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BARKS from the Guild


Issue No. 11 / March 2015

CANINE Harness or Flat Collar? BEHAVIOR Prevention vs. Cure

TRAINING Targeting and Stationing

FELINE From Outdoors to Indoors

© Can Stock Photo Inc./cynoclub

RESCUE Collaborating with Shelters

MUSINGS A Canine’s Sense of Consciousness SALES The Emotional Connection

Cats in Conflict: The Myriad Complexities of Feline Aggression

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

Six Unmissable Workshops for Pet Enthusiasts and Dog Training Professionals in Sunny Tampa, Florida! April 25

Canine Injury Prevention

c Includes interactive lecture on injury prevention and a proper conditioning program, plus a hands-on LAB teaching you how screen your own dog(s) for potential issues using movement patterns

May 1-3

Master The Skill of Loose Leash Walking

c Learn everything about ‘loose leash walking’ for relaxing, longer walks in any neighborhood so they are fun, safe and stress-free

May 4 22-2

Up Your Game! Helping You Professionalize Your Pet Care Services

c Join a variety of experts covering a range of topics from how pets learn to canine and feline anatomy and communication systems. Eight hours of classroom and LAB tuition plus hands-on training each day

-12 1 1 y Jul -23 2 2 t s Augu er 17-18 b Octo

Fun In The Sun! A Weekend Of Canine Fun

© Can Stock Photo/ESIGHT

c An action packed two-day dog training workshop - with or without your dog. Learn the skills of a professional dog trainer while your dog learns some new skills and tricks. Suitable for beginner and intermediate dog trainers.Three dates available!

For more details and to register: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Workshops


from the Guild Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, FL 33545 Tel: 41 Dog-Train (413-648-7246) PetProfessionalGuild.com petprofessionalguild.com/BARKSfromtheGuild facebook.com/BARKSfromtheGuild Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson barkseditor@PetProfessionalGuild.com

Contributing Editors Jan Casey, Patience Fisher, Elizabeth Traxler

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

The Guild Steering Committee Fiona De Rosa, Diane Garrod, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Anne Springer, Angelica Steinker, Niki Tudge, Catherine Zehner

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

Submissions BARKS encourages the submission of original written materials. Please contact the Editor-in-Chief for contributor guidelines prior to sending manuscripts or see: PetProfessionalGuild.com/Forcefreeindustrypublication Please submit all contributions via our submission form at: PetProfessionalGuild.com/BFTGcontent Membership Manager Rebekah King Membership@PetProfessionalGuild.com

Letters to the Editor To comment on an author’s work, or to let us know what topics you would like to see more of, contact the Editor-in-Chief via email putting BARKS in the subject line of your email. BARKS reserves the right to edit for length, grammar and clarity. Advertising Please contact Niki Tudge at Admin@PetProfessionalGuild.com to obtain a copy of rates, ad specifications, format requirements and deadlines. Advertising information is also available at: PetProfessionalGuild.com/AdvertisinginBARKS PPG does not endorse or guarantee any products, services or vendors mentioned in BARKS, nor can it be responsible for problems with vendors or their products and services. PPG reserves the right to reject, at its discretion, any advertising. The Pet Professional Guild is a membership business league representing pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training and pet care philosophies, practices and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean: No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Prong, No Fear, No Physical Force, No Physical Molding and No Compulsion-Based Methods.


From the Editor

here’s so much going on at PPG at the moment, it can be hard to keep track sometimes. First of all, we have been busy judging the winning photos and videos for our International Day of Celebration for Force-Free Training and Pet Care competition. There were so many creative entries and we thank everyone who participated in what is one of PPG’s primary advocacy and fundraising events.You can see the results on pages 7-9. Secondly, we are gearing up for our first ever convention, the Force-Free Summit, taking place in Tampa, Florida from November 11-13. In case you’ve missed any of our publicity updates so far, we have compiled all the information in this issue, including the speakers, the schedule, the attendance options, the accommodation and meal options, the available vendor and sponsor deals and, of course, all the details on how and where to register. See pages 16-23 for everything you need to know. Our cover story this month is one for the ailurophiles but will no doubt also be appreciated by the many canine experts who are keen to broaden their knowledge on all things feline. Feline aggression is the second-most common behavior issue reported by cat owners and we examine its many manifestations and the body language that accompanies them. In an expanded feline section, we also debate the pros and cons of cats living indoors vs. outdoors and address some of the more typical behavior problems. Our training section in this issue focuses on targeting and stationing, skills that are just as valuable for pigs or birds - or, indeed, any other animal - as they are for dogs. We also highlight some tips to make a visit to the vet less stressful for both owner and dog, and examine the various types of canine harnesses available and what their benefits are over a traditional flat collar. In an ideal world, we would be preventing problem behaviors altogether and another of our canine features zones in on ways to help make that possible. Elsewhere, we detail ways of involving children in the training of a new pup, as well as advise how to best handle that phone call informing you that a much-loved family dog has bitten one of the resident children. Many behavior professionals are involved with rescue in one way or another, and we outline ways of collaborating with shelters and rescues towards the goal of getting more dogs into homes and, specifically, staying in them. We also have a fascinating feature about canine intelligence, the canine brain and the canine sense of consciousness. Thanks to more research, science is starting to shed more and more light on the canine mental landscape. Our equine section returns this month and reports on events in the wake of the recent Australian brush fires, including the complexities of evacuating horses relative to smaller animals, such as cats and dogs. Meanwhile, in our business section, we feature an intriguing mix of topics, including mentorship, what we, as professionals, can learn from pet owners, and how to increase our clients’ levels of trust and build an emotional connection with them. BARKS is officially now bi-monthly, meaning there will be even more to read more often. As always, a big thank you to all our contributors. If you would like to join them, do get in touch.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

n Susan Nilso





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34 36 38 40 42 44 47 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 4

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Niki Tudge talks advocacy and change NEWS, EDUCATION & EVENTS Latest developments and events at PPG, including ICFF 2015 winners and the Force-Free Summit CATS IN CONFLICT Jane Ehrlich examines the complex issue of feline aggression FELINE BEHAVIOR UNMASKED Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about cats A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE Marilyn Krieger presents the case for converting an outdoor cat to an indoor cat TARGET PRACTICE Lara Joseph details the importance of targeting and stationing for day-to-day animal husbandry PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT Joanna Moritz highlights seven basic rules to make a visit to the vet less stressful ASK THE DOG! Ada Simms highlights the advantages of using a harness compared to a flat collar ONE STEP AT A TIME Roberto Barata outlines some options for puppy owners to help prevent behavior problems A FRIEND FOR LIFE Joan Orr highlights ways to involve children in the training of a new puppy THE DREADED CALL Jennifer Shryock outlines strategies for handling the call saying a dog has just bitten a child A FOOT IN THE DOOR Tabitha Davies highlights ways of working with shelters and rescues to get more dogs into their forever homes THAT LIGHTBULB MOMENT Dog owners have known all along that their dogs demonstrate a meaningful level of consciousness, says Bob McMillan A SAFE ESCAPE Lisel O’Dwyer details how to prepare horses for an emergency evacuation THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP Gail Radtke discusses her ongoing mentorship with renowned dog trainer, Brenda Aloff A CHANGE OF HEART Annie Phenix always thought dogs were her teachers, until she realized humans had just as much to offer A POSITIVE APPROACH Angelica Steinker outlines how to increase client trust by using unconditional positive regard GOING LIMBIC John Visconti details the value of establishing an early emotional connection with prospective clients MEMBER PROFILE: SCIENCE, NATURALLY Featuring James O’Heare of the Companion Animal Sciences Institute BOOK REVIEW: NEGOTIATING THE NUTRITIONAL MAZE Susan Nilson reviews The Good Dog Diet by Anna Patfield BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


© Can Stock Photo /IvonneWierink




© Can Stock Photo /adogslifephoto


© Can Stock Photo/sonyae


© Can Stock Photo /cynoclub





© Can Stock Photo /JuliaSV



A Standard for Change


Niki Tudge announces the inception of the PPG Advocacy Committee and outlines

standards of conduct geared towards creating both industry-wide change and achieving the ultimate goal: eradicating the use of pain in animal care and training

Dear Fellow Force-Free Advocates,

2015 has taken off at a similar pace to the way 2014 finished. Once again, we are at full throttle with the need for all of us to fasten our seatbelts! For more details on some of the projects we are currently working on please turn to the News section on pages 10-11. First off, I am delighted that we finally launched our PPG Advocacy Committee in January. The committee is headed up by Daniel Antolec and currently has a total of nine members. During our first meeting I reviewed a document that I share with each of our committees at their launch. The document outlines PPG’s Key Charter and Guiding Principles and, in particular details how each and every one of our members is an ambassador for our organization and everything we stand for and that, as committee members, we must exemplify this in everything we do. The advocacy team has already outlined its key goal for the rest of the year, which is to reduce the practice of using electronic shock devices in the training of pet animals, and, ultimately eliminate it altogether by 2018. This is the strategic approach: 1) To identify the best and most professional approach to communicate, educate and engage local communities on this important pet welfare and consumer transparency issue. 2) To strategically align key organizations around scientific data and studies to support this initiative.

© Can Stock Photo/Antrey

3) To communicate assertively, professionally and respectfully while adhering to PPG’s Guiding Principles. We will, of course, keep you updated as the tactical plan is developed. I recently read a Facebook post that was very disturbing. It had been written by a professional in our industry informing others that PPG is an “exclusionary, self-righteous and non-inclusive group” and “not the best choice” of professional organization to join. These types of comments affect me very deeply as this is the exact opposite of everything PPG stands for. Of course, there is a complete range of highly diverging opinions on social media, many of which are just that, opinions. However, as Lee Atwater so aptly phrased it, “perception is reality.” I want to take this opportunity to speak of our Key Charter and our Guiding Principles, as well as who we are as an organization, so that when we come across perceptions like this, we can address them and clarify just who we are and what we aim to accomplish. PPG’s Key Charter states that by combining and coordinating our knowledge, efforts, skills, talents and passions to pursue a common purpose, we can accomplish far more together than any one of us could possibly accomplish alone. PPG was founded on a commitment to provide educational resources to pet industry

© Can Stock Photo/iqoncept

PPG’s Key Charter states that, by combining and coordinating our knowledge, efforts, skills, talents and passions to pursue a common purpose, we can accomplish far more than we could accomplish alone

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015





professionals and the pet-owning public while accentuating our collaboration with force-free pet trainers and pet care providers. One of PPG’s primary aims is to be a public voice for the profession, advocating for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry.

How Do We Accomplish This?

As members we need to work together on building a personal organization so it feels akin to an extended family. It should be a place where we all share a lot of ourselves, including our knowledge, skills and talents. We need to encourage the development of a dynamic organization full of entrepreneurial ideas that can be shared among members as best practices. We need to build an organization that is held together by the glue of loyalty, respect for each other and mutual trust. We need to shape a collaborative model that exemplifies open, honest, non-aggressive communication both within our organization and to those who have not yet joined us.

Meeting the Challenge

If we are to meet the challenge of our charter aimed at “emphasizing the collaboration of force-free pet trainers and pet care providers” and “advocating for mutually agreed guiding principles for the pet care industry,” then we all need to lead by example in each and every one of our interactions, whether with our clients, our fellow members or our industry at large. Through our actions and high standards of conduct and performance we can influence how our industry evolves. We can engage and educate others to join us in our force-free movement. We all want to bring about change in our industry. We yearn for a day when pain will no longer be used in the training and care of pets. We have a gargantuan task ahead of us and this effort will not take place over a sprint but rather a marathon. To be highly effective as individuals and as a group we must manage and shape this change very carefully. Over the last three years we, as PPG, have formed a forcefree coalition and developed our future vision. We must now be constantly building our strategy, a strategy that must be consistently and professionally communicated. We must remove emotional barriers and welcome individuals who are aligned with us philosophically but not yet armed with the tools and skills to be effective force-free professionals. This is how we can educate and engage others. We need to reach out to other organizations, groups and associations that seek the same change as we do and work together building on early successes. We need to maintain our pace of change and put systems in place to reinforce others who seek to help us in our change efforts.

Success Relies on Influence and Credibility

Our Key Charter relies on our ability to be influential and the process of guiding people toward the adoption of our beliefs. Reardon’s ACE Theory suggests, and I concur, that people use three criteria to determine whether to respond to a persuader’s message: a) The appropriateness of the message, how is the message delivered and in what context? 6

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

b) The consistency of the message and how much sense the message makes. c) The effectiveness of the message, does it impact a desirable outcome?

Force-Free Communication

We can and will bring about change in our industry. If we all believe in ourselves and our organization and its underlying principles and values, then we can and will bring about change. When engaging and educating industry professionals, you must know and recognize your audience. When you understand your audience, you are better able to communicate with them in an impactful manner. Balance emotional appeals with facts and solid reasoning. Use facts, data and logic. Question your propositions before presenting them or you can damage your credibility and negatively impact your message. Use appropriate, respectful and courteous communication and, in this era of social media, be particularly sensitive to how your written word may be perceived. Use lots of reinforcement and maintain positive dialogue so we can continue to spread our message to audiences that are receptive to listening. Be what we all aspire to bring about. And always be ‘force-free’ in your own behavior and communication. To ensure we can fully implement our charter and work within the guidelines of our guiding principles I challenge each of us to help shape and mold our culture.


Niki Tudge

President - Pet Professional Guild

Key Charter: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Key-Charter Guiding Principles: www.petprofessionalguild.com/PPGs -Guiding-Principles Niki Tudge is the founder of the PPG, www.petprofessionalguild.com, The DogSmith, www.dogsmith.com, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College, www.dognosticselearning.com. Her professional credentials include: CPDT-KA, NADOI – Certified, AABPProfessional Dog Trainer, AABP- Professional Dog Behavior Consultant, Diploma Animal Behavior Technology, and Diploma Canine Behavior Science & Technology. She has business degrees from Oxford University (UK) and has published many articles on dog training and behavior. Her pet dog training businesses have been featured in many publications, including the New York Times.


The International Day of Celebration for Force-Free Training and Pet Care

PPG once again celebrated its virtual community event, the International Day of Celebration for Force-Free Training and Pet Care (ICFF), on February 17 with a fun competition.To participate, members had to submit a photo or video to one of five categories. From these, the winners were eventually chosen from a very highcaliber selection of entries. Here we feature the winners, runners up and many of the other outstanding submissions.Thank you everyone who participated for your creativity and efforts. Congratulations!

To view all photos and video stills, go to: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.788169641274879.1073741828.152829434808906&type=3&uploaded=39

to k Ph o n Stoc a C © millos /alex

Winner’s Rosette © Can Stock Photo/nobeastsofierce

Best Overall Picture


Winner’s Prize:The Inaugural PPG Convention Package, including a $500 credit towards airline ticket, hotel, food and full PPG convention entry

2nd & 3rd Rosettes © Can Stock Photo/Angelinna

Most Creative Complex Training Video Winner’s Prize: One Entry to Dr. Susan Friedman’s ‘Living and Learning with Animals’ Online Educational Course

Sarah Rawson Harris

Kathy Weaver

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

Louise StapletonFrappell


Best Picture North America

Lisa Morrissey

Best Picture Rest of World

Louise Stapleton-Frappell

Best Dog(s) and Handler Team

Amanda Ware

Best Group Picture

CBS - Square Dancing

Winner’s Prize: A $200 Gift Certificate sponsored by Dogwise

Jamie Popper

Annie Phenix

Winner’s Prize: Unlimited PPG Webinars for 12 months



Winner’s Prize: A Full Scholarship at DogNostics Career College

JJ Bachant Brown

Petra Edwards

Winner’s Prize: A Collection of 10 DVDs Sponsored by Tawzer Dog


Tamara Howard

ICFF 2015: Honorable Mentions

Š Can Stock Photo/adogslifephoto


A Big Thank You to All Our Sponsors! BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



PPG Launches Advocacy Committee PPG Licensing Program Imminent


s mentioned by Niki Advocacy Committee Tudge in her president’s chairman Daniel Antolec with one message (see pages 5-6), PPG of his canine has now set up its Advocacy companions, Buddha Committee. Chaired by Daniel Antolec, the committee has already held some initial meetings and started to outline its goals for the year. The committee comprises a variety of professionals who have joined ranks to keep PPG at the cutting edge of the pet professional industry, raise the bar and establish standards that, it is hoped, will become universal in the field. Committee members currently include: Niki Tudge, PPG founder and president (USA); Michelle Frumento, owner of Your Mannerly Mutt (USA); Stephanie Presdee, owner of Good Dog Ownership School (UK); Tamra Temple, owner of Service Dog Mentors, LLC (USA); Janet Velenovsky, owner of Kaizen Pet Training & Behavior (USA); Daniel H. Antolec, owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training (USA); Dee Goings, owner of Peace, Light and Love for Dogs (USA); Camille Personne, owner of Dynamite Dog Training (USA); and Natalie Dolton of Harper Adams University (UK). “Commentary among committee members has been very positive and enthusiastic and I sense a strong desire to promote PPG in the best possible light,” said advocacy chair Daniel Antolec. “Our first priority is to address the subject of shock devices. We will approach this from a wide spectrum of concerns and attempt to gain support from as wide a base as possible. Another high priority is to more clearly define what force-free training means and to spread the word far and wide. There is misinformation in popular media and some trainers who use force are describing themselves as force-free. We need to educate the public so they can make better informed decisions, and take shock off the table. “Other goals have been identified as dog safety and bite prevention education, and seeking out all manner of stakeholders to enlighten them and enlist their support. This will be a busy year for PPG and the committee members are highly motivated.”

Procedure for Ethics Complaints


t is not PPG’s goal to encourage and solicit ethics complaints. However, we do want to communicate to our members that, if you see something that you believe is an infraction of PPG’s Guiding Principles, then please submit an ethics complaint. Discussing other professionals’ actions across social media platforms is not productive and in fact potentially harmful and damaging to our organization and the industry at large. More details can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/ThePPGEthicsCommittee. 10

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


ork on the PPG Licensing Program has almost been completed with the launch slated for next month. There is a host of eligibility criteria and we will post more information on this soon. However, make sure that you are attending the FREE monthly PPG webinars and submitting for your CEUs to stand you in good stead when you are ready to start the process. This is a very exciting project and is being developed to redefine competency and knowledge credentialing based on force-free training and pet care practices. To start with, a group of subject matter experts and industry professionals developed an extensive “job task analysis” detailing the knowledge, skill and competency requirements for dog training and behavior professionals. We then worked with psychometric experts to create and administer a pet professional licensing program. Psychometricians are experts who practice the science of measurement and data reliability and validity studies. Their involvement in this program ensures that the exam is reliable, standardized and that it tests for the knowledge, skills and abilities required by a professional. The two important elements of any sound examination are validity and reliability.Validity ensures that the examination covers exactly what it should cover and reliability refers to the consistent performance of the examination over time. The Licensing Program has several components BUT we have made it really easy for you in that you will be able test for ALL AREAS of the program at PPG’s Force-Free Summit in Tampa, Florida on November 11-13, 2015. So register today: www .petprofessionalguild.com/Force-Free-Summit.

Write for BARKS from the Guild or Blog for PPG!

We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS and our PPG Blog. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please do get in touch. Email: barkseditor@petprofessionalguild.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/PetProfessionalGuild Twitter: www.twitter.com/PetGuild PPG World Services: www.ppgworldservices.com We’ve made it extra easy by creating templates for member profiles: www.petprofessionalguild.com/page-1861849 and case studies: www.petprofessionalguild.com/CaseStudyTemplate so go ahead and share your ideas, skills and expertise with everyone!

Great Deals Available for Summit 2015



egistration for PPG’s inaugural Force-Free Summit was officially launched in January. With more than 30 presenters over three days, this is lined up to be an amazing, educational event. We are also planning some great evening entertainment with fun, dining and prize winning competitions. PPG has created several payment packages to help make it affordable for those wishing to attend.You either just pay for the convention itself or you can package your meals and your accommodation. Three-day convention rates come in at $450 which is considerably better value than any other three-day events taking place this year. PLUS there is interestfree financing available for PPG members. If you do not see a financing option that works for you, then get in touch with PPG

membership manager Rebekah King (email: membership @petprofessionalguild.com) and she will work with you to make it happen. The success of Summit 2015 will be dependent on the attendance of our membership. We are really excited about seeing you all in November! Also, if you did not catch it, then see www .youtube.com /watch?v=n3zb4s-2I0g for Emily Larlham’s video about the Summit. Each day there will be a minimum of three LABS so you can either attend with your dog or as an auditor. Learn from industry experts, watch or participate in this hands-on experience. For everything else that you need to know about Summit 2015, see pages 16-23 and www.petprofessionalguild.com/Force -Free-Summit.

ature has a way of being simultaneously beautiful and challenging. Our recent brush fires led to no loss of human life but, sadly, the same cannot be said for the nonhuman animals in its path. This natural disaster, which occurred in the Australian states of South Australia and Victoria in early January, was ultimately responsible for both tragic and wonderful stories. In one example, a boarding kennel/cattery was struck unexpectedly by the fire before the business owners were able to resFrom top to bottom:Vicki Burton leads her horses from home to cue all of the safety; Burton (left) settles her horses into their temporary new animals. All of home; horses returning home with smoke from the brushfire still very much in evidence the cats and

approximately 30 dogs boarding there died. Approximately 40 dogs were saved. The business owners were forced to flee as the fire took hold. There was no official warning of the danger they were in. They also lost their home, their own pets and their livelihood. One of the South Australian fire captains lost two of his own dogs in the fire whilst helping rescue dozens of dogs trapped in the boarding kennel. He was seen successfully giving mouth to mouth resuscitation to one of the dogs. Surviving dogs were taken by horse float to local veterinary surgeries for care. Vicki Burton, a well known South Australian force-free trainer, posted the following on Facebook. It is used with her permission: Early this morning we moved Kippy and Webby [Burton’s horses Ed.] from Cromer to Rick and Sandy’s property at Gawler.Thank you so much to Karen and John for caring for them and helping us to load them on the float. Many thanks to Sandy and Rick for the loan of your float and babysitting until the fires are under control and it’s safe to return them back home.Thank you to all our family & friends who have contacted us concerned about Webby and Kippy's well-being. Burton and her two- and four-legged family were some of the lucky ones. These stories flew around Facebook and the media. Not all horses were as lucky as Kippy and Webby who, on return to their home, arrived in gloomy fog (see photo bottom left). Wildlife and natural habitat have been destroyed. Koalas and kangaroos are having mittens made to help with healing their burns. So many koala mittens have been donated that kangaroos are wearing them now. Websites appeared showing people how to make the mittens: www.i-heart-fabric.blogspot.com.au /2015/01/sewing-for-koalas.html. From tragedy has come unity. To all who helped in the fires we say thank you. We are ever mindful of the uniting force of animal-friendly people and how much care and help is shared during such heart-wrenching times. See also A Safe Escape on page 50-51 for more information on evacuating horses in an emergency - Debra Millikan AABP-CABP CAP2 DipABST DipDTBC Cert IV Training & Assessment

Update from PPG Australia


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



Fun in the Sun: A Report from PPG’s Force-Free Training Camp


PG held its five-day Back to Basics training workshop from January 5-9, 2015 at its headquarters in Tampa, Florida. Geared towards teaching participants and their dogs the key obedience skills, trainer mechanics and learning theory, the focus was on learning the best and easiest way to teach said skills using fun, force-free methods. It is always a little risky putting 15 women in a room together but, add a bunch of dogs and some pungent treats, and it can actually turn into something a little bit wonderful. The Workshop participants (standing, from left to right): Emily Conde and Onyx, Margaret Herbert and Zephyr, Melody McMichael and Faye, camp was designed for new- Samantha Rodgers, Angelica Steinker and Tally,Wendy Schmitz, Julia Armstrong and Pepper-Jack with (lower level from left to right) JJ bie trainers or rusty profes- Bachant Brown and Luna, Rachel Williams and Chloe, Melissa Hagood and Charlie, and Candace Hertzel with Gordon sionals, and covered the basics of training from using a clicker to and at ease; comments, suggestions and praise were flying about shaping complex behaviors. Niki Tudge of DogSmith offered the for dogs and their bumbling human counterparts. It was very class at her lovely sprawling estate in Florida with a rare (for dog nice to see women feeling comfortable enough to laugh at themtraining) climate controlled building. The facility was a clean, well- selves and really enjoy their dogs without as many of those first managed space that had many locations for dog relief and runday jitters. And by afternoon, just in case we got tired of Tudge’s ning off steam. The building itself is a new barn-style building that dulcet English accent, we shifted to a workshop on fun with dogs has plenty of open space and room for people and dogs. offered by Angelica Steinker. If you have never seen a woman act The first day of the seminar felt like a traditional class with like a happy border collie, then you really need to meet Ms. the standard slide show and definition of terms. But in case we Steinker. With an infectious canine spirit she was able to entice thought it was going to be a sit and do nothing kind of class we even the most disinterested pup into engaging in play and offerwere pleasantly surprised when we were directed outside fairly ing kisses where previously there were none. Days three and early to work on shaping behaviors with agility jumps. With a four found us doing lots of hands on work at Tudge’s premises, small class size the exercise ran smoothly and quickly with plenty and visiting Steinker’s training facility for lots of agility, dock divof time for individual attention and silly mistakes that make ing and lure coursing fun. working with dogs extra fun. Between the easy-going, self-professed casual efficiency of By day two women and dogs alike were feeling more relaxed Tudge, and the energetic stimulation of Steinker, the class offered

(Left to right): Niki Tudge (right) works with Margaret Herbert and Zephyr; Candace Hertzel rewards Gordon for a job well done; (left to right) Rachel Williams and Chloe, Melissa Hagood and Charlie, and Samantha Rodgers and Tally work on their obedience cues


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

something for every person and every dog. As a long-time dog trainer of 20 years I only signed up for the class for the continuing education credits. I went into class thinking it would be nice to learn at least one new thing and spend some time in the Florida sun. Thankfully the professionalism and variety of topics being discussed worked as a great motivator and energizer that reminded me of everything I love about dogs and training humans. I think the newbies got the information they needed to desire more and get their feet really wet (literally, for those who tried the dock diving fun) with two women who clearly love what they do. The rest of us remembered what we had forgotten or taken for granted when working with clients, and it renewed a passion for training that can all too easily be stamped out by sheer exhaustion or non-compliant clients. Specifically, we learned about luring, shaping, capturing, using play as a reward and tips for relaxing anxious dogs. We then used the techniques to teach the dogs how to target and shape to using a crate as


well as basic cues like sit, stay and come. It looks like Tudge is creating something really special in her DogSmith/DogNostics world; something that every trainer could probably benefit from, a safe learning environment where force-free is key and the fun is baked right in.

- Wendy Schmitz BA CDBC

Upcoming PPG Events

Back To Basics - A Five-Day Level Two Force-Free Dog Training Instructor Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Monday, April 13, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday, April 17, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Canine Injury Prevention Workshop and Seminar Part 1 with Shari Sprague (Tampa, FL) Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. (EDT) Canine Injury Prevention Workshop and Seminar Part 2 with Shari Sprague (Tampa, FL) Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. (EDT) Master the Skill of Teaching & Achieving Loose Leash Walking with Daniela Cardillo (Tampa, FL): Three-Day Seminar for Dog Training and Dog Walking Professionals/Two-Day Seminar for Pet Owners Friday, May 1, 2015 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Pet Care Certification Program with Rebekah King, Melody McMichael, Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge: Three-Day Workshop to Help You Professionalize Your Pet Care Business (Tampa, FL) Friday, May 22, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, May 24, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train 16 Obedience Cues Level - Intermediate Five-Day Dog Training Workshop with Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge (Tampa, FL) Monday, July 27, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday, July 31, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT)


JJ Bachant Brown (left) and Luna work with Emily Conde and Onyx

Live Webinars

What Does It Take and Should You Open Your Own Daycare Facility with Tristan Flynn Monday, March 9, 2015 - 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (EDT) A PPG Case Study - The Most Challenging Behavior Cases with Diane Garrod Tuesday, March 17, 2015 - 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. (CDT) What's SUP Pup! Teach Your Dog to Stand Up and Paddle Board with You with Lisa and Brad Waggoner Sunday, March 22, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. (CDT) Understand How You Can Bring a Feral Pup into the Pet Home with Yvette Van Veen Monday, April 06, 2015 - 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (EDT) Improving Your Interpersonal Relationships with Clients through Enhanced Verbal Communication Skills with Niki Tudge Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn All about How to Train a MAR Dog (Missing Animal Response) with Kat Albrecht Monday, May 04, 2015 - 8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. (CDT) Hands On Business Coaching - Business Bites. Out Think, Out Smart, Out Grow Your Competition with Niki Tudge Monday, May 11, 2015 - 5:00 p.m. (EDT) Monday, August 17, 2015 - 6:00 p.m. (EDT) Learn About The Genetics of Canine Aggression with Dr. Jessica Hekman Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. (CDT) Learn How to Play SprinklesTM and the Benefits It Brings to Our Canine Partners with Sally Hopkins Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (EDT)

Details of all upcoming workshops can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Workshops. Details of all upcoming webinars can be found at: www.petprofessionalguild.com/GuildScheduledEvents A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



Canine Injury Prevention with Shari Sprague


Full-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida

Saturday, April 25, 2015 - 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. (EDT)

© Can Stock Photo/AntonioGravante

hari Sprague MPT CCRT is a certified canine rehabilitation therapist who will teach participants the components of a proper strength and conditioning program and how to screen their own canine athlete for issues. The workshop/seminar will include a three-hour interactive lecture on injury prevention and a proper conditioning program, including appropriate warm-ups and cool-downs followed by a hands-on LAB. The LAB will teach participants how to quickly screen their own dogs using movement patterns to learn what is normal for a dog versus something that may indicate an issue or be at risk of injury. After the LAB, individuals who have signed up for the screening spots will get a 15-minute private one-to-one hands-on assessment of their dog. Sprague will also provide specifically recommended exercises for each dog. At the end of the workshop participants should be able to: s Understand evidence-based concepts regarding injury prevention for their canine athletes s Identify modifiable extrinsic and intrinsic factors that may increase or decrease the risk of athletic injury in canine athletes s List the components that make up a proper and safe strengthening and conditioning program for the canine athlete s Identify normal movement patterns in their dogs to assist in recognizing abInjury prevention and a proper normal movement patterns conditioning program are important that may arise in the future for canine athletes

and may contribute to an increased injury risk s Perform a quick movement screen on their own dogs for presence of movement dysfunction currently, or that may arise in the future Pet dog owners who have a “Screening Spot” will also receive a basic home program designed specifically for their dog based on the findings during the session. There are three tiers of registration: 1. Auditor Spots - auditing the seminar only. 2. Working Spots - there will be a maximum of eight working spots available (persons attending with their dogs who will have them for the LAB portion). 3. Screening Spots - there are four screening spots available (the opportunity for four people to attend a 15-minute hands-on screening with their dog at the end of the seminar).


More information and online registration: www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1778068 www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1778123

Pet Care Certification Program A Three-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida


Friday, June 5, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, June 7, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) Working and Auditor Spots Available

f you are a pet care provider, aspiring pet professional, dog behavior consultant, dog trainer, rescue professional, fosterer or a trainee in any of these disciplines, then this program will give you all the skills you need to safely practice in the pet industry. It has been designed to cover everything you will need to become a 14

Shari Sprague

CPCT and more. Each day participants will enjoy eight hours of classroom and LAB tuition and hands-on training with a selection of presenters covering a wide array of topics, including:

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015 © Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

s How Pets Learn - includes a detailed overview of operant and respondent conditioning with hands-on examples and video analysis s Canine Behavior and Social Communication - learning the language of dogs and understanding the canine social behavior and communication systems; learning about affiliate and agonistic communication and passive and active appeasement behaviors; understanding dog bite inhibition and bite thresholds s Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology - a study of dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology s Canine and Feline Health and Handling - Includes common canine and feline health issues, vaccination protocols and important daily and emergency handling skills s Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols - a very detailed module that covers in depth the many potential emergency situations you may, through first aid, need to manage prior to a pet


in your care being attended to by a veterinarian

s Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys and Supplies - learning how

to identify appropriate equipment and use it safely, as well as more practical applications, e.g. desensitization protocols s Bonus Module: Bump Start Your Business – this module covers the key and critical skills required for growth with an overview of how to create a simple but effective marketing plan Certification Protocol Working registrants will have the option to take a certification test online after the event to achieve the CPCT designation. Auditors will be required to complete the test and submit videos to show competency in mechanical skills across several disciplines.

More information and online registration: www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-1824616

Master the Skill of Teaching and Achieving Loose Leash Walking with Daniela Cardillo

A Three-Day Seminar for Dog Training and Dog Walking Professionals in Tampa, Florida Friday, May 1 - Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day A Two-Day Seminar for Pet Owners in Tampa, Florida


Saturday, May 2 - Sunday, May 3, 2015 - 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day Working and Auditor Spots Available

he definition of ‘loose leash walking’ has nothing to do with eye contact or heel-work. These are good behaviors for competition heeling but not for relaxing, longer sustained walks around the community. We want to teach our dogs how to relax during walks in the park and along the street. Walking with our pets should be fun, safe and stress-free. This workshop will focus in particular on the loose leash walking protocol that includes: s The study of the initial Daniela problem (dogs can pull for Cardillo a wide variety of reasons) s Developing the dog’s skills and body awareness s Building the dog's muscle memory s Using the new skills to teach the dog easy exercises to be used as workouts in the learning environment Participants will then transfer all new skills and abilities into the “real world” environment

Trainers only will experience the protocol from a coaching and guidance perspective so that it can be practically used with clients. Pet professionals only will attend all three days. On day one they will learn the science behind the loose-leash walking system with their own dog. On days two and three they will work alongside a pet and their parent, coaching and finessing their skills. There will be room on-site to safely house and exercise participating dogs while working in a team with a pet parent. Program Prerequisites s An understanding of respondent and operant conditioning s An understanding of canine communication and social behavior s Clicker experience is beneficial s Strong and effective client coaching abilities

Pet Owners Pet owners will enjoy the individual attention and guidance of their own coaching partner as they learn and practice their new skills.

CEUs: CCPDT - 21/IAABC - 24/KPA - 21 More information and online registration: www.petprofessionalguild.com/event-914691 BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


Š Can Stock Photo/littleny


Save the Dates! November 11 - 13, 2015 www.ForceFreeSummit.com

PPG’s First Ever Force-Free Summit for Pet Professionals The Force-Free Summit: Reaching for a Higher Standard Tampa, Florida l l l

PPG is to host its first-ever educational convention in 2015. The goals of this inaugural event are three-fold:

To help build awareness of PPG as a first-class organization and to build a stronger collaboration of force-free pet professionals To help support and build communication and networking opportunities with the veterinary community and veterinary educators To provide a highly interactive and fun educational format for all who attend

Guest Speakers Include:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Karen Overall MA VMD PhD DACVB CAAB

Dr. Michelle Duda - Senior Level Board Certified Behavior Analyst Pamela Johnson - Pam's Dog Training Academy Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz - Veterinary Behaviorist Emily Larlham - DogMantics Barb Levenson - Puppy To Partner Program Ken McCort - Four Paws Animal Behavior Services

Theresa McKeon - TAGteach International Pat Miller - Peaceable Paws Jacqueline Munera - Positive Cattitudes Chirag Patel - Domesticated Manners Angelica Steinker - Courteous Canine Inc, The DogSmith of Tampa Niki Tudge - The DogSmith


PPG has secured excellent room rates with The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel, www.sheratontampariverwalk.com. When you contact the hotel, be sure to mention PPG to benefit from our special Summit rates. More details on accommodation: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Pet-Professional-Convention. More details on meal packages: www.petprofessionalguild.com/Packagemeals. We have also created several different pricing options for delegates. Financing over several months is available for PPG members (see page 20). The Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel is a Tampa pet friendly hotel and is happy to accept dogs up to 80 lbs. See www.petprofessionalguild.com/Force-Free-Summit for everything you need to know. Registration is now OPEN!


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


Daily Schedule

The Force-Free Summit Summit Legend Key Note Sessions

Combined Lecture & Working LAB

Lecture Only

Bite Size Learning

Refreshments & Breaks

Panel Discussions

Day 1 – Wednesday November 11, 2015 TIME


7.00 AM 8.00

Group Breakfast & Morning Program Welcome & Opening Address Niki Tudge Founder & President, PPG


Keynote Speaker (2 hrs) 8.30 - 10.30 am Dr. Karen Overall ‘From Leashes to Neurons: Humane Behavioral Care of Dogs’ featuring the canine brain in evolution and daily life, and the neurobiology of reactivity and stress


Morning Tea & Coffee (30 mins)


Dr Karen Overall (2 hrs, continues) 11.00 am – 1.00 pm Assessing Behavior - What Does Testing Tell Us?; No Fear - Redefining Humane Behavioral Care

1.00 PM 2.00

4.00 – 4.30 4.30

Lunch (1 hr) Concurrent Sessions (2 hrs) 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm Chirag Patel

Emily Larlham

Pat Miller

Ken McCort

Jacqueline Munera

Shaping the Perfect Patient

Relationship Essentials

(lecture + lab)

Breed Specific Behavior - the Evolution of Dogs with Emphasis on Selective Breeding

A Crash Course in Cats: For Dog and Cat People!

(lecture + lab)

Copy That: Teaching Dogs to Learn through Imitation (lecture + lab)


Afternoon Tea & Coffee (30 mins) Concurrent Sessions (1.5 hrs) 4.30 - 6.00 pm Room Chirag Patel

Room Emily Larlham


Shaping the Perfect Patient

Relationship Essentials

Pigs, Pups, Parrots, & Predators (lecture)

(lecture + lab cont)

6.00 6.30 7.00


(lecture + lab cont)


Lara Joseph

Pam Johnson Canine Freestyle Collides with Disc Dogging

Room Barb Levenson Spoons to Dumbbells (lecture + lab)

(lecture + lab)

Panel Discussions (30 mins) Room Day One Evening Entertainment – Treasure Hunt

Enjoy a jaunt around Tampa with a group of peers culminating in drinks/dinner and prizes

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015







Pricing and Packages Option One - The Pug Package Option One - The Pug Package The rates below also include: Rates include:


© Can Stock Photo /jstaley401

l1. Registra Registration "Treat on and and "Treat Bag"Bag" l2. Welcome Welcome Cocktail Party the evening of Cocktail Party on theonevening of November 10th

November 10, 2015 The Tampa Treasure Hunt on the evening of 11th November 11, 2015 Your Summit Registration

3. The Tampa Treasure Hunt on the evening of November


Rates include: The rates below also include:

l1. Registra Registration "Treat on andand "Treat Bag"Bag" l Your Summit T-Shirt 2. Your Summit T-Shirt l Welcome Cocktail Party on the evening of

Welcome Cocktail Party on the evening of November 10th November 10, 2015 TheThe Tampa Treasure Hunt on the evening of November 11th Tampa Treasure Hunt on the evening of Your Summit Registra November 11, 2015on Summit Breakfast & Lunch each day Your group Summit Registration Summit group breakfast andthe lunch each of day "The Splash" Formal Dinner on evening November l12th "The Splash" Formal Dinner around the pool overlooking Tampa on the evening of November 12, 2015

3. l4. 5. l6. l7.

© Can Stock Photo /cynoclub

Option Two - The Aussie Package Option Two - The Aussie Package

Option Three - The Mastiff Package Option Three - The Mastiff Package Limited Spaces So Book Early!

Rates include: The rates below also include: l Registration and "Treat Bag" l Your Summit T-Shirt on and "TreatParty Bag" on the evening of November 10, 2015 l1. Registra Welcome Cocktail Summit l2. Your The TampaT-Shirt Treasure Hunt on the evening of November 11, 2015 3. Welcome CocktailSpot Partyinon the evening l One Working a LAB each dayof November 10th Tampa Treasure Hunt on the evening of November 11th l4. The Your Summit Registration l5. Your Summit group breakfast Summit Registra on and lunch each day l6. One "The Splash" Formal Dinner the pool overlooking Tampa Working Spot in a LAB eacharound day on the evening of November 12, 2015 7. Summit group Breakfast & Lunch each day l Your accommodation TheonSheraton Tampa Riverwalk 12th Hotel on 8. "The Splash" Formal Dinner the evening of November the nights of November 10,11 and 12, 2015 9. Your accommoda on on the nights of November 10th, 11th and 12th

© Can Stock Photo /cynoclub

TheMastiff Mas ffpackage packageisisbooked bookedthrough through PPG. PPG. We We coordinate coordinate your on and The yourroom roomaccommoda accommodation andatat registra on you will receive all the necessary documenta on for your meals and any LABS you registration you will receive all the necessary documentation for your meals and any LABS you register for. If you are interested in sharing a room and registering on the "Double Occupancy" register for. If you are interested in sharing a room and registering on the "Double Occupancy" . Packagewe wewill willalso alsowork work with with you you to Package to find find aa suitable suitable room roommate mate.


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




Cats in Conflict

Inter-male aggression is high on the list of commonly reported feline behavior problems

Jane Ehrlich examines some of the many types of feline aggression, one of the most

common behavior problems in cats, and tries to shed some light on this complex issue

nter-cat aggression is one of the most commonly reported behavior problems by cat owners, second only to feline marking behaviors such as urine spraying and middening (Magnus, Appleby & Bailey, 1998; Overall, 1997). The only cat owners likely to have not experienced this often convoluted issue are either those who have never had more than one cat at a time, or never shared their lives with a solitary cat who likes to roam the neighborhood. There are several distinct kinds of aggression in cats and, until you figure out the type being displayed, it can be hard to stop it. The good news is: you can. In the meantime though it is quite possible that you, your cat, another cat, or all three might get hurt. Cat bites and scratches can be incredibly painful, with both human and feline potentially requiring medical intervention. So the more you know about why the skirmish is happening, the better you can manage the situation. Several of the most common types of aggression (and they can overlap) include: Redirected Aggression: This one is easy to spot. The cat is looking out the window, sees a bird or cat he cannot get at, reacts, you happen to be near, and he goes after you. Chomp. Scratch. Or, he wants to pick a fight with your other cat or dog, you intervene and... you get it. Suggestion: if Noodles is reacting to outside cats, which is a perfectly normal response, block his view of the other feline in-


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

terlopers. Cardboard and foil taped to windows (as high as the cat can stretch upward) are aesthetically unappealing, true, so consider translucent sheeting that sticks on merely with static at DIY stores. Make sure you do not approach Noodles when his ire is up. Let him cool down first.

Petting-Induced Aggression: This is your own fault, you know. Different cats have different thresholds for physical affection. Noodles does give a warning, when he has had enough. Watch his body language. The important word here is ‘beginning.’ His body begins to tense, fur begins to ruffle, tail begins to switch, pupils begin to dilate, ears begin to flatten. See? These are the signs. Stop petting immediately. Let him cool down. To lengthen the time he stays on your lap to be petted, give one more stroke each time. If he remains, treat. Love through the stomach. The jury is out about just why cats react so quickly and negatively to petting a little too long. Some feel that cats get lulled into a state of relaxation and their guard is down—then, when consciousness rears its head, the fight-or-fight response kicks in. It has also been suggested that seeing a hand come over the head alerts the survival response, and, jerked from his lull, the cat hits out. This alone is a good reason to learn just where Noodles wants to be petted—and how—not where and how you want to pet him.

Pain-Induced Aggression: I am not referring to the obvious: a pulled tail or a human foot accidentally stepping on her. I mean that you may not recognize a sore spot, say, on the spine. Gracie hurt herself or developed arthritis and you were unaware. Now when you touch an affected part of her body, she nips or scratches you. It is a new response. When it is in the same place, a particular spot, see the vet. It is not only crucial to identify underlying issues that a painful spot may indicate but it shows you what areas to avoid. Handling a cat all over, frequently and gently, might raise her threshold for pain-aggression and will certainly calm her during nail-trims, mouth- and ear-searches.


Play Aggression (Towards Another Cat): What is the difference between play-aggression and real fighting? In play, the claws are not out, there is no - or very little - vocalizing, nobody is running away and both cats take time-outs to reposition themselves before the next launch. When cats play-fight they part easily. The action is over, someone saunters or zips off, and there is no residual tension in the air. Play-fighting is more than healthy, it is how cats learn. This is how they find out this hard a bite means fun; that hard a bite means not good. How to capture prey. A way of judging the character of the other guy. If it looks like it is getting out of hand, quietly intervene - not by picking up one of the cats but by ‘breaking the script.’ So calmly put a piece of cardboard or similar between them and gently usher one cat away to cool off for five-seven minutes but not longer. It goes without saying we should never use punishment. Reward the good behavior and try to ignore the bad.

Play Aggression (Towards a Person): Humans are also prey. Cats may go for the ankles, fingers, eyes, toes – or anything in between. Pounce! Dash out from around corners! In bed! Ouch! Sometimes Truffles arches her back and hops sideways, especially when she is young. Perhaps her mom and siblings were not around, for various reasons, to teach her that this hard a bite is fun; that hard a bite is not. Either way, chances are Truffles is an only cat. So stop the rough-play yourself, get a second cat because Truffles is bored out of her lovely little mind, and make sure she gets real interactive play (with a pole toy) several times a day for at least 20 minutes each time as well. This will enable her to get out that oh-so-natural energy in a positive way.

Inter-Male Aggression: This one is number two on the feline aggression hit parade. As males behaviorally and sexually mature, they challenge each other.You see posturing, depending on your boy’s precocity, from the age of eight months, when he is no longer a kitten but a teenager, through a year, two, or even a bit longer.You suddenly realize Little Bits is not as subservient as he was yesterday. Instead he bats back, does not scoot from the room just because HereFirst sauntered in. A growl escapes if he is threatened, meaning ‘Why on earth should I be the one to

Play-fighting (see series of photos, right, top to bottom) is a good way for cats to learn appropriate boundaries.This situation could yet escalate if the black and white cat decides against a submissive response Photos by MagAloche (own work) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl .html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa /3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (www.commons.wikimedia.org/wiki /Main_Page)



move?’ The response to this growing phenomenon is interesting: Does HereFirst fight back? Or, in the depths of his feline soul, does he fight back and do his gesturing? Or, depending upon his age, does he eventually give in to the role change? If he elects not to, then it can become a real problem.

From Boys to Men

This is particularly common during the breeding period. Posturing, threatening and fighting. Hissing and growling. Aggressive interactions between boy cats often include elements of territorial aggression as well. Neutering helps hugely but neither the fighting experience nor the cats’ ages affect the success of castration. Owners should ensure there is a lot of in-home territory, vertical as well as horizontal (tall perches in front of windows, for distraction, stimulation, safety and that crucial environmental control: the ability to see who is where, when). The cats should

be rewarded when they both display calm behavior. We are not looking for love letters in the sand here as much as toleration. Remember the underlying theme: ‘Good Things Happen in Each Other’s Presence’. Scent-swap. Also, Feliway plug-ins may calm the environment. If so, spritz a little on each cat’s collar. Sometimes temporary low-dose medication is useful. Occasionally, when withdrawn, the cat may become aggressive again. At other times, however, that toleration behavior is imprinted well enough.

Fear-Based Aggression (Defensive Aggression): When a cat sees someone or something she sees as a threat, the three responses tend to be freeze or fight until escape is possible—in which case, flee. Defensive behavior all around. We have all seen the signals: dilated pupils, flattened ears, tucked-under limbs, low body position, leaning away from the stimulus, batting, clawing,

Non-Verbal Communication

Learning how to interpret a cat’s body language is invaluable in helping cat owners assess the animal’s emotional state


© Can Stock Photo/taden

Keep an eye on your cat's body language. To that end, here is a scenario. In fact, you probably already know the signs. It is only a matter of putting them together and monitoring at what point Noodles starts demonstrating even one of these signals. It is the same as reading a human's body language: one sign may not a message mean, but put a couple together, or anticipate what might be coming, and you are ahead of the game. For example, you are absentmindedly petting your cat who has already begun to indicate she has had enough. What was the first sign? Probably the body tensing. Even twitching a bit. Or she has ceased purring. Perhaps her tail has begun to switch back and forth. Cats are not dogs—a little switching does not mean they are enjoying whatever is happening. Maybe her fur has begun to ruffle just a little bit. Perhaps she has shifted into second gear, the ‘I SAID I’ve had enough’: She has shifted her body position. Perhaps she is looking back at your hand. Cats tend not to do this if they are relaxed and feeling mellow, enjoying the stroking. Her ears have juuust begun to flatten, getting into ‘airplane mode’. You still have not stopped? Third gear: ‘NO MORE!’ Some

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

cats never bother with this point, they just jump off or give you a filthy look and a swipe, either with claws in or out, and then leap. Otherwise, Noodles might let out a complaint. A low growl. An irritated ‘mrrowrw’. Her pupils are fully dilated by now. Pay attention from the beginning, owner/servant/staff member/cat lover. And you will not only be able to read her mind at the earliest sign but will also have a much better chance of extending the stroking, a wee bit at a time, without getting attacked, every time she is on your lap. Aggressive Postures:

Offensive: • Rigid, straight-legged upright position • Rigid rear legs with rear raised and back sloped down toward the head • Tail stiff and lowered or straight down • Direct stare • Upright ears with their backs swiveled slightly forward • Fur ruffled, including the tail (piloerection) • Narrowed pupils • Directly facing opponent, cat or human, possibly moving forward slowly • Might be growling or yowling

Defensive: • Crouching • Head tucked in • Tail curved around body, tucked in • Eyes wide open with pupils dilated • Ears flattened sideways or backward on the head • Ruffled fur • If anxious, whiskers might be pulled in. If fearful, whiskers might fan out and forward to estimate distance between herself and the threat • Turning sideways to threat, not straight on • Open-mouthed hissing or spitting • Might deliver quick smacks with front paws, claws in or out


Intra-Specific Aggression


ggression towards other cats may vary from occasional or frequent hissing or scuffling between two individuals in multi-cat households, to serious physical attack of all cats on sight, inside or out. Despotic aggression, victimization and, most commonly, persistent intolerance of new feline arrivals to the household are all quite common. Behaviour may include physical attack, low threshold arousal in response to the sight and movement of other cats, or a total lack of initial investigatory or greeting behaviour. The cat may also be generally hyperactive and territorial. Nape biting and mounting of younger or passive cats may also be observed. Aggression rarely seems to be a defensive reaction, but occasionally attack becomes a learned policy to avoid investigation by other cats. Depending on its personality and early experiences, a cat may have an emotional need to share a home base with other cats or be more solitary. In the latter case, the cat may be able to tolerate other house cats, but never form close social ties based on mutual grooming, and resource sharing. Causes may include individual dislike or intolerance of one or more individual cats or lack of social learning with other cats when young. There may be marked territorial defence reactions with a failure to recognize and respond to friendly or neutral reactions of other cats, which may compound the success of early assertive or rough play with siblings. Territorial defence reactions and mutual intolerance of entire male cats, and defence of kittening areas by fertile and oestrous queens or kitten defence by mothers are normal and expected forms of aggression and not regarded as treatable. Finally, medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, brain lesions and diet sensitivity can also cause aggression problems, but here the diagnosis and treatment clearly lies in the hands of the veterinary practitioner. Source: Bradshaw, J.W.S. (1992) The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat © CAB International (www.cabi.org) By permission of CAB International, Wallingford, UK. All Rights Reserved

Food for Thought

What can help? Sometimes a gradual, controlled exposure to stimuli that trigger such responses can successfully treat cats who are afraid of people or other animals. Repeatedly expose the cat to that stimulus at a distance from which she is aware but not close enough to show fear. Truffles should be given a hugely desirable reinforcer, such as her favorite gourmet food, whenever she sees the stimulus. Slowly, over weeks to months, the stimulus is gradually brought closer to the pet. In other words, trustbuilding. Food is a great means to overcome fear if special treats are withheld at other times. Offer treats when the cat is just far enough from the fear-eliciting stimulus to feel relaxed. For example, if the fear-creating stimulus is a man, a man should approach within 15 feet of the cat or whatever distance the cat can tolerate without eliciting a fear response. Alternatively, have the man sit on the sofa not looking at Truffles and gently toss a treat in her general direction. If she shows no anxiety, then treat. If she does, increase the distance. Gradually he approaches a wee bit closer and so on. The biggest truth? In all cases, no matter how much (or even how little) ’better’ the cat becomes, it is a matter of accepting who she is and what she can comfortably tolerate.

Maternal Aggression: This one is not written up as frequently but it is more common than one might think. My own Grace is a perfect example—that is why she was made available for me to rehome as a matter of fact. Normally gentle and sociable with other cats, she became very aggressive to cats of both sexes, fixed or not, not only while she was pregnant but also while her kittens were nursing and, of course, dependent upon her. From being the queen bee she became a loner, distrusted by the halfdozen former cat-friends around her. Some of the humans were not exactly on her affectionate side, either. Some queens, typically friendly to people, may be overly protective of their kittens and aggressive in the presence of human Mother cats can be fiercely protective of their offspring

© Can Stock Photo/Cherrymerry

hissing, spitting, growling. If Noodle's aggression then drives off that fear-eliciting stimulus, her response is negatively reinforced. Credit or blame both genetic and environmental influences. Some cats are born with cautious personalities, particularly kittens born of feral parents. Those poorly socialized during the first few months are often fearful of people and behave aggressively when approached or handled. Of course, cats who have had negative experiences with people or other animals may also become fearful, evasive and aggressive—and have every reason to.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




Inter-Specific Aggression

ats may attack people, grabbing them with claws and biting, though this is rarely accompanied by vocalization. The behaviour is often sudden and unpredictable and may be triggered by sudden movement such as passing feet or occasionally by highpitched sounds. Defensive aggression to prevent handling is often caused by a lack of either early socialization or gentle human contact. Predatory chasing of feet and other moving body targets, territorial defence, especially in narrow or confined areas (only seen so far in oriental breeds), hyperexcitement during play, aggression towards people when vulnerable (e.g. lying or sitting down), occasionally food guarding, and kitten defence against owners by nursing mothers have all been recorded. However, most problematical is the [issue] of redirected aggression by very territorial cats agitated by the sight through a window of rivals outdoors. Owners who approach unwittingly to pacify their cat may inadvertently stimulate an attack due to the attraction of their movement. ‘Petting and biting syndrome’ also occurs in many cats, but this is usually tolerated or avoided by the owner. Initially the cat accepts affection but then it may suddenly lash out, grab and bite the owner, and then leap away to effect escape. The threshold of reaction is usually high and injury slight. Source: Bradshaw, J.W.S. (1992) The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat © CAB International (www.cabi.org) By permission of CAB International, Wallingford, UK. All Rights Reserved

intruders. This behavior typically subsides as the kittens become older. Occasionally, just occasionally, it does not disappear, and the distrust remains, especially if the human(s) were unwittingly too intrusive. Hormones, hormones, but even when the mother situation passes, other cats remember… Because maternal aggression does not generally last all that long, avoiding the queen may be the wisest action. There truly needs to be more than adequate socializing of the females when they are young. If you have an older cat, lots of gentle handling and hand-feeding a queen starting a little at a time and increasing daily from the beginning throughout her pregnancy and after the kittens are born can definitely help. It is also a matter of reading her body language. Again, the operative word is ‘beginning’ to be defensive. Back off. In Grace’s case, she removed herself from the other cats, who in any case left her alone after her negative responses. In some cases, it may be up to the human to gently guide the cantankerous queen into a cozy room for the duration. However, I would advise that only if the situation becomes untenable and Queenie is truly unhappy.

Territorial Aggression: It is crucial to help maintain area resources for the resident or that resident social grouping. That acute awareness of territory keeps out interlopers and keeps survivors surviving. Territorial aggression is particularly noticeable in male cats during breeding season. Spoiler alert: Despite what books can intimate, I have seen with my own clients that, even when boys and girls are fixed, there still are hormones and they still can be heightened. However, it is worth noting that territorial aggression usually does not involve the threat rituals one sees in inter-male aggression. A territorial problem can happen when a new cat is brought into the home and the resident cat becomes aggressive toward him. Our cat focuses intently on him and may either stalk or else immediately pounce upon the newcomer. A territorially aggressive cat acts bolder and approaches or lunges at a visitor instead of shying defensively away, as with fear aggression. A fearful cat 28

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

growls and hisses from a hiding place at distance and only bites if approached. Things can get relentless. That is why we have slow introductions—to help avoid this sort of thing. When I still hear, ‘Put them together and let them fight it out,’ I almost want to bop someone. The new cat, understandably defensive, then hisses and growls and there you have it - more problems. This can also happen when you bring Noodles back home from a vet or groomer visit. If he smells differently from when he left the house, his fur-mate may show signs of territorial (or fear) aggression until she recognizes her roommate, which may take a few hours to several days or more. Wait—they used to be friends, yes? They have eyes, yes? Well, yes, but I believe that scent comes a few split-seconds before sight (and logic) does. Guess which the cat will trust first. Treatment is the same as for territorial aggression related to introducing a new pet. The cats need to be able to see each other at a distance yet remain calm. Feliway plug-ins can be helpful too. In my experience these work on the majority of cats but we do not know why some cats are affected and others not. Another commonly touted but bad idea is to put one cat in a crate while the other one wanders around him. This still crops up from time to time, unfortunately. This is not only old-school thinking, it is ridiculous. Cats need that crucial sense of control—which is exactly what you are taking away from him. A thousand times, ‘no’! In the end, what is the moral to this whole story? The more you learn about your cat’s body language, particularly when it comes to whiskers, posture, ears and eyes, the better you can understand what is going through his or her head in any given stressful situation. The mystery is not going anywhere. n Jane Ehrlich is a professionally trained Feline Behaviorist with over 27 years' experience. She spent 18 years volunteering with the RSPCA in both clinical and behavior work and has her own consulting business Cattitude Feline Behavior, www.cattitudebehavior.com, in Phoenix, Arizona, although her clients are located worldwide.


Feline Behavior Unmasked

Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about feline

Cats need an outlet for their predatory behaviors

A: First, stick a lump of Play-Doh (or museum glue or Blu Tack, both of which you can get at office supply stores) under the glass or vase or whatever you don’t want moved. Second: take on board what your cat wants. If you know two of her active times, then set a structure. Play with her for 10 minutes before you get ready for work and again last thing at night. This should be a good 20minute session using interactive pole-toys. Also, add a play session during the day, whenever you can fit it in—after work, say. Sammy needs stimulation and activities to create an outlet for those hunt/stalk/pounce/chase/catch needs. Work in at least three structured sessions daily (so she learns to anticipate), and consider getting her a cat friend! Q: My three-year-old cat, Gus, defecates a couple of feet from his litter box. He has always done that. He always urinates in the box.The routine has always been the same, so I cannot blame any changes: the litter has been the same and so has the box and its location. I even bought a larger box, and the vet told me there was nothing medically wrong with him. Any tips? A: Since Gus has done this from the beginning—and I am assuming you scoop the litter lumps at least once daily—I would try

Cats can be idiosyncratic about their use of the litter tray

© Can Stock Photo/Inc./andreykuzmin

scooping morning and evening, as some cats truly are very fastidious. Also, add a second box one foot away from the first one. Some cats like to urinate in one box and defecate in another. While most inside cats are content to do both in one box, cats living outside, whether feral or stray, generally choose two places for each of their elimination types.

Q: We have a dog who uses a doggy door to go outside.The problem isn’t with him, it’s with a neighborhood cat who likes to come in through it! I have spoken with the neighbor, who insists on letting her cat do what he wants, so I am at my wits’ end. How can I keep the cat out of my home?

A: Statistically speaking, your neighbor’s outdoor feline may not live half or even two-thirds as long as if she kept him inside. An outdoor cat risks injury—or worse—from heat, cold, human or other animal abuse, drowning from irrigation pipes, and traffic, amongst others. Outdoor cats also run the risk of dying far too young from diseases and infections picked up from other animals. However, since you cannot change your neighbor’s behavior, you can at least prevent her cat from coming in. Electronic doors open only for pets wearing a specific coded ‘key’ or chip, attached to collar or implanted. This will Neighborhood cats ensure your dog can go may like to come in in and out, but keep uninvited through cat and dog doors the cat at bay. n

© Can Stock Photo/Inc./rolb

Q: My rescue kitty, Sammy, is very energetic and playful. If I do not engage her first thing in the morning or last thing at night, she knocks over my water glass and anything else that is on my bedside table. What can I do?

behavior problems and feline behavior in general © Can Stock Photo/Inc./ramonespelt

© Can Stock Photo/BENGUHAN

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



A Change of Lifestyle

Marilyn Krieger presents the case for converting an outdoor cat to an indoor cat and

ccording to a study by the HuMany cats adapt quite mane Society of the United happily to States, based on data collected life indoors from 600 veterinarians, two out of three veterinarians recommend keeping cats indoors, citing vehicles and transmittable diseases as the two greatest potential dangers (HSUS Veterinarian Study, June 2001). Many cats enjoy napping in the yard or chasing insects. Many more are “street cats” who patrol the neighborhood, coming home only when it is time for dinner. Cats who are allowed to go outside face risks of being stolen, contracting parasites and diseases, engaging in fights with other animals and being poisoned. There are other hazards to add to this lengthy list. These include natural and man-made disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes and fires. Additionally, the emergence of new diseases, such as bird flu and resistant forms of panleukopenia, are another threat to outdoor cats. In my opinion it is time for a feline lifestyle change. For the sake of the cats, owners need to start bringing them indoors permanently where they can live longer, healthier lives. Here is the dilemma: How does one convince the outdoorloving cat that she should undergo a major lifestyle change and stay indoors where it is warm and safe? Every cat is unique with his or her own personality. Some cats welcome the opportunity to live permanently indoors. Others take a little more work and patience to transition them to indoor living. The first step is spaying/neutering. This helps keep the cat population down and reduces the risks of diseases such as pyometra and testicular cancer. It also helps eliminate frustration, stress and typical behaviors such as spraying, howling and fighting. The easiest time to transition an outdoor cat to the comforts of home is winter, when the weather is cold and miserable. Most cats will choose a warm spot on a couch over trying to keep dry under a bush. The transition will also go more smoothly by making the cat’s home more appealing.

Food as a Motivator

Owners making this transition should begin by feeding their cat exclusively indoors. She should not have access to food or treats outside—ever. The chosen location should be safe from other resident animals and children. The food should not be left lying around for her to munch on whenever she is hungry. Instead, 30

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

© Can Stock Photo/okssi68


outlines the various steps to make the transition easier for all concerned

kitty needs a consistent feeding schedule. She should be fed at the same time every day, two-three times a day. If the cat enjoys attention, owners should play with her and pet her before and after meals. In order to avoid the eat-and-run mentality, the time the cat stays inside after feasting can be extended gradually. Owners can further coerce cats to come inside between meals by playing with them and providing deal-breaking treats— but only when the cat is indoors. They can also brush and cuddle their cat while she is indoors—if she enjoys that type of attention.


As part of the lifestyle change from street cat to house cat, owners have to convince their felines that relocating permanently inside is much more interesting and fun than outdoors. There is a plethora of fascinating activities for cats outside, including a diversity of objects to climb on, lots of space to explore, places to hide and critters to chase. Owners need to be creative and “bring the outdoors in.” Many of these activities can be done inside the safety of the home. Playing with cats in a way that helps satisfy their hunting instincts is an excellent start. Owners can use a pole-type toy and pull it away from the cat to encourage her to chase it. Of course, she must be allowed to “catch” her prey sometimes to avoid the possibility of frustration. After the last catch, owners should immediately feed their cats. She will most likely eat, then groom and fall asleep. Other activities that will influence her to stay inside include treasure hunts and treat rolls. Hiding treats

the cat adores in toys, on shelves or other areas will make the cat jump, climb and search for them. Treat rolls are fun too, i.e. rolling treats on the floor or down a flight of stairs for the cat to chase.

“Prey” style toys are an ideal way to give cats a physical and mental workout

A Richer Environment

Enriching the environment with items that interest the cat will also help transition her into an indoor-loving cat. Cats need high places, such as cat trees, perches and shelves to jump on and climb up to. When buying or constructing vertical territory, owners should make sure the bases are sturdy so they do not topple over when things get a little energetic. Household furniture and architectural elements can also become part of the vertical territory solution. One can never have too much vertical territory. Scratchers are important too. All cats need to scratch for a variety of reasons, including nail maintenance and marking territories. For more information on why cats scratch, see How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Scratching the Furniture?. Cats will also scratch objects when they are stressed and feeling conflicted, when they are playing and after a nap. Place horizontal scratchers as well as scratching posts around your house in all of the areas your kitty hangs out in. Horizontal scratchers and vertical scratching posts should be placed around the house in all the areas the cat frequents. Enticing toys will also keep cats busy and focused on indoor activities. Cats should be given a variety of toys, including ball and pull toys, soft toys to chase and interactive toys. Some cats enjoy chasing ping-pong balls, especially after they are rubbed with catnip. Owners can rotate toys so the cat does not become bored. If the cat has never used a cat box or has gotten into the



habit of using the great outdoors, owners will need to teach her proper litterbox etiquette. This entails starting with three-four large, uncovered litter boxes in different locations. Owners should encourage the cat to use the boxes by filling them with 23 inches of unscented clay litter combined with garden soil. After she uses the boxes, they can slowly increase the amount of litter and decrease the garden soil. Keeping cats inside can reduce vet bills and lengthen their lifespan significantly. Some cats are harder to convert to living indoors while others will be thrilled with the opportunity to move operations inside. If the cat protests about becoming an inside cat, owners can slow the process down. After all, it takes time to change long-established habits. n

Humane Society of the United States: www.humanesociety.org How to Keep Your Cat Happy Indoors: www.humanesociety .org/animals/cats/tips/cat_happy_indoors.html How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Scratching the Furniture?: www .catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-stop-scratching-furniture Marilyn Krieger is a certified cat behavior consultant and owner of The Cat Coach LLC®, www.thecatcoach.com. She solves cat behavior problems nationally and internationally through on-site, phone and Skype consultations. She also writes behavior columns for Catster, www.catster.com /author/marilyn-krieger, and Cat Fancy Magazine, www.catchannel.com, and is a frequent guest on television and radio.

Outdoor Enclosures: Best of Both Worlds

A safely enclosed outdoor cat pen on a deck, balcony or attached to the side of a house can provide cats with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being outdoors while staying safe. These can be kitted out with scratch posts, kitty condos, climbing frames, high shelves and walkways, boxes, litter trays, cat beds and anything else a cat might appreciate. A wooden frame with chicken wire will do the trick nicely, and there are many other types of netting and fencing materials available as well as various options of how to attach it all to the house. Access can be through an open window, cat flap or sliding door but, given that many cats are expert escape artists, must be secure from top to bottom and on all sides. That includes some sort of covering across the top, not only to keep kitty in, but also to keep predators out. Many vets will relate tales about cats who have been brought in with huge claw marks on the back of their necks or shoulders, where they have been picked up then dropped by owls or hawks. BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




Target Practice

Lara Joseph details the importance of targeting and stationing for day-to-day animal husbandry

raining animals to target makes husbandry a lot less stressful and much safer. It is also a useful tool to have at your disposal in an emergency situation. But first, let’s define some of the terms: Targeting is getting an animal (or human) to touch a predetermined body part to a particular object. Stationing is teaching the animal (or human) to continue targeting until cued to do otherwise. Targeting is such a common behavior that many people train it without realizing. When we attend an event and are asked to go to our seats, the instructor is targeting our behinds to a chair. When we stay in our seats until being told it is time for a break, we have stationed until being cued otherwise. There are so many instances where targeting and stationing are beneficial to our animals that we should be training these behaviors consciously. Doing so will make their lives less stressful by giving them an attractive choice of what to do and how to behave in countless situations. Working in a multi-animal and species facility, I find that training an animal to touch his beak, snout or nose to the end of a

Mickey is undergoing counter conditioning to accept the syringe


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

target stick is an excellent way to keep control of a group when they are all outside together. Once trained to target, I can use the target stick to get the animals to walk, fly or swim to areas I need or want them to be. It is also an ideal way to implement force-free training to help them make the right choice and move to a station when cued before a potential accident can happen. The practice and training helps keep the animals poised to reliably make the safe choice when an emergency recall, target or station is cued. An emergency recall, target or station comes in very handy because we never plan an accident. I train the mammals to target and station to either the tops of buckets or to carpet squares. I need at least all feet on the target. The birds target and station to perches or banisters placed intentionally high up off of the ground where the mammals cannot jump or leap and people cannot reach. This arrangement is also very useful even when an emergency is not in place. Getting the animals to target and station helps me retain focus and control. For increased complexity in training, I will call one animal to me while the others remain stationed. This helps me train impulse control and focus in an environment full of distractions. Teaching an animal to target and station is also a good way to keep an eye on animals who are notorious for getting into things you do not want them to. It is also useful if you are working on potty training. I taught a green aracari (toucanette) to target her feet to the faucet and station there until cued to do otherwise. She was infamous for flying to the cages of other birds and biting through cage bars. I did not want to restrict her to life in a cage so this was one of many things we taught her to do in order for her to be out safely with other birds. When we sweep trash or daily debris into a pile, most of our animals find watching us do this a form of enrichment. It is always a bonus to find a new form of enrichment but when we need to clean, we need to clean. So instead of telling the animals what not to do, we cue them to target and station on carpet squares and reinforce that behavior. At the same time we keep journals noting what different animals regard as enrichment. Many husbandry behaviors require targeting and stationing. We have so many animals at the Animal Behavior Center, where I am based, it seems like we are constantly and consistently trainTargeting can help keep an animal safe in an emergency

ing for husbandry behaviors such as nail trims, syringe training, temperature taking, hoof trimming, ear inspections, scale training, wing inspections etc. As we all know, the sight of a syringe can be a strong cue for an animal to run or fly from you at lightning speed. Also, as we all know, this is learned behavior. We can, of course, learn a lot about an animal’s history of reinforcement from his behavior. From my experience, it can take longer to counter condition a prey animal than other animals. For the bird being trained to accept a syringe (see opposite page), counter conditioning would not have been necessary had he been handled properly in the first place. Then again, if this were a perfect world, most of us in the behavior modification field would not have much of a case load. One area where I am often asked to help in the world of prey animals is to counter condition some of the behaviors they exhibit in response to husbandry. I really enjoy showing people there is no need to chase a bird with a towel to do nail trims, get samples for gram stains or administer medications. I always encourage people to leave their birds flighted while teaching them the desired behaviors of taking medications, accepting restraint and flying to the veterinarian’s hand. Although stationing can really help to make mealtimes stress free, I never feed prey and The animals demonstrate predator totheir stationing behavior gether withduring the daily clean up out either a Stationing to the faucet: Teaching animals to station is invaluable in a variety of contexts


barrier or consistent supervision until training is completely reliable. In this video I am training Milo, our teaching pig, to station between the wall and the dog crate with the dogs on the other side of the gate. I am training this because I need to make sure Milo leaves the dogs alone while I feed them on the other side of the gate, as opposed to trying to charge at their food dishes. At first I toss the reinforcer to the area I want Milo to station to. Then I train him to go to his station on a verbal cue. A bridge is a conditioned reinforcer that is able to reinforce the desired behavior the moment it happens. My bridge is the word “Good” and you can see him clearly respond to it.You will see him quickly learn to back up into the area where I want him to station. This is a very helpful behavior to train. n


The Animal Behavior Center: www.theanimalbehaviorcenter .com Video Milo the Teaching Pig: www.youtube.com/watch?v =gBmsgfKB5wE

Lara Joseph is the owner of The Animal Behavior Center LLC, www.theanimalbehaviorcenter.com, in Ohio. She is also the Director of Avian Training for a wildlife rehabilitation center where she focuses on removing stress from animal environments. Lara is a professional member of The Animal Behavior Management Alliance and The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



Joanna Moritz highlights seven basic rules to make a visit to the vet’s office as stress-free as possible for all concerned

obody likes going to the vet’s office with a sick pet. But here are some simple rules to follow that will make your trip more pleasant for you, your dog and the office staff – and that’s a win-win-win.

1. Practice Makes Perfect The less stressed your dog is for an exam, the better for everyone involved. So: If you have a puppy or a small dog, put him on your washer or dryer occasionally and practice touching him all over – and give him treats while you do it. This will help him feel more comfortable with the slippery metal surface of the exam table, and learn that being handled in this way is nothing to worry about – indeed, he gets treats if he puts up with his human harassing him. If the dog seems stressed, then slow down, use more treats and do shorter practice sessions. If you have a large dog, do the same thing, minus the washer/dryer.

2. Reward Good Behavior Bring the dog’s FAVORITE treat or toy. This will ensure you can reward good behavior. Be generous! This has a bonus effect of counter conditioning. The vet cannot be that bad in the dog’s eyes if he gets treats or his favorite ball during the visit. The exception to this rule is if your dog is supposed to be fasting before his visit. Usually before surgery or sometimes for certain tests your dog needs to have an empty stomach, but your vet will let you know.

3. Leash the Dog This is a safety rule as well as for the peace of mind of those around you.Your dog may be brilliant off-leash but how is everyone else in the waiting room supposed to know that? If there is someone in the waiting room with a dog-aggressive dog who is on a leash, they may well have a mild panic attack when they see you walk in with an off-leash dog. Have the courtesy to follow the rules, if not for your sake, then for others’. The vet’s office is neither the time nor the place to show off your off-leash skills.

4. Coast Is Clear Poke your head in and make sure the coast is clear before entering and go through the door before your dog. This is not about training, but safety – you don’t know what kind of vicious parrot


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

or pot-bellied pig is behind that door. This is a great time to use the “wait” you learned in class.

5. Don’t Say Hello Don’t let your dog “say hello” to the other dogs.You do not know if they are friendly, and keep in mind that dogs are far less tolerant when they are in a stressful situation. All dogs need personal space, just like humans, and they may need much more space than usual if they are sick or in pain. Also keep in mind that some pets may be contagious. © Can Stock Photo/IvonneWierink


Practice Makes Perfect

6. Keep It Honest Be honest with your vet. Even if what your dog is doing is embarrassing or scary – I promise you, they have seen or heard worse. Behavior problems may be linked to medical problems so if your dog is likely to bite, say so. If the dog has been growling at other dogs or people lately, say so. If he does not like having his feet touched, say so. It is only fair that your vet has the whole story. If he/she does not accept this information in an understanding manner and take steps to mitigate the difficulty, find a different vet.

7. Ask Questions Ask “why.” Ask until you understand. Then go home and do some more research so that you can understand better.YOU are your pet’s voice and the only one responsible for his health and happiness. No reputable vet will have a problem with answering your questions if you phrase them nicely (although you might run out of time in the appointment). If you understand what is going on with your dog, you can better advocate for his or her health. If your vet will not answer your questions or acts offended when you show an interest in your pet’s health, again, find a different vet. Remember, even professionals ask for help sometimes. If you are having trouble with your dog’s behavior at the vet’s office, get another opinion from a professional behavior consultant. n The less stressed a dog is, the easier it is for the vet to examine and treat him

Joanna Moritz is the owner of Fur and Feather Works LLC, www.furfeatherworks.com, in Reno, Nevada. For the past 14 years she has been working professionally with dogs, cats, parrots and other small animals, using positive reinforcement training. She has a degree in psychology, is certified through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and is a certified nose work instructor.

Ice Cream Truck Recall

© Can Stock Photo/gonepaddling

magine a hot summer day where children are happily playing together in the neighborhood. Some might be riding a bike while others might be sitting on the porch engrossed in a video game. In the distance you can hear the The key to melodic, Pieda rock solid recall is to Piper sound of create a the ice cream positive truck as it enassociation with the cue ters the neighborhood. Ears perk up, bodies stop in motion, and the video game player pauses from the hypnotic screen. Heads swivel in unison toward the direction of that alluring and compelling music that they have come to associate with a cool and very special tasty treat. The games that had the children so riveted only moments ago have stopped as they run to congregate at the truck to buy their favorite ice cream. They get their cold treat in exchange for payment and return to their fun and games. It is the same scenario each time. The ice cream truck lady never gives bad tasting treats, is never out of ice cream, never forces the end of fun and never punishes them when they arrive. Therefore, children do not hesitate to run as fast as their legs can carry them to the certain reward that awaits them. Make sure, during training of recall now and forever more, that you are that ice cream truck person. The key to a solid recall is to develop such a wonderful association to the cue that any dog’s head will swivel at the sound of it and turn and run to you.You have become the one with the fun and rewarding surprise that is always a delight to the dog and given in an upbeat, positive manner. The dog knows for certain this does not mean the end of fun but is just marking an interlude. The payment to you for that reward is the dog at your feet. If you are smart you will never damage that recall with something that the dog does not like, such as punishment or a bath, or hose him down with nothing much given in return. An empty ice cream truck is no fun at all. For if you damage that cue you will be the most unpopular ice cream truck in town.

- Heidi Steinbeck CPDT-KA, Great Shakes Dog Training www.greatshakesdogtraining.com


The Hand Monster

training tip that I recommend all owners and trainers incorporate is teaching dogs, not to just accept being touched, but to absolutely love it. Starting at the point of touching, however, can make some dogs uncomfortable and they get left behind. To avoid this, I use the "Hand Monster" game to help dogs overcome any fears, hesitation or over-excitement at seeing hands come towards them. Step one involves showing your dog a hand moving towards him. How close you go depends on the dog. I like to start as far away as possible so there is no reaction. As soon as the dog sees the hand, treat immediately. The second step involves moving closer - as long as the dog is comfortable - and then add a quick touch with a higher value reward. The third and final step involves increasing duration and incorporating different handling motions while pairing it all with the best possible reward for your dog. There are many excellent rewards you can come up with, such as treats, interactive toys, the dog's favorite chew… This method works extremely well for hands, grooming tools, leashes, collars, medication or even instruments that may be used at the vet’s office. If you think about the possible "what ifs" that could happen with a dog leery of hands, it makes great sense to train him to predict that incredible things will happen instead. This is a useful tip for all dog owners and rescues, and for veterinarians and groomers to pass on to their clients.

© Can Stock Photo Inc./feelphotoart


Training Tips by PPG Members


Treats are an ideal reward when training a dog to enjoy the approach of a human hand

- Kristin Yonkers, Perfect Pooch Dog Training www.perfectpoochdogtraining.weebly.com

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



Ask the Dog!

Ada Simms highlights the advantages of using a harness compared to a flat collar and


details some of the different types of front clip harness choices

Reproduced with permission of Lori Stevens and Lili Chin


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

any dog trainers and dog owners probably have a closet full of front attaching or no-pull harnesses. It shows that our interest is about the dogs and their comfort, therefore we experiment. Could we find one that goes on easier or one that provides more control yet is still comfortable for the dog? As I thought about whether I should use brand names or not for this article, I came to the conclusion I would not be doing justice to the companies that I have not bought from or with which I am not familiar. My view is strictly from a dog trainer’s point of view and experience with clients’ dogs. The first question concerns the benefits of using a harness. I consider whether the dog would benefit, the handler or both. With puppies, I request a harness that fits the puppy appropriately. At this young age, and usually small size, a backclip harness will do for class and walking the puppy. A collar is recommended only to hold the dog’s ID tags. I do not like any pressure on the dog’s neck because of possible injury to the neck. Inevitably, new students want to use a flat collar. For the first class I do allow this, but if the puppy or dog is straining against the collar, pulling the owner, or the dog is panting/choking, he must have a harness. I have yet to see a puppy that can pass this “test.” Conversely, there have been a few times where a dog

did not pull after the harness was put on. Training to walk on a loose leash and a no-pull harness makes for a happy client who sees the results much quicker.

Which Harness?

Harness with Straight Chest Strap There are two types of no-pull harnesses that are prevalent: those with a chest strap that goes around the chest (horizontal) to the ground with a loop in the center and those that have a Martingale action on the front or the back along with two points of connection (chest and back). This is where the fit part comes in along with the body structure of the dog, and observing the dog. I find narrow chested dogs, including my own dogs, find these harnesses uncomfortable. No matter how I adjust them, the girth ends up right behind the front legs causing chafing. My dog informed me of this by scratching at it with her hind leg. My other golden retriever with good conformation and a big chest wears them well and is very comfortable. How the harness fits or does not fit is a big concern. When I see dogs out in public with a no-pull harness I am initially thrilled but then I notice sadly that the chest strap is too low, hindering the shoulders and the motion of the front legs. If I have an opportunity I mention to the person accompanying the dog that it should be higher and fit a bit tighter so it does not constrict the dog’s movement. The answer I usually get is, "[He/she] will grow into it," and that they did not want to spend money on two harnesses because the puppy will grow. I try to add a little humor and tell them I know too well how that feels. In September, right before school started, I picked out one pair of shoes and one pair of sneakers but I had to buy at least a half size bigger because my feet would grow. Those two pairs of footwear had to last me the whole school year. I did not run well in gym class and my shoes would fall off my feet. Walking, stride and rhythm are very important for developing growing muscles. We would not even think about doing this for a growing child these days but money was tight back then. Somehow this little story makes sense to them. At least it gets them thinking about the investment of a properly fitted harness.

Harness with V-Shaped Chest Strap Within the last six months, I bought several harnesses with this V-shaped chest strap configuration. These harnesses fit my thin-chested golden retriever because the strap sits high, just below the neck, with another strap connecting the V that goes underneath the front legs, under the chest and connected to the back © Can Stock Photo /adogslifephoto strap. All three harnesses fit her perfectly and she is happy with all of them. I especially liked two harnesses that had adjustments on each strap to make it smaller or larger, ensuring a good fit. There was no more chafing behind the legs since the harness straps behind the front legs were set farther back and did not interfere with her movement.


Which harness to buy with so many choices in the market is best answered by each individual trainer - and remember to ask the dog too! As I have said, one of my dogs was comfortable in any harness I put on him. I do prefer a back and chest connection for the leash. For big pullers, two areas of control by attaching the leash to both is a great option. When I want my dogs to walk loose leash, by my side, I attach the leash to the front chest ring. This tactile cue means just that… stay with me. When we go for a walk where they can explore, scent tracks or run (with their "be a dog" time), I have a 30-50-foot leash connected to the back strap. My dogs also have a cue, which I use if they are getting to the end of the leash, to change direction. Two golden retrievers dragging me along would not be pretty. I conditioned the cue, “This way!” which means I am going in another direction so turn around. I always reinforce this with a treat or start running so they can play the “catch up” game. When purchasing a harness, find companies that will take returns if it does not fit correctly. Leave the tags on if possible. Most local pet stores do not sell the V-shaped neck harnesses, also known as “H” harnesses with front leash attachment ring. These have to found online. Many have videos that instruct you how to measure your dog to find the correct size and also how to use the harness. Do train your dog that staying with you and not pulling is the most reinforcing thing ever. If the leash is tight from your hand to the dog, do not move forward.You cannot start this soon enough. Be the “cookie” for your dog so that you are more interesting than the environment. “Naked” dog training without any collar or harness should be practiced in the home or a secured area. If the dog is not working with you, you will know that you need to up the reinforcement and make it fun. The harness is a tool to be used in tandem with training loose leash walking techniques. Outside, use one of these types of harnesses combined with positive reinforcement methods so that the walk, over time, will be enjoyable for both. n

With many different harnesses available, the choice is usually a matter of personal preference for trainer, owner and/or the dog


Properly Fitting a Harness: www.seattlettouch.com /HarnessFit.shtml Graphic Wrongly-Fitted Harness by Lori Stevens: www .seattlettouch.com/Harness_fit_FINAL.pdf Doggie Drawings: www.doggiedrawings.net

Ada Simms CPDT-KA OSCT is the owner and trainer at Reward That Puppy Dog Training Inc, www .rewardthatpuppy.com, in West Henrietta, New York, where she conducts classes and private sessions. She has earned titles in obedience and agility with her two dogs.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



One Step at a Time

Roberto Barata outlines some of the basics to help puppy owners ensure their dogs grow

ontrary to what some people may think, preventing a dog health or behavior issue is much easier than “fixing” it later on. If a dog has a genetically-based behavior problem, managing it with proper care and a great deal of commitment might well be the only option. Acquired behavior, on the other hand, is not a glitch that the dog came with, Dogs should but rather a systematic error not be involving improper condition- expected to “climb ing, usually by people. This the steps” too often happens when the dog is quickly when learning a new still a puppy. Some things are behavior cute when puppies do them but they can become problems later on (e.g. jumping up). Dog owners should always bear in mind that puppies will grow up. They can quickly double their size and, what was cute before, can turn into something extremely undesirable. All this, however, can be prevented with the right training. In a lot of cases, people are unaware they are raising their puppies to become anxious or aggressive dogs and only seek help later on when the behaviors are already problematic. The most common issues owners ask me to help them with during obedience training sessions are pulling on the leash, aggression toward other dogs (or simply not playing appropriately), not returning to the owner when called, barking compulsively, jumping up on people and begging at the table. In a lot of situations I need, of course, to find out more about the dog’s behavioral history but in many cases simple adjustments to the routine and improved communication between the dog and owner can work miracles. How does one prevent such situations from occurring in the first place? I like to visualize the dog’s progress for each stage of his training as a staircase. Each step is a goal and, depending on the dog’s response, we climb and achieve these goals. We want the dog to reach the top but to achieve that we have to teach him to climb each step one at a time. One of the big stumbling blocks can be when the owner causes the dog to “slip” on a step by making him climb the stairs too quickly. This is worsened if the owner then disregards the issue and lets the dog “slide” back down the stairs. Dogs learn by positive associations and connections so we need to ensure that training remains positive and is not frustrating to the dog. For example, we do not start teaching a dog to 38

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

recall when he is off-leash, running around and having a great time. If we have not taught him what “come” means, we are skipping several steps if we call him when he is running loose and expect him to come. An untrained dog who does not come when called is not being “stubborn”; he simply has not yet been taught how to get to that step. Steps could include coming from a short distance inside the home, coming when in the yard on a long leash with no distractions, coming when in the yard on a long leash with minimal distraction and so on, rewarding each step to reinforce the behavior. Missing out steps is one of many common mistakes I see daily in training. Owners are often unaware they are setting up the dog to slide back down that training staircase. As a result, they may label the dog as a “problem” without taking any of the responsibility. Anthropomorphizing is not helpful here either. We should aim to avoid failure by not thinking, “He is like this because…” and instead reach out to a professional trainer for help. Ideally in fact, owners should reach out to a professional before problems ever develop so they will raise their dog appropriately. Here are some recommendations that may help prevent behavior and health issues: © Can Stock Photo/donghero


up as free of behavior issues as possible

Choose Wisely This is one of the main strategies. We need to know why we want a dog and what we expect of him. Let’s not pick a breed just because of its aesthetic appeal. Each breed has its own individual characteristics and needs and we must consider whether or not these are compatible with our lifestyle.

Socialization This is the key to preventing numerous problems related to fear, phobias and aggression. Socializing a puppy from an early age by exposing him to a variety of stimuli in his environment, including people and other dogs, will significantly decrease the likelihood of undesirable behaviors developing. If a dog has been exposed to many different places, people and things, there is less chance of him running into things later in life that will be unfamiliar to him. It will also help him develop impulse control.

Independence Dogs should be allowed to have their own space and learn to be independent from their owners. This will help reduce feelings of anxiety when they are left alone, running the risk of them creating their own “entertainment” or developing potentially destructive behaviors.

Respect Owners should be respectful of their dog in the same way as they would wish him to respect them in return. There is no place for outdated concepts of pack hierarchies that encourage owners to “dominate” their dog. The puppy’s space, sleep, comfort and discomfort barriers must be respected by all family members. Children must be aware of the appropriate way to behave with and around their puppy and, most importantly, what is not acceptable or appropriate. Education Basic obedience cues are like magic if they are taught and applied correctly on a daily basis. Practice Train your dog to sit and stay on cue; then, say “sit” and “stay” before you leash him to go out or unleash him to come back in. You will get a dog who is easier to manage on your walks if he does not get over-excited at the door.

Communication Dogs are always communicating with and watching us. But have you ever really watched your dog to understand what he is trying to tell you? Research canine communication or seek professional support to make sure that you have a grasp of canine body language, facial expression and positive training methods. This will


vastly improve the communication channels between you and your dog. Choose a professional trainer carefully and make sure you carry out due diligence before hiring anyone.

Dedication Spend five to 10 minutes daily doing something with your dog. Yes, just five to 10 minutes. Simply being with him all day does not mean you are dedicating yourself to him.You need to make sure your time with him is quality time. Make your walks pleasant. Play and reward, combine with obedience commands and, before you know it, twice as much time will have gone by without you realizing. Always reward a desired behavior no matter how trivial it may be and you will experience the magic of watching the dog repeat it.

Be Aware Seek your veterinarian’s guidance about the health care you should provide at home and for warning signs you should be on the lookout for. A dog who regurgitates once or twice is probably normal but repeated regurgitation or chronic diarrhea may indicate a problem. Before and after getting your dog, obtain as much information as possible about how to ensure his wellbeing.Your puppy will thank you for it. And remember, dogs are skilled professionals in letting us know what they need, if we would only pay closer attention. n Roberto Barata IPDTA-CDT CTB CCS studied anthrozoology at Bircham International University and has trained military dogs with the Portuguese Air Force. A professional dog trainer since 2005, he is currently studying for a masters in animal training at the Ethology Institute Cambridge. For more information, see Centro Canino Val de Palmela, www.canilvaldepalmela.pt.

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from the Guild


Issue No. 11 / March 2015

CANINE Harness or Flat Collar? BEHAVIOR Prevention vs. Cure

TRAINING Targeting and Stationing

FELINE From Outdoors to Indoors

© Can Stock Photo Inc./cynoclub

RESCUE Collaborating with Shelters

MUSINGS A Canine Sense of Consciousness SALES The Emotional Connection

Cats in Conflict: The Myriad Complexities of Feline Aggression

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

BARKS from the Guild is a 60+ page trade publication available to Pet Professional Guild members, supporters and the general public online (and in print via subscription). Widely read by industry professionals and pet owners alike, BARKS covers a vast range of topics encompassing animal behavior, pet care, training, education, industry trends, business and much more. If you would like to reach your target audience then BARKS from the Guild is the perfect vehicle to achieve that goal. Our advertising rate card is available at http://petprofessionalguild.com/AdvertisinginBARKS. Contact us at admin@petprofessionalguild.com for further details. BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




A Friend for Life

Joan Orr highlights ways of involving children in the training of a new puppy, no matter what their age

new puppy! What fun! The whole family can, and should, be involved with the care and training of the puppy. Children can help with the puppy under supervision. Many experts feel that clicker training is the best and safest training method for your puppy and children. It is a hands-off method, so little fingers do not get painful nips from razor-sharp puppy teeth, and there is no physical strength required. Even a toddler can stand on a chair or behind a gate and drop treats on the floor after the parent clicks to tell the dog "yes, that was right." If you do not want to use a clicker, you can Children can be use a word like involved with “yes” to tell the training their puppy from a puppy he did the young age right thing and a treat is coming. The clicker is a better way to mark correct behavior, because it is always clear and consistent, has no particular meaning in daily speech, can be used with greater accuracy than a verbal marker, and children can use it as well as - or sometimes better than - adults. The click sounds the same to the dog regardless of who makes the sound. Start training your puppy as soon as you get him home.Your puppy can learn to say "please" by sitting, no matter


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

how young he is. At dinner time before you feed him, have a twominute training session. Hold a piece of food over the puppy’s nose, move it slowly backwards towards his tail so his head comes up, and he eventually sits. Click, or say “yes!” and give him the food as soon as his rear end touches the ground. Do not push his rear end down or pull up on his collar, just let him learn on his own and have a positive experience with the joy of learning. Repeat 10 times and then have the puppy sit to receive the remainder of his food from the bowl. At the next meal repeat this, but wait one second from the time he sits to give him the food. Say the word “sit” as soon as you are sure he is going to sit. At the next meal have him sit and wait between one and three seconds. Gradually increase the time, adding one second at a time, until the puppy voluntarily sits and waits for his food and you no longer need to hold the food over his nose. Now that the puppy has learned basic self-control around food, the resident children can start to help with feeding and training the puppy.

Children Aged Five and Under

Children in this age range must be supervised at all times around the puppy and any other dog. By supervision, it means you are right there actively engaged with the child and the puppy. At this age your child can participate in training by dropping a treat on the floor for the puppy every time you click. This teaches the puppy to have self control around even the smallest family members. Teach your young child the hand and/or voice signals for sit, down and come, and work together to teach these to the puppy. You teach the cue first, and, once the puppy has the idea, you can start involving your child. Be sure your child is out of reach of the puppy's teeth and paws by having him standing on a chair, sitting in a highchair, using a baby gate or having the puppy on a leash.Your child can give the treats after you click, or click when the puppy does the correct behavior, and you give the treats. Work particularly hard on "sit." Teach the puppy to "sit" to say "please" for his dinner, when he is having his leash put on, when you are going out and coming in, when he is meeting people, and when the children come home from school.Your young child and puppy can become experts at “sit” and this will be a foundation for a loving and respectful relationship. Be sure to have treats available for your child to dispense for good sitting, and show by example that we never shout at a puppy, tell him off, or use physical force if he does not comply; we just make it easier for him to succeed and give him another chance. The “dump truck dinner” is a fun idea from dog and toddler expert, Jennifer Shryock of Family Paws Parent Education. Allow your child to spoon dry dog treats or kibble into a toy dump

truck while A relationship of mutual respect between children and their dogs is beneficial for the puppy the whole family watches, from a "down-stay," or on a leash with you, and then dump the food out of the truck into the puppy’s bowl and release him to eat it. This is another way to help the puppy learn self-control and to start involving the child in the care of the puppy.

Children Aged Six-12

Children in this age range can begin to work independently with the puppy under adult supervision, once the puppy understands basic cues and can exercise self-control in waiting for the child to give or toss the treat. Children can be excellent dog trainers if given the chance. The basic steps in training are: 1) Get the behavior (e.g. hold a treat over the puppy’s nose until he sits). 2) Reward the puppy with a click and treat right away, so he knows he did the right thing. 3) Give the behavior a name so the puppy learns to associate a word (or hand signal) with the action. Say “sit” as the puppy is sitting 20 times and then try saying the word “sit” before he sits to see if he understands. There is no point in saying a word to a puppy that he does not understand. If your puppy is running away from you and you run after him shouting, “Here Rover,” he learns that “Here Rover” means run away. Lots of people have inadvertently taught their dogs to run away using this method. Only call your puppy to you when you know he is already coming, and then give him a great treat or play a fun game when he gets to you. Children can learn these simple training principles and be rewarded with a puppy that loves to follow their instructions. Children in the six - 12 age range love to teach tricks and play active games with the puppy. Find a training class that welcomes children and take them to help with the training. You can also use an internet search. There are many excellent YouTube training videos with many imaginative dog tricks. Make it a family activity to find some tricks and work together to train the puppy. Trick training is more fun than obedience training, yet training lays the foundation for a dog who wants to be with his people and wants to engage and cooperate.

Children Aged 12-16

Older children can take greater responsibility for the care and feeding of the puppy. They can feed, groom, train and clean up after the puppy. They can let the puppy in and out of the crate.


Most children in this age range can handle the puppy independently in a group obedience class while a parent observes, and can continue as the puppy grows older and stronger. Behavior specialist, Teresa Lewin, suggests that a child is old enough to handle a dog independently when the dog respects and obeys the child, when the child can read the dog, predict an impending problem and can intervene appropriately. This will occur at different ages and depends on the maturity of the child, the relationship the child has developed with the dog, and the temperament and level of training of the dog. By avoiding punishment, rewarding good behavior, setting limits for both children and dogs, providing children and dog zones using gates and/or crates, and involving children in the care and training of the puppy from the beginning, an extraordinary mutual relationship can develop that will bring joy to the whole family. n All photos courtesy of the Doggone Crazy! board game

Resources and Online

Clicker Training - for more information and many articles: www.clickertraining.com Doggone Safe - information about reading dog body language, bite prevention, clicker training and online lists of trainers: www.doggonesafe.com Living with Kids and Dogs by Colleen Pelar: www .livingwithkidsanddogs.com Clicker Puppy (DVD) – shows children training puppies using the clicker training method: www.doggonecrazy.ca /clicker%20puppy.htm Family Paws Parent Education – resources for dog and baby/toddler safety: www.familypaws.com Joan Orr MSc is a scientist and internationally recognized clicker trainer. Joan is a co-founder and president of Doggone Safe, www.doggonesafe.com, a non-profit organization dedicated to dog bite prevention through education. In association with animal behavior specialist Teresa Lewin, Joan has co-created the dog bite prevention board game Doggone Crazy!, the Be a Tree bite prevention education program and the Clicker Puppy training DVD.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



The Dreaded Call

Jennifer Shryock outlines strategies for handling that all-too-familiar call informing the


ou may already be familiar with the call.You answer the phone or hit play on your voicemail and the substance of the call is immediately clear as familiar phrases are heard: "My dog always let my daughter do these things before… I don’t understand what happened!” It frustrates me when I receive a phone call from a devastated parent who truly does not understand what just happened in their home between their dog and child. Usually they say something like, “He always loved the kids. He follows our daughter around all the time. He constantly licks her and wags his tail. I just don’t understand why today was different. He just snapped! I just don’t know what to do. I can’t trust him around her anymore. Can you help?” When you receive such calls, how do you respond? How do you feel? Conflicted? Frustrated? Some days it is really tempting to jump to conclusions, shut off emotionally or become judgmental. As easy as it may be to fall back into those habits or thought patterns, it is important that we take a breath, stay present, take the time to really hear what our client has just experienced, and do our best to support them for the long term. We begin this process by accepting them exactly where they are when they chose to reach out to us for our help. Let’s get started.

Parents may not understand what has happened between their child and their dog when it goes wrong

Being Present and Prepared

Every business owner has to set their own boundaries and comfort level as to how they will manage phone calls. If you are running in many directions, or are not good at being caught off-guard, then a good voicemail system is essential. For example, if I do not have the time to focus 100 percent of my attention on

Dog Bite Facts w Each year, more than 4.5 mil-

Promoting safety for families with dogs

Family Paws Parent Education

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BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

© Can Stock Photo/sonyae

behavior consultant that a client’s dog has just bitten their child

lion people in the US are bitten by dogs w Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention w Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children w Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured w Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs Source: American Veterinary Medical Association, www.avma.org /public/Pages/Dog-Bite -Prevention.aspx

Rapid Response

Calls regarding bite incidents are definitely ones that I prioritize and spend more time on. Ideally, when I receive a call of this sort I am going to do my best to make contact right away. Following an incident, parents are vulnerable, and need support and resources at that very moment. This may mean I acknowledge to them that I have received their call; I have heard them. However, I would like to call them later in the day when I can focus on them. We set a time, or I refer them to another professional I trust for immediate support. If I cannot speak with them right away, another alternative is for me to ask for their email so that I can send them relevant YouTube videos, handouts and information for them to look over right away until we can speak on the phone later. The key is to give them something they can do immediately to relieve tension and feel in control. By the time they choose to call me, they are already pretty stressed out.

Asking Questions

When on the call I empathize with the parent instead of judging them. I listen to what they choose to share with me. I ask questions. Asking questions, versus assuming information, allows me to really understand their individual situation. This is not always easy because I empathize with the parent. Often, what happened in the situation seems so familiar and clear to me I find I have to resist the urge to jump in with suggestions and personal insight. I want to share the what-could-have-or-should-have-been done, but this is not the time for that kind of feedback. Now is the time to listen, empathize, offer one or two management suggestion tips, and schedule a consult as soon as possible.

Safety First

Any suggestions made during such a phone call need to be done carefully. Safety must be the priority. One example I might suggest would be management, such as crating or gating strategies. These are excellent for immediate use. There are times I might suggest the family consider boarding the dog for a day or so. This helps everyone to “take a break� if the stress and anxiety is very high in the home. A family is often very jumpy or reactive following an incident. Having the time to reflect and regroup is helpful. This break is also a great opportunity for the vet to have a look at the pooch to see if there are any medical concerns that could be causing discomfort, and possibly contributing to behav-

ioral-related issues. If a family has chosen this step then I do my best to visit their home the day the dog returns so that we can begin a positive action plan right away.

It is essential to be 100 percent focused when dealing with a client who has a dog safety issue

Compassionate Care

Š Can Stock Photo/monkeybusiness

an incoming call, then it will go to voicemail. It is most important that I am present, prepared and focused when I am on a client call.


These types of calls and consultations can be emotionally draining. They can really challenge us on a personal and professional level. This is not a bad thing, but it is very important to recognize this fact and consider having a support system when or if you decide to take on such dynamic cases. Ask yourself: Where do you share your frustrations? Who do you discuss and share challenging cases with? Do you feel comfortable and safe, or do you feel judged? Are you learning? One thing I know for sure is that I could not enjoy what I do if I did not have a wonderful support system and safe way to vent openly when needed. Allow yourself to have care and support from others so that you can continue to offer genuine compassion and support, when you get that dreaded call. n Jennifer Shryock BA CDBC is a certified dog behavior consultant and parent educator specializing in dog and baby/toddler dynamics. She is the founder of Family Paws Parent Education, www.familypaws.com.

DOG & BABY SUPPORT HOTLINE 1-877-247-3407 BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



A Foot in the Door

Tabitha Davies highlights ways of working with shelters and rescues to succeed in the


ultimate common goal – getting more dogs into homes and staying in them

helter is defined as a place to rest, a place for comfort and a place for safety. But with 3.9 million dogs entering shelters and an average of 1.2 million of them being euthanized each year (Source: ASPCA), this is sadly not the case for many dogs in US shelters. Life in the high-kill shelters in Coachella, CA, where I am based, means a concrete floor with drains, full access to food, water, and, only if you are without behavior problems, a blanket, bed and toy. It also means seven days of life in confinement and being surrounded by 100+ other dogs with limited, if any, time out of your kennel. Almost all of the large breed dogs at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus (CVAC) stay in their kennels without being walked and risk euthanasia for what is labeled "cage rage." So what can we do to try to change the cycle? In actual fact, there are a number of ways to help improve adoption rates in local shelters. The most under-utilized method is that of training. Unfortunately, many of those that do have rescue training programs do not use force-free training methods. For example, I know of a local humane society that uses those old-fashioned, aversive techniques commonly seen on television, as well as prong collars on rescue dogs to “train” them and “prepare” them for their forever homes. This, as many seasoned trainers know, is not the best way to build a dog’s self-esteem and trust. On the other hand, many organizations are resistant to implementing a training program. Concerns of liability, wasted time and resources, or the thought that force-free methods cannot procure the same results are common. It took me some effort, concrete material, and, honestly, just being a bit pushy to get my foot in the door at my local county shelter. It culminated with my partnering up with Advancing the Interests of Animals, a human education and animal welfare organization that works to educate owners and consequently improve the lives of pets in the home. I have since developed relationships with a local non-profit rescue and a no-kill coalition for our county shelter. I went in blindly, I had all of the information, the skills and the training experience as far as working with dogs was concerned, but none of the experience working with a shelter. The biggest task getting started is presenting the information to the shelter in a way that is short, to the point and gives them every reason to say yes. The sad realities are that your shelter director is stressed on budgets and deadlines, lacks the time to read through multiple documents and may not even be the kind to truly care (although, fortunately, most I have met do care). When you are putting this information together for the shelter to convince them to not only ask you to come in, but to get them fully on board, you may want to include non-common knowledge information. The director does not want to see statistics on how many dogs are euthanized each year, how many are

Volunteers help shelter dogs with obedience and agility


BARKS from the Guild/March 2015


Teaching social skills to a Staffie labeled as animal aggressive - this is after six weeks of hard work. She still has a way to go but is now an adoption candidate

The No-Kill Coalition: How It Works

preventable owner surrenders etc. What they do want to see is how a training program can empty their shelter and increase adoptions without costing them extra money or time. They also want to see statistics on how force-free training can benefit their dogs with temperament concerns. It can be a good idea to offer to conduct a case study with a particular dog within a set timeframe to show them how well positive, communicative, training works. That being said, unless you are truly willing to donate your time, make sure you go in fully prepared with your training program specifics, complete with an outline of costs. Who will do the marketing for your classes? Who will be responsible for scheduling classes? What percentage will go toward the

The No-Kill Coalition is currently working with 10 of CVAC’s dogs who are considered unadoptable. They will be protected from euthanasia and placed on a training program where animal control officers (ACO) will have a designated time each week to work on training. In addition, volunteers and staff will be taught about body language, force-free training methods, and how to work on mental and physical stimulation daily. The dogs are also transported to the Coachella Pet Rescue Center once a week for an hour of leashed playtime in the large agility field and another hour of training. There is a website where volunteers and ACOs can record daily notes on what interactions were carried out and what behaviors were observed, as well as each dog’s specific behavior and training plan. So the dogs are essentially being worked daily with force-free methods while they are in the shelter. Ultimately they will attend an adoption event when ready and, hopefully, be adopted into their forever homes. The No-Kill Coalition helps support volunteer retention, bring volunteers and potential foster homes into the shelter, and provide low-cost service clinics to the community. It also supports the staff at the shelter by way of organization and adoptions. By pulling the community together this way it helps people realize their responsibility in the problem of pet over-population and provide options that are attainable, so animals do not have to end up in a shelter. Dogs in the “quiet yard,” used for those who need some extra TLC or work on social skills before they can go out in the big yard with the other dogs

shelter? Who is responsible for providing supplies, waivers etc. Be open to negotiations that you are comfortable with. Remember that the shelter wants some benefit from you offering classes as much as you want to make income while also working on lowering the rate of euthanized dogs. Keep your information to the point and ensure that it does not go beyond one page. Call your shelter and find out when the director is available and see if you can schedule an appointment. Email your information ahead of time if you can. If the director cannot make an appointment with you, go during the hours when he/she is there and ask to see him/her or the head of their temperament testing or volunteer department. Give information on your training as well as information on your credentials, education and experience.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



The most important step to getting in the door is following up. Everyone is busy and, while the director may mean to call you back, he/she may have to prioritize other things. Just like a job interview, follow up after a week or so. Keep the lines of communication open and easy. Make sure the knowledge of you and all you have to offer stays at the forefront of their mind. n


Before (above) and after (right), including some grooming and time in the obedience field.The difference in demeanor is self-evident

ASPCA Pet Statistics: www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics Humane Society of the United States Statement on Euthanasia: www.humanesociety.org/about/policy_statements/statement _euthanasia.html Coachella Valley Animal Campus: www.facebook.com/pages/Coachella-Valley-Animal -Campus/271474946204937 No Kill Coachella Valley: www.facebook.com /NoKillCoachellaValley Advancing the Interests of Animals: www.AIAnimals.org

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* Order a monthly box of dog goodies for your canine friend! * Special rates available for gifts for dog friends * A portion of proceeds from each box will go to help dogs in need The promocode can be found in the Member Area of the PPG website: www.PetProfessionalGuild.com /benefitinformation www.barkbox.com 46

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

Tabitha Davies CPDT is a dog trainer and canine behavior specialist with 12 years training and rescue experience. She is an AKC CGC evaluator, founder and owner of the Coachella Valley Dog Club (CVDC), www.cvdogclub.com, in California, and is partnered with the Coachella Pet Rescue Center, www.CoachellaPetRescueCenter.org, and Advancing the Interests of Animals, www.AIAnimals.org. She is also a volunteer behavior specialist for the No-Kill Coachella Valley Coalition, www.facebook.com/NoKillCoachellaValley, to implement programs at The Coachella Valley Animal Campus (CVAC), a local high-kill shelter.

That Lightbulb Moment


Dog owners have known all along that their canine friends exhibit emotions of their own

and demonstrate a meaningful level of consciousness – as indeed do many other species.


Bob McMillan explains why the tide is finally turning in scientific – and even legal - terms

fold. Today, we know that the dog is more like us and more attuned to man than any other in the animal kingdom. They have learned to read us like a book. Dogs were experts on humans long before we took a closer look at them. Trying to convince someone that a dog is more than just a dumb animal? Tell them about the work of Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, authors of The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter than You Think, and one of the lead scientists behind Dognition.com, a website that lets dog owners take part in an extended study on dog intelligence. Hare says dogs learn human words the same way children do, through the principle of exclusion. They recognize that a number of objects are labeled with a word sound. When a new object is introduced and a new sound is spoken, that must apply to the new object. Bonobo monkeys, dolphins and elephants—all recognized as highly intelligent species—cannot do this. It was thought only children labeled objects with sounds until dogs were tested. A border collie named Chaser has demonstrated a working vocabulary of more than 1,000 words. Advances in brain scanning techniques help us see what is actually going on inside a dog’s mind. The MR Research Center in Budapest, Hungary concluded after a series of tests that dogs see us as family. A group of dogs was trained to lie still in an MRI machine, and their brains were scanned for processing odors, because scent is one of the dog’s most important senses. Their owner’s scent caused the reward centers of the subjects' brains to light up. Happy sounds made by their owners caused a similar response in the subjects' reward centers. Researchers Victoria F. Ratcliffe and David Reby reported recently in Orienting Asymmetries in Dogs’ Responses to Different Communicatory Components of Human Speech, published in online science journal Current Biology (DOI: 10.1016 /j.cub.2014.10.030), like humans, dogs use both the left and right hemispheres of the Recent breakthroughs in canine research show dogs are a lot smarter than we might think

Photo by Peggy McMillan

ost of us have had that “ahha!” moment when we look at a dog and suddenly see more than a drooling collection of fur, bright eyes and animals instincts; when we realize here is a creature of another species who has feelings, intelligence, a sense of fair play and is very much self-aware. We are no longer looking at a shaggy lump, and this is no fanciful talking cartoon character. We are looking into the eyes of "The Other." It may be a gradual realization. It could have come as a shattering, cognitive leap, but there is no going back after that. We can no longer in good conscience treat a dog with anything less than humane respect. For most of us, this is why we turned to positive training. Dogs need help learning our rules, but so many of today’s popularized training techniques are based on fear and pain. Positive training rewards our pupils for doing the right thing. It is a dialogue that encourages them to think and want to bond with us. However, even today, in 2015, too many dogs are often still treated as mindless chattel, beaten, abused and abandoned on a whim. How do we help end this? What can we do to help others see the compelling creatures that dogs are? How do we turn on the lightbulb? Obviously, through education and example. Fortunately, dogs are in nearly 50 percent of American households today. It has become in vogue to treat dogs with the best veterinary techniques and opportunities to play and compete. Peer pressure is improving the lives of many dogs because progressive dog owners are hungry to learn. Science in the last 10 years has uncovered more about dogs than we knew in the last thousand years. For years, researchers ignored the domestic dog because dogs are so familiar. What could we learn? After all, dogs are simply dumbed-down wolves sitting at our feet waiting for table scraps, right? But when science turned its attention to the dog, one of nature’s most successful evolutionary stories began to un-

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



brain separately, but in sync, to analyze spoken language. The left side of the brain extracts the meaning of the word-sounds while the right side gauges the speaker’s emotions. Subtle and complex actions are going on inside the brain of a dog when we speak. Scientists in dozens of new studies have devised innovative ways to get inside the minds of dogs and explore and record different facets of intelligence. This is important in convincing skeptics, or those unfamiliar with canine body language who look at a dog, see his natural poker face, and assume there is nothing going on between those shaggy ears. In fact, evolution has trained dogs not to show their intentions when there are others around competing for the best bone or spot on the couch. Most dogs will not naturally look you directly in the eye, because in dog culture that is considered provocative and rude. Skeptics read the averted glance and neutral expression as proof that dogs are simply “dumb animals.” Science is now shining a light across a dog’s mental landscape, which is anything but “dumb.” Is intelligence the only important measure of a dog’s worth? One of the more contentious questions now being asked is, "Are dogs self-aware? Are they conscious creatures?" Orangutans, chimps, elephants, dolphins and orcas have all demonstrated selfScience has opened a window into the canine mind, showing dogs are capable of higher emotions

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

Humans are not born able to pass the mirror test, either. It is not until they are 18 to 24 months old that infants’ brains develop to the point that they recognize their own image. Gorillas also fail the test. Direct eye contact is considered aggressive to gorillas.Yet one gorilla, Koko, is famous for her use of language. Koko can recognize more than 2,000 words of spoken English and respond with sign language using a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words. Koko describes herself as a “fine gorilla person.” She is plenty self-aware. The test itself failed. Dogs may fail the mirror test, but they demonstrate a range of ethical behavior simply when they play together. The play bow signals that what follows is not aggressive but is just for fun. Faster, stronger dogs handicap their efforts so smaller dogs can join in and not be hurt. If a dog bites too hard, he (usually) returns to apologize and gives another play bow, asking that play In addition to its clinical benefits, the MRI has provided valuable insight into the canine brain and canine consciousness

Photo courtesy of Veterinary Specialists of Alaska, PC

Photo by Peggy McMillan

Photo by Peggy McMillan

awareness by passing the mirror test. Developed in the 1970s, researchers discretely place a colored dot on the subject’s forehead. The animal is then shown a mirror and his reaction is observed. A “pass” is recorded when the animal looks at himself, adjusts his body to get a better view or tries to remove the colored spot. Doing so is considered a sign that the subject knows the reflection is his own and is able to step outside himself and see himself as an entity separate from his surroundings. He can imagine how others might see him and knows he has an effect on others around him. Self-awareness is the foundation for ethics such as trust, affection and generosity. Dogs, however, fail the mirror test miserably. They may bark at the image in the mirror, offer play bows, or run around excitedly, but they do not seem to know they are looking at themselves. 48

The Mirror Test: While dolphins, orangutans, elephants and orcas are considered selfaware because they pass the mirror test, dogs do not seem to recognize the image in the mirror as their own reflection. But the test has its shortcomings. Researchers have devised other tests that suggest dogs do possess a sense of consciousness


© Can Stock Photo/ksuksa

Dogs are one of nature’s great evolutionary successes

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continue. The offended party accepts, forgives, and the play goes on. Neuroeconomics professor, Gregory Berns, says dog consciousness goes deeper than the mirror test, and that it is visible in brain scans. In a recent New York Times opinion piece, Dogs Are People Too, Berns says brain scans show dogs experience consciousness much like humans. Berns focused on the caudate nucleus, a region of the brain that plays a key role in anticipating things that give us pleasure like food, music and even beauty. The caudate nucleus lights up in dogs when they pick up the scent of their owner and when their owner steps into view. According to Berns, dogs display an ability to experience positive emotions like love and attachment. Berns writes that the evidence from brain scans means we must no longer see dogs or higher mammals as ‘dumb brutes.’ They are aware. They feel. They act ethically. They deserve rights to protect them from abuse, puppy mills, dog racing and the slaughterhouse, he says. An international group of prominent scientists agreed with Berns when they attended a conference at Cambridge University in 2012. Citing rapid advances in the field of consciousness, the Cambridge Declaration states that the proof is, despite differing brain structures, animals such as birds, mammals and the octopus, show a level of consciousness as meaningful as that of humans. It is an argument that has moved from the laboratories and scientific conferences and into the courtroom. Last December, in a groundbreaking decision, a court in Buenos Aires ruled that an orangutan named Sandra was entitled to legal rights enjoyed by humans, and her 20 years of captivity in a zoo damaged those rights. An attorney for the animal rights group acting for Sandra argued to the court that Sandra's life in the zoo was the equivalent of a person spending 20 years in solitary confinement. The court ordered Sandra be released to an animal sanctuary. The tide may be turning. Judges have begun to recognize what dedicated pet owners have long known—our dogs are remarkable, intelligent, feeling companions and deserve our protection. It is time to spread the word to the general population and turn the lightbulbs on. n


Dognition.com: www.dognition.com Chaser: www.chaserthebordercollie.com/#! Orienting Asymmetries in Dogs’ Responses to Different Communicatory Components of Human Speech: www .sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982214013396 Koko the Gorilla: www.koko.org Dogs Are People Too: www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion /sunday/dogs-are-people-too.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Cambridge Declaration: www.fcmconference.org/img /CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf Sandra the Orangutan: www.bbc.com/news/world-latin -america-30571577

Bob McMillan is a newspaper editor and columnist who lives in the foothills of Middle Tennessee with his Irish wolfhound, his new puppy, several rescues and a remarkably tolerant cat.

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



A Safe Escape

In the wake of recent brushfires in South Australia, Lisel O’Dwyer details how to

prepare horses for an emergency evacuation and outlines why it is greatly different

he Adelaide Hills, South Australia have recently faced severe brushfires, an unfortunate situation that has prompted the discussion of the logistical differences between evacuating and housing horses versus dogs and other small domestic pets in the face of natural disasters such as brushfires and floods. The most obvious differ- Horses who know each other can stay together ence between evacuating but dogs and horses is that it is, post-evacuation should be kept separate of course, much easier to from resident horses evacuate dogs. The average horse owner can only transport his or her horse(s) with a horse float (also known as a horse trailer in the US or a horse box in the UK), whereas most dogs will fit into the average private car. The vast majority of trailers hold two horses, although some are built to hold a single horse, and others built for three or more. Some horse people have horse trucks which can carry six or more horses, but these are in the minority. The use of trailers also requires a suitable towing vehicle, and both trailers and trucks need a driver familiar with towing heavy liveweight, which is quite different than towing deadweight.

Trailer Training

© Can Stock Photo/egonzitter

Assuming one has access to a trailer and towing vehicle when they are needed, horses must be trained to calmly and promptly enter the trailer. Before the trailer training stage though, they must be able to be easily Ideally horses will have been caught, a skill trained to calmly accept comparable being loaded into a trailer prior to any emergency to a good re50

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

call in a dog, and be able to be led (comparable to loose leash walking with a dog). Entering and standing in a small, often dark, enclosed space is completely against the average horse’s instincts which is why we need to actually spend time training them to load. Much of trailer training does not involve the actual trailer–the horse should be confident about stepping onto wooden boards and tarps, entering narrow or dark spaces, and moving forward away from light pressure on the halter or on his rump or tail. Target training is a highly useful skill in these situations, and either a nose target or a foot target can be used. Clearly, this is quite different to the situation with dogs' transportation, where often all we have to do is open the car door! Of course, there are some dogs with high levels of anxiety about traveling in a car who require similar training, but a key difference between the two situations is that a person is able to stay with the dog while he is traveling in the car to reassure him with touch and voice. Horses, on the other hand, are on their own in a vibrating, shaking box where they must also try to keep their balance during turns, braking and acceleration. One method of helping an anxious horse to load and relax while in the trailer is to fix a mirror inside the float so that the horse thinks there is another horse nearby – company is very important for herd animals, who find safety in numbers. See Simple Trick Soothes Horses for more detail. Difficult loaders should be loaded last so the horse already loaded gives reassurance and acts as a “carrot” to the nervous loader. The main point I am making here is that extensive trailer training may be necessary, depending on the individual horse, before he can be trusted to load reliably. An emergency is not the time to put a horse in a trailer for the first time. There are several methods of forcing reluctant horses onto trailers in such situations (which might also increase their stress levels), but it is best to train the horse properly in advance and thereby avoid taking more time to load him than you actually have. To put it bluntly, properly trailer training a horse may save that horse’s life and the lives of the people handling him in a brushfire or flood © Can Stock Photo/JuliaSV


to evacuating dogs or other small animals

situation. On the other hand, even quiet well-trained horses may panic and refuse to enter a trailer if it is filled with smoke, or if the handler is transmitting his or her own fear and tension. If you have done considerable trailer training but your horse is still difficult to load even in normal circumstances, make sure you evacuate well ahead of time. If the worst comes to worst and not a minute more can be spared trying to persuade a reluctant loader, better to leave the horse behind and save yourself, your family and other animals’ lives. In such cases with horses who are reluctant to load, or if horses cannot be evacuated for some reason (e.g., there are too many for the number of trailers based on the time it would take to transport some and return for the others), they should be moved to large paddocks (e.g., 10 acres) of bare ground or closely grazed ground, a paddock with a large dam or with lush green grass or possibly a sand arena if there are no trees or buildings nearby. They must not wear any rugs but safe halters (which will break if caught on something) should be left on. Horses need to be identifiable after the fire has gone through as fencing may be burnt down, allowing them to move to other locations. It is possible to write a phone number on their coat using livestock grease crayons (make sure you have some handy), write it on their hooves with permanent marker or on a luggage tag securely affixed to their mane. Microchipping is not as commonly done for horses as it is for small animals. Photos of yourself with the horse and photos of the horse’s brands and other identifying markings should be taken well in advance.

Other Modes of Transport

Small cattle trucks (stock trailers) will work if they are a single level and the horses are individually tied or restrained, but, depending on the floor height, may require access to a suitable loading ramp on or near the property where the horses are located. Double level cattle trucks do not have sufficient head space for horses and require specialized loading ramps designed for cattle. Even if the head space on a cattle truck is sufficient and the horses are small, or are ponies or miniatures, it may be difficult to find a suitable cattle loading ramp available locally. Most cattle loading ramps are too narrow for horses, and handlers cannot walk safely beside the horse to lead and encourage them. The back of a pick-up truck or minivan is really not suitable

© Can Stock Photo/HPW

Horse owners should have a plan in place and evacuate well ahead of time in the event of a brushfire


to transport even miniature horses and tiny ponies because it is impossible to safely restrain them.

A Safe Place

While dogs can be accommodated in friends’ and relatives’ homes in safe areas or in temporary community shelters, horses’ needs are more difficult to meet. Arranging a suitable place to take the horses must be considered. Foremost is the need for suitable fencing. Second is the need for adequate space. There is a risk of fighting and injury if horses who do not know each other or who do not get along are put in a paddock together, especially if the area is small. The addition of many extra hard hooves and mouths during the brushfire season when grass does not grow and water levels in dams are low may degrade the refuge’s ground cover and drain the water supply, given the fact that the evacuated horses are likely to be in their refuge for several days or more. Part of being prepared to evacuate a horse is making sure the necessary training has been done, part is having the float and towing vehicle available, and part is having a safe place to go. n


Simple Trick Soothes Horses: www.horsesciencenews.com/horse -care/trailering/simple-trick-soothes-horses.php Useful information on how to cope with horses injured in a bushfire and returning to a property after the fire has passed: www.horsesa.asn.au/emergency Dr. Lisel O’Dwyer has a background in psychology and has shared her life with a range of species since childhood. At present she has five horses, one donkey, two cats, two dogs and five chickens, all of whom are clicker trained. Currently she is becoming involved with the new horse sport of agility training (unmounted and at liberty).


We invite our members to get involved and contribute their unique skills to our webinar program! If you would like to host a webinar for your fellow companion animal trainers and behavior professionals, submit your ideas to: www.PetProfessionalGuild.com /PresentaPPGmemberWebinar.

Topics may include training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics... or anything else you can think of. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!)

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



The Importance of Mentorship

Gail Radtke discusses her ongoing mentorship with renowned dog trainer Brenda Aloff,


and outlines the enormous value of such a relationship

very interaction is an opportunity for development. These were words I lived by in my former career as an instructor and training officer for the British Columbia Corrections Branch in Canada. Sharing experience and knowledge with new officers was vital to their professional development and to help them adjust to working in a prison environment. In other words, it was about mentorship - both formally and informally. Each of the senior officers was responsible for ensuring that new officers received guidance, advice and support. When I was faced with changing my career several years ago, the importance of mentorship stayed with me and has since evolved with new mentor relationships. Navigating the dog training business is no easy task. Getting on the right path can be difficult for new trainers trying to build their career. Who do you follow? What do you study? Who are you influenced by? Someone who is embarking on a new career path in this field may find him- or herself unintentionally trusting someone who implements unethical training methods, despite presenting as ethical, knowledgeable and experienced. I believe each of us has a responsibility to help others develop to ensure that new trainers are given the opportunity to experience positive influence, mentorship and coaching. We need to make sure those just starting out in the world of animal behavior and training are directed onto the right path regarding training methods and ethics. No one else will do that for us. A mentor is defined as a trusted counselor or guide. No matter how much we think we know there is always someone out there who can teach us something new. We need to remain open to this concept to continuously grow and evolve. My personal experience in a formal mentoring relationship has been as the mentee but, informally, mentorship occurs constantly as I share my knowledge and experience while providing personal support to my peers and colleagues. This year, however, I plan to establish myself in a more structured mentor relationship, based on my personal experience with my own personal mentor, renowned dog trainer, Brenda Aloff. It was a chance meeting with Aloff several years back that started the mentorship journey. I had read several of her books and had been following her training methods, and then had the 52

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opportunity to attend one of her seminars. What first grabbed my attention about Brenda was that she made herself available to people for an informal chat, and that she was so open and inviting to speak with. There is something to be said about someone who makes you feel like Gail Radtke (right) found you matter. mentoring In March 2014, Aloff under Brenda opened her Virtual Dog TrainAloff to be invaluable, both ing Academy and invited a few personally and of us to go through a test professionally drive with her for six months. The formal part of the mentorship for me was the ongoing personal coaching with her. Every few weeks we would meet on a virtual platform for coaching calls and talk about what we were doing, our challenges and successes. What I experienced in the formal process included: • Sharing knowledge and skill • Professional socialization • Personal support and coaching • Someone who was genuinely invested in my career pathways • Learning from a role model One of the things I find invaluable about Aloff’s mentorship and coaching is that we meet as a group on the virtual platform every month or so and share ongoing experiences. In October 2014, I did a nine-day internship with Aloff at her training facility Heaven on Arf in Michigan. During this time I was able to experience training alongside her and polish my skills using the training methods and protocols we had studied in the virtual academy. As my mentor, Aloff had made the commitment to contribute to my development and we worked on setting up the internship for several months so I could get from British Columbia to Michigan. As part of the program I attended Aloff’s group classes and private sessions, and had daily coaching conversations with her. Having the opportunity to engage in face-to-face conversations was worth its weight in gold. What I have taken away from my internship experience is a greater understanding of what my own role as a mentor is. It has increased my confidence in my own abilities in a way that would not have happened without Aloff’s encouragement and personal style of coaching. I am even more committed to providing opportunities for people who want or need a mentorship. As a mentor,

not only are you sharing your knowledge and skills, you are personally contributing to the dog training world to ensure new trainers learn from and are influenced by the right people. As a mentee, you receive the opportunity to learn from someone who is experienced in your chosen field, create a strong professional network, and ensure you are learning from someone with a strong ethical foundation. From a professional standpoint, being able to train with Aloff in person provided the opportunity to watch and learn from how she interacts with her clients. I found it invaluable to observe her teaching style in a classroom/group setting at her training facility. Being able to attend training sessions and see her use training methods and protocols in a live session has enhanced my own training skills far beyond what reading would have taught me. I have now learned to be generous with my time, to make myself available and connect on a personal level with people who are seeking mentorship. By committing to another person’s growth and success it can help us view the dog training business in a collaborative way rather than a competitive one, which is one of the key factors in creating change. I have also realized that it is up to me to provide opportunities for mentees and let people know they matter. It would be invaluable for the industry as a whole to see more trainers offer some kind of formal mentorship or internship, and for organizations to support mentorship programs by pairing up new trainers with someone more established in their


area. The opportunities are endless. When we commit to helping others develop, we enhance and contribute to the dog training industry as a whole, and any professional organization we belong to. Positive change cascades down through a multitude of levels and enhances the professional growth of people around us. Any of us can contribute to someone else’s development, either formally or informally. It is not about how much time you spend with someone, but how valuable you make that time. We can each be a role model and set an example for others by showing our commitment to ethical principles, values and beliefs. As the late Maya Angelou so succinctly put it: I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. n


Virtual Dog Training Academy: www.brendaaloff.com/virtual -academy Heaven on Arf: www.brendaaloff.com/training/local-training

Gail Radtke CPDT is a retired correctional supervisor and former instructor of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada. Gail has combined her passion for dogs and teaching and is a Family Paws Parent Education presenter and has recently completed her DipCBST. She is the owner and operator of Cedar Valley K9, www.cedarvalleyk9.ca, in Mission, British Columbia.

Redstone Media Group, in partnership with the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) is delighted to announce that all PPG members are now eligible for 50% OFF ($12 for six issues) a oneyear subscription to Animal Wellness or Equine Wellness magazines. “We all want our dogs to enjoy a long healthy life,” says Animal Wellness Publisher Tim Hockley, and Animal Wellness magazine is the #1 publication devoted to this cause. Learn about the vital four pillars to wellness, discover the secrets to longevity, revitalize your bond and learn from the world leading natural health experts.

Your subscription code can be picked up in the member area of the PPG website, www.PetProfessionalGuild.com/benefitinformation. Please be sure to log in first. For people who are serious about their dogs!

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




A Change of Heart

Annie Phenix always thought dogs were her teachers, until she realized humans have just as much to offer

labored in dog rescue in the middle of a large southern state for more than 20 years. It taught me to hate people for all the lousy things they did to dogs. I became a professional dog trainer in an effort to help dogs routinely dumped or euthanized by impatient humans. They ended their pets’ lives because the dogs acted like the canines that they were: they grew too large or ate the sofa or peed in the house. Either that or the new baby sucked all the available human love out of the house, so the dog got the boot. I learned how to calm the most aggressive animal and I did so in service of dogs, or so I thought, because they were my only friends growing up in a dysfunctional home. Dogs outranked humans in my world, by far. When clients called to set up an appointment, I would answer the call stoically and without much emotion for the upset human on the other end of the phone. “Tell me more about the dog,” I would flatly advise them, meaning: Judy and her terrier, “Don’t bore me with your human prob- Gracie, who is wearing a tracking device for lems, like having a new baby in the her off-leash training house that your ‘beloved’ dog drools on.” I was there for the dog and only for the dog. My fury at the multitudes of, in my opinion, undeserving dog owners did not make me a popular trainer. I would even tell owners what I thought of their lack of training skills. I was very wounded by the years of rescue work where I saw dogs abused, neglected and left to die on a chain out in the hot summer sun, and that made me snippy. My mother had neglected me in much the same way as a child, so protecting those unwanted dogs became synonymous with protecting the little girl in me. By the time I was an adult, I became a caricature of the biting and snarling aggressive dogs I loved to help. I had a sharp bite and I did not mind using it. Like many abused dogs, I learned to skip the warning growl and go straight for jugular. Needless to say, there was an enormous problem with my approach. I did not see that the dog owners who called me for help were among the few dog owners who do actually reach out to a qualified, professional trainer. Eventually though I came to realize I was biting the wrong kind of human. 54

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

Time and time again, I met loving dog owners who were burdened with an out-of-control dog. They had the difficult work of picking up the pieces for a dog who came from a stressed mother or who had not had the best of starts in life. One day, I finally understood that the only hope for this kind of dog lay with his current owner.You cannot pass on to a rescue or a new home a dog who has sunk his incisors into someone. The usual solution was to take the dog to the vet to be euthanized. Problem solved. However, I kept running into brave humans who refused that easy opt out and they began to get to me all the way down to that once frightened little girl. Over time I learned to care deeply about this particular type of owner. I learned to cry with them over their dog’s stress. The more than 400 dogs I had fostered over the years had made me hate human beings, yet it escaped my notice that I had easily found 400 loving homes for those previously unwanted dogs. One of my clients was 72 when I met her. She had traveled through a blizzard in Wyoming to get a certain type of terrier puppy she had set her heart on. She had owned dogs throughout her life and taken excellent care of them. Her new puppy came to her with an inherited form of aggression, an unwanted gift passed down from one or both of the parent dogs. My client took her new friend to puppy classes. She vetted the dog with the top vet in town, but something was wrong. Her adorable new best friend attacked other dogs, even much larger adult dogs. My bright client was a retired educator so she set out to try to understand what had gone wrong. She eventually stopped walking in public because her puppy became completely unmanageable at the end of the leash, causing so much hysteria around them that it was simpler to stay home and skip the embarrassment. She worked with three trainers before she found me. By the time Judy contacted me, I had evolved into a fully present trainer. I put my heart on the line for each dog and for each owner, and caring about the owner part of that equation


was a huge change for me. It turned out to be a giant difference for the owners too, because in me they met an ally, a friend and someone on their side who could help them save their dog. My job literally became a matter of life and death for the dog. Judy and her dog signed up for a series of private lessons with me. On our first lesson, I brought my border collie named Echo. I promised Judy we would be able to walk both dogs on her ranch that day together, probably off-leash. We did, but only because Judy followed the protocols I had learned from wise animal behaviorists. I felt immense joy in being able to teach their kind, fair and effective training methods to dog owners in desperate need. Judy named her dog Gracie. By the end of her training, we started calling her “Amazing Gracie� because her progress was so quick. Gracie amazed me because she, like all the aggressive dogs I work with, resembled the person I once was. I was so terrified to trust people that I had often responded aggressively, just like Gracie. Gracie had to learn to trust again and I would be her teacher, but this would have never have transpired without her owner doing everything she could to help that little dog of hers. Judy and I are today good friends, thanks to our introduction via Amazing Gracie. I have a once-troubled border terrier to thank for that. That feisty dog and so many others led me back to knowing there are kind people who outrun the cold-hearted ones with their generosity. I have hundreds of stories about humans who go to the end of the earth for a dog. I move towards that kind of person because they take me far away from the ones who damaged the dog in the first place. The compassion these owners show their dogs has allowed me to find compassion again. I still train for the sake of the dog but I also embrace the humans who care enough to train their dog as they are training me too. n Judy and Gracie (left) eventually moved to another city where Gracie passed a Reactive Dog II class and went straight to the advanced Growly Dog II. Judy participates in fun agility, nose work and so much more with Gracie these days.

Annie Phenix CPDT-KA at Phenix Dogs, www.phenixdogs.com, is a positive reinforcement trainer, an award-winning writer and a former publicist. She also writes a weekly column for Dogster.com, www.dogster.com. She and her husband share their lives in sunny Colorado with her five dogs, six donkeys and two horses.

Terrier Gracie and the author’s dog, Monster, were able to be off-leash together at their very first meeting

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



A Positive Approach

Angelica Steinker outlines how to increase client trust by using unconditional positive

nconditional positive regard (UPR) is a concept that empowers consultants to unconditionally see their client in a positive light. As the term “unconditional” implies, this positive regard must be given, even if the client’s value system, behavior or intellectual viewpoint is at odds with that of the consultant. The term UPR was coined by psychologist, Carl Rogers, and is fundamental to any mental health counseling, coaching or teaching relationship. A person who treats another with positive regard is trusted; in fact, it makes one feel liked. If someone does not feel liked by a counselor, coach or teacher, information is often withheld to avoid being judged negatively. Protecting one’s self-worth might supersede revealing certain details. Without all of the available information, professionals will not be as well equipped to counsel, coach or educate. This indicates just how pivotal trust is in relationships that serve to educate.

An unconditional positive regard helps trainers become more effective at helping both clients and their pets

Unconditional Positive Regard and Learning

© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub

Who was the best teacher you ever had? What was it about that teacher that made you learn better? Did you feel that teacher liked you? Almost always the answer to that last question is yes. People learn better from someone who Effective coaches focus they feel appreciates them. on bonding If a person feels liked and appreciated, a connection is formed, and these feelings will be reciprocated. This is the basis for a relationship built on trust. As dog trainers it is imperative that 56

March 2015

© Can Stock Photo/lightpoet


regard in cognizant behavior consulting

our clients trust us. By unconditionally accepting and appreciating them as they are, we build a foundation that enables them to feel safe to open up to us and to trust the advice we are giving them. All this is logical and easy to accept in the abstract. Where it becomes challenging is when you are dealing with divisive situations. For example, when clients admit to having hit their dog; when clients share that they are thinking about euthanizing their dog; or when clients confide that they simply cannot do it any more so the dog will have to find another home. These are the times when drawing on the lessons of unconditional positive regard will enable you to be most effective in helping both your client and his or her dog.

Avoiding Judgment

All of us judge; it is impossible to be human and not do it.You are likely doing it right now, judging my writing, judging the content of this article, deciding if you should read on. When we judge we apply our value system to another person. We fail to consider that person’s perspective.

Social Learning

If we want our clients to be open and to avoid judging us, then we need to set the example in the relationship and not judge them either. Judging causes defensiveness and undermines establishing an ideal reinforcement history. We need to establish emotional safety. We do this by offering our unconditional positive regard. By modeling UPR we prompt our clients to offer us the same positive regard.

Owner Mistakes

It is easy to judge a client for making mistakes; instead, we should bear in mind that they do not have the education, experience, skills and knowledge that we have acquired, often over the course of many years. Also, remember that some of their mistakes may have worked well in the short-term, which would have reinforced the client’s poor choices. This increases the likelihood of clients firmly believing they acted appropriately. The real skill is not in identifying our clients’ mistakes but in

© Can Stock Photo/devon


When we judge we fail to consider another person’s perspective

coaching them through those mistakes. A good coaching process must be resilient and allow for mistakes. It is unrealistic to expect our clients to have the skills or the understanding that we have.

Force Training

It is also easy to judge peers who use poor training methods. As force-free trainers we know that incorporating choice into training leads to more resilient conditioning. We also know that aversives such as shock or choke collars are fraught with side effects. It is easy to vilify trainers who use force and aversives and to have an us-against-them mentality. Such an attitude will not serve anyone. Anger is not a healthy emotion and, while it is cathartic, it comes with a big price tag: conflict and relationship damage. It is more effective to use UPR and to find commonality on which we can build. If our clients have used equipment we do not recommend we can choose to demonize or we can use UPR. We can have compassion and see that they must have been desperate to use such a tool or that they were misled by a “professional” advocating force instead of training. Many of us may have been misled at one time or another by a persuasive and smooth-talking salesman. Try

to remember such an occasion and empathize with your client.


Ultimately we are in the people business. Effective coaches avoid judging. They focus on bonding because a coach who truly cares is going to be much more powerful than one who is domineering and sees himself as better, smarter or superior. It is obvious that we know more than our client does; that is why they hired us. Feeling the need to leverage that when our value systems are at odds only serves to damage the client-consultant relationship. Our first goal must be to connect with a client. Once achieved, that connection and the trust that comes with it must be cherished. One way to get and keep that connection is by using unconditional positive regard. n

Cognizant behavior consulting (CBC) is an approach that provides behavior consultants and their clients with guidelines that create boundaries and establish ethics. CBC deals directly with the emotional components of behavior consulting. It focuses on the needs of both the client and the dog in order to improve their emotional state.This column will present a different component of CBC in each issue.


Carl Rogers: www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html Unconditional Positive Regard, If You Think It's About Smiling and Nodding You Are Doing It Wrong: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-doesnt-killus/201210/unconditional-positive-regard

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

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015



Going Limbic

John Visconti details the value of establishing an early emotional connection


with prospective clients

© Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock

hen initially speaking with a prospective client who has made an inquiry regarding training services, as salespeople, trainers tend to first focus on establishing their expertise, credentials and experience. And why not? After all, you have spent countless hours mastering your trade and want to be seen as an expert, especially in light of the fact that your competitors are often “whisperers” and incompetent trainers.Your expertise is a great way to differentiate your business from your competition. Establishing that expertise is a logical approach to selling.Yes, I referred to you as a “salesperson.” I guess I just blew my chance for ever receiving a Happy Holidays The ability to greeting card from establish an emotional you. But rememconnection ber, sales skills and with a client is training skills are an invaluable skill linked. Without sales skills, you will never be able to gain and help clients and their dogs. While utilizing a logical, expertise-based sales approach would seem rational, neuroscience has demonstrated that it is not the most effective initial approach to motivating prospective clients to purchase your services. Through the use of fMRI technology, studies have clearly demonstrated that the emotional portion of the brain, the limbic system, is the first brain center to receive and respond to data. The cognitive, rational side of our brain, the neocortex, kicks in subsequently. For example, let’s say that you have decided to purchase a stereo system. As you enter the store, a salesperson approaches and asks, “Can I help you?” Since no one likes to be “sold to” and since we have often had bad experiences with salespeople in the past, we are typically motivated to respond by saying “No, thank you. I’m just looking” when in fact, it is logical to allow the sales58

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015

person to help us. After all, you are not just looking. But since we perceive a threat to our well-being, i.e. someone trying to influence us potentially against our will, we naturally become defensive in order to maintain our safety and comfort zone. Conversely, how would the same exact scenario play out if the salesperson was a friend from your past? Clearly, you would be much more inclined to accept the offer of assistance. Why? Because you would feel less threatened and because of the positive emotional connection you would feel toward the salesperson, a friend. Both scenarios are exactly the same except for the difference in the emotional components. It is the emotional (limbic) system in our brain that is the first to respond during a sales transaction. Always keep in mind that the first purchase a prospective client makes is you. Unless you are offering an item or service that cannot be purchased elsewhere, every potential client is more likely to be willing to listen to you and hire you if they feel a positive emotional connection with you. Additionally, when they do feel that connection, a rejection of your offer becomes more difficult than if you have only presented black and white, factual information. It is more difficult for a buyer to reject you if you attach yourself to your proposal. This is not to say that it is unimportant to establish your expertise with prospective clients. In fact, it is. But very often people use factual data to justify and support their first emotional reactions. We are feeling beings before we are thinking beings. Science has proven this.The easiest and most genuine way to connect with a potential client is to focus on your common ground – your experiences as dog owners. My first question during the initial conversation with a prospective client is always, “What’s your dog’s name?” I then ask why that name was the chosen one. At an opportune moment, I


© Can Stock Photo/Andreus

The emotional portion of the brain responds to data before the rational side

offer a story about my first dog’s name. Stories are a wonderful way to connect with people because they do not require the listener to do anything other than listen. No decisions are required. “My first dog was an Alaskan Malamute.The American Kennel Club (AKC) registration form required a first and middle name. I spent countless hours ruminating this monumental decision. One evening, while at a restaurant, I noticed a “No Smoking” sign. As quickly as you could say “Nosmo King” I had a name for my pup. I later learned that the name had been a pseudonym used by a few celebrities but that did not dampen my spirits.The AKC also required an alternate name. I so badly wanted my original choice that I decided I would provide an alternate that would guarantee their acceptance of my primary choice. So my alternate offering was “Come Here.” I have yet to receive anything but a positive response to that story. The recounting of the story provides a quick emotional connection. But here’s the good news, not only does it create a positive connection for the dog owner toward me but the opposite is true as well. I most often enjoy the stories behind how and why owners have chosen names for their dogs. A two-way connection is built with a simple question, “What’s your dog’s name?” It is my firm belief that the most important training session is the original phone discussion as it sets the ground work for understanding each other and building a positive emotional bond. Your question can be your own, your story can be your own but go “limbic” as quickly as you can when chatting with a potential client. The emotional connection will feel great for both of you. n John D.Visconti CPDT-KA is the owner of Fetch More Dollars, www.fetchmoredollars.com, sales consulting for dog trainers, Dog Trainer ConneXion, www.dogtrainerconnexion .com, business management software and Rising Star Dog Training, www.risingstardogtraining.com.


The Pet Professional Guild has announced its first ever convention, to be held in Tampa, Florida on: Wednesday, November 11 Friday, November 13, 2015.

More details at www.petprofessionalguild.com/Force-Free-Summit and pages 16-23. BARKS from the Guild/March 2015




Science, Naturally

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

features James O’Heare of the Companion Animal Sciences Institute

ames O’Heare is a well-known and highly respected behaviorologist, having earned his doctoral certificate in behaviorology from The International Behaviorology Institute. He is a certified animal behavior consultant, a certified dog behavior consultant and soon to be a certified parrot behavior consultant. He has worked with people and their companion animals for over 15 years, written over 15 books geared to professionals, and teaches behaviorology through The Companion Animal Sciences Institute.

James O’Heare with his previous friend, Roscoe

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

A: My two-year-old Dobbie, Taz, was found near death on the streets of Montreal, Canada. The vets said he could not be saved as he was so emaciated but a rescue organization nursed him back to stability and we nursed him to perfect condition from there. He is named after the Tasmanian Devil because he spins like a mad man when he gets worked up. He is a real handful but a really great friend as well. Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?

A: I love animals and want to help them. I am fascinated by behavior.

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

A: Not really. I have come a long way in finding less aversive methods but I would not say I was ever really into harsh methods. Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A: Helping students understand some of the really complex principles of behavior. Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you? A: It makes me really sad to think of any animal suffering and I want to help reduce that any way I can. 60

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

A: It is really nice to know that there are so many other people out there dedicated to non-coercive methods. It is also great to be a part of a verbal community that is dedicated to that rather than an organization that is wishy-washy on this matter. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: Jean Donaldson is my hero. She was my mentor through my doctoral program. Stephen Ledoux has also been very influential in my development as a scientist. Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise?

A: Teaching behaviorology.

Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for most commonly encountered client-dog problems?

A: The graded differential reinforcement procedure is the most powerful procedure I use. The environment is set up and the problem broken down into manageable tasks to set the subject up for success and then I reinforce that success and build on it. If

there are significant problematic emotional behaviors occurring then I start with differential reinforcement of other behaviors (DRO) and a really high rate of reinforcement in order to ensure that beneficial respondent conditioning occurs as well, then I transition to differential reinforcement of incompatible behaviors (DRI) or differential reinforcement of alternative behaviors (DRA) as soon as practicable. Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?

A: Price-related reinforcers keep me going. It feels good to know that I have helped make someone's life a little easier with their companion animal. Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?

A: I had a client with a parrot who trained their dog to sit and be quiet. The bird would do the click sound perfectly and drop the treats. Amazing! Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out? A: Study the natural science of behavior and forget all the ethology and psychology and other medical model type stuff out


there. As with anything else, if you really want to control some phenomenon, study the natural science of it. In this case, that is behaviorology (behavior analysis O’Heare has been would be working with okay too). companion animals and their owners At the for over 15 years same time, get as much experience with actual animals as you can. n

The Companion Animal Sciences Institute is an online organization specializing in advanced professional development, www.casinstitute.com


at Call us today at 1-800-962-4611 or visit us online at www.#VTJOFTT*OTVSFST.com www.#VTJOFTT*OTVSFST.com

BARKS from the Guild/March 2015





Negotiating the Nutritional Maze

In The Good Dog Diet, Anna Patfield covers all aspects of canine nutrition while

delving into the possible impacts food has on behavior. Reviewed by Susan Nilson

nna Patfield, author of The Good Dog Diet and owner of Pawsability Dog Training and Behavior in Scotland, UK, states her intention right off the bat: to steer the reader through the “dog food maze.” What follows is an educational guide to all things canine nutrition, as well as a focus on the very big question of whether food has an impact on a dog’s behavior. While many of us might agree that it certainly does, we may be more challenged to come up with a sound explanation as to why this is. With the plethora of often contradictory information that is available to dog owners, trainers and behavior consultants, nutrition can be a hard nut to crack. What should we actually be feeding our dogs? Should we be using dietary manipulation as part of a behavior modification program? Should we be hacking up raw bones for them every night? Are we bad dog parents if we buy the cheapest stuff in the supermarket? Are there health implications to any of this? The questions are many and the answers few. What Patfield does well, however, is provide all salient information. This enables pet owners and professionals alike to make informed choices based on each dog’s individual needs that also fit in with individual lifestyles. She also attempts to provide a rationale for each possible case scenario (e.g. raw vs. cooked; home-prepared vs. manufactured; wet vs. dry). While the answers are not always clear-cut, Patfield does a good job of highlighting the possible pros and cons of each option, while returning often to her mantra that all dogs are individuals and so are their owners. What works for one dog or owner may not work for another. Some dogs can exist perfectly well and stay healthy for their entire lives on a low-quality, cheap diet, while others fare better on freshly prepared meals or more expensive, specially manufactured diets. For the dog owner trying to decipher a list of ingredients on any given dog food to make an informed purchase, Patfield walks us through the minefield and provides guidance on how to ensure a dog gets sufficient nutrients and calories, as well as pointing out what to look for in terms of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water content. She wonders why certain ingredients have an impact on some dogs while others remain completely unaffected. Some dogs do fine on just about anything, some even do very well on a vegan diet, while others fare best on an all-meat diet. Like humans, dogs have demonstrated the ability to adapt to what they eat. Patfield also discusses the direct links between nutrition, behavior, emotions and the canine brain. Here’s an example: In terms of the monoamine group of neurotransmitters (the biosynthesis and concentration of which are significantly influenced by the amino acids derived from protein in the diet), deficiencies in both dopamine and serotonin may cause anxiety in a dog, even though their functions are very different. But where does that leave us? We may know a dog is exhibiting anxiety, but, in nutritional terms at least, any specific cause may be hard to identify. This is where Patfield digs deeper, discussing the competition between the various amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier and the 62

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impact this may have on behavior, specifically in the form of tryptophan and, consequently, serotonin versus dopamine and its precursor, tyrosine. She also discusses the issue of additives, preservatives and grain in dog food and the effects these may or may not have on behavior, yet there appear to be no definitive answers. Every dog is unique in terms of his digestive and neurological systems, so what might affect one might make no difference at all to another. While difficult to state in blanket terms that altering a dog’s diet is helpful in addressing a behavior issue, one cannot dispute that brain chemistry can be affected by food, so a change may be helpful for some behavior problems in some dogs, while (obviously) taking into account the many other factors such as medical issues, stress (can affect nutrient absorption via gastrointestinal upset), context, emotional state and so on. Either way, reviewing a dog’s diet can provide behavior professionals with another tool when addressing a problem, simply by checking for ingredients in the food that may be affecting behavior. Behavior aside, Patfield also takes on the issue of a high-protein raw diet and the benefits thereof (or not), and examines whether such a diet may cause higher levels of aggression in some dogs and, interestingly, compares a dog’s digestive system to that of a wolf, specifically in the form of bone digestion. Genetically, the two animals are quite different in terms of digestive systems, apparently. Here’s another excellent question Patfield raises: Why do certain foods with similar nutritional levels have such vastly differing costs? Does quality really matter? To delve deeper into this aspect one must continue to consider the dog’s digestive system. Interestingly, a dog’s intestine is 15.75 feet on average, a human’s 25 feet, a pig’s 75.5 feet and a cat’s 6.6 feet, which gives a good indication as to which animal absolutely cannot survive without protein derived from meat sources (that would, of course, be the cat, the obligate carnivore). Patfield addresses other “myths,” such as whether dogs can or cannot digest cheese, whether they do or do not require vitamin C, whether grains are “bad.” All in all there is a wealth of information and resources in this small e-book. For those who wish to learn more about canine diets in general or those who want to brush up on exactly why serotonin levels can be so significant when dealing with behavior problems, it is a quick, user-friendly read which does not get bogged down in convoluted jargon. As a bonus, in one of the appendices, it details an example of actual dietary manipulation aimed at increasing levels of serotonin in a dog’s brain with a view to assisting in the treatment of a behavior problem. Many consultants I know have tried this at one point or another, specifically in aggression cases, and have often reported a significant improvement in overall behavior. It is a fascinating subject with much more research to be done, but Patfield’s e-book certainly makes a good start. n

The Good Dog Diet Anna Patfield (2014) 90 pages/577 KB Pawsability, UK ASIN: B00M56LU1K

Profile for The Pet Professional Guild

BARKS from the Guild March 2015  

Published quarterly and managed by Susan Nilson, "BARKS from the Guild" presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as...

BARKS from the Guild March 2015  

Published quarterly and managed by Susan Nilson, "BARKS from the Guild" presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as...