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Photo: Jayne Crowther “Scout”

BARKS from the Guild

Issue No. 25 / July 2017

TRAINING The Many Uses of the Station

CANINE Business Options for the Summer FELINE Chronic Pain and Behavior

TRENDS Shelter Dogs and At Risk Teens EQUINE Training Calm Trailer Loading

PET CARE Keeping Group Play Sessions Safe CONSULTING Empathy in Practice

Adapting Good Training Practices

How to Communicate and Work More Effectively with Hearing and Visually Impaired Dogs

A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild


from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33545, USA Tel: +1-844-462-6473 Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson

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

The Guild Steering Committee Kelly Fahey, Paula Garber, Carole Husein, Rebekah King, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Claire Staines, Louise StapletonFrappell, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge, Sam Wike

BARKS from the Guild Published bi-monthly, BARKS from the Guild presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as well as reviews and news stories pertinent to our industry. BARKS is the official publication of the Pet Professional Guild.

Submissions BARKS encourages the submission of original written materials. Please contact the Editor-in-Chief for contributor guidelines prior to sending manuscripts or see: 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

n our previous issue, we featured the article Agility with a Difference, which explored the world of activities available for deaf dogs and the importance of body language in training and communicating with them. We expand on this in our cover story this month, which delves deeper into life with deaf, blind, hearing and visually impaired dogs, and focuses on how to better communicate with them using hand signals and/or touch, and how to help clients who come to class or call you for assistance with their dog. There are so many take-home messages in the article, but for me, some of the most important are: 1) Deaf dogs teach us how unimportant much of our verbalization is. 2) Blind dogs force us to be more consistent and precise with our language. 3) Deaf and blind dogs are often very unique in their needs and behaviors, so take each as they come. Aside from that, training a deaf, blind, hearing or visually impaired dog is a lot like training a regular dog, and our cover dog, Scout, (guardian Clare Ross), demonstrates exactly how amazing these dogs – like all dogs – can be when given an environment in which they can flourish. Elsewhere in this issue, we feature once again a number of community initiatives spearheaded by PPG members to spread the word about the wonders of force-free training, the risks of using aversive equipment, and promoting a better understanding of body language and emotions amongst local veterinary staff. If you are doing anything similar in your community, BARKS would love to feature your story, so please do drop us a line. I am happy to report that Milo the pig makes another guest appearance this issue in an article discussing the many uses of the station in animal training and husbandry. We also feature how one PPG Australia member is incorporating PPG’s Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) program into her business and leaving a host of happy dogs and owners in her wake. According to the author, PDA is the “best program available if you have a new training business and want to be able to surge ahead without spending time devising new courses,” so have a read and consider joining the burgeoning numbers of PDA instructors and assessors worldwide. It’s a savvy business move you won’t regret. In other canine-related articles, we look at possible “standards” for newly recognized cross breed dogs; stand-up paddle boarding for dogs as an option to augment your business this summer; standards for boarding and day care facilities to ensure safety during group play; TTouchTM as a means of reducing stress in a behavior modification plan; and an amazing community program that pairs shelter dogs with incarcerated teens at the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility, California, who, assisted by a team of volunteers, learn how to train them. Anyone who has ever lived with a cat will know that they are masters at hiding pain, and our feline feature this month hones in on how chronic pain can affect behavior, as well as the signs owners need to look out for so they can be more aware of issues as they come up. Our equine feature, meanwhile, discusses calm trailer loading, something that may be essential should an emergency ever arise, and we also have a host of articles on consulting, which cover the need for empathy in practice, staying safe, and the importance of “thinking slow” – even if it does require more energy. The issue rounds out with our member profile, book review, and business sections, the latter which includes articles on the importance of getting clients to commit to a package deal, and avoiding the very real issue of burnout. Thank you for reading, and contributors for contributing. Feedback is welcome, as always. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

n Susan Nilso



26 28 31 34 36 38 40 43 46 49 52 54 56 59 60 62


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Photo: Jayne Crowther “Scout”





36 46


Photo: Ewa Highland




Photo: Angelica Steinker


© Can Stock Photo Inc. /Elizabetalexa


Photo: Paphiakos Welfare & Shelter, Cyprus


NEWS PPGA, PDA, PPG Summits, Doggone Safe, new rescue resources, Be A Tree, social media, PPG Radio, webinars, Project Trade SUMMIT Everything you need to know for PPG’s 2017 Summit A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP Ewa Highland reports on the seminar she held recently to help educate her local veterinary staff about canine behavior DOG OWNERS APPRECIATIVE OF GEAR SWAP Kathy Reilly reports on initiatives she and colleagues have made in North Carolina to promote force-free training OPEN LETTER TO PET INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS PPG addresses the use of shock in animal training ADAPTING GOOD TRAINING PRACTICES Morag Heirs explains how owners and trainers can better understand hearing and visually impaired dogs ONE FOOT AT A TIME Lara Joseph looks into some of the many uses of a station READY-MADE TO BOOST YOUR BUSINESS Margaret Gray explains why adopting PPG’s Pet Dog Ambassador program is a savvy business move DEFINING TEMPERAMENT Anna Bradley conducts her own research into newly recognized cross breed dogs to look for possible “standards” DOGS ON THE WATER Sheelah Gullion discusses combining business with summer fun A POSITIVE IMPACT Pam Francis-Tuss explains how the ALPHA program, which pairs at risk teens with shelter dogs, came about PLAYING IT SAFE Lauri Bowen-Vaccare sets out guidelines so dog boarding and day cares can ensure dogs stay safe during group play sessions A HOLISTIC APPROACH Deirdre Chitwood takes a TTouch® approach to reducing stress as a means of addressing canine behavior problems PAIN UNDERLYING Dr. Lynn Bahr discusses the ability of cats to hide chronic pain, and the potential this has to cause behavior problems TEACHING TRAILER LOADING Kathie Gregory highlights ways of training horses to be calm, relaxed and confident about being loaded into a trailer COUNTERING EMOTIONAL DISTANCE Amanda Newell discusses empathy in practice, what it is and how to use it most effectively THINKING FAST,THINKING SLOW Angelica Steinker explains why it is important not to jump to quick conclusions in animal behavior consulting SELF-DEFENSE FOR PERSONAL SAFETY Daniel Antolec discusses how canine training and behavior professionals can best ensure they stay safe at private consults A MORE POSITIVE VISION Niki Tudge defines a constructive model for changing minds and behaviors while avoiding people burnout ASK THE EXPERTS: A PACKAGE DEAL Veronica Boutelle responds to business and marketing questions PROFILE: A DOGÊS INSPIRATION Featuring Jennifer Prill of SideKick Dog Training in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin BOOK REVIEW: A WORLD OF PLAY Breanna Norris reviews ‘Gamify Your Dog Training:Training Games for Group Instructions’ by Terry Ryan

Photo: John Bouma /Applause Your Paws



Spots Still Available at PPG Summit 2017


on't forget to secure your spot at PPG's 2017 summit,, in Orlando, Florida, taking place at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort on Thursday, November 16 to Monday, November 20, 2017. Download the official summit app as soon as you register for details on presenters, the daily schedule and much more. Three value package options are available: the Great Dane, the Golden Retriever and the Border Terrier, with the all-inclusive Great Dane offering an early bird special interest-free financing plan. PPG has negotiated competitive rates at the resort three days before, during, and three days after the event. Attendees can also schedule a one-onone in-person sit down with dog*tec business coaches. Special discounts are available for groups and Australian members! Email Rebekah King,, for details. The incredible line-up of speakers at the event includes: Dr. Karen Overall, Dr. Bob Bailey, Dr. Deborah Jones, Dr. Nathan Hall, Dr. Frank McMillan, Dr. Robert King, Dr. Sally Foote, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Dr. Ilana Reisner, Dr. Lynn Bahr, Janis Bradley, Pat Miller, Helen Phillips, Emily Larlham, Angelica Steinker,Veronica Boutelle, Sherry Woodard, Ken McCort, Terrie Hayward, Irith Bloom, Nancy Tucker, Jacqueline Munera, Jennifer Gailis, Gina Phairas and Tristan Flynn.

New Rescue Resources



n association with member Melanie McKeever, and at McKeever’s suggestion, PPG has released some new marketing collateral,, to help members working with rescue groups and shelters promote the force-free philosophy.You can order artwork from the PPG store and have your own logo printed on it. Material available includes an 8.5 x 11 flyer in black and white or color for home printing, as well as a postcard and a bookmark. Log in to the members area of the website and scroll down to "Rescue Handouts." Both canine and feline resources are available. (See also page 8).

PPG on Social Media


PG members are invited to join the PPG All about Cats Facebook page,, to learn more about cat behavior and ask questions on anything feline related. If you are working in equine behavior or wish to learn more about it, you are welcome to join the discussions in PPG All about Horses, PPG members are always welcome to join the general members page, PPG also has an active Twitter account and often tweets about new scientific research studies, plus blogs and videos that are of interest to pet professionals, in addition to its own news, blog posts, educational handouts and articles. Join us there @PetGuild,

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Become a Be A Tree Presenter


PG members are invited to join Doggone Safe and become a Be a Tree presenter to help educate communities, keep children and dogs safe, and prevent dog bites. The new look Be A Tree program features a streamlined logo, a revamped website, and an updated teacher kit for presenters to ensure a consistent and accurate delivery in a fun and engaging manner. At the time of going to press, PPG president Niki Tudge was preparing to address attendees at the Victoria Stilwell 2017 National Dog Bite Prevention and Behaviour Conference in London, UK on the topic of dog bite safety. We’ll report more on her presentation, PPG British Isles and Doggone Safe’s participation in the event in the September issue!

Present at PPG’s Sydney Summit


f you would like to present at PPG's Sydney, Australia summit taking place on July 27-29, 2018, applications are now open. Fill out the online form, -Applications, with all your details and suggested topic and a member from PPG Australia will get back to you in due course. “The PPGA Summit in Australia is putting science-based, positive reinforcement training firmly in the spotlight and providing a great opportunity to showcase the benefits of force-free training to a wider audience right here in Sydney,” said PPGA president, Barbara Hodel as she gears up for the challenge.

PPG Radio to Host Debates


PG Radio is planning to soon launch positive, productive and educational live debates with industry experts on an array of industry topics, such as jackpots and no reward markers. More details coming soon!

Kathy Sdao to Host UK Educational Event


o Pay and Lucy Bennett invite PPG members to a Weekend of Learning with Kathy Sdao,, on Saturday, 23 and Sunday, 24 September, 2017, at the Hallmark Hotel near Manchester Airport, England. Sdao (pictured, below) will be speaking about the fundamentals Kathy Sdao will of how animals learn. present on the fundamentals PPGBI will be in attendance of how animals sharing information and re- learn sources with the delegates about PPG, Pet Professional Accreditation Board, Pet Dog Ambassador and Project Trade.

New Web Series: Dog Life


PG member Drayton Michaels has a new web series debuting this summer. Titled Dog Life,, the series will be available on YouTube and will showcase force-free dog training and information on behavior. 6

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Project Trade Names March Ambassador


ongratulations once again to Anastasia Tsoulia of Hug4Pets,, in Thessaloniki, Greece, who has been named Project Trade Ambassador, March 2017 for swapping five prong collars. Congratulations too to Brandi Schoenthaler of Cornerstone Dog Training,, in Colorado, USA for swapping one shock collar, one prong collar, and one choke collar; Daniel Antolec of Happy Buddha DogTraining,, in Wisconsin, USA for swapping two shock collars; and Karen Phillips of Mutts Understood,

NEWS, in Texas, USA for swapping one shock collar. Project Trade,, is the Pet Professional Guild's 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). For more information on Project Trade, see also the ad on page 33.

Aversive training gear swapped under Project Trade by (left to right Brandi Schoenthaler, Daniel Antolec and Karen Phillips

Pet Dog Ambassador Announces Program Tweaks


et Dog Ambassador (PDA),, PPG's five-step credentialing program, has reported a successful first 12 months and has now tweaked the program at levels 1, 2 and 3 based on user feedback presented at PDA's annual program review. The changes took effect on May 1, 2017 and all supporting documents and guides will now reflect them. “When PDA was launched we knew refinements would need to be made based on feedback from those involved in the program,” said Debra Millikan, PPG steering committee member and

one of the brains behind PDA. “ We have combined comments from PDA instructors and assessors with the suggestions presented at PPG Summit 2016 and have refined a few things as a result. The changes made allow for a dog to have more choice in his comfort level (i.e. whether to sit, drop or stand) and we have also reduced some of the repetition in a few exercises. “PDA will constantly evolve as we learn more about our four-legged partners and we are keen for feedback that will allow us to improve the program further. Change will not happen for the sake of change, but if we find ways to enhance PDA we will do so for the benefit of all.”

Become a BARKS Contributor


f you would like to write for BARKS, either as a regular contributor, or have a one-off article you'd like to submit, please email the editor, Susan Nilson, Find back issues of BARKS and read any article, blog or press release, as well as a host of scientific studies/educational resources in the PPG Archive, BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



PPGA President Highlights Business Opportunities for Canine Professionals


ustralia is often referred to as the lucky country. However, this is not always the case for dogs! When I made Australia my home almost 20 years ago, I was in for a rather rude shock when we got our first rescue dog. Dogs were – and are still – not allowed on public transport, in shops and restaurants or, probably the most disappointing, on beaches. It is a bit easier outside the big cities to take your dog out and about with you, but even then, dogs are highly regulated and excluded from a lot of fun activities. Back in my native Switzerland, I regularly took our dog into the city of Bern by tram to go shopping. He also went to ski resorts, cafes and many other places, and he loved train rides. While I do understand that not everyone likes dogs, they are an integral part of many families. One of my goals for PPG Australia (PPGA) is to make Australia a more pet-friendly place, and some of the initiatives already successful in the United States might be just the way to do that. The Pet Dog Ambassador (PDA) program, for example, will provide leverage for us to negotiate with policy makers for more dog-friendly venues. A dog and owner who hold the PDA credentials have already demonstrated responsible dog ownership and how to behave in real-life situations, and this should surely be taken into consideration when it comes to accessing public places. (For more on PDA, see also pages 28-30). A lot of dog owners these days know that a puppy needs to be socialized with other people and puppies, ideally in a puppy preschool where owners can learn about normal puppy behavior and to set them up for success in training the new family member. However, people are not always prepared for the challenges of an adolescent dog. With this in mind, we started our “Australian-made” webinar series with the topic, Living with a Teenage Dog. Coping with an over-the-top adolescent is not easy and some dog owners – and even professional trainers – may find themselves at a loss as to how to deal with them. However, once Get all the most we recognize it is a stage dogs have go through to reach the staadvanced, bility of adult life, it becomes much easier. science-based It also helps to understand that the adolescent dog’s brain is still under construction, so to speak. Despite the challenges, it is pet care and important to stay positive and give dogs this age an outlet for training advice their energy while, at the same time, teaching alternative, more you will ever appropriate coping skills. It is also important to make sure they need to make do not become “unemployed” and then upgrade themselves to sure this is a “self-employed,” meaning that they spend more and more time in match made in the backyard, barking at everything that moves, eating the pool lights and digging up the lawn. Rather, giving them a job via taking heaven! up a dog sport, or using some of their food for environmental enrichment when they are left home alone, can make a huge difference to their physical and mental well-being, and also reduces the stress levels of the owners. As such, there is a great opportunity for trainers to offer programs specifically designed for adolescent dogs. Considering that The Pet Professional Guild is adolescence is one of the prime times when dogs end up in resthe only professional pet cues and pounds, it is an excellent business opportunity. I am industry member association based on the Northern Beaches, Sydney and most trainers in my that advocates exclusively area offer puppy preschool programs.Very few, however, have defor force-free training and veloped adolescent dog programs to retain their puppy clients. If cat care we were then to add fun activities, such as agility and Rally O, we will be giving our clients even more reason to choose our business over others.

Now That You Have Your New Family Member at Home

Contact Your Pet Professional Guild Member Today!

- Barbara Hodel MA MBA DipCBST Cert IV CAS President, PPG Australia


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

A selection of PPG’s new artwork for members associated with shelters and animal rescue (see also page 5)


PPG World Service Radio Show Schedule


he PPG Radio Show,, takes place on the first Sunday of every month at noon (ET) and there are usually extra shows too. There is always an incredible line-up of guests and the show is educational and fun. Here is the current schedule (note: subject to change):

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Guest: Janis Bradley Topic: In defense of anthropomorphism: When is a dog like a person? And, are we creating helicopter pet parents? Studies with implications for the unintended consequence of hypervigilance. Register to listen live: Sunday, August 6, 2017 - Noon (EDT) Guest: Pat Miller Topic: Canine cognition and ethical dilemmas. Register to listen live:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Guest: Dr. Ilana Reisner Topic: Dog Bites and Children. A Behavioral Perspective Register to listen live:

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

Submit a question for any of the guests here: /form/m37XVZeJ2cL3p0e7lD

Earn Your CEUs via PPG’s Webinars , Workshops and Educational Summits! Webinars (cont’d.)

Webinars Training Meister Master - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 4/5 with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Saturday, July 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) A Brief History of Corporal Punishment with Jean Donaldson Wednesday, July 05, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Positive Veterinary Visits with Dr. Amy Pike Sunday, July 16, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Feline Foraging Toys: How to Implement, Motivate, and Stage the Difficulty Level with Ingrid Johnson Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Training Meister Master The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 5/5 with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Beware of the Dog! with Pat Miller Friday, August 18, 2017 - 1 p.m. (EDT) Managing Large Off-Leash Play Groups with Tristan Flynn Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 1 p.m. (EDT)

Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills with Niki Tudge Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - Noon (EDT)

Live Events

PPG Summit 2017 (Orlando, Florida) Thursday, November 16, 2017 - Noon (EST) Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1:30 p.m. (EST) PPG Weekend Workshop S.A.N.E. Solutions for Shy and Fearful Dogs® with Kathy Cascade (Tampa, Florida) Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 9 a.m. (EST) Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 4 p.m. (EST) PPG Training and Behavior Analysis Workshop 2018 (Kanab, Utah) Sunday, April 22, 2018 - Noon (MDT) Wednesday, April 26, 2018 - 5 p.m. (MDT) PPG Australia Summit 2018 (Sydney, New South Wales) Friday, July 27, 2018 - Time TBC Sunday, July 29, 2018 - Time TBC

• Details of all upcoming webinars: Note: A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars. • Details of this month’s discounted webinars: • Details of all upcoming workshops: • Details of all upcoming summits: BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A Closer Relationship

Ewa Highland reports on how she is helping her local veterinary staff learn about canine


behavior and body language in a move to make vet visits less stressful

fter many years of going to the same veterinary clinic in West Sussex, U.K., which employs around five veterinarians and probably as many nurses, the resident staff decided that they wanted to find out just exactly what I do with my dogs to get them to such a state of happiness every time they enter the clinic doors. The idea was thus borne for me to conduct a seminar for the staff to help them better understand canine (and indeed other pets) emotions and behavior, and to help relieve the fear, anxiety and stress that many pets (not to mention their owners) experience when going to the vet. The seminar was attended by three veterinarians and three technicians who came prepared with plenty of questions. From my side, I had a plan for what I wanted to get across to them in the 90 minutes I had been given.


One of the first topics I wanted to cover was the importance of counterconditioning. The staff are there, from that very first vet visit when a young animal still has all the trust in the world and does not fear novelty, throughout his whole life. The vets have, in general, 15 minutes with each patient. In that time they are supposed to talk to the owners, handle and treat the animal, and also complete their notes. It is very little time. Counterconditioning is therefore absolutely key, in my opinion. There is no time for systematic desensitization with positive reinforcement, except perhaps on very rare occasions. What can be done though is to always, always give the patient treats after -- and possibly also during -- the consult. If the pet does not take treats under the circumstances, they can be sent with the owner to give him on the way out, but before they actually leave the premises. Hopefully, over time, the pet will be able to take a treat in the treatment room if the procedure is repeated often enough. In relation to counterconditioning, we talked about how we can change a negative emotional state to a positive one, and therefore it is not an issue to give a treat even to a biting dog or cat. Some of the veterinarians thought this was a little strange so I explained it further. We discussed classical and operant conditioning and how we, in this situation, are dealing mainly with classical conditioning. They all agreed in the end that we are not actually reinforcing a specific biting behavior, but are instead changing the consequences for the animal regarding vet visits and, therefore, the distant setting events (distant antecedents) for future visits.

„Alpha Dog‰?

Another topic we covered was the so-called alpha dog model. I explained that dogs generally roam around in various constellations if they are free to do so. One day they might be with a few 12

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Ewa Highland (standing, back right) is helping her local veterinary clinic make vet visits less stressful for pets, owners and the vet staff themselves

other dogs, another day they might be alone. It is not only one dog doing the mating. And, of course, dogs are not wolves. My audience all agreed to that. We also agreed we could lay that old, outdated theory to one side and work instead with the setting events (antecedents) and consequences. Different Approaches We also talked about the various approaches, such as medical, behavioral and ethological, one can take when handling an animal. For example, how important it is to incorporate not only a medical approach into the welfare of animals suffering from chronic illness, but also to take a behavioral and ethological perspective. If vets could involve a behavior consultant early on, before an illness has taken hold, any side effects from cage rest, daily medication and physical therapy treatments could be minimized, or at least reduced. As a behavior consultant, I have seen so many cases of young animals who have developed quite severe behavior issues from long-term cage rest, especially if it has happened during the important socialization period.


As my talk progressed, I raised the issue of labeling. Examples might be “the cone of shame” or “this dog is aggressive.” The “cone of shame” is, of course, the buster collar. If a veterinarian gives it such a label, a new owner might easily believe it is something the dog will feel “ashamed” about. Anthropomorphism aside, this may lead to a well-meaning owner taking off the collar so wounds take longer to heal and the animal suffers for longer. I discussed the issue of calling the collar by its real name and how vets could educate owners about counterconditioning it into something the dog actually enjoys wearing. In the case of “this


dog is aggressive,” I explained that, if vet staff can describe what the dog is actually doing and then try to think of a way to prevent it from happening, it is likely to be more helpful for everyone involved. On the same topic, we also discussed how cats and their owners can be helped by relinquishing the labels cats are often saddled with. For example, “cats can’t be trained,” “cats do what they want,” “cats are aloof” and similar. We have all heard them. I suggested vets and vet staff could advise cat owners to give their cat a highly desirable food item in their travel crate from when they are very young. They could also advise them to take their new kitten out on car journeys and give him fish, or something else he loves, in the crate in the car. Another useful practice is to take the kitten to visit the vet technicians for no particular reason, and countercondition everything with something very tasty. Practice touching the cat’s mouth and reward with treats, building up to opening the mouth. Always countercondition with yummy treats. Touch paws, eat treats, touch ears, eat treats, etc. This all helps build towards a less traumatic experience at the vet clinic than many cats (not to mention their owners, and the vets themselves) currently endure.

Socialization and Vaccination

There are far more dogs being euthanized due to behavioral issues than dogs dying of illness. I have always taken my puppies out to see other dogs that I know are vaccinated, and into town -- but not to dog parks or pet stores -- from the age of 9 weeks, i.e. one week after the first vaccination. I wanted to raise this point because vets telling people to keep their puppies in the yard and not socializing them at all with other dogs when they are very young is, in my opinion, one of the biggest threats to getting well-adjusted, secure and happy dogs (and owners).

How to Proceed?

We also talked about airing short videos on the waiting room television screen. Rather than being set to CNN or home improvement channels as they often are, the medium could instead be used to convey information about behavior and training in relation to veterinary care. Topics might include how to countercondition the buster collar and a muzzle, and what owners can do at home in order to prepare their pet for handling at the vet. Overall, the seminar was a very positive experience for everybody involved and it provoked great discussions and questions. I have provided the practice with a list of options for further education, including PPG, and put together a reference list of useful articles for them. In my opinion, a closer relationship between behavior consult- Source: PPG Veterinarian Trifold ©Pet Professional Guild ants and their local veterinarians is beneficial for every- Download the full trifold from the members’ area of the PPG website: one involved, especially the animals. n BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Dog Owners Appreciative of Gear Swap

Kathy Reilly, president of the Force-Free Alliance of Charlotte Trainers, reports on initiatives


she and colleagues have made in North Carolina to promote force-free training

ince a group of professional dog trainers, including myself, got together to form Force-Free Alliance of Charlotte Trainers (FACT) three years ago, force-free training is getting more and more attention in North Carolina. FACT currently comprises 19 trainers, each with their own dog-related business. Our goal is to promote force-free training in Charlotte, where shock collar franchises, unfortunately, have a stronghold. For the most part, we support each other and share clients so all of us can focus on our individual training strengths. We also get together twice annually for a weekend of fun and learning, and we like to participate in two or three local events every year by setting up a booth and handing out force-free training tips. In April, we participated in Pet Palooza, a local event which was sponsored by the Charlotte Humane Society. For this year’s Pet Palooza, we wanted to do more than usual, so we held raffles for snuffle mats and interactive toys, and set up a play yard with fun toys for the dogs to enjoy. In order to attract people to our booth and really begin to change their minds about aversive training devices, however, we planned a trade-in program. Much like PPG’s gear switch program, Project Trade,, we offered free harnesses to anyone that would trade in their shock, prong, or choke collar. The result was amazing. We had purchased 15 Freedom Harnesses in advance, and had given them all away just three hours into the event. Our booth was always packed with people and dogs. If a dog passed our booth wearing a shock, prong or choke collar, we would approach (with harness in hand) and ask if the owner

Jill Bietel (left) fits a dog with his new harness


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

At the Pet Palooza in Charlotte, North Carolina, the ForceFree Alliance of Charlotte Trainers offered a trade-in program for aversive training equipment

The Force-Free Alliance of Charlotte Trainers gave pet owners free harnesses if they agreed to switch their choke, prong and shock collars

ADVOCACY The professional trainers who offered free harnesses reported dog owners who surrendered their aversive training gear shared a sense of relief and gratitude

Jill Bietel demonstrates food toys and options for mental enrichment

would like a free harness. Our approach was: “We would love to show you how this harness works and give it to you for free. All we ask is that, if you like the harness, you give us the collar your dog is currently wearing.” Only one or two people refused to trade. The rest were so happy to be shown a different way to walk their dog. Several people even hugged us in gratitude. What an amazing feeling! This turnout inspired us and we cannot wait to do more events. Pet Palooza left us energized to continue getting the word out about force-free training. This year, FACT is also sponsoring renowned trainer and behavior expert, Debbie Jacobs, to come and speak to trainers, owners, rescues, vets and staff in Charlotte

about working with fearful dogs. Over 70 people have already signed up for the event. We plan to sponsor more speakers in the future and are excited to help PPG spread the word that dogs do not need to be hurt or “dominated” in order to learn new behaviors. n

Resources Force Free Alliance of Charlotte Trainers: Project Trade: /Project-Trade

Terri McCree relieves this happy pup of her choke chain and replaces it with a brand new harness

Angie Epling adds two more swapped collars into the bucket

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



An Open Letter to Pet Industry Representatives Regarding the Use of Shock in Animal Training


A pet repeatedly subjected to electric shock, may go into a state of “shut down,” states

PPG in its open letter to industry associations (Part Two of three)

he consequences of using shock can be profound. Pets are cognitive, intelligent creatures that experience emotions such as fear, anxiety, and joy. They are subject to the same laws of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) as any other living organism. According to psychology professor, Dr. Susan Friedman, who has pioneered the application of ABA to captive and companion animals: “Punishment doesn’t teach learners what to do instead of the problem behavior. Punishment doesn’t teach care givers how to teach alternative behaviors. Punishment is really two aversive events – the onset of a punishing stimulus and the forfeiture of the reinforcer that has maintained the problem behavior in the past.” (Friedman, 2010). Especially troubling for pet professionals is the notion that punishment requires an increase in the intensity of the aversive stimulus for it to have any have any hope of maintaining behavior reduction. Forcing dogs to comply to avoid being shocked does not enhance the canine-human relationship, nor does it create an environment where healthy learning can take place. Some common problems resulting from the use of electronic stimulation devices include, but are not limited to:

“...electronic stimulation regularly causes physiological pain and psychological stress, often exhibited by vocalization, urination, defecation, fleeing, or complete shut-down. In extreme cases, electronic stimulation devices have also been known to cause muscle contraction and respiratory and cardiac paralysis.” - Dr. Karen Overall

vices have also been known to cause muscle contraction and respiratory and cardiac paralysis (Overall, 2013).

Global Suppression or „Shut-Down‰

A pet repeatedly subjected to aversive stimulation may go into a Even at the lowest setting, electronic stimulation devices present state of “shut down,” or a global suppression of behavior. This is frequently mistaken for a “trained” pet, as the pet remains suban unknown stimulus to pets which is, at best, neutral and, at dued and offers few, or no behaviors. In extreme cases, pets may worse, frightening and/or painful. In many instances the shock is refuse to perform any behavior at all, known as “learned helpcompletely unpredictable for the pet, who does not know when or why it is coming. This can only add to overall levels of fear and lessness.” In such cases, pets may try to isolate themselves to stress. Pets conform under the shock stimulus in order to escape avoid incurring the aversive stimulation. This is evidently counterproductive to training new, more acceptable or avoid the terrifying and/or painful electric “A pet repeatedly subjected to behaviors (O’Heare, 2011). shock. Avoidance learning is very real and the threat of pain is just as capable of induc- aversive stimulation may go into Generalization ing stress, fear and emotional damage as the a state of ‘shut down,’ or a pain itself. By definition this makes the stim- global suppression of behavior. For new, more appropriate behaviors to beulus aversive. (Note: Aversive means something This is frequently mistaken for a come reliable in random environments, they unpleasant or frightening that the pet seeks to ‘trained’ pet, as the pet remains must be accessed, reinforced and then pracavoid or escape, as opposed to a pleasant stimticed so a pet is able to transfer them to any subdued and offers few, or no ulus that a pet seeks out voluntarily.) In addicontext or situation (known as “generalizabehaviors. In extreme cases, tion”). When using shock to train or manage a tion, electronic stimulation regularly causes pets may refuse to perform physiological pain and psychological stress, pet, the pet must be repeatedly subjected to any behavior at all, known often exhibited by vocalization, urination, the aversive stimulus for the behavior to apas ‘learned helplessness.’ ” defecation, fleeing, or complete shut-down. pear resolved, when it is, in fact, only sup(O’Heare, 2011) In extreme cases, electronic stimulation depressed. In such cases, the pet still has not

Infliction of Stress and Pain


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017


If a change in behavior is not seen immediately, users of aversive tools and those inexperienced in behavior fallout often opt to increase the frequency, duration or intensity of the application. Unfortunately, this can only result in the pet attempting to escape or avoid the stimulus with even greater intensity, thus often compounding or exaggerating the problem behavior for which the shock was applied to resolve. This creates a counterproductive paradigm whereby the pet simply learns to fear the stimulus, the context, and/or the person delivering it. In addition, some pets tend to be “stoic” and may fail to show any kind of fear response, irrespective of increased levels of anxiety or frustration. There is also the risk that pets may become habituated to the sense of fear or anxiety, once again causing the trainer or owner to increase the level and/or frequency of the aversive stimulus. It has been scientifically proven that fear and stress caused in such situations can have a significant effect on a pet's well-being due to increasing cortisol levels and heart rate, not to mention the psychological impact (O’Heare, 2005).

Redirected Aggression

Pets subjected to repeated aversive stimulation may be respondently conditioned to associate the fear and/or pain with certain contextual cues in their environment. As an example, using an aversive sound such as an air horn to interrupt barking risks pairing the owner or trainer with the unpleasant stimulus and, in particular, the hand or arm that is reaching out while using the tool. Repeated instances may generalize to the pet attempting to flee. If the pet feels, however, that flight is not possible or a safe or reliable course of action, he may instead start acting aggressively toward any arm or hand movement, or any approach behavior whatsoever. O’Heare (2007) discusses that “shock can create significant levels of frustration and reduce the dog’s bite threshold.” O’Heare cites a study by Polsky (2000) where data implies that electric shock containment fencing elicits redirected aggression in dogs with no aggressive history.

Suppressed Aggression

the only ethical and effective paradigms in which to treat aggression in pets. Protocols such as these help positively impact the pet’s emotional state from one of fear and/or anxiety to one that is more happy and relaxed, and thus able to learn new behaviors. n

An animal in a state of shutdown is frequently mistaken as being “trained” because he remains subdued and offers few or no behaviors

Part Three of this three-part article will be published in the September issue of BARKS from the Guild

References & Resources

© Can Stock Photo/adogslifephoto

learned a more appropriate alternative behavior. In addition, as the pet is most likely still experiencing a negative emotional state, such as fear or anxiety, he is susceptible to even more problematic behavior fallout.


Friedman, S. (2010, March). What’s Wrong with This Picture? Effectiveness Is Not Enough. APDT Journal. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from O’Heare, J. (2011). Empowerment Training. Ottawa, ON: BehaveTech Publishing. O’Heare, J. (2007). Aggressive Behavior in Dogs. Ottawa, ON: BehaveTech Publishing. O’Heare, J. (2005). Canine Neuropsychology. Ottawa, ON: DogPsych Publishing. O’Heare, J. (2014). The least intrusive effective behavior intervention (LIEBI) algorithm and levels of intrusiveness table: a proposed best practices model.Version 6.0. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from Overall, K.L. (2013). Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders. Overall, K.L. (2005). An open letter from Dr. Karen Overall regarding the use of shock collars. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Guiding Principles. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Position Statement on the Use of Shock in Animal Training. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from Polsky, R. (2010). Can Aggression in Dogs Be Elicited Through the Use of Electronic Pet Containment Systems? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (3) 4 345-357. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from Ziv, G. (2017). The Effects of Using Aversive Training Methods in Dogs – A Review. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research (19) 50-60. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from

The use of aversive stimuli is counterindicated in pets with aggression. This is because the behavior may only be suppressed rather than extinguished, and may thus resurface at any time without warning, generally in a more severe display. Using aversive stimuli to reduce behaviors, such as barking, lunging and growling may suppress signals that warn of a more serious, and potentially imminent behavior, such as biting. Without ritualized aggression behaviors, people and other pets will receive no warning before the pet subjected to punishment feels forced to resort to biting. PPG holds that desensitization and counterconditioning are To read PPG’s full Open Letter to Pet Industry Representatives Regarding the Use of Shock in Animal Training, see BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Like all dogs, deaf dogs are adept at following hand signals, and are more than capable of participating in a range of dog sports; here, Tovin demonstrates super Flyball skills


Adapting Good Training Practices

Morag Heirs explains how owners and trainers can better understand hearing and visually impaired dogs, and how to work with them more effectively

© Can Stock Photo/alexandragl

eadlines such as: “Deaf dog learns sign language while waiting for an extra special home” and similar are often seen on social media sites run by canine rescue organizations. There are now a number of specialist deaf and blind dog rescue groups in both the U.K. and the U.S., and today’s breeders will frequently promote their deaf or visually impaired pups rather than hide them away. This reflects something of a change from past practice and, as a result, more new dog owners are learning how to work with deaf or blind dogs, and trainers are more likely to have these dogs join their regular classes. How do you know if a dog is deaf? Let us start with the basics. Deaf dogs can be deaf in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral), and may be partially or completely deaf. The most common cause of deafness is congenital, meaning the dog will have been deaf since puppyhood, but plenty of people adopt pups without realizing their new dog is deaf.


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Unilateral deafness can be difficult to detect because dogs, just like people, will compensate and learn to cope without the additional input. Even completely deaf dogs can fool their owners by taking cues from other hearing dogs. For example, one training client came to me for help with her dog. She had only discovered her 4-year-old collie was totally deaf when her older hearing collie passed, and suddenly the younger dog was no longer aware that meals were being prepared. If you are not sure how deaf your dog is, then check out the options for a brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test in your local area. This is really the only way to find out exactly how much hearing the dog has. Dropping things to see if your dog reacts, clicking your fingers behind his head and other informal “tests” can sometimes flag up if your dog might be hearing impaired. But remember that dogs do not just perceive noise through their ears. They will also pick up on vibration through their body and paws, notice small peripheral movements and so on.

Why Are Some Dogs Deaf?

The most common type of deafness in dogs is congenital (meaning the dog is deaf from birth) and inherited. This is linked to pigmentation genes – specifically the recessive piebald gene or the dominant merle gene. It is worth noting that deafness is also commonly observed in Dobermans (alongside vestibular dysfunction – head tilt, circling and ataxia), pointers and pulis despite these breeds not carrying merle or piebald coloring genes. Although pigmentation is clearly important, researchers do not yet


fully understand the genetics or heritability of deafness in dogs. For the moment, that means that neither unilateral nor bilaterally deaf dogs should be used in breeding programs, and any breeding that produces deaf pups should not be repeated. Most hereditary deafness is the result of degeneration in the inner ear structures (slight differences between merle and piebald genes) with the unpigmented cells in the inner ear not developing the fine hairs required for hearing.

Is Deafness Breed Specific?

Other Causes of Deafness

Conduction deafness occurs when something blocks the transmission of sound from the outer or middle ear to the inner ear. Repeated ear infections, polyps, otosclerosis or conditions like “glue ear” (primary secretory otitis media) can all damage or cause blockages to these areas resulting in deafness. There continues to be a tension between a breeder’s desire to avoid producing deaf pups versus some of the breed standards which will inevitably increase deafness (e.g. Dalmatians) and buyer preferences for coat markings such as flashy harlequin in great Danes (linked to increased deafness).


hat sign should I use for “no?” My deaf dog doesn’t seem to understand it. Honestly, don’t bother! The thing is, the word “no” does not mean much to most dogs and since we want your deaf dog to love watching your hands for information, we want to keep that all super positive. Personally, I teach a “quit doing that and come over here” sign (one hand held parallel to the ground and moved from side to side) but it is done with a neutral face, and I immediately give the dog something better to do.

Is Deafness Breed Specific?

Dalmatians and bull terriers (or English bull terriers) are the breeds you are most likely to think of when someone mentions they have a deaf dog. There seems to be a preponderance in breeds who may have merle, white or piebald coat coloring genes in their make-up. Here in the U.K., through the Deaf Dog Network and our rescue contacts, we are seeing increasing numbers of Staffordshire bull terriers and American bull dogs who are deaf, but we do not have national figures for these breeds. The table (top right) summarizes the data currently available for specific breeds but bear in mind this will vary between countries and the data may not be reliable. We lack good data for other breeds, including great Danes, and in other countries. The numbers are also skewed because, for some breeds, euthanasia of any deaf pups has been the first choice for many years.

Visual Impairment or Blindness

Blindness in dogs comes in several forms and varies in severity. Just like with deafness, it can be unilateral (one eye affected) or bilateral (both eyes affected). Also, as with deafness, the most common cause of blindness or visual impairment is inherited genetic conditions. Some of these have been closely linked to specific breeds (see table on page 20). Congenital abnormalities of the eyeball or its surrounding tissue are generally evident shortly after a puppy's birth, but may develop within the first six to eight

Data excerpted from Breed-Specific Deafness Prevalence in Dogs (percent) (Strain, 2015).

weeks of life. Ocular abnormalities can also develop spontaneously or occur in utero. Exposure to toxic compounds, lack of nutrients, and systemic infections and inflammations during pregnancy (such as panleukopenia) are other potential risk factors for visual impairment. Trauma to the eye caused by injury or associated with a condition like diabetes can also cause blindness.

How Is Blindness Diagnosed?

Your vet can give your dog a preliminary exam and, if necessary, recommend a veterinary ophthalmologist who will perform a complete exam, during which they will look closely at a dog’s retina and the outer parts of his eye. Knowing how much sight your dog has will help you decide on the best way to train (is it worth using hand signals at all?), and you can decide which canine activities are worth pursuing too.Vision impaired dogs can certainly do agility, but if a dog has very poor vision you might want to consider a different sport if you plan to compete.


Microphthalmia is a common cause of blindness and is reported to affect over 25 different breeds. The condition may be associated with other minor or major eye abnormalities. Where the


BAER Testing

rainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) tests are sometimes done under anesthetic but many centers are increasingly happy to test calm dogs without sedation.Veterinary hospitals and specialist centers are more likely to offer the test than a standard veterinary practice. Scalp electrodes are used to record brain activity when standard noises are played to your dog. The recorded activity levels help the veterinarian determine if a dog is partially or fully deaf in one or both ears. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017


Deaf part-blind dog Bronte’s microphthalmia is visible here

changes are mild, there is usually no visual impairment. With moderate microphthalmia, the eyeball fills about half of the opening. About 50 percent of pups born this way will be blind. Where the defect is severe, all of the pups will be blind. In general, microphthalmia is evident as soon as a pup's eyes open. Pups with microphthalmia with cataracts will usually have some visual impairment. The cataracts may be progressive resulting in a worsening of vision, or they may mature and be reabsorbed, resulting in improved vision. This is unpredictable. In the process of resorption, liquefied lens material may leak into the eye causing inflammation.

Deaf and Blind Dogs (Bilateral or Partial)

7-year-old deafblind Sheltie, Treasure

needed a high level of management, very structured and predictable environments and have responded to change or stress with high levels of anxiety and repetitive behaviors, including selfharming. As always, expert help early on is absolutely essential and training plans must be informed by the individual dog’s behavior rather than general expectations. We need to collect much more information about how to help these dogs fulfil their potential.

Old Age - Vision and Hearing

Just as with humans, dogs may experience loss of sight and hearing with age due to natural changes and progressive diseases such as cataracts, retinal degeneration and glaucoma. It is worth asking your vet to double check the vision and hearing in your older dog so that you are ready to introduce touches or hand signals before deafness or blindness really set in. Older dogs may also suffer from canine dementia (canine

These dogs are most often the result of merle to merle matings resulting in homozygous merles (carrying two copies of the merle gene). Such dogs generally have a degree of hearing impairment and also limited sight due to microphthalmia or other eye defects Breed Specific Inherited (eccentric or starburst pupils, corectopia or subluxated pupil. They may be partially vision and hearing im) paired or completely deaf-blind. The degree to which such dogs cope with “normal” life varies hugely, and it is often difficult to tell whether a deaf-blind dog is struggling to cope specifically because of his disabilities. There are several deaf-blind ambassador dogs promoted on social media, and it is well worth checking out the White Dog Blog by Debbie Bauer. In the interest of transparency, I should say that my personal experience has sadly been less positive than Bauer’s. The completely deaf-blind collies I have known or worked with have all 20

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Photo: Deb Bauer


Conditions that Affect Vision

cognitive dysfunction) with changes to their sleep-wake cycles and disorientation being common symptoms. Late onset deafness and blindness can cause similar behaviors though, so check whether your older dog needs extra support to adjust or if he might benefit from cognitive function supplement. We can do much to support our older dogs, and the more we know about the changes in their bodies and brains, the easier it will be to help them. One might wonder whether deaf and/or blind dogs are different from “normal” dogs so here is a quick summary of the behavioral differences from a recent survey in the U.S. The take-home messages include that owners of hearing and/or vision impaired dogs are more likely to engage in formal training and to use hand gestures or physical prompts. There were no differences in repetitive behaviors other than licking (so no more chance of fixating, tail chasing, shadow chasing), and the authors reported no breed, age or gender differences (Farmer-Dougan, Quick, Harper, Schmidt & Campbell, 2014). Really, then, deaf, blind and hearing or vision impaired dogs are not as different from “normal” dogs as some of the popular myths might suggest. Most importantly, they are less likely to show any kind of aggression. This matters because for a number of years deaf dogs in particular have been labelled as more likely to be aggressive, especially when startled or woken. This was often used as an excuse/reason to recommend euthanasia, but as


Behavioral Differences in Deaf/Blind Dogs

Source: Farmer-Dougan, Quick, Harper, Schmidt & Campbell, 2014

we can see, the data just does not support these claims.

What you really need to know about living with and training a deaf or blind dog: • Deaf dogs teach us how unimportant much of our verbalization is. • Blind dogs force us to be more consistent and precise with our language.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017




How Many Dogs Are Deaf, Blind or Both?

he data is fairly patchy on how many dogs have these kind of impairments. In the U.S., surveys suggest that between 5-10 percent of dogs have low or no hearing but there is no comparable data for the U.K. There is little published data on visual impairments in dogs, and it is often difficult to separate out age-related changes and degeneration. Today, deaf or visually impaired pups are now more likely to be offered for rehoming rather than immediately euthanized, so we would expect to see an increase in numbers.

• Deaf and blind dogs are often very unique in their needs and behaviors, so take each as they come. Beyond these statements, here are the absolute essentials when it comes to training one of these special dogs – you might notice that this starts to look and sound a lot like training a regular dog. • Your dog needs to learn that being touched is a good thing – this is important to reduce the startle response that we see in many deaf dogs. Touch is an important form of communication for deaf or blind dogs, so we need this to be a positive experience. – This is easy to teach by making sure whenever you touch your dog that you also offer a tasty treat, so touch = treat. If your dog tends to startle when waking, try using a gentle shoulder stroke and/or a strong smelling piece of food under their nose. • You need to know your dog will actively choose to pay attention to you – we often refer to this as the check-in, where your dog knows to look or listen out for you regularly rather than bumbling along and assuming you will call or tap him. – You can start teaching this at home by carrying a portion of your dog’s daily meal in your pocket, and tossing a piece any time you see him looking over at you or coming to find you. • All dogs need to understand when to stop and settle down – with deaf or blind dogs it can be harder for them to interpret the signals when a person or dog has had enough, so we might need to step in and help them settle quietly. – Teaching a mat settle (using a lure to start with) will really help with this, and having a trailing house line to grab as needed makes interrupting over excited play or greetings more easily. Do not expect other hearing or seeing dogs to have to teach your dog everything. That is our job. You can find out more about how to teach each of these skills in the resources listed at the end of this piece. They are all quite straightforward and will not take very long to master. Force-free training makes even more sense for deaf and/or blind dogs because they are going to be so reliant on your hands and/or voice for communication. We absolutely cannot risk a dog being worried about our hands, avoiding looking at our signs or moving away from the sound of our voice. You will want to pick some clear signs (deaf dog), specific phrases (blind dog) or body touches (deaf-blind dog) to use so the dog can tell the difference between a generic “good boy” and a specific “that-was-amazing” marker. 22

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Deaf-blind Beano: chest stroke to teach down part 1

Deaf-blind Beano: chest stroke to teach down part 2

Deaf-blind Beano: using lure plus hand touch to teach sit


With the right communication and training, deaf, blind and deaf-blind dogs can participate in many different activities


o I need to put different scents in my rooms or doorways for my blind dog? The quick and simple answer here is no. The most helpful thing you can do for a dog born with visual impairment or who is losing his sight is to stop moving things around. No more reorganizing your furniture! Blind dogs usually do very well at learning the layout of their environment, and you can easily pad any particularly sharp corners or edges. Putting scents around the place will just create a mess of smells that circulate throughout your house.

Good Boy/Girl Praise: This tells the dog you are happy with him, and is a good thing to share with people who want to meet and interact with him. • For a deaf dog this might be a simple thumbs up. • For a blind dog just the phrase “good dog.” • For a deaf-blind dog you might use gentle petting or stroking. Marker Signal or Clicker Sign: This tells your dog that what he just did was amazing and goodies are on their way. This is really useful in training and also means you can keep it precise and special. • For a deaf dog this might be hand-flash sign, or sometimes a pen flashlight flash. • For a blind dog you can use a regular clicker. • For a deaf-blind dog you might use a specific tap on the shoulder or another part of their body. As for choosing signs and words or touches – it is really whatever works best for you. There is no standard dictionary for

dogs but do think about whether you plan to compete in a dog sport when choosing your signs or cues. For example, obedience has specific standard hand signals that you might want to use if that is your ultimate aim. Personally, I started out using the American Sign Language for my first deaf dog because it had excellent online video resources. Over time I have adapted many of the signals because having multiple dogs on leash means I rarely have two hands free to sign with. Plus, having a deaf-partially sighted dog makes me think more about the sign needing to be in her field of vision and simple to see. With blind dogs, your verbal cues will need to be very distinctive and clear. Do not risk blurring things by using “sitdown” (meaning your dog sits) alongside “down” (your dog lies down). This can easily cause confusion when your blind or visually impaired dog cannot see your body language. Is this not starting to sound like regular dog training? Blind and deaf-blind dogs will really benefit from learning a step-up or step-down cue to help them navigate any environment. Blind dogs can learn the verbal cues, and we often use a chest tap or chin tap with the deaf-blind dogs.

Essential Equipment

Here is a list of the key things you will definitely need for your deaf, blind or deaf-blind dog: • Secure collar that cannot slip, with ID tags including disability information. • Suitable harness depending on whether your dog is a strong puller or not. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017




’ve heard it’s a bad idea to use LED penlights or flashlights with deaf or partially sighted dogs, so what should I do? You should never shine any light directly into your dog’s eyes for safety reasons, and it is not a good idea to use pen lights as toys. Some deaf and/or partially-sighted dogs may be overly excited by moving lights and prone to chasing them, which can end up as a repetitive behavior – something we want to avoid. But provided your dog is not overly excited by the light and you use it carefully, small pen lights can be effective clicker substitutes and allow you to mark behaviors when your dog is not looking directly at you. These are definitely tools I would consider using, and it is easy to make your own safe light “flicker” with a ping pong ball and a small flashlight. I have also used my yard lights to summon my deaf dog Farah back in from her late night patrols. I flash the lights and she comes to the door for a treat.

• Flat leash for street walks. • Long line for exploring walks on fields and trails. • Bells or even a GPS tracker in case you need to find the dog. • Light house line to help with management inside the home. • Selection of food treats. • Food puzzle toys, chews and Kongs. You might find it useful to attach bells to your deaf dog so you can hear him moving around (although this does not help when he falls asleep somewhere unexpected). With a blind dog that has reasonably good hearing, a whistle can be very helpful when training recall – but keep in mind A that partial hearing can make it hard for a dog to localize the source of sounds, so he may not be able to work out where the whistle is coming from. In that case it is better to teach him to stay in one place when he hears you whistle. Bandanas, printed leashes and patches for harnesses are all easily available these days and can highlight your dog’s specific

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Flashing lights can be a useful tool in training deaf dogs

needs. Keep in mind that many people in the U.K. interpret the term “Deaf Dog” as a dog being trained to help the deaf (this would be a Hearing Dog) which can lead to some – sometimes – hilarious misunderstandings. Wearing a bandana can help other owners understand why your dog might not respond to them out on a walk, but beware of using this as an excuse to allow your deaf or blind dog to run up to other dogs or people. It is absolutely possible to teach deaf and/or blind dogs to wait and check with you before approaching something, and if you have not gotten that far in your training then use that long line consistently.

Vibration Collars

One of the most common questions asked in the Deaf Dog Network Facebook group by people new to life with a deaf dog is whether they should purchase a vibrating collar, or other gadget. While it may sound like an appealing idea in that the dog learns to respond to the vibration as a hearing dog might recall to a whistle, experienced deaf dog guardians tend to discourage it as an unnecessary expense. It is still relatively difficult to source a

ou y Do t to n wa with rk ls? o W i ma An All our

courses advocate force-free methods ONLY

Animal Jobs Direct is passionate about animal welfare and dedicated to raising standards in animal welfare through education. We are accredited as a recognised course and training provider by 4 National Awarding Bodies. We offer over 100 accredited animal care courses designed in consultation with employers, to increase employment and career prospects. Please visit our website or contact us for free careers and training advice.

Tel: 0208 6269646 BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

good quality vibrating collar in the U.K. that does not include any unwanted side effects such as spray/shock, or that is not bark activated. Based on my experience moderating on deaf dog discussion groups, and with my own dogs, many dogs find even gently vibrating collars quite unpleasant. Conversely, a reasonable number of deaf dogs appear to deliberately ignore the sensations. It is impossible to predict a dog’s reaction without purchasing a unit, unfortunately. Even those guardians who use vibrating collars would be quick to emphasize that they are only a supplement to excellent check-in and recall training rather than a replacement. The same principles apply as when working with a dog who is never going to be let off leash.You still want to train a basic recall just in case management/leads/harnesses or collars fail.

The Big Question – Deaf Dogs Off Leash?

I have to warn you that this can be a controversial issue. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it is just not safe to let deaf or blind dogs off leash outside securely fenced areas. I am going to suggest that you need to think it through and make a reasoned decision based on your local area and level of training. Personally, I am comfortable letting my own deaf, and deaf-partially blind dogs off leash in many places, including areas that I cannot let my hearing dog off (due to squirrel obsession). We have worked extremely hard on the dogs’ check-in training (see resources) and tested it carefully in many places using long lines. I do not take risks around livestock or near roads – but I would not do that with a hearing dog either. Always remember that


Farmer-Dougan,V., Quick, A., Harper, K., Schmidt, K., & Campbell, D. (2014). Behavior of hearing or vision impaired and normal hearing and vision dogs (Canis lupis familiaris): Not the same, but not that different. Journal of Veterinary Behavior (9) 316323. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Strain, G.M. (2015). Breed-Specific Deafness Prevalence in Dogs (percent). Retrieved May 10, 2017, from


Bauer, D. (2017). White Dog Blog: Bauer, D. (2014). Through a Dark Silence: Loving and Living with Your Blind and Deaf Dog. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform Bauer, D. (2016). White Dog Blog: The Most Popular and Inspiring Posts. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform with Miki Saito: Crook, A., Dawson, S., Côté, E., MacDonald, S., & Berry, J. (2011). Canine Inherited Disorders Database (CIDD): Deaf Dog Network Facebook Support Group: www.facebook .com/groups/thedeafdognetwork Deaf Dog Q&A Sessions: Eaton, B. (2005). Hear Hear. UK: Barry Eaton Hayward, T. (2015). When a Deaf Dog Joins the Family. Dogwise Publishing Heirs, M. (n.d.). Introduction to sign language for deaf dogs [Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. Handout]. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Heirs, M. (2014, April). Living and Working with Deaf Dogs. BARKS from the Guild (7) 30-32. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from


staying on leash for safety or behavioral reasons is not that bad an outcome, and good use of harnesses plus long lines, or canicross equipment can hugely improve the quality of life for a dog that must stay on leash.

Fall in Love with a Special Dog

Deafness and blindness in dogs is most often the result of inherited conditions and poor breeding choices. There is no excuse for blanket recommendations of euthanasia, but adopters should be ready for a sometimes steep learning curve and seek out professional support to get the best possible start. Medical conditions, accidents and old age can also cause hearing and sight loss, but dogs with these impairments are absolutely capable of living fulfilled and happy lives. Force-free, positive training methods are the best choice for these dogs, and it is more about adapting good training practices than having to reinvent the wheel. Opening your heart and home to a deaf or blind dog will change your life – and you will be a better person because of it. n Morag Heirs PhD MSc MA (SocSci) (Hons) PGCAP is a companion animal behavior counselor who runs Well Connected Canine,, in York, UK, which offers small group classes, private lessons, behavior rehabilitation and workshops for trainers. She works with deaf and blind dogs professionally, and provides training and support for the Deaf Dog Network,, among other organizations. Heirs, M. (2015, January). Waving Loudly. BARKS from the Guild (10) 35-37. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Heirs, M. (2016, November). The Ultimate in Teamwork. BARKS from the Guild (21) 28-29. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Heirs, M. (2014, October). Gadgets and Gizmos. BARKS from the Guild (9) 30-32. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Pet Professional Guild. (2015). Learn How To Work With Deaf and/or Visually Impaired Dogs with Morag Heirs [Webinar]. Retrieved May 10, 2017 from Pet Professional Guild. (2017). Deaf Dog Activities (adapting agility, scentwork, canicross and rally obedience for deaf dogs) with Morag Heirs [Webinar]. Retrieved May 10, 2017 from Saito, M. (2015, March). Empowerment for a Better Quality of Life. BARKS from the Guild (12) 32-34. Retrieved May 10, 2017, from Saito, M. (2015, September). Training a Blind Dog. BARKS from the Guild (14) 32-34. Retrieved May 10, 2017 from Strain, G.M. (2011.) Deafness in Dogs and Cats. Oxford, UK: CABI Publishing Strain, G.M. (2015). The genetics of deafness in domestic animals. Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2) 29. Retrieved May 10, 2017 from Strain, G.M. (2015). Deafness in Dogs and Cats: Uniquely Paws-Able online training school for deaf, blind and deaf-blind dogs:

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



One Foot at a Time

Lara Joseph looks into some of the many uses of a station in animal training and highlights


how it can enhance communication and safety

arget training is very popular and useful in the world of training animals, no matter what the species. Targeting means asking an animal to touch a particular body part to an object on cue, for example, asking a bird to touch his nail to the tip of a filing board, a giraffe to touch his nose to the end of a stick, or a dog to put his rear end on the floor (otherwise known as a “sit”). Training an animal to touch a target is always one of the first things I teach for several reasons. For a start, if I am working with an animal or a species I have never previously worked with, teaching him to touch a target is an ideal way to begin reading and understanding his body language. In animal training, targeting is often combined with stationing. Stationing means asking the animal to go to a particular area and not move until cued otherwise. During a station (also known as a place), we ask him to target particular body parts to an area as well, but the station refers specifically to our teaching him to not move from that area. The word station is often used when training exotics too. Examples might include asking a bird to fly to a particular perch and not move until cued otherwise, asking a pig to go to an “x” on the floor and not move until cued otherwise, and asking a giraffe to target his rear end to a corner and not move until cued otherwise. If I want to teach a pig to stand on a piece of carpet and not move, I begin by teaching a foot target. In other words, I teach him to touch the carpet square with one hoof. Through shaping (i.e. reinforcing small approximations toward the desired behavior), I then teach him to target two, three and finally all four hooves on the carpet square and stand in place. Next, I start to build duration, thus training the station. Once all four hooves are on the carpet square, I deliver high rates of reinforcement before the pig has the opportunity to step off again. From there, I begin bridging and reinforcing longer periods of time through shaping. I will reinforce every other second, then move to three seconds, then five, then seven. This way, the carpet square turns into the pig’s station. Once he begins staying there, I put the behavior on cue with the word “station.” An animal coming off his station is one of the key factors in training that often frustrates people. It is crucial for the animal to understand the contingencies of the station, and for trainers to bear in mind that animals move towards things they like and away from things they do not like. If an animal learns that positive reinforcers are delivered on the station as opposed to off, he will quickly learn to associate the station with the delivery of the reinforcer. This is a very effective use of positive reinforcement and negative punishment working together to convey a message. Teaching an animal to station is useful for several reasons. For a start, it helps the trainer maintain control. Stations can be used when entering and exiting an enclosure because they tell the ani26

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Milo the mini pig stations on a carpet square during his veterinary exam

mal where you want him to go and where you want him to stay for a period of time until cued otherwise. They also provide an effective way to train animals not to run or fly out of the enclosure as soon as the gate is opened. Other helpful implementations include teaching an animal, or group of animals, what to do when they are out together in order to maintain control over a situation that may be getting out of hand, and where an animal needs to be during a veterinary exam. Teaching a station is the ideal place from which to start teaching other behaviors. For example, if I need to train a giraffe to voluntarily undergo a hoof trim or blood draw, it is a lot easier to get him into position if he is on a station, because he knows where I want him to be. From there, I can begin shaping the behavior of lifting his foot onto a block or lowering his head for the needle target. Teaching a station can also be an excellent communication tool for training behaviors such as going into a crate, the back of the car, or to a particular area of a room, enclosure or stall. If the animal already knows that four feet or hooves on a carpet square earns reinforcement, the carpet square can be placed in the crate, in the back seat of a car, or in the corner of the room

where you need him to be to stay out of harm’s way. When working with several animals, or different species, at the same time, a station is a good place to begin as it can help prevent an accident, or something else going wrong. In the early stages of training, I may train animals individually to station and then bring them together at a safe distance. The distance helps if either moves off their station. During small, frequent training sessions, I will begin moving their stations closer together to the point where I feel comfortable I can train them next to each other without incident. Animals learn faster when they are reinforced for doing what we ask them to do. Positive reinforcement training provides us with an excellent platform to communicate with our animals, with humane and effective consequences. Animals are constantly looking for information, so why don’t we teach them what to do and reinforce those behaviors instead of telling them what not to do and unknowingly reinforcing undesired behaviors? n

TRAINING Black crested macaque Xenia sits on her station while targeting her hand to author Lara Joseph’s in the beginning stages of voluntary blood draw training

Lara Joseph is the owner of The Animal Behavior Center LLC,, in Ohio. She is also the Director of Avian Training for a wildlife rehabilitation center where she focuses on removing stress from animal environments. She is a professional member of The Animal Behavior Management Alliance, The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators, and sits on the Advisory Board for All Species Consulting and The Indonesian Parrot Project.

If you enjoy teaching your dog tricks and novel behaviors If you strive for precision in obedience skills If you want to use progressive, modern training techniques If you are looking for an enjoyable and supportive competitor experience If you want to strengthen the working relationship between you and your dog Give Rally-Free a try! Rally-FrEe is a unique sport that combines the trick behaviors of

Canine Musical Freestyle with the structure and format of Rally-O Obedience. It emphasizes precise execution of fundamental freestyle & obedience skills while encouraging creative & novel behaviors.


Ready-Made to Boost Your Business

Margaret Gray explains why adopting PPG’s Pet Dog Ambassador program is


a savvy business move

hat is the best program available if you have a Recent Level 2 PDA graduate new training business and want to be able to Chester (guardian surge ahead without spending tedious time on Sally Gardner) devising new courses? I would most definitely have to say Pet proudly displays his medal and Dog Ambassador (PDA). And what’s the best idea if you have certificate an existing business and want to increase your sales, but are too busy to devise any more courses? Easy! Incorporate PDA in your business. For positive trainers who like flexibility within a structure, the PDA program is almost a must. If you like to have a ready-made program that you can take right into the classroom, PDA fits the bill. In addition, it can boost your business. This is because, firstly, clients like the list of objectives provided with the program as it means they can see exactly where they are going. Secondly, they love the idea of tangible evidence of success in the form of the medallion and certificate that come with the successful completion of the course. As a result, PDA comes with an important by-product: committed clients who seek you out for further training. In terms of structure, PDA is essentially a series of readymade courses where all the hard work has already been done for you. There are five levels in the series, each increasing in people want to be able to take their dogs to the café and have difficulty until your clients have the happy, well-behaved take any- them sit nicely beside them without having to worry that they where dog that most people appreciate. Level 1 is for pups under will bark at passing dogs, dogs sitting beside them or strangers. 6 months of age at the beginning of the course, and the next four As a result, much of the work I do with my clients involves havlevels are for dogs of any age over 6 months. Each level comes ing dogs settle nicely beside their guardians for long periods with a very specific set of objectives that need to be achieved without begging for food or rushing to retrieve dropped and a complete set of lessons. All the necessary paperwork morsels. But café visits involve more than this alone: my clients’ (check sheets for keeping track of the progress of each dog and dogs need to be well mannered while getting in and out of the guardian, etc.) come with the package. All you have to do is take car and on the walk from the car to the café. All these behaviors it into your classroom. form part of PDA’s objectives. If the package is so structured, you may ask, how can it be The towns and villages in the area where I live are surflexible? One of the great beauties of PDA is that all the objecrounded by farms, so people also want to be able to take their tives can be met and tested no matter what your local condidogs on long walks and let them roam freely within easy recall tions are. This is especially important for levels 3, 4 and 5 as your distance. Of course, the dogs need to come back reliably and “classroom” is your local environment. This means you take your swiftly when called. PDA covers all this, making the ability to taiclients out onto the lor the course to local PDA graduates street, to sporting needs really appealing get to wear these medallions so they fixtures, to beaches for clients. But even can show off their or shopping centers that is not what makes qualifications -- in other words, them come back to anything that is a me. normal activity in Even before they your community and come to the end of a local environment. I course, dog guardians live in an area that start noticing signifihas a strong café cant changes in the beculture. Therefore, havior of their dogs. 28

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Just two weeks ago, one guardian said, smiling, “Where has my dog gone? I don’t know this dog at all!” What is actually happening is that the dog is happier, the guardian is enjoying their happy, well-behaved dog, and thus they want to do more activities with this great dog. That is not just a two-way win, it is a three-way win and it just keeps snowballing from there. You may wonder whether all clients who do the course actually complete the accreditation. In response, I have noticed a really interesting aspect of client behavior in that some people enroll with me and complete the course, but do not necessarily undertake the assessment. To me, this shows how much value they place on the skills they learn in the course. I have had more than one person say to me, “Oh no, Margaret, I’m not a competitive type – I’ve just heard how good this course is and I want to do it for enjoyment with my dog,” or “I’ve got everything out of this course that I wanted - I’m not interested in medals or cerPDA graduates Sue McDonald and Tully

PDA graduates Jenny Vallance and Oscar


tificates.” Most do enroll, of course, and absolutely love getting the medallions. One side benefit of PDA I have noticed in terms of increasing business volume is that many of the people who do not want the medallion or certificate are increasingly enrolling in other courses after completing PDA. One of these is a trick course I run. It is especially popular with people who do PDA level 1 or 2 simply because they enjoy having fun with their dog. My loose leash walking course is another popular one with people who do not want to go beyond level 1 or 2.

How the PDA Levels Work

One of the very best aspects of the courses is that guardians and dogs are both assessed. This means a team cannot receive an accreditation on the behavior of the dog alone as both parties must have the requisite skills. For the guardian, this means ab-

PDA graduates Jeanie van Eyk and Mollie

PDA graduates Sandy McKenzie and Bella

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



solute positive reinforcement and, of course, no pain, no force, and no fear. Dog guardians soon realize they can be successful only by following this philosophy. Before I begin a class with new clients, I sit them down in a dog-free session and explain this fact to them. Part of each level involves training the guardians how to achieve positive outcomes through positive training. And, of course, part of the role of the instructor is to train the guardians using positive reinforcement. This can be very hard for people who have a long history of being taught to jerk on a choke chain as a method of training. But it is doable and it is very worthwhile. In the PDA program, guardian-dog teams must work sequentially through the levels. The only exception to this is people who apply when their dogs are already over 6 months of age. This is catered for by the fact that level 2 covers very similar ground to level 1, simply making some of the tasks more difficult and adding one task – sit to front and side – if they did not do level 1. PPG members who want to use the PDA package must first get themselves certified as instructors. This means registering and taking an online multiple choice exam. If you want to be able to assess candidates for eligibility for the award, you can take the next step and do an online assessment of a number of videos of dogs and their guardians trying out for the award at various levels. If you do not want to do the video assessment but have passed


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

the instructor’s exam, that is fine; you can video your clients and their dogs and have the teams assessed remotely by a qualified assessor. Or, if you live near a qualified assessor, you can call on that person to assess your clients. If you have not already tried PDA, I strongly recommend that you give it serious consideration. At least get your instructor’s certificate and see how far it can take you. n


Pet Dog Ambassador: Pet Dog Ambassador Registration: Pet Guardian’s Guide:

Margaret Gray had her first encounter with obedience clubs and choke chains 35 years ago and immediately decided to train her own dogs and those of friends and colleagues using force-free methods instead. After retiring as a high school teacher, she decided to take up dog training as a hobby. She has since obtained her Certificate IV in companion animal services through the Delta Society of Australia and her diploma of canine behavior science and technology. She now co-owns Tails Up Dog Training,, in Moss Vale, New South Wales, Australia.

Defining Temperament


Anna Bradley conducts her own research into newly recognized cross breed dogs to look


for possible temperament and personality “standards”

o one can have possibly failed to notice the rise over the last few years of newly recognized cross breed dogs (NRCBDs) with their weird and wonderful names such as puggle (pug x beagle), Maltipoo (Maltese x poodle), schnoodle (schnauzer x poodle), and Peek a Poo (Pekingese x poodle).

In the absence of a universal blueprint, Labradoodles may be described, anecdotally, as trainable and very active

Focus and Concerns

My initiative whilst studying for my master’s at Newcastle University, U.K. and conducting dissertation research was to examine what happens when two parent breeds are crossed and produce Labradoodles or cockapoos, and to specifically look at the temperament of that offspring. Another particular interest was whether personality traits can be attributed to each NRCBD and categorized in a way resembling a template or “breed” standard in the same way they are attributed to pure breeds. If so, this would potentially have exciting repercussions as prospective owners would have some guide as to what to expect, temperament-wise, when they purchase a new cross breed.



The British Cockapoo Society has stated that it is impossible to define a breed standard since so much variation exists in visual aspect, intelligence and temperament. Within the UK Labradoodle and cockapoo breed, clubs largely concur regarding expected physical and temperament traits, but accounts are narrative and open to ambiguity. Labradoodles may be described as trainable, very active (Labradoodle Association, 2009) and cockapoos as “loyal, loving, cuddly, fun” (The Cockapoo Club of GB, 2014). These are simply anecdotes in the absence of a universal “blueprint” -- there is no standard to breed towards. Factor in other variability such as the crossing of F1, F2, F3 dogs and back cross-

© Can Stock Photo Inc./jakeric

I decided to conduct some research, concentrating on what one might say are the foundation examples – cockapoos and Labradoodles. My research was borne primarily by the concerns of some researchers that the creation of NRCBDs might, in some instances, be correlated with breeders’ “mercenary attitudes,” leading to exploitation of dogs and the creation of a throwaway culture, aided by the media ascribed title of “designer dogs” and further resulting in dogs being treated as commodities (Beverland, Farrelly & Lim Ai Ching, 2008). If substantiated, this is of obvious concern. Furthermore, Allan Reznik, editor-in-chief of Dog Fancy and Dog World (cited in Beverland et al., 2008) defines NRCBDs rather subjectively as “crossing breeds, adding a fanciful name….indicative of a society that loves labels.” Could it be, therefore, that in some quarters, profit and fashion predominates over confirmation and temperament? Only recently, Wally Conron, himself the creator of the Labradoodle “breed,” referred to the detrimental effects on temperament with random breeding of Labradoodles, describing many as “crazy and untrainable” (Coren, 2014). Why are pure breeds and new crossbreeds so different and how does this affect temperament? A breed standard exemplifying excellence in terms of confirmation is available for 210 recognized Kennel Club (UK) pure breeds. Breed standards also include suggestions as to what the temperament of that breed should be. In contrast, as a mixed breed, no standard with associated expectations regarding physical attributes or temperament is available for NRCBDs. In order to create a new breed, common physical attributes and a standardized, predictable temperament must be identified (Kane, 2017).

ing, or the introduction of show/working strains of parent breeds etc., and there is more potential impact on temperament.


The study utilized the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ©), developed at the University of Pennsylvania, USA and demonstrated as a reliable evaluation of canine behavior and temperament (Hsu & Serpell, 2005). Owners of Labradoodles, cockapoos and their respective parent breeds (English and American cocker spaniel, Labrador retriever and standard, miniature and toy poodles) aged 6 months and above were recruited via a request to participate, which was posted on 14 British internet platforms. The appeal generated 240 participants and the data was computer analyzed using a statistical analysis program. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



© Can Stock Photo Inc./greatimpressions

The British Cockapoo Society has indicated that it is impossible to define a breed standard since so much variation exists in visual aspect, intelligence and temperament


What happens to a dog’s temperament when the pure breeds are crossed? (Note that this was small-scale research and the findings must be viewed within that context.) Differences between parent breeds and new cross breeds were very small, but there were some findings which were statistically significant. Here are a few of the most pertinent. Labradoodles: • Trainability - Less trainable than poodles. • Aggression - More incidences of familiar dog aggression than Labradors. • Excitability - More excitable than Labradors. • Leash Pulling - More likely to leash pull than poodles. • Barking - Less likely to bark than poodles. Cockapoos: • Trainability - More trainable than cocker spaniels. • Aggression - Fewer incidences of owner directed aggression than cocker spaniels. • Chasing – More likely to chase than poodles. What do these results mean for owners? These preliminary findings give an insight into the temperament of Labradoodles and cockapoos using a validated method of temperament assessment. The results demonstrate that when parent breeds are crossed, the resulting offspring do not differ dramatically in temperament, but of course this may differ with a larger sample size and according to F1, F2, F3 generations of new cross breed or indeed differing subtypes involved, for example Australian versus English Labradoodle – something for future research maybe.

Temperament Profile

As I mentioned before, accounts pertaining to the temperament of both Labradoodles and cockapoos are mainly narrative and open to ambiguity. Could the research improve upon this? Could it provide a more descriptive and specific idea of what an owner 32

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

may expect – temperament-wise, of both breeds, something resembling a “breed standard?” The short answer is yes. C-BARQ© made it possible to suggest a descriptive temperament profile with distinct characteristics for each. Labradoodle: A trainable breed which displays low levels of owner-directed and familiar dog aggression. May display a tendency to become excited. Labradoodles are unlikely to display separation related behavior. Labradoodles are a generally wellbehaved* breed, however they may sometimes display a desire to chase other animals and pull on the leash. Cockapoo: A very highly trainable breed which displays low levels of owner directed and familiar dog aggression. Cockapoos are unlikely to display separation related behavior. Cockapoos are a generally well-behaved* breed, however they may display a tendency to chase other animals and become excitable. *Note: In this research there were no C-BARQ© sub-scales where Labradoodles or cockapoos rated poorly, so, at a practical level and in terms of what the results actually mean for an owner, one may say these NRCBDs are “generally well behaved.” Updates for pure breeds too: The research utilizing CBARQ© also provided an updated and thorough temperament profile for the respective parent pure breeds. This, in my view, is also important due to the fact that information provided for Labradors, cocker spaniels and the three sizes of poodle is vague, ambiguous and limited.

What Do the Findings Mean?

To my knowledge, this is the first study which has specifically examined temperament in two new cross breed dogs and provided a temperament profile to be built for Labradoodles and cockapoos, using a reliable and valid assessment of canine behavior. Obviously, examination of temperament in new cross breeds has a way to go and this is only a first step. Future replication of such research may involve increasing sample size and varieties of NRCBDs investigated. Possible implications of this research are twofold. Prospective pet owners are provided with an expectation regarding the temperament of Labradoodles and cockapoos, which allows them to make an informed choice as to whether the temperament of that dog fits their lifestyle. Secondly, the dog is less likely to become a rehoming statistic if he is placed within a home where the owner’s capabilities match his temperament and that is something that can only be positive for canine welfare. n This article is an excerpt from “Exploring differences in temperament between newly recognized cross breed dogs and parent breeds” by Anna Francesca Bradley (MSc dissertation literature review and research paper submitted to The Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, January 2017).

Anna Francesca Bradley MSc BSc (Hons) is a UK-based provisional clinical and Animal Behaviour and Training Council accredited animal behaviorist. She owns Perfect Pawz! Training and Behaviour Practice,, where her aim is to create and restore happy relationships between dog and owner using methods based upon sound scientific principles which are force-free and fun.

CANINE References

Beverland, M.B., Farrelly, F., & Lim Ai Ching, E. (2008). Exploring the dark side of pet ownership: Status- and control-based pet consumption. Journal of Business Research 61 490-496. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from Coren, S. (2014). A designer dog creator regrets his creation. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from Dogtime. (2015). Cockapoo. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from Hsu,Y., & Serpell, J.A. (2005). Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 9 1293-1300. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from Kane, F. (2017). Maintaining the breed. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from The Cockapoo Club of GB (2014). What is a Cockapoo? Retrieved May 5, 2017, from The Kennel Club. (2014). Crossbreed Dogs. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from The UK Labradoodle Association. (2009). FAQs. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from Vetstreet (2017). Cockapoo. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from



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BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Dogs on the Water

Sheelah Gullion discovers a way to combine business with summer fun by introducing dogs


Swimming Lessons

Where I work at Courteous Canine in Tampa, Florida, we are fortunate to have an above-ground pool and trainers who teach dock diving. Swimming classes are a requirement for owners who want their dogs to try dock div34

Photo: John Bouma /Applause Your Paws

ecently, I began teaching dog swimming classes and quickly discovered just how keen people are to have their dogs join them in, on and around the water. It usually starts with having a pool at home or wanting to take the family dog along to the beach or the lake. Some people will take their dogs out on their motorized boats and others even take their dogs kayaking, but the latest aquatic trend of stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) seems tailor-made for those who want to get on the water without leaving their dog onshore and, as it happens, seems to be a good potential workshop-style class for trainers. From a business perspective, summer can sometimes bring a lull in training class attendance as children leave school for the season and people go away on vacation. Many folks would rather be somewhere enjoying the good weather with friends and family instead of practicing down-stays in a group class setting. Offering something relevant to their summer interests can be a good way to either make up for declining Exploring a new activity group class attendance, or simply be a together in such a different can help bonus offering. It is also a good way to environment build trust and confidence generate future business once summer between dog and guardian is over.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Certified stand-up paddle boarding instructor, Samantha Eastburn and her dog, Jack. Eastburn has taught the sport to all types of dogs, including 15 Rhodesian ridgebacks in a single day

Photo: John Bouma/Applause Your Paws

Photo: John Bouma/Applause Your Paws

Although it is recommended that dogs wear life jackets for any water sports, it is preferable if they have also learned to swim beforehand

and their owners to swimming and paddle boarding

ing, but many people are interested in the swimming classes on their own. The classes fill up almost as fast as we can schedule them, and clients frequently book follow-up private sessions to get more time in the water for their dogs. When I asked my own clients if they had ever considered taking their dogs out onto the water, one said they had tried kayaking with their dog while another had a friend who regularly took her dog stand-up paddle boarding. I decided to get in touch with the friend, Lisa Catania, to find out more.

Stand-up Paddle Boarding

Catania has been paddling for five or six years, and has been taking dogs out on the board with her for at least four of those. She received no instruction in how to get started, but as a teacher of SUP and even SUP yoga, she was confident she could get her pup on the board with her. “I saw people taking dogs in kayaks with them, and there are SUP pup socials,� said Catania, referring to organized SUP events where people are invited to attend with their dogs. Catania’s current dog, Foxy, is a 4-year-old female Basenji/Chihuahua mix that she adopted a year and a half ago. Foxy already knows how to swim and Catania prefers not to put a life vest on her because she feels it is harder

Offering a different type of class enables pet professionals to reach a different market sector Photo: John Bouma/Applause Your Paws

to swim with one on, but Samantha Eastburn of the SUP Connection in San Diego, California disagrees. “A life vest is always a smart idea to have on your dog and I require it for my students’ dogs,” she said. Her own dog, Jack “does not wear one when we go out, but he rarely jumps in.” This is because although Jack knows how to swim, Eastburn says he does not enjoy it. Eastburn agrees that taking the time to teach a dog to swim before taking up any water sport is a good idea. “You don’t want to scare them,” she said. In 2013, Eastburn created SUP Pups California, a program specifically designed to help dog owners learn to paddle with their dogs. Although not a dog trainer herself, Eastburn has had dog trainers as clients. As it turns out, another trainer I know offered a workshoptype class in SUP with dogs last summer. Dee Hoult, owner of Applause Your Paws in Miami, Florida, said clients who took her class were not interested in training the dogs, but “just want[ed] to have fun.”



In terms of the logistics of offering a one-off class in either SUP or kayaking, one major issue is liability. In Hoult’s case, she partnered with a local paddle board shop to offer the class because “activities in the water aren’t covered by our company’s insurance.” The shop supplied the boards and an instructor and therefore everyone was covered by the shop’s insurance. “I taught the class, but split the profits with the shop,” Hoult said. Everyone I talked to for this article was practicing their sport either in a swimming pool (in the case of dog swimming lessons), or on the open water in a calm environment. I did not find anyone teaching kayaking or SUP on a lake or inland body of water, which suggests this could be an underserved niche. For trainers, offering these kinds of classes provides the opportunity to reach an untapped market, give existing clients a new service, and get out of the typical training environment while having fun doing it. For our clients and their dogs, exploring a new activity together in such a different environment can help build trust and confidence in their relationship.

Sheelah Gullion CPDT-KA lives in St Petersburg, Florida and works at Courteous Canine DogSmith of Tampa, www, a full-service pet business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. In addition to swimming classes for dogs and puppies, she leads group classes in AKC Star Puppy and Basic Manners.

Barriers to Entry

It seems the only limit for dogs getting in or on the water is their own ability, health and desire. In the four years Eastburn has been teaching people to paddle with their dogs, she has helped every type of dog, from a 3-month-old French bulldog to a 14year-old Pomeranian to a 100 lb. Labrador. “I have had all-breed groups come out with me, too,” said Eastburn. “One was a total of 15 Rhodesian ridgebacks: three classes of five dogs each in one day.” When it comes to paddling with large dogs, Eastburn emphasized the importance of the right board and a padded front to help the dog grip the board as it moves over the water. One of the most common doubts Eastburn fields from potential clients is that they will not be able to stand-up paddle board with their dog because he hates the water. “Not true,” said Eastburn. “Since your dog is floating on top of the water, with you, it makes it an easier paddle since they do not want to jump in the water.” n BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A Positive Impact

Pam Francis-Tuss explains how the ALPHA program, which pairs at risk teens with shelter dogs,


came about, and the contribution it is making to the community

t was a chance meeting with a non-profit director in 2015 that has since turned into a partnership I could not even have imagined at the time. In addition to my own dog training practice I train dog handling and advanced dog handling to staff and volunteers at Sacramento, California’s Front Street Animal Shelter. Two years ago, public educator Amanda Banks was reaching out to shelters and rescues for support of her Adolescent Learning Powered by ALPHA dog trainers prepare Humane Advocacy (ALPHA) to enter the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility: (left to right) program, and fate happened Kristin Sizemore, Shari Crum, Erick Nickerson, Gabi Solorio to bring us together. and author, Pam Francis-Tuss Shortly after I met Banks and agreed to join her program, she was introduced to nonprofit organization, Not Just Animals. Not Just Animals would take therapy dogs to interact with struggling readers at local schools. They loved Banks’ idea of partnering shelter dogs with at risk youth and invited her to join them as executive director. The organization was renamed Pawsitive Impact and they focused their energies on the ALPHA program. To start with, Banks made contact with similar organizations throughout the United States to find out what worked and what did not in order for programs to be successful. Both K9 Connection in Santa Monica, California and Colorado Boys Ranch (CBR)

The ALPHA program works with at risk teens, and, with the assistance of shelter dogs, teaches them how to train a dog


BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Youth Connect in Golden, Colorado reached out and were kind enough to act as mentors in the process. Next, one of Banks’ contacts put her in touch with the chief of Sacramento County Probation, who loved the idea and immediately arranged for us to operate at juvenile hall. After recruiting qualified dog handler volunteers from Front Street Animal Shelter and elsewhere, we were required to have them pass a background check, be fingerprinted, and attend two orientations – one at the Juvenile Justice Department and one at Pawsitive Impact. Banks and I worked on the curriculum, trained the volunteers, and soon the ALPHA program with Pawsitive Impact was in a position to go live. A five-week program that meets three days per week, ALPHA pairs incarcerated teens at the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility with shelter dogs for the purpose of training. Twice a week, with the assistance of a team of volunteers, the teens work in pairs, at my direction, collaborating with one another to train their dog. The third day each week is spent engaging with guest speakers who work with animals to expose the youth to animal related careers such as shelter workers, veterinarians, veterinar-

According to author FrancisTuss (pictured), the ALPHA program helps participants grow in confidence and selfesteem, while making shelter dogs more adoptable

ian technicians, and dog groomers. Responsibility and leadership are an integral part of the program and, once participants have completed it, they are allowed to return to future sessions as mentors. At the start of each session Banks and I conduct an orientation with all of the students and set out our expectations of them with the dogs and volunteers. We also have them watch the first part of a video, The Language of Dogs by Sarah Kalnajs. Each program ends with an agility course and a graduation ceremony. Without any help from us, and armed with only the skills they have learned plus 30 minutes of practice, the students have to get their dogs through a tunnel, a jump, three hoops, some cones, and a curved board to walk on. The dog and student with the fastest time win. It is fun and engaging for all concerned. Participants receive certificates and discuss lessons learned in the program, and all the dogs who have participated in the program so far have been adopted. Here is some of the feedback we have received from our participants: "Thank you for spending your weeks with us and taking time out of your day to present your program. I would like to thank everyone for your time you gave to us in this facility.You really gave me a better look at not just dogs but animals in general.The program gave me the idea and opportunity to help the dogs that were presented to us. [You] also gave me the guidance to help dogs in my community that need my help. I've learned that animals are really no different from us human beings..." and: "I thank you guys for taking your time to work with us and teach us how to train dogs. I'm glad I got to get the experience to train with dogs so when I get out I will have job skills." The ALPHA program is incredibly rewarding for all parties. Watching these young men go from knowing almost nothing about dogs to becoming reasonably skilled at training them is wonderful to see. Pawsitive Impact helps them develop more confidence and self-esteem, which helps them in other areas of their lives. And the dogs learn better manners which makes them more adoptable, a win-win situation all around.Some dogs even get adopted prior to the end of the program. If that happens, we just find another dog to replace him. There is (unfortunately) never a shortage of rescue dogs to work with.


Recently, the ALPHA program was featured in a two-part segment, Pawsitive Impact Program Part 1 and Pawsitive Impact Program Part 2 on Shelter Life, a YouTube television series dedicated to public awareness of the efforts of animal shelters to help at-risk animals in the Sacramento community. About a year ago during an orientation, a young man held up his arm to show me a very ugly scar from a dog bite he acquired as a little boy. He told us he wanted to participate in this program to get over his fear of dogs. This young man was terrified when we brought in the larger dogs. However, he not only worked through it, he went on to be one of our best students and has now become a mentor. During graduation he stood up to thank all the volunteers, Banks, and me for bringing this program to the center. There was not a dry eye in the room. This is the reason we do this and why we encourage others to start up similar programs in their community. For more information on how to do this, please do get in touch with Pawsitive Impact. n


Adolescent Learning Powered by Humane Advocacy (ALPHA) Program: Front Street - Shelter Life TV. (2016). Pawsitive Impact Program Part 1 [Video file]. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Front Street - Shelter Life TV. (2016). Pawsitive Impact Program Part 2 [Video file]. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Pawsitive Impact:

Pam Francis-Tuss is the owner of Obedient Pups,, in Sacramento, California. After 32 years in the medical field, she retired and started working with dogs. In addition to private and group dog training sessions, she is contracted with the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento as coordinator and instructor for their volunteer dog handling classes, which help the dogs become more adoptable. She also teaches dog adoption counseling classes, and a particular training focus is how to relax dogs, as the shelter is an extremely stressful place and they do not always present well to the public when they are stressed and afraid.



Playing It Safe

In Part One of this two-part article, Lauri Bowen-Vaccare sets out guidelines for dog


s outlined in my previous two articles on the topic (see Meeting the Standard, BARKS from the Guild, March 2017, p. 41-43 and Best Practices, BARKS from the Guild, May 2017, p. 44-45), there are a number of minimum standards dog boarding and day care facilities should practice to ensure the health and safety of both dogs and employees, and that should be made available to clients and potential clients upon request. They may also be placed in new client packages or displayed along with other informational reDogs should be given time sources in the facility’s lobby area. In this to become accustomed to the environment prior to article I am going to discuss how to en- being assessed for group play sessions sure the safety of both canine clients and facility staff during group play sessions.

If the Facility Offers Group Play:

#1. Before a dog who is new to the facility is assessed for play (assuming he has no behavioral or health reasons preventing him from joining a group and his owners have asked that he be assessed), he should be allowed ample time to become accustomed to the environment, inside and out, the staff, and the presence of other dogs. • The time this takes will vary from dog to dog. Some dogs may only need an hour or so, while others may need a few visits. • The dog’s comfort level, outside of a play group, does not guarantee that he will be suitable for group play.

#2. Dogs must be assessed before being put into a play group.The staff must be appropriately educated and trained to understand the dynamics and intricacies of dog behavior when handling multiple dogs who do not live together. Staff will determine whether a dog is appropriate for group play based on the following (other matters and/or information in addition to the following, may be required as well): • Bite History: Has the dog bitten humans before? Bite level, history, frequency, and context must be noted. The majority of dogs who have bitten humans are not suitable for group play since staff must physically interact with every dog. Has the dog bitten another dog or animal? Bite level, history, frequency and context must be noted. Dogs who have bitten other dogs are not suitable for group play. • General Temperament: Temperament is defined as a person's or animal's nature, especially as it permanently affects their behavior. This can be breed-specific and staff should have a clear understanding of basic breed-specific tendencies and traits. How 38

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

© Can Stock Photo/raywoo

boarding and day care facilities to ensure dogs stay safe during group play sessions

does the dog’s temperament affect his general response to his surroundings? How does the dog’s temperament affect the other dogs in the environment? • Individual Personality: Personality is defined as the combination of characteristics that form an individual’s distinctive character. Example: Shy vs. outgoing; friendly with all dogs vs. friendly with polite dogs, etc. Staff should not place overly shy dogs with outgoing dogs in an attempt help them overcome their timidity. Personality can vary amongst dogs, even of the same breed or mix. • Size: There should be separate groups for large, medium and small dogs; petite and giant breed dogs may need their own groups. If a multi-dog family has multiple sized dogs, and their owners want them to stay together for playtime, they should only go out together since they cannot be separated by size. • Energy Level: High energy dogs are not necessarily best matched with other high energy dogs, etc. • Play Style: Some dogs like to chase, others like to be chased, and others like to wrestle, swim, etc. Rough players are not necessarily best matched with other dogs who play rough. Staff should have a clear understanding of normal dog play, and handicapping, and what is safe. • Age: Seniors and puppies tend to be more sensitive to their surroundings and activity involving other animals and/or humans, and will usually require smaller, calmer groups, or to be by themselves. If they do not participate in group activities, then they require more human interaction throughout their stay. Puppies should only go in very small groups, with one or two adult dogs who really love puppies and tolerate their antics with barely a notice. These groups need to be smaller than play groups where puppies are not present. Puppies and seniors need more

© Can Stock Photo/raywoo

breaks during the day than Not all dogs enjoy playing with other dogs or are comfortable in the average adult dog. a group play setting • Sex Status: Intact dogs are not suitable for group play, even if they do not mount other dogs, or express any other “inappropriate” group play behavior. If a sterilized dog has not previously been exposed to intact dogs, this could be much more of a problem than the intact dog. Females who are in heat are not suitable to stay for day care, or overnight boarding. • Arousal Levels: How quickly can the dog be called away from play and redirected for rest time, to go inside, etc.? How quickly can the dog be called away from barking at another dog, person, etc. and redirected to something more appropriate for the setting? How quickly can the dog relax on his own when called away from the above situations? Dogs who habitually mount others are to be removed, possibly permanently, from group play. Mounting is most often an indicator of overarousal, and/or anxiety in play situations. • Medical History: Dogs with chronic pain are usually not suitable for play groups, although some may be suited to be grouped with other very low energy dogs, or those who also have chronic pain issues. Animals who experience chronic pain can be more prone to irritability, aggression and biting than those who do not. Dogs with anxiety-induced diarrhea are often not suitable for group interactions. • Play History with Other Dogs: Does the dog generally play with dogs his own size, age? How well does the dog selfhandicap when playing with lower-energy, smaller, younger dogs? Does the dog live with other dogs? What is their relationship like? Does the dog go to a dog park? How does he behave when there? Owners should note actual physical behaviors like running, barking, chasing, play bowing, seeking out other dogs, and running from other dogs, rather than use terms like, “he has fun,” or “he is scared.” A dog who regularly visits the dog park is not necessarily safe to join in group play at day care. Regular dog park visits do not indicate that the dog actually likes other dogs or wants to participate in group activities. • Resource Guarding: Is there a history of over-reactive resource guarding of humans, toys, water bowls, pools, beds and so on? A history of resource guarding does not immediately exclude the dog from group play, although if the dog guards humans from other dogs, he is probably not suitable. If the dog likes playing or being with other dogs, but


guards objects, he can participate in group play so long as guardable objects are not present. For some dogs this includes, but may not be limited to, specific resting areas, playground equipment, rocks, pools, water bowls, etc. • History of Boarding/ Day Care: Owner’s knowledge of how the dog fared at the other facility. Possible notes from other facility. • Breed or Mix: This is situational and is based on breed-specific tendencies and traits, of which staff

should have basic knowledge. Now that we have looked at the factors to be taken into consideration when setting up a group play session, in Part Two of this article, I will set out an actual assessment protocol for group play. n


Bowen-Vaccare, L. (2017, March). Meeting the Standard. BARKS from the Guild (23) 41-43. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from Bowen-Vaccare, L. (2017, May). Best Practices. BARKS from the Guild (24) 44-45. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Lauri Bowen-Vaccare ABCDT is the owner of Warren, Kentucky-based Believe In Dog, LLC, www.believeindog, and is an honors graduate of Animal Behavior College, with a specialty in training shelter dogs. Her focus is on the dog-human team, and she specializes in reactivity, resource guarding, fearful and timid dogs, bringing outside dogs in, and outside pet dogs. She also advises and assists trainers who want to cross over to force-free training.

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A Holistic Approach

Deirdre Chitwood takes a TTouch® approach to reducing stress as a means of addressing


hen assessing a behavior problem, Tellington TTouch® practitioners use a holistic approach to look at a dog – or any animal – both in the context of his environment and as an individual – emotionally, mentally and physically. First, of course, we must be sure that the dog does not have any medical issues; TTouch® is an addition to veterinary care but does not replace it.

canine behavior problems

Author Deirdre Chitwood uses a holistic approach to assess a behavior problem, which includes TTouch® as a supplement to veterinary care

Accumulated Stressors

All this control can contribute to a great amount of stress, which dogs may not always get the chance to balance out from. In addition, because we are often stressed as we try to increasingly cope with more to do in less time, our dogs may be forced to handle our stress as well as their own. Dogs can also be stressed from undetected pain, a change in the house such as a new baby, past abuse, being left alone too long, the wrong diet, feeling out of control, and an inability to cope, to name just a few. Feelings of insecurity and fear are also huge stress factors and are strongly affected by how safe a dog feels. Being left alone all day, for example, can add a tremendous amount of stress for some dogs.

Context and Control

To understand our dogs in context we must appreciate the role they play in our lives today and how this has changed over the years. Whereas 30 to 40 years ago dogs were mostly kept as working dogs, for example, on the farm herding sheep or protecting livestock, today a large part of their “job” is to give us emotional support. We know they will always be pleased to see us even when we are tired and grumpy after work, and we know they will be there for us with wagging tails and joyful barks no matter what. They are a constant, and sometimes only, source of love and affection in what can sometimes be a difficult, stressful world. With this change of role, dogs have moved from living outside to being kept in our homes as part of our family. Although this is more comfortable in many ways – they stay dry and warm – it also means their freedom has been largely curtailed. Whereas outside dogs were often able to roam freely, in our homes their lives have become more restricted. We may put them in crates all day when we are at work. We have house rules and control where they can go in the house and when, and what furniture, if any, they can use. We control when they eat and what they eat, and we control how dirty they get by giving them frequent baths or sending them to groomers. In fact, we control just about everything they do. When we take our dogs out for a walk it is mostly on a leash and we have expectations on how they should behave with any humans and canines they meet. The type of equipment we use and how we use it may be overly controlling, inappropriate and sometimes physically harmful. And then we take our dogs for training sessions, obedience, agility, Flyball, herding, musical freestyle. The list is endless. Many dogs rarely get any time to play off leash or to simply be a dog. I often think we expect more 40

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

from our dogs than we do from ourselves.

The Candles Lesson

The TTouch® approach is to view all these accumulated stressors as something akin to a pot of water on the boil. Each stress factor is like a candle or flame underneath the pot which represents a dog’s composure. When there are only a few candles lit, the dog manages to keep it together. As the stressors increase, more candles are lit, the temperature goes up past the boiling point and eventually the dog can no longer cope. Everyone has had a bad day when everything has gone wrong. Say you woke up late, your car wouldn’t start, the computer crashed and you lost your wallet. This all comes on top of low grade, ongoing stress such as worry about an aged parent’s care or a teenager’s rebellion. Then your partner said something to you that you didn’t appreciate and you finally snapped.You could cope with any one of these on its own, but altogether they are too much, a process known as trigger stacking. On another day, your partner could have said the same thing and you would not have reacted, you would not “have boiled over.” Dogs are the same. It is important to remember that even small candles or triggers can have considerable influence.

Results of Stress

These can take the form of many of the so-called behavioral issues that we see in our dogs, from digestive problems, increased

BEHAVIOR Maki looks stressed prior to his session

irritability and reactivity, “fooling around,” inability to concentrate, calming signals, and chewing objects to name just a few. The results can also be a lot more subtle and include involuntary aspects such as tension in the body, and increased respiration and heart rate. Each dog is different and will express his tension in different ways. Also, if a dog has suffered past abuse, his stress temperature may rise much more quickly if he is still carrying a highly stressful memory of that experience. I had one client whose dog had been through three owners in the first five months of his life, and may well have been abused. He had bitten two children and was up on his hind legs growling at me when he arrived at my house. The dog was so reactive that I could not touch him for the first session, but after a few sessions of TTouch® work, including body work, ground work exercises and changes in equipment, his Dogs respond to stress “temperature” was greatly reduced, in different ways and after a few months I was able to sit next to him, touch him all over his body and even put my hands in his mouth. Many subtle behavioral issues may just be a dog’s way of saying he is not happy with what is going on. Unfortunately, when these communications are ignored because we fail to listen or, worse still, punish the dog for them, it can result in more extreme behaviors. To add more stress, whether by sharp discipline or overly demanding training techniques is simply adding more flames to the pot. So what can be done? Well this is where TTouch® can be useful in

Maki is more relaxed after the session

bringing down stress levels. In effect, we work to “blow out” those candles one by one, and as the heat diminishes so too do the behavior issues. If we take time to identify and extinguish as many as candles as possible, it can prevent the extreme behavior(s) from happening again. By going through the process, we blow out a lot of small candles, sometimes even without ever identifying them. In this way, TTouch® can bring about dramatic and lasting changes in behavior even without focusing on “fixing” the problem. In addition, because a dog is calmer, he is more able to focus and learn. He moves beyond instinctive reaction to a thinking state.


Observation is a key element in TTouch® as it gives you a clearer understanding of what stressors may be causing the problem behavior. Posture or physical balance is closely linked to mental and emotional balance and being out of balance in one of these areas can affect behavior. Just as areas of tension or feelings of depression can cause us to change our posture, it can be the same with our dogs. An unhappy person, for example, may adopt a hunched over posture while someone who is confident and happy will walk tall. Some key ways to identify tension patterns in your dog is to watch him move on and off the leash. Examine his whole body with the flat of your hand, looking for such elements as hot and cold BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



spots, difference in coat texture, lumps and bumps, the skin or underlying muscles twitching when being touched, and if he reacts when you touch him in a particular area. By running your hand slowly over your dog’s body you can also begin to release tension and change habitual postures.


One of the most important things we can easily do to help a dog feel more secure and less stressed is to remove pressure from his neck. Even the slightest pressure on the neck can restrict the breath. Using a harness instead of a flat collar can remove a lot of stress from of a dog’s life. In addition, a leash with one snap attached to a collar on the neck is not necessarily helpful in rebalancing a dog that is pulling, straining or leaning forward, and so a

leash with two snaps attached to two separate places on the harness is recommended. n Author’s note: Although this article addresses stress in dogs, the same principles apply to stress in all animals. Deirdre Chitwood is a certified Tellington TTouchŽ practitioner of companion animals and a member of Truly Dog Friendly Training. She has a private practice, Tender Touch,, in Stuart, Florida but offers workshops around the country as well as hosting regular workshops at her local cat shelter where she volunteers. She studied the Tellington Method two-year Practitioner Certification Program in both North Carolina and the U.K., and has been privileged to assist Linda Tellington-Jones in workshops.

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BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Pain Underlying


Dr. Lynn Bahr discusses the ability of cats to hide chronic pain, and the potential this

ost people who work professionally with cats know what stoic creatures they are and how well they can hide their pain. There are many different theories as to why this is. Until relatively recently, it was thought cats did not experience pain at all, based purely on the fact that they tend not to show it. Some people -- including some feline professionals -even still believe this, despite significant advances to the contrary. It is an astounding reality that, in the year 2017, we still find the subject of pain sufficiently mysterious and elusive that we are only just beginning to acknowledge its existence in animals. Pain is a complex subject even in human medicine, despite the fact that people are able to communicate how they feel, and the complexity is only magnified when working with animals, given that they lack the ability to communicate verbally. We cannot change what we do not know and there is so much in veterinary medicine that we have not learned yet. Just because animals do not complain about headaches we might assume they do not suffer from them like we do. Is it possible that cats living with chronic congestion and deep sinus infections feel just as badly as people with the same ailments? These people still manage to work and live their lives as normally as possible. However, many are miserable, exhausted and even depressed. Medical conditions known to contribute to chronic pain in people also exist in animals, but are often overlooked or ignored. Because animals often suffer in silence it is easy for their pain to go unnoticed and untreated.

What Do We Know About Pain?

Pain is considered to consist of three key components: a sensory-discriminatory component (temporal, spatial, thermal/mechanical), an affective component (subjective and emotional, describing associated fear, tension and autonomic responses), and an evaluative component, describing the magnitude of the quality (e.g. stabbing/ pounding; mild/severe) (World Small Animal Veterinary Association, 2014). Pain can be classified as acute or chronic. Acute pain typically has a sudden onset and is usually the result of a clearly defined cause such as an injury. It is the body's normal response to damage such as a cut, an infection, or other physical injuries. Acute pain is usually short lived (under six months) and resolves with the healing of its underlying cause. Chronic pain is viewed more as its own disease rather than as a symptom of another health problem. It can be affected by physical (sitting or standing), environmental (weather changes), and psychological (stress) factors. Chronic pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years. In people, physical effects include tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite. Emotional effects include depression, anger and anxiety

It is believed that hiding pain is an integral part of a catâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s survival strategy

Š Can Stock Photo Inc./Elizabetalexa


has to cause behavior problems

(Cleveland Clinic, 2017). In cats, we know a lot more about acute pain than chronic. In general, responses to acute surgical and traumatic pain are likely to be more marked and readily recognizable than clinical signs associated with chronic pain. The veterinary profession has pain scoring scales like the Glasgow Feline Composite Measure Pain Scale and the UNESP-Botucatu Multidimensional Composite Pain Scale for Assessing Postoperative Pain in Cats, but despite all the research, data and recommendations, the consensus remains that assessing acute pain in cats is difficult, subjective and extremely underutilized. Recognizing chronic pain is even more elusive, and assessing it in cats is virtually non-existent amongst most veterinary professionals.

Why Do Cats Hide Their Pain?

We know that hiding pain and discomfort from illness or injury is a natural feline behavior. It is believed to be an integral part of their survival strategy for several reasons. Perhaps it is due to their feeding pattern and need to hunt even when injured or in pain, or the fact that they would be preyed upon more easily if weak or sick. Rarely will a cat vocalize his pain because, instead of calling for help, it would simply alert a larger predator to his vulnerability. Within colonies, weaker cats lose status and power, and often have to give up the best hunting grounds. Hiding weakness is a natural way for cats to avoid the threat of displacement by stronger members of the colony. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Common Conditions that Cause Chronic Pain

Osteoarthritis is the number one cause of chronic pain in cats and studies have shown that over 90 percent of cats aged 12 years and over, 60 percent of cats aged 6-12 years, and over 20 percent of all cats aged 1-6 years show some signs of arthritis (Kornya, 2016). Prevalent inflammatory conditions that cats suffer from can become chronic in nature; stomatitis, pancreatitis, cystitis and inflammatory bowel disease to name a few. These conditions are often very painful, may wax and wane, and result in poor quality of life. Many are thought to be caused by stress and, conversely, living with these conditions often leads to additional stress. Tooth resorption is a common condition affecting an estimated 20 percent to 60 percent of all cats and close to 75 percent of cats aged 5 years of age and older. Resorptive lesions that have eroded through the enamel are very painful, yet cats still manage to eat well – which just confirms what we know about how effectively they can hide their pain. Declawing is a widespread and routine procedure with up to 5,000 felines a day undergoing this extremely painful procedure in the United States. The procedure is banned in many other countries (see The Effects of Declawing, BARKS from the Guild, March 2017, pp. 44-46). The removal of up to 20 digits at a time is not unusual and many undergo these amputations with minimal pain protocols, anesthetics or follow-up exams. Pain management specialist Dr. James S. Gaynor (2012) believes there is a type of chronic pain that is due to a phenomenon called “wind-up.” Wind-up is an increase in pain intensity over time that, in the case of declawing, can develop either during a surgical procedure or in the days to weeks afterward. The surgery and pain associated with it may, on its own, cause chronic pain to develop. According to Dr. Jean Hovre (2012), virtually 100 percent of human amputees experience phantom sensations (80 percent of them painful) for the rest of their lives, no matter how or when the amputation occurred – even as an infant, even with the per44

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

© Can Stock Photo Inc./epantha

Assessing acute pain in cats is difficult and subjective, while recognizing chronic pain is even more elusive

© Can Stock Photo Inc./Leaf

Excessive licking or grooming may be one of several indications of chronic pain in cats

fect surgical technique, and even with abundant post-op pain meds. Given the prevalence of declawed cats in the United States, is it possible many are experiencing and dealing with chronic pain that is adversely affecting their personality and behavior? We know that 20 percent of cats are dealing with osteoarthritis yet veterinary practices are not treating 20 percent of their feline patients for it. Could a similar phenomenon be occurring with cats that have been declawed?

Common Signs of Pain

As mentioned previously, signs of pain in cats are often subtle. Although they may spend less time playing, hunting and running, cat owners rarely mention these subtle changes to veterinarians. Signs may include: Reduced activity. Loss of appetite, change of appetite, difficulty chewing. Quiet/loss of curiosity. Changes in urinary/defecation habits. Hiding. Hissing or spitting. Decreased agility/jumping. Excessive licking/grooming. Stiff posture/gait. Guarding behavior. Stops grooming/matted fur.

Behavioral Changes Associated with Chronic Pain

Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Other problems associated with pain can include fatigue, withdrawal from activity and increased need to rest, and changes in mood, including fear, depression, anxiety, irritability and stress. In humans, we know that long-term pain has a profound effect on quality of life and we might assume the same holds true for animals. Aside from the physical suffering that it causes, there are also psychological and personality effects associated with chronic pain.

Cats who are irritable at home, fractious at the clinic, picked on by other cats, are matted, or lack motivation should all be assessed for the possibility of pain as an underlying factor to their behavior. We know that cats with oral pain may appear ill-tempered or aggressive, have a change in appetite or food preference, and may have difficulty chewing and eating (food falls from their mouth). As is typical of most cats, these cats rarely show overt signs of pain or discomfort but rather tend to endure it silently. Owners are often amazed by their cat’s sudden return to “acting like a kitten again” after extractions of painful teeth. As a feline veterinarian, it is not unusual for me to see oral cavities and missing teeth due to resorption. While we know how slow and painful the process is, it often occurs completely unnoticed by owners. Similar behavioral changes may be seen in cats that have been declawed. Many are sedentary and show decreased interest in play, while others are simply irritable, cranky, or fearful. Their underlying chronic pain often leads to withdrawal, fear, anxiety and depression. It is amazing for me to see declawed cats transformed into social beings once their pain is recognized and treated appropriately. Alleviating their discomfort can be remarkable and certainly increases their quality of life. While many people pass off decreased grooming and increased matting to “old age,” the more likely cause is increased arthritic pain. One might say that feeling good is looking good, and this is true for cats too. Those dealing with chronic pain or illnesses frequently avoid activities that hurt, and adjust their lifestyle accordingly. Behavioral issues like inappropriate urination, increased irritability and even aggressiveness can all stem from the effects of living with constant, unrelenting pain. While hiding pain is effective for survival in the wild, it is not a trait that serves the domesticated cat well. Since cats tend to be introverted about their discomfort, their pain may easily go unnoticed and even cats in severe pain will attempt to minimize their vulnerability. Fortunately, this is a subject that has been gaining traction and new research has been devoted to finding ways to better recognize, assess, and treat animals experiencing pain. With this new knowledge we can better serve our feline companions by advocating on their behalf to ensure their pain is acknowledged, controlled and kept to a minimum. As feline professionals, it is incumbent on us to bring additional attention to the recognition and treatment of chronic pain to owners, veterinarians, caretakers, and everyone who is in-


volved in caring for cats. It is also our moral and ethical duty to mitigate suffering to the best of our ability and this begins by evaluating pain at every patient contact. It is important to remember, just because we do not know much about it, it does not mean we should not be looking for it and treating it more often. n


Cleveland Clinic. (2017). Acute Pain vs. Chronic Pain. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from Gaynor, J.S. (2005, April). Chronic pain syndrome of feline onychectomy. North American Veterinary Conference Clinician’s Brief. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from Hovre, J. (2012). Chronic Pain of Declawing. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from Kornya, M. (2016). Arthritis (Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease) in Cats. Wyckoff, NJ: Winn Feline Foundation. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from World Small Animal Veterinary Association. (2014). Guidelines for Recognition, Assessment and Treatment of Pain, 55(6), E-10E68. (May 20, 2104). Retrieved May 5, 2017, from


Glasgow Feline Composite Measure Pain Scale: Lehet, B. (2017, March). The Effects of Declawing. BARKS from the Guild (23) 44-46. Retrieved May 5, 2017, from UNESP-Botucatu Multidimensional Composite Pain Scale for Assessing Postoperative Pain in Cats: Dr. Lynn Bahr is a graduate of the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine who credits a special grey and white ball of kitten fluff with leading her down the path of a career in feline medicine and behavior. Her areas of interest and special care for felines include health and wellness, lifetime enrichment, hospice care, strengthening the animalhuman bond, ending the practice of declawing, and the ability to speak cat. Dr. Bahr is currently the CEO of Dezi & Roo,, a company that manufactures and sells solution-based pet products. She is a Fear Free certified professional and serves on the board of directors for Pandemonium Aviaries.


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

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF TOOLS AT YOUR DISPOSAL: A Process Road Map with Check Boxes: 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 2017



Teaching Trailer Loading

Kathie Gregory highlights ways of training horses to be calm, relaxed and confident about

ot all horses au- There are many reasons may not enjoy going tomatically enjoy horses into a trailer but there is the process of much trainers can do to make them feel more at going into a trailer, yet in ease with the process an emergency it may be essential for them to do so. In actual fact, there are many things a horse may be worried about that prevents him from walking straight into a trailer, and this article sets out to examine some of them. To start with, the horse could have issues with balance.Various conditions mean that older horses may not be so sure footed. For example, a horse may have arthritis, poor eyesight or poor hearing, and all of these can cause him to feel unsteady on his feet. Some young horses find it difficult to shift their weight so they can stand on three feet; you may see this when they are learning how to stand to have their feet trimmed. Whilst it may not seem that this would be an issue when stepping onto a trailer, it can quickly become one if the horse is unsure and decides to go very slowly. While at normal walking speed there will be no problem, when a horse is unsure of how to balance, his weight slows down sufficiently. In effect, he is pausing, and shifting his weight to continue can be difficult. The trailer ramp may also cause the horse to think he does not have secure footing until he gets used to how it feels. Another issue might be that the horse has to step backwards to get off the trailer, and although most people have taught their horse to back up a step or two, he may not be comfortable going backwards down a ramp. In addition, the surface of the ramp and trailer may be new to the horse, and he may need some time to get used to how it feels on his feet. The noise it makes as he steps on it can also make him feel unsure of committing to getting on. Obviously if the surface is slippery it is not only a safety issue, but also one the horse is likely to refuse to step on. Many horses are used to being in a small space such as a stable, but that does not necessarily translate to being comfortable in other small spaces. The trailer does not have any of the associations the stable has, making him less likely to want to get into it. The noise of the vehicle can also make a difference. It is one 46

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

thing to step into a small space, but quite another when you add engine noise, and then movement, particularly if you have a noise sensitive horse. A very alert and watchful personality is also likely to find the vehicle noise a challenge, along with an inability to see what is going on around him. The whole concept of being in a moving box is not natural to the horse. Noise, movement, lack of space, unable to see his surroundings, and an inability to leave the trailer if he wants to, all conspire to make this an anxious experience. If the horse also has had bad experiences with being loaded or travelling, things can be even worse, and he may panic or refuse to go anywhere near the trailer. Horses can also be wary of new situations, so if a trailer is a new experience, what is unfamiliar may be a potential threat. All these factors affect a horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sense of safety and confidence, and can make trailer loading difficult or even impossible. However, there is a lot you can work on before you first introduce your horse to a trailer, or to resolve issues due to previous experiences. Think about all the aspects of the trailer and set up games and activities that teach the horse to understand, be comfortable and competent around them. I will mention a few here, but there are many exercises, tricks and movements that you can teach your horse. Learning is all about expanding understanding and awareness, so teach your horse to enjoy being taught, learn at his own pace, and express himself and experiment as he learns. All these things help him become more self-confident, emotionally resilient and feel safe and secure. Photo: Ewa Highland


being loaded into a trailer


- Pick each foot up independently. Hold it in position for a few seconds. - Move one foot at a time, forwards, backwards and to the side. - Step forwards, backwards and sideways a different number


of steps. - Pause in walking with one foot up. - Place a foot on a step or low bench. Teach your horse to do these things himself, not with you physically aiding him. Being able to move when they need to is hugely important for a prey species, so being unbalanced when not on all four feet will create insecurity and a lack of safety. Being aware of how to move his body weight to stay balanced helps the horse feel secure and also helps those horses that find the movement of the trailer challenging.


- Set out a track with poles on the floor, teach your horse to walk through rather than over them. - Practice going forwards and backwards. - Teach him to feel where the edges are and keep within them. - Make the shape of your trailer and the ramp with the poles so he can practice the movements he will use to get into the trailer. Some horses are not as aware as others of what their body is doing. Knowing how to move in a controlled manner helps to minimize any anxiety a horse may feel about suddenly finding himself too close to something, or banging into objects, which can startle him. Increased awareness and control over his movements promotes a sense of being in control of his own.

Surfaces and Textures

- Walk over different surfaces. - Stand on different surfaces. - Walk past posts with ribbons or material attached to them. These surfaces will create noise as the horse walks over them, which helps him get used to different noises when he moves. It also helps him to feel different textures on his feet and not be worried by them. Items that move can also spook a horse, so this teaches him to be comfortable around things that move in the wind or when his body touches them.


- Add background noise of music or cars idling. - Being able to cope with noise distractions is very useful.

When going into a trailer, horses may have issues with balance, surface, movement or noise but trainers can help them overcome these

Photo: Vicki Conroy

Photo: Vicki Conroy

Horse trainers can set up games and activities to help horses be comfortable and competent around all aspects of a trailer

Teaching your horse to differentiate between noise that he needs to be alert to and noise that is inconsequential to his safety is great for a calm disposition.

Putting the Ideas Together

Think of fun ways to teach these things.You may be interested in agility, tricks, or creating a routine to a piece of music. We do all these things with dogs to interest and engage them, so think about how to apply that to your horse. If your horse likes movement, you may look at agility or hoofwork to music as a starting point. If your horse is more of a thinker, perhaps starting with teaching tricks will keep his mind engaged. I find adding targeting to the activities we do is fun and motivating for my horses, so don't think you have to stick with one activity. Instead, mix it up, and do what makes your horse happy. If there is something that he is not good at, anxious or insecure about, leave it until he has gained some confidence from other activities. One of my horses likes to do things that involve movement. He will happily engage in agility type activities, but is more likely to be bored by static tricks, so we concentrate on movement and add in something static every so often. My other horse has negative associations with movement in certain contexts due to her background before she came to me, so we do more static trick work, adding in small movements that do not trigger the negative associations. I teach both of them in the same area, at the same time, spending my time going back and forth between them and focusing on the things they enjoy. I see several benefits from this. They each get time where I am not doing anything with them. This helps develop self-restraint, particularly in a horse who wants to be engaged all the time. It also gives the mind time out, so helps to minimize any over anticipation and subsequent over arousal. The horse learns that he can relax in between activities. Some horses like or need breaks during activities and, of course, learning is most effective when done in smaller sessions rather than one long one. Being together, my horses also see what the other is doing. If one does not want to engage with a piece of equipment or activity, they will often decide to have a closer look when they see the other horse engaging. They can also copy the otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s movements.You see this readily in different breeds, where each has an aptitude for a particular movement. As they do things together, observe BARKS from the Guild/July 2017


When teaching a horse to go into a trailer it is essential not to rush it, and to go at the horse’s pace

each other and practice, you can see a gradual improvement in the horse that does not have that particular aptitude.

The Trailer

Some horses have no problem getting onto a trailer even if it is the first time they have seen it. Others, though, need help. The ideas above are presented to help you teach your horse that he can cope with different movements, textures and sounds, and make him confident enough to cope with new situations. If you own a trailer, you can make it part of your activity sessions. This means the horse will get used to it over a period of time and it becomes just part of the session. If you do not own a trailer, it is well worth hiring one for a few days, if possible, at least for the first time your horse experiences it. In this scenario, the trailer represents a new piece of equipment in your activities. How you introduce it depends on how your horse responds to it.You may just work as you would with any new piece of activity equipment if your horse is inquisitive and receptive to checking out new things.You may ignore it for a couple of days so your horse can get used to it being there before you do anything with it.You might do targeting activities near it, or use hay and other food around it to create a positive association.You can make the trailer part of your activity routine without including your horse so he can observe you around it. Horses are inquisitive and they like to “help” with what we do. This is a good way for your horse to decide he wants to be involved without you needing to entice or shape him. There are some main points to adhere to whatever your strategy. First, do not go too fast for your horse. He should always be comfortable with everything you do. Finish sessions whilst he is happy, and never think, “oh let’s just see if we can get a bit further.” If he becomes anxious it will undo all the positive work you have done, and probably take you several times longer to reach the same stage again. Do not rely on food to lure him. If he has 48

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to make the decision between wanting the food and not wanting to get on the trailer, you have created conflict. In this situation, the negative aspect always wins and the food will be regarded with suspicion. This may even generalize to being wary of taking food in other situations. Even if your horse does get on the trailer because his desire for the food outweighs his concern for the trailer, at some point he is likely to panic and have a strong adverse response, resulting in a very strong negative association with the trailer. This can be disastrous and significantly dangerous if you have lured him onto the trailer and followed up by closing it. This leads on to my next point. Being comfortable enough to get in and out of the trailer does not necessarily mean the horse will cope with being shut in it. Once his option to leave is taken away, his perception may change. Never be tempted to shut him in quickly. Always go slowly at this stage and start by only partially closing a gate or door, then immediately opening it again. Always take things at your horse’s pace, and respond to his body language and signals. Always keep his mind in a state of calmness and trust. n Photo: Claire Harding



Harding, C. (2014, March 1). Float loading at liberty with positive reinforcement [Video File]. Retrieved May 12, 2017, from

Kathie Gregory is a UK-based qualified animal behavior consultant, presenter, and author, who specializes in advanced cognition and emotional intelligence. Passionate about raising standards and awareness in how we teach and work with animals, she has developed Free Will TeachingTM, www, a concept that provides the framework for animals to enjoy life without compromising their own freewill.Her work is divided between working with clients, mentoring, and writing. She is now writing her second book, about bringing up a puppy using free will teaching.


Countering Emotional Distance

Amanda Newell discusses empathy in practice, what it is and how to use it most effectively

herever I look in this world I often see a visible distance, a remoteness, a void between humanity and living things. From the attitude towards animals, who may be abused, neglected or abandoned, to the loneliness, depression and anxiety permeating society in an ever increasing population, I feel something is off kilter. I decided to try to figure out why this is. Where do people get their attitudes? What is going wrong? Why is it happening? Having studied anthrozoology from an anthropological perspective, one of my “light bulb” moments came with the realization that when we only use science we can end up, paradoxically, creating emotional distance in our endeavors to create connection. As Bekoff, Goodall, Milton, Midgely, de Waal and many others have observed, when we concern ourselves only with objectivity, measurement, evidence based practice and the rights and wrongs of different methods, tools, techniques and approaches we risk promoting disconnection. Of course, as far as training (or perhaps we would be better using the word teaching?) our animal friends is concerned, understanding learning theory, the ethology of the species, and then applying techniques that are robust and understood as non-fear inducing is a no-brainer but, and this is a big but, what about all the “other stuff?” What about love, empathy, concern, taking five minutes to enjoy one another’s company, or musing what it might be like to have four legs? What about taking five minutes to breathe in that warm, herbaceous scent horses emanate or the nutty scent of your dog’s paws. What about all that? What if the other stuff actually prevented the need for some of the many behavior consultations? The painful truth is that science has, in the past, made mistakes that could have been avoided if we had not constantly followed the dogmatic belief that science is fact. Taking empathy as one component of the other stuff, we can see how the mistakes could have been avoided. Ethologist Frans de Waal (2009) reminds us how science can sometimes lead us in the wrong direction: “One set of animal studies has, in fact, had a huge, concrete influence on how humans treat one another. A century ago, foundling homes and orphanages followed the advice of a school of psychology that, in my opinion, has wreaked more havoc than any other: behaviorism.” De Waal explains that Watson, the founder of behaviorism (not Skinner as is often reported), was so enamored with the power of conditioning he almost became “allergic” to emotions. He thought maternal love and fussing over infants could instill weakness, fear and inferiority in children. Watson thought infants could be raised by his scientific principles, the “evidence-based

Controlled empathy is a means whereby pet professionals may pause for thought to reflect and reason on the experience of the animals in their care

Photo: Paphiakos Welfare & Shelter, Cyprus


in animal behavior consulting

practice” of his time. For example, a child could not be touched unless in reward for excellent behavior. De Waal reported that, unfortunately, Watson got to practice his “less warmth more structure” approach in orphanages. The result was babies, who should have been thriving, were instead described “as zombies, with immobile faces and wide-open expressionless eyes.” (de Waal, 2009). This snapshot of history is a salient reminder as to why we must recognize that learning theory and training are only cogs in a far larger wheel. If we believe that animal behavior is just stimulus plus response we run the risk of reducing animals to mere machines, incapable of the emotions and feelings we know they have. States Bekoff (n.d.): “It’s bad biology to argue against the existence of animal emotions. Scientific research in evolutionary biology, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds) and social neuroscience support the view that numerous and diverse animals have rich and deep emotional lives.” In this excerpt from his book Kindred Spirits, veterinary surgeon, Allen Schoen, succinctly demonstrates the problem in practice: “Once, during my senior year, I was on night duty in the animal intensive care unit. There a lonely yellow Labrador, recuperating from surgery for a fractured femur, lay whining and squirming around in his sterile stainless steel cage, a pathetic ball of quivering fur and flesh licking the crusted blood around his surgical site, whimpering as students and residents walked by, ignoring his calls for help. I couldn’t stand it. The moment the others left I started monitoring his intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Then I opened the cage door and lay down next to him on the floor, petting him, stroking him, talking to him. Boom! The door BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



opened and the resident on duty stormed in to angrily ask me what I was doing on the floor with this dog. ‘Petting him,’ I said. I asked if he had any painkillers. The resident snorted. ‘How do you know the dog is in pain?’ he asked. ‘You’re anthropomorphizing.’ ‘Isn’t whimpering a sign of pain?’ I asked. ‘Absolutely not,’ the man retorted and strode away.” (Schoen, 2002). Dr. Schoen’s story demonstrates how he managed to maintain his empathic awareness and sensitivity despite the detached approach of his supervisors who were perhaps experiencing an “empathic block” (more on this shortly). How, then, can we understand empathy better? How can we use it?

Applied Empathy?

Academics have recently produced a paper titled Empathy Dynamics in Conflict Transformation that is written for human conflict situations. The manual states it is for anyone involved in mediating change, including peace-builders and development practitioners. I think pet professionals fall into all those categories. Some important points to be gleaned from the report are: Empathy is about how we understand others and falls into two categories: • Automatic ÂOuchÊ Empathy – instantly occurs when we react to another’s feelings; we laugh with their joy or flinch when they hurt themselves. Controlled Empathy – pause for thought; comes • from thinking and reasoning; reflecting on the perspective of the other. For the pet professional, controlled empathy gives us a means of pausing for thought, taking a moment to reflect and reason on the experience of the animals in our care. As Bekoff (2007) suggests, we should be giving animals the “benefit of the doubt” when the current evidence does not find in their favor, in order to ensure our moral position and their well-being. The other essential component I would reflect on here is dyspathy, i.e. anything that stops empathy. The three types of dyspathy are: Blocking – something that prohibits empathy towards • another. Distancing – the other is seen as too different, or too • far away. The constant threat of being “accused” of anthropomor50

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

© Can Stock Photo/CCarvell

Pet professionals can inspire empathy -- or dyspathy -- through their choice of words

© Can Stock Photo/Kosobu

Now that it is endangered, the Florida manatee has been “rebranded” to change public attitude and inspire concern

phism may create such distance. • Lumping – viewing a group negatively because the whole group is negatively blocked or distanced, such as the wildly inaccurate and emotive statement, “all pit bulls are dangerous.”

Putting Empathy into Practice

Applied empathy is an enormous subject, so I will just touch on a few simple ideas that you can start using in practice to introduce empathy into your daily work.

The Right Words

The words we use are deeply influential to our human clients. They convey our attitude and our philosophy, and will often be mimicked. The Florida manatee was historically referred to as “a cross between a dirty barrage balloon and a gray maggot with a face only a mother could love.” (Goedeke, 2004). In more recent times, the manatee has appeared on the endangered list. Realizing they needed to motivate behavior change via attitude change, authorities now promote the manatee as placid, docile, gentle, peaceful sea cows linked to the mermaid legend, thereby conjuring up an entirely different image to inspire public concern. Another example is the use of the word “vice”’ in horses who weave, crib bite and perform other stereotypical behaviors. Some owners think their horses are being “naughty,” performing “immoral” and “deviant” behaviors for their own pleasure or to “get revenge.” (Note: the same is often applied to cats, dogs and just about any other pet). When presented with the idea their horse is suffering with a mental health disorder, however, their picture of what is happening is completely reframed. As professionals, we inspire empathy, or dyspathy, with our words. Think about the words you use to your clients, write them down, reflect on your own practice and maybe gently guide yourself towards different word use if you see how you could be misconstrued.

Recognize Ethology

We cannot promote empathic concern by inspiring the idea that everything can be resolved with click and treat alone. Helping clients recognize a pet’s mental, emotional and environment needs is essential to inspiring empathic awareness.

CONSULTING Self-Reflection

Asking clients to experience what it is like to be on the receiving end of a training session is a fun game to play, and a great learning experience at being the learner. Reflecting on what it is like to be unsure of what the trainer wants and unable to use language, and reflecting on what it would be like to fear punishment for getting it wrong, is a powerful experience and tool for inspiring controlled empathy through experiential learning.


Mindfulness is a huge subject that essentially asks us to be in the moment, to be aware and present, consciously reflecting on our actions. It inspires calmness, self-reflection and a starting block for controlled empathy. Universiteit Leiden in the Netherlands has an excellent free course titled De-Mystifying Mindfulness if you would like to explore this further.

Do No Harm

In medical care we adopt this ethos and it is also a good ethical starting point for us all to ask ourselves before engaging with animals. Ask yourself if there is any chance what you are about to do could cause the animal harm in any way -- from the animal’s perspective, and taking into account his past experiences, his current living situation and his overall mood and mental state. Empathy is a key component to welfare. Science shows that animals are good for us, which means we should strive to be good for animals. I hope you enjoyed this brief overview of empathy in practice. I am working to inspire greater empathy across all aspects of training, welfare and management. If you would like to find out more, access further resources and join discussions, please do get in touch. n


Bekoff, M. (2007). The Emotional Lives of Animals. A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow and Empathy and Why They Matter. Novato, CA: New World Library Bekoff, M. (n.d.). Do Animals Have Emotions? Of course they do. The Bark. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from De Waal, F. (2009). The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society (pp.12-13). London, UK: Souvenir Press. Goedeke, T.L. (2004, July). In The Eye of the Beholder: Changing Social Perceptions of the Florida Manatee. Society & Animals 12 (2) 99-116. Retrieved May 9, 2017, from Midgely, M. (1998). Animals and Why They Matter. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press Milton, K. (2002). Loving Nature: Towards an Ecology of Emotion. Oxon, UK: Routledge Books Schoen A. (2002). Kindred Spirits. London, UK: Souvenir Press


Empathy Dynamics Manual: Universiteit Leiden - De-Mystifying Mindfulness:

Amanda Newell, www,, is a certified horse behavior consultant, and, having gained her master’s in anthrozoology (from an anthropological perspective) at Exeter University, UK, her passion is human-animal interactions. She has a particular interest in how empathy, compassion and connection can improve animal welfare and our experience of our human animal bonds. BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow

Angelica Steinker explains why it is important not to jump to quick conclusions in animal behavior consulting

Is Power experiencing Ego Depletion from the “leave it” or is he already in a state of flow?

Thinking slow is expensive in terms of how it uses mental resources and mammals will often try to take short cuts to conserve energy


sychologist Daniel Kahneman has identified two fundamental types of thinking, and he names them “fast” and “slow” in his aptly titled book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. Fast thinking, just as it sounds, occurs quickly and manifests itself in what we often refer to as our gut, or intuition. It happens with minimal effort. Slow thinking, on the other hand, is completely different, and requires much more energy. Slow thinking requires concentration in order to engage in deep thinking. For example, working out a mathematical sum, such as 134 + 53 – 67 = ?, without using a pen and paper, will require us to think slow. If we are strolling in a park and engage in a task that requires slow thinking, we might stop walking so all our energy is directed to the brain. Thinking slow is expensive in terms of how it uses our resources and, just like other mammals, humans try to take short cuts to conserve energy. This can be a problem for training and behavior professionals, as consulting requires slow thinking, often for an entire session. Thinking fast and slow draw from the same shared pool of mental energy. This pool, like any other, is a limited resource. Enter stage left, the Law of Least Effort. Humans really do not want to engage in thinking slow. We prefer the less energy-draining option of acting impulsively, or thinking fast. As a result, we tend to default to fast thinking. But because nothing in life is (usually) free, this also comes at a price in that it can cause us to make poor decisions or jump to inaccurate conclusions. This is especially costly when working with canine aggression, for example. A behavior consultant’s mistake when working with a dog that needs house training will only delay progress. If we make a mistake in accurately assessing a reactive dog, however, it could have tragic consequences. 52

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Thinking fast or acting impulsively drains less mental energy but can lead to poor decision making; here, Power is thinking slow, which requires energy depleting self-control

The alternative, thinking slow, also comes with a cost: it requires more mental energy, which is why we do not want to do it. But here is where it gets interesting. In order to think slow, we need to engage in some form of self-control. This causes something researchers call Ego Depletion, which refers to the dynamic of mental energy as a limited resource. Stated simply, Ego Depletion occurs when our self-control runs out of gas. One might say that thinking fast is easier on the gas tank of Ego Depletion, but once the tank is empty, a person literally runs out of mental energy to engage in thinking slow. Once Ego Depletion is complete, people will automatically give up on thinking slow and default to thinking fast. Thanks to the article, Marshmallow test - an experiment in selfcontrol for kids, we can gain a picture of what Ego Depletion looks like in children. In one experiment, researchers gave children a marshmallow and told them that, if they did not eat it until the researcher came back, they would be given a second marshmallow. The choice, then, was one marshmallow now, or two if you use self-control and wait. As a side note, notice how the child in the video, The Marshmallow Test, cannot stop himself from looking at the marshmallow. This is why teaching “leave it” to our canine companions ideally includes a head turn. Looking at the “leave it” most likely causes Ego Depletion. Since nothing related to the mammalian brain is simple, there is a plot twist: flow. Originally a sports psychology term, flow refers to a mental state in which thinking fast and slow are combined to form an ideal state that enables our best functioning. It is also the most expensive state of brain use in terms of energy, but it is also self-reinforcing. This means that, if we can achieve

and maintain a flow state, our behavior consult will seem easy while the client is still maximally benefiting from the session. It is interesting to consider what can pull a person into thinking slow: • Walking and chewing gum (just kidding!). • Conflict. • Inhibiting yourself. • Trying to impress. • Emotional responses. For the behavior consultant, any conflict with a client will prevent us from thinking fast, but it will also prevent us from reaching a flow state. Avoiding conflict with clients seems logical, but it can be challenging when someone is burned out or frustrated with their dog. Those of us who can implement self-control, such as that required for remaining patient with our human client, will elicit thinking slow and possibly promote a flow state. At the same time, trying to impress a client could pull us right out of a flow state, so this is something to be aware of. Finally, emotional responses elicit slow thinking and, hopefully, compassion. Because thinking slow depletes self-control and can lead to impatience, it is ideal for behavior consultants to aim for a flow state. I have often craved white chocolate after completing an emotionally challenging behavior consult and it seems this may be related to Ego Depletion, which can be offset by glucose consumption. Remember, then, that keeping chocolate in your gear bag may be an actual requirement for behavior consultant glucose depletion emergencies! Consider for a moment your most complicated behavior consulting case. The more triggers a dog has, the more goals a client has and the more complicated the case becomes. These more complicated cases require a lot more energy than simple cases where the dog only has one trigger and the client is happy with a management plan. This sets the stage for another variable: motivation. When we are highly motivated to help a client we have more energy to think slow, but when our motivation is low our mental gas tanks are empty, which makes thinking slow a big challenge. It seems to me this is part of the reason that behavior consultants are prone to burn out. A job well done is extremely demanding and, as a result, takes up more energy than fast thinking tasks. Now here is another plot twist: using mental energy is aversive. As humans, we want to default to thinking fast. Thinking fast creates the illusion of flow and can make us feel smart, but this is a trap. Real flow combines thinking fast and slow and does not make use of jumping to conclusions without carefully considering all angles of the presented issue. This happens because thinking fast is self-reinforcing. The fact that thinking slow is aversive leads people (including us, as behavior consultants) into the “what-you-see-is-what-isthere” trap, according to Kahneman. Armed with only a few facts, or sometimes only one fact, we might think we see a pattern and immediately jump to inaccurate conclusions. Conversely, thinking slow would require gathering all the facts and only then voicing our thoughts or opinions. This takes both time and energy but is a commitment we owe to both our clients and their dogs.


Another stumbling block created by a preference for thinking fast is something PPG president Niki Tudge calls “recipe training.” In this instance, instead of fully understanding the underlying concepts and science of behavior, a consultant memorizes a canned set of approximations. As the consultant goes about their daily business, these approximations become a hammer, meaning that every dog – unfortunately – becomes a nail. However, behavior consulting is by no means that simple. Not only does it require understanding the science of behavior and razor sharp observation skills, it also requires the professional to be an artist and customize the behavior change plan for each client, dog and situation. Finally, and possibly most potentially damaging, is that thinking fast can lead to reactive training. Not only might we make an inaccurate conclusion, we might also make a knee jerk recommendation that ends up, at best, not solving the client’s problem or, at worst, psychologically damaging the dog. As pet professionals, we need to be sure to avoid the thinking fast trap. Although we may feel smart when we think fast, we are at our smartest when we think slow. n


Happie Reads. (2017). Marshmallow test - an experiment in self-control for kids. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from IgniterMedia. (2009, September 24). The Marshmallow Test [Video file]. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from Johnson, G. (2011, February 28). Oreo Experiment [Video file]. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from Kahneman, D. (2013). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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


Share your knowledge and expertise! Submit your idea for a webinar to: /PresentaPPGmemberWebinar.

Topics may include a particular aspect of training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics...anything at all your fellow pet professionals would find educational. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!) BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



Self-Defense for Personal Safety

In the second part of this two-part feature, Daniel Antolec continues the discussion on how

n the first part of this article, I detailed five steps pet behavior and training consultants can implement to help ensure their personal safety when out in the field, based on my threedecade police career. Now, in this second part, I will highlight four more steps pet professionals may wish to take into consideration if a situation escalates, or you sense might be getting to that point.

Step Six: Flow Like Water Having practiced hard-style karate for 10 years, I found it difficult to relax into a different style when practicing Jiu-Jitsu, and kept hearing my instructors chastise me: “You are stiff like a board. Relax and flow like water.” World champion mixed martial artist, Royce Gracie, was the first to tell me that and he was followed by others. It was a hard concept for me to grasp. Then it dawned on me while disassembling an old water bed. The bed frame was made of thick heavy lumber, and although each plank was hefty, their stiffness meant I could easily move them. The waterbed mattress was drained as much as possible, but there was still some water in it. When I picked up one end, the water flowed to the other end and I was unable to lift it. Flowing like water means keeping an open mind and being flexible to changing conditions. Dog trainers develop this skill. They will often build numerous options into their lesson plan, or may even change methods on the fly as they adapt to the learning ability of the individual dog and owner. Thinking, “The last dog I trained learned to sit with a lure, so every dog must learn with a lure,” would be a rigid approach. A flexible trainer may realize, “This particular dog does not follow lures very well, so I will use shaping…or capturing…or any number of other methods.” Such an approach would be fluid, like water. In the same way, being flexible with a human client enables you to quickly adapt to changes in circumstances, such as when you realize you are not safe during a private session and whip out your cell phone to recite your “escape clause.” (See Stay Safe: Plan Ahead, BARKS from the Guild, May 2017, p.52-54). Step Seven: Identify Weaknesses This is the stage Dr. George Thompson, author of Verbal Judo:The Gentle Art of Persuasion, prepared us for, when there clearly is no alternative than using force. The question now is how much force is appropriate, and what exactly is effective. The best answer is to take formal lessons with a skilled martial arts instructor, just as it is best for dog owners to take instruction with a skilled dog trainer. When a local trainer is not available, many recognized experts have produced training DVDs that may be helpful. 54

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Canine behavior and training professionals can take steps to ensure their own personal safety when conducting a private consultation at a client’s home

© Can Stock Photo/Amaviael


canine training and behavior professionals can ensure they stay safe at private consults

There is an art and science to dog training and to self-defense. Coaching is necessary and one cannot expect to read an article and develop skills that I developed in actual practice over many years. These are my favorite martial arts for practical self-defense: 1. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Originally adapted by the Gracie family, these methods use leverage, joint locks and chokes that are optimized for smaller persons to be effective against larger attackers. Helio Gracie, the clan leader, taught his family to “do no unnecessary harm.” Gracie academies have specially developed courses for women. 2. Kyshu-Jitsu – This style employs the use of Chinese medicine meridians and acupuncture points to reverse the flow of Ki energy from healing the body to weakening it. During my police career, I used this in nearly every instance when force was required and it enabled me to control others without harming them. 3. Muay Thai – This hard-style uses forceful methods including kicks, knee and elbow strikes to great effect. Practical application is likely to cause harm to the attacker. What martial arts accomplish is efficient use of energy and focused techniques, targeting very specific weaknesses in human anatomy. Understanding body language of the attacker enables a defender to anticipate and respond preemptively, rather than be surprised and react slowly. A smaller woman does not have to be more powerful than a 200-pound male attacker. She need only focus her entire being against a weak point, such as a joint, a nerve point or an unprotected organ.


Step Eight: How Much Force? There is probably (local) legislation governing self-defense and those laws can guide you. Wisconsin, where I am based, has a self-defense statute, for instance. The legal standard I taught as a police instructor was based on requirements of an administrative code and Supreme Court rulings. By that standard, use of force is limited to doing only what was reasonable and necessary in the face of an imminent threat to oneself, or another. Reasonable force does not mean minimal force. In practical terms you will likely need to use more force than your attacker, until the threat is resolved. Then you are required to reduce or stop using force. In the example I cited in Part One of this article, where a man drew a firearm against me, I could have justified using deadly force in the face of an imminent threat of deadly force. Because I was so close to him I chose a disarm him, calculating that gave me a better chance of survival. Had I been one step further away, the option of disarming him would have been unavailable, and I would have had to shoot him. Once I disarmed him, I simply handcuffed him. No other force was necessary, and it would have been unreasonable to do so since he no longer posed a threat. Had he continued to struggle and attempted to reach his firearm, I would have had to rapidly escalate my use of force until the threat was neutralized. Pepper spray is a tool that may be carried concealed in Wisconsin, without a permit, so long as the carrier is an adult without a felony conviction.Your local laws may differ. This is classified as a less-than-lethal weapon and it is effective about 80 percent of the time in quickly stopping an attacker, causing pain but not injury. If you value a force-free philosophy, or are a pacifist, this is a tool you may use without violating your ethical and moral code. As a canine professional, I suggest you first be fully aware and try to avoid or escape a dangerous situation. If that fails, I suggest using whatever force is necessary to stop the attack and to then escape. In short, if your personal safety is in imminent jeopardy, do what you have to do when you have to do it. Step Nine: Effective Defense Against Sexual Violence Sexual violence is a risk factor that all women face around the globe. Centers for Disease Control is a resource of valid data and 25 percent of women in the United States suffer sexual violence at some time. Rape is a crime of violence, power and control. Often victims are selected by testing and probing for weaknesses and vulnerability, with the goal of isolating and controlling the intended victim. Most attackers are known to their victim, which may include dog owners in our case, or their friends and family. A case comes to mind in which a young female health care


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.

provider went to the home of an elderly patient to care for him. The patient had a son who the nursing assistant knew was a firefighter, so she trusted him. On one occasion the son isolated the woman in a distant part of the house and attacked her. He did so after making repeated inappropriate sexual remarks and violated her physical space; the attacker was testing his prey. After the attack the man apologized and promised her, “It will be better next time.” The poor woman was devastated; the attacker was detached from his crime as if it was a “date.” Such is the mentality of men who commit the majority of sexual crimes. What concerns me about the general population of canine professionals is that most are women, and most force-free practitioners have an established psychological aversion to force and violence. They are also care givers by nature and profession. But you do not have to be in peril for the sake of helping others. In 2004, The Impact of Victim Self-Protection on Rape Completion and Injury report was published, following a 10-year study of violence against women. Thousands of cases were examined and a significant finding was drawn from the data: “The most effective combination of self-defense is fleeing, loud assertive vocalization and forceful resistance.” This was found to be most effective in stopping an attack, while not increasing risk of injury to the defender. To conclude, then, you do not want to engage in violence with anyone; you just want to work with dogs and help people. I get it. The vast majority of clients you meet will probably never pose an intentional threat to your safety. I get that too. However, I want you to be able to recognize when you are in the presence of someone who is not safe, and to know how to extricate yourself. Hopefully you will never need to protect yourself, but if you do, remember to do whatever you have to do if your personal safety is at immediate risk. n


Antolec, D. (2017, May). Stay Safe: Plan Ahead. BARKS from the Guild 24 52-54. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Sexual Violence – Facts at a Glance. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Kleck, G., & Tark, J. (2004). Draft Final Technical Report: The Impact of Victim Self-Protection on Rape Completion and Injury. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Daniel H. Antolec CPT-A CPDT-KA is the owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training,, in Brooklyn, Wisconsin. He also sits on the board of directors for Dogs on Call, Inc.,, and is chairman of the Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Committee, www

Email: BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A More Positive Vision

Niki Tudge defines a constructive model for changing minds and behaviors while avoiding


people burnout

© Niki Tudge

was reflecting a few weeks ago on “spanner in the works.” This requires some of the challenges I face in my a subtler tactic and, maybe, a comprofessional roles. I wondered pletely different approach to one of whether some of the road blocks I simple data analysis and solutions. was facing were really worth trying to This does not, of course, mean we navigate, or whether simply moving will disregard data and data driven sothem down my list of priorities made lutions. It simply means we will utilize more sense. As is natural with most of a new model to engage our clients, us, when I fail at tasks or come up employees and peers into helping us short on my goals, the motivation becreate possibilities and a new vision gins to wane and complacency can set so we can drive mutually beneficial in. Recognizing this in myself I do solutions and achieve our objectives. make it a practice four times a year to With all this in mind, I began to schedule time so I can reevaluate my think about a topic I was researching efforts and reinvigorate myself. After for a new book – Appreciative Inthat, I get back to business and am quiry. I wondered what role or type once again ready to change the world! of effect Appreciative Inquiry could or Over the years, I have found this is should play in my approach to these a fabulous way for me to avoid types of people driven challenges. burnout, which many of us experience Appreciative Inquiry seeks to discover Let us start with a definition of what is exceptional in other people when we have exhausted our emoAppreciative Inquiry. Cooperrider tional strength after a prolonged period of frustration resulting (2001, p. 12) states that: “Appreciative Inquiry deliberately seeks from interactions with people. As an introvert, exposure to large to discover people’s exceptionality – their unique gifts, strengths, groups of people, whether in person or through social media, as and qualities. It actively searches and recognizes people for their opposed to frustration from difficult tasks or projects, is enough specialties – their essential contributions and achievements. Apto send me into a downward burnout spiral. preciative Inquiry builds momentum and success because it beWe all find ourselves, through social media platforms or inlieves in people.” I interpret this to mean that, rather than terpersonal relationships, exposed to people who are overly focusing on how clients, employees or peers are negatively imjudgmental, publicly sharp and curt from behind their keyboard, pacting your business, goals or action plans, think instead about or just dead set on being publicly critical and punishing. I find, and how you can help them via the Appreciative Inquiry model. By I am sure I am not alone, that exposure to these types of perusing it to encourage self-reflection, self-worth and positive sonalities over a prolonged period can be very trying, very dethought we should be able set a course of action that will levermotivating and sometimes extremely aversive and disturbing. age people’s abilities and qualities to create a collaborative During my short personal retreats, often staycations, my apchange for the better. This can all be achieved through the art proach is to make a point of recognizing and celebrating sucand application of asking positive and pertinent questions that cesses, however small, and indulging in further analysis of ongoing draw a focus on the possibilities and the shared vision. challenges that have, thus far, evaded realization. This normally How can we use Appreciative Inquiry in our businesses? takes the form of gathering and mining data, determining the 1. Appreciative Inquiry helps us focus on finding the best root cause and looking at the feasibility of potential solutions. in people. For example, rather than zeroing in on the fact that an The focus is all on the problem, how it manifests itself, how it individual overthinks and overanalyzes everything, we would inbegan, the damage it is causing and the negative impact it will stead focus on their creative brilliance and how their contribucontinue to have on the longevity of the business or my individtion can positively impact the team and its goals. We focus on ual situation. Then, and only then, is the focus placed on finding how they are successful and create greater possibilities for sucreal time, easily implemented, data driven and affordable solucess. This is the “what is.” tions, solutions that are fun to look at and enjoyable to solve. 2. By using Appreciative Inquiry with our clients, peers and Having said that, it is not so much fun or easy to rectify a situaemployees, we can create a more positive work environment tion when the challenges and missed goals are the result of indithat focuses on individual potential as a key to our success. If we vidual personalities and eccentricities putting a proverbial 56

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

are having challenges with a client who is missing homework assignments or not being cooperative, then we can begin to understand their motivations and vision. With this newfound understanding we can engage our clients, who will be more committed and passionate because they will choose to participate rather than feel they are being forced. This is creating the “what should be.” 3. When we remove the focus from negativity and criticism and instead work with our business partners, clients, employees or peers to discover solutions that work for everyone, it creates a more engaging and empowering work environment. The change in culture from a negative focus to one of possibilities and support will create diversity and action-centered team goals. This is the “what can be.”


never finish this,” and instead use language such as, “I can,” “I will,” and, “It is my intention to.” This type of positive, upbeat action language is contagious and should be shared alongside compliments and positive reinforcement for a job well done. Let others know they have succeeded at something, or simply that they have a great attitude. Make it a habit to always reassure yourself, and others, of the value you have and the skills and abilities you can contribute to a team.

© Niki Tudge

Inquiry Interviewing under the Appreciative Inquiry model is a far distance from the traditional styles used for job interviews, promotions or workplace problem-solving activities. Appreciative Inquiry interviews remove these stereotypes and instead focus on: Discovery: Identification and appreciation of what works. The Appreciative Inquiry Model: Dream: The process of what can be; imagine what might Positivity – Inquiry – Influence be. Positivity Design: The leveraging of what is best. First, we must change the way we think. The application of posiDestiny: The delivery of new results. tive thought to each and every situation is imperative for creatDuring an interview, the client or employee is asked positive ing a positive environment that harnesses change in people’s questions, encouraged to share pertinent stories and is helped behavior and attitudes. Positive attitudes create confidence and through a journey of discovery. They are encouraged to think and this will support future success. When we feel positive we are envisage how they can contribute to the success of the situation. better equipped to make changes in our own lives and this puts At the same time, scare tactics and intimidating scenarios are a us further away from negative thoughts, and situations that mani- thing of the distant past. Instead, how we approach the interview fest in low motivation and a feeling of failure and despair. Thinkand the type of questions we ask will set the tone. Positive quesing positively is also one of the easiest ways to help ourselves tions prompt positive answers. Sharing of experiences and opinand others reduce personal stress. ions encourages empowerment and confidence, and genuine The fastest way to destroy a positive attitude is to focus on questions to seek mutual solutions develops trust and a feeling what can go wrong and what happens if it does. A principal comof safety and security. ponent to Appreciative Inquiry involves having positive goals and During interviews with clients or employees, look for recurfocusing in on them. I am not suggesting that ignorance is bliss ring themes. Patterns will emerge in people’s experiences and and we always need how they narrate to be mindful of the them. Themes such other side of the as expertise, trust equation, but we and commitment should acknowledge will come to light we have as much, if and help you build a not more, control sense of what is imwhen working toportant to them. wards the upside This will help you than we do if we spibuild a plan that enral down into negacompasses shared tivity. Even the values. For example, trickiest problems you might assume are not all-or-nothloyalty if someone ing situations, and shares how they this line of thinking stayed with a project needs to be avoided or workplace during at all costs. tough times. If they Get into the express how imporhabit of using positant it is for them to tive language with see projects or goals yourself and others. through to compleAvoid, “I cannot do The Appreciative Inquiry model embraces people’s quirks and differences, to tion, then this may create a positive environment where everyone can reach their full potential that,” or “I will indicate that they BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



have a high level of commitment. Using this cycle for one-on-one conversations can leverage knowledge, and this stimulates creativity and builds a momentum toward change and a commitment to the process (Martinetz, 2002). Influence One of the key goals of using Appreciative Inquiry is to positively influence other people and create an impetus of change. This can have a ripple effect by starting off small and gradually extending to wider ranging audiences. We can help impact others through a change in our own behavior, and we can help others change themselves by helping them see how competent and valued they are. By using Appreciative Inquiry, we make it possible for people to ask questions that seek to find alternative solutions and to create possibilities. When this happens, there is no limit to the types of creativity and genius we can unleash in our work environment. Be, then, more positive and upbeat. Support others in their differences and celebrate these quirks. Use inquiry to generate visions, possibilities and expectations around shared goals. When people understand this, they are drawn to new and different ways of doing things, free from negativity and individual restric-


Cooperrider, D.L. (2001). Why Appreciative Inquiry? In C. Royal & S.A. Hammond (Eds), Lessons from the Field: Applying Appreciative Inquiry (p.12). Plano, TX: Thin Book Publishing Martinetz, C. F. (2002, September). Appreciative Inquiry as an Organizational Development Tool. Performance Improvement (41) 8 34-39. Retrieved May 8, 2017, from

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tions. When they have a clear idea of what is expected of them, they are much more likely to live up to their potential. By creating an environment where you recognize the best in people, not only will they benefit from knowing what they can contribute, I can guarantee it will make you feel much better because you will be surrounded by positive, upbeat and supportive personalities. n Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 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 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients.

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Ask the Experts: A Package Deal

Veronica Boutelle of dog*tec responds to pet professionals’ questions on all things business and marketing

Q: In the previous issue (see The Right Timing, BARKS from the Guild, May 2017, p. 55) you wrote about selling training packages to set trainers, clients, and dogs up for success. I’d love to hear some examples of these training packages as I’m planning to start doing this.

- Aileen Hodgson, UK

A: There are lots of ways to package training services (your creativity is the only limit!), but here’s our favorite: Create packages for specific needs. For example, if you do behavior work you might provide separate packages for each type of case you take—one for leash reactivity, one for dog-human aggression, another for separation anxiety, etc. If you train basic manners, you can offer a package based on the time you need to teach a core set of behaviors, or two packages, each sized according to the number of cues covered. Or arrange your basic manners packages to address the most common needs in your area, such as a loose leash walking package, a package for recall, or a combo pack. Alternatively you might create your packages around what people in your town do with their dogs, offering packages such as in-home manners (think sit, go to your mat, and greeting guests), park manners, and the polite pooch (for the dog you can take anywhere—others’ homes, hotels, outdoor cafes, barbecues, etc.). Puppy training packages are another opportunity for creativity.You can arrange different sized training and socialization packages based on the number of training days per week and/or the number of weeks of support.You can also offer longer puppy raising packages that get pups out more often with you.You could even provide all the various puppy supplies you recommend (training aids, puzzle and feeding toys, etc.). If you offer other services, like classes or day care, think about combinations, too. For example, packages that combine private puppy training and socialization outings with group class or puppy socials or puppy day care. Or leash reactivity packages that combine private training with a group reactive rover class or guided small-group field trips for more advanced students.

The key to creating successful packages is understanding your local clientele. What do local dog lovers typically struggle with? What do they want to be able to do with their dogs? What would make it easier for them to live with their dogs at home and enjoy them out and about with the family? If you position your packages to meet local needs—and then describe what these packages are designed to achieve—you are sure to get takers. One last tip: Base the size of all your packages on the time needed to create real change in a typical case or to give yourself enough time to install and at least moderately proof behaviors. If you simply give people choices between, say, six sessions and 12, most will choose the less expensive option. But people will pay for a larger package when they can see that it is designed specifically to solve their problem or meet their needs. The trick is not to offer choices you do not want clients to make. Best of success to you and your business, Aileen! n Have a question for the business experts at dog*tec? Submit your question for consideration to

Learn how


can help your business:

Boutelle,V. (2017, May). The Right Timing. BARKS from the Guild (24) 55. Retrieved May 15, 2017, from Veronica Boutelle MA Ed CTC is founder and co-president of dog*tec,, and author of How to Run Your Dog Business and co-author of Minding Your Dog Business. dog*tec offers professionally-designed positive reinforcement dog training class curricula, including Open-Enrollment Puppy, Open-Enrollment Basic Manners, and short Topics classes built for retention.

Puppy training packages are one way to get creative and offer alternatives to clients; combinations are a good option too, such as private training with socialization or day care

© Can Stock Photo/ESIGHT

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A Dog’s Inspiration

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


of SideKick Dog Training in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

og lover Jennifer Prill stepped into the dog training world when she decided to pursue certification in training, which she earned about a year ago via the Animal Behavior College. She started SideKick Dog Training as a way to spread the word about positive reinforcement and help pet guardians in her local area build and strengthen their relationships with their “sidekicks.”

Jennifer Prill names her blue heeler, Ruby, as one of her biggest influences

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

A: Ruby is my little spitfire blue heeler mix and, much of the time, I'm left wondering who's training who. She's a smart gal and has taught me so much about dogs and dog behavior. She was the inspiration for starting my own dog training business. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: My dog, Ruby, has been an enormous influence on my career. She is, and has always been, my “guinea pig” for learning and trying different techniques to teach a variety of behaviors, and, like I said, was the inspiration behind starting my own dog training business. It is my close relationship with her that helped me realize how important and necessary force-free methods are in dog training and in our relationships with our furry family members.

Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?

A: Dogs have always held a special place in my heart, so I decided to work toward a job/position/career that was more rewarding and aligned with my interests: enter dog training! Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer?

A: I have always been a force-free trainer.

Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you? A: The tagline for my dog training business is, "Better training through better relationships," and I wholeheartedly believe the two greatly influence each other. I feel that force-free, positive reinforcement training methods are the best way to achieve a great relationship with your dog and to get the best, lasting training results. Q: What do you consider to be your area of expertise? A: None - I'm new and always learning. 60

Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for the most commonly encountered client-dog problems? A: I love using a clicker as a marking tool with my clients and with my own dog. Few things are as rewarding as seeing things click (no pun intended) for the dog and seeing a client light up when they realize this whole dog training thing is working. Q:What is the favorite part of your job?

A: The dogs – naturally. In all seriousness though, I really enjoy being able to meet and interact with a wide variety of different dogs with different personalities and different challenges.

Q: What awards or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods?

A: Ruby and I haven't entered any competitions and have no awards – unless you count getting the most sits in 30 seconds during our puppy class!

Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?

A: Not long ago, I visited a client in their home. I was prepared to BARKS from the Guild/July 2017


take things pretty slowly, since they described their dog as not being too fond of strangers. Not only did the dog greet me at the door with a slipper in her mouth, but within an hour or so she was asleep on the couch next to me on her back and snoring. The client said this was definitely not a normal reaction to strangers/guests.

seminars, watch webinars, subscribe to any and all dog training blogs you can get your hands on, shadow positive reinforcement – based dog training classes in your area, volunteer at your local humane society or a rescue, talk to dog training professionals, and ask lots of questions.

A: At this point, dog training is only my side job, but just an hour or so of working with a client and their dog is so much more rewarding than a full eight hours at my 9-to-5 job. I can't explain the amount of pride I feel for them when the skepticism slips away and I hear the surprise as they say, "Hey, it worked!"

A: PPG provides a wealth of resources and information that I've been able to reference and use while training and honing my skills as a trainer. There will always be more to learn as a dog trainer, but PPG puts a bunch right at your fingertips. n

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

Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out? A: Devour all the information you can find: go to conferences and

Q: How has PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer?

SideKick Dog Training,, is located in Whitefish Bay,Wisconsin To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, complete this form:


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For people who are serious about their dogs!

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017



A World of Play

Breanna Norris reviews Gamify Your Dog Training - Training Games for Group Instruction


by Terry Ryan

y beat-up copy of Terry Ryan’s original game booklet, the now out of print Let the Games Begin, has been my go-to manual for group class fun for a long time, so I was relieved and delighted when Ryan gifted us with a new book of activities for group classes, this time with even more games, guidance and instructions. Some games from the original pamphlet are revisited but over 60 percent of Gamify Your Dog Training is new. In total, this new book includes 77 games for group classes, plus nine activities that are just for people. With a little creativity (and maybe some arts and crafts), you could plan hours of classes just by using the games and ideas in this book. I have already used many of them with groups at various skill levels, including puppy classes. Ryan’s games make a Canine Good Citizen or therapy dog prep class even more fun and interesting. In addition, special holiday game parties for students can be fun for practice and maybe even foster some friendly competitions. Throughout the book, Ryan provides a page or two of instructions for each game. Every description begins with the prerequisites for playing the game and the actual benefits of playing. Some prerequisites are a sit on cue or a recall, while others may require a retrieve or an ease with working in close proximity to other dogs. Ryan also guides instructors to play the games at the appropriate pace for the dog and handler rather than rush through the steps. One of the many benefits to playing the games is creating an unusual training experience for pets and their parents within the safety of a classroom environment. While Ryan offers direction to keep everyone entertained, the games offer a way to vary important training so no one gets bored. Games from Gamify Your Dog Training can also be altered. While some are more advanced and others are for beginners, you can change games to meet your group’s skill level with slight adjustments. All the games offer practice and many teachable moments, such as Tic Tac Toe (Ryan offers several versions), Flimsy Leash or 10 Chances. Some of the games, while still offering great practice and teachable moments, are just great fun and can get the whole room laughing. I get requests by students for games like Dogzilla Strikes Again, I Hear a Symphony, Moji Moji Kun, and Spot On all the time. Although the games included in the book may seem simplistic at first glance, they are thoughtfully created and Ryan continues to offer an antidote to boredom in group classes with games that she has been using for years. The games offered can help keep a class focused, engaged and upbeat. As dog trainers, we are lucky that Ryan is willing to share her wonderful and playful world with us. She makes it seem so easy, a true part of her genius. Any trainer that teaches group classes should have a copy of this book. n 62

BARKS from the Guild/July 2017

Terry Ryan’s new book on training games is recommended for anyone who teaches group classes

Gamify Your Dog Training - Training Games for Group Instruction Terry Ryan (2017) 150 pages Dogwise Publishing ISBN: 978-1-61781-204-0

BARKS from the Guild July 2017  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...

BARKS from the Guild July 2017  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...