BARKS from the Guild July 2019

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s u m m i t

Considering Canine Aggression from a Scientific Perspective Susan Nilson reports on PPG president Niki Tudge’s welcome address and keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Radosta’s opening session at PPG’s fifth annual summit, held in Portland, Oregon in April

PPG president Niki Tudge opens PPG’s fifth annual summit, and first on the West Coast, by highlighting the need for pet professionals to be supportive of each other

Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Radosta speaks to the importance of maintaining a scientific perspective, avoiding labels and focusing on what is observable


Line of One, which explains that, when flying in formation, flocks of geese honk to encourage those at the front. “Our honking needs to be encouraging,” states the text accompanying the video. “Outcomes are more powerful when there is support and encouragement. Individual empowerment results from quality honking.” “This really resonates with me as to what we are doing,” said Tudge. “Together we can be so supportive. We need to respect each other’s skills and each other’s business processes and just be ultrasupportive and kind, so we can all be so much more powerful in what we’re doing.”

PG hit the West Coast for the first time in April, holding its fifth annual educational event, the Canine Aggression and Bite Prevention Educational Seminar – complete with a very popular bonus feline track – in Portland, Oregon. As per tradition, PPG founder and president Niki Tudge kicked off proceedings with a few well aimed throws of PPG’s trademark summit “free stuff” into the audience, before getting down to business with her opening address. This year, Tudge’s theme highlighted the importance of staying focused on the big issues and not getting bogged down in minutiae. “We have a responsibility to advocate for our pets and our clients’ pets,” Tudge said. “We need to start supporting each other rather than lose sight of the bigger picture. Don’t argue the small stuff. Just agree to disagree, because the big stuff is too important. Don’t let the ‘perfect’ become the enemy of ‘good enough.’ The big battles need all our focus. Stay reasonable and rational while not wavering on your ethics. We can only have an impact if we do what we do as a group.” Tudge pointed out that people leave the industry because they don't find the support they are looking for, and that exchanges on social media, too, can play a significant role here. “As professionals, we can still be kind and reasonable to our peers without compromising our ethics,” she said. “Kindness is not a weakness, but a strength.” On that note, Tudge introduced the concept of the PPG Summit 2019 +R dog, whereby attendees would be randomly rewarded by PPG steering committee members for acts of kindness. They would then have the option of keeping the dog, paying it forward, or trading him in for a PPG gift certificate.

Honking is Powerful As part of her address, Tudge showed the video Lessons from Geese ‐


BARKS from the Guild/July 2019

PPG Summit 2020 At the close of her address, Tudge announced the location and dates for PPG’s sixth annual Summit, which will take place once again in Kanab, Utah, on September 20-25, 2020. Next year’s theme is Collaborative Care and Enrichment – Creating Partnerships for Positive Results and two unique programs are available. Program 1 will incorporate three full days of convention center-based presentations and labs, while Program 2 encompasses five days of morning and evening convention centerbased presentations and labs, combined with afternoon hands-on, multispecies workshops at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Anyone registering for the event before September 2019 will receive a 15% early bird discount (see also p.6 and ad on back cover). In closing, Tudge introduced keynote speaker, Dr. Lisa Radosta, who had already brought down the house the previous evening with her presentation Exploring Emotions in Dogs from a Scientific Perspective at the Chat, Chuckle and Learn private dinner (see also p.15). In her three-hour address, Radosta focused on the causes of canine aggression, the assessment of dogs exhibiting aggressive behavior, treatment plans, public perceptions, and the prevention of aggression in an accessible way, asking, ultimately, “What do we really know?”: “Is