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BARKS from the Guild

Issue No. 12 / May 2015

CONSULTING Counterconditioning : Does It Work? CANINE Managing Blind and Deaf Dogs

AVIAN Transformation via Enrichment

FELINE The Essence of Interactive Play

TRAINING The Magic of Milo the Pig BEHAVIOR Aggression or Play?

TRENDS The Prison Dog Program

The Face of Fear: Nature vs. Nurture

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


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

Contributing Editors Jan Casey, Patience Fisher, Elizabeth Traxler

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

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

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

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

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


From the Editor

ARKS has taken on something of an international flavor this month with contributions from all over the world, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, USA, Canada, England, Scotland and Spain. This is especially fitting, given that PPG has just announced the launch of chapters in both Australia and the British Isles, and expects to expand to more countries in the very near future. Don’t miss the President’s Message or extended News section for all the details on this, as well as an update on the rollout of the PPG accreditation program for pet professionals, and a special featurette on some of the incredible presenters who are lining up to wow us at the Force-Free Summit in November. Our Cover Story this month focuses on fearful dogs, an alltoo-common phenomenon regularly encountered by trainers and behavior consultants. We investigate the factors that combine to make dogs that way and what we, as professionals, can do to help both dog and owner navigate the daily challenges a little more easily. Our Training section once again features Milo the pig, and offers some fascinating insight into recall, leash, heel and trick training. We also examine the benefits of using games in behavior modification programs and highlight some of the differences between aggression and play in canine behavior and body language, both of which are often misinterpreted by dog owners. In the course of our daily work, many of us will have come into contact with visually- and/or hearing-impaired dogs and we explore both a little further in this issue, specifically with a view to enhancing the life experiences of such dogs, as well as how to deal with potential behavior problems. It is especially important that we do not automatically assume a problem is a consequence of the dog’s audio or visual impairment. The topic of banning shock devices in dog training has been very much up for discussion in the Scottish parliament in the UK in recent months, and one of our UK-based members reveals what she personally is doing to contribute to the debate and to encourage it to proceed in the right direction. The pioneering British Columbia canine prison program is back in this issue with an update on progress so far, and we also examine the issue of elderly owners being able to keep their pets if and when they move into care homes, and what can be done to ensure this is done safely and successfully on all sides. Our Feline section this month focuses on the importance of play to ensure that our cats have a sufficient outlet for their predatory instincts and do not end up becoming “too domesticated.” Elsewhere, in our Avian section, we offer some compelling and invaluable insights into the importance of enrichment for birds in captivity. On the subject of behavior modification, we have an intriguing article explaining exactly why counterconditioning “does not work,” and delve into the importance of listening to our clients to find out what they really want before jumping in with our “expert” opinion. Once again, thank you to all the contributors who make BARKS possible. If you have an opinion or experience you would like to share in BARKS, please do let us know. BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

n Susan Nilso



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MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Niki Tudge’s bi-monthly update on current and upcoming projects NEWS, EDUCATION & EVENTS Accreditation, Force-Free Summit, international chapters and more NAVIGATING THE STORM Mary Jean Alsina outlines what can be done to help fearful dogs find life less challenging THE PORCINE PHENOMENON Lara Joseph shares her experiences of training Milo the pig LESS IS MORE Colleen Pelar investigates the issues of escape and avoidance in the child-dog relationship LEARNING FOR REAL LIFE Diane Garrod explores the use of problem-solving games in behavior modification PLAY VS. AGGRESSION Maureen Tay outlines the difference between what is aggressive behavior and what is not EMPOWERMENT FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE Miki Saito provides an insight into how to enrich the lives of visually-impaired and blind dogs IT’S ALL IN THE MANAGEMENT Morag Heirs covers the topic of mouthing, grabbing and bite inhibition in hearing-impaired and deaf dogs #BANTHESHOCK Claire Staines hopes Scotland will soon ban the use of e-collars and explains how she is contributing to the debate A LIFE WITHOUT PETS Fiona De Rosa and Fiona Warton outline the possibilities for allowing care home residents to keep their pets ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Gail Radtke reports on developments in a pioneering K9 program at a British Columbia women’s correction center A METAMORPHOSIS THROUGH PLAY Interactive play provides mental and physical stimulation so cats do not become “too domesticated,” says Jane Ehrlich FELINE BEHAVIOR UNMASKED Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about cats STIMULATION FOR PSITTACINES Amy Martin explores the key to transforming a parrot’s life in captivity via enrichment STANDING UP FOR CHANGE Louise Stapleton-Frappell interviews Niki Tudge, PPG’s founder and president WHY COUNTERCONDITIONING “DOESN’T WORK” When counterconditioning is ineffective in behavior modification, the trainer is almost always the cause, says Angelica Steinker A TALE OF TWO EXPERIENCES Listening carefully to find out what clients really want is essential to a successful consultant-client relationship, says John Visconti MEMBER PROFILE: PRACTICING COMPASSION Featuring Daniel Antolec of Happy Buddha Dog Training and PPG advocacy chair BOOK REVIEW: FACT OR FICTION Gail Radtke reviews Beware the Straw Man: The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction by Linda P. Case


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Spreading the Net


Niki Tudge announces the inaugural PPG pet services survey, the launch of the PPG World Service Radio Show and the much-anticipated professional accreditation program, as PPG casts its reach further and further across the globe

First of all, welcome to BARKS May 2015. I hope you enjoy reading the incredible array of articles in this issue and don’t forget to let us have your feedback. As always, there is plenty going on at PPG. We are delighted to announce that we will roll out our first-ever pet services industry survey next month. The goal of the survey is to provide you, PPG members, with a snapshot of our industry, including upto-date trends and benchmarks. We will offer the survey results at no extra cost to our members so we can keep you well-informed and help you operate your business at the highest levels. I believe you will find it very interesting and helpful. The survey will be distributed by email and take around 30 minutes to complete. We are counting on your feedback as the subsequent report we will be able to put together will be well worth the investment of your time. Next up, PPG World Service Radio Show is back and is even bigger and better. I have persuaded Louise Stapleton-Frappell to co-host the show with me. Louise is a proud "Mum" to Jambo, the Staffy bull terrier trick dog. Jambo is the first Staffordshire bull terrier to achieve the title of Trick Dog Champion with Do More with Your Dog. Louise already blogs for PPG and is a regular contributor to BARKS. Together we are hoping we can create a fun, educational and informative show that is member-focused. So please do join us, bring your questions, expertise and a boatload of humor.You can learn more about our show schedule, featured guests and how you can join in by visiting PPG Radio. Each month the show will feature an interview with a special guest. We will also be asking similar training questions to every-

The PPAB Credential

PPG World

Service Radio one who appears Show is back on the show so on the airwaves we can all learn from a cross-section of methods used by the many experts out there. We will also host a discussion about one of our recent BARKS articles with the author so we can delve deeper and make sure we get all the great takeaways. You may have already seen our press release last month about our new partnership with renowned dog trainer,Victoria Stilwell (see also page 9). This collaboration is a really good fit for PPG; having the endorsement of one so highly-respected in our industry is invaluable as we work together to further promote force-free positive dog training methods. We are keen to ensure that the partnership yields great success on both sides as we move forward together to educate and engage our respective audiences. Also last month, we released some exciting news about our first international chapter when members of Delta Professional Dog Trainers Association (DPDTA) in Australia voted overwhelmingly to become PPG Australia. We are now working diligently with the local leadership team to support them to rebrand and fully transition (see also page 7). In its previous format, DPDTA was an Australian body of force-free trainers, all of whom have studied with the Delta Society Australia Ltd and achieved a Certificate IV in behavioral training or companion animal services, a nationally-recognized qualification throughout Australia. Delta members are passionate believers in and practitioners of the use of scientifically proven, force-free, humane training methods for all animals, making them a perfect fit for PPG. It has always been one of our top priorities to support professional international members and this marks the start of our international transition and presence. We are currently in discussions to bring about four other international chapters so we can better serve our markets worldwide. Next up is the PPG accreditation program. As many of you already know, this project has been in the works for a while now.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

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Dear Fellow Force-Free Advocates,




The PPAB Pledge


s We pledge to use our knowledge and skills for the benefit of pets and their owners. s We pledge to practice our profession conscientiously with dignity and in keeping with these principles. s We pledge to accept, as a lifelong obligation, the continual improvement of professional knowledge and competence. s We pledge to commit to the highest professional and ethical standards in any business practices and in the approach to pet training and pet care. s We pledge to always treat customers with respect, kindness and caring. s We pledge to work openly and honestly with clients who share these values in their relationships with their pet and who: enjoy working, playing and spending time with their pets; integrate their pets into their family and are willing to teach them how to live in a human society; recognize and understand the value, effectiveness and power of force-free training methods; are dedicated to optimizing the physical, social and mental well-being of their pets.

PPAB Professional Ethics s We always hold the pet’s welfare as our top priority. The pets are the vulnerable component in the consultation process as they cannot offer informed consent. s The professional’s role is one that is beneficial to the pet and never to his or her detriment. Always seek to do no harm. s We do not condone or endorse any treatment by a pet’s owner that is physically or mentally cruel. We will opt out of a consulting agreement rather than attempt to manage an unethical course of action. s We only consult with clients who offer cases that we have the professional competence to deal with. s We only use procedures, protocols and training tools that are empirically based and have a proven track record. s We always consider communications with our clients privileged. We will only break that confidentiality if a pet is being abused and the client cannot be dissuaded from using their current approach. We always act according to local and state laws in terms of reporting animal cruelty. s We recognize that the pet’s owner is responsible for their pet and the owner has the right to make decisions about the professional treatment of their pet. s We ensure all communications are professional and based on fact. s When discussing industry practices, trends or issues, we will limit discussion to practices and consequences rather than the individuals using them thereby ensuring informed, professional and civil exchanges that enrich members and the industry of force-free pet professionals. s We apply the following ethical principles to each situation we encounter: respect for the freedom and dignity of others; do no harm; do good; act fairly; be faithful to promises made. Pet Professional Accreditation Board is a DBA of The Pet Professional Guild, a 501(c)(6) non-profit trade organization 6

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

In fact, I was joined by Deb Millikan and Carole Husein to discuss the size of this project in early 2013 and we have been working diligently on it ever since. Now, two years later, we have a product we can be extremely proud of. To ensure this credential is legally defensible and has integrity, we have formed a subdivision of PPG, known as the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB), to manage and oversee the program. Accreditation will be available to both members and non-members but, regardless, everyone who applies for or holds the credential will be held accountable to the same Guiding Principles (see box, left). The accreditation program has been launched specifically to fill the void in the currently unregulated industry of animal training and behavior. As we all know, at present, any individual who so chooses can promote him- or herself as a dog trainer or animal behavior consultant, regardless of academic credentials, skills and knowledge. Thus, in order to address the need for consumer protection and animal welfare, the PPAB is offering a professional accreditation program specifically designed to ensure transparency and accountability amongst pet professionals. We are very proud of it and look forward to distributing our very first accreditations. You can read much more about the PPAB and the accreditation program on pages 12-13, and be sure to check out the News section on pages 7-9 for more details on everything else currently going on at PPG.


Niki Tudge

President - Pet Professional Guild

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

PPG World Service Hits the Airwaves



he PPG World Service Radio Show is officially on air. The broadcast will initially take place once a month with a goal to increase the frequency as the audience builds. PPG World Service is the official international eradio web-casting arm of PPG. Its mission is to promote global news and views on force-free pet care, and to serve as an advocacy forum for force-free dog training and pet care issues. The program hosts are PPG president, Niki Tudge, and PPG member, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, well-known in the industry for her role as guardian of Jambo, the Staffy Trick Dog Champion, and Tessa the German shepherd. “Together, we are hoping to create a fun, educational and in-

formative show that is member-focused,” said the pair, while encouraging everyone to join them with their questions, expertise and a “whole load of humor.” The first show has already aired and an exciting line-up of guests is waiting in the wings. Many of our very own BARKS contributors will be taking to the airwaves to discuss one of their recent articles, so be sure to tune in to support them and weigh in with your opinions. You can find an updated program schedule at and, if you are interested in being featured on the show, then please contact the hosts (contact details can be found in the same link).

PG has announced the establishment of its first overseas chapter in Australia where, on April 4, 2015, members of the Delta Professional Dog Trainers Association (DPDTA) voted overwhelmingly to become PPG Australia and operate under a licensing agreement with the US-based PPG. “Our members are passionate believers in and practitioners of the use of scientifically proven, force-free, humane training methods for all animals,” said DPDTA president, Stephanie McColl. “We are very excited to join the PPG family and to help expand it with the addition of many excellent Australian trainers who share the same guiding principles. To be able to tap into the vast reservoir of knowledge PPG holds is an invaluable opportunity for us and we have no doubt that, over time, our members will make their own unique contributions to that reservoir.”

gleeful rainbow lorikeets, everyone had something to offer and left with some new strategies to try out when they got home. The feedback from the presentation was very positive with many participants quickly achieving some great results. We thank Dr. Kat for sharing her journey with us and have all gained so much out of this seminar, not to mention how much the animals we all work with and love will benefit. - Justin Palazzo-Orr Training Services Manager, Paws & Relax

Update from PPG Australia



Applied Behavior Analysis is as Easy as ABC arlier this year Katrina Gregory (Dr. Kat) presented a seminar on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in Brisbane. Admittedly, the topic can at times be rather dry and I have heard a number of people criticize their overly clinical and non-personalized experiences in ABA with both animals and people. These people obviously have not seen Dr. Kat present, however. Throughout the day, Dr. Kat generously shared her experiences in utilizing ABA as a tool when working with a number of different species over the course of her very extensive career. She was frank and honest, discussing not only her successes but also her challenges. After introducing the audience to the concept of ABA, she then involved everyone in problem solving some of the current behavior challenges she was working with. The audience, hailing from a number of different organizations and experience levels, relished in this exercise. Suggestions from antecedent arrangement to teaching alternate behavior, to better controlling or changing the available reinforcers for the behaviors were all offered as suggestions. Audience members were also offered an opportunity to problem solve some of their own behavior challenges. These ranged from attention seeking barking to hand-shy horses. Like


Nicole Wilde Seminar ack in February, a group of enthusiastic dog trainers, guardians and veterinary nurses attended a seminar conducted by Nicole Wilde in Brisbane. Not to be deterred by the horrendous cyclonic weather, we took in all Wilde had to say on helping fearful dogs, separation anxiety and dog-dog play. Wilde’s unique background in working with wolves provided valuable insights into dog behavior and force-free training, especially in the rehabilitation of fearful and anxious dogs. While each of us no doubt took away different key ideas and skills, one of the recurring themes throughout the two days was the importance of training, and mutual trust and respect between dog and guardian; the better you know how to train, the less you need to use force. The importance of carefully structured training plans, the rehabilitation of fears and anxieties through small and strategic successive approximations, and the significant role of management in training and behavior modification were also heavily reinforced. Furthermore, the intricate dynamics of dog-dog play were broken down in slow motion video, with potentially dangerous scenarios like redirected activity, ganging up, limited mobility or bullying/ targeting highlighted, as well as the difficulties associated with dog parks and their lack of educated use. A big thank you to Urban Dog Training for hosting the seminars, and an even bigger thank you to Nicole Wilde for being so incredibly generous with her time. - Petra Edwards Cert IV (Training & Assessment) CAP 2 TAGTeach (Primary Certification) BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



PPG Launches Cat Division


s chairperson of Jane Ehrlich, chairperson of PPG’s newlyPPG’s new Cat formed Cat Division, I Division want to ensure that the ‘Pet’ in the PPG name effectively represents cats as well as dogs. They are, after all, the number one ‘domestic’ pet in the US. According to the AVMA (2011-12), there are 86.4 million cats, compared to 78.2 million dogs; more households own dogs, but more households have two or more cats within the home. We are as ‘force-free’ in our dealings with and training of cats as are our canine counterparts. It might be reasonably argued who exactly is being trained, the cat or the owner. To that end, I would like us—a group of committed volunteers heading the Cat Division who represent the cat professionals in PPG—to establish and advocate that standard to individuals and organizations associated with the group. Another goal I want to establish: a comprehensive grounding for all PET members in dog-cat relationships, via a series of webinars and lectures covering subjects ranging from introductions of

new dogs or cats to resident pets, to similarities and differences between the two species, to problems of aggression and fear that often arise in households where both species are part of the family dynamic. In addition, we need to increase PPG membership of cat professionals. There are other feline-specific organizations, such as AAFP and International CatCare, and the cat divisions of other behavior organizations; however, only PPG establishes a forcefree purpose. Offering that foundation through lectures both digital and personal will promote this goal, as well as the basics of the feline mentality that pet professionals, particularly feline, require. To this end, I would like to build a stronger participation (partnership?) in future PPG conferences, with lectures on cat behavior, cat-dog relationships and problems that can arise from them. This would be of great use, not only to the feline specialist, but to the dog professional who is likely to encounter such issues in consults. The popularity of such an event could lead to a PPG feline conference in the future and help achieve an increased number of cat professionals for our membership. This can only happen with a strong group of dedicated volunteers for our Cat Division who can work together in teams and generate ideas to expand our structure. - Jane Ehrlich ACBC Feline Behavior Consultant

he PPG Advocacy Committee is pleased to welcome Mary Jean Alsina of The Canine Cure LLC (New Jersey, USA) and Jamie Schwoerer of Kodiaks Canine Connection (Wisconsin, USA) as its newest members. “We continue collecting scientific studies on subjects relevant to our primary goal of reducing or eliminating the use of shock devices in dog training. There is a lot of information to gather and sort through, and the additional committee members will be helpful,” said advocacy chair, Dan Antolec. See for more details.

n the final week of April, PPG established its second overseas chapter, PPG British Isles (PPGBI). Steering Committee members include PPG president, Niki Tudge, and PPG members Claire Staines, Louise Stapleton-Frappell, Stephanie Presdee, Denise O'Moore and Carole Husein. Tudge, Staines and Presdee also sit on PPGBI’s Ethics Committee. More international chapters are in the works as PPG continues to expand its reach.

PG is saddened to announce the passing of member Paula Lancaster of Highland, Indiana. Ms. Lancaster’s passion was working with and saving rescue dogs. “Sitting here with a seven-year-old rescue dog from a very difficult background, I am thinking of Paula Lancaster,” wrote PPG member, Leslie Clifton. “If she were here she would be ecstatic to know that this dog has finally landed in the home he deserves. And that is how I came to know Paula, discussing various dogs in our care, on Facebook. Paula was selflessly dedicated to making the world a better place for animals. She had a huge heart. There was always room to care for one more needy animal. Her kindness extended to her human friends, always there with an encouraging word.” Ms. Lancaster’s obituary can be found at www.obits -Lancaster&lc=1587&pid=174382275&mid=6360147.

Following the launch of the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB), a Facebook page has been set up for applicants and interested parties and to promote further education about force-free training. Join the conversation at: -Professional-Accreditation-Board/1582417875309254. For more information about PPAB, see pages 12-13.

Advocacy Committee Update


In Memoriam



BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

PPG Launches British Isles Chapter


PPAB on Facebook

Become A State/Country Greeter


PG has initiated a state and country greeter program. New members can click on the relevant region to find out who is their state or country greeter. Greeters will make themselves available by email or telephone to answer any questions they may have. There are still slots to be filled so, if you are already a member and would like to participate, sign up here: www

Stilwell Joins PPG Special Council


PG has partnered with renowned dog trainer and television personality,Victoria Stilwell, to sit on its Special Council as part of ongoing efforts to promote humane, force-free training methods for all pets in a currently unregulated industry. PPG’s Special Council comprises an elite group of leading experts who not only endorse and support PPG and its Guiding Principles, but also have a vast range of experience and knowledge to contribute in the ongoing education and engagement of force-free pet care and training methods industry-wide. PPG’s Guiding Principles define force-free training to mean that no shock, pain, choke, prong, fear, physical force, physical molding or compulsion-based methods are ever employed in the training of or caring for a pet. Not only are forceful and aversive methods completely outdated, scientifically unsound and, ultimately, ineffectual, they are also, in fact, counter-productive in terms of pro-


NEWS viding any kind of lasting solution to any animal behavior problem. “This collaboration with Victoria Stilwell is an excellent fit for PPG,” said Niki Tudge, PPG’s founder and president. “Having the endorsement of someone so highly respected in our industry is of monumental importance for PPG as we go from strength to strength in our mission to promote force-free training across the board. I am certain that this partnership will yield great success for both parties as we move forward together to educate and engage our respective audiences.” “I am honored to join PPG’s Special Council and fully support its mission to educate pet professionals and pet owners about the value and effectiveness of science-based, force-free training methods,” added Stilwell. Full details of the Special Council can be found at www

Upcoming PPG Events

Pet Care Certification Program with Rebekah King, Melody McMichael, Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge: Three-Day Workshop to Help You Professionalize Your Pet Care Business (Tampa, FL) Friday, June 5, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, June 7, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train 16 Obedience Cues Level - Intermediate A Five-Day Dog Training Workshop with Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge (Tampa, FL) Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, August 22, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, August 23, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train 16 Obedience Cues Level - Intermediate A Five-Day Dog Training Workshop with Angelica Steinker and Niki Tudge (Tampa, FL) Monday, September 21, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) Friday, September 25, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) A Weekend Of Canine Fun - Up Your Training Game! A Two-Day Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker (Tampa, FL) Saturday, October 17, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT) Details of all upcoming workshops can be found at:

Live Webinars

Hands On Business Coaching - Business Bites. Out Think, Out Smart, Out Grow Your Competition with Niki Tudge Monday, May 11, 2015 - 5 p.m. (EDT) Monday, August 17, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT) Learn How to Train a Missing Animal Response (MAR) Dog with Kat Albrecht Monday, May 18, 2015 - 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. (CDT) Learn About The Genetics of Canine Aggression with Dr. Jessica Hekman Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. (CDT) Learn How to Play SprinklesTM and the Benefits It Brings to Our Canine Partners with Sally Hopkins Saturday, June 6, 2015 - 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Learn How To Safely Structure and Teach Reactive Dog Classes with Tristan Flynn Wednesday, June 17, 2015 - 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (EDT) Want to Be a Better Public Speaker? Learn How To Develop Effective Public Speaking Skills with Niki Tudge Wednesday, June 24, 2015 - 12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Can Dogs Discriminate Emotional Expressions of Human Faces with Dr. Corsin Müller Tuesday, June 30, 2015 - 10 a.m. - 11 a.m. (EDT) Are Cats Really the Independent Animals We Believe They Are? New Research Suggests Not with Dr. Isabella Merola Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 12 p.m. - 1 p.m. (EDT) Learn How To Effectively Manage Groups of Dogs in an Off-Leash Environment with Kathy Sdao Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - 1 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. (EDT) Details of all upcoming webinars can be found at: A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



A Gentle Reminder to Listen

Lina McGroarty reports on her experience at PPG’s recent


workshop on Tellington TTouch® and Other Life-Enhancing Techniques

ucked away on 23 acres is the DogSmith Canine Event Center, the perfect backdrop for the Helping Dogs Thrive: Tellington TTouch® & Other Life-Enhancing Techniques workshop, which was designed to teach trainers and pet parents how to get in touch with their canine companions and help them overcome life’s obstacles. Tellington TTouch® should be calm, slow and gentle with complete focus on the animal. Being so close to the Florida wilderness and wildlife provided that peaceful environmental connection I needed to work with my dog and the other attendees. I first learned about Tellington TTouch® from my mentor and PPG founding member, Leah Roberts. Several years ago when I was new to training, she told me she had seen it in action and knew how much it could help animals under the jurisdiction of capable and qualified hands. At the time, I was really excited about it, so cracked open the first page of the book she lent me but then forgot all about it as my time and schedule were quickly eaten up by group classes, private lessons and the incessant notification of my Google Calendar. When I saw Lori Stevens would be teaching this particular workshop, I once again remembered that lonely book sitting on my shelf and immediately signed up. In preparation, I read every book on the subject and watched every video I could find. I have a reactive 14-year-old girl at home, Kenzie, who has made leaps and bounds the past year, and I wanted Tellington TTouch® to help her continue her journey into the world without fear and anxiety. I even tried working with her before the workshop and, much to my surprise, I could see her opening up to me, offering me more of her body to touch, even areas she usually hated being touched. I surely had to be doing something right. While I might have been doing many things correctly, I quickly learned on the first day of the seminar that I was missing one very important component: I was not “connected” to Kenzie. My brain was still thinking about what I was going to do next, what I was going to eat for dinner or the tasks I needed to complete before going to bed. There was too much noise going on inside my head and I was forgetting to just be there with my dog, for my dog. There were things she was trying to tell me, like where she wanted to be touched, what techniques she liked best or 10

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

how she found it more comforting to look into my eyes and snuggle into my lap when I touched Lori Stevens (left) demonstrates the difference between one or two points of contact for a dog the places she was when being walked (two gives dogs more information and allows them to interpret our a little uncertain movements better) - with Christopher McGroarty about. My dog was trying to talk to me and I was thinking about my dinner. I felt awful when I realized how much I was missing. Aside from that connection, the semiputs a head wrap (to bring awareness to nar taught me Stevens areas around the face and head that normally several useful might be tense) on a model dog TTouch techniques, how to do basic body wraps and how to walk in balance with my dog. What I learned most of all though is that sometimes I fall into the terrible habit of forgetJeanine Brawn with Oz ting to listen to my animals. As a trainer, I spend so much time listening to the dogs I work with on a daily basis because, more often than not, their guardians are misinterpreting their behavior. Lina McGroarty with Demi

However, I was overlooking some of the messages my own dogs were trying to communicate to me. Stevens told us a story about a training session where her dog was practicing targeting her feet on a stool. At first, she could not figure out why the dog was having so much trouble, especially when the exercise should have been a breeze for her. So she leaned down and put her hand on the stool. It was hot! Much too hot for the dog’s paws. All the stress signals she had witnessed were her dog trying to tell her the stool was too hot. Relationship building and communication were common themes in all the exercises we did at the seminar. Even when we practiced the Half Wrap on our dogs, the wrap communicated awareness to the body and nervous system through gentle, non-invasive pressure. Again, when we were learning how to do Noah’s March, a TTouch Bodywork Technique, on each other, I felt a calm sort of



communication as my back was touched. Same again when we learned how to walk in balance with our dogs using two points of contact and breathing: subtle body movements and breathing helped the dogs become more conscious of our expectations. Stevens is a phenomenal presenter with an easy-going, considerate approach to teaching. On the second day, she reminded us to go slowly and at our dog’s pace. She said, “These dogs didn’t sign up for the workshop.You did!” But my dogs, cats and I are glad I did and would like to thank her for such an enlightening and valuable workshop. n Lina McGroarty CPDT-KA is a certified Fun Scent Games instructor and official mentor trainer for CATCH Canine Trainers Academy. She owns and operates DOG WILLING Positive Training Solutions – The DogSmith of Northeast Orlando,, with her husband.

Force-Free Training and Fun in the Sun

s part of its ongoing workshop program for dog owners, pet enthusiasts, individuals exploring the pet industry and those already in it, PPG ran a five-day level one event at its Florida headquarters in February to teach participants professional dog training skills while their pet dogs also learned some new skills and tricks. The workshop involved both classroom instruction and hands-on training, and attendees also had the opportunity to try out dock diving, agility and lure coursing. As is standard in PPG’s training programs, the event was packed full of games and fun exercises for both participants and their dogs with a good time had by all. n Debi Armstrong with Grace

(Above) Fun in the Sun workshop attendees (back row, left to right): Colleen O’Neill, Mollie Cutler, Lorraine Clark, Carol Brown; (front row, left to right): Andrew Kay, Melissa Jensen, JR Robaina, Debi Armstrong and Angelica Steinker with Power

Mollie Cutler with Bell

Colleen O’Neill with Angel

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Pet Professional Accreditation Board Announcing the launch of the Pet Professional Guild Accreditation

Board, advocating for skill competency, consumer transparency and


professional accountability for pet industry service providers

© Can Stock Photo/MasterofAll686

t’s finally here! The much anticipated Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB), operated by the Pet Professional Guild, is poised for rollout. The pilot program has already been launched, with the full accreditation program following hot on its heels. To address the need for consumer protection, animal welfare and a high level of skill proficiency, the PPAB is offering a professional accreditation program that ensures transparency and accountability among pet trainers and behavior consultants. The program’s goal is to provide a meaningful credential that supports pets and their owners and guarantees an unprecedented high level of competency for force-free pet professionals. To that end, applicants will be rigorously tested, both on paper and in practice, for their skills and knowledge in the fields of learning theory; biology and anatomy; ethology, body language and observational skills; canine health, development and life stages; business and consulting skills and best practices and, finally, scientific and practical method. Given that there is, to date, no government oversight in the fields of pet training and behavior, any individual who so chooses can promote him- or herself as a dog trainer or animal behavior consultant, regardless of academic credentials, skills and knowledge. As such, anyone is free to open and conduct business, which runs the risk of leaving pet owners unaware of the differences between “balanced” training, positive reinforcement training, and dog training and behavioral counseling in general. The PPAB program is independent of any industry school, trade school, college or credentialing body. Applicants who pass the accreditation requirements earn specific titles which may be used after their names. Applicants do not have to be active PPG members to apply and become accredited through PPAB, but Two years in the making, the Pet Professional Accreditation Board program is finally must ready to take its first applications meet and


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maintain the eligibility criteria. All accreditation holders must earn continuing education units to maintain the titles earned. They must also adhere to PPAB's Guiding Principles, a collection of professional ethics and non-negotiable business practices and operational practices.

All accreditation holders will have a personalized PPAB membership card

The Vision PPAB envisions a world where people and pets can live together to their mutual benefit and where pets can live and function free from physical and mental pain, stress and fear as valued family members.

The Mission PPAB’s mission is to help make every pet a valued member of his or her family and improve the relationship and the quality of life people share with their pets by: s Providing the greatest value and highest quality, state-ofthe-art, force-free, scientifically based pet training and pet care for each client. s Always demonstrating integrity, compassion and an uncompromising commitment to excellence in the care and support of clients and their pets. sAs professionals, continually expanding our knowledge and improving our skills to serve our clients as a valuable resource, providing the most innovative pet training and pet care possible. s Committing to not using shock, choke or prong collars, fear, physical force, or physical molding or any compulsion-based methods of pet care or dog training. Eligibility PPAB has strict eligibility requirements. As stated above, all applicants must agree to the PPAB Guiding Principles and operating policies. A violation in this code of ethics will result in an immediate removal of any accreditation credentials.


Eligibility Requirements: s Applicants must be over the age of 21. s All applicants must be able to demonstrate 300 hours experience of group training classes and/or 150 hours of private training consultations to be eligible to apply for the accreditation. One training hour unit is defined as 1 x 60 minutes of private training or 1 x 60 minutes of one group class. s Applicants must have completed 30 continuing education credit hours (CEU) at professional seminars, workshops and/or webinars during the previous three years or less. s Applicants can be either full-time or part-time professionals; eligibility is determined by the number of hours of experience. s Applicants must provide proof of business insurance (North America, Australia and any other countries that provide professional insurance). s Applicants must have a professional and up-to-date website or a professional Facebook business page reflecting their complete business details, address, contact information, training philosophy and services offered. The website must include information that is required to ensure consumer transparency. s Applicants must provide two written references from fellow professionals confirming their date of entry into the industry and confirming their logged hours of training. s Renewal eligibility occurs every 24 months. Applicants must provide proof of 20 CEUs and a $45 renewal fee. s A government issued photo ID for the proctored examination.

The Accreditation Process For Professional Canine Trainers (Accredited) (PCT-A) and Professional Canine Behavior Consultants (Accredited) (PCBC-A): Accreditation Gatekeeper One - Check You Are Eligible s Determine if you meet the eligibility criteria. s Prepare your eligibility documents Your professional hourly log. Your continued education units track record. Your professional references x 2. Your professional insurance document (North America, Australia and any other countries that provide professional insurance). Accreditation Gatekeeper Two - Your Application Fee s Apply for accreditation and pay your non-refundable application fee. s Receive your application confirmation email from PPAB with your document submission form and link. s Complete your document submission form and attach all the necessary documents. s Submit your eligibility documents.

Š Can Stock Photo/bluekat


The PPAB program has several components BUT we have made it really easy in that applicants can test for ALL AREAS of the program at PPG’s Force-Free Summit in Tampa, Florida on November 11-13, 2015. Register today!

Scientifically Sound, Skilled Trainers Consumer Protection Animal Welfare Filling the Void in an Unregulated Industry High Level of Competency Rigorous Testing Independent Credentialing Transparency Accountability

Successful completion of Gatekeeper Two means you, the applicant, have met the required criteria and have been given the green light to proceed to Gatekeeper Three. Accreditation Gatekeeper Three (A) - Online Test s Pay your accreditation fee. s Receive your confirmation email that the accreditation fee has been received. s Schedule your online proctored exam. s Take you proctored exam. s Receive your exam results. Upon successful completion of the proctored exam the applicant will be eligible to move on to Gatekeeper Three (B). Exams can be retaken after three months and for an additional $65. Accreditation Gatekeeper Three (B) - Exam Videos The applicant will now be required to submit via email the video links as follows: s Ten x one- to three-minute videos showing the applicant training the documented skills as specified in the Training Skills/ Videos document. s One x 10-minute video showing the applicant teaching a student (or students), as specified in the Coaching Skills/ Videos document. Accreditation Gatekeeper Four - Requirements for Professional Canine Behavior Consultants (Accredited) Upon successful completion of Accreditation Gatekeeper Three (B), the applicant will be asked to provide four case studies as specified in Case Studies. These will be submitted as per the template document, Case Study, to be provided by PPAB. n


Pet Professional Accreditation Board: www PPG Force-Free Summit: /Force-Free-Summit PPAB Guiding Principles: /Guiding-Principles Case Studies: Coaching Skills/ Videos: /Coaching-Skill-Videos Training Skills/ Videos: -Skill-Videos BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



The Pet Professional Force-Free Summit Join us for PPG’s inaugural, educational convention in Tampa, Florida! The Force-Free Summit: Reaching for a Higher Standard

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

November 11 - 13, 2015 - Special Hotel Rates - Special Meal and Pricing Packages - Outstanding Presenter Line-Up - Interactive and Fun Format Register TODAY!

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


r. Karen Overall is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (DACVB) and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society as an applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). She has served on the faculties of both the veterinary and medical schools at the University of Pennsylvania where she has taught undergraduates, graduate students and professional students, and previously ran the Behavior Clinic at Penn Vet for over a dozen years. She is also a renowned and respected author, presenter and educator. Dr. Overall lectures at veterinary schools worldwide and is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences. Dr. Overall’s research focuses on neurobehavioral genetics of dogs, the development of normal and abnormal behaviors, and how we assess behavior, especially as concerns working dogs. She will cover the following topics in her four-hour presentation at the PPG Summit: - The dog brain in evolution and daily life. - The neurobiology of reactivity and stress. - Assessing behavior - what does testing tell us? - No fear - redefining humane behavioral care.


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Guest Speakers Include:

Chirag Patel



Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz


Ken McCort

hirag Patel has a BSc (Hons) in veterinary sciences from the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK as well as a post graduate certificate at the University of Lincoln, UK in clinical animal behavior under veterinary behaviorists, Professor Daniel Mills and Helen Zulch. Patel consults with pet owners, organizations such as Guide Dogs for the Blind UK and Kong as well as consulting with zoos. He also gives seminars internationally, writes for popular dog magazines and blogs, works part time as an assistant head of canine training and behaviour at Dogs Trust, and is a scientific advisor for the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums Training Group. He will present a workshop and LAB session on two days at the PPG Summit, focusing on shaping the perfect patient by empowering canine learners.

r. Juarbe-Diaz has the longest established behavior referral practice in the state of Florida. Known as Dr. JD, she received a BS in biology in 1983 and her DVM degree in 1987, both from Cornell University. She was in mixed practice for about 11⁄2 years and in small animal practice for 51⁄2 before returning to her alma mater for specialty training in veterinary behavior medicine. Dr. JD will present on two topics at the PPG Summit: - Would my client's dog benefit from medication? How to identify dogs who need psychopharmacologic intervention; normal vs. abnormal behaviors and how to tell them apart. - You're not a doctor but can you play one on TV? Psychopharmacology without breaking the law; the basics and beyond, and how to work with a veterinarian so your student can get the best treatment possible.

Dr. Michelle Duda PhD, BCBA-D is a senior level board certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Dr. Duda’s professional roles include scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the founder and president of the coaching and research firm, Implementation Scientists, LLC. Dr. Duda has over 15 years experience investigating and conducting practical applications of best practices associated with behavioral interventions to improve outcomes for consumers. She has served as a consultant, researcher, trainer, professor and is a published author specializing in education, early intervention, applied behavior analysis, autism and mental health/substance abuse. Her session at the PPG Summit will focus on how to implement best practices for coaching to efficiently and effectively achieve results.

en McCort owns and operates Four Paws training center in Doylestown, Ohio. He is a certified evaluator and evaluatorinstructor with the Pet Partner program and has taught animal behavior at the University of Akron (Ohio), Columbus State University, the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Midwest Veterinary Conference, the Society of Anthrozoologists, the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and many other animal related groups. He will be at the PPG Summit on all three days and will present on four topics, including: - Breed specific behavior. - Management and training when dealing with undesirable behavior. - Learning to think. - Adapting to new environments.

Dr. Michelle Duda

These are just a few of the many highly-qualified and experienced presenters who will be speaking at the PPG Summit. See for more information on all the presenters, the venue, accommodation and meal options, the program, pricing and packages, sponsors and vendors AND MUCH MORE... BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Intermediate Level Dog Training Workshop with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker


A Five-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida

Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8 a.m. (EDT) - Wednesday, July 15, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT)

earn how to train 16 obedience skills and all the trimmings! This workshop includes five days of hands on learning, fun and practical applications for you and your dog. Attendees will learn the skills of a professional dog trainer while their pet dogs also learn some new skills and tricks. Participants will enjoy eight hours a day of classroom instruction combined with hands-on training. The program is suitable for both beginner and intermediate dog trainers. Key Topics Covered: - Learning and Behavior - Functionally Analyzing Behavior - Operant Conditioning - Respondent Conditioning - Canine Health and Handling - Reinforcement Types and Schedules

- Using Antecedent and Postcedent Training Protocols - Using Play to Motivate and Reinforce Behaviors - Developing Training Strategies - Behavior Chains

Key Practical Skills Covered: - Shaping, Luring, Targeting and Capturing - Differential Reinforcement and its Role in Resolving Problem Behaviors - 16 Pet Dog Obedience Skills - Practical Application of Reinforcement Strategies - A Fun Afternoon Dock Diving, Lure Coursing and Agility Training - Problem Solving for Difficult Situations

CEUs: CCPDT 21/IAABC 36 More information and online registration:

Fun in the Sun - Up Your Training Game with Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker A Two-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida Working and Auditor Spots Available

njoy two action-packed days of creative fun activities while you craft your trade and become a more well-rounded dog trainer. Under the expert guidance of Niki Tudge and Angelica Steinker, attendees will learn the skills of a professional while their pet dogs also learn some new skills and tricks. Eight hours instruction each day will be split between classroom lectures and training fun. The program is suitable for beginner and intermediate dog trainers.

Key Topics Covered: - What is Learning and Behavior and What is it Not! - The Skinny on Operant Conditioning - The Use of Differential Reinforcement to Solve Training Problems - Key Operant Conditioning Protocols, Shaping, Capturing, 16

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Targeting and Luring - Reinforcement Types and Schedules - Using Play to Motivate and Reinforce Behaviors

Key Practical Skills Covered: - Shaping, Luring, Targeting and Capturing - Eight Pet Dog Obedience Skills

CEUs: CCPDT 16/ IAABC 16/KPA 16/PPG 16

More information and online registration:

Š Can Stock Photo/lantapix


Saturday, July 11, 2015 - 8:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT)


Pet Care Certification Program A Three-Day Workshop in Tampa, Florida Working and Auditor Spots Available

f you are a pet care provider, aspiring pet professional, dog behavior consultant, dog trainer, rescue professional, fosterer or a trainee in any of these disciplines, then this program will give you all the skills you need to safely practice in the pet industry. It has been designed to cover everything you will need to become a certified pet care technician (CPCT) and more. Each day participants will enjoy eight hours of classroom and LAB tuition and hands-on training with a selection of presenters covering a wide array of topics, including: s How Pets Learn - includes a detailed overview of operant and respondent conditioning with hands-on examples and video analysis s Canine Behavior and Social Communication - learning the language of dogs and understanding the canine social behavior and communication systems; learning about affiliate and agonistic communication and passive and active appeasement behaviors; understanding dog bite inhibition and bite thresholds s Canine and Feline Anatomy and Physiology - a study of dog and cat anatomy and important components of their physiology s Canine and Feline Health and Handling - includes common canine and feline health issues, vaccination protocols and important daily and emergency handling skills s Pet First Aid and Emergency Protocols - a very detailed module that covers in depth the many potential emergency situations you may, through first aid, need to manage prior to a pet in your care being attended to by a veterinarian


s Pet Care Tools, Equipment, Toys and Supplies - learning how to identify appropriate equipment and use it safely, as well as more practical applications, e.g. desensitization protocols s Bonus Module: Bump Start Your Business – this module covers the key and critical skills required for growth with an overview of how to create a simple but effective marketing plan

Certification Protocol Working registrants will have the option to take a certification test online after the event to achieve the CPCT designation. Auditors will be required to complete the test and submit videos to show competency in mechanical skills across several disciplines. CEUs: CCPDT 14.5 Trainers, Behavior Consultants/IAABC 29 More information and online registration:

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso


Friday, October 9, 2015 - 9:30 a.m. (EDT) - Sunday, October 11, 2015 - 6 p.m. (EDT)


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

Topics may include training, ethology, learning theory, behavior specifics... or anything else you can think of. We’ll even do some practice runs with you to help you along (if you need them!) BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Navigating the Storm

Fearful behavior in dogs is now known to have a genetic component meaning that,

regardless of early learning and environmental influences, some dogs will still find daily life to be challenging and threatening. Mary Jean Alsina outlines what can be done to help


these dogs – and their owners - in terms of behavior modification

“I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship.” - Louisa May Alcott

seem completely disinterested in anything around them. They are in survival mode and will do whatever or go wherever they need to achieve safety.

© Can Stock Photo/Absolutimages

any dogs who come into this world quickly learn that there are many storms of which to be afraid. These Nature vs. Nurture storms come in many guises: other dogs, bearded men, At one time, it was believed that genetics did not play a hand in men in general, vacuum cleaners, leaves rustling, visits to the vet determining whether a dog would exhibit fearful characteristics. and a whole myriad of other spooky things. Fearful dogs see the Now, however, it is well-known that genetics, along with environworld around them as a very unsafe environment in which to mental influences, play a large part in a dog's personality and fearlive, relax and enjoy the lives they so deserve. They do not know ful tendencies. Research shows that a pup with even one parent how to steer the ship and so they need our guidance. with a predilection for fearful behavior will be the recipient of As owners, trainers, behavior consultants and fearful genes, even if the other parent is shown to be a stable veterinarians, we can all do our part in helping and “normal” dog. As shown in Neilson’s study (n.d.), fearsuch dogs see the light at the end of the ful pups born to fearful mothers then fostered by statunnel. For some, the tunnel may be ble mothers showed no growth towards a more short, while for others it can be a stable personality. This, unfortunately, contributes to long, arduous journey to come out on the continuation of fearful behavior. Back the other side. However long the jouryard breeders and puppy mills are cerney though, it is in our best interest tainly not concerned with breeding to make sure that dogs exhibiting dogs with desirable personalities, so, fearful behavior are never placed in a unfortunately, fear genes are being position where they constantly have carried on from generation to gento come face-to-face with the eration. object(s) of their fears. In addition, we The study states: “In the 1970s need to show them on a daily basis that, from Murphree and colleagues did now on, their fears will take on an entirely difstudies on the fearful behavior of ferent meaning. pointer dogs. A group of pointer Many times, dogs are observed with their dogs was obtained then the owners and it is quite clear to the trained eye dogs segregated according to that the dog is experiencing fear while their behavior: nervous or unthe owner is, justifiably, oblivious. So stable dogs vs. normal or stamany owners that I encounter in my ble dogs. Nervous were bred training sessions are not even sure to nervous and normal what signs to look for, unless the dog is were bred to normal. Within openly running away from what is scara few generations the nerving them.Yet the tell-tale signs of fear ous dogs showed less exare always present when a dog is feeling ploratory behavior in new A dog experiencing fear and is over threshold. Body lanenvironments, were more a fearful response guage signals can include a lowered needs guidance and likely to freeze at a loud understanding from body, tail down or tucked, ears back, lip noise, and less likely to greet people. Physiohis owner flicking, freezing, dilated pupils, panting, logical differences between the groups of dogs pacing, avoiding eye contact, commis(heart-rate and neurochemistry) were docusures pulled back and yawning among mented. Cross-fostering “nervous” pups onto others. Dogs experiencing fear may “normal” bitches had no effect of behavior. All also not accept food or toys and will bitches and pups were raised and handled in a 18

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“My Dog Is Aggressive!”

Trainers hear this phrase more than most and the truth of the matter is that the dog is most likely scared to death. “Aggression” in fear cases is simply the tactic the dog uses to cope and feel safe. Dogs learn quite quickly that by growling, snapping, biting and lunging, they can keep the scary thing at a distance and will do so to the death in some cases. Each time the dog keeps the scary person/dog/item away by aggressing, he has learned, yet again, that this is the path to safety and will continue the behavior. Not only will the behavior continue, but it will, in many cases, worsen over time. At this point, many owners start implementing severe corrections and may yell at their “out-of control” and “bad” dog for misbehaving, not understanding that the dog is crippled with fear and needs help, not discipline. Dogs are similar to children in many ways, but discipline and corrections are certainly not appropriate. While children can learn from corrections, a positive route usually garners more success. A parent or teacher can explain to a child why the discipline is necessary or warranted. Dogs, on the other hand, do not understand this and can become more fearful and aggressive with corrections and yelling. Dogs need advocacy, distance, safety and good old-fashioned desensitization and counterconditioning.

The Path to Success

How then do trainers best communicate to owners how to deal with their fearful friends? There is an infinite amount of misinformation in cyberspace, books and on television so the first thing

to suggest is that clients do not read information from non-credible sources. Many people will have themselves diagnosed with a disease before even meeting with a doctor because of endless searches they have conducted on the internet. Owners should be made aware of this when it comes to their dogs because many “quick” techniques to fix fear in dogs will do further damage, thus making the behavior even more difficult and time-consuming to improve. There is no quick fix to fear. Let's face it, it can be a slow-moving, though, ultimately rewarding process. I tell all my clients who have fearful dogs that they must celebrate baby steps of improvement. The most crucial thing that owners of fearful dogs need to understand is to move at the pace of the dog, which means being schooled in the body language of fear. In this world of instant gratification, people find it very challenging to take their time and have to wait for results but there is no shortcut to freedom when working with fear. Many trainers will use “quick fixes” and wind up with a dog that looks as if he has given up and ceased exhibiting fear, but in reality the dog has simply engaged learned helplessness. The fear has not dissipated by any means. This occurs many times with a technique called flooding. Flooding is, in simple terms, forcing the dog to face his fear head on and hoping he “gets over it.” Some dogs will habituate to certain sounds, for example, but in many cases expecting a dog to habituate can have the opposite result and what occurs is sensitization, a worsening of the fear. Many dogs I meet in my training path spend the day lying around the house focusing on their anxiety and timidly waiting for the next monster to jump out of the closet. My first suggestion is to get these dogs' minds active as mental stimulation is critical. All dogs need to get their brains working and this is especially the case when dealing with fear. To start with, these dogs often so desperately need FUN in their lives. Every fearful dog I come in contact with learns a game as soon as possible, even if it is a simple hand targeting game in which he learns that a behavior he feels comfortable performing will produce a wonderful consequence. I also suggest dogs are fed from work-to-eat toys to keep their minds stimulated for longer periods of time throughout the day. In addition, a high-quality dog food should be used, as lower grade foods may not contribute as well to the good health and well-being of a dog. In addition, there are many calming aids that can be very beneficial to dogs with minor to moderate fears.Various combinations of them may sometimes be all a dog needs to improve their quality of life. Some of these include the Thundershirt, Pet Comfort Zone (DAP), Zylkene, B Complex, the Through A Dog's Ear calming music CD and Chill Pill, among many others. © Can Stock Photo/johnnorth

similar fashion, minimizing the environmental influences. Attempts to modify the nervous pup behavior with both training and drug therapy met with limited improvement.” (Neilson, n.d.) For example, take a pup who is born to parents with unstable personalities. Nature has taken over before nurture has even had a chance. Does this pup stand a chance at being “normal”? With an abundance of proper socialization, positive reinforcement, force-free training, desensitization and counterconditioning plus a savvy owner, the pup should be able to make strides in the right direction. In many cases, there will be fearful behaviors that show up, not necessarily in the beginning, but after maturity. This is when many owners find themselves saying, “I don't know where this came from. He was so well-behaved.” Such things as lack of proper socialization, a traumatic incident during a fear imprint period, removal from the mother too early and/or heavy-handed aversive training can all inBoth genetics and crease the chances of a dog environment have developing fearful behaviors as an influence on a he transitions from puppyhood dog’s propensity to be fearful into adulthood.


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© Can Stock Photo/Zuzule

A pup with even one parent with a predilection for fearful behavior will be the recipient of fearful genes


The Neurobiology of Fear

uditory information reaches the brain via relay nuclei located in the brain stem and thalamus. Such information follows two primary pathways: a slow circuit visiting cortical destinations before projecting into the amygdala, and a fast circuit directly terminating in the lateral amygdala. Slow and fast circuits are both engaged during fear conditioning, and each circuit is capable of establishing conditioned fear independently of the other. In the fast circuit, auditory projections from the thalamus (medial geniculate body) are received by the lateral nucleus of the amygdala and relayed to the central nucleus and other amygdaloidal areas, chiefly the basal and accessory basal nuclei... It is within this general network that the auditory CS is associatively linked with the fear-eliciting US. Outputs from the central amygdala are subsequently processed by other limbic and cortical regulatory circuits. Efferent projections from the central nucleus terminate in the hypothalamus, producing a variety of discrete emotional and physiological expressions of fear. The specific manifestation of fear exhibited by an animals depends on the location of the arousal. Amygdala projections reaching the central periaqueductal grey matter produce freezing, outputs to the lateral hypothalamus increase blood pressure, and connections formed with the paraventricular hypothalamus stimulate the release of stress hormones. In addition to direct thalamic input, the amygdala also receives regulatory inputs from limbic and cortical portions of the brain, especially the hippocampus. This additional information converges on the amygdala to produce rich emotional variety, meaning, and subtlety. The combination fo these various neural influences on the amygdala modulates and refines the dog’s ultimate emotional response to stimulation. The organiza20

Owners, of course, should always discuss use of these with their veterinarian first. For some dogs, though, aids such as these will not be sufficient. Some of them suffer from such severe fear that living on a day-to-day basis is an absolute challenge and they need more help than a simple holistic spray or music can provide. Owners with dogs who exhibit fear of this intensity may find it helpful to work with their vet or a veterinary behaviorist to find the right match of prescription drug such as a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) to help their dogs function at a level where they feel more comfortable and safe. A person who is suffering from anxiety will, in many cases, not improve with drugs alone. The combination of both drugs and therapy is the most advantageous route to improvement. The same is true for dogs. Even if taking an anti-anxiety medication, fearful dogs will benefit far more if their owner combines the pharmaceutical assistance with a behavioral modification plan conducted by a trained, knowledgeable, force-free professional. When working with a dog who is fearful, it is extremely important that the owner (and trainer) be an advocate for the dog. These dogs are so often ridiculed, ignored and not taken seriously when fearful behaviors are exhibited, as can be seen in the countless videos circulating the internet. Fear is not something to be joked about as we certainly would not laugh at our chil-

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

tion of emotional expressiveness and its adaptation depends on the harmonious interplay and the efficient regulatory functioning of these various neural networks. Innate or acquired dysfunctions occurring in any one of these interdependent pathways results in emotional and behavioral disorder. Unlike conditioned stimuli that acquire their fearful properties by being associated with other startling or traumatic events, fears of loud noises are biologically prepared... Stimuli that evoke fearful reaction without conditioning appear to utilize hardwired neural pathways that are responsive only to a narrow range of stimulation and variability... Because fearful responses to loud acoustic stimulation are unlearned and unresponsive to habituation, they would inherently resist behavioral training efforts... Three significant aspects of fear conditioning and extinction have important implications for the treatment of behavior problems involving fear: 1) Once fear is learned, it is probably permanent. 2) Although extinction and counterconditioning efforts may ameliorate aversive affects and reduce fearful responding, such training efforts are subject to reversal and the reinstatement of unwanted behavior. 3) Since the extinction of fear is subject to recovery, behavioral training should include efforts to enhance voluntary impulse control over fear-related behavior. Source: Lindsay, S. R. (2000) Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training Volume One: Adaptation and Learning Iowa State Press/© John Wiley & Sons Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

dren when they are frightened. Parents would most definitely stand up for their children, protect them, comfort them and find ways to help them feel safer. This is key when dealing with fearful dogs. They must feel safe at all times. Fear is an emotion and not a behavior, thus cannot be rewarded. This is just the same as comforting a child who is afraid of thunderstorms is not rewarding the fear. When, and only when, the dog feels safe is when progress will begin.


Getting the Ship to Sail

© Can Stock Photo /PhotoEuphoria

Dedicated owners desire nothing more than for their precious friends to feel safe and live a happy, well-adjusted life. The first step is getting an experienced force-free trainer with whom to work. Desensitization and counterconditioning, via Pavlov, is the most effective way in working to change a dog's emotional response. Desensitization involves exposing the dog to what frightens him but at a level that does not evoke a fearful response. If the dog is afraid of men, the dog should be kept at a distance from men where no fearful response is exhibited. Begin at this distance and, when the dog sees a man, the party begins. Praise and the most amazing food such as cut up pieces of chicken, hot dogs, freeze-dried tripe, mini ground beef balls etc. should be given. The food should flow until the man is out of sight. We want the dog to clearly see that when a man appears the food flows, the praise is lavished and there is nothing else the dog would want than for this very moment to happen again. This should happen every single time a man comes into the picture as consistency can surely make or break progress. If the dog sees a man during the training period and does not associate him with the party or the man is too close, this can set back progress. It is critical for the dog to see that each and every man at a comfortable distance means life gets Dogs are well-known for their wide range of body language and facial expression, better. We want the dog thinking, “Every time I see one of which may be subtle, covert, overt or any combination thereof. Fear may manifest itself in many different ways, some of which are detailed in the above graphic those creatures, my life suddenly becomes amazing. I need to start seeing more of them, please!” thus changing the emo(feeling fear) will set back progress. The dog should look excited tional response to men. This takes time, of course, and every dog and happy and not just accepting or tolerating the man being will respond on a different timeline. When the dog sees a man close. This is a critical aspect of this work because, if the dog is and looks to you with happy, bright eyes, a tail wag, and an expec- not in a positive emotional state, it means he is being put sometant look (conditioned emotional response or CER), the work is what over threshold which will undo work that has been combeing accomplished and distance can now be decreased slightly. pleted previously. At this point, any time the dog exAfter the dog is feeling more at ease at the sight of what hibits a fearful behavior, used to frighten him and is looking to you expectantly for the take a step back, infood, it is time to start implementing operant conditioning. In the crease distance beginning, it is crucial to show the dog that whatever scares him and immediately powers on the chicken vending machine. After that move is ingrained and he starts to anticipate the food when he sees more the said scary person, adding in a cued behavior is the next logislowly be- cal step. Some cues to use would be a “look at me” or “let's go.” cause The sight of another dog now means the dog performs the cue pushing a and then earns the chicken, thus the transition from classical to dog over operant conditioning. threshold If the dog is fearful of the food blender, for example, desensitization and counterconditioning will also be utilized. Depending Fear is an emotion and not on the level of fear, the blender should appear without being a behavior so cannot be powered on. At this point, the appearance of the blender (at a rewarded. Fearful dogs must be made to feel safe at all times

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



distance which the dog feels safe) predicts amazing yummy treats and praise. The blender goes away and the yummy treats disappear. When you get to the point where, whenever the blender makes an appearance the dog's eyes brighten and he perhaps gives a little wag of the tail (+CER), it is time to move to the next step, which could possibly be turning on the blender to the lowest speed with the dog in another room. Every dog is different and there is certainly no ‘one size fits all.’ It is very important to remember the order of events: this must be scary thing first (conditioned stimulus), immediately followed by food (unconditioned stimulus). Due to the law of temporal contiguity, if the time elapsed between the conditioned and unconditioned stimulus is too great, then learning cannot occur.

time doing it, which of course is one of the goals in my force-free training. He picked up the obedience cues at lightning speed and had fun performing them. We also did some body handling because Louie also struggled at the vet and, most times, had to be muzzled. He responded beautifully, although for the handling work I had to take my time with certain reaches as he was quite uncomfortable being touched and handled in certain ways or positions. At the next session we took our work outside to focus on his leash reactivity with other dogs and people. We, of course, kept our distance so Louie could easily stay under threshold and we could accomplish what we set out to do, which was to see Louie exhibit a +CER to the approaching person or dog. Many dogs take a while before showing the signs of being delighted at the sight of another dog or person, but not Louie. By the end of Helping Louie Find His Sails this session, we had not only decreased the distance dramatically, I received a call from a desperate woman saying her dog was bit- but Louie was also looking right at me for his chicken when a ing family members, attacking the vacuum cleaner, was leash reac- dog or person approached and was auto sitting as well. The next session centered on the children picking up Louie tive and extremely anxious. Louie, an 8 pound mixed breed, was and, also, his fear of the vacuum. We had to first desensitize Louie 3 years old and absolutely terrified when he was rescued from a to the children's approach and reach before any picking up could hoarder's house in Louisiana. His hair was matted, he smelled occur. I broke down the body language signs for the children so horrible, had many missing teeth and had lived this way for the they would know what to look for if they hurried through the first three years of his life. He had learned through experience training. I told them Louie would communicate to them without that biting was the best tactic to help him feel safe and secure. Settling into his home took a bit of time, as expected, and owner talking if he was comfortable or not with what they were doing and to invariably listen to what he told them with his body. I had Kim felt it would be beneficial to get some professional help to them, one at a time, approach slowly, then immediately treat. We guide and assist him over the hurdles he faced each day in dealrepeated this quite a few times and then began to add in a slow ing with his fears. He had bitten the two school-aged children reach towards Louie's body. Louie responded well and did not when they had attempted to pick him up or move him, which growl, which is what he would previously do when the children concerned Kim greatly and was the last straw for her to pick up the phone to get help. began to reach to pick him up. By the end of the session, they When I first met Louie, I slowly entered the house and imwere able to approach, reach and lightly put their hands on his mediately gave him some yummy treats, while making no eye body while Louie relaxed calmly on the couch. I advised them to contact and positioning my body gradually advance because pushing sideways. Within a matter of minLouie too far too fast would unutes, Louie was on my lap covering questionably send him over threshmy face in slobbery kisses. I could old and set back our work. sense that this boy was full of love The vacuum work went wonbut desperately needed to be derfully as well and I was shocked shown how to trust and to sucat how well Louie responded to cessfully navigate his way through the desensitization and counterlife without being frightened. I was conditioning. He was fine when the vacuum was quiet but, when it bedetermined to help this little love came “alive,” he would start to atnugget. I was thrilled that he retack. I first moved the unplugged laxed so quickly with me as that vacuum slowly onto a small area of showed me we could begin our the rug, then immediately gave him journey together where I would a treat. After repeating this for a teach him his world was a safe while with no reaction from him, I place to live. turned the vacuum on but did not We spent the first couple of move it because I wanted to ensessions working on various obesure he would not react to the dience behaviors, such as hand tarsound alone. Sound and movement geting and a “go to your bed” cue. together would follow. I did not Louie was a very smart cookie, exwant to increase sound, movement tremely food motivated and not and distance all at once because only learned these behaviors Louie’s fear initially manifested itself through a variety of aggressive behaviors when he was rescued from a hoarding situation that would have been entirely too quickly but also had a grand old 22

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

© Can Stock Photo/gvictoria

Issue No. 11 / March 2015

BEHAVIOR Prevention vs. Cure

TRAINING Targeting and Stationing

FELINE From Outdoors to Indoors

RESCUE Collaborating with Shelters

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

Cats in Conflict: The Myriad Complexities of Feline Aggression

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

Owners and trainers can give fearful dogs the tools they need to help them navigate through daily life

As owners and trainers, we long for our fearful dogs to be able to find their way in this world that they perceive to be so scary and threatening. It takes time, perseverance, support, knowledge and providing them with the tools they need to navigate through daily life. The most beautiful sight to witness is when a frightened dog shows us that, even in a small way, what once used to terrify him now just does not seem to be quite so bad. Now that is a good day. n Neilson, J. (n.d.). Nature vs. Nurture. Retrieved March 17, 2015 from %20Nurture.pdf

We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS and our PPG Blog. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please do get in touch. Email: Facebook: Twitter: PPG World Services: We’ve made it extra easy by creating templates: Member profile: -1861849 Case studies: So go ahead and share your ideas, skills and expertise with everyone!


Mary Jean Alsina CPDTKA MA owns and operates The Canine Cure, LLC, www.dogtraining, in Northern New Jersey. She has a master’s +30 in education and is a certified pet dog trainer. She studied at The Academy for Dog Trainers and is a regular dog training columnist for She is also a member of Doggone Safe and is a certified CGC evaluator for the AKC.


from the Guild

CANINE Harness or Flat Collar?

“I can't control the wind but I can adjust the sail.” ― Ricky Skaggs


Write for BARKS from the Guild or Blog for PPG!

© Can Stock Photo Inc./cynoclub

much for him – or any dog - to handle when doing work like this. Once Louie was faring well with the sound alone, I turned the vacuum on, moved it an inch or so and delivered the treats. He stayed on the couch in a relaxed down so I realized he was enjoying the vacuum predicting his treats. By the end of the session, I was able to vacuum the whole carpet while he lay peacefully on the couch. Louie is still in training and his owner, Kim, has informed me that he is doing much better with guests, with his petsitters, and no longer requires a muzzle at the vet. He is improving steadily each day and is slowly learning how to sail in this world for which, sadly, he was not given sails.


A hybrid Dog Training/Cookbook for foodies & dog lovers! Teach K9 behavior with Steve’s Positive Training Tactics! Use food correctly to train with dog bites (the good kind!) Modify favorite human meals to safely share with your pup!

Available at, Barnes&, BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



The Porcine Phenomenon

Lara Joseph shares her experiences and challenges with training Milo the pig, who can perform tricks, regularly attends presentations with her in front of large audiences and


is currently learning to walk on a leash

s we all know, aniPigs are intelligent mals are fascinating, animals who learn new things very especially when it quickly comes to their ability to learn and their individuality. I am attracted to intelligent animals who learn quickly and are able to change their behavior to get a new outcome, for example, the pig, the vulture, the parrot and the octopus. I train many animals and am often asked to train pigs. The rate at which a young, healthy pig who lives in an enriched environment can learn often stuns people, including the professional trainer. This rate of learning coupled with his ability to manipulate his environment is also what contributes to problem behaviors in a bored pig. It can be very difficult for intelligent animals to live in captivity and in close quarters with humans and an environment providing mental and physical stimulation is necessary to make it easier. This is known as an enriched environment (see also pp. 48-50). I have worked with several different shelter animals who have lived unenriched lives and, in my experience, pigs seem to rebound quicker from this than other species. Milo is a Juliana pig. I have been training him since he was about 2 months old. He is now 8 months old and fascinates me on a daily basis. Because I have been training him from such a young age, he is used to learning and having his behaviors shaped. He has a solid recall. I can wait for him to be distracted before cuing him to come and he will turn and run to me as quickly as his little hooves can take him (see video of Milo demonstrating his recall skills). Pigs can be trained to carry out many behaviors that aid in their routine care. They are always food motivated, which is a big help. I have trained them to allow their temperatures to be taken (see Pigs at Work, BARKS from the Guild, January 2015, pp. 21-22). I have also trained them to put their heads into buckets to accept anesthesia (some of my clients have a veterinarian anesthetize their pig before trimming the hooves). Many other 24

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

husbandry behaviors can be taught, making the pig’s life more stress-free. Pigs can be trained almost any trick one can teach a dog. Pigs can easily outrun a dog so speed is not a factor. One limitation to keep in mind though is the difference in their physiology; a pig’s body is not a flexible as a dog’s. I am constantly looking for more tricks to teach to pigs because they learn them so quickly. We have trained Milo in many agility behaviors. At the age of 5 months he attended his first teaching presentation with an audience of 200 people. Soon he will be helping me give a demonstration in front of a crowd of 3,000 people. With a crowd this large, many behaviors will need to be trained. I know, however, from past experience with him that I can wait until about a week before the event to begin training him to walk through the crowd off-leash, give me a reliable recall, show several behaviors he knows and train a few he does not. Pigs are excellent candidates to train tricks. They learn quickly and will easily repeat behaviors that result in desired consequences. I have observed that pigs tend to be very visual, so respond better to hand signals than to verbal cues. Training them using hand signals allows me to increase the complexity in their training, thereby providing them with more mental stimulation. In this video you can see a few different behaviors. Milo has already been trained to do some of these behaviors. A few are new to him. I alternate cuing for the trained and new behaviors. I reinforce him each time he does the behavior I want because some are new and also because I was videoing this sequence. The bucket has a strong history of positive reinforcement. Because of this, he often returns to it.You will see that I quickly decide to ask him to come to me on cue before he has the opportunity to return to his bucket. His carpet square also has a strong history

of reinforcement. After coming to me on cue, you will see him quickly look at the carpet square when I ask him to return to the bucket but he goes to the bucket as cued. Good boy, Milo! Milo has little experience walking on the leash and two of the times, in his recent past, he has had unforeseen, negative experiences when doing so. I have recently begun leash training again because we will be going out more now that winter has come to an end. Milo walks well with me without a leash but in order to safely walk in crowded places I need him to walk on the leash. This video shows my second leash training session with him since his negative experiences.You will see me conditioning Milo to accept the leash. I am delivering high rates of reinforcement because I am counterconditioning his emotional response to the leash, which has been inadvertently conditioned to elicit a negative emotional response.You will see I am delivering the reinforcer and then holding it back near my body. As training continues, you will see me fading out this behavior.You will also see me adding tension to the leash and reinforcing Milo for not pulling away from the tension (pigs tend to not like restriction, confinement or being picked up). Milo has a strong history of being reinforced for walking right behind me when he is off-leash. With the last leash training session I conditioned him to walk next to me on a leash instead of behind me. I modified this behavior by placing a target stick in front of him and using the word “good� as a conditioned reinforcer (also called a bridge or marker) when his body position was in a heeling position. In this video, you will see me begin to fade out the target stick. I really enjoy training pigs because of their wit and their eagerness to learn. I also feel a responsibility to present a delicate balance to audiences. While I want to impress them with the inThrough force-free training, Milo and his handler have a relationship based on mutual trust

TRAINING Milo learns to walk on a leash

telligence of pigs, I need them to be aware that these behaviors were taught by an experienced trainer. I always make sure they know about a pig’s need for an enriched environment and proper handling. Pigs are prey animals; prey animals have an unconditioned flight behavior when startled. This is often misinterpreted and inappropriately explained using anthropomorphic reasoning. Pigs are often labeled neurotic or phobic. Neither is appropriate. They just need to be handled calmly and consistently and made to feel safe. In this video, you will see me training Milo to remain still (not back up or look back) while I am taking off the leash. With more training sessions I will no longer keep my hand up in the air. Remember, Milo has had two very negative experiences with being on a leash. In one a dog chased him and in the other a truck came at us in way that felt threatening to him. The trusting relationship I have built with Milo is the ultimate affirmation of force-free training. Experiencing this kind of connection with an animal is what makes pets such a treasured part of a family. Force-free training is what enables this connection. I end this article with one final video of how Milo normally walks with me. I trained him to focus primarily on me. I did this for his safety. Pigs are an unusual pet. People want to touch, pet, hold and interact with Milo when they see him. Since he, like all pigs, is a prey animal, these encounters can quickly become unpleasant to him. He may even resort to aggression to escape the encounter. I make sure to share these concerns with the public, BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



who are often so awe-struck by Milo’s welltrained behaviors that they do not think about his needs. In addition to ensuring that outings are a reinforcing experience for Milo, this educates people about pigs. My hope is that this will make it more likely they will seek advice should they ever decide to have a pig as a pet. n



Milo turns left on the bucket in response to a verbal and visual cue

Joseph, L. (2015, January). Pigs at Work. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 21-22. Retrieved March 16, 2015 from /petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_jan_2015flattened_opt_opt /21?e=4452575/11077973 Video Milo Recalling: =dweJZi0OZ7w& Video Milo Training Session: =42s60kj35mc& Video Milo Leash Training: _nn-ZBQ& Video Milo Heel Training: =1cILeDx9fqM& Video Milo End of Leash Training: =UnkMG5WhlJM& Video Milo Goes for a Walk: =QUkLu0EdiwM&

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

Training Tips by PPG Members Continuous Partial Attention

© Can Stock Photo Inc./gurinaleksandr

he educational moment at a meeting I attended recently focused on what Dr. Ivan Misner calls continuous partial attention, or, more simply, lack of focus. What Misner was describing is, sadly, becoming a fairly typical situation for many people, even, occasionally, myself. If we are not careful, we can end up being constantly bombarded by emails, Facebook posts, messages and pokes, tweets, LinkedIn messages, pictures on Instagram and all of the other social media that we participate in. When we receive and respond to one of the above interruptions while working on something else, we need to change gears mentally and, inevitably, our productivity will suffer. That is why I often close all my window browsers when I am trying to get something done. Putting the phone away Even more imporensures trainers are fully focused on their dogs tant than losing focus during training while we are working at the computer is allowing ourselves to be interrupted by any of the above while we are conversing with someone. Think about how our companions feel when we allow that to happen. Now before you tell me you only do this in an emergency, count all of the “emer-


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

gencies” going on around you the next time you are in a public setting or at a meeting. Either everyone in the world is in a constant state of crisis, or there are a whole lot of non-emergencies redirecting our attention. It is sad, but I see this happening all the time. It happens at meetings, social networking events, when friends are conversing, and yes, even in the checkout line at the grocery store or in the teller line at the bank. The cell phone gets priority over the person we are talking to. But should not the live human being you are talking to take precedence over that Facebook poke or that tweet from Taylor Swift? There is a time and place for everything but if you are communicating with a real, live person perhaps that is a time to ignore your cell phone. If you lack the willpower, just turn it off. So how does all this apply to dog training? One of the biggest complaints I hear from students is, “My dog gets distracted and he won’t focus on me.” But who is the one getting distracted when you are in the middle of a training session and your phone pings and you pick it up to read that tweet? You getting distracted by your phone is just as detrimental to your training routine as Sparky getting distracted by a stray smell or a ladybug crawling across the floor in the room where you are training. If you want focus from your dog when training, make sure that you reciprocate. Put the cell phone away.

- Don Hanson ACCBC BFRAP CDBC CPDT-KA Green Acres Kennel Shop

Less Is More


Certain non-aggressive behaviors are often overlooked, yet can be a precursor to outright aggression if a dog is pushed to the point of no return. Colleen Pelar investigates the


Graphic by Colleen Pelar

issues of escape and avoidance in the child-dog relationship

most people think of unless their dog is older or has physical issues. Here is an example: turning away is subtle avoidance; walking away is still more significant. Teaching your clients to recognize escape and avoidance, even when they are subtle, helps them to know when to intervene in child-dog interactions. When a dog is moving away from a child, it is a great time to distract the child with another activity while the dog takes a little break. With children and dogs, it is better to have lots of short, fun interactions than ones that go on too long. Always leave them wanting more. n

Sometimes we expect dogs to be perpetual playmates, ready for fun whenever the child chooses. That view does not take the dog’s feelings into account, however. Even the friendliest family dogs will have times that they want to play and times that they do not, just like the rest of us. That is okay, but is not something

Colleen Pelar CDBC CPDT-KA is the author of Living with Kids and Dogs … Without Losing Your Mind and a licensed Family Paws Parent Education,, presenter.

Is Avoidance Okay?

This dog is showing avoidance behavior towards the pursuant child

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

Photo by Shutterstock

any people divide dog behavior into two categories: aggressive and non-aggressive. That is logical enough, but there are plenty of non-aggressive behaviors that indicate a dog could still do with some help. If we remain unaware of this and do not try to modify the relevant behavior, we run the risk that a dog could hit his limit and show aggression “without warning.” For parents, unless their dog is displaying aggressive behavior, they rarely worry about the interactions between their children and the family dog. This is unfortunate because there is a whole category of non-aggressive behavior that falls clearly in the red zone of “enough already.” Parents often see a parade when the family dog walks through the room followed by the child. If the dog is following a happy child, then, yes, we have got a parade. But since many dogs do not like to be followed, it is less likely to be a parade if the dog is cast in the role of drum major. When a dog is walking away and a child is following, it is quite likely the dog is trying to politely say, “I would like a little alone time”. The challenge here is that parents typically look to see whether the child is being kind. A child pursuing a dog from room to room is rarely trying to be unkind. Instead the child wants to interact with the dog. The pursuit is an attempt to be friendly and playful.




Learning for Real Life

Diane Garrod explores 10 ways to use problem-solving games in a variety of behavior modification contexts

ntelligence games and problem-solving activities can be used to great effect in many a behavior modification program. Given that we already use games as part of environmental enrichment, why not also use them in the same way that we use toys in the behavior modification process? In this article we will explore the 10 ways that physical-type purchased intelligence games (such as those created by Nina Ottoson), homemade games and problem solving activities can be used to make a dog use his brain. This will tire him mentally as he has to think as opposed to just forage. Thinking is, of course, both mentally tiring and satisfying.

Š Can Stock Photo/eldadcarin

1) Human Reactive Dogs As a part of a step-by-step program in redirecting how a dog approaches a human, games can be used to make a human less worrisome. Distance and duration are key with incremental increases and decreases being made, first with the trainer, then with family members, then strangers. A foraging game or intelligence game is set up between a person and the dog. The dog is on a leash at first and has been pre-acclimated to games. The dog approaches the game and interacts with it while the human is present at a predetermined distance. In essence the dog is approaching the human without reacting and is being rewarded throughout the game. Once the puzzle is solved, the dog is called away (which practices the skill of recall) and whatever occurred is recorded on video and in a log book.

2) Fence Chasers or Serial Outdoor Barkers Providing an environmental enrichment course makes an outdoor area take on new meaning and keep a dog’s mind busy. To start, reduce yard access to the fence with xpens or an "inner yard" of xpens where the dog goes first. Expansion of the area is what you are working toward. Set up includes identifying what the dog loves - in the case of one dog, rocks were of higher value than food for example. Find-


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

ing what a dog loves is key. Is it foods, toys, tennis balls or something else entirely? Hide whatever the dog values highly under cups throughout the enrichment area. Release the dog to find it and then use it to desensitize and countercondition to mock distractions, as well as real life distractions. These distractions could be a person walking by, a fake dog set up across street, a dog and person walking by, the mail truck etc. Play is a great Add intelligence games, bowl laboratory for real life learning exercises and expand enrichment as the yard slowly expands. Changing the habit of the dog in yard is the goal. What do you want the dog to do instead? This could be teaching only alert barking, a quiet look and no interest in fence chasing because there are other, more attractive things to do instead. 3) Dog Stressed in Class Take out a game and allow the dog to work on it behind a barrier or in the classroom. This can turn a stressful situation into something to look forward to.

4) Reactive Dog/Confident Transformation Classes Dogs working on puzzles are not focused on other dogs or people in the room. They begin to realize they can be in the presence of other dogs safely, as well as people. And it is a great interactive tool for the other end of the leash.

5) Resource Guarders Providing multiple games as feeding receptacles can take the focus away from a "bowl guarder". Teaching a dog "off" by using a foraging toy makes new habits for location guarders. In this way, off becomes fun.

6) Separation Anxiety It can be very helpful to set up an indoor "find it" course and build it up slowly and incrementally. Leaving means that the good things flow and soon the dog will be happy to see you go. The key here is to "know your dog". What does he LOVE (appetitive

7) Confidence Building Starting with the easiest of easy puzzles or homemade games, like a muffin tin filled with balls and food under the balls or a braid filled with treats, a dog's confidence can improve enormously. For fearful dogs that is key to thriving, not just surviving. Some dogs are not able to do puzzles at first or even manage foraging games. So breaking down the games into very tiny pieces to accomplish successfully builds the dog's confidence incrementally to try ever harder problem solving. 8) Show Dogs Games are a great relaxer and focuser pre-show and post-show de-stressor. If a dog is worried about the other dogs or the crowd or noises, games can really help redirect focus onto other visuals. 9) Point-to-Point Training for Fearful Dogs Set up a pre-desensitized mat that means relax and a game or two to look forward to (you have to pre-set this up), and then walk slowly to the point and incrementally increase the distance between the mat and toy and point A, the doorway. This works with dogs who are stressed with real life, neighborhood sounds and so on. Each point is measured out and the dog now has a purpose other than fearing the environment or reacting to it. 10) Teaching a Dog How to Play Many dogs do not know how to play or have been discouraged from playing in the past. As a result, the dog may have become

afraid to play and so this takes the edge off. A regular, several minute-long playtime with a start and end cue can make playtime something to look forward to no matter where the dog is in that learning curve. At first the dog might not play at all. But, with time and variety, toy play becomes something to look forward to and enjoy. It is a great laboratory for real life learning. For problem solving I like relationship building exercises, such as cup games, putting a reward on a strip of cloth and covering it with a nonmoveable cover (the dog must pull out reward by studying and discovering the reward is on the cloth); color recognition; size recognition and more. All help build relationships that have eroded and can be used to great effect in a progressive behavior modification process. n Problem-solving activities are excellent for mental stimulation and are invaluable in behavior modification programs


Š Can Stock Photo/adogslifephoto

motivators, which are more than food)? It also changes the habit of grabbing the keys and heading out the door, expecting the dog to subsist with nothing to work his mind (like closing you in a room with no books, TV, computer etc.).Variety is the key here. In the beginning, durations should be very short, gradually working up to longer times away.


Arrowsmith, C. (2011). Brain Games for Dogs. Ontario, Canada: Firefly Books Birmelin, I. (2007). How Dogs Think. New York, NY: Metrobooks Nina Ottoson: Diane Garrod BSc is a certified Tellington Touch Practitioner (CA1), ATA Certified Treibball Instructor and holds certificates in Theriogenology, Science in Writing and Animal Behavior. She is the owner of the Canine Transformations Learning Center,

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Play vs. Aggression

Dog owners often get confused between when a dog is behaving aggressively and when


dogs are simply playing. Maureen Tay explores the issue and gives pointers on how to tell the difference

s a trainer, the issue of aggression is raised a lot. Indeed, it is the most commonly reported behavior issue by dog owners (Overall, 2013). One owner who contacted me recently had adopted a new dog and called me to say that the new dog and the resident dog were now growling at each other and going after each other's legs and necks. But without being there to see the actual situation, it is obviously impossible to tell if these dogs are just playing or if there is some intra-dog © Can Stock Photo/moroart aggression going on, no matter how panicked the client sounds on the telephone. It can be difficult for clients to know the difference. Dogs often display their teeth in play, for example, but this does not necessarily indicate an aggressive intent. Facial expression and body language must also be taken into context and this is where we can help educate our clients so they have a better idea of what to look for. Soft lips and facial muscles with teeth showing are completely different to furrowed brows, pinned-back ears and stiff, pulled-back lips, for example. What follows is a list of some of the common issues found in canine play and aggression to help clients better understand their dogs’ behavior and the motivations for it.

Normal Dog Play Sometimes what an owner describes as dog-dog aggression is normal dog play. The way dogs play can seem scary to some, including the growling, the roughhousing and the mouthing. The way some dogs love jumping on each other may look worse than it actually is. These owners are rightly concerned about their dog’s behavior and his interactions with other dogs and it is never a bad thing to be curious, especially if they are unsure about a behavior. However, just like any good trait, if clients get overly worried about something that does not require additional attention, it can unconsciously grow into another issue. This is


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

Although the dog on the right is displaying his teeth, his lips and facial muscles are soft, indicating this is a non-aggressive display

where educating clients on canine facial expression and body language comes in so they have a better idea of what to look for and how to read their dog(s).

Playground Bully Some dogs have never learned the manners of polite dog play, which is largely caused by a lack of socialization when they were puppies and insufficient exposure to other dogs to learn about appropriate body language. As such, they may be unaware as to how their behavior affects others. Jean Donaldson calls these dogs “Tarzans.” The most common sign of a playground bully is that the dog simply does not read the cut-off signals from his playmates. For example, another dog in the dog park is demonstrating all kinds of body language that says, “Okay, we’re done now, no more play from you, time for you to back off,” but the “bully” does not understand or take the hint. There are some dogs who can handle themselves in these situations. They let the “rude” dog know with some controlled flair and without going overboard that play time is over and they have had enough. Other dogs though may become fearful and perhaps even aggressive. The “bully” dog may be impolite and lack impulse control but is not what we would call truly dog-aggressive.

Fear Aggression This can also be caused by a lack of socialization, a past traumatic experience, genetics and, most commonly, association (i.e. the owner accidentally caused it without realizing). Fearful dogs avoid people or things that frighten them. They may seem depressed or disinterested at times but may resort to lunging or barking if the perceived threat persists so they can make what they are afraid of go away. Many owners believe that, in order for their dogs to be mentally healthy, they must go to the dog park and have social interactions with other dogs but this is not always the case. A dog


may be afraid of other dogs for several reasons. Dog owners often have difficulty For example, some puppies were not exposed distinguishing to other puppies during their socialization win- between play dow so never fully learned how to read body and aggression language and play cues. Hence, they may grow into adult dogs who are low on confidence and afraid of other dogs and people. Imagine if you lived at home with your brothers and sisters and never saw other children until you were 16 years old. When you finally left the house to go to school, you would probably be pretty uncomfortable around teenagers your own age. It is the same for dogs, with some adapting better than others for a variety of reasons. Some dogs may have had a traumatizing experience (or experiences) from their interactions with other dogs, which can later manifest itself through a fear of some or all dogs. When I see young puppies at the dog park being © Can Stock Photo/cynoclub knocked down, run over and played with inappropriately (roughly) for their age, it worries me. What may seem as a behavior consultant, which is usually fear-based. Also, sometimes a dog just does not like or get along with another, particufunny or cute to the owners, who believe they are doing the lar dog, causing tension between them that can lead to right thing by “socializing” their puppy with other dogs, may be aggression between specific dogs. setting that puppy up for fear aggression around other dogs later in life. It is not appropriate to socialize a young puppy at the dog Territorial Aggression park where you cannot control the play interaction with other This issue stems from multiple causes, including fear aggression, dogs. If you have a puppy, find a puppy class that focuses on lots of supervised off-leash play with other, age-appropriate puppies. I barrier frustration and plain old reinforcement (e.g. a dog barks at another dog or person walking past his yard, they keep walkhave had clients call me because their dog was brutally attacked ing regardless and eventually disappear. In the dog’s eyes the by another dog and now the dog is afraid of all other dogs. Fear barking eliminated the threat and obviously worked.) Some of has a tendency to generalize, so take precautions adequately. the most common sights and sounds you will see from a dog with territorial aggression is lunging at the gate, barking at the Frustration (Leash Reactivity aka Leash Aggression) top of his lungs and chasing after the perpetrator. "I see you, you This is one of the most common issues and is often mislabeled can't escape. I am going to bark until you go away," thinks the as aggression. Frustration can stem from many sources, e.g. inapdog. And it works. propriate handling of leash greetings with other dogs, leaving If you have a dog with fear issues, he may bark continuously dogs behind windows or gates, being punished (including using until the "invader" goes away. He has learned that barking makes aversive methods like choke chains, prong and shock collars) and the danger disappear. He most likely feels good about it – not to restraining the dog because the owner just does not want the mention relieved, a powerful reinforcer - and will most certainly dog to go wherever he wanted to go. repeat the behavior. He may look fierce and feisty but it does Many behaviors, such as barking and lunging (owners cannot not mean that he is aggressive. n possibly miss these) can be signs of excitement and/or frustration but have no relation to aggressive behavior. This is what we References call reactivity, which is caused by pent-up frustration. If a human Donaldson, J. (2004). Fight! A Practical Guide to the Treatment of being is frustrated in some way, he needs an outlet to vent. He Dog-Dog Aggression. Dogwise Ebooks may scream at the top of his voice. He may pull his hair as hard Overall, K. (2013). Manual of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for as he can. He may do just about anything and a dog's way of Dogs and Cats. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, p. 88 showing frustration is exactly the same. He may lunge, pull on the leash, jump against the door, be very vocal – or a combinaMaureen Tay is the chief trainer at KasPup UniFURsity, tion. She is also a licensed Family Paws Parent Education educator, a certified canine first responder Dog-Dog Aggression (with Intent to Harm) and an accredited dog trainer recognized by The Panel for Some dogs seem to find fighting with other dogs incredibly reAccreditation of Dog Trainers in Singapore. She is currently warding. Other dogs, because of bad breeding, incorrect handling studying to be a service dog trainer at the International Coland abuse, may actually kill another dog. This type of dog-dog aglege of Canine Studies. gression is quite rare compared to the dog-dog aggression I see BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Empowerment for a Better Quality of Life


Miki Saito outlines the many things we can do to help enrich the lives of visually-impaired and blind dogs

hen looking after a blind dog, it is vital to know his abilities as well as his challenges so we do not limit his world any more than necessary. Blind dogs still need to explore and achieve things on their own. All we have to do is set up their environment differently and approach training in a new way to ensure their safety. We need to consider the potential frustration, confusion and fear caused by the loss of vision. With this in mind we need to help of blind dogs these dogs use their sense Owners should make sure they of smell, hearing and touch do not limit their dog’s world any more than is to shape new ways of strictly necessary achieving goals and interacting with the world. We can increase what a blind dog can comfortably do by creating a good environment for the dog, one that enables him to safely use his other senses and abilities to get desired outcomes without fear or pressure.

A Safe Environment

If a dog is in the process of going blind or has just lost his eyesight, first and foremost give him sufficient time to adapt to his new condition. Likewise, if he was recently adopted, moved to a new place, or put in an unfamiliar situation, give him time to study that situation. Do not rush him. Focus instead on ensuring his safety and helping him to feel safe. Let him decide when he is ready to learn new things. Creating an aid station will help the blind dog adapt to his loss of sight. This is an area which has all of the dog’s essentials: a water bowl, a crate and an absorbent pad. These items must always be arranged in exactly the same way. For more details on how to implement the aid station strategy, see Blind Dog Training. Other basic safety strategies include installing baby gates at the top and bottom of each stairway and covering the corners and legs of furniture with cushioning material such as a yoga mat. This helps the dog move around the house safely. Once he learns where everything is, a blind dog will retain that information and create a map in his head of the house layout and the location of furniture. 32

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

Teach Tricks

The ability to see provides us with an immediate understanding of the safety of various situations and helps us to avoid and escape danger. Loss of vision can make a dog anxious and put her on maximum alert and may make her extra sensitive to sounds and touch. We can teach a blind dog not to fear sound or being touched by having those stimuli predict good events. The emotion a stimulus elicits is known as a conditioned emotional response (CER). If a dog is experiencing a negative emotional response to a stimulus, systematic desensitization and counterconditioning are commonly used to change it to a positive emotional response. Counterconditioning is only effective if the dog feels safe while still detecting the stimulus. In The Many Faces of Behavior Myopia: Recognizing the Subtle Signs (BARKS from the Guild, October 2014, pp. 14-19), Anderson and Steinker refer to this emotional state as the zone of safety/joy. Keeping a blind dog in this zone is challenging because she detects the stimulus and situation differently than dogs with normal vision. This makes it difficult to adjust the level of stimulus appropriately. I find that teaching a trick using shaping keeps the dog in the safe zone as she learns to associate sound and touch with positive outcomes. I teach two major categories of tricks. The first category simply reinforces the dog for voluntarily making a sound or touching something. The second category of tricks uses a sound or touch as a prompt or cue. If a blind dog has already overreacted to the stimulus or is very fearful before starting training, I start by teaching a trick in the first category. If she is not afraid, I can use a trick from the second category. Typically this will be teaching hand targeting, snapping the fingers as a cue. If you are interested in these tricks and the way to teach them, visit my YouTube channel. The purpose of teaching tricks is not only to change the CER of the stimulus. Through these training sessions and nose games,

a blind dog will also realize that her other senses enable her to achieve a desired outcome. These tricks will enable her to develop her abilities, and (re)build self-confidence. Tactile cues will enable us to communicate with her even if she loses her sense of hearing later on. Keep in mind that the purpose of training a blind dog is to enrich her life, not to make her behave the same way a sighted dog would.

Use Sound Guidance

I use some sounds and words as guidance for my blind dog in order to let her know where she should go or what is going to happen to her, and help her move or do things with ease. For details about how to teach and use sound guidance, see the video Sound Signals for Helping Blind Dog and Blind Dog Training handouts. Also, consider the risk of any new tool and consider whether it is necessary. Many people think that using scents, a pet fountain, a special harness/vest and headgear are helpful to blind dogs. It is commonly recommended that their owners put some scent, like vanilla flavoring or aroma oils, on furniture or other important places in the house but this often just makes things more challenging. Smells can become attached to our fingers, hands, clothes and the dog’s body. They can also diffuse and pool in corners of the room. Since we cannot accurately keep the smell only


where we want it, this strategy can confuse the dog. People assume that dogs use their sense of smell first if they lose their eyesight but in my experience they first rely on their memory. When a blind dog navigates his house, he uses a map in his head. Pet fountains are often perceived as a way for a blind dog to find his water bowl. They are not necessary. A blind dog can find his water bowl without using his sense of hearing. Blind dogs develop a very accurate memory after losing their eyesight. They can memorize house layouts and the location of furniture and places that are important to them. They can find their water bowl if we just put it in the same place every time and make sure it is easily and safely accessible. As mentioned above, special harnesses, vests and headgear are available for blind dogs. Although there can be some advantages, such as the headgear cushioning them if they bump into something, there are also disadvantages. A blind dog uses his muzzle and face to feel his way around. He uses his muzzle or face to measure the height difference between the floor and the steps, as well as to determine the shape of objects. My blind dog Nono finds the entrance of her crate by using her muzzle.You can see how she does this in this video. Harnesses can cause problems for the blind dog as well. If a blind dog becomes dependent on the harness, he may become When assessing behavior problems in blind dogs, consultants should not assume blindness is the reason for the problem

Teaching tricks to a blind dog can help her stay in her safe zone

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



confused when not wearing it. Another issue is the hoop at the top of these harnesses, which might get caught on something, such as a tree branch or a piece of furniture. The harness itself could be grabbed by another dog or broken. Harnesses are not the same as a cane for blind people. Blind people can choose whether or not to use a cane. They can let go of it anytime. Blind dogs obviously cannot remove the harness. Although such gear might be helpful for some dogs in certain situations, the disadvantages must be considered and the equipment must be used carefully.

Observe ABCs of a Problem Behavior

When assessing behavior problems in blind dogs, do not assume that the problem is due to blindness. The first two steps in resolving the issue will be the same as for any dog with a problem behavior. That is, have a veterinarian examine the dog to determine if there are clinical or nutritional reasons for the behavior. If there are not, then a functional assessment needs to be done, part of which includes defining the problem behavior, determining the stimulus cueing it and the consequences maintaining it. This is often referred to as ABC, for antecedent, behavior and consequence. If the behavior happens repeatedly, it is because the animal gets some desired outcome. He may derive pleasure or comfort from the behavior or he might avoid or escape a stimulus he finds aversive, such as a situation or event that makes him uncomfortable. Determining the antecedent stimulus of a problem behavior and the consequences maintaining it enable us to design a behavior modification program. This program may involve training the dog to do an alternative behavior. It may also involve changing the environment to either prevent the undesirable behavior or to make it easier to perform the alternative (acceptable) behavior. Blind dogs have great abilities and are perfectly able to thrive. They are quite capable of many things and enjoy training and living their lives fully. We can help them by skillfully applying the knowledge of behavior science and positive reinforcement. As Dr. Susan Friedman says in Parrot Hero (PsittaScene, February 2013, 25, pp. 12-15), "An empowered animal, with a lifestyle of positive experiences, has a better quality of life." n Cushioning can be added to sharp corners in the home to ensure a blind dog does not hurt herself if she bumps into them


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015


Anderson, E. & Steinker, A. (2014, October). The Many Faces of Behavior Myopia: Recognizing the Subtle Signs. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 14-19: _october_2014_pet_professional/15?e=4452575/9892405 Friedman, S. (2013, February). Parrot Hero. PsittaScene, pp. 12-15: Saito, M. (2012, September). Implementing an Aid Station for a Blind Dog. Message posted to /aid-station-for-a-blind-dog Resources for Blind Dog Training (handouts): www Miki Saito on YouTube: Video Sound Signals for Helping a Blind Dog: /1g2XzZVer8o Video The Muzzle Is One of Important Tools that Blind Dog Can Substitute for the Eye: Miki Saito CPDT-KA is a dog training and behavior consultant at Mark and Reward dog training and education,, in Yokohama, Japan. She is considered an expert in training blind and visually-impaired dogs. Her dog Nono is the first and only blind dog who has passed the D.I.N.G.O. Master Handler test. She shares ideas for helping and training blind dogs on her website Blind Dog Training,, and her YouTube channel,

It’s All in the Management


In the fifth article of the series on deaf dogs, Morag Heirs covers the topic of mouthing,


grabbing and bite inhibition in our hearing-impaired canine companions

hen you are dealing with a deaf puppy or an adolescent deaf dog in a rescue environment, mouthing and nipping is often high on the list of problem behaviors. Do deaf dogs and puppies mouth, nip or grab more than hearing dogs? The honest answer here is that we just do not know. Anecdotally, based on the requests for help we see on forums and websites, mouthing, nipping and/or grabbing does Long-handled tug toys can not seem to be more of a be used for forceful problem for deaf dogs than it mouthing in deaf dogs is with any other dog or puppy. What is certainly more common is that new owners worry about how they will handle mouthing with a deaf puppy. Our handling may be more ‘hands-on’ with a deaf dog, making it extremely important that the deaf dog is not touch sensitive or reacting badly when touched. We have covered teaching a simple tap for attention, and a Gotcha! collar or harness grab previously (see Gadgets and Gizmos, BARKS from the Guild, October 2014, pp. 30-32). Getting lots of practice with these exercises can definitely reduce reactive nipping and mouthing. Here in the UK, we are seeing increasing numbers of deaf Staffordshire bull terriers, American bull dogs and Jack Russell terriers in rescue both as pups and as adolescents. It can certainly feel more challenging to deal with these dogs when they are deaf and mouthing hard, but we often see mouthing problems in these breeds even when they can hear us. A combination of frustration, kennel stress and a lack of effective communication strategies seems particularly likely to lead to forceful mouthing. Anecdotally, my training colleague, Clare Ross, and I find that dogs who are both deaf and partially sighted/blind do seem to mouth and grab more frequently, and with less care. We use a range of long-handled tug toys when working with these dogs. Does the deafness interfere with learning to mouth gently? Some people have suggested that because the deaf puppy cannot hear his siblings squeal in pain when he bites too hard that the he will struggle to learn bite inhibition. While this may be true, a lot of the early learning actually occurs when the pup is suckling for milk. If the puppy is too forceful with those needle sharp

teeth then mom will simply move away. Later on when the puppy is playing with his brothers and sisters, it is not just the squeals of pain that tell him his bites were too hard – it is also the fact that his siblings get up and leave. In our puppy classes, we find that relatively few of the pups reduce their play biting in response to a human squealing in pain. Perhaps the sounds are less important than we previously thought. The communication that the puppy might miss out on though is the low grumbling or growling an older dog might use to indicate displeasure. If the puppy is attached to the older dog’s ear, leg or tail, then the puppy may still feel the vibration and be able to learn what it means. How can we best deal with mouthing and nipping in deaf dogs? Just as with any puppy, the constant refrain is going to be management, management, management. Particularly for new or less experienced owners, the idea of management might need It is possible deaf dogs may find it harder to learn bite inhibition

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



some explanation and demonstration. We use our first week of puppy class to really emphasize this point. After some exciting but managed play sessions and a brief clicker introduction, we get all the pups to settle on a blanket and provide tasty chews. We then chat to the owners about the common puppy issues.

Management Reminders

• Identify key problem times of the day (early morning, children coming home, evening zoomie time etc.) • Prompt owners to create good management plans (restricting access to tempting slippers/feet, providing suitable alternatives) • Help owners learn how to identify the warning signs of over-excited play or the jumping that often pre-empts mouthing, and make sure everyone has a consistent response • If the owners are really struggling, have them keep a diary of incidents for one or two days so you can review this with them Occasionally, it might be more than regular puppy mouthing. It can be really helpful to visit the client at home or have them send you some video footage if they or you are at all concerned.


Sometimes our management is not perfect and we find ourselves in a position where we can already see the teeth closing in. Or perhaps the deaf dog grabs a sleeve and is hanging on. Just as with our hearing dogs, we can often interrupt the unwanted behavior to ask for something more desirable. If the deaf dog has a reliable sit signal (and you have a free hand) go ahead and ask for the sit. Do make sure you have a plan for what to do next, e.g. offer an alternative tug, encourage the dog towards a food toy or ask for a calm settle. If we have not As with any dog, a soft mouth is important in a deaf dog


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

planned ahead, then the dog will likely sit and then reattach to us. If the deaf dog has a solid and positive association with being gently tapped as an attention request, you can use this. This can be particularly helpful if the dog is mouthing or grabbing at a visitor.You can tap the dog on his side to ask him to reorient to you, reward, AND then make sure you have a plan of what to do next. If you have already taught the dog to recognize the feeling of a treat thrown to gently touch his shoulder (so dog then looks down for the food), you can also use this as a way to interrupt the grabbing or mouthing. While being aware of potential resource guarding issues, this can work well as a way to interrupt overly enthusiastic mouthing in dog to dog play. Finally, with some deaf dogs, interrupting the excited mouthing very early on with a simple tap followed by a food reward, and then using gentle restraining pressure can be an effective way to help the dog relax and settle. As always, this is not a technique to use with a touch-sensitive dog, and be cautious in trying it out. We are in no way pinning the dog or forcibly restraining him.

Teaching Gentle Mouth Skills

Any of the standard protocols for teaching gentle mouthing and awareness of teeth generally work just as well with deaf dogs. For example, helping owners play tug games with their dogs, but stopping the game if the teeth make contact with human skin (reducing tolerance levels as pup gets older); and the exercise where a handful of kibble is held in a closed fist and each piece is released as the dog licks or nuzzles rather than bites or chews at the hand. Rough playing or roughhousing with a dog can be rather a A reliable sit signal is useful for interrupting unwanted mouthing

controversial area and often, as trainers, we might advise regular pet owners to avoid this kind of interaction to prevent future problems. When working with sports or competition dogs, this kind of physical play may be more appropriate or desirable. Much as with a hearing dog, the key is to have very clear start and stop signals. With one deaf collie, I used a “crocodile mouth snapping” sort of sign (made with both hands simultaneously) to indicate the start of a rough game. Since I never taught this sign to anyone else and we put a lot of self-control in place, it allowed us to Clear start and stop signals play a favorite are invaluable when game but very working with deaf dogs safely. n


Eaton, B. (2005) Hear Hear. Reedprint: One of the best available books on living with and training a deaf dog. Heirs, M. (n.d.). Basic Sign Language. Association of Pet Behavior Counsellors (APBC): /advice_sheet_5_-_teaching_basic_sign_language.pdf Heirs, M. (2014, October). Gadgets and Gizmos. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 30-32: /barks_october_2014_pet_professional/31?e=4452575/9892405 ALSpro Online Sign Language Dictionary, -bin/aslpro/aslpro.cgi, is the author’s favorite online sign language dictionary and is good for getting ideas for signs and seeing the visual of how to move your hands. Blind Dog Information, Blind Dog Rescue UK, -Rescue-UK/161489160581309 Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF),, is very accessible and sells bandanas to alert people to a dog’s deafness. Deaf Dog Network,, and Deaf Dog Network on Facebook, /thedeafdognetwork, both include a collection of videos of teaching signs. Living with a Blind Dog is a simple summary of living with a blind dog. Retrieved March 21, 2015 from -to/content/living-with-a-blind-dog.html Morag Heirs PhD MSc MA(SocSci)(Hons) PGCAP Human and Canine Remedial Massage Therapist, is a Companion Animal Behavior Counselor who runs Well Connected Canine,, in York, UK. She works with deaf and blind dogs professionally, provides training and support for the Deaf Dog Network and is the behaviorist for Sheffield Animal Centre (RSPCA) and York & District RSPCA branches in the UK.


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BARKS from the Guild/May 2015




Claire Staines hopes Scotland will ban the use of e-collars sooner rather than later, and explains what she is doing personally to encourage progress in the right direction

“ is the position of the PPG that the use of electrical stimulation, or ‘shock’ or ‘e-collars,’ to train and/or modify the behavior of pet animals is not necessary for effective behavior modification or training and damaging to the animal. For the purposes of this statement, electrical stimulation devices include products often referred to as: e-collars, training collars, e-touch, stimulation, tingle,TENS unit collar, remote trainers.” - PPG Position Statement on the Use of Shock in Animal Training


n 2010, the Welsh assembly in the of course. UK banned the use of e-collars in The DEFRA report Studies to assess dog training, imposing a penalty fine the effect of pet training aids, specifically of up to $30,000 or up to six months remote static pulse systems, on the welfare imprisonment for anyone caught breakof domestic dogs indicates that all sorts ing the new law. Ever since then, I have of issues arise in the use of e-collars, lived in hope that my beautiful country, from variances in the manufacturers’ Scotland, would follow in Wales’s footsteps. manuals on how to actually use them In January this year, the Scottish govto behavior issues seen in many dogs as ernment , led by Member of the Scota result, including severe anxiety or agtish Parliament (MSP) for the Scottish gression. “Even with best practice as adNational Party, Christine Grahame, met vocated by collar manufacturers and to discuss this issue. Grahame invited trainers there were differences in the representatives from animal protection behaviour of dogs that are consistent charity, OneKind, along with the Kennel with more negative emotional states Club (UK), the Scottish Kennel Club, (including anxiety and aversion) in the Scottish Society for the Prevention some dogs trained with e-collars,” the of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), the Royal report states. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Interestingly, yet not surprisingly, the Animals (RSPCA), Dogs Trust, Guide report also covers the subject of liveDogs for the Blind and animal charity, stock chasing, which is one of the biggest Blue Cross UK. Dogs Trust also took YOU control your dog’s development...choose wisely reasons used to “justify” the e-collar. along e-collars for the MSPs to try out It found that there were “no statisif they were sufficiently brave. tical significant nor clinically relevant A decision like this does not happen differences in the efficacy of an e-collar overnight and the subject of banning e-collars has, in fact, been training protocol combined with rewards and a reward based on the table since 2007. Back then, the Scottish government said programme that does not use an e-collar for the management of it wanted to gather more information on the issue before prodogs presented with comparable levels of livestock chasing, which is one of the most commonly advocated justifications for the negressing. So here we are giving the government everything we can on the subject, ranging from independent reports by the De- cessity of e-collar training.” Now that MSPs have all this information to hand, I am hoping partment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to that, when they reconvene to make the final decision, common online petitions, and everything in between. As PPG members, we obviously need no convincing whatso- sense will prevail and that an informed, educated decision will triumph over any counter arguments. ever that e-collars are both damaging and completely unnecesOn a personal level, I have, sadly, witnessed a huge increase in sary. However, when dealing with politicians we need to provide the numbers of dogs wearing e-collars for issues such as chewing, the correct information. We are, after all, dealing with a culture door rushing, dog-dog aggression and, even more worryingly, reof quick fixes that likes to stick with whatever method provides call. I have also experienced a vast increase in reactivity issues in a quick result (arguable though that may in itself be). For me, using an e-collar is somewhat like using a credit card cases where the owners have first tried shock collars for more to pay off an existing one. It may temporarily remove the wolves minor behavior issues. This is where I came up with the idea for my mission to #banfrom the door but the damage to your credit rating is permanent. Not only that, you are only delaying a small problem to face theshock. It started because I wanted to express my opinion on a much bigger one - although the collar is decidedly more painful the issue and invite other professionals to follow suit. To this end I 38

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

created a short video highlighting what I consider to be key points. I could not have imagined the response that followed. The video has currently been viewed more than 47,000 times on my Facebook page and 210 times on my YouTube channel. I received support from trainers and owners from as far away as Australia. The shares and retweets locally in Scotland were wonderful and Twitter was awash with #bantheshock. After that, PPG member Denise O’Moore, who is also a graphic designer, created an image for #bantheshock (see previous page), which added even more fuel to the campaign and was picked up by people all over the world. I do believe it is one of the most shared images on well-known dog trainer Victoria Stilwell’s Facebook page. What next? There is only so much I can do alone. Of course, I will continue to educate within my circle on how to train one’s dog using humane and force-free methods. I will also continue to inform people about the effects of aversive methods and show them directly how to make positive reinforcement work for them and their dogs. I hope dog owners experiencing behavior issues will watch the video and think twice about what lengths they will go to to rectify these issues, and instead seek out a professional who uses positive reinforcement training methods. If it stops even one person pressing that button to deliver an electric shock to their dog then I would be happy. And I would be ecstatic if the Scottish government banned e-collars. Not only would that publicly verify that there is indeed an issue, the rest of the UK would be inclined to follow suit and then, hopefully, the remaining European countries which have not already banned such devices. In addition to Wales, e-collars are currently


banned in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway. The rest, I am afraid, is in the hands of the Scottish politicians. I hope they decide to make Scotland a forward-thinking and innovative country when it comes to the training and treatment of our beloved dogs. We are, quite rightly, not allowed to use punitive methods on children in Scotland and our laws view violent treatment towards human beings very seriously. It makes complete sense that all family members, including dogs, are afforded the same basic right to learn and to live freely from the threat of physical or emotional abuse. n


DEFRA (2010). Studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs. Retrieved March 16, 2015 from DEFRA: www.randd =None&ProjectID=17568 PPG’s Position Statement on the Use of Shock In Animal Training: Video #bantheshock: _ZwNo Claire Staines is a dog trainer and behavior consultant based in Scotland, UK. She owns and operates her own dog walking business, Lothlorien Dog Services,, and is an accredited Space Dogs trainer,

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BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



A Life without Pets

Fiona De Rosa and Fiona Warton outline their proposed checklist to ensure care home


s the aging population of the west- Ted and Bill celebrate Bill’s 97th birthday ern world increases, more people are finding themselves moving from together their own homes and into aged care accommodations. This can mean that companion animals get left behind, with the new living arrangements unable to accommodate pets. At this time of life, it can be especially distressing for older people to leave not only their community and social networks, but their companion animals too. It is undoubtedly a less than ideal scenario, given that research shows companion animals can significantly enhance the physical and mental well-being of older people (Australian Companion Animal Council, 2009). With the aging population, and the recognized health benefits of pets, there needs to be a more thorough exploration of these issues from both a human and animal perspective so the health, welfare and safety of both are considered. To better appreciate these issues, we have developed a Checklist for Aged Care Providers: Residents Livingin with Their Pets to guide the planning, design and management of companion animals in aged care accommodation. This checklist is primarily for aged care providers, but can be used by architects, planners, designers and developers.

The Checklist

The Checklist for Aged Care Providers: Residents Living-In with their Pets identifies key issues that an aged care provider would need to consider including: • Pet policy • Pet application and pet agreement forms • Health checks and behavioral assessments • Environmental and design considerations • Preventative health care • Ongoing management • Support pet services The checklist is a guide only and aged care providers and other users would need to tailor both policy and practice to their specific environment. Pet Policy What is the pet policy (i.e. dogs and cats) in the aged care facility? 40

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

Photo by Grant Nowell,

residents are able to keep their pets, and provide them with a good quality of life

“It was found that many of the retirement communities accepting pets were overly focused on size and breed restrictions to determine permissibility, despite the fact that little dogs can often be very energetic and noisy compared to some larger dogs,” said Dr. Gaille Perry, Delta (cited in Wood, 2009). Following is an example of the Halcyon Retirement Community Pet Policy, Australia (Wood, 2009): • Pets to be considered on a case-by-case basis • A behavioral assessment of dogs to be undertaken by a qualified behavioral trainer • Pets to be fully vaccinated • Dogs to be de-sexed • Dogs to be registered

Pet Application and Pet Agreement Forms It is good practice to develop a pet application form and a pet agreement form. A pet application form could include the following: • Name, age, type and description of pet • Vaccination information, council registration certificate, de-sexing certificate and microchip certificate • Dog training certificates A pet agreement form could outline the role and responsibilities of the pet guardian (the resident). The Australian Companion Animal Council (ACAC) developed a pet application and pet keeping agreement form for rental accommodation, which could be tailored for an aged care facility.

Health Checks and Behavioral Assessments Pets should undertake a full health check by a vet prior to being accepted. Aged care providers may also like to develop a patient record or health card to detail any illness or ongoing issues that will require treatment or maintenance.

Undertake a behavioral assessment of all dogs prior to being accepted. A behavioral assessment should be undertaken by an appropriately qualified dog behavioral trainer. This is an example of a behavioral assessment. The behavioral

Environmental and Design Considerations Consider the pet’s indoor and outdoor environments including: Environmental • Suitability of pet size and type to the specific environment • The existing space the pet uses and how this may vary from an aged care facility. Is it similar or different? How is it different? How will this impact on the pet's transition to the new environment? • Type, amount and quality of indoor/outdoor space for pet • Availability of on and off-leash areas for dogs Design • Private room layout to consider: o Climbing opportunities, scratching poles and horizontal scratching surfaces, higher/vertical spaces for resting areas and warm areas for cats o Adequate space for bedding and crates o Dog/cat door to secure outdoor space o Will you need to retrofit the private rooms to accommodate the pet’s needs? In the long-term, you may need to consider purpose built accommodation based on needs of resident and pet • Access to safe and secure outdoor areas. Areas to have shade, shelter, access to water, and have no toxic or irritating plants in or near the area • Consider secure off-leash areas for dogs and their guardians

Preventative Health Care Develop minimum preventative health standards for all pets. The standards must include: Dogs • Dogs must be vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and bordetella, including annual boosters • Intestinal worming every three month(due to zoonotic potential) • Appropriate nutrition for life stage • Heartworm preventative recommended • Annual veterinary checks to check/review preventative healthcare plan, dental care and general physical health Cats • FIV testing for all cats to make sure they are negative, and history to make sure they are not likely to be a chronic carrier of respiratory disease • Cats must be vaccinated against feline infectious enteri-

tis (panleukopenia), feline calicivirus and feline viral rhinotracheitis, including annual boosters • Intestinal worming every three month (due to zoonotic potential) • Appropriate nutrition for life stage • Annual veterinary checks to check/review preventative healthcare plan, dental care and general physical health. All Animals • Monthly flea control would need to be given to all animals to avoid the risk of an environmental flea issue developing with multiple animals living in the same environment. It is recommended that, where possible, animals be on a combination or all-in-one monthly product for fleas, intestinal worms and heartworm. This type of product will increase compliance and simplify administration by giving all animals their dose at the beginning of each month.

Prepare a Plan for Contagious Diseases It is necessary to have a plan for contagious diseases in place if one of the animals picks up a contagious disease, e.g. ringworm, canine cough or cat flu. This is unlikely but a plan of action should be in place just in case. Consider whether the facility has the ability to isolate the animal until treatment is complete to limit any chance of spreading to other pets (or people if disease is zoonotic e.g. ringworm). Ongoing Management There are also some questions to consider in the day-to-day management of live-in pets (applies to cats and dogs). Responsibility • Who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the pet? Elderly people may • Who find themselves having manages the pet to give up their pets when the when they move into guardian is sick a care facility or unable to care for the animal? • What arrangements are in place if the resident dies? • Who is responsible for the daily exercise, feeding, medication, general care and grooming of the pet? • Who is responsible for the waste

Photo by Grant Nowell,

assessment should include temperament and social skills of the dog, including: • Risk of injury to other animals and people • Mental health of the animal • Suitability of animal to specific environment (including public/private spaces) • Behavior on lead • Reactivity to noises, other animals, familiar and unfamiliar people


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management (i.e. cleaning up of indoor and outdoor spaces)?

Day-to-Day Supervision • Who will monitor the pet’s stress levels (e.g. initial transition to a new environment and long-term management)? • Who is responsible for cleaning of pet bedding and pet areas? • How will you manage feeding, overfeeding, inappropriate food for dogs or cats? Behavior Issues • How will behavior issues for dogs and cats (e.g. excessive barking, jumping up, inappropriate elimination) be managed? • What is acceptable behavior for a dog or cat in this type of facility?

Support Services It is recommended that aged care facilities develop a relationship with a local vet clinic that could care for the pets, and to ensure the preventative health care is kept up-to-date. Consider other support services including: • Dog behavioral trainer for behavior issues and/or veterinarian with behavior qualifications • Grooming, bathing and nail clipping The authors strongly recommend that aged care providers use dog trainers and support pet services that implement positive reinforcement, force-free training and pet care methods and practices. n Disclaimer:The advice provided in the checklist is of a preliminary nature and for information purposes only. A person should undertake independent enquiries and seek independent advice, on this subject matter.

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Australian Companion Animal Council. (2009). The Power of Pets:The Benefits of Companion Animal Ownership. Retrieved March 15, 2015 from _19.pdf Australian Companion Animal Council. (n.d.). Pet Application Form and Pet Keeping Agreement Form. Retrieved January 2, 2015 from _Forms.pdf Wood, L. (Ed.). (2009). Living Well Together: How Companion Animals Can Strengthen Social Fabric. Petcare Information & Advisory Service and the Centre for the Built Environment and Health, the University of Western Australia Fiona De Rosa BTP (Hons) M Env St DipCBST is an urban planner and dog behavioral trainer. She is the owner and principal of Balancing Act (Pet Friendly Planning), www, a consultancy specializing in the integration of companion animals in urban environments. In 2014, she won the Planning Institute of Australia (SA) Award for Excellence for Cutting Edge Research and Teaching for her work in the planning and design of off-leash areas, in particular dog parks. Dr. Fiona Warton BVSc (Hons) MANZCVS (Veterinary Behavior) CMAVA holds a bachelor of veterinary science and a masters of veterinary behavioral medicine. In 2011, she attended the National American Veterinary Conference completing the behavioral medicine workshop with Karen Overall and Kersti Seksel as mentors.The following year, she gained membership, by examination, to the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Veterinary Behavior. She currently works in general veterinary practice and carries out behavior consultations for companion animals.

Endless Possibilities


In our October 2014 issue, Gail Radtke gave a compelling account of how her rescue dog, Lanie, inspired her to become involved in developing a K9 program at a women’s


correctional center. Here, she reviews progress made and details her plans for expansion

onversations turn into ideas and ideas turn into possibilities. During a meeting with Ann Barley, assistant deputy warden of programs at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women (ACCW) in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, to discuss our current K9 programming at the center, Barley told me she wanted to devise a meaningful program for the maximum security area that involved dogs. Due to the strict supervision environment of maximum security, programming options can be limited and, because of this, dogs had not previously been permitted in the area. That, however, is exactly where the possibilities began. I thought of a friend of mine who wanted to volunteer with me at ACCW and asked her if she would be interested in bringing in her service dog, Gilmore, for an informal visit. This way, the women offenders could interact and spend time with Gilmore in the areas where dogs would not usually have access. Gilmore is a two-year-old Labrador who was trained by the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides as an autism service dog. He lives with Nicola Mitchell and her family in Maple Ridge. He was also the first dog we brought into the maximum security area at ACCW and Mitchell shared her story of what an incredible difference he has made in the life of her son, Caleb, who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Lions Foundation of Canada's mission is to assist Gail Radtke Canadians who have a with her St. John mental, developmental Ambulance or physical disability by therapy dog and co-pilot providing them with for the canine dog guides at no cost. prison As part of the Lions program, Tawny Foundation, Autism Assistance Dog Guides specifically helps children aged three to 18 years old who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, as well as their families. An autism assistance dog guide provides safety, companionship and unconditional love. He is also a source of calm and relief for children in high anxiety situations, helping to

Nicola Mitchell and autism service dog, Gilmore, were the first dog-handler pair to visit the prison’s maximum security area

reduce the stress levels commonly experienced in public places. From our very first visit at the centre with Gilmore and Mitchell, I knew we were onto something very special. We started by bringing Gilmore into the area where the offenders are housed. This is known as a living unit and typically houses 40 offenders. The living units are secure areas with private rooms where the offenders sleep, with a common, open area for socializing. From the moment we walked in, it felt like the energy in the area changed. Many of the women stopped what they were doing and headed straight over to meet Gilmore. They were able to touch and pet the dog, ask questions about him and interact with him the entire time we were there. Mitchell told them about how he had come into her family and where he had come from. Many of the women spoke of their own dogs and how they missed them, and said how wonderful it was to be able to spend time with Gilmore. As a former correctional officer of 18 years, I could see the pure joy this dog brought to these women who live in an environment that can be challenging at the very least. I started to formulate an idea and to wonder exactly how I could convince everyone else. At the time, I was already part of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program in Maple Ridge as a certified therapy dog handler with my dog, Lanie, (see The Miracle Mutt, BARKS from the Guild, October 2014, pp. 36-39). This is a Canada-wide proBARKS from the Guild/May 2015



gram that involves certified handlers and dogs volunteering their time to visit hospitals and senior care homes in their area. The St. John Ambulance (SJA) program requires dogs to undergo a behavioral assessment test which mimics the real life situations they may encounter while out in the field. I proposed to Barley that we approach SJA about their therapy dog program and see if they would be prepared to come into ACCW as part of a visitation program in the maximum security area. She was immediately enthusiastic and took it to her management team for approval, which we duly received. Barbara Renkers, unit facilitator for the Mission/Abbotsford BC Division of SJA, and I then met to discuss the program. She also loved the idea and took it forward to provincial coordinator, Leigh Ciurka. Consequently we obtained approval from both ACCW and SJA. All we now needed to do was to persuade some handler teams to come into the prison. Renkers and I set up an information session for SJA handlers to learn about the pilot project and to find out if anyone was interested in volunteering. The response was overwhelming and people were immediately positive in their support of the program. Several handlers committed to the program straight away and so we began our visits. Our first visit was with Bonnie Lavallee and Charlie, a fouryear-old border collie/chow (best guess) rescue dog who is an active volunteer with SJA and, according to Lavallee, her co-pilot in life. Lavallee was not at all nervous going into the prison but did say she was curious. As soon as she walked through the door to the living unit area and saw the smiles on the offenders’ faces when they saw Charlie, she felt the positive energy. She was a natural, engaging with the offenders and talking the entire time she was there, telling everyone about Charlie and the St. John Therapy Dog program. The offenders sat in a circle around Charlie and took turns holding, petting and touching him. We had brought some dog treats with us and they were thrilled to be able to give these to Charlie. I could see the joy on the women’s faces when they were Bonnie Lavallee with him and even saw and Charlie were tears in the eyes of one an instant hit with the offenders in offender, who said she the prison’s missed her own dog so maximum much. I could see how security area meaningful it was for the women to have physical contact with Charlie and they have asked to bring in a brush on one of our visits so they can take turns grooming him. In addition to Gilmore and Charlie, I take my own dog, mixed-breed Lanie, and also took my four-yearold red heeler Australian cattle dog, Tawny, before she passed away 44

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recently. Vicki Smith and her dog, Skeena, have Lanie is a St. recently joined the John Ambupioneering prison lance therapy program dog who is already in the prison program and participates in the obedience classes at ACCW, as was Tawny. More recently,Vicki Smith and her black Labrador, Skeena, have joined the program with more dogs and handlers set to come on board in the near future. This past February we added another program when I presented a Family Paws Parent Education workshop to a group of female offenders in the maximum security area. The workshop was well-received by the women, who started to talk about their own children and dogs at home. More workshops are scheduled for the upcoming months. It has been an incredible experience to be able to offer these educational workshops to women who may not get the opportunity when they are released back into the community. Aside from this, ACCW already offers doggy daycare for members of the correctional staff. This had not been a formally structured program but it did allow the offenders to have daily interactions with the dogs. Some of the offenders in the K9 daycare program had previous experience of handling dogs and even some minor work experience with them. What they all had in common was the desire The author’s dog, Lanie, is also a St.John to spend time Ambulance therapy dog and instrumental in the development of the prison program with the dogs.

Each offender would be assigned a dog to care for during the day and that would include walks, feeding and companionship. The K9 program at ACCW was in its infancy when I wrote about it last October. Since then we have expanded training opportunities for the handlers via our volunteer training team. The staff at ACCW bring in their dogs to use in class and, with their assistance, we instruct in canine handling skills, the basics of canine behavioral learning theory and have recently completed an eight-week basic obedience class. It has been priceless to be able to offer empowerment and support to the women offenders through dog training. Now that I have seen first-hand how having dogs in the maximum security visitation program creates such a positive experience for the offenders, and how the K9 handler group benefits from the sharing of education and skills, I am driven even more to ensure the K9 programming at ACCW continues to grow. n Gail Radtke CPDT is a retired correctional supervisor and former instructor of the Justice Institute of British Columbia, Canada. Gail has combined her passion for dogs and teaching and is a Family Paws Parent Education presenter and has recently completed her DipCBST. She is the owner and operator of Cedar Valley K9,, in Mission, British Columbia.



Cooke, B.J & Farrington, D.P. (2015). The Effects of Dog -Training Programs: Experiences of Incarcerated Females. Women & Criminal Justice. doi: 10.1080/08974454.2014 .909763: .2014.909763?journalCode=wwcj20#abstract?af=R Koda, N. et al. (2015). Effects of a Dog-assisted Program in a Japanese Prison. Asian Criminology. doi: 10.1007/s11417-015 -9204-3: -9204-3 Radtke, G. (2014, October). The Miracle Mutt. BARKS from the Guild, pp. 36-39: _2014_pet_professional/37?e=4452575/9892405 Alouette Correctional Centre for Women Introduction Video: Autism Assistance Dog Guides: .html Family Paws Parent Education: Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides: www.dogguides .com/index.html St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program: /English/Community-Services/Pages/Therapy%20Dog %20Services/About-The-Therapy-Dog-Program.aspx

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A Metamorphosis through Play

Interactive play provides both mental and physical stimulation for cats who may be in danger of becoming just a little too “domesticated.” Jane Ehrlich explains

n the beginning, I underestimated play. Interactive play. A lot of behaviorists did. As an owner I knew it provided exercise (for me especially - my cat would watch while I chased, you know the drill). As my time and experience as a behaviorist continued, I learned of the many benefits that play offers for a cat’s health, not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Play makes SO much difference to a cat’s complete well-being. Play is fun exercise. Play is therapy. We know that real play—not tossing the same ol’ toy until the cat just looks at it one day and lies down, but real interactive action—improves muscle tone. It is hugely rewarding to see shoulder, back and leg muscles become defined in an out-of-condition cat who now has an exercise regime. It is wonderfully rewarding to see an arthritic cat begin to move more gracefully, more fully, with moderated play. It is far healthier, to my mind, for an overweight cat to exercise more and eat less than to rely solely on feline “diet” foods. I have also seen scrawny cats metamorphose to a more healthy body because of increased leaping, chasing, dashing and pouncing. Action motivates the couch-potato feline. Whether by illness, age or temperament, some cats do not appreciate moving. Perhaps they got out of the habit or perhaps no one ever played with them. If they could get their owners to forever peel kibble for them from a silver platter while they imprint their body shape on velvet cushion, many cats would. However, the right toys and healthy helpings of patience and encouragement arouse my 14 year old from her cheerful lethargy. Her feline instincts blossom and her ‘inner hunter’ emerges. Our indoor cats are used to their measured, timed plates of food. Having them hunt for the odd treats and use puzzle-balls so they have to roll, paw and chase after their food reaps rewards in so many ways. That mental stimulation, the hunting in-


Play is ideal for boredom-sapping in today’s heavily domesticated indoor cats

from the Guild/May 2015

stinct, with its focus, stealth, run and attack is not only sharpened but increased as the boredom that can come from being too domesticated in the home often enervates. Boredom saps the cat as much as the human. There is nothing better for vanquishing it, besides a good dose of love, than making the cat move and dash, preferably with his owner. Play is also a bonding thing. Through play owners learn to appreciate the graceful, powerful, beautiful animal the cat is while the cat looks forward to the owner being there as a provider of wonderful excitement and fun. Many owners have seen their shy, under-confident cats become friendly, assured furry beings in a household which is now less threatening. A cat must get used to a whole battery of new smells, spaces and people when she comes to a new environment. Playing when she is comfortable enough to emerge from under the bed can work wonders when it comes to getting used to her new life. Additionally, it benefits the resident cats whose lives she has intruded on. Increasing exercise (separately, then gradually, together) for everyone can help improve the situation. Any dissent between members of the multi-cat household can also be considerably eased by the introduction of several daily 20-minute (or more, depending on the cat) play sessions. With individual cats, play helps them gain confidence in their new territories and families, both human and feline, as well as re-channeling fear, frustration and anger into a more constructive energy outlet. When cats can play closer and eventually together they often learn better levels of tolerance and may even gain friendship. Play is a huge stress reliever and wrecker of various kinds of aggression, from redirected to territorial to inter-male and others. Many behavioral issues can be calmed by introducing interactive play. The camaraderie creates a happier outcome as the anxiety and aggression are properly and healthily re-channeled. Many a cat, having gone through some ordeal—gaining a new home, losing an owner or best cat-friend or showing common symptoms of depression (decreased eating or grooming, hiding, increased sleeping, vocalizing)—has been able to adapt and even thrive through structured and plentiful activity. I have observed cats who are clearly mourning for a beloved fur-friend adjust far more rapidly to a life without him because she has been distracted through action. Those endorphins whizzing around (no, it is not scientific) mean she is feeling good. I have seen so many cats’ personalities turn around because of introduced exercise and pure play. A play session before bedtime can help the cat sleep further into the night, and can help keep owners’ ankles from being attacked due to frustration at not being able to—you guessed it— play, hunt and catch. I am willing to bet the quality of sleep is healthier, as well. Exercise also helps cats who previously had access to the

Interactive play gives cats an outlet for their natural instincts

Jane Ehrlich is a professionally trained Feline Behaviorist with over 27 years experience. She spent 18 years volunteering with the RSPCA in both clinical and behavior work and has her own consulting business Cattitude Feline Behavior,, in Phoenix, Arizona, although her clients are located worldwide.

© Can Stock Photo Inc./motorolka

outdoors but now need to adapt to an indoor life. While different countries continue to stoke the controversy over which option means a healthier life, the fact is more people are keeping their cats inside. To give them the best quality of that life possible it is crucial not only to provide the territory, the ‘cat TV,’ the posts and the potted grass, but interactive play—lots of it—as well, to ensure those instincts are able to emerge and thrive. In my part of the world, coyotes, irrigation pipes and sizzling temperatures take their toll on the outdoor cat. When advising clients to help their cats adapt to an indoor environment, that kind of exercise (interactive play) is at top of the list. The results speak for themselves: they adapt—and adapt well. Play is fun. Even if you were out of the habit before pets came into your life, remember what it did for you when you were younger.You are getting the same mental and physical stimulation that your cat is, together.You are running around more.You are learning this toy works and that one does not, by trial and error. You are thoroughly enjoying yourself and your happier, healthier animal. What gym could do that? It is a win-win all round. n


Feline Behavior Unmasked

Jane Ehrlich responds to commonly asked questions about feline © Can Stock Photo/BENGUHAN

behavior problems and feline behavior in general

Q: When I walk by the bed or sofa or through a door our young cat Sean darts out and pounces, grabbing my legs. Sometimes he even bites. I am getting nervous! All the rest of the time he is loving. What is this all about?

A: He is probably bored out of his fuzzy little mind. There are many different kinds of aggression and this is play-aggression. When he is feeling restless he tries to get some fun by pouncing on unsuspecting ankles: that's 'prey' to you and me... and Sean. Stalk, leap, grab... it is all hunting, which is a normal need. Therefore, you need to provide that stimulation. I would strongly recommend at least three or four play sessions a day, especially first thing in the morning, after work, and especially before bed. Sean will tell you when he is ready. Good toys to substitute for your ankles include interactive pole-toys like Da Bird (a long black pole with a long black string and a bunch of feathers at the end that you can swoop in the air or on ground so has good movement) and the Cat Dancer (a coil of piano wire with small cardboard sticks at each end, one end of which you bounce around. The movement is unpredictable and cats love it. It can be bird prey, ground prey; you can even toss it). Also good are Neko Flies with the Cat-i-Pede attachment. This has rubber-bandy legs that make it drag and move like a real bug. If pet stores do not have them, eBay or Amazon will. These types of games will also teach Sean to play not with fingers and toes but with distance toys.You can also toss crinkleballs or those tiny mice (with real fur, alas, but it IS what cats respond to). All said, wear the little fur-child out. I do not hold with their panting, especially heavily, in spite of what you might hear on tel-

evision. That is too much. But play until Sean is weary. He will let you know when he has had enough.

Q: I have a cat who has been moving his bowel a few inches away from the litter box.The difficulty is that I do not know who is doing it, as the stool is normal and I have three cats.

A: If the feces are within a foot of the box, for example, think about any changes you might have made to the litterbox cleaning regime. Have you started using a strongly-scented detergent? Are you trying a new litter the cat hates? Litter should be unscented, soft and clumping. Are you scooping thoroughly every day? Have you bought a new litterbox, one that differs from his usual kind (covered instead of open, for example)? Have you changed the location of the box? Cats hate change and this new place may be one he dislikes. If the cat uses other boxes in the home (there should be at least one box per cat, with perhaps another one thrown in), is he/she leaving stool bits outside those? In the meantime, solve the mystery by putting shaved nontoxic crayon—not red, obviously— into the cats’ food. Use one color per cat and see who the unhappy sweetheart is when he/she excretes it. Once identified, I would still take him or her to the vet, to make sure that there is nothing medically wrong. I would also watch the cats, if I were you—a little observation would be useful. Get to know your cat's elimination: the texture, color, shape, smell, amount of her stool. Any deviation more than a day (which is often dietary) might mean something to tell the vet about. It is better to overreact than miss something. n BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Stimulation For Psittacines

In the first of a four-part feature, Amy Martin explores the key to transforming a parrot’s life


in captivity through various forms of enrichment

hysical and mental stimulation is vital to every species on the planet. Squid, poison dart frogs, pigs, rats, cats, tortoises, spiders, jaguars, sheep, dogs, ferrets, parrots, you name it, they all need daily stimulation. Enrichment is a fundamental component of responsible, preventative companion parrot care. But how can we ensure the parrots we care for are getting enough?

Zazous with Flat Stanley: Enrichment will enhance a companion parrot’s life in many ways

Vital For Well-Being

Studies have shown that when animals are provided with a stimulating environment, they are less stressed, live longer and are better able to develop problemsolving skills, not to mention that unhealthy behaviors are more likely to be prevented. In the zoo community, this kind of stimulation is referred to as enrichment. Admittedly, that word is thrown around rather loosely in the pet community these days, but most people do have at least a limited understanding of the purpose of enrichment and how to appropriately apply it to an individual animal. Importantly though, many people do not recognize the need for species-specific enrichment.

What Is Enrichment?

Over the years, enrichment has evolved from merely providing animals with basic husbandry needs to simulating an individual species’ natural habitat to encourage choices and elicit natural behaviors. Enrichment is the act or process of increasing intellectual or spiritual resources

Fast Facts: • Behavioral and environmental enrichment are essential components of life in captivity, whether animals live in a zoo, shelter, laboratory, sanctuary or a home. • Enrichment is now considered one of the primary means for addressing concerns about an animal’s physical and psychological welfare. • Enrichment is as integral to an animal’s well-being as comprehensive veterinary care and nutrition. The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) defines enrichment as “the provision of interactive op48

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portunities that enhance the lives of animals”. They further explain that “the activity levels of birds in the wild suggest that, under human care, they can benefit from mental and physical stimulation.”

Why Companion Parrots Need Enrichment

Imagine yourself sitting on a wooden chair in a room that is no more than 6 feet by 6 feet. There are no windows. You cannot leave and no one ever visits you.You have no radio, television, phone or internet. Someone offers you the same food in the same bowl every morning and evening.Your physical exercise consist only of shifting your weight in the chair. What do you think would eventually happen to your mind and body after a day, a week, a month and, eventually, a year? What about a lifetime? This kind of mental and physical stagnation is incredibly harmful to all

living creatures. This scenario is all too common for parrots in homes and shelters all over the world. The good news is it can be prevented and we can be the ones to do so.

Providing Enrichment for Parrots Is Crucial to Their Well-Being Do not let those flirtatious faces and colorful feathers fool you. Parrots are not domesticated animals. Cats, dogs and horses have been selectively bred for qualities that enable them to live more harmoniously among humans. Parrots are exotic, and by definition are not a species indigenous to the U.S. Companion parrots have the same instinctual needs as their wild counterparts. A parrot may live in a cage at home with his owner but his mind and body are just as wild as the greenwinged macaw who is flying free in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Parrots bred in captivity have the same instinctive physical and behavioral needs of parrots living in the wild

Putting Together the Parrot Puzzle Pieces If we want to create a healthy, species-specific environment for a captive parrot, we have to ask two very important questions: • What are the natural behaviors of this parrot species

in the wild? • What are the actions that occupy this parrot species’ 24-hour cycle? Answers: flying, grooming, sleeping, and finding food, safe roosting spots, new territory, mates and nest sites. Wild parrots spend over 50 percent of their daily activity foraging and feeding. Now think about what your companion parrot is doing during his 24-hour cycle, and what he would be doing in the wild if he had a choice. If it is drastically different, a change is needed. Foraging is one of the most severely constrained behaviors of captive parrots

What Captivity Takes Away When parrots live in captivity, the daily challenges and choices they would have in the wild no longer exist. Food is brought to them. They always have a stationary perch to rest on. They don’t need to search for a mate or nesting site. There are no predators to evade. All this may sound great to us, but behavioral and health problems can result. By making life easier for companion parrots, we have inadvertently taken away their choices and removed opportunities for them to fulfill their instinctual desires. We have created an environment that is not conducive for their overall health and well-being. This can cause them to suffer from captivity-related stress and other maladaptive behaviors. Captive parrots need the opportunity to behave as they would in the wild

Enrichment as Prevention Avian veterinarians, parrot rescue and rehabilitation centers and individual parrot owners are acutely aware that behavioral abnormalities are common in captive parrots. Self-destructive and maladaptive behaviors such as such as excessive screaming, feather destruction, self-mutilation, phobic reactions, stereotypic behaviors, depression and aggression are all too common. Fortunately, enrichment studies have proven that these can be reduced Studies have shown one in 10 captive parrot species develop psychogenic feather plucking behavior


significantly or prevented altogether with the use of species-appropriate enrichment.

How Enrichment Helps: • Promotes naturalistic behaviors that stimulate a parrot’s mind and increases physical activity, resulting in a reduction in overall stress. • A reduction in stress promotes overall increased health by increasing the parrot’s perception of control over her environment. • Enhances the environment and stimulates the parrot to investigate and interact more with her surroundings. • Enables a parrot to occupy his time in captivity most constructively.

Enrichment promotes naturalistic behaviors that stimulate the mind and increase physical activity. Enrichment reduces stress and therefore promotes overall health by increasing an animal’s perception of control over his/her environment

The Goal of Providing Enrichment for Parrots in Captivity is to: • Increase the range of natural behaviors. • Reduce abnormal behaviors. • Increase positive ways to utilize their environment. • Increase the ability to cope with stresses and challenges in a healthier way. The goals of enrichment are to offer a sense of control by allowing animals to make choices and to stimulate species-appropriate behaviors. Enrichment is generally grouped into the following five categories. These are not mutually exclusive or listed in any order. Safety is always priority.

Cognitive/Occupational Exercise for the mind and body by offering psychological devices and/or voluntary behavioral training. The goal is to encourage

Chopin, the Moluccan cockatoo, is challenged mentally and physically to utilize his species’ natural foraging and problem solving skills to retrieve a highvalue nut from a puzzle feeder

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



exercise and provide the parrot with challenges and control over the environment.

Dietary Presenting varied and novel foods and/or changing the method of food delivery. It is used to elicit feeding, foraging behaviors, problem-solving strategies and to facilitate behavioral conditioning.

Physical Habitat: this involves altering the size and complexity of the animal’s enclosure and/or adding accessories such as substrate, temporary objects, permanent structures, alternate perching sites, climbing or swinging opportunities and objects that can be manipulated with the beak or feet.

Sensory Stimuli that address all five senses (auditory, visual, olfactory, tactile and taste); designed to elicit a species-specific response.

Graphic by Amy Martin

Social Direct or indirect contact: Providing direct contact could be with people, parrots of different species, conspecifics, other animals or objects like mirrors. Indirect contact is provided through visual, olfactory and auditory stimulation. Enrichment is often considered to be simply offering toys and fun foods, but it is far more than that

Enrichment in Action

For over a decade, I served as an enrichment coordinator for various sections at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the Children’s Zoo and Education Department I had the daily challenge of enriching multiple species of parrots, many of whom were once pets but had been donated to the zoo because of undesirable behavior issues. To ensure the parrots’ safety, comfort and focus during educational programming, I utilized all five types of enrichment multiple times a day for each bird. I made changes to structures in their enclosures, presented novel objects for them to investigate, changed how I presented food to them, used force-free training and much more. Depending on the species, I encouraged them to behave in specific ways that would be natural to them in the wild. Offering a variety of options, allowing them to make choices and have control over their environment greatly reduced their boredom, frustration and aggression. Bored parrots are easily frustrated. Frustration can lead to destruction of their environment, aggression towards other parrots and even harming themselves.


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

Offering recycled items helped Sarge, a 50+ year old blue and gold macaw, to occupy his time constructively and engage in natural behaviors: various enrichment prevented boredom, depression, frustration and feather plucking

Enrichment Is Worth Your Time and Effort

Creating and providing species-specific enrichment for each parrot required research, planning, cooperation and creativity. I did this every day for nearly a dozen parrots, morning, noon and evening all while supervising and mentoring volunteers and interns and educating the public. I share my story with you because many parrot guardians do not believe that enrichment is something they have the time for. Here is the truth:You do have time; you just have to find it. Investing your time and effort into learning about your companion parrot’s unique and individual needs will change his life in ways you would never have thought possible. It will help your parrot to enjoy a healthy, harmonious life in captivity.You have the power to prevent health and behavioral issues while helping him thrive. n This article has only skimmed the surface of parrot enrichment, so be sure to stay tuned for the next article in this four-part series in the next issue of BARKS.


The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators: Amy Martin owns and operates Conscious Companion®, and is a member of the advisory team for Family Paws Parent Education, She also serves on the board of directors of the Cape Fear Parrot Sanctuary, www

Standing Up for Change


Louise Stapleton-Frappell speaks to Niki Tudge, PPG’s founder and president, to discover

her motivation for setting up the organization, as well as her hopes and plans for its future,


iki Tudge has been involved with pets since 2000 when she started an agility club in Hawaii. Prior to that, she traveled the world as an international hotelier. Tudge is now based just outside Tampa, Florida, where she has established PPG’s corporate office along with DogSmith, her dog training and pet care company and DogNostics, her career college for pet industry professionals.

and for the pet training industry as a whole

Niki Tudge started PPG in frustration at the lack of regulation and accountability in the fields of pet behavior and training

Q:These are exciting times for PPG and its members. In November, the first ever Force-Free Educational Summit for Pet Professionals is being hosted by PPG in Tampa, Florida.Tell us more.

A: We have over 30 fantastic presenters. Everyone from Dr. Karen Overall to Michelle Duda, Emily Larlham, Ken McCort, Lara Joseph, Jacqueline Munera, Nancy Tucker, Debra Millikan, Diane Garrod, Laurie Schlossnagle, Linda Michaels, Maureen Backman, Lisa and Brad Waggoner, Pat Miller, Pamela Johnson, Theresa McKeon, Chirag Patel… the list goes on and on. The Summit will last three days and there will be five rooms available at any given time. We have planned the schedule so that if anyone wants to see, say Larlham, Johnson and Patel, they should be able to fit them all into their schedule as some sessions will be repeated on different days. We are also working with a company to be able to live stream it, which will be really nice for people who cannot attend. It is our goal in 2016 to actually do both a North American Summit and a European Summit. I am hoping we can secure our speakers for next year, do the event in North America and then move everyone over to Europe for the same thing. Q:Tell us a little bit about the Pet Professional Accreditation Board.

A: When PPG first started, our goal was to start a community for force-free pet professionals. There were different levels of membership. Provisional meant that you were still learning or at school. Associate meant that you worked for someone else and a full member meant that you had your own business.

As of the end of April, we rolled out an independently proctored accreditation program (see also pages 12-13). It is a force-free accreditation that is legally defensible. We hope to do this as part of our advocacy movement to bring about some type of oversight into our industry. Those wishing to gain the accreditation as canine trainers will need to submit videos, and there will also be an online test of knowledge and competence. There are strict eligibility criteria. For those wishing to gain accreditation as canine behavior consultants, it is all of that plus the submission of four case studies. We have actually formed a separate company to implement the program to make sure that it is independent of PPG. To apply, however, you must also abide by PPG’s Guiding Principles. It is open to people who are not PPG members which makes the entire process more legally defensible. About two years of hard work have gone into the program. People will be able to take the test and record the videos at the PPG Summit in November as well. Q: Is the program aimed at people who are already certified trainers?

A: It is aimed at anyone who meets the eligibility criteria, which include age, number of years in the business etc., but applicants do not have to have a particular certification already. It is especially exciting because it tests competency, mechanical skills and knowledge and also holds applicants accountable. I think it is the first accreditation to officially state that holders must perform within the parameters of the established guiding principles. Q:You are talking about something that, in effect, could change the face of certification.

A:Yes, and that was our goal. We wanted something that was not attached or affiliated with any other educational provider or organization, that was very independent, that was psychometrically sound and that would test what we believe are the knowledge and competencies any good professional canine trainer or behavior consultant should have.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Q: Is this going to be available to people everywhere? A: It is, it is open to people all over the world. It is also extremely affordable.

Q: Why did you establish The Pet Professional Guild?

A: Primarily it came from feeling a great deal of frustration with the shape our industry is in, the level of professionalism and the fact that it is unregulated. I think when you are dealing with living creatures there has to be some sort of oversight. It should not just be a situation where anyone can open up their store and start taking dollars. I think the final straw was when I walked into a big box pet store and watched their onsite “trainer” showing a client how to hang a dog in the air because the dog was reacting towards other dogs. I walked out there and then, leaving my shopping cart full of products. I had seen the training manuals for this particular organization and knew they were supposed to be positive but, on returning and speaking to the assistant manager, he seemed to think that it was acceptable. The following day I phoned their corporate office but nobody was interested in talking to me. In addition, I was not happy with the organizations I was a member of and did not feel I was getting much out of them. I did not agree with a lot of their training methods so, in December 2012, I put together a simple website with manual application forms. I spoke to our manager, Rebekah King, and said, “Let’s see what happens.” As it happened, we were inundated with applications. It showed us there really were a lot of people who wanted to be part of an organization that represented who they were and what they stood for. We are available for anyone to join us, anyone who philosophically aligns themselves with our guiding principles. Even if someone does not have the tools or the knowledge, they can join us as a provisional member and immediately get access to our educational resources and the mentorship we offer via access to other professionals Our first three years have been so successful we have just established PPG Australia, which will be operated by a local steerTudge (left) works with Emily and William Conde of The DogSmith of Orlando and dogs Gizmo (left) and Bailey. Dogs are not trying to take over the world, in spite of what trainers using outdated methods would have their clients believe, says Tudge


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

ing committee. We will also roll out other local chapters in the US, UK and elsewhere soon. After three years, we really understand what our members’ needs and wants are, so thought it important to have area chapters where people can access all the information in their own language and use their own experts. Q: What is the primary goal of PPG?

A: To align and represent pet industry professionals who are committed to results-based, scientifically sound, force-free training and pet care. Q: Can you explain exactly what you mean by “forcefree”?

A: There are some negative connotations to “force-free” and there are people who do not like the term because there are some trainers who are not, according to our definition, forcefree. Force-free to us at PPG means that no shock, no pain, no choke, no fear, no physical force, no physical molding, no compulsion based methods are employed to train or care for a pet.

Q: Due to the popularity of certain television programs, a lot of people think that they need to be the “alpha” leader.They are told to prod, poke, choke and roll their dogs onto their backs in order to control them and keep them in their place at the bottom of the pack. Can you explain why they should not be doing any of this?

A: I urge everyone to read the Position Statement of The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB): The Use of Dominance Theory In Behavior Modification Of Animals. Dominance theory is a completely outdated philosophy and the AVSAB statement explains exactly why this is. So-called alpha dogs do not roll other members of their family group. This is a very aggressive display that could easily traumatize a dog, especially a puppy. It is not a good form of communication. There is a school of thought in the scientific community that this incorrect belief alone is responsible for so many preventable cases of aggression and dog bites. It is outdated and was based on completely inaccurate science. The scientist who brought out the first studies, Dr. David Mech, has since refuted it and said that it was based on bad data. We should not be treating our dogs in this way. We do not need to be “alpha”. Our dogs rely on us for their safety, their well-being, and all their resources. They look to us to be their protector. That is the sort of relationship we should have with them. All this nonsense about dogs going through doors first, it is absolutely ridiculous. I have never seen a dog open up his own can of food, write a check or drive a car… As force-free trainers we cringe whenever we hear, “the dog is dominant, he’s jumping on


Tudge takes Gizmo and Bailey through some moves. Forcefree trainers cringe when they hear someone label a dog “dominant,” she says

my lap etc.” No, the dog is exhibiting behaviors that have worked in the past, that he has gained some type of reinforcement for. The first thing some clients say is, “My dog sleeps on the bed, I’m sure you’re not going to like that.” Yet my dogs both sleep on the bed. If it became an issue in terms of resource guarding I would manage it and stop it. Letting dogs run through the door first – why not? They want to get outside. As long as they are not endangering anybody or damaging anything… It is nice to have a “sit and wait” cue as well but dogs do what works for them. That does not mean they are out to take over the world. We are not going to see one in the Oval Office at the White House mandating policies. This is just not how it works. The Pet Professional Guild also has a Position Statement On Reality Dog Training. We respectfully submit that showcasing training methods that use force, fear or pain is morally and ethically wrong as well as damaging to the animal, damaging to the human-animal bond, and potentially creates hazards for the petowning public. We should not be showcasing anything that creates significant danger for animals or people, yet that is exactly what these methods do. The fact that they have on the screen, “Do not try this at home” tells you all you need to know. Of course good pet dog training should be tried and practised at home. If it is done properly, you get the same results with a happier dog and a better relationship. Scientific, rewardbased methods work, they are effective and are a lot of fun for everybody, which is just the way it should be. These are our pet dogs, they are part of our family. What on earth are we thinking with all this out-dated training?

Q: PPG has a campaign underway urging people not to use shock collars. What would you say to those who have been advised to use one?

A: In my opinion, they are inhumane tools. They are not effective training tools. A training tool is a device that is used to obtain a behavior, to reinforce a behavior and to generalize and proof it so that, once an animal is trained, the tool is no longer required. First of all, shock collars work through the application of positive punishment and negative reinforcement. An animal exhibits a

behavior to avoid being shocked. We should not want our animals to learn in a fear-based environment. We want them to learn because it is motivating and fun to learn. Secondly, with a dog who has been “trained” under the conditions of shock, when do you actually take the collar off? When the collar is off the behavior is no longer reliable, so it is not, in fact, a training tool, it is just a crutch. The American Veterinary Society of Behaviorists and The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists both state that, if somebody recommends the use of a choke, prong or shock collar, look elsewhere. These are not the types of people you want to select as a dog trainer. Tools such as these are very punitive. You do not get good results. Not only are they not reliable, they do irrevocable damage to the relationship between an owner and their dog. Some animals become ticking time-bombs. The punishment that is applied during the training process can be generalized to you as the punisher, to the environment and the setting where the behavior is being learned, which makes all those things potentially very dangerous. People should only look for dog trainers who use science-based methods as anything they do or ask an owner to do is going to enhance the relationship with his/her dog and not damage him in any way. Q: A lot of pet owners do not like the idea of using food to train their dogs. What would you say to them to help change their minds?

A: PPG has a fantastic hand-out called The Proper Use of Food in Dog Training. I do not know where this idea comes from. Dogs are intelligent creatures. They are not little people in fur suits. They do what is fun and rewarding. We know that all dogs like food. They have to like food to survive, so why not motivate them using something they really want and enjoy doing? For me, it is the same as you might enjoy your job but you would not want to go to work if your boss did not pay you. We ask our dogs to learn what I sometimes think must seem ridiculous behaviors in their eyes: sit, stay, spin, jump, down… Why on earth would a dog want to exhibit those behaviors? If we want to motivate our dogs to learn and make sure that we both enjoy what is going on, then we have to use something that is both motivational and a reinforcement. For some dogs it does not even have to be food. High-drive herding dogs like border collies might love tennis balls and frisbees but, for most dogs, food is going to be what will do it. I think sometimes positive reinforcement trainers get a bad rap because they do not adequately explain the use of food. If more owners understood that they will not have to walk around with a pocket full of smelly hotdogs for the rest of the dog’s life because, as part of the proofing, we gradually phase out the food reinforcement and transfer it on to secondary reinforcers such as petting, a tennis ball or a walk, then I think they might better grasp what it is all about. I sometimes go to dog events and watch people walking around with their dogs and every two seconds they are shoving food in the dog’s face.You talk to the owner and the dog was trained years ago and the dog still will not work without food. I BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



think we need to explain that when we train dogs we have to motivate and reward them because what is rewarded is repeated. We want dogs to be happy and we want to have a great relationship with them but we also want to use food appropriately. Food is a training tool and once we convince people to give it a go, they realize, particularly with lure and reward training, that the food lure quickly becomes the hand signal and then becomes the reinforcement. They then get over that initial feeling of not wanting to use food. The aforementioned handout answers several key questions, for example: “Why should I use food in training my dogs? Surely if I ask my dog to do something then he should just do it?” Well no, dogs were not born with a manual that says, “When your human says ‘jump,’ ask, ‘how high?’” That is not the way dogs work. The handout also answers questions like, “Why does my dog only listen when I have a piece of hotdog in my hand?”, “How do I make sure that I’m not bribing my dog?” and “If I train a lot will my dog get fat?” That is always a good question. No, he will not get fat as you will make sure that, collectively with his treats and food, you only give him the required calories. Q: What about the owners who have a large breed of dog, perhaps a pit bull, a Rottweiler or a German shepherd. Do they need to train them in a different way?

A: Absolutely not. There are rules of engagement with learning theory, with science and with how we train our dogs and they apply whether it is a Chihuahua or a great Dane. We recently did a five-day dog training workshop at PPG’s headquarters and we had 10 pound dogs in the class and we had 170 pound dogs in the class. Every owner was using the same principles of acquiring behaviors, reinforcing behaviors, putting them under stimulus control and then starting to proof them and generalize them.Yes, the actual mechanics are going to be different but the principles remain the same. There really is no excuse why a little Chihuahua cannot walk nicely on a leash and why a great Dane cannot have good manners. If you have a skilful trainer the size or breed of the dog really makes no difference. When we conduct training workshops, there is nothing nicer than seeing people who come in with pit bulls, great Danes, mastiffs and Dobermans and you just Although the author’s dog, Jambo, is a trick think, what great amdog champion, he needs to wear a muzzle in public because of his breed. But Breed Specific bassadors for the Legislation misses the point, says Tudge breed. They are get-


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

ting it right. They have dogs who are solid, well-socialized around dogs and people, have had excellent training and are just all round wonderful dogs. I believe that if you own a pit bull or any type of dog that could potentially fall under Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), then you have an obligation to be an ambassador for that breed so that more of these ridiculous laws are not passed. Q: Does PPG have a stance on BSL?

A: We do not. I have been asked several times about this but we do not feel that it falls within our purview of dog training and pet care. Personally, however, I think it is ridiculous. There does not seem to be any correlation between the breeds and recorded dog bites. It is one of those laws that has been abused by a lot of authorities and local communities. To be honest with you, I find it very hard to answer this question as I get perplexed at how the laws have even gotten passed. If you look at the dog bite statistics, most of the dogs that fall under BSL are not even listed. When there is a fatal attack it is all over the news but there are not actually all that many of them, while there are many other reported dog bites. As it says in the AVSAB Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation, any dog can bite, regardless of size or sex. Obviously the genes will dictate certain behaviors but I remember Ian Dunbar saying years ago that once that dog is a puppy and out of the womb, the genes are pretty much done. What takes over then is how the animal is raised; the responsibility of the breeder; the way he is socialized; the way he is trained and taught bite inhibition; the way he becomes habituated to everything in his life. That is the role of the breeder and the dog owner, not the responsibility of the gene pool. Several places have dropped BSL as they have realized it has done little in terms of statistics. But you still hear these awful stories of people losing their family pets. We are putting the emphasis on too few breeds and not addressing the problem at large, which is educating pet owners to use the right training methods and to go through the right training and socialization. That is what is going to make dogs safer. Q: I agree. I have to have a Dangerous Dog Handler’s license in order to keep Jambo, my Staffordshire bull terrier, who also happens to be a trick dog champion trained with positive reinforcement. In Spain where I live, the authorities have introduced legislation locally that any dog over 44 pounds has to be muzzled and on a leash when in public, so it is not just breed discrimination but size discrimination as well.The people making the laws seem to know very little about dogs and training.

A: In the AVSAB’s Position Statement it says: “Responsible dog ownership and public education must be a primary focus of any dog bite prevention policy,” not Breed Specific Legislation. I think large dogs get a bad rap. How many small dogs do we see with behavior problems whose owners do not feel they have any responsibility to resolve them because if they bite it will not kill anyone? The motivation and behavior is exactly the same whether it is a 10 pound Chihuahua or a 70 pound Rottweiler.

Q: Can you tell me about some of the resources available to pet dog owners through PPG and what are the advantages of becoming a member?

A: We do have a form where pet owners can apply for membership. This entitles members to certain discounts from pet industry vendors and, even for non-members, there are lots of educational articles on our website about the use of shock, dominance theory, puppy socialization, a puppy nipping guide and a handout on the proper use of food in training. You can also access Ian Dunbar’s two free books: Before You Get Your Puppy and After You Get Your Puppy. We have article links that include pet training videos. We have links to Emily Larlham’s website with all her great training videos. There are lots of other educational videos that we have collected over the months. There is also a really nice page on “What is my dog saying?” which is an excellent collection of video PowerPoints put together by Carol Byrnes. I personally think that anyone who has a dog should be watching these. When we have professionals coming to our headquarters to conduct training workshops, one of the first things I say in my opening presentation is that, if you are working with dogs, you have a fundamental obligation to understand canine communication and social behavior. If you have not done at least three-four hours studying on this topic, then you should not be taking money from people. I feel so strongly about that because, as professionals, that is one of the key skills and areas of knowledge we have to have. There is so much access now to good quality education at reasonable prices that there is no reason why professionals should not have had access to that. Also on our website we have a lot of information about dog bite safety. This is done through Doggone Safe, a company that offers a licensed presenter program for PPG members. Joan Orr, co-founder and president of Doggone Safe, also sits on PPG’s Special Council. The presenter program focuses purely on preventing dog bites to children. Under Orr’s program, presenters can go into classrooms with these incredible tools to show children how to behave around dogs who may be unsafe, as well as teach them how to really understand canine communication. The program is available in several languages and in several countries. Other than that, we have a really useful pet first-aid program. Anyone else out there who is philosophically aligned with us, who wants access to great vendor programmes and also wants to be part of our movement, then go ahead and join.You also get a copy of BARKS from the Guild magazine, which is published bimonthly online, and gain access to discounted webinars. Altogether it is a really nice program.

Q: What would your advice be to someone who is looking for help training their dog?

A: On our website under Directory anyone can search using their zip code. It will bring up people in their area and also by country, so that is one resource. There are a couple of other great organizations I would also endorse, such as anyone who has come out of Jean Donaldson’s Academy or The Karen Pryor


Academy. They have their own directories too. If someone is looking for a trainer who operates by PPG’s guiding principles, they can always contact us via our website or Facebook and we will help them locate a pet professional in their area.

Q: How would a pet owner go about joining and is it very expensive?

A: No, it is completely free for pet owners. Pet owners can simply go to the pet owners tab on our website, go down to the bottom where it says Pet Owner Membership, and join there.

Q: What about someone who has a pet other than a dog, can they still become a member?

A: We also have cat behavior professionals, horse trainers, bird behavior experts, veterinarians and veterinary technicians who are all members so yes, anyone who is interested can become a member. We basically encourage anyone who is interested in being aligned with us and helping us to move forwards to join. n


American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Position Statement on Breed Specific Legislation: /uploads/position_statements/Breed-Specific_Legislation -download-_8-18-14.pdf The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior The Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification Of Animals: www ement.pdf Contact PPG: PPG: PPG on Facebook: PPG’s Guiding Principles: /PPGs-Guiding-Principles PPG Handout The Proper Use of Food in Dog Training: www -Proper-Use-of-Food-In-Dog-Training.pdf PPG Members’ Directory: /PetGuildMembers PPG Pet Owner Membership: www.petprofessionalguild .com/page-1861891 PPG Pet Owner Membership Form: www PPG Position Statement on Reality Dog Training: www

Louise Stapleton-Frappell is a CTDI (through Do More With Your Dog) and holds Force-free Instructor certification from In The Doghouse DTC (Nando Brown). She is also currently doing the Clicker Trainer Super Trainer Course with Kay Laurence. Her blog, Jambo - The Story So Far, can be found at /01/16 /jambo-the-story-so-far/ and her champion trick dog, Jambo the Staffordshire bull terrier, has his very own page on Facebook, www.facebook .com/StaffyChampion?fref=ts.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



Why Counterconditioning “Doesn’t Work”

When counterconditioning is ineffective in a behavior modification program, a lack of


common criticism of counterconditioning is that it does not work. While there can be many reasons why a behavior modification protocol based on counterconditioning fails, it is, in fact, almost always user error. Here are four common reasons that cause counterconditioning to fail:

Lack of a Global Safe Zone

Counterconditioning is only successful when the dog who is supposed to be counterconditioned feels safe. There are two basic ways to know a dog feels safe: 1. The dog is playful 2. The dog is relaxed It is impossible to feel safe and be afraid. It is impossible to feel safe and not Counterconditioning can only be successful be relaxed. Playful dogs display happy when a dog feels safe body language while engaging in an activ- and relaxed ity intended to entertain themselves or themselves and other animals or people. A playful dog is not frantic. When working with a dog, create an ethogram of the individual dog. This means knowing exactly how this specific dog uses her body language to signal mild, moderate and severe stress as well as how she uses her body to signal mild, moderate and strong signals that indicate relaxation or play. The ethogram can then be used to analyze her body language at any given moment. Consider the following when creating the ethogram: • Top line: relaxed dogs’ top lines are usually lowered; stressed dogs often raise their top lines. You should establish a baseline for a typical top line for the individual dog. When it is lower than the baseline, then the dog is relaxed; if it is higher it may be a sign of trouble. Play would be the obvious exception as a raised top line is often part of play. • Raised whisker beds: tiny signals such as this can be a sign of stress. Again, this may accompany play, which is why understanding the context is so important. • Head turning and tongue flicking: these are common signs of stress for most dogs. • Excessive sniffing: again, we are looking for what deviates from normal baseline sniffing; dogs who are dog reactive often sniff intensely, and this is usually a signal that they are not feeling safe. Once the dog’s personal ethogram is clearly established, you can use it to evaluate how the dog feels about any given situation. For counterconditioning, the first thing that must be 56

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

competence on the part of the trainer is almost always the cause, says Angelica Steinker

looked at is whether or not this dog feels safe in her home and other environments that are part of her normal routine. I refer to familiar areas where the dog feels fundamentally safe as her global safe zone. If a dog does not even feel safe in her own home, counterconditioning in other locations will likely fail. To establish a global safe zone, the trainer and owner work together to remove all stressors from the dog’s life. If conflict exists between the dog and her housemate, then the dogs are separated. If the dog is showing stress on walks, then the walks are temporarily modified or stopped. All adjustments are made to enable the dog to feel safe in her home and all routine environments.

Lack of a Situational Safe Zone

I refer to novel areas where the dog feels safe as a situational safe zone. A dog may have an ideal global safe zone but finds going to a large, busy outdoor mall stressful. He exhibits signs of stress that are specific to this situation. Any attempt to countercondition in this situation will likely fail. Both the global and the situational safe zones must be in effect for counterconditioning to be successful. Its goal is to elicit a positive conditioned emotional response of relaxation and/or play where, previously, there was a negative emotional response. If the dog’s baseline emotional state is fearful when you begin your attempt to countercondition, you will be pairing this undesired emotion with the very stimulus you are attempting to countercondition. This is why counterconditioning fails when a dog is feeling unsafe. We also need to look at consistency. Consider, for example, counterconditioning a dog who has some mild dog reactivity. If he is mostly feeling safe, but is subjected to sporadic rough and stressful visits from the neighbor’s dog, the entire counterconditioning plan is undermined.

The Force is Not with You

The third reason counterconditioning can fail is simple: lack of power in the reinforcer. If the food or toys you are using to countercondition are not sufficiently reinforcing, they will not be powerful enough to help condition that new, happy emotional state. Likewise, if the goal is relaxation but the massage that the trainer or owner is giving the dog is not truly relaxing for that

dog, then the plan will fail. Find what works the best for each individual dog and watch your counterconditioning efforts succeed.


Play for Maximum Fun

Š Can Stock Photo/ksuksa

Fourth, you cannot start a counterconditioning program until you have completed your play and fun assessment. That means finding out which games really make this dog happy. Does he prefer fetch, tug or chase? These games must be part of the counterconditioning process. The length of time spent playing must far exceed the time spent exposed to the stimulus.You toggle back and forth between exposure and play, ensuring that although the dog perceives the stimulus, he is not feeling any stress. If he looks at the stimulus, the play must continue for a longer period of time than he spent looking at it. This creates a happy and playful attitude in the dog. It is all in the details when it comes to counterconditioning successfully. Get safety and maintain it. Get relaxation and maintain it. Find the reinforcers and games that boost the fun factor to high. And create the ultimate incompatible emotional state: happiness. n

Finding out what games a dog enjoys is an integral part of any counterconditioning program

Cognizant behavior consulting (CBC) is an approach that provides behavior consultants and their clients with guidelines that create boundaries and establish ethics. CBC deals directly with the emotional components of behavior consulting. It focuses on the needs of both the client and the dog in order to improve their emotional states.This column will present a different component of CBC in each issue. Angelica Steinker owns and operates Courteous Canine, Inc. DogSmith of Tampa, www.courteouscanine .com/Florida, a full service pet service business and dog school specializing in aggression and dog sports. She is the national director of training for DogSmith Services,, and co-founder of DogNostics Career College, www

Join our growing network of professionals dedicated to dog bite prevention and victim support. FREE 1-year membership for PPG members! THE FORCE-FREE SUMMIT: REACHING FOR A HIGHER STANDARD SAVE THE DATE!

The Pet Professional Guild has announced its first ever convention, to be held in Tampa, Florida on: Wednesday, November 11 Friday, November 13, 2015. More details at BARKS from the Guild/May 2015



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Listening carefully to find out what clients really want is essential to a successful consultant-client relationship, says John Visconti

or his 50th birthday, my brother-in-law Terry decided to treat himself to a new guitar. Now, this was not going to be just any guitar, as this was not just any birthday. He always dreamt of owning a Gibson 335 (not an inexpensive guitar) and decided the 335 would commemorate this special occasion. Being somewhat inexperienced in the art of purchasing guitars, he called on an individual with several years of practice doing so, me, to assist him. I suggested he contact a former bandmate of mine, Irv, who manages a music store on Long Island, New York. A few days later, unable to contain his excitement, Terry went to the store without making contact with Irv, who happened to be off that evening. An hour later, Terry left the store with a sunburst, limited edition, Gibson 335. All’s well that ends well then? Not exactly. The guitar had a small scratch on it, which Terry pointed out to the salesperson. In spite of his reluctance to purchase the guitar, the salesperson pressured him into doing so. Once home, every time Terry looked at the guitar, all he saw was that scratch. He felt a strong sense of buyer’s remorse which often occurs when the buyer feels as if he/she has been overly influenced by the seller. Fast forward to the next day. I called the store and spoke to Irv who suggested Terry contact him and come back to the store with the guitar. Later that day, after meeting with Irv, a very happy Terry left the store along with the guitar of his dreams – the same Gibson 335 with the scratch in it - same price, same guitar, same scratch. How did this happen? Following are Irv’s brilliant words about his vision of the sales process and his role in it: “Thirty years ago, after being paranoid about becoming a salesperson and how I would be perceived, I promised to take care of my customers the way I always wished I was. If you truly look out for your customers, listen to them and get them what they need, they will not only keep coming back but you'll feel good about who you are and what you do. It's all about reputation. Anyway, I was glad I could help.” Henry Ford famously noted, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Sometimes, customers simply need the salesperson to help them identify what they are looking to purchase. This is what Irv did with Terry. He took the time to find out not only what guitar Terry wanted

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

By helping buyers come to their own decisions about what they purchase and why, salespeople can provide their clients with choicesupportive bias

© Can Stock Photo/AZALIA


A Tale of Two Experiences

but why he wanted it. He took the time to show Terry other guitars. He pointed out the upsides and downsides of each. And in the end, by simply providing Terry with information and a sense of partnership, Irv helped him to come to his own decision. By arming Terry with positive reasons for his purchase, Irv provided something called choice-supportive bias, which is a buyer’s inclination to retroactively assign positive qualities to a purchase one has made. Instead of leaving the store with buyer’s remorse and feelings of regret, Irv helped Terry identify all the reasons why this was the guitar of his dreams. The same guitar that caused much angst only 24 hours early, was now a source of joy. What does this mean for you? You can apply the same principles that were foundational for the above transaction when interacting with your prospective customers. Help Selling isn’t something you do TO someone. Selling is helping.You will never need to sell anything if you focus on helping. If your goal is to help, sales will follow with ease. Irv did a great job of helping Terry to embrace the fact that the limited edition 335 with the small scratch was the guitar that truly matched his desires. Ask Questions When speaking with potential clients, always remember that

© Can Stock Photo/nameinfame

what you say is never as important as what you ask. Too many trainers jump right into a sales “pitch,” rather than simply ask the prospective client questions that will help them (and the dog owner) to truly understand what the client is looking to purchase. Notice, in Irv’s comment above, he said he listens. My bet is that a lot of that listening happens after he asks questions.


As a salesperson, what you say is

Focus on Benefits never as important as what you ask; most of all, listen to the response When you help the prospect to identify their true goals by asking questions, you can point out the benefits your services will provide in order to help them meet those goals. Benefits motivate buyers. Without benefits, you are left with a fairly uninspiring list of features of your services which, while important, are often not enough to inspire a positive purchase decision. Training “sit” (a feature) as a differential reinforcement of an

incompatible behavior (DRI) for a dog that jumps on guests is not what your prospect is looking to purchase. More often than not, your prospective client is looking to purchase the elimination of the embarrassment caused by a dog who jumps on guests. Help your potential clients identify the foundational reasons they are looking to hire a trainer – do not assume they know them. It was not until Irv helped him identify his personal desires that Terry was thrilled with his purchase. Build Choice-Supportive Bias Have you ever had someone cancel a first session and not reschedule? It could be due to buyer’s remorse. Helping someone come to a decision for their reasons, not yours, will significantly improve your sales stick rate and will also make the training process more enjoyable for you and the client. Just as Terry saw Irv as an ally who had his best interests at heart, you too can partner during the critical first discussion with your client and set the tone for the training sessions that will follow.

Treat Yourself Well As so astutely noted by Irv, when you help others, you will also feel good about yourself and what you do. Sounds like a win-win to me. n John D.Visconti CPDT-KA is the owner of Fetch More Dollars,, sales consulting for dog trainers, Dog Trainer ConneXion, www.dogtrainerconnexion .com, business management software and Rising Star Dog Training, He has recently published his first book: Fetch More Dollars for Your Dog Training Business, a coaching guide to force free selling.

Pet Professional Guild has partnered with BarkBox to provide all members with a 20% discount.

* 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: /benefitinformation BARKS from the Guild/May 2015




Practicing Compassion

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

features Daniel Antolec of Happy Buddha Dog Training and PPG Advocacy Chair

aniel Antolec has recently taken on the role of chairman of the newly-formed PPG Advocacy Committee, in addition to his regular day job as an animal behavior consultant and trainer at Happy Buddha Dog Training.

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

Daniel Antolec with Buddha on receipt of his Canine Good Citizen certificate

A: My wife and I live with two Labradors, three sheep and an American Paint horse. They all have sweet personalities and get along great together. Buddha and Gandhi are registered Pet Partners therapy dogs. Bluebell, Shirley and Pearl kindly donate their fleece to my wife's small business, Wyld & Wooly. Fancy the horse mostly grazes all day, though we ride together a few days each week. Q: Why did you become a dog trainer or pet care provider?

A: After my police career I began working in a dog day care, just for the fun of it. I was fascinated with canine communication and began studying behavior. Having had dogs for 35 years I had some training experience, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to train other people's dogs. My motivation is to help others avoid all the mistakes I made with my first puppy and to enjoy the greatest relationship possible with their pets. Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer?

A: With my first puppy I used methods of the day, including yelling, scruff shakes, rolling and pinning and so on. It never felt right and those methods did not work very well. I saw that I was damaging my relationship with the dog I loved, so I stopped. When we adopted Buddha we enrolled in our first force-free training class and I saw how easily we achieved our goals. Besides, it was great fun for dogs and people alike. When I became a professional dog trainer I was determined to only use force-free methods. I meet many dog owners who were just as confused as I was 35 years ago, so I am helping them avoid all the angst. The results are wonderful. Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?

A: Honestly, I cannot comprehend why human beings feel justified in inflicting fear and pain on another species in order to compel them to behave in ways that we prefer. It strikes me as 60

BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

unethical and the height of arrogance to think we have the right to abuse animals. I reject that concept. My personal goal in life is to become a better human being. Animals help people by teaching us how to live in the moment, become aware, and by giving us daily opportunities to practice compassion. These are my core values and being a force-free trainer is one way that I strive to live life in a good way.

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

A: I love that PPG is restricted to force-free professionals and the wonderful support it provides through webinars on a wide variety of topics. PPG is helping me develop my training, behavioral and business skills.

Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise?

A: I focus on in-home pet dog training and behavior modification. Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: Heidi Walters was the professional dog trainer who helped us

with Buddha and she is the role model I look up to in a direct way. Of course, there is an endless list of dog professionals whom I have met, or whose educational materials I have studied: Patricia McConnell, Ian Dunbar, Nicole Wilde, Sophia Yin, Jean Donaldson, Pat Miller, Terry Ryan... The list keeps growing! Q: What are some of your favorite positive reinforcement techniques for most commonly encountered client-dog problems?

A: There are many tools in my toolbox but I most often approach a challenge by doing less. I see most dog owners trying to "control" the dog. I give the dog more freedom to choose his behavior. It is the dog's job to solve problems, learn and develop self-control. It is my job to set the dog up for success and provide the appropriate responses to behavior choices. Then I add a verbal and hand cue for the dog to associate his behavior with, and for the dog owners to use for communication. Owners are often amazed to see how their dogs engage in problem-solving and figure out through trial-and-error what works and what does not. By this process, owners see a partner in their dog, rather than an adversary they must grapple with on a daily basis. Training develops a common language and common goals. It is a win-win scenario. Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?

A: I am most rewarded when I see a happy owner and a happy dog. Instead of seeing their dog as having "problems" and feeling frustrated, by the time our session ends the owner sees accomplishment, progress and is hopeful. Their dog has also just enjoyed an hour interacting with the owner so there is an improvement in behavior and relationship. That bodes well for the longevity of the dog. Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

A:Getting to know nice people and making new doggie friends. I feel strongly attached to each dog I work with. Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?

A: What I find most amusing is a situation that repeats itself frequently, such as in my final session with a puppy recently. The last thing I taught him was to back-up on cue. I started with a few trials by stepping into the pup's space, watching the puppy hop backward a step and plop down into a sit, and then I used a marker and reinforced the behavior. As I was explaining the process to the owners, I used the verbal cue "back up" a couple of times. At that point I explained that their puppy would probably require many repetitions before he started responding to the words "back up" and continued speaking. The puppy was very attentive and parsed out the verbal cue from the rest of my words.


It was as if he heard me say, "Blah, blah, blah, BACK UP, blah, blah, blah." The little guy popped up from a sitting position, hopped straight back and sat down in the blink of an eye. From that point on he responded reliably to every cue. The owners and I burst out laughing. This has happened to me more times than I can recall. Q: What awards and/or competition placements have you and your dog(s) achieved using force-free methods?

A: I do not compete, though I have enjoyed taking rally and agility classes with my dogs. Buddha has his Canine Good Citizen certificate, and both Buddha and Gandhi are therapy dogs, so that is a wonderful way to serve others. The highest achievement of using force-free methods is that we have happy, healthy, well-mannered dogs. I hope to help others achieve the same, if they wish. Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out?

A: If you can find a professional trainer to apprentice with, or a reputable educational course, go for it. However, you can educate yourself as I did. I undertook a serious study of canine body language, learning theory, associative and operant conditioning and so on. Then I began teaching other people's dogs. By the time I applied with CCPDT for examination I had about 500 hours of experience with over 200 dogs and aced the CPDT-KA test.  You can be a self-taught trainer and then validate yourself through a certification process. Buy books and DVDs about training and behavior, attend seminars and webinars and join professional organizations. Never think that you have completed your education or you will stagnate. Follow your passion and you will succeed.n Happy Buddha Dog Training is located in Brooklyn,Wisconsin

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Fact or Fiction

In Beware the Straw Man: The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction, Linda P.

Case zones in on a number of popular beliefs about dogs and systematically debates the


truth (or lack thereof) behind each one. Reviewed by Gail Radtke

inda P. Case has brought us a nice-size read in her latest book, Beware the Straw Man:The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction. The work contains 32 essays on different topics that each identify a common belief about dogs. The author then reviews the scientific evidence for and against that particular perception. Case is a qualified canine nutritionist, dog trainer and science writer, holding a bachelor’s in animal science and a master’s in canine/feline nutrition. She is also author of numerous articles and has written six other books. Her blog The Science Dog is full of useful information and is current and active. The contents of Beware the Straw Man are what I find most interesting. The format allowed me to read the topics that interested me the most first and then go back and forth between the remaining topics as I pleased. Each topic is a story in itself and some are as short as nine pages, but don’t be fooled by the length of the essay. Each one is an intriguing and informative read with references of study listed at the end. Case is a writer who implements research thoroughly to back up her point of view. I also enjoyed the fact that I was able to review certain topics that I often see in dog publications and social media posts which are regularly debated, e.g. Chapter Six Thyroid on Trial. The way the book is formatted, I am able to first read Case’s deliberations and then be further guided by the listed references for follow-up. Case also includes her personal opinions on various topics throughout with her Up on My Soapbox inserts. These allow us to see exactly what she thinks about each topic and what she feels the research lacks or supports. In terms of structure, the book is broken down into four parts with the essays based on the individual themes. For example, Part 1, Science, includes essays on scientific methods and how canine behavior studies are carried out by researchers. Other sections are Behavior, Training and Dogs & Their People and it is easy for readers to flit back and forth between them. Given that the book is broken down into sections in this way, I can pick it up and read something new each time and, if my day is busy, I can still find a few minutes to read one of the essays without feeling like I missed something because I did not have time to read the


BARKS from the Guild/May 2015

whole section. Beware the Straw Man has the allaround ability to satisfy the academic who likes to have research cited after every paper, the dog trainer who wants to fact find on trends featured in blogs and social media posts, and companion dog guardians who want to learn more about their dog(s) and the people who study them. Specifically for dog owners, Case leaves a “take away” at the end of each essay summarizing the information included in the piece, minus the scientific language that may not be relevant for everyone. I found that to be an incredibly useful addition. In Beware the Straw Man, Case has devised a book that both pet professionals and pet guardians can read and benefit from. It is full of valuable information and I would highly recommend it for new dog guardians, as well as dog trainers and those who study the science of canine behavior. n


The Science Dog:

Beware the Straw Man:The Science Dog Explores Dog Training Fact & Fiction Linda P. Case (2014) 189 pages Autumn Gold Publishing ISBN – 978-1495389771

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BARKS from the Guild May 2015  

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

BARKS from the Guild May 2015  

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