….for now. Next I moved the target stick within their enclosure to about 1 foot over their head. This was a new environmental event and Elvis started backing up and snapping at the air. Could he not see it? Was this a reaction related to fear? Did he think it was food? I didn’t know. I redesigned my training plan and began shaping a station as the target stick started going into their enclosure. Within one training session, Elvis was stationing as the target stick was moved to the middle of his back. Once it touched his back, I needed to shape the behavior of him staying on his station. Thus, when the target stick moved an inch over his back, ‘tap, tap, tap.’ When he went to move his head for the meat, the target stick touched his back. I repeated this with the target stick


staying on his back for intervals of a few seconds before being removed, getting him used to being touched on his back. I was then able to touch his back, bridge and immediately reinforce. With a few more repetitions, the target stayed on his back a few seconds longer before the bridge was delivered. I was then able to begin putting pressure on his back through the stick. From there, I began moving the stick up his back. Since our last training session, the alligators have been moved to their outdoor exhibit. The first time I conducted a training session with them there I took food with me in anticipation of reshaping all the above-mentioned behaviors. I had, of course, lost my recall cue of ‘tap, tap, tap.’ Not to worry, I have that one planned. I am going to design sorting boards with a lightweight frame and metal fencing. We have found new areas for them to station and once we get these behaviors again in the new enclosure, I will begin moving forward with restraint training. Stay tuned! n Lara Joseph is the owner of The Animal Behavior Center LLC,, in Ohio. She is also the director of animal training & enrichment for Nature’s Nursery, a wildlife rehabilitation center where she focuses on taking stress out of animal environments. She is the founder of the Parrot Society of NW Ohio and The Parrot Society of New Orleans, as well as professional member of the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, and sits on the advisory board for All Species Consulting and the Indonesian Parrot Project. She is also the director of animal training for the Indian Creek Zoo.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Living in a Human World

April Bove-Rothwell shares her experiences training gorillas, showing that there is no end to what can be learned via positive reinforcement and environmental enrichment,


no matter what the species

Photo courtesy: Zoo Atlanta

Photo courtesy: Zoo Atlanta

450-pound gorilla named Paul sits in a steel crate in front Enrichment is often overlooked of me. As the primary gorilla keeper at the San Diego as a behavior Zoo in California, I must immobilize any gorilla going to modification tool but works very the zoo’s veterinary hospital for preventative exams as well effectively emergency procedures. Gorillas are incredibly intelligent pribecause it influences mates that can distinguish the sound of the veterinarians’ vehicle behavior, even from others, so the veterinary team radio their instructions to when humans are not present begin the immobilization from their vehicle several hundred feet away from the gorilla facility. I begin the training session with Paul as I do every morning. But today, instead of the usual empty syringe in my hand, I have one full of anesthetic. I give Paul the verbal cue and hand signal for a chest presentation. He then presses his enormous chest against the protective mesh barrier. Perfect! Then I give him the cue for another behavior, a thigh presentation. Paul turns to the side and presses his huge thigh against the mesh, revealing a perfect site for an injection. He voluntarily sits still and allows me to inject his thigh and within minutes he is fully sedated and ready to be transported to the veterinary hospital for a scheduled exam. Not long ago, when zoos needed to immobilize animals, it was not through a voluntary injection like the one I have trained Paul to accept. HistoriGorillas are now being trained cally, zoo animals were via positive reinforcement to accept voluntary injections, darted with a tranquilremoving the need to dart them izer gun for immobilizawith a tranquilizer gun, a procedure that risks causing tions; a method that is them to distrust veterinary staff potentially dangerous and stressful for both reinforcement training allows zoos to modify staff and animals. It also behavior without force or fear while increascarries the risk of meding an animal’s physical and psychological ical complications and well-being. As successful as these techniques may even be fatal. Dartare for gorillas in zoos, they also work effiing a gorilla can also ciently for pet dogs and all other animals. have severe repercusPositive Reinforcement sions for building a trusting relationship, Gorilla troops in the wild generally consist of which is crucial for cooperation in management and medical insocial structures with one adult male (called a silverback), multiterventions. This loss of trust is evident by the aggressive behavple females, and their offspring. Reproductive success, an increase iors exhibited towards veterinary staff many years after being in natural behaviors and the minimization of undesirable behavdarted. Other gorillas may pick up on a gorilla’s aversion to vetiors has been achieved in captivity through establishing gorilla erinary staff without being darted themselves. Today, using a tran- troops that mimic the natural social structure exhibited in the quilizer gun is usually not necessary nor recommended for many wild. However, this results in a surplus of males, known as bachecaptive animals. In my 10 years as a zookeeper, none of the gorillors, in captivity and in the wild. Wild bachelor gorillas may be las in my care were immobilized by a tranquilizer gun; they volun- solitary or they may loosely associate in a bachelor troop. Bachetarily cooperated with management and medical treatment due lors have been historically housed alone in captivity, but many to a training program based on positive reinforcement. Positive zoos are now forming bachelor troops to create a more dynamic 54

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environment for these highly intelligent and social creatures. While I was primary gorilla keeper, we formed the first bachelor troop in the history of the San Diego Zoo. Behavior modification utilizing positive reinforcement techniques was a crucial component in creating and managing the three bachelors. Positive reinforcement training using preferred food items, usually fruit, allows zoos to manage gorillas and many other species without force, fear or physical restraint. Medical husbandry procedures in which gorillas have been successfully trained to cooperate with their own veterinary care include: inspection and treatment of body parts for injury, collection of respiration rates and blood pressure, injections of vaccinations and anesthetics, X-rays, cardiac and prenatal ultrasounds, and oral swabs to assess salivary cortisol levels to evaluate stress levels. This training also decreases the overall number of immobilizations and hospital exams since medical interventions could occur during daily training sessions. Bachelor troops usually require more management and training than mixed-sex troops as there are more young silverbacks who tend to cause more social conflict. Because of this increased risk of aggression with the formation of the first bachelor troop at the San Diego Zoo, it was critical that I established behaviors for gorillas to present all body parts for detection, inspection and treatment of wounds to mitigate the risks of a veterinary intervention involving an immobilization and hospital exam. Since there is a protective barrier between the zookeepers and gorillas, I used a target stick to reach through the barrier to shape many of these body presentations. Through a program of progressive desensitization and shaping techniques, I trained the gorillas to become comfortable with objects near or on their body which they may be naturally fearful of: stethoscopes, thermometers, portable X-ray trays, Q-tips, squirt bottles, scissors, gauze and syringes. Occasionally, there would be regression with a trained behavior which would force me to go back a few steps in my training plan and reshape it. Many behaviors were trained with only a 5- to 10-minute session per day. Therefore, it was crucial to create a training plan for each small step to shape each behavior and to record and score behavioral progress in order to reevaluate when necessary.


overall welfare and the likelihood of thriving in captivity. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums mandates that their accredited institutions provide enrichment to animals in their care. Environmental enrichment can be categorized by each of the five senses: sight, sound, hearing, taste and touch. An enrichment program should aim to utilize all of the senses in various combinations.Visual enrichment may include provision of mirrors or the ability to see conspecifics. Music or recorded vocalizations enrich the sense of hearing. Predator and prey scents as well as pheromones are used as olfactory enrichment. Food is a very popular method of enrichment; an animal’s diet can be easily presented in a variety of manners (whole, chopped, frozen, blended), hidden in different locations, or scattered to promote foraging. Tactile enrichment allows the animal different surfaces or substrates to interact with. Puzzle feeders made out of hard plastic, bamboo, firehose, boxes, PVC or bags are a tactile enrichment that increase foraging time and enhance problem-solving behaviors. The overall goal of enrichment is to increase the behavioral repertoire of an animal so it reflects the range of behaviors exhibited in the wild. Along with evaluation of individual medical and behavioral history, enrichment goes far beyond just encouraging natural behaviors; it has the power to modify behavior when carefully planned and executed. Specific goals may include increasing natural behaviors like foraging for diet items in order to increase activity allowing more access to other animals to eliminate pacing. After individual and group goals are set, a list of enrichment chosen to elicit or eliminate specific behaviors is curated, along with a schedule, to ensure a variety in types of enrichment. Observing and evaluating each animal’s response to enrichment is crucial to assess if it is meeting the goals of a behavior modification program. Environmental enrichment tremendously affected the behavior of a solitary bachelor named Maka when he began to regularly pluck hair off his arms: a behavior that can be indicative of

Environmental Enrichment

Another effective behavior modification tool that is often overlooked is environmental enrichment. Providing a stimulating environment enhances the physical and psychological well-being of an animal by allowing him to express the range of behaviors typical of his species. Enrichment can also modify maladaptive behaviors caused by boredom, stress or fear such as pacing or plucking hair. Wild gorillas spend much of their days searching for food, eating, resting, socializing with other gorillas, and defending their troop. These activities expend both time and energy and are performed in a very dynamic and unpredictable environment in the wild. Gorillas in captivity exist in a very limited physical space where the majority of their decisions are made by their caretakers. They are not allowed to decide what to eat, where to sleep, whether to be inside or outside, and who their fellow troop mates will be. Enrichment, such as puzzle feeders or predator scents, gives them choice and control, which tends to increase

Photo courtesy: Zoo Atlanta

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Positive reinforcement training allows zoos to modify behavior without force or fear while increasing an animal’s physical and psychological well-being. Here, a gorilla prepares to have his teeth brushed



Making the Transition


In my transition from zookeeper to enrichment allows dogs to professional dog trainer, I find my express natural behaviors positive training methods used to appropriately modify gorilla behavior may be used just as effectively with dogs (and other animals for that matter). Behavior may vary between species but the principles of learning and techniques to humanely and effectively modify behavior remain the same. Many complex behaviors are trained by zookeepers without any physical manipulation or restraint: blood draws from a tiger’s tail, ultrasounds on a panda’s abdomen, X-rays of a bonobo’s hand, antibiotic shots into a polar bear’s leg to name a few. If positive reinforcement can be used to train such complex behaviors without zookeepers being in the same physical space as the animals (as there is a protective barrier for safety), then surely it can be successful with domesticated species, such as dogs, as well. Enrichment is often overlooked as a behavior modification tool with dogs and other domestic animals but works very effectively because it influences behavior, even when humans are not present. Although most dogs probably live in an environment that is less sterile than those of zoo animals, the home environment can nevertheless become predictable and boring, especially when there are behavior issues that make it difficult for the owners to take the dog out and about. It is always useful to provide a variety of enrichment options. This can include puzzle feeders and other interactive food-based toys like stuffed Kongs, sand boxes with hidden toys for digging, games like hide and seek (with you or their toys), NoseWork with items like scented boxes, and tug toys to encourage predatory behaviors. Enrichment allows dogs to express natural behaviors appropriately as opposed to the undesirable behaviors that bored 56

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

Photo courtesy: Zoo Atlanta

Providing a stimulating environment enhances the physical and psychological well-being of animals in captivity by allowing them to express a full range of typical behaviors, no matter what their species

© Can Stock Photo/rdantoni

boredom or stress.Veterinarians warned that he would need psychotropic medication if he did not slow or stop this behavior. Besides establishing a training plan of differential reinforcement of non-plucking behaviors, enrichment was key in reducing the undesirable behavior until it was negligible. Enriching adult gorillas can be challenging at times as they do not have much interest in anything not food-related. Presenting Maka’s food in a variety of objects, locations and times throughout the day was very impactful as silverbacks spend the majority of their day searching for, resting and digesting a tremendous amount of food. Changing the locations and times Maka would spend in different areas of the facility helped to add variety to his day. Exploring areas where other gorillas had been present allowed him to smell and manipulate objects used by others. He also benefited from increased visual access to others but was able to retreat out of view when he desired.

and/or stressed dogs tend to exhibit, like incessant barking or chewing inappropriate items. Enrichment, along with positive training, helps animals cope with the unnatural human world we thrust upon them and increases their physical and mental well-being. This is as much the case for our household pets as it is for animals living in zoo environments and should always be given the utmost consideration. n

April Bove-Rothwell BS worked as a zookeeper at the San Diego Zoo, California for 12 years caring for and training a variety of species. As the primary gorilla keeper, she oversaw five successful gorilla introductions into existing troops including the formation of the first bachelor troop in the history of the San Diego Zoo. She currently volunteers her services at the San Diego Humane Society’s Behavior Center walking and training the more challenging shelter dogs, and also assists at Del Mar Dog Training.


Creating Mutual Trust


Kathie Gregory presents a guide to force-free teaching and explains that making the switch might not be as hard as one might think

have always embraced force-free training in my work with animals. Over the years I have developed and refined my approach, resulting in what I now term freewill teaching. My career has been developed on the basis of force-free training. However, there are many others out there who would like to make the change from the crossover to force-free but are not sure where to start. Let me tell you, it can be easier than you think. In order to be successful you must first gain your horse’s trust. Once you elect not to coerce or force him by whatever means, you need to set up a relationship where he is happy to do what you ask rather than what you insist on. At this point you may wonder how you can go from telling your horse what to do (with the help of various equipment) to not using anything. The pitfalls are obvious: he will not understand you, and there are situations where given the choice, the horse will choose not to thanks very much! Making the change to force-free is about doing things one step at a time, not ditching existing methods and starting from scratch. Building trust in one another takes time.You need to be consistent, reliable and predictable. Learning to listen, respond and adjust takes practice but is an essential element. Force-free is about the physical aspect and the emotional system. Ensuring every encounter with your horse is based on kindness and compassion where he is not physically or emotionally compromised leads to a better relationship, improved performance, and increased safety for both of you. Where does one start? Choose something to work on that does not compromise you and your horse's safety or the work you do with him. This might be teaching him to step backwards or forwards. It might be teaching him to lift a foot or to walk calmly by your side. It may be a new movement or trick. Whatever you choose, you will teach your horse to do what you ask without physically doing it for him, using tools that cause pain or discomfort, coercion, or giving him no other option. The way to do this may not seem to be all that straightforward so start with something simple and non-essential. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Teaching Methods

Capturing: Watch your horse move about and use this time as a teaching session. It is a great way of teaching him to put more common movements on cue as he is likely to perform the movement regularly. The technique is to wait for your horse to do something you want, then reward him. As you can see, it is not much use for a movement that he only ever does once in a blue moon, or for an unfamiliar movement you wish him to learn. Example: Use this to teach your horse to lower his head.

There are many ways to use targeting, from teaching a horse to touch your hand, to teaching him to put his foot on a box

Luring: This technique involves showing your horse something that he wants, moving it so he follows, and giving it to him once you have reached the end of the movement. This can be very useful for the horse who is uncomfortable trying new things; it gives him something to focus on, reducing anxiety. It can also be a useful step if he doesn't understand another method, or is new to learning and needs a little guidance. Example:You can use this technique to start teaching stopping and starting as you walk together. Note that luring is a useful tool as a first step, but is not a long-term strategy, there are too many downsides when you do not progress from this method.

Shaping: This is used to teach things in small steps rather than all in one go. It makes learning easy, and it is also easy to adjust for errors. Reward every step towards the final movement. This is good for exercises your horse finds difficult, for things that do not come naturally, and for complicated work. It is also good for teaching precision. Example: Use this to teach your horse to lift a foot. The full movement is to take the foot from the floor and lift it up. However, there are several steps before the foot is in the air. First, your horse will tense his muscles ready for shifting his balance, then he shifts his balance ready for lifting the foot, etc. You reward each step until the horse can do it with ease before moving on to the next step. BARKS from the Guild/July 2016



Š Can Stock Photo/brookhouse

As with other animals, communication and feedback are essential in training horses, whether using one’s voice, a clicker or other bridging stimulus

something over and over again. What is a reward for a horse? Horses find many things pleasurable such as being turned out after they have done their work, but for our teaching sessions we need a reward that can be repeatedly used throughout the session to keep him motivated and eager to engage with us. Food and voice praise work very well. Some horses love a rub on their neck or shoulder, which is another good reward option. Whatever reward you choose, you give it to your horse after you have made the sound that marks the movement.

Targeting: As the name states, this is used for teaching your horse to target a specific thing. There are many ways of applying this technique, from teaching to touch your hand, to teaching him to put his foot on a box. Targeting something at a distance is considered a more advanced exercise, but it can be adapted to become a basic one for those horses who plant their feet and don't want to move. Having a tasty treat in a bucket and placing the bucket a short distance away can get the horse moving easily.


Once you apply a method, you need to communicate with your horse and give him feedback on what he does.You want to tell him that he got the right answer, and did what you wanted him to.You can use a clicker for this or you can use your voice. The clicker is widely known for its use when working with dogs, but it is just as useful a tool when teaching horses.You click once when your horse gets the right answer, at the moment he is at the end of the movement. If you are using your voice, you can make a click sound, you can say 'yes', or you can use another word. It is best to keep it to something short so it coincides with the horse's action. Horses new to this way of teaching will initially associate the sound you make with the movement he has just done. As you progress he will understand that the sound is his indication that he has got the right answer, and is not linked to a particular movement. This encourages him to try different things in order to hear the sound.

Positive Reinforcement

This is the part that will make your horse want to try things in order to hear the sound you make when he gets it right. After all, if there is nothing in it for him, why would he repeat movements when you ask rather than when he needs or wants to do them? If we want him to practice and improve we must give him some incentive. This is his reward, and reason to keep doing 58

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Quick Guide 1

1. Choose what you want to work on with your horse. 2. Choose the most suitable method to use. 3. Make your sound (i.e. your bridging stimulus) to tell the horse he has got it right. 4. Give him his reward.

Adding a Cue

Once you and your horse are communicating and you have practised your chosen movement so it becomes easy for him to do, you can then add a specific cue to that movement. The two most common ones are hand signals and voice cues. For example, you could point to the floor as the signal for your horse to lower his head. If using a voice cue, you may say 'head down.' Choose whatever you want, but be mindful that some hand signals are not possible when you are riding him so you may choose different ones for ground and ridden work, or one that can be used for both. Add your chosen cue when your horse is performing the movement you have taught him so he learns to associate the cue with what he is doing. Quick Guide 2 1. Practice your chosen movement until it can be done easily. 2. Add your cue as your horse is performing the movement. 3. Make your sound to tell the horse he has got it right. 4. Give him his reward. Practice using your cue as your horse is performing the movement until you think he has associated it with the movement. Now it's time to see if he has learnt that the cue means he should do the movement, by using the cue in advance of the movement.

Quick Guide 3

1. Give your horse the cue for the movement. 2. Make your sound to tell the horse he has got it right. 3. Give him his reward.

Useful Tips

Start with something easy. Help him understand by adjusting for his response. Whatever response he gives, he is communicating with you. If it is not the response you are looking for, why? Are you doing too much at once? Can you break it down into smaller parts? Do you need to change to a different method?

Are you expecting results too quickly? Do you just need to try a few more times? Is he comfortable, and in the right state of mind? Learning is difficult for any animal (or human) when he is anxious or in pain. Some horses find new things difficult and stressful. If he is used to being told rather than asked, it may take some time before he is able to make the first move.Your encouragement, and reassurance are essential. Going at his pace, however slowly, will pay dividends in the future. Do you need to just be with him and help him relax before you start asking anything of him? If you feel yourself getting frustrated, walk away and take a break.Your horse is sensitive to your moods, and if you are not relaxed neither is he. Start a session with your chosen reward. Don't ask anything of him, just give him something nice. Finish your session the same way, a reward without asking him for anything. I always say 'all finished,' which lets him know that we are all done.

Considerations about Food

There is some unease about using food with horses, a general perception that it will cause a horse to be rude, mug you, start nipping and/or being pushy. This can happen when working with any animal, it is not unique to horses. There are plenty of dogs who behave in the same manner. The reason for this behavior is that the animal has not been taught how to behave around food, and in what circumstances it is available.

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EQUINE Trust Conflict

Some believe that you cannot create trust unless you embrace force-free methods in every aspect of your horse’s life. Of course there is conflict if you use both aversive and force-free methods, but it is a starting point for you and your horse as you begin the crossing over journey. The key to successfully making the change is to keep force-free and your other methods separate. This is why I have suggested you start with something nonessential. Force-free activities always remain force-free. This will start to develop your trust in each other, your communication, and understanding, making it much easier to progress to other areas, gradually transitioning to completely force-free. n

Kathie Gregory is a UK-based animal behavior consultant who trained under Prof. Peter Neville at the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology, and is a practitioner member of the COAPE Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers. She has worked with animals for over 15 years, mainly with horses and dogs, although she also works with cats, sheep, pigs, cows and other species. She developed freewill teaching, an expertise focusing on raising cognitive awareness and understanding, in order to give animals the ability to reach their full potential. For further information, see her blog,

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The Four P’s

In the second of this two-part feature, Niki Tudge highlights some of the tools available to


pet professionals across the marketing mix

n part one of this article (see Marketing for Service Practitioners, BARKS from the Guild, May 2016, page 58-59) we discussed that most of your clients in the pet industry will come from referrals, usually from professional pet-related organizations like humane societies, rescue networks, veterinarians, and consumers as well as by Graphic: Niki Tudge word-of-mouth from past and present clients. Because of this, a good portion of your marketing dollars will be spent on marketing materials and promotional items to encourage these referral sources. Let’s now look at some of the tools we have available to us across the marketing mix. Marketing includes EVERY discipline - sales, public relations, pricing, packaging, operations and distribution. The marketing mix incorporates all of the factors you have available to you to influence your customers to purchase your services and products. They are also known as the four P’s. In our business environments where many of us are selling services that include our direct participation, we can also look at these four P’s in a different way. The product is us, the professionals; the place is where we deliver our services; the price is our net value; and the promotion is the role of selling ourselves. What we do, the activities we carry out using the tools available to us are marketing tactics. Tactics are a set of actionable, task-oriented activities that are intended to promote the goods and services of your business with the goal of increasing sales and maintaining a competitive product. Next I will discuss some of the key areas that I believe are important to us as pet professionals. These areas are easily activated and implemented and are affordable in their strategic purpose and tactical application.

Public Relations

The public relations plan is designed to utilize the media at different stages of your businesses development. Public relations activities can focus on your pre-opening publicity through news releases and informational media snippets and will then move into covering the opening launch of your company. Once you are in business, then the focus of the public relations plan is sustaining the public’s knowledge of your business. This can take place by monthly informational releases about your product development, activities and high profile activities.Your public relations plan will also develop communications for your company newsletter, financial stakeholders and company colleagues. The role of public relations is the deliberate, planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain mutual understanding between 60

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an organization and its public. A few recommended action items are: 1. Release press releases on funny, important or company news to a minimum of four local newspapers, three online local publications, and local radio stations. 2. Actively encourage newsletter

subscribers every month. 3. Visit and support a local rescue group each month. 4. Secure customer testimonials each month for your website.

Direct Marketing

Your direct marketing strategy incorporates direct mail campaigns such as postcards, door hangers and newsletters. Direct marketing can be used across three phases: Phase one will be informative and logical, phase two will be persuasive, and phase three will reinforce previous messages, i.e. convincing your prospects that you are indeed the business to purchase products and services from. A few recommended action items are: 1. Distribute door hangers or flyers to prospects each month. 2. Distribute rack cards, flyers, posters and/or promotional items to local pet businesses. 3. Mail postcards to prospects that have not yet “pulled the trigger.” 4. Mail birthday cards, and thank you for your business cards to clients. 5. Each month publicize up-and-coming promotions, events and classes to your distribution list.

Sales Promotions

Sales promotions in the pet industry do have a role but I do consider them short-term and therefore they should be managed carefully. Sales promotion objectives are to create extra sales volume for the first six months of opening and during low seasons. Sales promotions do not have to utilize discounts but can package individual services, offer pre-paid discounts and add value to existing sales propositions.You may also want to offer tailored trade promotions to select intermediaries who can sell the product for you, such as other industry partners or referral partners. A few recommended action items are: 1. Develop fun seasonal sales promotions.

2. Look at promotions for loyalty, or booking early. 3. Offer Pet Dog Ambassador classes and or assessments. 4. Each year hold a business anniversary event for your own business. 5. Develop packages across services and/or include products.

Social Media Marketing

Key social media sites and networking objectives should be used by all small businesses. Sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Merchant Circle and Twitter are a few of the key tools that can be used to help drive traffic to your website. Remember that many people on social media sites are there for social activity and not for hard sell experiences. Information based marketing can create great information that prospects enjoy reading and that can influence them to visit your site where you can offer a more persuasive experience. A few recommended action items are: 1. Have a professional branded Facebook page. 2. Choose three or four social media sites you can focus on and connect them for ease of posting. 3. Consider using a software such as Rignite as an option for scheduling and managing social media posts across multiple platforms. 4. Set up a free blog account and post a couple of paragraphs each week that are pertinent to your clients’ interests.

Personal Selling

As a pet industry professional I would recommend that you attend trade shows, events and local community gatherings to personally promote your services and products. Personal selling is very much part of the communication mix. It is two-way and personal. A lot of your marketing focus should be placed on achieving sales through referral marketing, both business-to-business referrals and customer referrals. Let us not have a negative conditioned emotional response to personal sales! What we do and feel passionate about is helping pet owners, helping then solve problems. We provide solutions for them. If personal selling is approached in this way, they we can all quickly learn to enjoy and become competent at doing it. After all, this is a people-centric business. I am going to address selling in a little more detail later on. Why? Because each of our marketing actions is designed to drive people to make a purchase decision. Once someone reaches out and contacts you, they become a prospect. How you handle that inquiry and how you handle the sales process will determine how successful you are in securing that person and converting them from a prospect to a client. A few recommended action items are: 1. Attend community gatherings each month. 2. Work on broadening your professional referral marketing network. 3. Cross sell products and services to existing clients. 4. Distribute promotional toys, Frisbees or tennis balls to local dog parks. 5. Ask friends and family each month to distribute 10 of your flyers or business cards. 6. Deliver a professional veterinarian pack to at least two veterinarians each month. 7. Each month visit a minimum of one groomer, pet resort, pet bakery or doggie wash business and talk to or visit with key decision makers or employees. Selling is not hard if you believe in the service you provide


and LISTEN to your prospects. It is not as difficult as some may believe and depends on characteristics that are not commonly considered typical “salesman” traits. The stereotypical “salesman” is an extrovert, a showman and maybe a little dishonest. None of these are needed to be an effective seller. What is needed though is the ability to listen to your customer and develop a sensitivity to their needs – whether they recognize them or not. Under promise and over deliver, and always do what you say you will do. People only pay for what they want, so give them what they want. The best way to make a sale is to discover your potential customer’s motivation and offer the service that satisfies it. Every potential customer has needs, plans, goals and motivations. Look for their motivation. Once you have identified a client’s motivation, offer them the service that meets it. Present your service as a solution to their problem or an answer to their motivation. Are they motivated to have an agility dog or are they simply looking to exercise their dog? If they ask for a service you don’t offer, don’t just say no. Inquire why they need that service.You, as the expert, can offer them a better alternative from what you offer that will fulfill their need. However, never try to sell any service until you understand the client’s motivation and needs and never argue with their reasoning. It is better to listen, acknowledge their concerns and then suggest a solution. In addition, never try to deceive or mislead a potential customer. Instead, look for the win-win solution to their needs. Never try to talk anyone into buying a service because if you do, they will cancel at the first opportunity. Be honest at all times. Your ethics, principles and honesty are your greatest assets as a business person and this will be recognized by those you do business with. Remember, much of the value in what you offer is trust and confidence. At the end of the day you are not going to successfully sell to everyone because not everyone wants or needs your services. By listening and quickly determining whether someone is a likely prospect you will increase your sales percentage and save yourself time and money. And don’t forget to look to current customers first for sales of new products and services. Selling new or upgraded products and services to existing customers is far more profitable than finding new ones. n


Tudge, N. (2016, May). Marketing for Service Practitioners. BARKS from the Guild (18) 58-59. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from, _the_guild_may_2016/58


Pet Dog Ambassador:

Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB – CDT is founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild,, The DogSmith,, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College,, and president of Doggone Safe, She has business degrees from Oxford Brookes University, UK and has achieved her DipABT and DipCBST. Recently, she has published People Training Skills for Pet Professionals – Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016




The Feline Connection

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

features Jane Ehrlich of Cattitude Feline Behavior in Phoenix, Arizona

ane Ehrlich started out by taking ethology courses from Dr. Michael Fox (the ‘granddaddy of us all' according to Prof. Nicholas Dodman at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University) at university in the 1970s and spent 18 years volunteering with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London, also UK while receiving mentorship, and then started her own business in her home town Phoenix, Arizona eight years ago. She has been engaged in cat behavior for over 28 years altogether, and is currently the only accredited cat behaviorist in the state of Arizona.

Jane Ehrlich with 16-year-old Grace

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

A: My three cats are all rescues. I am owned by an oriental the color of plywood, Grace, aged 16 and a gentle lady; Bouvier (named because she resembles Jackie Kennedy), aged seven and a self-possessed diva calico from feral parents; and Lottie, a mostly oriental tortoiseshell aged five, who has a good heart and loves sniffing other cats’ rear ends. Q: Why did you become a cat behaviorist?

A: I had to, simply had to. It was a combination of loving psychology and being entranced with cats' character and beauty.

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

Q: Who has most influenced your career and how? A: Dr. Michael Fox. n

Cattitude Feline Behavior is located in Phoenix, Arizona To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, complete this form:

A: I have never believed in aversives such as water spritzing or even raising one’s voice. Or scaring cats with coins in a can.

Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise? A: Aggression towards humans and other feline idiosyncrasies.

Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you? A: It's decency, for heaven's sake.

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: Connecting. When a cat ‘gets it’. When the owner ‘gets it’ and is overjoyed with a cat's ‘getting it’ and the owner loves her/his cat again. There’s nothing like it! 62

Registration NOW OPEN!

BARKS from the Guild/July 2016

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