© Can Stock Photo/tana/byrdyak
BARKS from the Guild Issue 35 / MARCH 2019
CANINE Good vs. Bad Socialization
FELINE Whisker Fatigue and Water
CANINE Aggression: Triggers and Patterns
TRAINING Helping Clients with Mobility Impairments BUSINESS Prioritizing Training
What Do Dogs, Cats, Cars and Chairs Have in Common? The Legal Status of Pets: Property or Part of the Family? SPECIAL AGGRESSION SUPPLEMENT: Portland Writers’ Competition
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BARKS from the Guild
Published by the Pet Professional Guild 9122 Kenton Road, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33545, USA Tel: +1-844-462-6473 petprofessionalguild.com barksfromtheguild.com facebook.com/BARKSfromtheGuild Editor-in-Chief Susan Nilson firstname.lastname@example.org
Images © Can Stock Photo: canstockphoto.com (unless otherwise credited; uncredited images belong to Pet Professional Guild)
Pet Professional Guild Steering Committee Kelly Fahey, Paula Garber, Kelly Lee, Debra Millikan, Susan Nilson, Mary Richards, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, Niki Tudge
BARKS from the Guild Published bi-monthly, BARKS from the Guild presents a collection of valuable business and technical articles as well as reviews and news stories pertinent to our industry. BARKS is the oﬃcial publication of the Pet Professional Guild.
Submissions BARKS encourages the submission of original written materials. Please contact the Editor-in-Chief for contributor guidelines prior to sending manuscripts or see: barksfromtheguild.com/article-and-content-submission-policy-procedures Please submit all contributions via our submission form at: petprofessionalguild.com/bftgcontent
Letters to the Editor To comment on an author’s work, or to let PPG know what topics you would like to see more of, contact the Editor-in-Chief via email putting BARKS in the subject line of your email. BARKS reserves the right to edit for length, grammar and clarity.
Subscriptions and Distribution BARKS is a digital publication. Print copies are available by monthly subscription. Register at barksfromtheguild.com/subscribe. Please contact Rebekah King at email@example.com for all subscription and distribution-related enquiries. Advertising Please contact Kelly Fahey at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a copy of rates, ad speciﬁcations, format requirements and deadlines. Advertising information is also available at petprofessionalguild.com/s
Pet Professional Guild 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. Pet Professional Guild reserves the right to reject, at its discretion, any advertising.
To be in any way aﬃliated with the Pet Professional Guild, all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean that no pain, force or fear and no shock, choke or prong are ever employed to train or care for a pet.
© All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the Pet Professional Guild, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, please email: email@example.com.
from the editor
was intrigued recently to come across the study, An Examination of Adult Women’s Sleep Quality and Sleep Routines in Relation to Pet Ownership and Bedsharing (bit.ly/2TKq2It), published in Anthrozoös towards the end of last year, that discussed whether women slept better alongside their partner, a cat or a dog, or a combination thereof (men did not provide enough data, apparently). Of the survey’s 982 participants, 55 percent shared their bed with at least one dog, 31 percent with at least one cat, and 57 percent with another person. Interestingly, dogs were “perceived to disturb sleep less” while cats “were found to be equally as disruptive as human partners.” While this is fascinating within itself, it is of particular relevance to our Cover Story this month, which focuses on whether pets should still be considered property in the eyes of the law, given that increasing numbers of pet guardians now consider their pets to be part of the family. Indeed, the Harris Poll (2015) (bit.ly/2MOtUFl) found that 95 percent of pet owners “consider their pets to be members of the family.” (The same poll, incidentally, found that 71 percent of pet owners “frequently or occasionally let their pets sleep in bed with them.”) Regardless, from a legal standpoint, pets are, broadly speaking, still considered to be movable property, meaning they have the same rights as an inanimate object such as a car or a chair (hence the title of our feature). However, with some countries/regions now acknowledging that animals are, indeed, sentient beings, and the states of Illinois, Alaska and California introducing laws that require judges to consider a pet’s best interests and wellbeing during divorce proceedings or custody battles, many are calling for a reassessment of how pets are treated under the law. Our cover feature delves much deeper into this topic and certainly provides some interesting reading. Also in this issue, we feature a special 18-page supplement to showcase the winning and runner up entries in our Portland Writers’ Competition. The competition mandate was to write about any aspect of aggressive behavior and we had so many quality entries, it was diﬃcult to come up with this ﬁnal selection. However, what we have now is an intriguing mix of case studies, training tips, shared experiences, and personal reﬂections. There are some heart-wrenching stories too, highlighting once again the risks associated with the use of aversive training tools and methods. These articles are all intended to provide a taste of what’s to come at PPG’s Canine Aggression and Bite Prevention seminar taking place in Portland, Oregon next month and it’s not too late, you can still sign up - see page 36 for more details. Elsewhere, as always, we have a broad range of content, covering all things dog, cat, training, pet care, business, consulting, and behavior. We discuss how to best train loose leash walking for clients with mobility impairments, the importance of identifying triggers and patterns in canine aggression cases, and the diﬀerences between good vs. bad socialization when looking to give puppies the best start in life. Our Feline section offers some insight into the phenomena of whisker fatigue and water pawing, while our Business and Consulting section discusses how to keep clients on task with their training programs and how to best understand an animal’s emotional state when working with them, so we can open up a dialogue and empower them by allowing them to make choices. We also continue our series of articles on Pet Care, focusing on recommended standards for the individual kenneling of dogs in boarding and day care facilities, and the importance of education for industry service providers. Finally, we have photo features of the Portland Cool for Cats Competition and the International Day of Advocacy Let’s Celebrate +R Competition, and a photo report from PPG’s second Day of Education and Fun in January. Once again, a big thank you to all our contributors. If you would like to join them, do get in touch!
n Susan Nilso
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
contents 6 10 12 14 16 22 26 28 31 34 36 37 39 41 44 46 48 50 52 53 54 56 58 61
All the latest developments at PPG, plus upcoming podcasts, webinars and workshops
PPG M EMBER N ET WORKING D AY
Highlights from PPG’s second Day of Education and Fun
I NTERNATIONAL D AY
Winners in PPG’s photo and video competition showcasing positive training techniques
P ORTLAND 2019: C OOL
Photo Collage: Cats in a relaxed pose or emotional state incompatible with aggression
W HAT D O D OGS , C ATS , C ARS
C HAIRS H AVE
C OMMON ?
Susan Nilson and Niki Tudge debate whether pets should still be considered property in the eyes of the law, given that more pet guardians now consider their pets as family
M AXIMIZING W ELFARE
Frania Shelley-Grielen looks into education to ensure pets and their owners get the standards of care they deserve and expect
S AFET Y PRACTICES
FOR I NDIVIDUAL
Lauri Bowen-Vaccare sets out her recommended standards for the individual kenneling of dogs in boarding and day care
H ELPING O WNERS , HELPING D OGS
Veronica Sanchez of PPG corporate sponsor Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach™ discusses how to best train loose leash walking for clients with mobility impairments
P UT TING
THE I NDIVIDUAL
Diane Garrod details intake, functional assessment and stress release and the importance of identifying triggers and patterns in aggression and reactivity cases
Anna Bradley details some of the differences between good vs. bad socialization for puppies
P ORTLAND 2019: W RITERS ’ C OMPETITION
Special 18-page supplement on aggressive behavior featuring winning and runner-up entries by: Shannon Finch: Lessons from Bogie Stephanie Peters: Aggression by Any Other Name Tina Ferner: May I Speak to the Manager? Hannah Blumenfeld: Canine Aggression: The Public Perception Marie Selarque: Conflict vs. Cooperation Kathleen Godfrey: Changing a Dog’s View of the World Nichola Marshall: The Journey of a Crossover Trainer Michelle Wieser: Tips to Reduce Leash Reactivity Dr. Lynn Bahr: Redirecting Aggressive Behavior
C AT B EHAVIOR U NMASKED : WAKEFULNESS , W HISKER FATIGUE WATER
Paula Garber and Tabitha Kucera tackle questions about feline behavior
E XPERTS : P RIORITIZING T RAINING
Veronica Boutelle of dog*biz responds to your business and marketing questions
F INDING Y OUR A NIMAL’ S V OICE
Kathie Gregory discusses the questions we need to ask when working with animals so we can understand their emotional state and empower them to make choices
P ROFILE : O NE FAMILY
Featuring Carole Dello Russo of All American Dog Training, Grooming, & More in Burleson, Texas
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Dr. Robert Hewings The UK College of Scent Dogs
Two Great Events November No vember 9-13, 2019 Tampa, Tampa, am F Fll
Accredited A ccredited Scent Scent Instructor Instructor Program Program November No vember 18-19, 2019 Tampa, Tampa, a F Fll
PTSD PT SD - Assistance Assistance Dog T Training raining REGISTER REGISTER TTODAY ODAY
Limited Spac Limited Spacee CEUs A Available vailable C Certification/Accreditation ertification/Accreditation for Q Qualified ualified Attendees Attendees
Plans Payment Paymen yment Plans ym il Available Available
PPG Launches Revamped Corporate Partner Program
PG has launched a new look Corporate Partner Program (petprofessionalguild.com/Corporate-Partnerships) for 2019, to include enhanced benefits and three new options to suit individual business goals: Ambassador, Diplomat and Delegate. Partners all offer generous discounts for PPG members – you can find the discount codes in Vendor Discount Programs (petprofessionalguild.com /benefitinformation) in the members’ area of the PPG website (petprofessionalguild.com/PPGMemberArea). Corporate Partners all align with PPG’s Guiding Principles (petprofessionalguild.com/PPGs -Guiding-Principles) and, with PPG, will help shape the future of the pet industry as well as grow their customer base through access to a core targeted market of pet industry business professionals. Please do support our Corporate Partners (see below) – we thank them all for their support. See also ‘PPG Signs Easy Pet Fence as New Corporate Partner; Discount Available for Members’ on p.7.
PPG Workshops: One Instructor - Two Events
r. Robert Hewings (photo, right) from the UK College of Scent Dogs is coming to PPG Headquarters in Tampa, Florida in November 2019 to present two programs: #1 - Become an Accredited Scent Instructor: Saturday, November 9 Wednesday, November 13, 2019 (petprofessionalguild.com/event -3172679): The workshop is limited to 14 working spot attendees only to ensure maximum attention and practical opportunities. Each day is split 50/50 theory/practical and is presented at a high level for dog training instructors. #2 - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Assistance Dog Training: Monday, November 18 - Tuesday, November 19, 2019 (petprofessionalguild.com/event-3172793): The workshop is for anybody interested in the training of dogs to support sufferers of PTSD specifically, and for those with a general interest in the role of assistance dogs. Monthly payments and CEUs available for both events. Working and auditor spots are available for both. See ad on p.5 for more details. 6
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
PPG Names December Project Trade Ambassador
ongratulations to Brooke Eskridge of Petagogy (petagogyboise.com) in Boise, Idaho, USA for collecting two prong collars and being named Project Trade Ambassador for December 2018. She wins a $100 credit to go towards PPG webinars.
Gear collected as part of Project Trade by Brooke Eskridge
Project Trade (projecttrade.org) is an opt-in program for PPG members that has been designed to create incentives for pet owners to seek professionals who will exchange aversive training and pet care equipment for alternative, more appropriate tools, training, and educational support.
Find out more about how Project Trade can help your business in ‘Helping Dogs, Helping Families,’ BARKS from the Guild, March 2017, pp.20-25 (bit.ly/HelpingDogs).
PPG Signs Easy Pet Fence as New Corporate Partner; Discount Available for Members
asy Pet Fence (easypetfence.com) has signed up as a new PPG Corporate Partner – Delegate Level. The company, based in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, offers humane, easy-to-install outdoor pet enclosures for dogs, cats and backyard chickens that match the needs of individual landscapes, pets and budgets. All products are 100 percent harm-free to pets, owners and the environment. The company is against invisible fencing, citing it to be “psychologically and physically damaging to pets.” Easy Pet Fence’s Poly Dog Fence Kits and Rolls are made from a tough plastic fence mesh for small and/or calmer dogs that will not jump on the fence. For active dogs that chew or dig, there are the Steel Hex Fence Kits and rolls, which are completely chew-proof and dig-proof and are ideal for large or high energy dogs. The chicken fences are made of the same material. For cat owners, Easy Pet Fence offers the Kitty Corral Cat Fence Kit that contains everything to assemble a reliable outdoor cat play house, including Cat Fence Extenders. Easy Pet Fence offers step-bystep video tutorials through its YouTube channel and printed instructions to assist pet owners with installation. Unlike chain link fence that corrodes, and wireless fence that uses electric shock, an Easy Pet Fence will last up to 30 years in the field and look attractive as well (see photo, below). It is the ideal alternative for force-free trainers and behavior consultants looking for something to recommend to their clients. Easy Pet Fence is offering PPG members a special 10 percent discount off its Dog Fence Kits and Cat Fence Kits – see the ad (right) for the discount code, which is also available in the members’ area of the PPG website (petprofessionalguild.com/PPGMemberArea). The offer expires on December 31, 2019. Easy Pet Fence is also on Facebook (facebook.com/easypetfence).
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
BARKS Podcasts: Schedule
Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 1 p.m. EST (postponed from January 8, 2019) Guest: Alexandra Kurland. Topic: Two PPG Webinars: 1) Lining up the How, What and Why of Training (petprofessionalguild.com/event-3120305) – A presentation intended to help us understand how diﬀerent training belief systems emerge, in which Kurland introduces us to the work of the cognitive linguist, George Lakoﬀ. 2) Keeping Things in Balance (petprofessionalguild.com/event-3126750) – An in-depth exploration of where the simple training mantra “For every behavior you teach there is an opposite behavior you must teach to keep things in balance” takes us. Register to listen live: attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8318673375198322946
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 1 p.m. EST Guests: Veronica Boutelle and Gina Phairas of PPG Corporate Partner, dogbiz. Topic: How to start a dog training business— the start up process, what it takes to be your own boss and succeed as a dog trainer, avoiding common mistakes and sidestepping common misconceptions, and ethical entrepreneurship in an unregulated industry. Register to listen live: register.gotowebinar.com/register/7543419821368073730 Note: Schedule is correct at time of going to press but is subject to change
Shock-Free Coalition Now in NY, KY
he Shock-Free Coalition (shockfree.org), PPG’s international advocacy initiative to build a strong and broad movement committed to eliminating shock devices from the supply and demand chain, has opened new chapters in Kentucky (facebook.com /KentuckyShockFree) and New York (facebook.com/The-New-York-Shock-Free-Coalition-2187137751614119) as the movement continues to go from strength to strength. The Kentucky chapter will be headed up by Tracey Hagan and the New York chapter will be led by Pam Shultz. The Shock-Free Coalition believes that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain and fear. Members of the Shock-Free Coalition consider it to be their responsibility and utmost obligation to be vigilant, to educate, to remain engaged and work toward eliminating shock as a permissible tool so it is never considered a viable option in the training, management and care of pets. If you have not yet signed the Shock-Free Pledge, you can do so here: petprofessionalguild.com/Sign-The-Pledge. See petprofessionalguild.com/Shock-Free-Coalition-Regional -Coordinators for more about the requirements for Shock-Free regional coordinator roles and responsibilities, and petprofessionalguild.com /Your-Shock-Free-Coalition to submit your application. See shockfree.org/Chapters for a full list of Shock-Free Coalition chapters.
BARKS BARKSfrom fromthe theGuild/January Guild/March 2019 2018
February 7, 2019: Dr. Nathan Hall discusses his upcoming Portland Summit presentation, Understanding Gene-Behavior Relationships in Domestic Dogs. Also joining the podcast was Martyn Barklett-Judge, managing director of PPG Corporate Partner, Pet Remedy, discussing Pet Remedy calming products: register.gotowebinar.com/register/6446973630084684034
September 28, 2017: Drayton Michaels and Niki Tudge - An uncensored chat about training with shock: bit.ly/2xLILKZ
Find and listen to all earlier BARKS Podcasts: barksfromtheguild.com/category/podcast.
Join PPG on Twitter and in All about Cats, Horses Facebook Groups
PG members are invited to join the PPG All about Cats (facebook.com/groups/512499695617190) and PPG All about Horses (facebook.com/groups/1079968692107997) Facebook groups to learn more about feline and equine behavior and ask questions on anything related to cats or horses. PPG also has an active Twitter account and often tweets about new scientiﬁc research studies, plus blogs and videos that are of interest to pet professionals, in addition to its own news, blog posts, educational handouts and articles. Join us there @PetGuild (twitter.com/PetGuild).
HOST A WEBINAR FOR PPG! Share your knowledge and expertise!
Topics may include a particular aspect of training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics...anything at all your fellow pet professionals would find educational. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!) Submit your idea for a webinar to: PetProfessionalGuild.com/PresentaPPGmemberWebinar
First Phase of BARKS Multimedia Platform Complete
ARKS has now rolled out the ﬁrst phase of its new, all-encompassing media platform (barksfromtheguild.com) which includes selected articles from BARKS, past and present, as well as the BARKS Blog (barksfromtheguild.com/blog) and BARKS Podcasts (barksfromtheguild.com/podcasts). You can also ﬁnd details of how to order a print copy of BARKS and view the Contents page of the upcoming issue. The website includes a special In the News section which features highlights of recently released relevant scientiﬁc studies, as well as general developments in the pet industry worldwide. Please take a moment to renew your subscription for the BARKS Blog (barksfromtheguild .com/subscribe) to make sure you don’t miss any new posts.
BARKS from the Guild
Earn Your CEUs via PPG’s Webinars, Workshops and Educational Summits! Webinars
Dog Separation Anxiety - Mission Possible! - Presented by Malena DeMartini Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 1:30 p.m. (EST) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3112400
The Sekara Diaries: Working Through the Challenges - Presented by Louise Ginman Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 3 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3119454 A Process & System for Training People - Transferring Knowledge & Skills in a Group or Private Lesson - Presented by Niki Tudge Monday, March 11, 2019 - Noon (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3101985
“You’ve Got It!” - Clicker Training for Success! - Presented by Louise Stapleton-Frappell Thursday, March 21, 2019 - 1 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3077728
Loopy Training and the Poisoned Cue - Presented by Alexandra Kurland Friday, March 29, 2019 - 1:30 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3169891
Current Facts on Pet Vaccines - Presented by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM Friday, April 12, 2019 - 1 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3168485 The Origins of Excellence - Presented by Alexandra Kurland Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 1:30 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3172366
PPG Webinars On Demand
Listen any time! (Scroll down to ﬁnd all the latest additions): petprofessionalguild.com/Educational-Resources
PPG Canine Aggression and Safety Education Seminar 2019 (Portland, Oregon) (see also ad on back cover) Friday, April 26, 2019 - Noon Sunday, April 28, 2019 - 5 p.m. petprofessionalguild.com/2019-Portland • Details of all upcoming summits: petprofessionalguild.com/Educational-Summits
Successfully Train and Compete in The Show Ring - Learn The Knowledge and Skills You Need to Compete or Teach a Professional Curriculum with Vicki Ronchette, supported by Niki Tudge (Tampa, Florida) (see also ad on p.25) Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, September 22, 2019 - 4 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-2688824 Communication, Interaction, Arousal and Problematic Behaviors with Craig Ogilvie (Tampa, Florida) (see also ad on p.11) Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 9 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 4 p.m. (EDT) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3053427 Become an Accredited Scent Instructor with Dr. Robert Hewings (see also ad on p.5) Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 9 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 13, 2019 - 4:30 p.m. (EST) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3172679
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Assistance Dog Training with Dr. Robert Hewings (see also ad on p.5) Monday, November 18, 2019 - 9 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 4:30 p.m. (EST) petprofessionalguild.com/event-3172793 • Details of all upcoming workshops: petprofessionalguild.com/Workshops.
Note: All dates and times are correct at time of going to press but are subject to change. Please check website for an updated list of all live webinars, as well as discounted and on-demand webinars: petprofessionalguild.com/educational-resources BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
PPG Member Networking Day
BARKS presents highlights from PPG’s second “Day of Education and Fun” in January
Presenters (left to right) PPG president Niki Tudge with pup Doogie, and trainers Emily Cassell and Dawn Hanna address attendees at the PPG Day of Fun in January
ollowing on from the success of the first event in September, PPG held its second day of free education and fun for PPG members and DogSmiths at its headquarters in Tampa, Florida at the end of January. The schedule included a practical session by PPG president, Niki Tudge, who presented Fun Clicker Games for Canine Mental Enrichment. Tudge also spoke on the topic of Functionally Assessing Behaviors and Developing Shaping Plans, adding in some fun exercises using jumps. In addition, local animal trainer and exotics specialist, Emily Cassell, presented on Husbandry Training for “Standoffish” Pets, and Tampa-based dog trainer and behavior consultant, Dawn Hanna, presented on Nosework as a Complementary Therapy in Addition to Behavior Modification Protocols. After the morning’s presentation, attendees took part in a group training session outdoors. PPG plans to host similar events in other locations to help members network and learn from each other, have fun, and have access to a support system that will help them in their businesses. If you are interested in hosting a regular PPG member networking day in your state/ province/county/town, please review the blueprint for PPG Networking Groups (petprofessionalguild.com/PPG-Networking-Hosts) and complete the short form so PPG can communicate directly with you. n
For the FIRST Time in the US! A Two-Day Event in Florida October 12 - 13, 2019
Craig Ogilvie, creator of the hugely successful ‘Interactive Play System’ program.
uild The Association for Force-Free Pet Professionals
CCommunication, ommunication, IInteraction, nteraction, AArousal rousal & PProblematic roblematic BBehaviors ehaviors – A PPractical ractical Guide to to Understanding, Understanding erstanding g,, Implementing Implem and Overcoming Overcoming CEUS: PP PPAB=12, AB=12, CCPDT CCPDT (pending), IAABC (pending) W Working ork ing Spots & A Auditor uditor Spots A Available vailable The The DogSmith T Training raining C Center enter & D N tii Career C C T F FL DogNostics Center, Tampa, Register Now
International Day of Advocacy
BARKS presents the winners in PPG’s photo and video competition showcasing positive
Winner: Best Educational Video and Winner: Best Overall Entry (PPG) - Jeannine Lampe
o celebrate the ﬁrst anniversary of the oﬃcial launch of PPG's international advocacy initiative, the Shock-Free Coalition (shockfree.org), PPG marked its International Day of Advocacy on November 17, 2018 with a photo and video competition, Let's Celebrate +R, to showcase positive reinforcement-based pet training and education. Separate competitions were run in tandem on PPG's US/International and UK/Europe websites. Jeannine Lampe of Adelaide, South Australia won the Best Educational Video category and Best Overall Entry for North America/International with her video of her giving her 4½-year-old rescue greyhound, Jacki, eye drops. Lampe won a 12-month subscription to PPG webinars and a free entry ticket, including gala dinner, to PPG's Canine Aggression and Bite Prevention Education Seminar in Portland, Oregon next month. “Jacki ‘raced’ into my home when she was 2½, a rescue from the greyhound adoption program of South Australia,” said Lampe. “I was her seventh home in her short life. Our ﬁrst few months together saw many obstacles hurled at us: a badly cut paw requiring several sutures; resource guarding of some toys to the point where Jacki would even stalk my mother for several moments; I was still deeply mourning the loss of my young dog. I also wonder if Jacki experienced any sort of drug withdrawal. We all persevered, adapted, adjusted, learned and bonded.” Jacki was diagnosed with pannus in her left eye in September 2017. “It was sudden and severe,” said Lampe. “The vet wanted her to have drops ﬁve times a day for a week. By the end of day one Jacki was avoiding me, obviously in pain and I felt she was shutting down. We both hated it. I couldn’t bear the thought of her going blind, but frankly I was quite prepared for her to go blind rather than my forcing her to have these drops for the rest of her life, harsh as that might sound. Those feelings of despair and tears lasted less than 24 hours thanks to the wonderful network of friends I have; I stopped ﬂooding her with the drops and concentrated on conditioning her for them. Despite not having the drops during that ﬁrst week, the pannus did eventually subside markedly. Within six months Jacki did not even turn her head away; 10 months after that diagnosis she came to me when I said ‘eyes.’ A very emotional turning point!” 12
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Winner: Best Pet and Child Interaction Photo and Winner: Best Overall Entry (PPGBI) - Nikki Thorpe
Lampe and Jacki have since discovered heelwork to music. “This was something new and very diﬀerent from her previous life and she has embraced it with great enthusiasm and character,” said Lampe. “I am so proud of Jacki and the fact that she is such a true example of positive reinforcement and training. Cliché as it sounds, I believe Jacki was a winner long before this entry. The fact that she comes to me for her drops now is the true reward. I never tire of telling all who will listen that she does this. I still get emotional over it knowing how hard it was in the beginning; how far we have come and that our journey continues. “Up until recently I always did a mock drop in her good eye, just in case it ever needed it. Unfortunately, Jacki now has pannus in that eye too. I know this is painful for her, but while she does not come to me for her drops (yet) she does not move away when I approach her. She doesn’t even turn her head away. Positive reinforcement training is such a powerful, lifelong method. It makes for far more permanent bonds, trust, respect and love. Nothing can beat that.” In UK/Europe, meanwhile, Nikki Thorpe of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England won the Best Pet and Child Interaction Photo category and Best Overall Entry for her photo of her 9-year-old son, Lucas, interacting with their 16-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Scoobs, who the family adopted when she was 8 years old. Thorpe won a free Junior Membership to PPG and an opportunity to partake in the Junior Membership Accreditation program, a Deluxe Downloadable Be A Tree Program Kit and a free entry ticket to WOOF 2019, held in Nottingham, England last month, hosted by Domesticated Manners and PPG British Isles special counsel, Chirag Patel. “Lucas walked into the front room and knelt down on the ﬂoor to chat to me one Saturday morning when Scoobs pottered over to say ‘hi,’” said Thorpe of the photo. “Lucas is very respectful of how gentle you need to be with dogs, but particularly an elderly dog. I watched as he chatted quietly with her and his gentle hands looked like a welcome interaction, as I think you can see from the photo. It made my heart melt and I’m so pleased I managed to capture the special moment. Scoobs’ health is starting to deteriorate, so the photo will be a treasured memory.” n
Winner: Best Pet and Child Interaction Photo and Runner Up: Best Overall Entry (PPG) Rebecca Mason
Runner Up: Best Pet(s) and Handler Team (PPG) - Mary Perrego
Runner Up: Best Group Photo (PPG) - Tricia Case
Winner: Most Creative Complex Training Video and Runner Up: Best Overall Entry (PPGBI) - Lhanna Frost
Winner: Best Pet(s) and Handler Team (PPGBI) - Natasha Attwood
Runner Up: Best Educational Video (PPG) Christine Michaud
Runner Up: Most Creative Complex Training Video (PPG) - Nancy FreedmanSmith
Winner: Most Creative Complex Training Video (PPG) - Kim Cavanaugh
Runner Up: Best Pet and Child Interaction Photo (PPG) - Jess Dunduk
Winner: Best Pet(s) and Handler Team (PPG) - Melissa Koh
Winner: Best Group Photo (PPG) - Rebecca Mason
A big thank you to all our sponsors for their support!
Portland 2019: Cool for Cats
In the run-up to PPGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Canine Aggression and Bite Prevention Seminar (plus Feline Specialty
Track) in Portland, Oregon next month, we asked you to send in photos of your cat(s) in a
relaxed pose or emotional state that is incompatible with aggression. We had so many
great entries we decided to feature some of them here (and in upcoming issues of BARKS ) Winner: Buddy
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
What Do Dogs, Cats, Cars and Chairs Have in Common?
© Can Stock Photo/gurinaleksandr
Currently, in legal terms, pets are considered to be property and are therefore no different to a car, rug, couch or bookcase, although, in some areas, provisions are starting to be made to acknowledge pets as sentient, living beings who have their own individual preferences, biological needs, and rights
With U.S. consumers spending $69.51 billion on the pet industry in 2017 and expenditure
projected to increase to $72.13 billion U.S. dollars last year, Susan Nilson and Niki Tudge
debate whether pets should still be considered property in the eyes of the law, given that
increasing numbers of pet guardians now consider their pets to be part of the family n the preface of his book, Animal Law, Favre (2011) speaks to a picture of his cat: “Moppet is a being, a being who lives with me. She is alive. Look into her eyes; she is aware, aware of me but perhaps not self-aware...To touch her is to feel like you are touching a cloud...Her Spirit is positive and engaging.” Moppet, apparently, likes human companionship and knows “who the members are of our multispecies family.” In fact, according to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%)…consider their pets to be members of the family.” Yet, legally, pets are still considered property or chattel. “Technically in the eyes of the law, [cats and dogs] are no different from a couch or a car.” (Grimm, 2014). The terms “property” and “chattel” may be defined as follows: 1. Property: Anything that is owned by a person or entity. Prop16
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erty is divided into two types: "real property," which is any interest in land, real estate, growing plants or the improvements on it, and "personal property," sometimes called "personality," which encompasses everything else. (The Free Dictionary, 2018). 2. Chattel: An item of personal property which is movable, as distinguished from real property (land and improvements). (The Free Dictionary, 2018).
Are Pets Family?
Favre (2011) believes people need to reflect more on where pets fall in the world of moral and legal obligations, as well as how they deal with pets as family members in terms of their legal status and our own legal responsibility towards them. Historically, in common law, personal pets were considered separately from the domestic vs. wild classification of
animals, giving them a “peculiar status” (Noall, 1985): “Pets were considered to be kept for the ‘pleasure, curiosity or whim’ of the owner and of little or no value. Therefore, pets were not considered ‘property’ in the traditional sense. They were also deemed to have no economic value so were not considered property.” (Noall, 1985, citing Blackstone, 1765-1769). In 1897, in Sentell vs. New Orleans & Carrolton R.R. Co 166 U.S. 698, 701 at the Supreme Court of Louisiana, it was said of dogs that “they are useful neither as beasts of burden for draught nor for food.” (Favre, 2011, p, 32). The trend of courts since the 1930s has been to remove this special status given to pets and treat them like other domestic animals, viewing them as property after all (Favre, 2011). Meanwhile, between 1977 and 2000, there was no organized effort to institutionalize the teaching of animal law at American law schools. In any legal system, the concept of property is fundamental. When something is considered property, it means the owner has the right to control and direct. Across the Unites States, individual state governments control ownership under property law concepts. As such, “either the state courts or the state legislatures are fully empowered to deal with the issue of ownership of animals.” (Favre, 2011, p.30).
...according to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%)…consider their pets to be members of the family.” Yet, legally, pets are still considered property or chattel. “Technically in the eyes of the law, [cats and dogs] are no different from a couch or a car.” (Grimm, 2014).
To refer back to the title of this article then, what do dogs, cats, cars and chairs have in common? In states or provinces where pets are still considered movable property, it means that, according to Kinnard (2014), “from a legal standpoint, animals have no more rights than a pair of shoes, and this opens the door to inhumane practices ranging from abandonment to cock fighting.” However, The Civil Code of Québec states that: “Animals are not things. They are sentient beings and have biological needs.” (Légis Québec, 2016). The European Union also recognizes animals as “sentient beings,” stating that “Union and the Member States shall…pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals.” (Official Journal of the European Union, 2012). According to Moss (2016), “[i]n 2014, French Parliament reclassified animals as ‘living beings’ instead of simply property. [In 2015], New Zealand passed the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, acknowledging that animals are sentient beings just like humans. And, in December , the Civil Code of Québec granted animals the same rights as children under its laws.” But the Code also states that: “In addition to the provisions of special Acts which protect animals, the provisions of this Code and of any other Act concerning property nonetheless apply to animals.” (Légis Québec, 2016).
As a result of political pressure applied by constituents to local governments, fueled by the general growth of the Animal Welfare Movement from the early 20th century onwards, where, “[b]y the end of the 1980s, membership in animal advocacy organizations had reached 10 million people in the United States,” (Encyclopedia, 2019), anticruelty laws have become more commonplace and fines increased. Nevertheless, “in many countries, states and counties, laws are woefully inadequate to protect the lives of dogs…Where such laws do exist, they are often weak, poorly written and/or not well enforced, leaving gaping loopholes for perpetrators of animal crimes.” (Steinker, 2018). According to Antolec (2018), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “takes animal abuse so seriously it began tracking the crime in 2014 and uses the data to help identify serial killers.” In 2016, the Bureau added animal cruelty to its list of Class A felonies, alongside homicide and arson. Grimm (2014) observes that: “Pets aren’t just becoming more like people in our laws and homes. They’re also becoming more like people in our society. Every year, they take on more roles and more responsibilities, providing critical services in our increasingly dangerous and fractured world.” In addition, when pets’ lives risk being negatively impacted for any reason, humans often step in to prevent them from coming to any harm. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, the findings of a poll by The Fritz Institute (2006) found that 44 percent of New Orleans residents chose not to evacuate because they refused to abandon their pets. When Hurricane Harvey moved into the Houston, Texas area in 2017, laws were enacted quickly to allow pets to accompany residents into shelters. A dozen years later, Katrina is viewed as a watershed moment in planning for pets during natural disasters. It changed federal and state policies and, as a result, the Federal Government started to encourage the rescue and protection of family pets during natural disasters. Additionally, animal advocates and experts say, it made it clear that Americans have widely embraced the idea of dogs and cats as family members (Brulliard, 2017). In 2015, Hodgson published a piece in the Huffington Post, ‘Re-Classifying Dogs as Sentient Beings: It’s Time, America, It’s Time.’ Hodgson also references the Civil Code of Québec, stating that it has “welcomed pets into the circle of ‘sentient’ beings by granting them many of the same rights as children in the eyes of the law” and “lifts the legal status of specific animals from mere property, i.e. inanimate objects like toaster ovens and iPhones that can be manipulated any which way, to
The Issue of Sentience
What Need Does Pet Ownership Fulfil?
Crowell-Davis (2008, p. 423) states that people choose to own animals “for a variety of reasons.” At its deepest and most profound, however, the relationship between a human and an animal can be deeply emotional. In its 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) reported that 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet (84.6 million homes). According to Statista (2018), U.S. consumers spent $69.51 billion on the pet industry in 2017 with total U.S. pet industry expenditure projected to increase to $72.13 billion U.S. dollars by 2018. Areas of expenditure across pet food, supplies and services reflect how pets are treated like family members. Pets often sleep in our beds, eat gourmet food, have their birthdays celebrated, receive seasonal gifts, drink bottled water, receive monthly toy and treat subscriptions, watch pet television and hold club memberships. The Harris Poll (2015) references “…growing percentages of pet owners frequently or occasionally buying birthday presents for their pets (45%) and cooking for them (31%), majorities of pet owners frequently or occasionally let their pets sleep in bed with them (71%) and buy them holiday presents
(64%). Just over two in ten at least occasionally dress their pet in some type of clothing (22%), while just over one in ten at least occasionally bring their pets to work (12%).” In a similar vein, Saint Leo University, Florida, reporting on the results of a 2018 poll conducted to find out how much Americans planned to spend on their pets in the forthcoming holiday season, quote Waddell, a professor of social work at the university who teaches an interdisciplinary course about therapy and service animals: “We as a nation are embracing more than ever our pets as family members…Many people have substituted their animals for the choice to have children, and thus they lavish their pets as they normally would their own children.”
Pets as People
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sensitive, emotional beings that require nurturing and respect.” States Gregory Berns (2013), a professor of neuroeconomics who completed the first fMRI scans of dogs’ brains: “Dogs have long been considered property. Though the Animal Welfare Act of 1966 and state laws raised the bar for the treatment of animals, they solidified the view that animals are things — objects that can be disposed of as long as reasonable care is taken to minimize their suffering. But now, by using the MRI to push away the limitations of behaviorism, we can no longer hide from the evidence. Dogs, and probably many other animals (especially our closest primate relatives), seem to have emotions just like us. And this means we must reconsider their treatment as property.” McDonald (2014) agrees: “If Canis lupus familiaris can be shown to have emotions, and a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child, there is a moral imperative to reassess how they are treated under law.” The solution to a moral imperative such as this is not an easy one, however. Crowell-Davis (2008) references the Journal of Consumer Research and cites Hirschman, who “groups the reasons for pet ownership into six categories”: 1. Some people have pets so that they can perceive and relate to them as humans (i.e., the animal is a companion, friend, or family member). This is the most common reason for pet ownership. 2. Some people have pets as pieces of equipment. These animals serve a function, such as protecting, herding, or hunting. 3. Some people have pets as avocations, exhibiting or showing them. These animals are perceived as property to be bought and sold. 4. Some people have animals as status symbols. 5. Some people have animals as ornaments (e.g., koi, birds with colorful plumage). These animals are kept specifically for their aesthetic value. 6. Some people consider animals to be objects in their environment that function as extensions of themselves. This relationship may be a subconscious one.
Owner vs. Guardian
Blouin (2005) studied the variations in dog owners' attitudes toward their pets in terms of interactions and their treatment. He concludes that the relationship pet owners have with their pets is one of three orientations: 1. A dominionistic relationship where the owner has a relatively low regard for their pets seeing them only for the value they provide; a function such as protection work. 2. A humanistic orientation where owners elevate their pets to a status such as surrogate human. The pets are valued for the benefits they provide to their owners resulting from a close relationship and attachment. 3. The protectionist owner is one that has a very high regard for their pet and in fact all animals in general. Pets are viewed as highly valuable companions and are creatures with their own interests. (Blouin, 2005). This study reflects a wide variation in how owners consider and value their pets, ranging from a functional value to a companion who deserves to have his or her own interests protected. If one were to ask pet owners how they would like their pets to be classified, there would
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(Top to bottom) Humans share many aspects of their lives with their pets and, according to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%)…consider their pets to be members of the family.”
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“…those of us at the heart of the animal law movement envision a world in which the lives and interests of all sentient beings are respected within the legal system, a world in which animals are not exploited, terrorized, tortured, or controlled to serve human whims or purposes.” (Tischler, 2012). 18
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most likely be a vast array of opinions varying from one end of a continuum to another. It could be said that the perception and value of a pet and whether he/she should be legally deemed property or something else is determined by why the pet was acquired and the function the pet now serves to the owner. (Note: the latter is a term in itself that often drives controversy.) Owner, guardian, and parent are the most commonly used terms to describe the relationship between pets and their humans and there have been some efforts to redefine the relationship between pets and their owners by taking on board the term guardian as a replacement for the term owner. Pet owners “in 17 cities, one state, and two counties in California can legally refer to themselves as animal guardians.” (Nolen, 2011). Yet, according to Favre (2010) as documented by Nolen (2011), “[y]ou can't just change a word and expect the whole legal system to change." According Nolen (2011), citing Dennis, “the appeal of guardianship is the suggestion it will somehow result in less animal abuse and neglect.” Dennis also identifies problematic legal implications: “To lawyers, 'guardian' has a considerable amount of legal significance. Ownership and guardianship are not matters of semantics; they're not interchangeable terms.” (Nolen, 2011). States Berns (2013): “One alternative is a sort of limited personhood for animals that show neurobiological evidence of positive emotions. Many rescue groups already use the label of ‘guardian’ to describe human caregivers, binding the human to his ward with an implicit responsibility to care for her…If we went a step further and granted dogs rights of personhood, they would be afforded additional protection against exploitation. Puppy mills, laboratory dogs and dog racing would be banned for violating the basic right of self-determination of a person.” However, Berns (2013) suspects society is “many years away from considering dogs as persons.” Crowell-Davis (2008, p. 428) determines that a pet owner’s reasons for having a pet are also likely to “significantly affect his or her tolerance of various behavior problems.” If this is the case, then surely the legal determination for a pet needs to take into consideration not just the factor of ownership, but also a degree or responsibility to their mental, physical and environmental wellbeing. For pet owners, the concern regarding the legal classification of pets may stem largely from some or all of the following: 1. When pets are considered property, it does not take into consideration that they are not inanimate objects, but sentient beings. 2. With one’s own property, one has full rights to do with it as one pleases. This will not always be in the best interest of a pet and is entirely dependent on the individual decisions of the owner. 3. If the legal status were to change and pets were universally given rights in the same way children are, then this could impact the liability issues of pet “ownership” insurance and/or pet medical insurance and may bring with it an overbearing ability for authorities to more easily remove a pet from a home or take custody of a pet without perceived due process. 4. As pets are legally considered property, responsible and caring pet owners can make important and unchallenged decisions on behalf of their pets such as medical care, behavior modification and euthanasia, should it be necessary. 5. As property, irresponsible pet owners may neglect the needs of a pet up to and including taking his/her life in what some would deem an inhumane manner.
Legal Times Are Changing
In 2000, the city of Boulder, Colorado “made history” when it added the word "guardian" to the “section of its municipal code addressing animal ownership. It was the first instance of a city referring to the legal relationship between a person and a pet as something other than owner and property.” (Nolen, 2011). The reasoning behind this change was the
...in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005, the findings of a poll by The Fritz Institute (2006) found that 44 percent of New Orleans residents chose not to evacuate because they refused to abandon their pets. When Hurricane Harvey moved into the Houston, Texas area in 2017, laws were enacted quickly to allow pets to accompany residents into shelters. belief that, if residents believed they were pet guardians, it would positively impact how they treat their pets. For families that are going through any kind of separation, legal disputes may erupt over pet ownership. As a result, pets are sometimes now detailed in divorce settlements with both parties keen to remain the sole guardian of their four-legged family member, or, at least agreeing to joint custody. Given that pets are legally personal property and capable of human ownership and control, divorce courts used to always rule in favor of the human. But McLain (2009) presents that “because pets are becoming such a big part of our lives, some courts are beginning to change this analysis, and are willing to treat pets more like children. To date, this has primarily occurred only with dogs. Courts are now taking into consideration the best interest of the pets in determining who gets custody of them.” There are also cases where pet guardians are awarded shared custody and/or visitation rights, with alimony payments being made from one partner to another (McLain, 2009). In 2017, the Illinois State House “passed a law that would force divorce courts not just to divvy pets up between their ‘parents’ in a custody battle, but to think about their wellbeing, too…Illinois is only the second state to adopt a law that would consider the wellbeing of animals in custody battles. [In 2016], Alaska became the first to amend its divorce statutes so that judges are now required to consider it in their judgments. They can also assign joint custody over an animal.” (Monyak, 2018). In California, on January 1, 2019, a law went into effect requiring judges to “consider an animal’s interests in divorce proceedings and allow joint ownership of a companion animal.” (Quirk, 2018). Says Assembly member Bill Quirk, who introduced the bill: “The signing of AB 2274 makes clear that courts must view pet ownership differently than the ownership of a car, for example. By providing clearer direction, courts will award custody on what is best for the animal. I am proud that Governor [Jerry] Brown, as a fellow pet owner, agrees that we need to alter our view of pet safety and animal welfare.” Says Favre (2018) of the new law: "Before, it was an issue of who owns the dog and how you distribute the property. But pets aren't quite the same thing as china and sofas. They're more like children, in that they're living beings who have their own preferences." The California law defines a pet as "any animal that is community property and kept as a household pet." (Gregorian, 2018).
Conventional price theory and standard economic accounts of tort and contract law assume that property rights are fixed. Merrill (2002, p.331), in his paper on the evolution of property rights, explains that “property regimes are not static but change over time.” Given the assumption of ﬁxed property that otherwise prevails in economic literature, this makes it very challenging to explain property rights or set new meanings to existing law around the context of property rights. McLain (2009) suggests that: “If the law is expanded in the future, questions such as which relationships and species should qualify for greater protection under the law will need to be answered. One good BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Areas of expenditure across pet food, supplies and services reflect how pets are treated like family members. Pets often sleep in our beds, eat gourmet food, have their birthdays celebrated, receive seasonal gifts, drink bottled water, receive monthly toy and treat subscriptions, watch pet television and hold club memberships.
of agricultural animals: 1. Freedom from hunger or thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor. 2. Freedom from discomfort by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area. 3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. 4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind. 5. Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. (Brambell, 1965). Building on the Five Freedoms, Favre (2011) developed a list, which starting point for discussing a solution is Michigan State University College of Law’s Animal Law Professor David Favre’s concept of ‘living prop- he referred to as the “ponderings” of the author, to help initiate discussions regarding the rights of pets: erty,’ which he defines as ‘physical, movable living objects – not human 1. Not to be held for or put to prohibited uses. – that have an inherent self-interest in their continued well-being and 2. Not to be harmed. existence.’” According to Favre (2010) himself, “our legal system already 3. To be cared for. accommodates a number of animal interests within the criminal anti4. To have living space. cruelty laws and civil trust laws. To make a more coherent package of all 5. To be properly owned. animal-related public policy issues, it is useful to acknowledge the exis6. To own property. tence of a fourth category of property, living property.” 7. To enter into contracts. Tischler (2012) also cites Favre, referencing his advancement of “the 8. To file tort claims. idea that property...can be divided between legal and equitable title and For the purposes of this article, we have expanded on each point the equitable title can be transferred to the animal.” Indeed, Favre and fleshed out what we believe to be the context and purpose of each (2010) asks: “What if some of the objects, some of the property, have interests independent of the humans who own them? This raises a con- point: 1. Prohibited Uses: Pets should not to be held for or put to proflict that is different from the usual individual human versus individual hibited uses, such as blood sports, research, captivity. human or individual human versus human society conflicts with which 2. Not to Be Harmed: Pets should not have pain or suffering inthe law most often struggles. However, this is not a universal problem with property; it arises only in the case of a special category of property, flicted on them. 3. To Be Cared for: A pet’s emotional, environmental and physiliving property.” cal wellbeing is a priority and requires a minimum level of care to conIn the past, the concept of the so-called Five Freedoms has been stitute being “cared for.” considered the gold standard of animal welfare that falls under human 4. To Have Living Space: Pets should be provided with adequate control and has since been adopted by a number of related groups and space to ensure sufficient and appropriate physical and mental enrichorganizations. The concept of the Five Freedoms originated in Brambell’s (1965) report looking into the welfare of animals kept under inten- ment. 5. To Be Properly Owned: If a pet is not living under the condisive livestock husbandry systems in the United Kingdom. The report tions of the first four points, then he/she may be removed from the stated that farm animals should have freedom to stand up, lie down, owner. turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs (Brambell, 6. To Own Property: The rights for a pet to be legally gifted as1965). These Five Freedoms were modified in July 1979 under the direcsets to protect his/her current or future wellbeing. tion of the Farm Animal Welfare Council to include animal behavior. 7. To Enter into Contracts: Should a pet be included in a contract The Five Freedoms propose the following for the adequate welfare
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Under the Civil Code of Québec, pets have been granted many of the same rights as children in the eyes of the law
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
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Animals are taking on more roles and more responsibilities, providing critical services in the community
...non-human animals have “interests of their own that deserve to be nurtured and protected from human harm, both in the consideration of ethical acts and the laws that we humans implement on their behalf.” (Favre, 2010)
for breeding, sale or some other scenario, then that contract represents the best interests of the pet. 8. To File Tort Claims: A pet can sue a human if they violate one of the pet’s primary interests. This would cover a pet’s legal rights, e.g. if their guardian bequeaths them property or cash to look after them. Anyone who has ever shared their life with an animal already knows that humans and their pets have a special bond. (Tudge & Nilson, 2019). As such, non-human animals have “interests of their own that deserve to be nurtured and protected from human harm, both in the consideration of ethical acts and the laws that we humans implement on their behalf.” (Favre, 2010, p.1070). Further, “…those of us at the heart of the animal law movement envision a world in which the lives and interests of all sentient beings are respected within the legal system, a world in which animals are not exploited, terrorized, tortured, or controlled to serve human whims or purposes.” (Tischler, 2012). n
American Pet Products Association. (2018). National Pet Owners Survey. Stamford, CT: APPA Antolec, D. (2018, July). Living in Fear. BARKS from the Guild (31) 5466. Available at: bit.ly/2BgKd9k Berns, G. (2013, October 5). Dogs Are People Too. New York Times. Available at: nyti.ms/2S2GvL8 Blackstone, W. (1765-1769). Commentaries on the Law 446 (B. Gavit ed. 1941) Blouin, D.D. (2013). Are Dogs Children, Companions, or Just Animals? Understanding Variations in People's Orientations toward Animals. Anthrozoös 26 (2) 279-294. Available at: bit.ly/2MJAQUr Brambell, R. (1965). Report of the technical committee to enquire into the welfare of animals kept under intensive livestock husbandry systems. London, UK: Her Majesty’s Stationery Oﬃce Brulliard, K. (2017). How the chaos of Hurricane Katrina helped save pets from ﬂooding in Texas. The Washington Post. Available at: wapo.st/2G8hw2s Chattel [Def]. (2018). In The Free Dictionary. Available at: bit.ly/2G4F9cl Crowell-Davis, S. (2008, August). Motivation for Pet Ownership and Its Relevance to Behavior Problems. Compendium (30) 423-8 Encyclopedia.com. (2019). Animal Rights. Available at: bit.ly/2Gnq2tI Favre, D. (2010). Living Property: A New Status for Animals Within the Legal System. 93 Marquette Law Review 1021. Available at: bit.ly/2ShOfs3 Favre, D. (2011). Animal Law, Welfare, Interests, And Rights. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer Law and Business Favre, D. (2018, December 29). New California divorce law: Treat pets like people — not property to be divided up. (Dareh Gregorian, Interviewer). NBC News. Available at: nbcnews.to/2S8eFxc Fritz Institute. (2006). Hurricane Katrina: Perceptions of the Aﬀected. Available at: bit.ly/2GnrxYS Gregorian, D. (2018, December 29). New California divorce law: Treat pets like people — not property to be divided up. NBC News. Available at: nbcnews.to/2S8eFxc Grimm, D. (2013). Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs. New York, NY: PublicAﬀairs Grimm, D. (2014, April 7). Q&A: Pets Are Becoming People, Legally Speaking (Rachel Hartigan Shea, Interviewer). National Geographic. Available at: bit.ly/2WwX6p3 Hodgson, S. (2015, December 4). Re-Classifying Dogs as Sentient Beings: It’s Time, America, It’s Time. Huﬃngton Post. Available at: bit.ly/2sZATCm Kinnard, N. (2014, September 3). Animals are not objects. University
cover Susan Nilson BA (Hons) DipCABT PCBC-A is editor of BARKS from the Guild (barksfromtheguild.com) and a Reuters-trained journalist who studied feline behavior under the tutelage of Prof. Peter Neville at the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) in the U.K. She completed her diploma in companion animal behavior and training with COAPE in 2005. Based in Los Angeles, California for the last six years, she saw feline and canine behavior cases on an ad hoc basis, assisted START Rescue (startrescue.org) with behavior assessments, and was a volunteer behavior consultant and clicker trainer at the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation (lindablairworldheart.org), one of the largest pit bull rescues in the U.S. She is currently based in Finland. Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB – CDT is founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild (petprofessionalguild.com), The DogSmith (dogsmith.com), a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College (dognosticselearning.com), and president of Doggone Safe (doggonesafe.com). She has business degrees from Oxford Brookes University, UK and has achieved her DipABT and DipCBST. Recently, she has published People Training Skills for Pet Professionals – Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients, Training Big for Small Businesses, and A Kid’s Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog.
Aﬀairs. Available at: bit.ly/2Uvat7k Légis Québec. (2016). Civil Code of Québec. Book Four: Property, General Provision 898.1. Available at: bit.ly/2DR1o3k McDonald, S. (2014, March 17). Dogs love us, says science – so we have to love them back. The Guardian. Available at: bit.ly/2G6waaA McLain, T. (2009). Brief Summary of Pets in Divorce/Custody Issues. Michigan State University College of Law. Animal Legal and Historical Center. Available at: bit.ly/2MLzB79 Merrill, T.W. (2002). Introduction: The Demsetz Thesis and the Evolution of Property Rights. The Journal of Legal Studies (31) S2 S331-S338. Available at: bit.ly/2G5JRGG Monyak, S. (2018, February 2). When the Law Recognizes Animals as People. The New Republic. Available at: bit.ly/2S6d36M Moss, L. (2016, June 23). Should Dogs Have Legal Rights? Mother Nature Network. Available at: bit.ly/2UALak5 New Zealand Legislation. (2013). Animal Welfare Amendment Bill. Available at: bit.ly/2GaCn5B Noall, W. M. (1985). Animal Law in California. 12 Pepperdine Law Review 2. Available at: bit.ly/2TrdEwz Nolen, R.S. (2011, April 1). After More Than A Decade, Has Pet Guardianship Changed Anything? JAVMA News. Available at: bit.ly/2Sl5wQV Oﬃcial Journal of the European Union. (2012). Consolidated Version Of The Treaty On The Functioning of the European Union: Part I Principles, Title II Provisions Having General Application, Article 13. Available at: bit.ly/2sZfpFL Property [Def]. (2018). In The Free Dictionary. Available at: bit.ly/2Uy0LRv Quirk, B. (2018). Judges Will Now Consider the Care of Pets in Divorce Proceedings. Available at: bit.ly/2RF3GWO Saint Leo University Polling Institute. (2018). Americans to Spend Big on Pets for Holidays, New Saint Leo U Poll Shows. Available at: bit.ly/2SgP6cz Statista. (2018). Pet industry expenditure in the United States from 1994 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars). Available at: bit.ly/2Slwo3h Steinker, A. (2018, March). The Dark Side of Dog Training and Pet Care. BARKS from the Guild (29) 14-21. Available at: bit.ly/2DpV82D The Harris Poll. (2015). More Than Ever, Pets are Members of the Family. Available at: bit.ly/2MOtUFl Tischler, J. (2012, July 1). A Brief History of Animal Law Part II (19852011). Stanford Journal of Animal Law and Policy (5) 27. Available at: stanford.io/2WF4PkG Tudge, N., & Nilson, S. (2019). The Case for Scientiﬁcally-Informed, Kind Practices. BARKS from the Guild (34) 18-26. Available at: bit.ly/2D4Vl9r BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
In the final part of this four-part article addressing the lack of regulation in the pet care and
services industry, Frania Shelley-Grielen highlights the importance of professional education and skill level to ensure pets and their owners get the standards of care they deserve
© Can Stock Photo/ilona75
Americans spend billions of dollars on their pets annually, yet may be unaware of differences in methodologies practiced by service providers
n the third part of this article (see Room for Improvement, BARKS from the Guild, January 2019, pp.40-43), I reported on my observations and experiences of corresponding internship sites in New York City, specifically doggy day cares and grooming facilities. In this final part of the article, I will discuss professional education and the importance of pet owners being able to trust and feel confident that pet care service providers are delivering a high and competent level of care. Pet services are businesses and, as such, keep an eye on what makes the most sense for them time wise, the bottom line and their profit. That is all fine, but without appropriate mandatory staffing ratios of handler to dogs in adequate spaces, profit concerns for a bottom line often override welfare and safety concerns. Multiple dogs in a closed environment, such as a day care or dog park, need to be separated by both size and play style and attended to by a realistic ratio of handler to dog. In my opinion, this should be five or fewer dogs per handler. Without obligatory education for handlers working with many dogs in small spaces and handlers not always reading the dogs correctly or doing the right things, situations for the dogs can go from bad to worse quickly. What I have seen in my observations of day cares and groomers (i.e. less than optimal standards of knowledge and care in my opinion) when scouting for intern sites for pet care technician students in New York City is not unique, but we need to be talking about it. Dr. Sophia Yin published her seminal Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats in 2009 because she wanted us to learn to do better for our pets. She was right. A ground-breaking expose of the industry was published in the March 2018 edition of BARKS (see The Dark Side of Dog Training and Pet Care, BARKS from the Guild, March 2018, pp.14-21), detailing the horrors experienced by five dogs and their owners in certain day care and training facilities in Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida. A critical look at trainers employed in the working dog industry in Australia, mean22
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
© Can Stock Photo/buchsammy
Pet owners deserve to get a high standard of service and care, backed by skill, knowledge, and education, when entrusting their pets to industry professionals
while, highlighted the need for formal education, the right professional expertise and government oversight (see Working like a dog – affectively, RSPCA Australia Scientific Seminar 2013 Proceedings, pp.22-31): “Currently, a significant and abiding weakness of the Australian Working Dog Industry, with significant implications for working dog welfare, is that its knowledge base resides predominantly at the level of the individual dog trainer. It has previously been stated that ‘much of the training of greyhounds is based on knowledge handed down over time, and often this methodology is out of date, flawed or unacceptable in today’s society.’ (Beer, Willson & Stephens, 2008). Given the maturity of information technology and information management systems, it is incumbent upon the industry itself to consolidate disparate learning resources into a shared knowledge base and provide opportunities for its dissemination. It is time that the Australian Working Dog Industry sought external validation of existing professional expertise. Such a process offers the opportunity for the existing skill base to be formally recognised.”
Terminology and Methods
In my opinion, we also need to be assured stateside that dog trainers are using current and cohesive methods maximizing welfare and that their education and skill level can be substantiated by a sufficient and appropriate independent authority or government entity to do just that. Such an assurance could be provided through professional licensing where state education departments set minimal standards of competence which are authenticated by exams, university degrees and/or experience. (Note: Currently, licensing requirements differ from state to state. The pet care technician instructor position I held was a licensed one for which New York State called for an education requirement, two years of full-time paid experience in the field, and client references.) Calls for licensing dog trainers and pet groomers have been raised
Americans love their pets so much that they just keep spending. They broke a record in 2017, increasing their spending close to $3 billion more than in 2016 (American Pet Products Association, 2018). Pet care services are growing exponentially in the industry. So-called other services, such as training, pet walking and sitting, grooming, boarding, photography and yard cleanup services were “up 6.9 percent from 2016, pet owners spent $6.2 billion on such services in 2017.” (American Pet Products Association, 2018). and attendant legislation introduced over the years in some counties in some states, but this usually seems to follow after a fatality or an abuse, as in the dog training legislation most recently introduced by Sen. Kaminsky in New York. The industry has yet to wholeheartedly welcome efforts to license workers. Meanwhile, any attempts at legislation may fall to the wayside due to lobbying efforts, or lack of interest or a law maker’s perception that this is less than a pressing matter. Nail salon workers, hair dressers and even bartenders are licensed but, currently, different standards are in place for people working with animals. Professional licensing is replaced by the myriad number of arbitrary certifications consumers take as evidence that individual dog trainers have been properly qualified to train dogs. “Most pet owners, if asked, would most likely say they do not punish their pets, or deliberately place them in frightening situations to try to encourage new, or more appropriate behaviors. Yet the same owners will unwittingly take advice from training professionals who practice ‘methods’ such as hitting, shocking and physically correcting a pet using a leash, or an array of aversive tools. By using different terminology, a professional may feel justified in physically punishing a pet while dispensing corresponding advice to pet owners, without acknowledging that he/she is, in fact, damaging the pet’s physical and mental wellbeing.” (Pet Professional Guild, 2016). Private trade organizations offering certifications are businesses too. Certification can have a value in requiring a degree of education and/or training, save that there is no way for the consumer to know how valid the education or training is. As a result, there is something of a mishmash of multiple private organizations granting overlapping certificates with no shared educational standards or government oversights when it comes to handling, grooming, dog training or welfare. Some of these organizations offer “behaviorist” certifications without requiring any formal degree or coursework, much less the advanced degree that public perceptions may assume, or be welcomed from within the professional community.
Education and Skills
In the myriad online courses available, varying interpretations of learning theory can be found, sometimes without hands-on instruction. How animals learn may be a prime focus with biology and behavior given less attention and welfare even less. Yet understanding how an animal learns though associations without providing for his wellbeing does not qualify anyone to work with any animal humanely and effectively, in my opinion. To adequately prepare to professionally work with other people’s animals, individuals must, again in my opinion, qualify first by learning academically about care, behavior, and welfare from licensed instructors and be supervised by those same licensed experts in the field in applying that knowledge to insure they are carefully carrying out the work they will be paid to do. Skill development needs to precede independent handling and be welfare-focused. Internships and residen-
cies in skilled professions are traditionally where learners practice what they have learned under the watchful eyes of licensed professionals. They are supervised to ensure the work is done correctly and shown how to improve the approach when it is not. “When ensuring students are adequately prepared to work with animals, it is necessary to not only pay attention to what is taught, but also how it is taught. In the past teaching was considered simply a passive transfer of knowledge from an instructor to a student. However, it is now acknowledged deeper learning is required for professional graduates to be able to not only know, but also apply and use the information they have acquired. Traditional lectures allow more academic students to learn at this deeper level as they put in extra effort, but less academic students will only learn at a deeper level when teaching methods are optimised. Such optimisation includes active teaching methods, in which students must interpret and apply their new knowledge in the activity.” (Hazel, 2013). For an internship to be effective in teaching applied skills, it has to offer the same resources of expert guidance for both people in the classroom and working with pets. Licensed post-secondary vocational schools with licensed instructors teaching filed curriculums which include core academic course work highlighting behavior, welfare, husbandry and handling, sourced from sound science and welfare focused and applied skill development in an integrated professional service setting, would address how to solve existing disparities in standards of training, teaching and services experienced by clients and their pets. Americans love their pets so much that they just keep spending. They broke a record in 2017, increasing their spending close to $3 billion more than in 2016 (American Pet Products Association, 2018). Pet care services are growing exponentially in the industry. So-called other services, such as training, pet walking and sitting, grooming, boarding, photography, and yard cleanup services were “up 6.9 percent from 2016, pet owners spent $6.2 billion on such services in 2017.” (American Pet
Consumer Transparency in the Pet Services Industry
Industry associations and credentialing bodies must take full responsibility for the fact that pet owners are encouraged to purchase services from their members purely by association, and through their efforts to market said members to the general pet owning public. Unfortunately, this does not take into account the vast differences in methodology and philosophy that may exist across an organization’s membership body. In other words, there is no stated transparency in terms of the risks and benefits associated with the services provided, nor any differentiation between those members who practice a force-free training philosophy, and those who still risk physical and/or psychological harm to pets through their approach, philosophy and/or tool choice. In addition, there are no ramifications for members that misrepresent their services through the omission of information in a membership directory, or through their individual professional websites. This begs the question as to how consumers are protected in the absence of compulsory transparency across, or within the membership organization. As it stands, pet owners who are steered towards a professional organization through its marketing efforts search, at their own peril, through an assortment of trainers operating at opposite ends of the ethical and moral spectrum.”
- Open Letter to Veterinarians on Referrals to Training and Behavior Professionals, Pet Professional Guild (2016)
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Products Association, 2018). That pet owners love their pets enough to spend billions of dollars on them is proof enough that they should get the services they believe they have paid for, and the fact that our pets love us unconditionally and depend on their owners to keep them healthy and safe is proof enough that they deserve it. n
American Pet Products Association. (2018). National Pet Owners Survey. Stamford, CT: APPA Beer, L., Wilson, J., & Stephens, J. (2008). Improving the welfare of the racing greyhound - A Greyhound Racing Victoria perspective. Gold Coast, Australia: Australian Animal Welfare Strategy International Animal Welfare Conference Cobb, M. (2013, February 26). Working like a dog – aﬀectively. Canberra Australia: RSPCA Australia Scientiﬁc Seminar 2013 Proceedings pp.22-31. Available at: bit.ly/2MsgAqc Hazel, S. J. (2013). Promoting positive animal welfare in undergraduate teaching. Canberra Australia: RSPCA Australia Scientiﬁc Seminar 2013 Proceedings pp.14-21. Available at: bit.ly/2MsgAqc Pet Professional Guild. (2016). Open Letter to Veterinarians on Referrals to Training and Behavior Professionals. Available at: bit.ly/2KcMK84
Bowen-Vaccare, L. (2017, March). Meeting the Standard. BARKS from the Guild (23) 41-43. Available at: bit.ly/2n3ynaz Bowen-Vaccare, L. (2017, May). Best Practices. BARKS from the Guild (24) 44-45. Available at: bit.ly/2q7w9v3 Kaminsky, T. (2016, December 19). Kaminsky unveils dog licensing legislation. The New York State Senate, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky. Available at: bit.ly/2mWLPxU Pet Professional Guild Member Directory: petprofessionalguild .com/Zip-Code-Search Shelley-Grielen, F. (2018, September). Behind the Scenes. BARKS from the Guild (32) 44-46. Available at: bit.ly/2RVDojC Shelley-Grielen, F. (2018, November). Understanding Animals. BARKS from the Guild (33) 50-51. Available at: bit.ly/2PtHi6x Shelley-Grielen, F. (2019, January). Room for Improvement. BARKS from the Guild (34) 40-43. Available at: bit.ly/2FNh9du Sherwin, N. (2016, September). The Right Environment. BARKS from the Guild (20) 39-41. Available at: bit.ly/2FqCbQ0 Sherwin, N. (2016, November). Raising the Red Flag. BARKS from the Guild (21) 45-47. Available at: bit.ly/2ze4TxL Steinker, A. (2018, March). The Dark Side of Dog Training and Pet Care. BARKS from the Guild (29) 14-21. Available at: bit.ly/2DpV82D Yin, S. (2009) Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modiﬁcation of Dogs and Cats. Davis, CA: Cattledog Publishing Frania Shelley-Grielen is a New York City-based professional animal behavior consultant, dog trainer and educator who holds a Master’s in animal behavior from Hunter College, New York City, and a Master’s in urban planning from New York University. She is a licensed pet care technician instructor, a registered therapy dog handler, and a certiﬁed Doggone Safe bite safety instructor, and specializes in behavior modiﬁcation work and training with cats, dogs and birds and humane management for urban wildlife. She is also the author of Cats and Dogs; Living with and Looking at Companion Animals from their Point of View and founded AnimalBehaviorist.us (animalbehaviorist.us) in 2009 to share her work. She has also taught the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) fundamentals of dog care course for the Houlton Institute in San Francisco, California where she is on the zoology faculty. She has worked on research projects at the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History and the ASPCA in New York City.
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Safety Practices for Individual Kenneling Lauri Bowen-Vaccare continues her series on industry health and safety standards for dog
boarding and day care facilities by setting out her recommended standards for the
individual kenneling of dogs
n this article, I will set out the standards and protocols I recommend for the individual kenneling for dogs in boarding or attending day care facilities to ensure they stay safe and gain access to some quality down time. • All harnesses, collars and head halters are to be removed before a dog enters his kennel to prevent strangulation and other injuries. • All kennels/suites should be at least 6 ft. in height and 100 percent enclosed with a ceiling, walls, and a locking door, no matter the height of the kennel. o If the building in which the kennels have been built is not high enough to extend the kennel walls, the partitions must be at least 6 ft. in height. o If a resident dog can jump high enough to reach the top of a kennel wall, which does not extend to the ceiling, then a temporary ceiling/cover must be secured to the top of that kennel. o Kennels should lock from the outside, or in the case of the traditional kennel door arm-lock, should be able to be secured further, by staff, in case the dog residing within is able to unlock it. o Kennel doors should swing in, rather that out, to help prevent door bolting. o There should not be door handles or knobs on the inside of the kennel door, since many dogs can break locks and/or learn to open doors with their paws and/or teeth. • Dogs should not be able to engage with other dogs in the kennels next to them. o If individual kennels have walls in which the bottom half is solid (typically 5-6 ft.), and the top half is “open” (many kennels use traditional partitions where the top half consists of vertical bars), and dogs in adjoining kennels can see or touch one another, and it creates behavior problems between them, one of the dogs should be moved to another kennel and/or the “open” part of the wall should be covered. o Dogs should not have access to other dogs’ kennels. • If dogs are not actively supervised while in their kennels, they should be checked on regularly to watch for potty needs/accidents, selfinjurious behaviors, to refresh water, and general and safety checks. o If a dog potties or becomes ill in his kennel, it must be cleaned immediately, and any bedding that was soiled must be laundered
© Can Stock Photo/photography33
Kennels should be in a separate room or part of the building from indoor play areas to help ensure dogs get the necessary down time and to prevent barrier frustration and barrier aggression
as quickly as possible to prevent odor and stains from setting. If a dog vomits, staff should strongly consider contacto ing the owners. Kennels should be in a separate room or part of the building • from indoor play areas. This is to help ensure dogs in their kennels are getting o necessary down time and to prevent barrier frustration and barrier aggression. This also prevents dogs at play from approaching o and/or aggravating kenneled dogs. Fenced/enclosed indoor play areas must also be in a o separate room or part of the building for this reason. There must be adequate sound proofing baffles/panels/cur• tains/ceiling tiles, installed in the kennel room. Panels may hang from the ceiling and/or attach to o walls and the ceiling. Outdoor kennels/private runs that are attached to ino door kennels may or may not be fitted with outdoor sound barrier walls or outdoor sound blankets.
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Dogs should be allowed to have a few toys/safe chews, in their individual kennels to help prevent boredom, and ease any pent up energy and/or tension/anxiety. Even dogs who love the facility where they board/attend day care can become a little anxious since they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t home, and being allowed to have something to chew on can help comfort them. o Acoustic tape may also be installed between rooms. If this is the case, there must a staff member present in each room where a dog or dogs are residing. â&#x20AC;˘ Bedding should be â&#x20AC;&#x153;dog-specific.â&#x20AC;? The use of furniture, mattresses and other furniture that contain springs is a safety risk, since the materials used in those items, like springs and wood, can very easily puncture the dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body, including their eyes, mouths, ears, genitals, etc. o Furniture like cribs, sofas, coffee tables, etc., and decorative pieces, like night stands, knick-knacks, etc. pose physical injury risks to the dogs and do not belong in individual kennels. o They are also a health hazard since they cannot be properly cleaned and sanitized. o They are also choking and injury hazards. o Body parts (the head, legs, etc.) can get stuck between the bars of cribs, etc. which can cause injury. If there are multiple dogs in the area (as there may be with a multidog family) and the stuck dog begins to whine or bark or growl or scream, etc. out of fear or pain, other dogs may attack him. o Staff should keep in mind that some dogs also like the option of lying on hard and/or cold/cool floors, so they should be provided enough floor space to do so if they wish. â&#x20AC;˘ If a dog is known to shred bedding (and especially if the dog consumes the material), staff may opt to place a heavy duty rubber mat in the kennel for him to lie on, or a Kuranda/Kuranda-style bed. If the dog destroys either of those, and especially if he consumes any pieces, the dog is not to have bedding in his kennel. o The dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner should be notified of these events and informed that their dog will not have bedding in his kennel for his safety. o Staff should understand that sometimes property will be destroyed â&#x20AC;&#x201C; that is part of the business â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and the dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner is not financially responsible for replacing facility-owned bedding, especially if staff were aware of a dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s propensity to destroy property. o If the dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s owner instructs the staff to not use any bedding because the dog destroys and/or consumes the material, they are not to give the dog bedding. Staff may consider asking the owners if they can try a rubber mat or Kuranda bed in an effort to provide more comfort on the floor. o If the dog is given bedding (or any other object, toy, etc. either in or out of his kennel), after the owners asked that it not be provided for him, and the dog consumes any of it, the facility should be financially and otherwise responsible for any medical attention the dog requires as a result. â&#x20AC;˘ Dogs who do not live together should not share a kennel. â&#x20AC;˘ Dogs must have access to clean water at all times, unless their veterinarian has provided written medical reason for the opposite. o Withholding water for potty training or to prevent accidents is dangerous to the dogâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s physical and behavioral health. o Water bowls are to be rinsed and refreshed throughout the day as needed. o Bowls should be made of pet-specific nylon/plastic or stainless steel.
â&#x20AC;˘ Dogs should be allowed to have a few toys/safe chews, in their individual kennels to help prevent boredom, and ease any pent up energy and/or tension/anxiety. o Even dogs who love the facility where they board/attend day care can become a little anxious since they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t home, and being allowed to have something to chew on can help comfort them. o The facility can determine what they deem safe, since the dogs may not be directly supervised while in their kennels. For example, some facilities do not allow dogs to have rawhide or bones or other edible chews in their kennels, since there is a chance that a piece can be broken off, in which case it becomes a choking hazard. o This may vary from dog to dog, depending on their history with chews and toys. o Staff should remove a non-edible toy from a dog if the dog chews off pieces of the toy, which can be a choking hazard. â&#x20AC;˘ If dogs who live together are sharing a kennel, but do not share toys well, and/or do not eat together safely, they need to be separated during toy/chew/food puzzle/feeding times. Alternately, they should have separate kennels reserved for them. â&#x20AC;˘ Food, treats, toys, medication, etc. brought by dogs are not to be shared with other dogs. n Lauri Bowen-Vaccare ABCDT is the owner of Warren, Kentuckybased Believe In Dog, LLC (believeindog.weebly.com) and is an honors graduate of Animal Behavior College, with a specialty in training shelter dogs. Her focus is on the dog-human team, and she specializes in reactivity, resource guarding, fearful and timid dogs, bringing outside dogs in, and outside pet dogs. She also advises and assists trainers who want to cross over to force-free training.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Helping Owners, Helping Dogs Veronica Sanchez of PPG corporate sponsor Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach™
discusses how to best train loose leash walking for clients with mobility impairments
© Veronica Sanchez
Working with clients who have physical limitations and their dogs sometimes requires some creative troubleshooting but is extremely rewarding
large and rambunctious dog can pull an owner off their feet even when they do not have any physical limitations, but people who have mobility impairments are at an even higher risk. Additionally, the consequences of an injury may be more serious. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can help clients with mobility limitations be successful in training their dogs to walk on a loose leash. Many people may experience a mobility limitation, including people with disabilities, people with temporary health injuries, and seniors. Some individuals may need adaptive equipment like crutches, canes, casts or wheelchairs, while others may use strategies like walking slowly and taking frequent breaks. Clearly, mobility impairments do not affect everyone the same way. This applies even if people use the same type of adaptive equipment. For instance, one individual using a wheelchair may have full use of their arms and hands, while another may not. People with the same diagnosis can have different limitations. Many conditions, like cerebral palsy, for example, can affect individuals in a range of ways. Because of this, it is important for pet professionals not to make assumptions. Training strategies and accommodations need to be matched to the unique needs of the client.
If the client uses adaptive equipment, it can take much longer for them to go through a doorway. Imagine holding a door, a leash and using a walker at the same time. If the dog pulls or bolts to go through the door, this situation becomes even harder. In most cases, a routine needs to be established for doorways according to the owner’s specific needs. 28
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
© Veronica Sanchez
Mobility impairments do not affect everyone in the same way so it is important to match training strategies and accommodations to the unique needs of the client
In a perfect world, a client with a mobility impairment hires a professional trainer when the dog is still a puppy. Starting with a puppy gives the owner time to develop training skills, good timing and a history of reinforcement for loose leash walking before the dog has grown to full size. Even if the owner delays getting started, in most cases, they can still safely participate in the training with some additional accommodations. Sometimes, helpers may be needed to either assist with training the dog or to hold a second leash. A helper can be a care giver, a friend, an apprentice trainer, or someone from the community. With the helper holding a second leash for backup, the client can safely let go if needed. Occasionally, it is just too risky for the client to work with the dog themselves at first. Some training options include board and train facilities and day training, whose methods should be carefully vetted in advance to make sure they are science-based, humane and force-free. Because people with mobility impairments usually move slowly, walking on a loose leash can be frustrating for an energetic dog. For this reason, trainers can have owners play or exercise their dog for a few minutes before beginning a practice session on loose leash walking. Mix sniff and explore breaks in the training session or off-leash play in a safe, enclosed area when possible.
Training Techniques and Tools
Just as when working with owners without mobility limitations, shaping, targeting and luring can be used to teach the dog. However, you may need to break down the training process into smaller increments over a longer period of time. For example, you may need to work in a less distracting setting for longer before adding distractions. You may also need to spend more time helping the client solidify foundation behaviors before moving onto additional skills.
How many times have you nearly walked right into a tree while training a dog? Multitasking is hard even when you do not have a limitation. Keep in mind that for someone with a mobility impairment, simply walking can require more of their attention. Often times, the same dog-friendly harnesses and collars used by clients without impaired mobility will still be appropriate. For some clients, a hands-free leash may help. However, for others, this type of leash could make it easier for the dog to cause the owner to fall.
How many times have you nearly walked right into a tree while training a dog? Multitasking is hard even when you do not have a limitation. Keep in mind that for someone with a mobility impairment, simply walking can require more of their attention. Holding a leash, using a clicker and rewarding the dog while walking is a learned skill that requires quite a bit of multitasking and coordination. Asking clients to put these skills together too quickly can make it more likely that the client trips or falls – even if the dog is not pulling. Break down skills into small components to make it easier and safer for the owner to learn. For instance, begin by teaching the owner how to reward the dog when the dog is positioned by the owner’s side. Starting without a leash in an enclosed area can make easier for the owner to focus on marking with good timing and delivering the treat. In some cases, beginning the training while the owner is seated in a chair is the best bet. Add in having the owner hold the leash when they have gained proficiency. Slowly work towards having the client take a few slow steps with the dog while marking and rewarding the desired behavior. Work in controlled environments where there are no distractions until both the owner and the dog have the skills needed. When you are ready to begin to work with the dog and owner outdoors, select your location carefully. Look for trip hazards, appropriate parking and curb cuts. If the client uses adaptive equipment, be aware that they will need more space to make turns and maneuver.
When working with clients who use adaptive equipment, leashes have a way of getting entangled in wheelchairs and walkers. As already mentioned, it is safest to begin training without a leash, in an indoor location. When adding in the leash, your client may need to experiment with different lengths to find the right one. Tethering a dog to adaptive equipment is risky, and even seemingly minor changes to equipment can impact their use. As you consider accommodation strategies, remember that clients usually need to use their hands in order to use the adaptive equipment. As such, most clients using adaptive equipment will find they need to mark verbally rather than use a clicker while moving. Painters’ tape can be used as a nose touch target on a wheelchair armrest or walker to help teach the dog to walk in the position needed relative to the owner. Making a turn is very different when a client uses a wheelchair or scooter. In most cases, the equipment slows dramatically while turning.
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© Veronica Sanchez
A platform can be a useful aid when training a dog to walk up and down steps in a controlled environment
The dog will want to maintain speed and may end up ahead of the owner. This risks the dog being hit by the wheelchair or scooter. The best bet is to set up opportunities to work on turns in an indoor location with the dog off leash first. For some larger dogs, training the dog to pivot, as Rally competitors are often trained to do, can be very helpful. If the client uses adaptive equipment, it can take much longer for them to go through a doorway. Imagine holding a door, a leash and using a walker at the same time. If the dog pulls or bolts to go through the door, this situation becomes even harder. In most cases, a routine needs to be established for doorways according to the owner’s specific needs.
Safe and Controlled Practice
Stairs and curbs are especially risky for an owner with impaired mobility. Training the dog to walk up and down steps one at a time can help. However, do not take a chance that the client falls off the steps while trying to teach the dog this behavior. Create a controlled setup for training practice. One strategy is to work with a very short flight of steps. Set up a chair next to the steps and have the client work while safely seated. The owner can mark and reward as the dog walks up and down. You can also use platforms like the KLIMBTM to work on this behavior.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Another difficult situation is when the client needs to pick up after the dog. Bending down to pick up something from the ground is difficult for many people with mobility impairments. If the dog suddenly chases after a squirrel while the owner is cleaning up, the owner could fall. Taking time to train the dog to hold a sit or down while the owner is cleaning up can help.
While spending time to break down loose leash walking into small components and work on seemingly tedious routines like walking down stairs may seem overly fastidious, it can make a tremendous difference for clients with mobility impairments. Additionally, the strategies you develop can benefit many clients such as owners with large and giant breeds, even if they do not have mobility limitations. Sadly, sometimes an owner’s physical limitations are needlessly used as an excuse to resort to aversive training tools and methods. Force-free training requires knowledge and skills in reward-based techniques, not physical strength. By learning how to accommodate clients with mobility limitations in training, force-free trainers can help dispel this inaccurate myth and improve the lives of owners and their dogs. n Veronica Sanchez M.Ed CABC CPDT-KA is the founder of Cooperative Paws Service Dog Coach™ (cooperativepaws.com), an educational certiﬁcation program for professional trainers in service dog training and a Pet Professional Guild corporate partner (petprofessionalguild.com/Corporate-Partnerships). She is also the author of the book, Service Dog Coaching: A Guide for Pet Dog Trainers. As a dog trainer with a disability, her passion for service dogs is personal as well as professional.
Getting to Know the Individual In the second of this four-part article focusing on canine aggression and reactivity, Diane
Garrod details intake, functional assessment and stress release, and the importance of
identifying triggers and patterns
etting to know the individual dog is a key component of a results-oriented behavior modification process. For professionals, the process is much like uncovering an investigation to a criminal case clue by clue, or examining all the symptoms as a doctor would to make a proper diagnosis before treatment is started. It is important not to rush through something that is so critically important to the end result, especially in high level behavior cases that include issues such as biting, dog-dog reactivity, multi-dog household fighting, reactivity to people, or any combination of those. No one size fits all, and it is important to design the behavior modification to the individual dogs, their environment(s), and their guardian’s lifestyles. Getting to know the dog requires different perspectives. First, we have the client interview and the intake form, which is filled out from the perspective of the guardian(s). Secondly, we have the functional assessment that is conducted by the behavior professional. I also implement a stress release process, taking into account the perspectives of the dogs, their environment and their relationship with their guardian. I use the acronym TOP to find triggers for behaviors. This process involves keen observation and pattern identification. As I said in Part One of this article: “When we look to addressing aggression or reactivity, we put the pieces together systematically so the behavior can not only be managed and prevented, but diminished, decreased and often extinguished.” (Garrod, 2019).
The Mechanics of Intake Forms
The intake form reports on behavior issues from the perspective of the guardian, rescue, or foster. Key points on an intake form that a professional should be most concerned about include: • The reason the client is seeking treatment/training. • The top three behaviors to be addressed. Looking through the intake form to see what, according to the client, triggers the behaviors, as well what other observations the guardian has made, and highlighting any patterns showing up throughout the form are good starting points to help customize the functional assessment. In addition, being able to converse with clients intellectually about their case and pull out key points can be the start to a results-oriented professional relationship.
TOP Review Triggers:
Let’s say the problem behaviors have been reported as barking and biting and the triggers emerge as: • The household cat (make a note to assess prey drive, overexcitement): The cat is kept upstairs, and when the cat is fed, the dog starts frenzied barking. The dog acts like he is going to bite, or has, on four occasions, bitten the guardians. • Someone enters the guardian’s home and the dog barks incessantly: The guardian reports this as seeming “more like a demand for attention.” • Squirrels: The dog goes into barking mode when he sees squirrels in the yard.
© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub
In a behavior case which listed barking as one of the main issues, the household cat, visitors to the home and squirrels in the yard were all identified as triggers
• The biting behavior started four months ago. Barking has been ongoing since puppyhood. The dog is currently 2 years old. • The guardian statement raises concerns about going through doors first and eating first and that the dog might think he is “an equal.” • The guardians are elderly but committed. The dog is a herding breed. Frenzied, nonstop barking is the main issue and it appears overexcitement/arousal is causing redirected aggression. The dog is from a breeder and had human contact as a puppy, but was shy and whined often. These points may or may not be pertinent to the case, but are definitely things to be aware of.
• This dog bites when overaroused, has a high prey drive and barks incessantly, frequently, and with high intensity. The dog barks at people entering the home. This would alert the behavior consultant to be aware of the triggers, to assess the contexts carefully, and to verify specifics, like the environment, relationships with the owners, and antecedents possibly not mentioned on the intake form. Once the intake form is reviewed, then a functional assessment should be set up. For me, this typically lasts 1½-2 hours.
The functional assessment will be a lengthy document that shows where the client and dog are today, where they want to be (this needs to be realistic), and how they are going to get there. It incorporates many key elements and observations, to include intensity, frequency, and duration, as well as distance and distractions. It looks at motivating BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
guardians) (Note: Biting started in the last four months, which coincides with the time the clients moved house.)
© Can Stock Photo/stanzi11
Environmental enrichment in the form of problem-solving activities and games is an important component of a behavior change program concerning overarousal
operations, antecedents, exact behavior, and consequences (what is the dog getting out of the behavior). It looks at the environment, the guardian’s relationship and bond, as well as enrichment, skill level of the dog, and his responsiveness. There are many really good functional assessment formats available, such as those by Prof. Susan Friedman of Behavior Works, Prof. James O’Heare of the Companion Animal Sciences Institute (CASI), Eileen Anderson, dog trainer, and Niki Tudge, president of PPG. Each explains how important the functional assessment is and contains all the angles that should be reviewed. An assessment’s outcome should be two-fold. Firstly, it should incorporate a document a professional can easily work from and progress through to keep the behavior change plan on track. Secondly, it should be easily understood by the client to ensure they do not become overwhelmed in the process, from potential goals to outcome. From a professional perspective, the document will be lengthy. From the client’s perspective, all they want to know is how they are going to get results. Let’s now break down what the professional perspective of the sample dog’s barking and biting behavior might reveal (in condensed format):
• The dog is barking incessantly at visitors and at noises outside early in the morning. This would be a key area of behavior change along with stress release (Note: Overbarking has been going on since the dog was 3 months old.) (See video, Before Video: Persistent, constant barking.) • Predatory aggression towards the family cat, squirrels. • Redirected aggression (bite history – husband three times, wife once) – occurs when they are feeding the cat or getting frenzied when prey is in sight (excitement, arousal is heightened and redirects to
The functional assessment will be a lengthy document that shows where the client and dog are today, where they want to be (this needs to be realistic), and how they are going to get there. It incorporates many key elements and observations, to include intensity, frequency, duration, as well as distance, duration and distractions. 32
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
• Unpredictable behavior (especially when hyperaroused, overexcited) – deemed “unpredictable” until signals/body language can be read and understood, and we work on predatory aggression and redirected aggression (to include a solid three-bark-rule, and drop cue). • The dog is stressed (Note: I assessed stress as high and acute; we want to avoid getting into chronic stress). • Mild resource guarding (paper, pillows, and other items that fall to the ground). (Note: This was not mentioned on the intake form). • The client had recently moved to the area within the last four months, which was approximately the time the dog started biting. • All bites occurred as a result of redirected (respondent, reflexive) aggression in arousal to the cat, or squirrels. (See video, Before: Overarousal to cat.) • The dog has excellent skills and is responsive to cues. • The dog barked at the behavior consultant incessantly for 18 minutes before settling. • The dog loved to do problem-solving puzzles and was at an advanced level. The clients were not aware of what enrichment is nor how to use it. • The dog rushed the front door and viciously barked at the behavior consultant. The dog was easily directed away from the door but stressed by a stranger coming into the home. • The dog grabs and guards pillows. • The dog is a high level attention seeker, and demand barks. • The client is clicker savvy and the dog goes to training class, although he barks the entire time at the instructor.
Note: Addressing the barking and redirected aggression are the top priorities in this case: • Overbarking, causing overarousal. • Barking at 2 a.m. at sounds outdoors (not mentioned on intake form). • Four bites caused by overarousal to the cat and squirrels (intense barking). • Barking intensely at strangers coming to the home, including delivery people. • Low growls and barking in mild resource guarding of paper, tissues, pillows, items on floor. In this case, the client is not reading body language well, nor providing enrichment in the form of problem-solving activities and games. Current play consists of a ball or Frisbee, causing overarousal. The dog is acutely stressed, and constantly on alert. This disrupts his sleep, as well as that of the clients, in the early morning hours. TOP analysis is easy for clients to understand and identifies where the behavior change protocol needs to focus to get results. The above is a short synopsis of what comprised a 30-page Functional Assessment.
Stress Release Protocols
With dogs who have a bite history, as in this example, I start with a stress release protocol of no less than three full days to achieve deep REM sleep and mentally tiring activity. My systematic stress release protocol is known as the Canine Emotional Detox (see Let Sleeping Dogs Lie, BARKS from the Guild, March 2016, pp.18-23) and is a step-by-step protocol designed to release stress in dogs. It includes a full three days analyzing video, client comments, and photographs to give an in-depth view of the environment, the client-dog relationship, and the individual dog’s personality. It often reveals other aspects, such as health issues, that might be causing challenging behavior. It evolves into the perspective of
[The functional assessment] looks at motivating operations, antecedents, exact behavior, and consequences (what is the dog getting out of the behavior). It looks at the environment, the guardian’s relationship and bond, as well as enrichment, skill level of the dog, and his responsiveness. the trainer, the client and the dog and results in a better understanding of the dog as an individual not only from the trainer’s perspective, but also from the client’s perspective as they learn new things about their dog. Throughout the stress release protocol analysis, the TOP review continues. As we progress, triggers can become clearer, and observations may include how the dog thinks, solves problems or doesn’t, and how the environment and the dog’s guardian(s) can affect the dog’s behavior. The stress release protocol aims to pull out patterns, which are key in developing a customized behavior change program that is results-oriented, simply because the trainer has an extended and personalized time with both the client and the dog. Once all the information is gathered, a structure forms to become a customized behavior change program that changes emotional responses and develops new antecedents, resulting in new behaviors and different consequences. Knowing, not guessing, is the key to lasting behavior modification. In the third part of this article, I will focus on what is next once we have completed all assessments, identified triggers, known observations and patterns, and are implementing protocols for results. n
Garrod, D. (2019, January). Addressing Aggression the Force-Free Way. BARKS from the Guild (34) 32-33. Available at: bit.ly/2CIQF9a
Anderson, E. (2018, April 17). What’s a Functional Assessment in Dog Training? (And Why You Should Care). BARKS Blog. Available at: bit.ly/2RdzhOU Friedman, S.G. (2009, September). Functional Assessment: Hypothesizing Predictors and Purposes of Problem Behavior to Improve Behavior Change Plans. APDT Journal. Available at: bit.ly/2S5JH7P Garrod, D. (2016, March). Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. BARKS from the Guild (17) 18-23. Available at: bit.ly/2G05PKk Garrod, D. (2016, March). The Three Bark Rule. BARKS from the Guild (17) 38-39. Available at: bit.ly/2hzq0lm Garrod, D. (2019, January 1). Before video: Persistent, constant barking [Video File]. Available at: bit.ly/2Hyb0DP Garrod, D. (2019, January 1). Before: Over-arousal to cat [Video File]. Available at: bit.ly/2TkZbSI O’Heare, J. (2015). Functional Assessment. Companion Animal Sciences Institute (CASI). Available at: casinstitute.com/108.html Tudge, N. (2017, January). The Business of Results. BARKS from the Guild (22) 24-29. Available at: bit.ly/2B2OnBM Tudge, N. (2019). The LAB System – A Suitable Humane Approach Without A Hierarchy for Force-Free Pet Trainers. The DogSmith. Available at: bit.ly/2WhHcic
Diane Garrod BSc PCT-A CA1 FF1 is the owner of Canine Transformations (caninetlc.com) based in Langley, Washington, where she conducts Treibball workshops, classes and private consults, specializing in canine aggression and reactivity.
The A-Z of Training and Behavior Brought to you by B is for...
Baseline: The frequency, duration, intensity, and latency of the skill/behavior observed prior to any intervention. Baseline measures are used as a starting point to a training plan. Having a baseline measure allows the trainer to be sure that any behavior plan or training plan is having the correct impact on the behavior as progression or regression can be quickly identified.
Behavior Chain: A compound linear chain that consists of a series of component behaviors performed in sequence. The final behavior chain is often placed under stimulus control of a compound cue. A retrieve is a good example of a behavior chain. Behavior System: Konrad Lorenz coined the term behavior system as a replacement for the term ‘instinct.’ Behavior system describes behaviors that are linked together and that appear to be innate. Also called fixed action patterns and, more currently, modal action patterns. Behavior Trap: Can also be referred to as selfreinforcing behavior. For example, many pets
find barking intrinsically reinforcing. Barking does not require any external reinforcement (food, attention or play) and is thus promoted and maintained.
Behavioral Momentum: The tendency for a behavior to become more resistant to extinction, the greater its reinforcement history.
Blocking (also called Blocking Effect): A respondent conditioning phenomenon when a pet fails to learn an association with a stimulus as a result of it being presented at the same time as an already learned stimulus that is more powerful. Blocking is not the same as overshadowing, which applies to operant conditioning. Bribery: The giving of reinforcement prior to a pet performing a behavior. Poor training uses food prior to obtaining behavior, stimulus control or proper lure fading. This often results in the pet not carrying out the behavior if the bribe is not present. This is not a reflection of using food in training, but the result of inadequate training and mechanical skills.
From: A Lexicon of Practical Terms for Pet Trainers & Behavior Consultants: The language you need to know! by DogNostics Career Center. Available from: bit.ly/DogNosticsLexicon BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Putting the Social in Socialization
Anna Bradley details some of the differences between good vs. bad socialization
when looking to give puppies the best start in life y and large, dog owners today seem to be increasingly aware of the term socialization and its importance in puppy development. Certainly, the vast majority of clients who attend my training venues with young puppies will at some stage ask if socialization of some sort is incorporated into our classes, or if we hold socialization parties or puppy parties pre-puppy school. I wonder, though, how much knowledge there actually is surrounding this crucial stage in puppy development. Has it become such an ingrained and overused term in our vocabulary that its actual meaning and significance has become obscured? I also want to particularly consider the effect of what one might term good vs. bad socialization. In my personal experience, this is particularly pertinent. Not all blanket exposure during the socialization developmental period is positive and enriching.
What is Socialization?
The goal of puppy socialization is to “convince the amygdala, that part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed and happy.” (Miller, 2014). Scott and Fuller (1965, cited by Overall (2013)) identified four main stages in a puppy’s development: • Neonatal • Transitional • Socialization • Juvenile Of most significance in terms of behavioral development is this socialization period. It refers to a sensitive period (3-14 weeks of age) during which puppies begin to exhibit adult behavior and form strong social bonds with humans. It is crucial during the socialization period that puppies are handled regularly, for this is a time where appropriate recognition of and interaction with conspecifics and other species (humans included) is developed. Braastad and Bakken (2002) explain that families who continue broad socialization experiences will have a dog who is better equipped to cope with a wide range of experiences in adulthood and suggest the consequences of inappropriate socialization to be the exhibition of fearful behavior. What should be included in socialization? To provide a broad socialization experience, think about not only your puppy’s relationship with your immediate family but interactions with as many people as possible of various ages and different appearance (hairstyle, beards, ethnicity, glasses, hats, Hi-Viz clothing etc.), and interactions with animals of the same and other species the dog is likely to frequently encounter throughout his life.
What about Habituation?
Habituation is another term commonly bandied about in conjunction with socialization. Here, puppies are exposed to wide and varying environmental stimuli so that they get used to them, making them to be of little consequence in adulthood. Braastad and Bakken (2002) refer to this as a gradual introduction of novelty in order to reduce the likelihood of future anxiety to it. What should be included in habituation? A very long list! There are 34
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Susan Nilson
Early, positive interactions with the environment form a key component in good puppy socialization protocols
multiple socialization and habituation “tick lists” available online which can assist new puppy owners (see specifically PPG’s Puppy Socialization Check List). Essentially, think about everything you encounter on a daily basis and add it all to your list: e.g., household noises, appliances, daily tasks (stairs, car journey), vet trips, visiting specific places, traffic noise, seeing unusual things (prams, pushchairs etc.). The list is endless.
Why is the 14-week window so important? Puppies grow extremely quickly and move through major neurodevelopmental landmarks. This means that from the age of 5 weeks right through to 14 weeks learning is all about interactional skills with humans, conspecifics and the environment. This embodies some major learning. Puppies explore novelty around them and absorb that information like a sponge. If they are prevented for some reason from interacting with their environment at this time of rapid neurological and social development, there can be profound consequences, since development slows considerably after 14 weeks. While this does not mean at all that a dog cannot still be socialized, this period of huge absorption is lost. Miller (2014) also points out that secondary fear periods exist which, “according to various information sources, can occur for a dog anywhere between the age of 4-11 months and perhaps as late as 2 years of age. A fear-causing event at any time during this period when a dog is more sensitive to aversive stimuli can also have far-reaching implications for fearful behavior.” This is something owners need to be aware of.
Types of Socialization
Many puppy owners will be desperate to begin the process of socializa-
Why is the 14-week window so important? Puppies grow extremely quickly and move through major neurodevelopmental landmarks. This means that from the age of 5 weeks right through to 14 weeks learning is all about interactional skills with humans, conspecifics and the environment. tion as soon as possible, which is great news. Common choices include: • Taking the puppy out in their arms (pre-vaccination course) around the town or local area. • Play session with a friend’s puppy. • Local vet’s puppy party. • Locally organized puppy party. • Pre-school puppy socialization party.
Good and Bad Socialization
Socialization is not always good. The 14-week window is incredibly influential and what a dog experiences during that timeframe may shape his behavioral future. At my training venues, we commonly receive puppies who have visited vet puppy parties and other organized play schools, but have been near traumatized by the experience. These events can and should be enriching experiences if they are run properly and carefully monitored by behavior professionals. Too often they become “free for alls” where more reserved individuals are bombarded by other puppies, or larger dogs swarm smaller ones. In these instances, anxieties towards particular breeds or types of dogs, or, indeed, any kind of dog, may begin to be formed at an incredibly early age, yet this absolutely need not be the case. Miller (2014) references a “lack of understanding among dog owners who recognize that socialization is important, but don’t realize that the key to good socialization is positive exposures to the world,” and points out that a puppy “who has negative experiences during the primary socialization period (3-14 weeks) is very likely to grow up fearful, unless prompt remedial action is taken.” According to PPG (2012): “Each socialization exposure must be fun for your puppy. If he is forced to confront fears he's not ready to handle, the process can backfire and create a fearful/aggressive response.” Socialization with conspecifics must always incorporate space and a mindful consideration of the individual, not simply be a group concern. Where there is reticence, there must be a move to segregate the puppy, educate the owner regarding their dog’s emotional response and a careful attempt to reintroduce the puppy at his own comfort level at an appropriate later time. The provision of multiple toys in order to avoid resource competition and provision of comfort barriers to reduce arousal and assist more anxious puppies is also wise. Owners must be aware that group environments might not always suit their dog. If this is so, they should not stay in that environment. They need to be aware of the subtleties of canine stress and remove their pup at the first sign of anxiety, rather than hope that repeated exposure will remedy the issue. States Miller (2014): “When you are socializing your pup, take care to fill his environment with happy experiences. When you do this, you are giving him a positive classical association with his environment by programming his brain to see the world as a fun and happy place. Be extra sensitive to your pup’s perspective on the world, and watch closely for low-level signs of stress that will tell you he’s not enjoying himself. These might include avoidance (trying to move away from something), lip licking, yawning, shutting down (absence of behavior) and more. If you see any of these signs, identify what it is that is worrying him and increase his distance from that stimulus. Then carefully
work to give him a positive association with that thing, using counterconditioning to pair the stimulus with something wonderful.” Training and behavior professionals play an essential role here in helping puppy owners recognize signs of anxiety, fear and/or stress. Aside from puppy parties, it is vital to note that all general exposure to novel environmental experiences or interactions of any kind must be non-threatening. People may believe that even if a puppy is afraid of something, they must continue the exposure in the hope of improving the reaction, but this will not happen. Essentially, this is flooding. Flooding means “exposing the pet to a stimulus they are actively avoiding or seeking to escape. Flooding should always be avoided as it can lead to fear, anxiety, stress and learned helplessness.” (DogNostics, 2018). Instead, gradual and incremental presentation of the problematic stimulus, such as the vacuum cleaner, washing machine etc. is required. If a puppy shows any exhibition of fear whatsoever, don’t keep exposing him to the object or situation, or try to ‘water it down’ somehow. Rather, begin desensitizing him with the help of a qualified behavior consultant.
Lack of Socialization
Fear and anxiety are common issues exhibited by dogs who have not been adequately socialized. As a further symptom of fear and anxiety, aggression, vocalization and destructive disorders can result. With many of the rehomed dogs that I see with behavioral concerns, it is doubtful that socialization has been rigorously conducted, or perhaps something detrimental has occurred during that formative period that has contributed to the dog’s current behavior. I work with many dogs from overseas who have been abandoned or rescued from life as a stray and, in many of these cases, there has most likely not been any focus on early developmental plans. These dogs tend to suffer with overarousal, reactivity and anxiety issues. It is especially sad to assist those dogs who have only experienced life as puppy mill dogs. Fear and anxiety are particularly common behavioral disorders stemming from the complete failure to expose these dogs to any sort of life experiences whatsoever. Socialization must be given the importance it deserves. It should not to be swept aside or conducted half-heartedly, but carefully considered as a critical component in a puppy’s behavioral development. Those early weeks can mold your puppy into exactly who and what you want him to be. n
Braastad, B.O. & Bakken, M. (2002) Behaviour of Dogs and Cats. In: P. Jensen (Ed). Ethology of Domestic Animals, pp 173-190. Wallingford, UK: CABI DogNostics Career Center. (2018). A Practical Lexicon for Pet Trainers & Behavior Consultants! The Language You Need to Know. (n.p.): Authors Miller, P. (2014, June). Fear Not, Wee One. BARKS from the Guild (8) 14-19. Available at: bit.ly/2FMjYvI Overall, K. (2013). Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Dogs and Cats. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Your Puppy Socialization Checklist. Available at: bit.ly/2Ue1V4m
Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Puppy Socialization and Vaccinations Belong Together! Available at: bit.ly/2Mv2DYG
Anna Francesca Bradley MSc BSc (Hons) is a United Kingdomebased provisional clinical, certiﬁed IAABC animal behavior consultant and ABTC accredited behavior consultant. She owns Perfect Pawz! Training and Behavior Practice (perfectpawz.co.uk) in Hexham, Northumberland, where the aim is always to create and restore happy relationships between dog and owner in a relaxed way, using methods based on sound scientiﬁc principles, which are both force-free and fun. BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Portland 2019: Writers’ Competition
In the run-up to PPG’s Canine Aggression and Bite Prevention Seminar (plus Feline Specialty
Track) in Portland, Oregon next month, we asked you to write about aggressive behavior.
BARKS presents the winning and runner-up entries in this special 18-page supplement
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BOGIE - W INNER
P ORTL AND 2019 S UPPLEMENT : CONTENTS
Shannon Finch relates the tale of a fearful young German shepherd who started biting after one of his guardians used a shock collar to keep him quiet in his crate
A NY OTHER N AME - W INNER
M AY I S PEAK
Stephanie Peters discusses the emotional states that underlie what clients often erroneously consider to be aggressive behavior
MANAGER ? - R UNNER -U P
Tina Ferner explains the importance of impeccable management when dealing with canine aggression and shares examples of the potentially tragic consequences when it fails
C ANINE AGGRESSION : T HE P UBLIC P ERCEPTION - R UNNER -U P
Hannah Blumenfeld talks warning signals, and ponders why dogs who indicate via body language that they are out of their comfort zone are often misconstrued as being aggressive
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
46 48 50 52 53
C OOPERATION - R UNNER -U P
Marie Selarque relates the tale of Bix, a young resource guarder who was jumping up and biting, and how she taught him to view cooperation to be beneficial
D OG ’ S V IEW
W ORLD - R UNNER -U P
Kathleen Godfrey relates the tale of Babs who was struggling with leash reactivity, but overcame her fear of dogs and other people
T HE J OURNEY
C ROSSOVER T RAINER - R UNNER -UP
Nichola Marshall describes how she overcame her “old school” mentality towards training and shares some of the highlights she and her dog experienced once she discovered the world of positive reinforcement
R EDUCE L EASH R EACTIVITY - R UNNER -U P
Michelle Wieser presents a number of strategies for managing and helping a leash reactive dog
R EDIRECTING AGGRESSIVE B EHAVIOR - R UNNER -U P
Dr. Lynn Bahr discusses play behavior in cats and how to address it if it becomes aggressive
Lessons from Bogie
Shannon Finch relates the tale of a fearful young German shepherd who started biting after
one of his guardians used a shock collar to keep him quiet in his crate when there were
visitors to the home
want to warn you at the outset, Bogie's story doesn't have a happy ending. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for this dog, with mistakes compounded by more mistakes. It's been over 15 years since I worked with Bogie, but I clearly remember every detail about him. He was a 7-month-old German shepherd with severe fear issues that started when he was attacked in the car by his family's other dog. The owners came back from dinner to a horrific sight of blood all over the car and a severely injured, traumatized puppy. I had been a professional trainer for 10 years successfully working with many fearful and aggressive dogs, so I felt comfortable working with Bogie. His progress was slow, a little up and down, but the owners were encouraged. One of the things we did at our sessions was allow him to run a little in my woods before we started working. It gave him a chance to sniff and work off a little energy after a long car ride. On one particular day, my client said that Bogie had had a bad weekend, and asked if I was sure I wanted to let him loose. I told her I thought it would be fine to let him out and we'd talk more about it while he ran around. Instead of playfully running around, however, Bogie ran straight at me, fast, low and silent. He bit me on the knee and calf, and then on the back of my thigh as I turned away from him. He would have continued to bite me except that I shoved the paperwork I had in my hand into his mouth. This distracted him enough for me to scramble onto the hood of my car and for my client to grab him.
Shocked in His Crate
We had no session that day. Bogie went home, and I went to the doctor to get my wounds fixed up. Later, my client told me what had happened that weekend. They had had guests, and Bogie had been whining and crying in his crate, so her husband used a shock collar to keep him quiet. Things suddenly became very clear. I now understood why Bogie's progress was so sporadic. My client used positive reinforcement, but her husband was using fear, pain and punishment, and had been all along. It had escalated to Bogie being shocked in a crate, with no way for him to escape. I felt physically sick. I hadn't thought to question my client about what her husband had been doing, though I knew he leaned towards punitive training. We had had a discussion about it in
Prior to this, I had never been bitten, and I took it seriously. I immediately changed how I worked with aggressive dogs and I still follow this protocol today. I limit the number of aggression consults I do per week, and schedule them for when I am fresh and alert. I diligently check in with the client before each session to make sure that something hasn't changed, and ask them to keep me updated between appointments. I remind my clients, and myself, to train the dog you have in the moment.
the beginning, but I obviously had not convinced him about the dangers of using punishment.
Set Up to Fail
I, too, set Bogie up to fail that day. I was worn out from an intense schedule, so I wasn't at my best. I didn't listen to my client when she said Bogie had had a bad weekend. If I had rescheduled the appointment, or had listened to her and changed the game plan, the bites wouldn't have happened. Prior to this, I had never been ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/kavita bitten, Puppy Bogie had severe fear issues that started when he was attacked in the car by his family's other dog (Stock Image) and I took it seriously. I immediately changed how I worked with aggressive dogs and I still follow this protocol today. I limit the number of aggression consults I do per week, and schedule them for when I am fresh and alert. I diligently check in with the client before each session to make sure that something hasn't changed, and ask them to keep me updated between appointments. I remind my clients, and myself, to train the dog you have in the moment.
A Life of Fear
You could say that Bogie "liked" me in his way. But that day he was under the influence of severe stress, not in his right mind, so to speak, and not responsible for what happened. That was on the humans. I now have a policy that I will not work with an aggressive dog if someone in the family is not on board with positive reinforcement training. Many times people just don't know what to do, and punishment is seductive and comes easy. To avoid that, we create a management plan to smooth BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
ÂŠ Can Stock Photo/kavita
Fearful puppy Bogie was euthanized at the age of 1 year old after he bit a family member (Stock Image)
Bogie had been whining and crying in his crate, so her husband used a shock collar to keep him quiet. Things suddenly became very clear. I now understood why Bogie's progress was so sporadic. My client used positive reinforcement, but her husband was using fear, pain and punishment, and had been all along. It had escalated to Bogie being shocked in a crate, with no way for him to escape.
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you have a love and passion for animals and their wellbeing, and some experience/ If Ifhandling you have a love and passion for animals and their or working with animals, this could be a great new career for you. There is wellbeing, some experience/handling working a great deal of and flexibility in a Canine Hydrotherapy career. You couldor begin working in a company or set this up your own business. on your career client base, for your hours with animals, could be aDepending great new you! are likely to be very flexible and can be managed on a full-time or part-time basis.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
the way during the retraining. If I've educated a client about the pitfalls of punishment, and they still decide to use it, I'm out. It's a waste of everyone's time and the client's money. Moreover, it's unfair, and in my opinion, cruel to the dog. Can you imagine going through life always uncertain, never knowing what to expect from your people? I abhor the idea of training by punishment, but if I can't convince someone otherwise, then I think it's better for everyone to be clear where I stand. A few months later, Bogie bit a family member, not as severely as me, but still. His owners euthanized him. He had just turned 1 year old. My heart still hurts when I think about what Bogie endured. Fear was the overriding emotion in his short life: fear of the other dog in the family, other dogs in general, other people, and the world at large. Worst of all was fearing the person who was supposed to be his guardian and protector. Bogie looks over my shoulder with every aggression case I do. Because of him, I think carefully about how my actions, intentional or not, have consequences for others. I sometimes wonder, if he hadn't bitten me, maybe he wouldn't have learned about using his teeth as a coping strategy. I have to live with my part in that. But the lessons I learned from him have helped me help so many other troubled dogs. That was Bogie's legacy, and it was, and is, such a gift. n Shannon Finch M.Ed operates AnimalKind Training (animalkindtraining.com) in Stanwood, Washington offering positive training and behavior modification for all species through classes, clinics, and private sessions. She is a graduate of the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior and is a KPA certified training partner. She is also a certified Tellington TTouch practitioner for both companion animals and horses.
Aggression by Any Other Name
Stephanie Peters discusses the emotional states that underlie what clients often erroneously
consider to be aggressive behavior and highlights the risks of using aggression as a label Help, my dog is aggressive!” This is often the first thing that I hear from potential clients when they contact me for a training or behavior consultation. They may be troubled by certain behaviors their dog is demonstrating, and are either panicked that they have somehow caused the behavior, or worried that their dog is inherently "flawed." Our culture sometimes has a tendency to pathologize aggressive behaviors in our beloved pets—who are, let’s remember, animals— and there is something of a dearth of information available to pet guardians on this topic, so my clients may come to me already fearing the worst. They don’t know, for example, the difference between biting and mouthing, and may be at a loss for what to do when their dog growls. The truth is that at one time or another many dogs may well display a behavior we hurriedly and inappropriately label as aggressive, and that those behaviors may very often be perfectly normal responses to something the dog finds stressful, frightening, painful, or overwhelming. This behavior could be the result of any combination of factors, including genetics, in utero and early puppy development, previous life experiences, current environmental influences, underlying medical conditions, improper socialization, use of aversive or punishing equipment or techniques, and more. So, join me as I wade into the quagmire that is “canine aggression.” After reviewing a detailed intake form, discussing their dog in person, and observing their dog in his home, I am usually delighted to inform the vast majority of my clients that their dog is, in fact, not aggressive. The first thing I tell my clients is that, in my opinion, aggression is overly diagnosed, and that what they might consider to be "scary-looking" behaviors that their dog sometimes exhibits do not generally qualify as true offensive or defensive aggression. In order to properly address this multitude of scary-looking behaviors that our dogs are capable of expressing, we have to get specific—the language we use matters, and it matters a lot.
Resource Guarding and Reactivity
For example, rather than generically labeling a behavior as “food aggression,” I use the more accurate term, resource guarding, and we determine the exact triggers that cause the guarding behavior. Does the dog guard a bowl with food in it, an empty bowl, food scattered on the floor, treats fed in a hand, a high value chewable item? Does the dog guard food resources only from other dogs, or from humans, or both? Are there specific locations where the dog is more likely to guard food, or types of food the dog will guard above others? When a client describes their dog as being “aggressive toward other dogs” while on walks, this usually means the dog is struggling with leash reactivity. My clients are amazed and relieved to learn that their dog is actually afraid of or frustrated by the presence of the trigger, and that Rufus barks at the scary thing to get it to go away, not because he wants to attack the other dog. When left untreated, reactivity can develop into true aggression, so it is imperative that we help the dog learn new emotional associations with their triggers and put management strategies in
Photo © Susan Nilson
The hard stare and curled lips are signals that this dog is resource guarding her bone, but does that make her an aggressive dog?
place, including the use of humane walking equipment and a comprehensive muzzle training protocol if needed. When a client describes their dog as “aggressive toward people,” this again indicates reactivity, which could be generalized or extremely specific. Are these people children or grown-ups? Are they carrying bags, wearing hats or glasses, or using mobility equipment? Are they near or far, stationary or in motion? Does the dog display the behavior at their own home, or in public, or both? Again, we need to dig deep in order to determine the dynamics of the interaction. Often, an undersocialized or fearful dog is put into situations which he cannot escape, such as when “Uncle Joe” who has “owned dogs all his life” assures that Rufus will be “fine” and reaches out to pet the dog regardless of being warned not to. Sometimes dogs with chronic, undetected physical conditions like ear infections or hip pain are unintentionally manhandled by kids, which causes them to snap. Or, the dog is hounded in his own yard (where he is often left unsupervised for long periods of time) by neighbors who senselessly reach across the fence to pet the dog, or even to hit the dog. One of my clients related stories of a former neighbor who caused her dogs to develop barrier reactivity by spraying them with a hose through the chain link fence, yelling at them, and rubbing his body along
The truth is that at one time or another many dogs may well display a behavior we hurriedly and inappropriately label as aggressive, and that those behaviors may very often be perfectly normal responses to something the dog finds stressful, frightening, painful, or overwhelming. BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
the fence at them in some misguided expression of “dominance.” Those poor Labradors, what were they to make of this bizarre display? In addition to implementing a program of behavior modification for the dog, I teach my clients how to politely but very firmly advocate for their dogs in social situations, and how to prevent problematic incidents in the first place by increasing supervision and keeping their dogs under threshold as much as possible. What about dogs who are admonished for growling—period? People may view growling dogs as dangerous, rather than realize that a growl is one form of vocalization that dogs use to communicate their internal state. A growl gives us valuable information, and should be respected and duly noted, rather than punished. Owners may mistake a play growl as “aggression” and interrupt appropriate play between two dogs who were just having fun. A well-timed, appropriate human intervention can de-escalate rough play and ensure that play stays safe for all dogs involved, while other attempts to “stop aggression” between dogs can actually cause an inter-dog issue where there, in fact, was none. On the opposite end of the continuum, owners may see aggression as a desirable trait. They may believe that dogs just “work it out” for themselves and that certain dogs are inherently “submissive” while others rightfully assert their “dominance.” Fortunately, we now have the tools and research available to us to be able to accurately interpret dog body language and understand basic behavior science (see Danger! Dominance Theory! Why Every Mention of “Alpha Dogs” or “Dominant Dogs” is Dangerous to All Dogs). Whenever we talk about aggression, we must keep in mind that aggressive behavior is not an ethical issue for the dogs. Rufus is not twisting his moustache with an evil glint in his eye, thinking up new and horrible ways to terrorize people and other dogs. Some dogs may be socially awkward, while others may be overly exuberant, and some are just plain fearful. Dogs make their choices based on safe vs. unsafe.
There Is No Excuse
It’s time to ban shock collars Iw ould sa t, as with any any helping professional, professional, would sayy tha that, yyour our first and primary primary obliga tion is tto o do no harm, harm, obligation and w we e ha have ve ccompelling ompelling evidence evidence that that applying shock,, either sy shock systematically stematically or randomly, randomly, to to domestic dogs incr increases eases their gener general al lev level el of str stress ess e discomfort. given thatt kknowledge, there and disc omfort. SSo og iven tha nowledge, ther simply is no ethical rrationale ationale ffor or using it it.. Janis Br Bradley, adley, adley,
Dir Director ector of C Communications ommunications and Publications, Publications, National C Canine anine Resear Research ch Council Council
If there’s a tool which causes pain or discomfort, it has the potential of creating other problems. As animal care professionals, I feel that if we...can’t find kinder, gentler ways of doing something, then maybe we are in the wrong profession. Ken Ramirez,
Executive VP and CTO, Karen Pryor Clicker Training
“Until these devices are illegal, consumers must protect themselves and their dogs by looking beyond the marketing messages of those who profit from their sale and use. It is not necessary to use electric shock to change behavior. It is not necessary in humans, in zoo species, in marine mammals or in dogs.” Jean Donaldson,
Author, Train Your Dog Like a Pro
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Whenever we talk about aggression, we must keep in mind that aggressive behavior is not an ethical issue for the dogs. Rufus is not twisting his moustache with an evil glint in his eye, thinking up new and horrible ways to terrorize people and other dogs. Some dogs may be socially awkward, while others may be overly exuberant, and some are just plain fearful. Dogs make their choices based on safe vs. unsafe. Rather, it is we bipedal creatures who bring our primate brains to weigh in on the issue of aggression in dogs, and attach moral meaning to canine behavior where there simply is none. My clients sometimes worry that their dog now “hates” them or that their dog was “angry” with their child and that is what precipitated a growl or an air snap or a bite, when in reality the dog is simply responding to something they perceive as a threat to their safety or a disturbance to be rid of. We often tend to impose our own human value systems on dog behavior when we decide whether an aggressive response from a dog was “justified” or unjustified, “provoked” or unprovoked; if the bite happened as a result of someone petting, hugging, or kissing a dog then we may label it “aggression,” whereas a bite inflicted in the name of protection may be deemed warranted. Many owners actively want their dog to lash out, but only in the name of “protection”— the trouble is that Rufus truly does not necessarily distinguish between intruders and “bad guys” from the delivery person, the next-door neighbor, or grandma. Commonly, the snarling, lunging dog is exhibiting fear or resource guarding, as opposed to true protection. On the subject of moralizing, I must also briefly mention the muddy waters of intrinsic prey drive, which is demonized as “aggression” when the target is a young human or another pet, but merely called “hunting” when the target is a bird, rabbit, or squirrel. Canine aggression is a complex topic, one fraught with all sorts of misinformation, outdated and harmful approaches to treatment, and dubious human interpretation. However, one thing is clear about aggression in dogs: pet guardians need more resources on the topic, and pet professionals need specialized training to respond to the myriad behaviors that are lumped under the umbrella of “aggression.” A good first step is to get specific and describe these various behaviors with accurate language, because aggression called by any other name may not in fact be aggression! n
Miller, P. (2018). Danger! Dominance Theory! Why Every Mention of “Alpha Dogs” or “Dominant Dogs” is Dangerous to All Dogs. Available at: bit.ly/2FynCtB Stephanie Peters is a KPA-CTP and CPDT-KA certified trainer and an ACDBC certified behavior consultant, who provides private, inhome pet training with specializations in behavior modification, adopted dogs, and family-friendly services via her practice, Plucky Paws (pluckypaws.com) in Ames, Iowa. As a certified humane education specialist with 15 years teaching experience, she uses the arts to teach children about important topics like responsible pet ownership, dog bite prevention, and companion animal welfare. She is passionate about companion animal welfare, and volunteers with adoptable dogs at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and the PAWS program at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. She maintains strong ties to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where she completed an internship in Dogtown, is a member of several prominent professional organizations, and is involved in ongoing education.
May I Speak to the Manager?
Tina Ferner explains the importance of impeccable management when dealing with canine
aggression and shares examples of the potentially tragic consequences when it fails
Photo © Tina Ferner
Photo © Tina Ferner
Blinds are drawn to prevent author Tina Ferner’s fearful dog, Gracie, from looking out the window and reacting to outside triggers, leading to a calmer overall mood state
Food puzzles keep a dog’s mind and nose engaged, add enrichment and creativity to her day, and keep her mind active, helping to promote a more relaxed emotional state
ecently, I received a voicemail that a trainer NEVER wants to hear. It went like this, “Tina, this is Eileen. Dolly just killed Miley.” Dolly was a rescued mixed breed dog that weighed approximately 65 pounds while Miley was a Maltese mix that weighed 8 pounds. There had been problems in the past with resource guarding and several “scuffles” between the two dogs. After our initial consultation, Eileen and I had mapped out a management plan. This plan involved leashes, gates, crates and securely closed doors. I also recommended that the two dogs be kept completely separate due to the body language that she observed when they were in the same room albeit secured by a leash or gate.
but contains common threads throughout. The two main goals of management (aka antecedent control) are safety for all, including the reactive dog; and to reduce cortisol levels in the dog to help produce relaxation. We look at a comprehensive sensory approach and do what we can to involve all the dog’s senses to generate an overall relaxation response. Visual Aids: This means creating visual barriers to block the dog’s view of the outside world while in the house, out in the yard or riding in the car. If the dog reacts when looking out certain windows, block the view by keeping blinds drawn, gating off that room, or applying frosted, decorative decals that are “dog height” to impede his view. Traveling with your dog in a covered crate in the car will prevent reactions out the window. Accompany your dog outside or schedule only brief outside sessions to prevent the dog from reacting to outdoor stimuli. Auditory Aids: For dogs that are sound sensitive it is a good idea to play background music, especially while you are out of the house. There are specially formulated CDs to enhance relaxation as well as a collar that plays soft, calming tones. Olfactory Aids: Dogs have 220 million scent receptors compared to 5 million in humans. Their sense of smell is essential to the way they discover their world. Using calming sprays, diffusers, or better yet, collars and bandanas is a great way to enhance calmness. Products that use dog pheromones can produce a calming effect on the dog. My favorite way to induce this is through a collar or bandana sprayed with one of the calming products. Nutriceuticals and Pharmaceuticals: There are an assortment of herbal supplements and medications available that help promote relaxation. Consult with your veterinarian for their recommendations. There
Management is an essential piece of living with an aggressive or fearful dog and it can be lifesaving. An important component of my Reactive Dog Protocol is management. I have had 200 teams graduate using this protocol and many have gone on to join our so-called “Normal” group classes and even have earned their Canine Good Citizen or are competing in various dog sports. They could not have done this without a successful management program. What do we mean by management? It is different for each family,
The two main goals of management (aka antecedent control) are safety for all, including the reactive dog; and to reduce cortisol levels in the dog to help produce relaxation.
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
have been specific types that have worked very well with my clients and have created significant behavior change in their dogs. Gustatory Aids and Enrichment: There are many ways to satisfy a dog’s hunger while engaging his mind, which will result in tiring his body. A few examples that work well for my clients: Food puzzles, foraging and scent exercises, or a stuffed, frozen Kong. Exercise: Exercising the body is a very important component to creating a calm dog. If the exercise cannot be done on walks due to the dog’s reactivity, indoor exercise games can be created out of ordinary household items and even treadmills can be used for this purpose. Body Work: Massage, energy work, and reflexology can be done on the dog to help relax him. I teach my clients some simple yet powerful techniques to perform on their dog. Other Forms of Management: Management can also look like a double barrier system near the door to prevent a dog from door-dashing. Keep the dog leashed while exiting the car, even if it is just between the garage and the house, to be sure the dog does not dash out the door or away from you. Management can also include having your guests text you prior to arrival so that there is time to confine the dog behind a closed door. Again, a stuffed Kong or other food toy can work wonders here and keep your pup mentally stimulated and, therefore, less likely to become emotionally aroused. This will ensure guests stay safe and the dog is not pushed over his threshold to react. Another form of management is to perform a “pre-flight check” prior to walking your dog to be sure the harness or collar and leash are fit snuggly and securely in case there are any triggers that the dog encounters on the walk. In the case of dogs that do not get along inside the home, management can include separating them at all times by gates, crates or closed doors, depending on the severity of the aggression and the severity of fights, bites and injuries. I counsel my clients to incorporate an impeccable management protocol into their lives. At first it may seem overwhelming and it certainly has an impact on the routines of the household, but after a while it can become a seamless integration into the home. Impeccable management is more difficult to carry out in households with multiple people and schedules. It is imperative that everyone in the household is on board with the management protocols that are in place so that the management system does not fail.
When Management Fails
Back to my client Eileen, who had put Dolly behind a closed door and went out to bring the trash cans in from the curb. As she approached
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
Impeccable management of fearful dogs prone to aggressive behavior requires a great deal of work, time, commitment, communication and resources, and the consequences can be devastating if/when it fails
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Tina Ferner
Photo shows a reactive dog practice session showing three dogs that have all graduated from the program and are now practicing their skills. A visual barrier is in place to give the working dog frequent breaks. All handlers are responding to their dog’s body language, providing distance when necessary and asking for learned skills. All of this creates a calm experience for the dogs as they all are focusing on their handlers and having fun in the presence of other dogs.
the house, she heard screaming and growling. She dropped the trash cans, ran into the house and saw Dolly shaking Miley with blood splattered on the wall. She was able to separate the two and rush Miley to the vet, but unfortunately Miley passed away on the way to the vet. After this devastating occurrence and loss, Eileen was now faced with having to euthanize Dolly. This was also a devastating loss as she had grown to love Dolly and had progressed to an advanced level with their training skills. The amount of time and resources she had committed to Dolly had created a deepening bond between the two which made this decision even more difficult. The options were nonexistent for Dolly as Eileen had another little dog at home and could not risk keeping Dolly while putting the other dog in danger. Relinquishing Dolly would only result in euthanasia at a shelter. The next day Eileen accompanied Dolly to their veterinarian’s office where Dolly’s life was peacefully ended. In the end, management failed. Eileen thought back on all the events and realized that she had not latched the door when she went out, thinking she was going to be out only for a couple of minutes. I cannot stress enough how important impeccable management is. The result of management failure can be devastating. Unfortunately, many clients don’t realize it themselves until management fails. I have plenty of stories to tell that illustrate the devastating loss when management fails. These prompt us to create a secure management plan. Another client, Susan, has a dog reactive pit bull named Wanda. Wanda has made wonderful progress in training class but is still reactive. This dog is a door dasher without, yet, good recall. Susan was taking a few things from the front door to the car and left the door ajar as she was only going to be out a couple minutes and had
I cannot stress enough how important impeccable management is. The result of management failure can be devastating. Unfortunately, many clients don’t realize it themselves until management fails.
I counsel my clients to incorporate an impeccable management protocol into their lives. At first it may seem overwhelming and it certainly has an impact on the routines of the household, but after a while it can become a seamless integration into the home. her hands full. Wanda dashed out the door, charged across the street and bit a dog that was out for a walk with her human. This bite resulted in vet visits and stitches to the little dog as well as emotional scars through a magnified fear response to other dogs. A double barrier system at the door was needed for impeccable management. I have had my own unfortunate outcomes of failed management when pushing my aggressive dog, Callie, past her threshold at a dinner party. Our training was going so well and we were making lots of progress, so I decided to incorporate her into the dinner party. She was not ready for this and instead of reading her body language that would have confirmed this, I allowed her on leash, to join the party. She ended up biting a family member. To this day, I realize that trying to incorporate her into any group larger than two people is too much for her and she is now confined to a bedroom with a frozen stuffed Kong whenever we have groups of visitors.
As you can see, impeccable management creates many changes in the quality of life for the human members of the household. It is not easy living with a fearful or reactive dog and it can take an emotional toll on the people involved as well. We provide support through a Facebook group, Reactive/Fearful Dog Support Network, and regular support meetings to address the concerns of the group and to provide a safe space to vent feelings and frustrations and of course, successes. Many people think this is a very difficult way to live and ask, “Why don’t you get rid of the dog?” There are many reasons we choose to continue to live with, train and manage our fearful and reactive dogs. The most important reason is the deep bond we have with our dogs. Despite the behavioral problems they face, we continue to love them and provide for their needs and they give us love in return. They truly become our greatest teachers. Furthermore, the options for rehoming are bleak. Most people aren’t looking for a “project” and frankly, do not have the skills to successfully manage and train these dogs, therefore, rehoming to an individual is usually not a viable option. The other alternative is euthanasia, and while there are still approximately 4 million pets euthanized a year in the United States, our goal is to prevent our dogs from becoming part of that statistic. I have lots of success stories as well. Most of my clients have trained and managed their aggressive and fearful dogs with a high level of success. They are able to have guests over without issue, walk their dogs without reaction, and travel. Through their efforts of management and training, they have established a higher quality of life for themselves and their dogs. All of this has required a great deal of work, time, commitment, communication and resources. I congratulate them all and am inspired each day that I am allowed to be a part of their journey and witness another life saved. n
Reactive/Fearful Dog Support Network: facebook.com/groups/128994214260685/?ref=br_rs
Tina Ferner CPDT-KA owns Canine Karma, LLC (caninekarma.org), based in Toledo, Ohio, where she specializes in fearful and reactive dogs. She shares her home with Gracie, a fearful dog she has trained, managed and rehabilitated. BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Canine Aggression: The Public Perception
Hannah Blumenfeld talks warning signals, and ponders why dogs who indicate via body
language and warning signals that they are out of their comfort zone are often
misconstrued as being aggressive
Not a nice dog,” says the woman on the sidewalk. Lucy and I had just walked past her, and although I was shoving treats in Lucy's mouth, the woman locked eyes with my beautiful beast. This scares the bejeezus out of Lucy, so she barks. And, yes, sometimes lunges. I do not correct the woman; I don't tell her that Lucy is, in fact, a very nice dog. A couple months earlier, we were walking past a family of four. First came the mom and older daughter. They both got what I call the “happy-doggy face.” The girl tells me that Lucy is cute. I say thank you, adding that Lucy does not enjoy attention from strangers, that it's best to ignore her. Next come the dad and younger son. Dad is laughing, says, “yeah, yeah, ignore the doggy, okay.” He doesn't take me seriously. Lucy's had enough and barks at the boy, who literally cowers in fear. Terrible does not even begin to describe how I feel. Half a block away, the dad shouts back to me, “Ma'am? Ma'am? There are lots of families in this neighborhood, lots of children. That's an aggressive dog you've got there. And we have dogs, we're dog people.” I don't tell him that I live on the block, that I know the neighborhood very well, thanks. These are my most embarrassing stories, the ones that I retell to myself while playing the imposter game—you know, that's where you say to yourself, “I can't possibly be a dog trainer. If I can't even control my own dog, how can I help anyone else?” In other words, I'm an imposter. I'm not really a dog trainer. I can't—or shouldn't—be. Lucy is an American Staffordshire terrier. I have watched tiny dogs react to people the same way Lucy does, and people both on the receiving end of such aggressive signaling and the owning end of such dogs laugh about it.
Nobody has ever, ever laughed about Lucy. She's a very high-drive dog. She needs a job, a task, and until she gets one, she can be pretty hyperaroused, or beyond her frustration threshold. So when we're at the river and someone has a ball, Lucy is silently alert at their feet, waiting for the ball to be thrown, the ultimate signal that, yes, she has a job to do! Sometimes, the human holding the ball stops throwing to say, “Oh my!
But here’s how I see it: If I ask you to please ignore my dog, and you don't, then please don't get angry with me when she barks at you. I don't expect the world to revolve around me and Lucy, but I don't think it revolves around you, either. When Lucy is off leash, she avoids people. She makes the right choice every single time. Even when people reach out to touch her, she moves away from them, her ears flattened. She really just wants to be left alone... 44
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Hannah Blumenfeld
American Staffordshire terrier Lucy (above, with owner Hannah Blumenfeld) does not enjoy attention from strangers and may bark or lunge at them if they approach uninvited in an attempt to avoid their advances
What a pretty girl you are! Do you want this ball? Huh? Do you want me to throw this ball? Do you?” So Lucy barks, a high-pitched, insistent bark. Most people just throw the ball. But some will freeze. They'll turn to me, say, “I don't know what she wants.” Or, “Your dog is scaring me.” I have watched countless other breeds do the exact behavior Lucy does at the river, and nobody ever acts scared. Is Lucy being aggressive? In this case, absolutely not. Here's the thing. I know Lucy. And I am a dog trainer. I try very hard to manage our environment, to not take walks when there are likely to be many people out, to veer off the sidewalk into the street when we can. But sometimes we can't; sometimes there's a car (or seven) coming and there's no driveway or other place to hang out and play obedience games while we wait for people to pass us. (This is how we ended up walking past the family of four.) So I ask people to ignore her, and when they listen to me, Lucy is fine. She fo-
I have spent a lot of time watching how people interact with dogs they don't know. A handsome boxer was tied up outside a shop, and a woman went right up to him, got in his face, like mere inches away, and told him what a good dog he was. The dog tolerated it. He kept peering past her, toward the shop his person was in. He was pointedly ignoring the woman, but she didn't notice. cuses on me, on my treats, on heeling left and heeling right. When they don't, either because they're “dog people” or don't take me seriously or who knows what, Lucy barks at them. And, yes, sometimes lunges. I've considered putting a muzzle on her (not because I think she'll bite, but because I think it might lead people to give us a wider berth). I've considered never taking her on walks (which is fine, we do agility and go on doggy adventures, she gets plenty of exercise—but we live in a building with no parking and we have to walk around the corner of our very busy street to get to our car, multiple times a day). I've considered moving to a neighborhood with less foot traffic (but I can't afford to).
I have spent a lot of time watching how people interact with dogs they don't know. A handsome boxer was tied up outside a shop, and a woman went right up to him, got in his face, like mere inches away, and told him what a good dog he was. The dog tolerated it. He kept peering past her, toward the shop his person was in. He was pointedly ignoring the woman, but she didn't notice. A friend of mine was visiting an apartment where I was watching a very old, very scared, very tiny dog. When she was leaving, she stood at the door for a while and stared at the ancient Chihuahua and said goodbye to him about four times. He was literally frozen where he was, unable to move, but my friend didn't notice. Dogs tolerate so much human behavior even when it makes them uncomfortable. When a dog expresses his discomfort, he's “not a nice dog.” An aggressive dog, even. I'm already anxiously anticipating all sorts of harsh reactions to this piece. “You should've turned around when you saw that family and couldn't walk into the street to pass them.” Yes, yes, I should have. “You should do more counterconditioning and desensitization.” Well, okay, I do that. But because we have to walk down our very busy street constantly, management is where it's at. We can play engage-disengage until the cows come home, but living where we do means it's one step forward, four steps back as far as keeping Lucy below fear level. “People's safety is paramount, and if your dog threatens people, then whether it's provoked or not, your dog should not be in public.” I hear you, I do. And that's why I try my best to manage Lucy's interactions so everyone stays (and feels) safe. But here’s how I see it: If I ask you to please ignore my dog, and you don't, then please don't get angry with me when she barks at you. I don't expect the world to revolve around me and Lucy, but I don't think it revolves around you, either. When Lucy is off leash, she avoids people. She makes the right choice every single time. Even when people reach out to touch her, she moves away from them, her ears flattened. She really just wants to be left alone, to be ignored, and off leash she can make that happen. On leash, if I'm unable to manage her environment well enough, she barks to tell people to leave her alone. I'm lucky—Lucy is seriously awesome with other dogs. But the same behavior is reflected in dog-aggressive dogs. I have been working with a small reactive terrier for a while now, and—surprise, surprise—the be-
havior is the same. Given appropriate distance, this dog would much rather play training games with me than yell at another dog. As the distance decreases, he becomes less interested in playing with me and more interested in yelling at “Danger Dog.” And if I lure him away so the distance increases, I can almost see him breathing a sigh of relief as he resumes working with me for treats. It's not that he likes yelling at the other dogs. They scare him, and he wants them to go away. Okay. So all of this may be common knowledge to you, the dog-savvy reader. But my point is that popular knowledge of dogs often seems to run counter to actual dog behavior. I don't know how to change popular knowledge, but I wish I did. I tell people that staring at unknown dogs is like mad-dogging (err, that means staring, and hard) someone you pass on the street. So, canine aggression. Can we rebrand this? Almost always, by the time aggressive signaling happens, the dog has already indicated his discomfort in a number of subtler ways. And aggressive signaling itself does not mean that a dog is going to attack. It actually means the dog is trying, sometimes desperately, to avoid physical conflict. So how do we change the public's perception of this? Should a dog that uses warning signals be considered an aggressive dog? I'll take my answer off the air. n Hannah Blumenfeld grew up in Dayton, Ohio, in a family of cat lovers. After 14 glorious years with her own feline soul mate, she decided to switch teams and began volunteering in the dog kennels at Multnomah County Animal Shelter, where she fell in love with a Staffordshire terrier named Lucy. Together, they launched into extensive obedience training, earning their CGC in the process, and canine sports, including agility, rally obedience, flyball, and even sled-pulling. She works as a trainer for Dog Adventures Northwest (dogadventuresnw.com) taking groups of dogs on off-leash pack hikes and leading private training sessions, attends Whole Dog Academy's yearlong canine behavior/dog training program, and is taking the CPDT-KA exam this spring.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Conflict vs. Cooperation
Marie Selarque relates the tale of Bix, a young resource guarder who was jumping up and
biting, and how she taught him to view cooperation to be beneficial rather than adversarial
Photo © Monique Selarque
Bix was a resource guarder and would bite if his warnings were ignored
t the time of writing, Bix was almost 8 months old and was staying with me for board and train. The focus of his training was jumping up and biting, but the truth is, he taught me as much as I taught him. Silly me though, I did not initially get quite enough information about his undesirable behaviors and was caught by surprise in the middle of the first night of his stay when he had vomited and I got up to clean it. I saw his “worried” face but it did not quite register in my sleepy mind. When I tried to clean the carpet, however, he bit me hard four or five times. Fortunately, he did not break the skin – which revealed a degree of bite inhibition – but they were hard bites nonetheless and I felt the pain for several days. That set up a tone of, shall we say, mistrust, for the rest of his stay and I became very aware of his body language and his emotional state. I was intrigued by how this young dog, who appeared to be so easy going and friendly, could change so rapidly. When I was fully awake and, therefore, paying full attention, it became clear immediately that Bix was a resource guarder, a very common canine behavior. So I paid close attention to what he guarded, which
Photo © Monique Selarque
Photo © Monique Selarque
Photo © Monique Selarque
To set Bix up for success, he should not encounter any possibility to fail
was not his food, his water bowl, or his toys, but just whatever he perceived was going to be taken away. A hard worried look would greet me any time I checked I with him. In my opinion, it can be hard not to take offense when a dog bites you. While your intentions are good, that is simply not enough. You have to appraise the relationship you share with the dog and reevaluate his emotional state and body language even more closely for any little signs you might have missed. Bix has a rich and complex personality, and is extremely intelligent. How can I best help him, then? Firstly, by not punishing him at all. He is just communicating with the tools he has to give me valuable information. Secondly, by implementing – with kindness – firm boundaries.
Proactive vs. Reactive
Cues such as "leave it,” "move away," "retrieve," "hand touch," and "stay" are very helpful, so I began with training these. I wanted to start by rewiring Bix's mind so he views cooperation as beneficial rather than feeling the need to foster an adversarial stance. To set him up for suc-
Photo © Monique Selarque
Photo © Monique Selarque
(Left to right): Training the hand touch; the “worried” face that had preempted a number of bites; thinking about giving up a guarded object; deciding to give up the previously guarded object
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
[I] was caught by surprise in the middle of the first night of his stay when he had vomited and I got up to clean it. I saw his “worried” face but it did not quite register in my sleepy mind. When I tried to clean the carpet, however, he bit me hard four or five times. Fortunately, he did not break the skin which revealed a degree of bite inhibition, but they were hard bites nevertheless and I felt the pain for several days. That set up a tone of, shall we say, mistrust, for the rest of his stay and I became very aware of his body language and his emotional state. cess, then, he should not encounter any possibility to fail, for example stealing something of mine to chew (and guard). That means proofing my house and making sure that he can do no wrong while I am out. Of course, there were times when a potentially conflicting situation arose. I made sure I always had treats and a way to protect myself so I could remain calm and observant. Being aware, slowing down and thinking, rather than just reacting, allowed me to offer Bix the chance to make a choice that would yield a favorable outcome. I am happy to say that he immediately started choosing the option for a favorable outcome of an exchange rather than the confrontational choice of the bite. It was important to give him the time and space to think, calm down and assess the situation. As we progressed with our training, many times I was able to return an object to Bix and do the exchange two or three more times. By then, his demeanor had changed and the idea that this could all be a game diffused his anxiety. I endeavored to offer him many, many chances to surrender or share treasures. Although this doesn't apply to Bix, affiliative behavior issues sometimes stem from people overly seeking affection from a dog. New dog
parents may not always be aware that excessive handling (e.g. picking up, hugging) and petting may push a dog to show an aggressive display to re-establish his boundaries. The key here is an understanding of canine communication and body language so that warnings (such as a curled lip, stiffened musculature, staring, freezing, whale eye) can be understood and heeded before the situation escalates. In tandem, hand feeding, shaping exercises, training approaches, and moving away, all contribute to restoring the proper relationship based on mutual cooperation, affection seeking, and care giving. Training behaviors that are incompatible with aggression will permit the dog and the owner to find a common ground where collaboration and teamwork will be rewarded. There is much more to write about affiliative issues but I wanted to share how Bix has helped me revisit how anger and frustration can skew a relationship. At times I felt frustrated and angry at myself, but I have the bigger brain and he has the bigger teeth, so allowing for time and space to cool off and think and establish how to best approach the exchanges or elicit cooperation was crucial for both of us. As a welcome side effect, concentrating on cooperation rather than demanding “obedience” helped with Bix’s jumping up behavior as well. He now focuses much more on me and waits for cues of what should come next. I will miss him when he goes back home. n Marie Selarque CPDT-KA is the owner of Kaneohe, Hawaii-based ProDog Hawaii (prodoghawaii.com) and has a long history of training animals. In 2001, she started focusing on dog training, apprenticing with Carol McPherson, who introduced her to the positive reinforcement philosophy and the clicker method. She is a certified professional dog trainer through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and holds a counseling certificate from the San Francisco SPCA Dog Trainers Academy under the direction of Jean Donaldson. She is also an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen evaluator, a Therapy Dog Incorporated evaluator and a Tellington TTouchTM practitioner.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Changing a Dog’s View of the World
Kathleen Godfrey relates the tale of Babs who was struggling with leash reactivity, but
thanks to her owner’s commitment and a tailored counterconditioning protocol,
overcame her fear of dogs and other people s a trainer, my goal is to help to help both dogs and their guardians have the best possible life together. New client Angie heard about me through a friend. I’d helped the friend work with a rather “wild” foster dog. He was truly a good dog; he just had no idea what behavior was expected of him and so we had to teach him. The dog did a 180 degree turn and is now happy with his forever family. But back to Angie and her dog, Babs. Angie had rescued Babs a few months earlier and was struggling with Babs’ reactivity on leash. She would bark and lunge at people, and especially other dogs. During our phone consultation, the stress and sadness in Angie’s voice was palpable. She loved this dog and just wanted to be able to go for walks with her in peace. Before Babs was rescued by Angie, she had lived in a home for a few years with another dog without issue. But she shared a yard with a neighbor’s female dog who was not spayed…and issues arose. After multiple dog fights/scuffles and a baby on the way, Babs’ original people decided to rehome her. I explained to Angie that Babs was most likely acting out of fear – she had had multiple unpleasant experiences with a dog, while on her own turf. She bared the scars from one of the fights above and below one of her eyes. On top of that, going for a walk was something new (and terrifying) as her previous owners did not walk her. When you get jumped in your own yard and don’t get exposed to pleasant experiences in the world via a walk, the world could appear to be a dangerous and scary place. I advised Angie to get a pheromone collar, a treat pouch, a clicker and an easy walk harness. I also told her that if I was not able to help, Babs may require the assistance of a veterinary behaviorist.
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Kathleen Godfrey
Babs was fearful of the world and would bark and lunge at people and dogs when she was on leash, seeing everyone and everything as a potential threat
The concept of changing how Babs felt about the stimuli that got her worked up resonated with Angie. Before training, Babs saw everything as a potential threat and did her best to keep said threats away with barking, growling, and lunging. This poor dog was incredibly stressed. The goal was to change Babs’ reaction to things she encountered on her walk from “whoa – I don’t like this! Stay away from me!” to “It’s fine, I’ve got this!” Luckily, she really liked food which made the process a bit easier.
At first, I had Angie make treats “rain from the sky” when there was something nearby that Babs would react to, as well as when there wasn’t. This approach worked wonders. Babs would react at first but when yummy things fell around her she would focus her attention on finding them – not on the stimulus.
Babs saw everything as a potential threat and did her best to keep said threats away with barking, growling, and lunging. This poor dog was incredibly stressed. The goal was to change Babs’ reaction to things she encountered on her walk from “whoa – I don’t like this! Stay away from me!” to “It’s fine, I’ve got this!”
We did this for a few days and then I had Angie introduce a “kisskiss” sound to get Babs’ attention and bring her closer, with the goal of eventually hand feeding the treats. I was adamant that Angie use the kiss-kiss sound, even when there was no one or any other dogs around, so as not to make it a “tip off” for Babs. Angie was soon able to kiss-kiss and Babs would happily approach her to take a treat. This progressed to Babs coming to Angie and happily doing a “sit” and a “watch me!” This method of outdoor work was coupled with indoor training to set Babs up for success and to build trust between her and Angie. The day Angie told me she was able to get Babs to do a “down” while on a walk was a breakthrough. In a week or so, Angie reported to me that Babs was doing much better and the distance at which she would react to other people and dogs had decreased significantly. She was even happily walking by a porch that often had a dog on it that would react as she walked by, which used to set her off. Gradually, Babs was able to see people and dogs without reacting. In time, Angie reported that when a person or dog came into view, Babs would now go to Angie without being cued. The next time I arrived to work with Babs and Angie I hid behind a tree to observe them. I saw a total transformation. Babs was totally relaxed wearing a “dog smile” and trotted right past a person without a care in the world. The transformation in Angie was just as apparent – her walk was relaxed, and she was smiling too. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. Babs went from fearful and lashing out to a calm, confident dog in the world – all without the use of force, fear or pain. A few months later, I received a video clip of Babs playing with the dog of the young woman who referred me to Angie. When someone puts in the effort, it is incredible what they can do to change a dog’s view of the world. Babs and Angie’s story is a testament to the power of force-free, positive reinforcement training. n
Photo © Kathleen Godfrey
Via positive reinforcement training, Babs’ emotional state changed from one of fear and stress to one that was calm and relaxed when out on walks
Kathleen Godfrey is a certified dog obedience instructor via the Animal Behavior College and runs Comprehensive Canine Training, LLC (comprehensivecaninetraining.com) in Jacksonville, Florida. At its core, Comprehensive Canine Training’s mission is to provide people with results through education and force-free dog training.
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
The Journey of a Crossover Trainer
Nichola Marshall describes how she overcame her “old school” mentality towards training
and shares some of the highlights she and her dogs experienced once she discovered the
world of positive reinforcement
his is going to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech and, in a way, it is because I feel like I have won something very special – a change of perspective. So before I start crying I want to say, “thank you” to all of you for sharing your experiences and being supportive, thank you for being tolerant of my “noobie” questions and comments, thank you to late PPG steering committee member Anne Springer and, most of all, thank you to whoever it was who said, “Don’t be stingy with your treats.” What I am going to say is going to sound obvious to anyone who already understands positive reinforcement, but please remember this next time you meet or read a post from someone who says positive reinforcement alone won’t work. As someone who has been brought up on old school “yank and crank” methods, being told positive reinforcement alone can work is rather like seeing a picture of an old woman and being told that it is a picture of a young lady. Once you have one perspective, it is really hard to see the other. My dogs are livestock guardian dogs and some people will tell you that they cannot be trained to be “obedient.” My old girl was trained “old school.” She is a very good girl and now I understand why – she has been conditioned to avoid an aversive (leash check) by responding to a verbal cue. Of course, she was also encouraged with rewards of games, praise, or treats, but I didn’t see how you could remove the aversive and still get obedience. If you just use rewards, then the dog is simply choosing whether she wants the reward you are offering or the reward she has found for herself. This is why “old school” trainers say (what they perceive to be) “bribery” alone cannot work.
I decided to give positive reinforcement a try anyway. I never liked the puzzled, upset look I got from my dog when she got it “wrong,” even though I tried to make up for it with games and praise and treats. I also suspect the unnatural, sudden turns may have attributed to the wear and tear on her cruciate ligaments. So I decided that my next dog was going to be an experiment in positive reinforcement only and, to be perfectly honest, it was slow going. I thought this was mainly because I’m human and didn’t train often enough because I was tired from work or busy or whatever. There has been more than one occasion when I have thought, “I can see why people stick to old school methods – it’s much quicker/more effective.” I now realize this was because I was being
My dogs are livestock guardian dogs and some people will tell you that they cannot be trained to be “obedient.” My old girl was trained “old school.” She is a very good girl and now I understand why – she has been conditioned to avoid an aversive (leash check) by responding to a verbal cue. 50
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Nichola Marshall
Crossing over to force-free training requires a change of perspective for those who have started out using “old school” methods
stingy with my treats! I was using positive reinforcement only, but I still had an old school mentality towards treats: that they were there for shaping, luring, and rewarding for obedience. Luckily, I saw the “Don’t be stingy with your treats” comment in a Facebook group. Along with the other comments I had read about “look at me” and clicker training, and also picking up on when others would treat their dogs, I decided to change tack and feed for everything good, no matter how small or inadvertent, with a cue word attached. It seems so obvious now, but mentally it was a total paradigm shift for me to reward behavior rather than “obedience.” Feed my dog just to make her happy? Yes. Without her having actually “obeyed” anything necessarily? Yes. Result? Exponential explosion in desired behaviors, better recalls than I ever had from “yank and crank” training methods, and beautiful leash walking – all in a matter of weeks. At the time of writing, the following, however, are my “jackpot” instances so far. These are what made me really want to say “thank you” to everyone who has helped me to understand how to train my dog and to see the young lady instead of the old woman. The first instance was when my pup spotted a horse in the next field when we were out on a trail. Previously, this would have sent her into a frenzy. Instead, she stood calmly looking at the horse, looked at me, looked back at the horse, and before I could open my mouth, she turned around and started trotting back to me to collect her “prize” for seeing a “big four legs.” A previous trigger is now acting as a cue to recall. The second instance, she was off leash and I was just thinking she was getting a bit “wired” and that it was time to put her back on the
It seems so obvious now, but mentally it was a total paradigm shift for me to reward behavior rather than “obedience.” Feed my dog just to make her happy? Yes. Without her having actually “obeyed” anything necessarily? Yes. Result? Exponential explosion in desired behaviors, better recalls than I ever had from “yank and crank” training methods, and beautiful leash walking – all in a matter of weeks. leash when she stopped dead, facing into the field. I came over the rise to see there was an unexpected herd of cows in the field and my dog was twice as close to them than she was to me. Anyone with a reactive dog will know this is nightmare scenario #1. She was tense and so was I. My first attempt to call her came out as a strangled squeak and was probably blown away by the wind in any case. My pup started to walk and stalk her way towards the cows. I was having visions of stampedes, broken legs and a shot dog. I called “wait” and she stopped, still staring at the cows. I called her to me, and was, admittedly, astonished when she instantly turned her back on the cows and come galloping back to me. I fed her many, many treats. My hands were shaking so much I could hardly get her leash back on. I then just sat in the wet grass and gave her a chest rub and more treats. Before then, I don’t think I believed, in my heart of hearts, that I could actually, genuinely, really, truly, countercondition a response without aversive measures. In that awful, heart stopping moment, my spoiled little positive reinforcement only trained pup proved to me that I absolutely can. n
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Tips to Reduce Leash Reactivity
Michelle Wieser presents a number of strategies for managing and helping
a leash reactive dog
hen a leashed dog barks, pulls or lunges at other dogs (or wildlife, skateboards, kids, bikers, etc.), it is known as leash reactivity. Dogs may feel trapped and restricted by the leash and, unfortunately, given that they can’t voluntarily remove themselves from the situation (think fight or flight), it can lead to reactive outbursts during leashed walks if they are feeling threatened, anxious, stressed, fearful, or, indeed, excited to meet a stranger or another dog. Regardless of the reason, it's not fun for anyone, so here are some handling tips to help reduce or prevent leash reactivity. Why Is My Dog Barking And Lunging? Fear and frustration are the two most common reasons for leash reactivity. Dogs react out of frustration because the leash is restricting them from approaching something they are desperate to see. Alternatively, fearful dogs react for the opposite reason, to escape or gain distance from their triggers. In this case barking and lunging is used as a warning for other dogs (or triggers) to stay away. The Right Equipment Can Help A front-attachment harness can help provide more control over a dog who is pulling or lunging. A harness will make it easier for you to ease your dog away from triggers, instead of him pulling ahead barking and lunging. Many dogs tolerate front-attachment harnesses well.
Distance Is Your Friend Whether your dog is fearful or frustrated, it is important to maintain an appropriate distance from his triggers until he learns to feel and behave differently around them. Don't set him up to practice barking and lunging, as once it becomes a habit, it will take longer to change the behavior. Instead: • When you see another dog or trigger, proactively move further away and encourage your dog to focus on you. Set your dog up to succeed. • Walk in areas where you can see what's coming. Straight, wide paths or residential sidewalks work best. • Be aware of your surroundings. Look ahead and behind you often so you can spot oncoming triggers and move away while your dog is still able to focus on you. • Make note of dogs who bark behind fences in your neighborhood (every neighborhood has a few). Encourage your dog to focus on you while you pass the fence at a distance that's comfortable for him. • Approach blind corners carefully. Encourage your dog to stay close as you approach a corner, and be prepared to make a quick U-turn if a trigger appears around the corner. Getting Past Dogs or Triggers (with Grace) You can create space from dogs and other triggers by crossing the street, ducking into a driveway, taking another route, or turning around and going the other way. Practice these maneuvers often while your dog's triggers are not present. Get your dog used to the idea that you randomly change directions and it's fun to follow! 52
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Photo © Michelle Wieser
A front clip harness can help provide control when working with a reactive dog
You can also scatter treats on the ground or ask for tricks (like hand touches) to keep your dog engaged with you around triggers. Using food, toys and play will also help your dog create a new, positive emotional response to his triggers. In this video, Addressing Leash Reactivity, young Timber is learning management techniques to keep our walks fun, even when scary dogs and frustrating cats are around. Strange dogs = fun games and treats! Instead of: Strange dogs = fear or frustration. n
Wise Canine [Producer]. (2018, March 17). Addressing Leash Reactivity [Video File]. Available at: bit.ly/2CJ4R28 Michelle Wieser operates Wise Canine Training (wisecanine.ca) and has taught and assisted in dog training programs in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada for over 15 years through local dog training clubs. Her education includes a professional dog trainer certification from the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behavior. In addition, she has completed coursework focused on managing fearful and reactive dogs, addressing self-control issues, increasing focus for highly distracted dogs, and developing advanced Nose Work skills. She participates in continuing education programs to ensure her clients receive the most up-to-date training based on modern research.
Redirecting Aggressive Behavior
Dr. Lynn Bahr discusses play behavior in cats and how to address it if and
when it becomes aggressive
s cat lovers, most likely we’ve all been scratched at least once. But why do some cats play so rough when others never scratch or bite? Cats, by their very nature, are ferocious hunters. These behaviors are formed when they are very young by instinct, observation and playing with their littermates. Through stalking, chasing, swatting, biting and pouncing on their siblings, kittens develop their precise hunting skills. But when cats are removed from this environment too young or don’t have an adult cat to keep them in line, they might never learn how to play gently. This can cause our pets to play too roughly with each other or attack us when we least expect it. Without adequate outlets to express themselves naturally, cats seek out others to engage in their need to play, hunt, and be physically active. Feline play aggression is a common complaint among cat lovers, but it doesn’t have to be. If you know what to look for, it’s easy to redirect and retrain your kitty to be a gentle hunter. Keep in mind; your cat's actions are normal, natural, and instinctual for all felines. Natural play behavior can vary slightly from one cat to another, but in general, play mimics the hunt. Cats like to stalk, ambush and chase. Once they catch their prey—whether real or fake—they might even kick, bite or scratch. That’s usually what has happened when we humans get a nip or a scratch. We’ve become the “prey.” And if you scurry away, you probably look like you’re playing along.
Photo © Lynn Bahr
When a kitten plays too rough, his mother and litter mates will let him know that his behavior is inappropriate; meanwhile, cat owners can redirect their cat’s behavior if it gets too aggressive
Stay Calm and Redirect
If your cat is prone to aggressive play, it’s important to understand that punishments won’t work. Yelling at your cat or breaking out the spray bottle could actually make their behavior worse. Even pulling away from an aggressive kitty can trigger their hunting instincts. Stay calm and redirect the behavior. It may take a little time, but with patience, you can keep cats and humans safe and happy. If your cat likes to play roughly with other cats, make sure it’s consensual on both sides. If either cat is exhibiting body language associated with fear or aggression—such as an arched back, hissing, raised fur, or lowered ears—it’s a good idea to separate the cats until the playful one has a chance to release some of his energy. Try breaking out a wand toy or stuffed kicker toy to distract him. When a kitten is too rough, mom and the litter mates will let him know with a nip, scratch or hiss. Over time, they learn not to be so rambunctious. But what might be just fine for another cat, could leave a nasty mark on a human. So we might need to teach them how to play with us by redirecting their behavior in more positive ways. If your cat is prone to biting or scratching you during play, make sure you aren’t encouraging it. Never use your hands as toys. Even a gentle cat may go a bit too far once and a while. Give kitty adequate playthings to keep him entertained. You might even try catnip, silvervine, or other, safe, herbs to encourage the use of toys. Cats that play too roughly are often just bored. Playtime is the key to keeping this unwanted behavior in check. When you give your cat lots of opportunity for meaningful, enriching play, their minds and bodies get the activity they need and our scratched up hands and feet get a much-needed break. n
Photo © Lynn Bahr
Kittens learn early on the appropriate way to play with each other, including bite inhibition
Dr. Lynn Bahr is a 1991 graduate from the University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine. Her areas of interest and special care for felines include health and wellness, life-time enrichment, hospice care, strengthening the animal-human bond, ending the practice of declawing, and the ability to speak fluent cat. She is the CEO of Dezi & Roo (deziroo.com), a company that manufactures and sells solution-based pet products. She serves on the Board of Directors of Pandemonium Aviaries, Fear Free Advisory Board, Parliamentarian for the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics, and the Pet Professional Guild Cat Committee.
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Feline Behavior Unmasked: Wakefulness, Whisker Fatigue, and Water
Paula Garber and Tabitha Kucera of the PPG Cat Committee tackle some of the common
questions cat owners ask about feline behavior any cat owners will be familiar with their felines waking them up in the middle of the night or pawing at their water bowl. But why do they do it? Our resident feline behavior experts tackle both issues here.
Q: Why does my cat wake me up in the middle of the night? Is it because cats are nocturnal?
A: Cats are actually crepuscular, which means they tend to be most active at dawn and dusk when the animals they prey upon (e.g., rodents and birds) are most active. This activity pattern often doesn’t match the owner’s schedule of getting up, going to work all day, and then coming home to relax and unwind. Many cats adjust their activity patterns to those of their owners, but there are several reasons why this might not happen: • An underlying medical condition is contributing to the behavior. • The cat’s activity needs are not being met. • The cat is hungry or thirsty, or the litter boxes are dirty. • The owner’s schedule changes a lot. • The cat is being bullied by another cat in the home. • The cat sees or hears other animals (e.g., cats, birds) outside the house. • Environmental noise, light, or vibrations (e.g., garbage truck, car headlights shining through windows, overnight construction) are waking up the cat. • The owner is reinforcing the behavior. The cause for a cat’s nighttime wakefulness must be determined so the problem can be addressed appropriately and effectively. As forcefree behavior professionals, we already know that yelling, throwing things, squirting water, and punishment risk making a cat fearful and anxious around his owner. Shutting the cat out of the bedroom, confining him to another room or area of the home, and using deterrents like motion-activated air cans and scat mats can cause undue stress and lead to other, more challenging, behavior problems. For any behavior issue, a veterinary checkup is always a good idea
Cats’ whiskers are very sensitive because they are filled with sensory collecting nerves that collect information about objects, vibrations, and wind currents around the cat. Whisker fatigue commonly occurs when a cat’s whiskers are regularly being squished and brushed up against food and water bowls. 54
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
© Can Stock Photo/Vlue
Cats tend to be most active at dawn and dusk but this activity pattern does not always match the owner’s schedule
first to rule out any underlying medical causes, especially if the behavior is new. Increased hunger, thirst, and frequency of urination or defecation are components of many disease processes and can contribute to nighttime wakefulness. Senior cats or cats who suffer from sensory deficits are especially prone to variable sleep-wake cycles.
Ensure that your cat is getting plenty of playtime and other activity during the day and evening. This should be in the form of interactive play with wand-type toys, exploratory play using food puzzles and treasure hunts (hiding food, treats, and toys around the home), and social interaction with you or other humans. If you work long hours or your schedule changes a lot, hire a pet sitter to play and interact with your cat when you are not home. Setting up a bird feeder outside a window with a cat perch can also help keep your cat entertained and awake during the day. To help your cat be more restful at night, engage him in a play session immediately before bedtime, and follow it with food. If your cat is free-fed, pick up his food bowl in the early evening. If you meal-feed, plan your cat’s largest meal for this before-bed feeding. Play with your cat until he is tired. When he starts to become fatigued, he will lie on his side to take a break—but don’t end the game just yet! Keep it going until he is lying on his side more frequently (about once every 20-30 seconds or so). Wind down the game by making the toy move more
...when choosing a place for water bowls, many cats do not like them placed right next to their food. In the wild, cats go out of their way to keep their food and water sources separate to avoid having the food contaminate the water. slowly (like injured prey) before allowing your cat to make one final “kill bite,” then drop the toy so it stops moving (i.e. it’s “dead”). Follow this up with food, and your cat should eat, groom himself, and then sleep. Kittens and young cats may be playful throughout the day and night—they simply require more “action.” And some cats remain young at heart throughout their lives. Try setting up a treasure hunt and/or food puzzles as overnight activities. You can also place a perch at a window near an outdoor light and leave the light on to attract moths and other bugs for entertainment. Some cats might also benefit from having another cat with a similar temperament and play style in the home. If your cat gets hungry overnight, set out some food for overnight free feeding. If free feeding isn’t an option, provide multiple small meals throughout the day, a pre-bedtime meal, and an early morning meal. You could also set up a timed feeder to open about 10 minutes before your cat tends to get hungry. Make sure your cat has easy access to sources of fresh water that are not near food or litter boxes. Also make sure the litter boxes are clean and in well-lit areas. Provide easily accessible and comfortable sleeping places. Heated cat beds can promote relaxation and restfulness. Some cats will seek out and bully other cats at night when humans are not around to intervene. Work toward improving relationships among cats by providing plentiful, separate resources and vertical space, and making sure the cats have appropriate outlets for predatory behavior. Keep a radio on playing classical music at low volume to help drown out environmental noise like chirping birds. Close blinds at night to block your cat’s view of outside cats or wildlife and to prevent car headlights from shining into the home. After you have determined the cause of your cat’s nighttime wakefulness and addressed it appropriately, avoid reinforcing the behavior by feeding, playing with, or giving attention to your cat when he wakes you up in the middle of the night. Q: Why does my cat paw at the water in her bowl prior to drinking it?
A: Pawing at, playing with or even splashing in a water dish is not as strange for cats as you might think. There are multiple reasons that may be motivating your cat to do this.
Cats’ whiskers are very sensitive because they are filled with sensory collecting nerves that collect information about objects, vibrations, and wind currents around the cat. Whisker fatigue commonly occurs when a cat’s whiskers are regularly being squished and brushed up against food and water bowls. To avoid this discomfort, some cats will begin to paw at their water and drink from their paw instead. To help prevent this discomfort, provide your cat with a wide and shallow bowl that will be more accommodating for your cat’s 24 long whiskers.
Safety and Security
Water is a resource that all cats need, and resources need to be easily accessible in an area with an entrance and exit. Cats are both prey and predator animals and because of this, they are always on the lookout for
predators that may attack them. When water is placed, for example, up against a wall where a cat would have to have his back to the room in order to drink, it can leave him feeling very vulnerable. Many cats will choose to paw at the water so they can be more aware of their surroundings and not have to put their head down. We have even seen cats attempt to move the bowl to an area where they have better visibility of what is around them. This is especially important to note in multicat households—you want to provide multiple areas for water. When placing water bowls, think more like a cat! Also, when choosing a place for water bowls, many cats do not like them placed right next to their food. In the wild, cats go out of their way to keep their food and water sources separate to avoid having the food contaminate the water. Cats instinctively seek out water that is moving instead of stagnant. From an evolutionary development standpoint, this may be because stagnant water is more likely to have bacteria and other harmful substances, so they prefer running water. If your cat enjoys drinking from the faucet or often paws at the water prior to taking a drink, offering him a water fountain is a good idea. Remember, with any resource, it’s always a good idea to provide your cat with choices and variety. Also, when a cat’s water is not filled at a consistent depth, he will commonly paw at the water to test the depth. Ideally, keep the water level consistent. Cats love routine and consistency. Cats love to play and have fun and sometimes they get bored or are not provided with outlets to play, so they will create their own games like pawing or spilling their water. It is important for you to spend time with your cat and give him outlets to play. As mentioned earlier, food puzzle toys, daily play times with the owner (using a wand toy), interactive toys, rotating toys, and teaching your cat a fun new trick are great places to start. In addition to all these recommendations, remember to always provide your cats with variety and choice and see what they like best. Lastly, don’t forget to keep the bowls clean and always have fresh water provided. n For further assistance with feline behavior issues, see PPG Feline Resources: petprofessionalguild.com/Feline-Resources. Find your closest feline behavior professional: petprofessionalguild.com/Find-Your-Feline-Professional
Do you have a question for the PPG Cat Committee? Submit your question for consideration to: email@example.com
Garber, P., & Miller, F. (2017, November). Clicker Training for Cats. BARKS from the Guild (27) 16-23. Available at: bit.ly/2moXtRD
Paula Garber is the owner of LIFELINE Cat Behavior Solutions (lifelinecatbehavior.com) in Westchester County, New York. She is a certiﬁed animal training and enrichment professional and certiﬁed feline training and behavior specialist through the Animal Behavior Institute. She is also certiﬁed in low stress handling for dogs and cats (Silver2015) and holds a Master’s in education. She is currently earning a diploma in feline behavior science and technology from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute. She currently serves as chair of PPG’s Cat Committee and is an advisor to the board of directors for FurBridge, a local animal rescue and community outreach organization. Tabitha Kucera is the owner of Chirrups and Chatter cat behavior consulting and training (chirrupsandchatter.com) in Cleveland, Ohio. She is a certiﬁed cat behavior consultant through the International Association of Behavior Consultants, a registered veterinary technician and is low stress handling and fear free certiﬁed. She the co-chair of PPG’s Feline Committee and is the president elect of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Ask the Experts: Prioritizing Training
Veronica Boutelle of dog*biz responds to pet professionals’ questions on all things
business and marketing
Q: I’m a private trainer specializing in behavior issues and puppies. I love my work and I love my clients but I’m getting more and more frustrated by cancellations. I live in a major urban city and everyone is busy and overscheduled, and it seems like training is the first thing they drop when they get overwhelmed. My income is taking a real hit, but mostly I worry about the dogs. My clients don’t seem to care that we’re not making as much progress as we could, but I really do. Help!
- Seriously Frustrated R+ Trainer in San Francisco, CA
A: Cancellations really are frustrating. As dog business coaches we worry about your income, as cancellations can have a large impact on financial stability and sustainability. We also worry about burnout from the frustration and disappointment of not seeing more complete outcomes from your training efforts. And as a fellow dog lovers and positive reinforcement trainers, we share your concern for the dogs. We all know consistency is key in any training endeavor. And when it comes to puppies, there’s really no time to waste. So let’s get your clients (and your income) back on track. Here are some tips: First, create a strong cancellation policy. Most trainers either don’t have a cancellation policy, Consistency is key to or they have a weak one. attaining training goals, and training professionals The purpose of a cancellacan ensure their clients tion policy for your busireach their goals by not ness is to keep you from allowing cancellations losing money. The purpose of a cancellation policy for your clients is to promote and protect their
BARKS from the Guild
© Can Stock Photo/photographyMK
© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso
When clients cancel a training session, it sets back the entire program, but a strong cancellation policy can help them prioritize training
training success. A typical XX-hours’ notice policy does neither. You most likely can’t fill a spot in 24 or 48 or 72 hours, especially if you are day training. And even with a week’s notice, can you reschedule a client without negative impact on your schedule and productivity? Probably not. Then there are the client’s training goals. Skipping a week of training or missing a day training transfer session sets the whole project back. Clients are either pushing back homework time, going additional time without necessary training adjustments, or falling behind their day training progress with their dog. Whichever the case, the dog inevitably suffers. A strong cancellation policy avoids all this by requiring clients to prioritize training.
Don’t allow cancellations. What is a strong cancellation policy? Simple.
BARKS from the Guild is the 64-page bi-monthly pet industry trade magazine published by the Pet Professional Guild, available to Pet Professional Guild Australia members, supporters and the general public online (and in print, by monthly subscription). Widely read by pet 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, BARKS is the perfect vehicle to achieve that goal. To contribute an article, please contact the editor, Susan Nilson: firstname.lastname@example.org To advertise, please contact Kelly Fahey: Kelly@petprofessionalguild.com
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
The purpose of a cancellation policy for your business is to keep you from losing money. The purpose of a cancellation policy for your clients is to promote and protect their training success. A typical XX-hours’ notice policy does neither. You most likely can’t fill a spot in 24 or 48 or 72 hours, especially if you are day training. One that doesn’t allow cancellations. You have two choices. The first is that clients lose any sessions they cancel. If they purchased 10 sessions and they cancel one, they only get the benefit of nine. What we like better, though, because it better serves dogs and their people, is to require cancelled sessions to be rescheduled and paid for. In other words, clients pay for their required make-up session. This ensures your time is paid for, and that the dog and client receive the amount of training you determined necessary to best help them reach the client’s training goals. Communicate your policy clearly to clients in advance and explain why you have it. Whatever your policy, it is critical to present it in writing in your contract and also verbally during your initial consult. In both, don’t simply state your policy. Clarify why you have it—both the aspect of protecting your business so you can help the most dogs possible over the course of a long career, but also to protect their training results. Your job is to set them up for success. You might say, “Before we schedule up I want to explain my cancellation policy. I’m very strict about charging for cancelled appointments for two reasons. One is that I only take a small number of clients at a time, so that I can provide a truly personalized training plan and attention. This means I can’t afford to have appointments empty. I also don’t want clients on my wait list having to wait longer for help. But most importantly, my job is to set you up for the best chance of success in reaching your training goals. Consistency is key to those results, and my
Pet Professional Guild has partnered with BarkBox to provide all members with a 20% discount.
policy is all about maintaining consistency and protecting your progress.” When clients understand the “why” behind a policy they are much more likely to respect and follow the “what” of it. Enforce your policy. There is no point having a cancellation policy if you are not going to hold to it. Other than situations concerning a true emergency, stand firm when clients ask to cancel. Explain that you can certainly do that, but remind them about the conversation you had about your cancellation policy, including the “why” behind I, and that you will have to charge for the missed session. Then ask, “Before I take us off the books for Friday and send over make-up appointment times and the make-up invoice, are you sure we can’t make Friday work?” Because the answer is that they probably can. People get busy. We all tend to overschedule ourselves. The trick is to create, communicate, and enforce a strong cancellation policy that discourages people from using dog training as a pressure release valve when schedule pressure builds. Use your policy to help clients prioritize their dog’s training. In the end, they’ll be glad for it. n
Do you have a question for the business experts at dog*biz? Submit your question for consideration to: email@example.com Learn how
can help your business:
Veronica Boutelle MA Ed CTC is founder and co-president of dog*biz (dogbizsuccess.com), and author of How to Run Your Dog Business and co-author of Minding Your Dog Business. dog*biz offers professionally designed positive reinforcement dog training class curricula, including Open-Enrollment Puppy, Open-Enrollment Basic Manners, and short Topics classes built for retention.
* 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: PetProfessionalGuild.com /benefitinformation www.barkbox.com BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Finding Your Animal’s Voice
Kathie Gregory discusses the questions we need to ask when working with animals to ensure
that we can truly understand their emotional state, as well as how to empower them by giving them choices and allow them to speak for themselves
teaching. But how does that fit in with the rate at which the animal learns? Does he improve at the same rate as the person? Possibly, but it is more likely that one or the other will progress more quickly or slowly. How much attention do we actually pay to the animal other than being aware of his response and adjusting for it? If you think about it, we may still be focusing on ourselves and what we are trying to achieve, so if we want a particular behavior and it is not happening, we adjust to try to achieve that goal. Do we stop to think about how the animal is feeling, rather than what he is doing? If we shift the focus from ourselves to the animal we are working with, however, we can open up a much more in-depth conversation that gives the animal his voice, and allows him to speak for himself. States Patel (2018): "Training is no longer something we do to animals but something we do with animals. It is a conversation. We want participation rather than compliance. Let dogs choose the behaviors they are most comfortable with rather than tell them what to do." Working this way has another benefit in that it is much easier to see how we need to adjust or progress our methods, and what we need to work on if we know © Can Stock Photo/mb_fotos why the animal is or is not doing something. If we focus By shifting the focus from themselves to the animal they are working with, trainers can pinpoint on ourselves, though, we may think we must be doing what the animal is feeling, as well as what he is doing, and open up a conversation something wrong, or we are not good enough to teach that particular behavior. But what if it is not us? What if the animal has a reason for not doing it, that we don't know about, and he doesn't know n my previous article (see Standing Up for Animals, BARKS from the Guild, January 2019, p.52-54), we looked at how pet owners and profes- how to tell us, or is trying to tell us but we are not reading it from his body language? sionals can overcome insecurities to enable them to speak out for any In scenarios such as these, there are some questions to ask. Firstly, animal in their care. Now, in this article, we will focus on the voice of the animal. Animals also have the ability to speak for themselves and it is up to why is the animal not doing the behavior? This may seem an obvious question, but often people think the answer is that animal is just being “diffius to be able to read, respect, interpret and acknowledge the communicacult,” and there is no need to ask further questions. However, this is not tion signals they give us. the answer. We know that animals are not difficult for the sake of being Today, there is a growing body of science-backed information available for both owners and professionals about working force-free and using pos- difficult. We know that they have a reason for how they behave in any given context. We know that they exhibit behaviors designed either to acitive methods. Some of that information may also take people through the cess pleasurable situations and desirable objects, or, conversely, to avoid steps of a specific method, so they understand what they are doing and and escape unpleasant situations and undesirable objects. We must, then, are able to practice it till they can do it well. Increasingly, people are enask further questions. Does the animal know what is being asked of him? couraged to look closely at an animal’s responses to training and behavior We might think we have successfully taught something, but that does not change protocols in order to understand his emotional state, and to adjust mean the animal has successfully learned it. Does he understand how to what they are doing accordingly. do the behavior in different contexts or in different locations? Often, beChange of Focus haviors are associated with where they are learned and may not be readily The focus may still often be on ourselves and what we are doing, however, transferred, so asking for them in a different location or context may not as we make sure we are teaching clearly and developing our abilities as we be understood, or may make the animal feel unsure, insecure or anxious. become more competent and confident. Thus, we may progress down the Is the behavior something the animal finds difficult? He will find some force-free path at a pace that is based on our own progress rather than the behaviors flow and some do not. Again, there is a psychological aspect as animal’s. For example, as we become more confident in what we are well as the physical one. Was the behavior learned with specific associadoing, we may start asking for more complex things. On the other hand, if tions that are not there when you subsequently ask for it? Sometimes we struggle to master a technique, we will remain at a more basic level of when something is learned, it has a very strong association attached to it
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
and the animal cannot do it out of this association context, so we have to teach him. Does he simply not want to do the behavior? Animals are living beings with their own minds, and it is perfectly reasonable to choose not to do something if they do not want to (I am, of course, not including emergency situations here). States Patel (2018): “…we should be empowering learners and designing training protocols that enable the animal to have control, choice and a way to say ‘no,’ or ‘I need a break.’” We might also ask, is there a pain issue? An animal is not going to want to move if it hurts. Is he scared? Any association with fear and anxiety will mean he has no intention of performing the behavior. Does he dislike the behavior? We all have things we like and dislike and animals are just the same. Depending on the animal, the situation, and what you are asking of him, there may be other questions to ask to understand the reasons why he does not do what you ask. Once we know the reason, we can go about addressing the issues and helping him. This helps him know he has been heard and listened to. What the solution is depends on the reason, but sometimes the solution is to not continue with a particular thing if it is detrimental to the animal, and not in his best interests.
It takes time for an animal to find his voice. The way he has been taught predisposes him to a particular way of learning, and changing how he learns and participates changes the parameters. Some animals are used to being told what to do and are never asked what they would like to do. Being asked what they want is a very different concept. For some animals, there is a background of punishment if they use their voice, so they learn that it is better not to participate and just go along with everything instead. This may cause uncertainty, stress and anxiety, so it is essential to go slowly and teach the animal to find his voice gradually. First of all, he needs to feel safe. He will not engage in a conversation with anyone if he is scared. Next, he needs to know how to engage and talk to you. This involves looking closely at his body language and vocalizations. Look to how he moves or doesn't move. What do his eyes say? How does his facial expression change? How does his body change – does it soften, tighten or remain the same? As you begin to notice he does the same things in response to a question, you are learning what he is saying. It is not always easy to decide whether he is saying yes, he does agree, or no, he doesn't, so the way to start helping him to make his side of the conversation more understandable you can teach him to make a simple choice, which leads to clearer communication between you that can be developed to free choice. Consent testing is an “informal experiment which allows a dog to offer consent regarding a specific situation. Via his/her body language the dog communicates a yes or no response…If consistently applied, consent testing creates a partnership with the dog, which is critically important, especially for dogs with behavior issues.” (Steinker, 2016). Steinker (2016) states that the information gained from conducting a consent test can help improve a dog’s quality of life and all round communication, as well as improve a professional’s training plan and make behavior modification more effective. In a consent test, distance decreasing signals are interpreted as a dog (or any other animal) saying “yes,” while distance increasing signals are interpreted as a dog saying “no.” Conflicted behaviors are also a “no.” (Steinker, 2016).
Looking for Something?
How much attention do we pay to the animal other than being aware of his response and adjusting for it? If you think about it, we are still focusing on ourselves and what we are trying to achieve, so if we want a particular behavior and it's not happening, we adjust to try to achieve that goal. Do we stop to think about how the animal is feeling, rather than what he is doing? “Consent testing is empowering because it allows a dog to communicate choice. If the communication gained is consistently honored it will increase one’s reinforcement history with the dog. Reinforcement history is science-talk for bond. Your bond will deepen because the dog gets a vote about what is happening. By checking in with the dog regarding her preferences you are positively reinforcing clear communication. This empowers the dog which is, in turn, associated with you. That process increases your bond.” (Steinker, 2016).
Teaching choice starts by asking the animal whether he wants to do one of two things that he likes. You can also use two different foods that he finds yummy, or two toys he loves. Teach him the words of the things you use for these activities. He will learn the names of things and be able to understand what you are saying in different contexts. At this early stage, animals who do not know how to make choices when asked may need a bit of help. As you talk through one choice, also move in that direction if you are doing something, or emphasize the food or toy. Then ask if the animal wants the other choice, and do the same. You will soon notice what he does when he is more interested in one thing than the other, and that progresses to his being more proactive in making choices as he gains understanding and confidence. Take things further than simple choices by teaching him to think for himself, problem solve and offer suggestions to you. As you progress, talk him through things, your routines, what you are doing, what his part in it is. You can take things as far as you like for what works for you and the animal in question. Removing an animal’s insecurities and giving him a voice to speak for himself empowers him. This is the best thing you can Consent testing allows an do for your relaanimal to say “yes” or “no” tionship. There via distance increasing or are so many decreasing signals and is a powerful communication benefits you tool in training will see. Understanding each © Can Stock Photo/Colecanstock
ly holds current,500 ar ticles, canine / feline / equine / piscine / pocket pets / murine / avian / behavior / training / business / over 2s, podcasts, ie trends / PPG news / book reviews / d s stu d video daily! member profiles / opinion g blogs an rowin and is g
petprofessionalguild.com/Guild-Archives BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
If we shift the focus from ourselves to the animal we are working with, we can open up a much more in-depth conversation that gives the animal his voice, and allows him to speak for himself. States Patel (2018): "Training is no longer something we do to animals but something we do with animals. It is a conversation. We want participation rather than compliance. Let dogs choose the behaviors they are most comfortable with rather than tell them what to do." other means there is far more reliability for both of you. You each know what the other is likely to do in different situations. You know whether either of you needs extra help or support. There is increased safety when we raise awareness and give animals the freedom to respond in a way that they feel is safe. They will no longer panic and react without thought. Rather, their choices will be based on thinking and learning as they are able take the time to assess the situation and act accordingly (although there will always be situations where the survival instinct takes over). You will also see increased trust, something easily seen when finding the source of pain, or treating an injured animal. Trust will also be seen in the depth of understanding and togetherness in your relationship. Finally, and most importantly, the animal is learning that he is in control of his life, and that brings contentment and a life worth living. n
BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
Patel, C. (2018, April). Common Ideas in Dog Training: Questioning the Obvious. Pet Professional Guild Training and Behavior Workshop Presentation, Kanab, UT. In S. Nilson. (2018, July). Lecture Notes: What They Said. BARKS from the Guild (31) 12. Available at: bit.ly/2W9pďŹ&#x201A;X Patel, C. (2018, July). Giving Back to the Animals. Pet Professional Guild Summit, Sydney, Australia. In B. Hodel. (2018, November). Chat, Chuckle and Learn Private Dinner: Hosted by Chirag Patel. BARKS from the Guild (33) 10. Available at: bit.ly/2FGktaB Steinker, A. (2016, January). The Value of Non-Verbal Communication. BARKS from the Guild (16) 26-31. Available at: bit.ly/2sQeNlX
Gregory, K. (2019, January). Standing Up for Animals. BARKS from the Guild (34) 52-54. Available at: bit.ly/2S20BnW Kathie Gregory is a qualified animal behavior consultant, presenter and author who specializes in advanced cognition and emotional intelligence. Passionate about raising standards and awareness in how we teach and work with animals, she has developed Freewill TeachingTM (freewillteaching.com), a concept that provides the framework for animals to enjoy life without compromising their own free will. Her time is divided between working with clients, mentoring, and writing. Her first book, A Tale of Two Horses: a passion for free-will teaching, was published in 2015, and she is currently writing her second book about bringing up a puppy using freewill teaching.
One Family at a Time
In our ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS features Carole Dello Russo
of All American Dog Training, Grooming, & More in Burleson, Texas arole Dello Russo got into dog training professionally about nine years ago after rescuing her American bulldog mix from a neighbor's garage.
Q: Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, how you first got into animal behavior and training and what you are doing now?
A: I co-own All American Dog Training, Grooming, & More located in Burleson, Texas. We've been open around five years now, and I enjoy overseeing all the aspects of our business daily, and training dogs as my time permits. We offer a variety of services: doggy day care, grooming, training, and boarding. Q: Tell us a little bit about your own pets.
A: My dog, Bandit, is almost 7 years old. He's a 95 lb. lap dog, and I wouldn't have it any other way. He loves my family, and is a great companion. He's not always a "gentleman" around other dogs, but he does get along with a few. He's got great tricks and does everything I could hope for, except get along well with other dogs! He is my only pet at the moment, but he grew up with my little Chihuahua mix, Danny Boy, who passed away a few years ago. Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?
A: Dogs have always been a passion of mine, and after a bad experience that resulted in the death of one of my dogs, I decided it was time to get educated about dog behaviors. When I got Bandit, I wanted to do everything right with him.
Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?
A: The scientiﬁc knowledge base showing that positive reinforcement training is the #1 way to train dogs is one of the reasons I choose to be force-free. It's important to me for a dog to be treated humanely in all situations, and especially when he is learning or being trained. Training should be rewarding and fun for both the dog and the handler, and it's no fun if pain is being used. Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer? A: I have always been, and always will be, a force-free trainer. Q: What do you consider to be your area of expertise?
A: Obedience training.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: Seeing people enjoy the training process and achieving success during class is probably my favorite thing.
Photo © Carole Dello Russo
Carole Dello Russo’s American bulldog, Bandit (left) and Chihuahua mix, the late Danny Boy
Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?
A: Every time I see people and their dog bond during training class, I feel rewarded. One of our business slogans is "Improving the lives of dogs, one family at a time," and it's something I live by. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?
A: I have been inﬂuenced by Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Sophia Yin, and enjoy reading articles in BARKS from the Guild.
Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for the most commonly encountered client-dog problems?
A: I love working with clients on leash skills (loose leash walking), and “come” when called is my very favorite cue to teach. I show clients two or three different ways to teach recall. One of the ways I teach it is on leash. I have the client practice their leash skills, and while walking with their dog, I have them start to back away from their dog, calling the dog's name and saying "come" until the dog catches up to the handler. Once the dog does, I have them reward the recall. After the dog understands what it means to recall, I have the handler do the BARKS from the Guild/March 2019
profile same thing, but require the handler to cue to dog to "sit" when they get to the handler. I work a lot with resource guarding. I recently worked with a bloodhound that wouldn't let anyone get near her when she was eating, and had a bite history. Working with the very dedicated owners, we took away all "free" items, and worked on the dog "earning" everything. Through a lot of hard work, hand feeding, and positive reinforcement, the dog is now able to eat while someone is close by and even allows her food to be removed from her bowl. We did things like hand feeding and counterconditioning, and worked hard to change the way the dog felt about people around her food bowl through positive reinforcement. Q: What awards or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods?
“The scientific knowledge base showing that positive reinforcement training is the #1 way to train dogs is one of the reasons I choose to be force-free. It's important to me for a dog to be treated humanely in all situations, and especially when he is learning or being trained. Training should be rewarding and fun for both the dog and the handler, and it's no fun if pain is being used.” - Carole Dello Russo dog, but I used her as my "demo" dog whenever I taught her class. She did awesomely, and the family was very happy with her progress.
A: I don't actively participate in competitions, but am proud of the fact that I have trained with several dogs that have gone into therapy work. One of them was recently featured in a local magazine.
Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out?
Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?
A: One of the craziest situations I've encountered as a trainer was with a very young German shepherd puppy that tried to rip my face oﬀ when I bent down to pet him. I was working in a big box store, and noticed a woman with three small children and the puppy shopping for supplies. I asked if I could pet her dog, and she said I could, and when I did, the dog tried to attack me, despite being only 11 weeks old. It was horrifying to think that this dog was in a household with several small children. The lady that owned the dog didn't speak much English, but I got her to agree to sign up for a training class. At ﬁrst, no one could get near this dog, but after a few classes, I was not only able to approach and pet this
A: Find a mentor that you believe in and that believes in you, and work closely with them. Learn from them, and emulate what they do best. Q: How has PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer?
A: By keeping me informed about ways to train that I may not be familiar with, and providing me with articles and forums with pertinent information. n
All American Dog Training, Grooming, & More (allamericandogtraining.com) is located in Burleson, Texas. To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, please complete this form: bit.ly/2y9plS1
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BARKS from the Guild/March 2019