BARKS from the Guild May 2017

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© Can Stock Photo Inc./damedeeso

BARKS from the Guild

Issue No. 24 / May 2017

EQUINE The Nuances of Communication

BEHAVIOR Dogs and Pigs: Predator and Prey FELINE Socialization for Kittens

TRENDS Students Helping Shelter Dogs CANINE Agility for Deaf Dogs

TRAINING Reactive Dog Nail Trim

Fighting in Multi-Dog Households

A Systematic Approach to Reconciling Canine Differences TM

A Force-Free Publication from the Pet Professional Guild


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

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

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

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

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

Letters to the Editor To comment on an author’s work, or to let PPG know what topics you would like to see more of, contact the Editor-in-Chief via email putting BARKS in the subject line of your email. BARKS reserves the right to edit for length, grammar and clarity.

Subscriptions and Distribution Please contact Rebekah King at for all subscription and distribution-related enquiries. Advertising Please contact Niki Tudge at to obtain a copy of rates, ad specifications, format requirements and deadlines. Advertising information is also available at:

PPG does not endorse or guarantee any products, services or vendors mentioned in BARKS, nor can it be responsible for problems with vendors or their products and services. PPG reserves the right to reject, at its discretion, any advertising. The Pet Professional Guild is a membership business league representing pet industry professionals who are committed to force-free training and pet care philosophies, practices and methods. Pet Professional Guild members understand force-free to mean: No Shock, No Pain, No Choke, No Prong, No Fear, No Physical Force, No Physical Molding and No Compulsion-Based Methods.


From the Editor

iving with dogs who do not get along is no easy feat. I had direct experience of this when I tried to amalgamate a foster into our cohesive group of four rescues several years back.We did careful introductions, one at a time, positive associations, neutral territory etc., and all went swimmingly -- or so we thought. However, when we took the dogs out for their final bathroom break one night, something went wrong.We couldn’t even see what had happened or why, but three of the dogs ended up fighting and, after that, two of the females became mortal enemies and would fight at every available opportunity.We quickly realized we had to keep them separate to keep everyone safe, and so embarked on an immediate process of management and prevention until we could all calm down and work out what to do next. It was exhausting and, looking back on it now, I can see we expected way too much of the dogs, way too soon.We did not give any of them enough time to acclimate to the change, and our poor foster needed time to regroup and de-stress after the torrid experience of being abandoned twice and then ending up in a shelter for six months where she felt confused and isolated.We had successfully introduced dogs (and cats) so many times in the past, we had become complacent, and had not sufficiently taken into account each individual dog’s emotions, mood state, experiences, and so on. However, now we know better, we do better, as PPG president Niki Tudge likes to say. Our cover story this issue hones in on this topic and presents a closely detailed account of what to do when faced with the problem of warring dogs, and sets out a protocol aimed at reconciling them. Although this is not always possible, the chances are higher when the dogs are faced only with what they can cope with in a relaxed environment, at the pace, distance, duration and frequency they are comfortable with.This may seem obvious, yet it is tempting to be lulled into a false sense of security, as I was, and rush the dogs into something they are not ready for.We’d love to hear your tales of multi-dog households -- and in-fighting if you are unfortunate enough to have experienced it -- and what, if anything, you were able to do to address it. This issue also features a number of initiatives by PPG members to educate their local communities about force-free dog training, equipment, body language, behavior and pet care. If you have participated in a local pet-related activity, we want to hear about it, so do drop us a line! Talking of community initiatives, one PPG member is currently working with students from a Miami, Florida school in a program that teaches them how to train local rescue dogs.Their progress is closely documented on social media, and, as a result, the dogs all have homes lined up once their training is complete. We have a host of other inspiring articles in this issue too, covering all things behavior, feline, equine, boarding and day care, business, consulting, and what it is to be a force-free professional. On that note, thank you to everyone who submitted their details for our member profile section recently.We had an overwhelming response and will feature as many as we can, in the order they were received. Thank you too, to our amazing BARKS contributors for sharing their knowledge and experience so generously. If you’d like to join them, please get in touch!

n Susan Nilso

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



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BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso


NEWS PPGA, PPGBI, PDA, PPG Summits, Doggone Safe, iSpeakDog, Facebook groups, PPG World Service, webinars, Project Trade SUMMIT Everything you need to know for PPG’s 2017 Summit PROMOTING COMMUNITY EDUCATION Petra Edwards reports on initiatives with a local council in South Australia to spread the force-free message THE GIFT OF A GRAY MUZZLE Emily Conde reports from PPG’s recent workshop on how to bring out the best in senior canines PROJECT TRADE AT WORK Susan Kendrick reports on the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers’ participation in Paws in the Park OPEN LETTER TO PET INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS PPG addresses the use of shock in animal training FIGHTING IN MULTI-DOG HOUSEHOLDS Diane A. Garrod presents a systematic approach to restoring peace to a household of warring canines WHEN SLOWLY IS FASTER Alex Walker relates her journey towards counterconditioning her reactive rescue dog to enjoy a nail trim AGILITY WITH A DIFFERENCE Morag Heirs explores the world of activities available to deaf dogs and their owners THE SHARING GAME Angelica Steinker explains how and why the sharing game can help dogs remain calm around resources THE BEST RELATIONSHIP Kathie Gregory discusses how to successfully add a new dog to the household FINDING THE DISCONNECT Susan Claire investigates if and how students can help the veterinary profession cross over to force-free training OF PIGLETS AND PUPPIES Lara Joseph explains the risks of predator and prey living together BEST PRACTICES Lauri Bowen-Vaccare outlines more important health and safety standards for dog boarding and day care facilities A GOOD START IN LIFE Francine Miller explains the feline socialization period THE HUMAN PERSPECTIVE Kathie Gregory explores how we can better communicate with the horses in our care STAY SAFE: PLAN AHEAD Daniel Antolec discusses personal safety for professionals ASK THE EXPERTS:THE RIGHT TIMING Veronica Boutelle responds to business and marketing questions TALKING DIVERSITY MANAGEMENT Niki Tudge provides an evaluation of equal opportunity versus diversity management in small businesses THANK YOU, PPG, AND GUS TOO! Don Hanson documents his journey to force-free training PROFILE: HELPING „DIFFICULT‰ DOGS Featuring Pam Francis-Tuss of Obedient Pups Professional Dog Training in Sacramento, California BOOK REVIEW: AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER Don Hanson reviews ‘Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction’ by Eileen Anderson

© Can Stock Photo Inc./michaeljung












New Leadership Team at PPGA


new leadership team has taken the helm at PPG Australia (PPGA) with Barbara Hodel as president and Louise Newman as vice president. Hodel holds a diploma in canine behavior science and technology from the Companion Animal Sciences Institute Canada and owns Goodog Positive Dog Training,, while Newman is in the final stages of The Karen Pryor Academy professional program and runs Let’s Go Fido, Both are located in the Northern Beaches, on Sydney’s North Shore. With her background in adult education and a master’s in modern European history, Hodel has always considered training and learning to be a cooperative process based on mutual understanding and respect. She competes actively in Agility and Rally O at excellent and master level with her German short-haired pointer Shellbe, and is well-connected in the dog training industry as well as dog training clubs. As president, Hodel’s goal is to make science-based, New PPGA president, force-free training the Barbara Hodel, new norm, and the gowith Shellbe (back) and to approach for pet Zorbas owners. “Both Louise and I look forward to taking PPGA to the next level and would like to thank outgoing president, Stephanie McColl, for getting our organization up and running over the last couple of years,” said Hodel.

#iSpeakDog Launches Campaign


o help improve the relationship people have with their dogs, The Academy for Dog Trainers, the Humane Rescue Alliance, The Bark magazine, and PPG teamed up at the end of March to launch iSpeakDog,, a global campaign and website designed to educate people about dog body language and behavior. The campaign comes at a time when canine behavior is being studied more than ever — revealing that people often misinterpret what their dogs are doing and saying. Sadly, millions of dogs are punished and even relinquished to shelters each year because of perceived "behavior problems," which are often simply dogs being dogs. "When people understand and appreciate dogs for the species that they are, that's when the fun really starts," said Jean Donaldson, founder of The Academy for Dog Trainers and author of Culture Clash. "Dogs chew and dig and bark and jump because these things are enjoyable to them, not because of some power struggle. With iSpeakDog, our goal is to empower people to separate out all the bad information that floods the internet and media, and help them learn the truth about their pups so that they can respond more effectively and compassionately." The iSpeakDog website aims to teach people how to work out for themselves what their dogs are doing and why. The site breaks down the common behaviors shown by dogs that tend to frustrate their guardians (i.e. jumping up on people, chewing shoes and pulling on leash) and explains the different emotional states that can drive such behavior (i.e. growling and snapping is often a sign that the dog is scared). "We hope to clear up some of the long-standing misconceptions that exist about dog behavior," said iSpeakDog founder, Tracy Krulik. "By bridging the communication gap between people and their dogs, iSpeakDog has the potential to strengthen their bond and ultimately keep more dogs in homes."

PPGBI Announces Edinburgh Meet

PG British Isles (PPGBI) is to hold a one-day Educational Round-Up in Edinburgh, Scotland on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Only £5 (US$6.25) for PPG members, the event promises to be a day of fun, education and networking. Details and registration at

Membership Eligibility


PG members are reminded that a condition of membership is that training methods implementing the use of shock, pain, choke, fear, physical force, and compulsion are never employed to train or care for a pet. See PPG's Guiding Principles/Non Negotiables,, for further details. 6

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

New Equine, Feline Facebook Groups


new Facebook discussion group has been started for those working in equine behavior or those wishing to learn more about it. Search for “PPG All about Horses” and ask to join the group. PPG members can also join the “PPG All about Cats” on Facebook group to learn about cat behavior and ask questions on anything feline related. Recent topics of discussion have included enrichment for shelter cats, scratch posts and clicker training.

© Can Stock Photo/cynoclub

© Can Stock Photo/pontuse


Doggone Safe Relaunches Be A Tree



oggone Safe,, an independent nonprofit organization specializing in educational initiatives for the purpose of dog bite prevention, has relaunched its flagship Be A Tree program, The program teaches school-age children a simple but effective way to behave if ever they feel threatened or uncomfortable with a dog, as well as how to read dog body language so they can stay safe around both their own and unfamiliar dogs. The new look Be A Tree program features a streamlined logo, a revamped website, and an updated teacher kit for presenters to ensure a consistent and accurate delivery. The program and kit have been developed and reviewed by canine behavior and training experts, and are tailored for classroom teachers and registered Be A Tree presenters to deliver via desktop computer, laptop, projector, or posters and interactive, educational sessions. The program also features a host of clean, new, educational graphics depicting examples of typical canine body language -such as fear, anger, anxiety, happiness and stress -- created by renowned canine artist, Lili Chin, and focuses on a range of fun, innovative activities for participating children, including learning to "speak dog," being a detective and searching for clues in a dog's behavior, and an interactive game featuring photos of dogs in a variety of emotional states that asks the question: "Would you pet this dog?" based on what the children have learned during the presentation. Doggone Safe was established with the mandate of increasing child safety around dogs and to provide support for dog bite victims. Many of its initiatives originated from a coroner's jury recommendations into the death of 8-year-old Courtney Trempe, who was mauled to death by a neighbor's dog in Stouffville, Ontario in 1998. On its website, Doggone Safe states that half of all children are bitten by a dog "by the time they are 12 years old," and that a "good percentage of these bites are from a dog the child knows." The Be A Tree program aims to promote awareness of canine behavior and help reduce these numbers. Since its inception, Doggone Safe presenters have educated over 1 million children in more than 30 countries about how to

stay safe around a dog. Hundreds of thousands more people have been reached and influenced through the organization's educational materials and social media campaigns. Doggone Safe continues to encourage interested parties to become an official Be a Tree presenter and help educate their local community, and provides full support via a host of educational and marketing materials. "We have streamlined the Be A Tree program to make sure it looks colorful, attractive and appealing while retaining the core educational component," said Doggone Safe president, Niki Tudge. "Our focus is primarily to help children be more aware of what a dog is trying to communicate through his body language and provide them with strategies they can use if they do not feel safe. By doing this, we hope to preempt and ultimately avoid situations where a dog is pushed beyond the threshold where he feels comfortable, to the point where he feels his only option is to bite to escape the situation. Our fun, interactive graphics are the ideal way to convey this message and we believe children will find them striking, enjoyable and easy to remember. We look forward to continuing to educate communities and increasing public awareness on canine behavior, and helping enhance the lives of pet dogs by raising the standard of educational information available."

PG has released an open letter to pet industry representatives on the use of electric shock as a tool for training and behavior modification in pets, In the letter, PPG draws on a number of scientific studies and surveys to explain why shock constitutes a form of abuse towards pets and should no longer be a part of the current pet industry culture of accepted practices, equipment or philosophies, particularly when there are highly effective, positive, humane and scientifically sound alternatives. One such study is Ziv's (2017) The Effects of Using Aversive Training Methods in Dogs – A Review,, recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. Ziv concludes that there is "no evidence to suggest that aversive training methods are more effective than reward-based training methods" and that, in fact, studies suggest

"the opposite might be true – in both pets and working dogs." At the outset of the letter, PPG asks three key questions of professional associations and credentialing bodies, speculating whether they can work within the confines of applied animal behavior without endorsing or enabling shock collar practitioners; whether they can redefine the rules for humane hierarchies simply by applying a layer of ethics that rules out certain equipment choices deemed highly aversive and invasive; and whether they should be identified by training philosophy and tools of choice, thus enabling pet owners to make informed and transparent choices on behalf of their pets. PPG goes on to point out that industry associations and credentialing bodies "play a critical role in establishing and recommending best practices, education, leadership and technical standards in their respective arena.” Read an excerpt from the open letter on pages 18-19.

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PPG Publishes Open Letter to Pet Industry Associations on the Use of Shock



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BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

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New PPG Summit Presenter Ads, Discounts PDA Goes Public


PG has released a series of ads to showcase the presenters at its 2017 summit,, in Orlando, Florida at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort on Thursday, November 16 to Monday, November 20, 2017. The incredible line-up of speakers includes Dr. Karen Overall, Dr. Bob Bailey, Dr. Deborah Jones, Dr. Nathan Hall, Dr. Frank McMillan, Dr. Robert King, Dr. Sally Foote, Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz, Dr. Ilana Reisner, Dr. Lynn Bahr, Janis Bradley, Pat Miller, Helen Phillips, Emily Larlham, Angelica Steinker,Veronica Boutelle, Sherry Woodard, Chirag Patel, Ken McCort, Terrie Hayward, Irith Bloom, Nancy Tucker, Jacqueline Munera, Jennifer Gailis, Gina Phairas and Tristan Flynn.

There are three value package options available for the event: the Great Dane, the Golden Retriever and the Border Terrier. If you register for the all-inclusive Great Dane package, you can take advantage of an early bird special that offers an interest-free financing plan. PPG has negotiated competitive rates at the resort during the event, as well as three days before and afterwards. Attendees can also schedule a one-on-one in-person sit down with the dog*tec business coaches. Special discounts are available for groups and Australian members. If you'd like to target the right market with your product, service or branding, check out the vendor and sponsorship opportunities - consider sponsoring the gala dinner, the official event T-shirt, the lanyard, the official summit guide, or a tea and coffee break. Or, for just $300, you can get your company's name in the spotlight with an insert into the official swag bag. See pages 10-11 for all details.


et Dog Ambassador (PDA),, PPG's five-step credentialing program, is now open to the general public. While only members can be assessors, anyone who adheres to PPG's Guiding Principles, www.petprofessionalguild .com/PPGs-Guiding-Principles, can now become an instructor.

Project Trade Names Jan, Feb Ambassador


ongratulations to Erika Gonzalez of From Dusk Till Dog, LLC in Mantua, New Jersey,, for swapping five prong collars and three choke collars. Gonzalez is Project Trade Ambassador for January and February, 2017. For more on Project Trade, see pages 16-17 and Gear collected by Project Trade ambassador, Erika Gonzalez


BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


PPG World Service Radio Show Schedule


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

Sunday, May 7, 2017 - Noon (EDT) Guest: Emily Cassell Topic: Pocket pets in the home: Housing, nutrition, and myths about pets such as rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. Register to listen live: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Guest: Dr. Nathan Hall Topic: Canine sense and scent ability: An overview of research on canine odor detection and future directions; Canine stereotypic behavior: Research on causes and treatment. Register to listen live:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 4 p.m. (EDT) Guest: Janis Bradley Topic: In defense of anthropomorphism: When is a dog like a person?; Are we creating helicopter pet parents? Studies with implications for the unintended consequence of hypervigilance. Register to listen live:

© Can Stock Photo/damedeeso

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

Earn Your CEUs via PPG’s Webinars , Workshops and Educational Summits!


Training Meister Master - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 2/5 with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Monday, May 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Four Key Guidelines for Caring for a Companion Bird with Sheila Blanchette* Thursday, May 4, 2017 - 7 p.m. (EDT) *Free member webinar Incredible Tricks Through Shaping Part 5/6: Teach Your Dog to Sit Pretty and Beg with Mariah Hinds Friday, May 12, 2017 - Noon (EDT) Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills with Niki Tudge Thursday, May 18, 2017 - Noon (EDT) Deaf Dog Activities with Morag Heirs Thursday, May 25, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Training Meister Master - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 3/5 with Louise StapletonFrappell Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Incredible Tricks Through Shaping Part 6/6: Teach Your Dog to Stand Tall and Hop Forward with Mariah Hinds Friday, June 9, 2017 - Noon (EDT) Training Meister Master - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 4/5 with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Saturday, July 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) Women in Leadership - How Can Organizations Foster and Develop Women Leaders? with Niki Tudge Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT)

Webinars (cont’d.)

Training Meister Master - The Comprehensive Dog Training Course Part 5/5 with Louise Stapleton-Frappell Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 2 p.m. (EDT) S.A.N.E. Solutions for Shy and Fearful Dogs® with Kathy Cascade Saturday, January 27, 2018 - 9 a.m. (EST)

• Details of all upcoming webinars: Note: A recording is made available within 48 hours of all PPG webinars.

• Details of this month’s discounted webinars:

• Details of all upcoming workshops:

Live Events PPG Summit 2017 (Orlando, Florida) Thursday, November 16, 2017 - Noon (EST) Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1:30 p.m. (EST) PPG Training and Behavior Analysis Workshop 2018 (Kanab, Utah) Sunday, April 22, 2018 - Noon (MDT) Wednesday, April 26, 2018 - 5 p.m. (MDT) PPG Australia Summit 2018 (Sydney, New South Wales) Friday, July 27, 2018 - Time TBC Sunday, July 29, 2018 - Time TBC • Details of all upcoming summits: BARKS from the Guild/May 2017




Thursday, November 16 Monday, November 20


• Dr. Karen Overall • Dr. Bob Bailey • Dr. Deborah Jones • Dr. Nathanial Hall • Dr. Frank McMillan • Dr. Sally Foote • Dr. Soraya Juarbe-Diaz • Dr. Ilana Reisner • Dr. Robert King


• Dr. Lynn Honeckman • Dr. Lynn Bahr • Emily Larlham • Ken McCort • Chirag Patel • Janis Bradley • Veronica Boutelle • Jacqueline Munera • Sherry Woodard

The Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort is located approximately 17 miles from Orlando International Airport, Florida just a few blocks from the entrance to Walt Disney World® Resort, and close to dining, shopping and entertainment options. The resort is pet friendly and allows dogs up to 40lbs. PPG has negotiated group rates at the resort available for booking until Monday, October 16, 2017. Rates apply three days prior, during, and three days after the event. Book at: Further information on the hotel and facilities:


Three package options with monthly payment plans: /Packages-and-pricing



BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

• Helen Phillips • Irith Bloom • Tristan Flynn • Terrie Hayward • Gina Phairas • Nancy Tucker • Pat Miller • Jennifer Gailis


Promoting Community Education

Petra Edwards reports on initiatives with a local council in South Australia to spread the


he City of Charles Sturt is a local government council in the state of South Australia (SA), Australia. As a council, we have many responsibilities relating to animal management within the area, including dog registrations, investigating barking dog complaints, excess dog ownership permits, collecting dogs wandering at large and investigating dog attacks. As with all councils in South Australia, enforcement of these aspects of dog ownership are a requirement under the Dog and Cat Management Act,, and generally result in expensive fines for dog guardians not adhering to the law. While enforcement is a required aspect of our roles, the Charles Sturt Council has an overarching philosophy of education and community engagement first and foremost. The Charles Sturt Urban Animal Management Plan (UAMP) allows for the design and rollout of various community education campaigns concerning responsible dog ownership and dog behavior, training and communication. Our previous campaigns have included: • The creation of a seasonal summer role, beach education officer (currently filled by myself, as a forcefree trainer and PPG Australia (PPGA) committee member) which ensures dog owners and families can share our beaches safely and without incident. This role incorporates a Thank You CamPromotion for the City of Charles paign,, Sturt canine body language quiz which includes a free leash, 12

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Doggy Day on the Beach has seen record numbers attending and learning about force-free training

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

A dog having fun at community event Doggy Day on the Green

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

force-free message, and her own involvement in the program

treats, and doggy bag giveaways for responsible dog owners (e.g. owners who have their dogs on a leash during the on-leash times, who watch their dogs and have effective control during off-leash times, and who pick up after their dogs). • Free educational pop-up sessions themed around responsible dog ownership, body language, or kids and dogs, located on the beach where owners can attend with their dogs and ask questions about training or behavior. • Videos and social media posts about dogs in hot weather (we regularly reach above 95°F (35°C) in summer in SA), responsible dog ownership, and buying puppies over Christmas, • Community engagement events: Doggy Day at the Beach – promoting responsible dog ownership with stalls relating to training, behavior and dog care with a record attendance over 2000 in 2016. Doggy Day on the Green – our first event promoting force-free and qualified trainers with educational workshops for dogs and their guardians. • Free community educational seminars put together by PPG steering committee member, Debra Millikan and a team of forcefree SA trainers (other local government councils are now following our lead). Before You Get Your Dog – promoting responsible dog ownership and considerations for families before they

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

Free community event Doggy Day on the Green promoted responsible dog ownership, force-free training, and addressed common behavior issues

Debra Millikan (front, standing) presents a free dog body language seminar to the community

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

A City of Charles Sturt beach patrol vehicle promotes responsible dog ownership and leash laws

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

Free community event Doggy Day on the Beach featured free training workshops on recall, loose leash walking and polite greeting

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Photo: City of Charles Sturt

get a dog. Body Language - helping owners better understand their dogs (this was our most recent event that sold out with over 90 attendees). Barking – planned within the next few months in response to great public interest. (For details of upcoming events, see Most recently, we launched our most engaging and interactive educational event in Charles Sturt, the Dog Body Language Quiz, To our knowledge, this is the first of its kind created by a local government council in Australia. The quiz displays 15 questions presenting different types of body language with correct and incorrect responses confirmed in a positive and informative way. When launched, we received over 10,000 quiz completions from around the world within five days, with trainers and pet guardians sharing the quiz within their own communities including shelters, training organizations, rescue and foster organizations, local children’s primary schools, groomers and more. Furthermore, we are able to track the questions in which participants generally appear to understand body language, and more importantly, identify some areas of body language that require further promotion and understanding in our community. We have been completely blown away by the success and community engagement this quiz has received – which just highlights how invaluable this form of free and proactive education can be. We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable input of Lili Chin for her contribution of the graphics, and all the innovative staff at the City of Charles Sturt for putting the quiz together. Previously, we had been concerned our educational efforts were only reaching a small proportion of guardians already responsible and engaged in learning, so we are especially delighted that this quiz, and our free body language seminar, have reached guardians from all walks of life, including those that are unable (or choose not) to attend training classes run by qualified professionals. We hope that these educational events will continue to plant seeds of thought and help to build a greater understanding of responsible dog ownership, dog behavior, training and communication.We hope the more proactive we (and other councils) can become in community education and engagement, the more our pet dogs will benefit, with guardians better equipped to build lasting relationships with them. To PPG, its committees and invaluable members: Thank you for providing us with informative, educational resources and a place to start looking for advice and support for all things dog behavior and training. The more local government councils like us (who have roles embedded in policy and enforcement) can access accurate, and up-to-date information to incorporate into our educational campaigns, policies and by-laws, the greater our dogs and their guardians can benefit.Your combined work in promoting the force-free message has already allowed us to directly reach over 10,000 guardians worldwide. n




The Gift of a Gray Muzzle


Emily Conde reports from PPG’s recent residential workshop on how to bring out the best in senior canines

create clear pathn a classways to acquiring room collecequipment like tive of senior ramps and carts dogs, force-free that provide dogs guardians and with accessibility pet care to both us and the providers, apworld around plied animal them. behaviorist As creator of Kathy Sdao and the Balance Harsenior Tellingness, Stevens uses ton TTouch® a variety of therapractitioner pies, including Lori Stevens, TTouch bodywork both of whom and wraps, masare also respected and Gift of a Gray Muzzle workshop attendees: (back row, left to right) Melissa Hagood with Charlie, Estelle Auger, sage and fitness renowned dog Kristin Wetterman, Francine Morin, Ann Waterbury, Gillian Daniels, Angela Bubb,Tracee Sule, Sandra Groff,Tara activities to help and Dan Houser with Yippie), (middle row, left to right) Catherine Zehner, Melanie McKeever, Kathy her canine clients trainers, shared Sdao,Houser, Melanie Jarvis with Phage), and Shannon Mary, (front row, left to right) Rachel Williams with Chloe, author their knowlEmily Conde, Lori Stevens,Tansy Barton, Lynn Honeckman, Rosalyn Kulik with Canny, and Renee Russell regain mobility and, with it, confiedge and expedence. With each client, Stevens repeatedly witnesses the benefits rience with what Sdao referred to as “kindling the spark of life” in of movement using strengthening and conditioning exercises. She aging dogs. Throughout the two-day Gift of a Gray Muzzle workshop, held in February, 2017 at PPG headquarters in Wesley Chapel, engages the senior’s mind and body while promoting independence Florida, attendees were presented with a breadth of ideas to enrich, at a time when the “use it or lose it” concept is imperative to an empower and engage their senior canines mentally and physically as elderly dog’s well-being. Sdao, whose senior dog Effie benefited from Stevens’ therapeuthey navigate a landscape that is undoubtedly changing for them. tic care, agreed that aging does not mean senior dogs stop enjoying While age might mean more rest and a slower pace, senior status does not require retiring one’s canine counterpart to couch po- their favorite activities. On the contrary, one might say age is but a number; play is still embraced and learning is still taking place – it tato status. Indeed, Sdao and Stevens champion the elderly dog as just might look a little different. One’s job as a gray muzzle one worthy of his owner’s continued devotion and all-out effort to empower him to be who he is in any given moment, and accept him guardian is to employ what Washington State University neuroscientist and author Prof. Jaak Panksepp calls the “seeking circuit” in as such. Both presenters stressed the importance of guardians exdogs. Sdao shared Panksepp’s explanation of the seeking circuit as a amining this question: “What type of relationship do you want with your pet?” The answer is, no doubt, the same as when you and your set of connections in the brain that all mammals share. This circuit triggers and sustains searching and wanting behavior. It is thus the puppy first locked eyes – companionship. In fact, several times “motivational engine that gets us out of the bed, or den, or hole to throughout the workshop, discussions connected the challenges of venture forth into the world.” The act of seeking releases the “feel senior dogs to the trials of puppyhood, as both stages require an owner’s patience, time and commitment to bring out a dog’s best. In good” chemical dopamine in the brain, which in itself reinforces the behavior. Therefore, as Sdao explained, if we can heavily reinforce aging dogs, however, Sdao feels we are gifted the unique opportunity to engage them in a way that reveals a “brilliance” only maturity our aging pup’s energy to seek, we can keep him engaged in the world around him. While we might need to adjust our cuing system and life experience can shape. to meet his changing abilities, the ABCs of operant learning remain As a certified canine fitness trainer, Stevens advocates for pet parents to take a more active role with their elderly dogs instead of central to empowering elderly dogs with experiences whereby they make their own decisions and receive rich reinforcement for their passively accepting physical and mental limitations due to age. She offered behaviors. outlined a spectrum of observable age-related changes and how Even though owners might have to accept a different level of reeach might present itself in our dog’s daily interactions with people, sponsiveness, they should continue to capture and shape behaviors objects and surroundings. She also suggested various ways we can accommodate these changes in our home, particularly those involv- in senior pets. Gray muzzle guardians also need to create learning opportunities that strengthen a senior pet’s emotional resilience. It ing mobility. These may range from simply rearranging furniture to 14

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Lori Stevens (right) advocates for pet parents to take a more active role with their elderly dogs

is common for an aging pet to express anxiety or fearful reactions to once familiar toys, people, sounds, etc. Therefore, the need to countercondition becomes more of an everyday routine. Using games that require senior pets to “rehearse intentional startles” is one way owners can help them past this aging hurdle. Due to changes in mental, physical and sensory abilities, pet behavior consultant and PPG special counsel member Dr. Lynn Honeckman explained, “The world becomes very small for our seniors,” and we have a responsibility to prepare them for this stage in their life. To do so, Sdao suggested “let[ting] go of your remembered dog and really see[ing] the older, stiffer, confused dog doing her best.” Discussions followed on how to keep seniors engaged in playing, as well as providing motivation to keep them eating, until, ultimately, how to prepare for losing them. In an exchange of tender moments shared by presenters and attendees, we all learned the importance of planning ahead, and making choices for our pet’s final transition to avoid emotions driving our decisions in the final moments. While age can no doubt introduce a set of challenges for both senior dogs and their guardians, Sdao and Stevens led an impassioned plea for attendees to make their senior’s gray muzzled years a rich experience by accepting presented limitations while still engaging them in moments of joy, and empowering them with the support to give what they have to offer in the here and now. n

Gray muzzle guardians need to create learning opportunities that strengthen a senior pet’s emotional resilience

Owners of senior dogs should continue to capture and shape behaviors


The workshop encouraged guardians to keep senior dogs engaged in playing

A dog’s senior years can still be a rich experience for both canine and human guardian

Workshop attendees were presented with ideas for enrichment and empowerment to engage their senior canines mentally and physically

Senior dog guardians can make simple changes in the home to help their dog’s mobility

We are always on the lookout for interesting features, member profiles, case studies and training tips to feature in BARKS from the Guild and BLOGS from the Guild. If you’d like to join the growing band of member contributors, please get in touch.

Email: BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Project Trade at Work

Susan Kendrick reports on the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers’ participation in Paws in the Park


he annual Orlando Pet Alliance Paws in the Park event, held on February 11, 2017 at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, Florida, was a huge success. Each year the event brings thousands of dog parents out to learn more about the Pet Alliance, check out adoptable dogs, learn about dock diving and agility, and benefit from visiting the many vendors present, one of which was the Central Florida Force-Free Trainers and Veterinary Behavior Network, www As a network, our goal is to teach, guide and coach animal caregivers how to use force-free methods, rewards, 16

Amanda Burger (left) and Susan Kendrick display some of the gear they traded for nopull harnesses

(Left to right) Amanda Burger, Todd Campbell and Susan Kendrick were on hand to educate dog guardians about force-free training methods

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

One pet owner looks happy after making the trade -- and so does his dog

and respect to build a bond of mutual trust and love with their pets. I am happy to say we stayed busy all day with interested pet parents wanting to learn more about modern, scientifically sound training methods. The network’s Amanda Burger of Every Dog Has Its Day, Susan Kendrick of Bowser College Inc., and Todd Campbell of South Orlando Dog Training showed great enthusiasm and a non-judgmental attitude that was infectious and drew people in to discuss force-free options. In addition, we also highlighted PPG’s Project Trade gear swap program, www /Project-Trade, and had an


Canine behavior and training professionals at the event found owners needed little -- if any -persuasion to trade aversive gear for a more humane alternative

Susan Kendrick relieves this dog of her prong collar, to the delight of both the dog and her guardian

Amanda Burger (right) with another satisfied client who switched gear via Project Trade

overwhelming number of dog lovers who wanted to trade in their choke, prong and e-collars for a gentler, Freedom No-Pull Harness. We were thrilled to find that, in fact, very little persuasion was necessary. As soon as people saw our no pull, no pain alternative for enjoying a walk with their dog, they were sold. People willingly wanted to do the right thing for their pet, and were very happy to be able to trade their old gear and start using a force-free harness as their new walking equipment. Some of our favorite trades are shown in the photos (above and opposite page). We could truly feel the pet parent’s relief as they happily walked away with their four-legged friend -- their demeanor and interaction with their dog changed instantly. In the meantime, our vendor table was stocked with No Pain, No Force, No Fear bumper stickers, bracelets, luggage tags and more. Spreading the word of PPG and Force-Free Florida was a worthy mission that we were very proud to embark on, and we look forward to continuing. n

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



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

In terms of pet training, management and care, we now know enough to stop shocking


our pets, states PPG in its open letter to industry associations (Part One of three)

© Can Stock Photo/Nejron

hocking pet dogs remains a common, if controversial, training ited to -- products often referred to as e-collars, training collars, shock practice worldwide. In this open letter, Pet Professional Guild collars, e-touch, stimulation, tingle,TENS unit collar, remote trainers, (PPG) combines decades of research, the opinions of certified and e-prods.) In 2017, can there really still be a debate over the animal behaviorists, and the question of ethics to explain why issue of using pain as a “method” of animal training? Decades of using electric shock in the name of training “Shocking constitutes a form of peer-reviewed, scientific studies show, and care is both ineffective and harmful. whether discussing dogs, humans, dolphins or abuse towards pets, and, given PPG concludes that shocking constitutes a that there are highly effective, elephants, that electric shock as a form of positive training alternatives, form of abuse towards pets, and, given that training to teach or correct a behavior is inshould no longer be a part of there are highly effective, positive training effective at best, and physically and psychothe current accepted practices, logically damaging at worst. alternatives, should no longer be a part of tools or philosophies.” the current pet industry culture of acRenowned board certified animal behavcepted practices, tools or philosophies. iorist and veterinarian, Dr. Karen Overall (2005) states: “There are now terrific scientific and research data that show the harm Introduction that shock collars can do behaviorally. At the July 2005, International Veterinary Behavior Meeting, held in conjunction with the This document will present and attempt to answer three quesAmerican Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and American tions PPG believes to be key for those leading, guiding and creCollege of Veterinary Behaviorists research meetings, data were dentialing pet industry professionals: 1. Can professional associations and credentialing bodies work presented by E. Schalke, J. Stichnoth, and R. Jones-Baade that docwithin the confines of applied animal behavior without endorsing umented these damaging effects...There is no longer a reason for people to remain misinformed. Let me make my opinion peror enabling shock collar practitioners? fectly clear: Shock is not training - in the vast majority of cases it 2. Can pet industry associations and credentialing bodies redefine the rules for humane hierarchies simply by applying a layer meets the criteria for abuse.” Ziv (2017) condenses a number of studies and surveys to reof ethics that rules out certain equipment choices deemed highly view the data on the relationship between the use of electronic aversive and invasive? collars and dogs’ behavior and concludes that, “given the available 3. As a minimum and first step, should members of professional associations be identified by data and in order to avoid risking the dogs’ welfare, trainers An electric shock provides no should avoid using electronic collars when training dogs.” Yet, in training philosophy and tools of effective strategy for an animal to learn a new or alternative choice, enabling pet owners to spite of the decades of studies, there is still plethora of organizabehavior; it simply inflicts pain tions, associations and councils responsible for the representamake informed and transparand risks making him fearful, anxious and/or aggressive tion, guidance and certification of pet industry professionals ent choices on behalf of their adhering to the belief that shock is an acceptable way to train, pets? care for and manage pets. These associations play a critical role in Since its inception in establishing and recommending best practices, education, leader2012, PPG’s position has been ship and technical standards in their respective arena. With this that “the use of electronic role comes the obligation to take a transparent and consistent stimulation, or ‘shock’ or ‘eposition on important and urgent issues, including training praccollars’ to care for, manage tices and equipment use. This does not mean said organizations and train/modify the behavior need to remove or inhibit required levels of professional autonof pet animals is simply not omy by practicing, ethical individuals. Indeed, PPG believes that a necessary.” (Note: For the purline based on research, science, and ethics should be drawn as to poses of this document, elecwhat are, and are not, acceptable business practices in terms of tronic stimulation devices applied animal behavior (ABA), core principles, and informed include --but are not lim18

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

consent. Wherever possible “practitioners should base their choices of training methods on scientific data.” (Ziv, 2017). The fundamental concepts of facilitating professionals to operate within a code of conduct and empowering them to maintain professional autonomy are not mutually exclusive. According to PPG’s Open Letter on Defining, Determining and Maintaining Best Practices within our Force-Free Organization (2012), professionals “must be allowed autonomy to work within the guidelines of their professional code of practice,” and “[PPG] members are encouraged to use their individual methods of choice from within governing principles and guidelines.” (Pet Professional Guild, 2012). This statement references PPG’s Guiding Principles, which are supported by a number of clear, simple nonnegotiable best practices. These include completely eschewing the use of aversive training tools, such as shock, prong, or choke. In addition, PPG members agree they will not approach training or pet care via any method that works primarily through the application of pain, force or fear (Pet Professional Guild, 2012). Industry associations and credentialing bodies must take full responsibility for the fact that pet owners are encouraged to purchase services from their members purely by association, and through their efforts to market said members to the general pet owning public. Unfortunately, this does not take into account the vast differences in methodology and philosophy that may exist across an organization’s membership body. In other words, there is no stated transparency in terms of the risks and benefits associated with the services provided, nor any differentiation between those members who practice a force-free training philosophy, and those who still risk physical and/or psychological harm to pets through their approach, philosophy and/or tool choice. In addition, there are no ramifications for members that misrepresent their services through the omission of information in a membership directory, or through their individual professional websites. This begs the question as to how consumers are protected in the absence of compulsory transparency across, or within the membership organization. As it stands, pet owners who are steered towards a professional organization through its marketing efforts search, at their own peril, through an assortment of trainers operating at opposite ends of the ethical and moral spectrum.

The Use and Application of Shock

Applying an electric shock provides no effective strategy for an animal to learn a new or alternative behavior; it simply inflicts pain and risks making him fearful, anxious and/or aggressive. Generally speaking, a pet owner’s main goals when shocking their pet are, firstly, to punish perceived misbehavior in the moment and, secondly, reduce future recurrences of the undesirable behavior. Shocking is a form of punishment and, as such, can only achieve the first goal, and harshly. In the absence of a constructional approach whereby new and more appropriate behaviors are built, most punishment outside a laboratory environment (where all components can be systematically manipulated) is extremely unreliable and encased by unintended consequences.


There can be no doubt that electric shock is a punisher, and for punishment to be effective as a means to training a dog -- or any other animal -- there are three critical elements that must be fulfilled: consistency, timing and intensity. First, the punishment must occur every time the unwanted behavior occurs. Second, it must be administered within, at most, a second or two of the behavior. Third, it must be unpleasant enough to stop the behavior. To reiterate, in the real world outside science laboratories, meeting these three criteria is virtually impossible for a dog training professional, and most certainly for a dog owner. Citing a variety of studies, Ziv (2017) concludes that “even when experienced trainers operate [shock] collars, the welfare of the dogs could be compromised,” and states it to be “likely that the threat to dogs’ welfare would be even greater in the hands of unskilled dog owners, who might lack the timing and consistency needed for this type of training to be successful…due to the aversive nature of these devices and the likelihood of training ineffectiveness, their use can be abusive.” n Part Two of this three-part article will be published in the July issue of BARKS from the Guild


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

To read PPG’s full Open Letter to Pet Industry Representatives Regarding the Use of Shock in Animal Training, see BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



© Can Stock Photo/DeepDesertPhoto

Via a functional assessment, behavior professionals should be able to determine why dogs are fighting and implement a plan accordingly, progressing only when the dogs are ready -- and not when anyone else “thinks” they should be ready

Fighting in Multi-Dog Households

Diane A. Garrod presents a systematic approach for behavior professionals to use as a


guide for restoring peace to a household of warring canines

hen family dogs fight, it is scary. Panic sets in, people don’t know what to do, and the whole family dynamic can change. When the call came, it simply stated, rather desperately: "My dogs are fighting." Upon further questioning it transpired that two females, a spayed Rottweiler and a Dobermanmix, had had a fight inside the home and, when the male guardian had attempted to pull the Doberman-mix away, he sustained 30 bites to his arm, needing stitches and liquid drain shunts.

Can dogs be helped once they start fighting? The question becomes, is euthanasia, or rehoming the only answer? Sometimes it is, but with a systematic plan in place, peace can be restored in many cases. If the prognosis is not good, i.e. the guardians will not change or put in the work, or changing the environment is not an option, it is more likely rehoming or euthanasia will occur. It might be easy to say the dogs’ owners should have avoided the incident in the first place, or prevented it from happening, but those with less experience might not look that far ahead because they just assume their dogs should get along. If you are a trainer getting the call for help, the first thing is to not be judgmental or make assumptions but, rather, evaluate how the fight occurred in the first place by asking targeted questions, such as: • When did the fighting start? • Where does it occur? • Does it occur at a certain time of day? 20

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

• Have the dogs gotten along in the past? • How often is it happening? • Is there a place the dogs get along? • What solid skills and cues do the dogs have? • What is wonderful about each dog? Evaluation is important to determine the prognosis, and whether the fighting is health-related, redirected/reflexive aggression, overarousal, due to sustained stressful situations, or environmentally induced. Whatever the answer is to these questions, errorless prevention and management (supervision) will be the first part of a transformative, rehabilitative process. There is a saying, "Change the environment, change the dog," and this is absolutely necessary in multi-dog household fighting. What to do immediately: • Avoid getting bitten. • Call a vet if damage was done. Bites require medical attention. • Separate the dogs, purchase baby gates, crates, and/or Xpens (exercise pens). • Play “musical dogs” (i.e. rotation - one out, one in and so on, but not near each other). It is best if dogs do not see each other for the time being. • Each dog should have regular one-on-one time with their main guardian, and with other family members. • Call a qualified professional in canine behavior for an assessment.

COVER STORY • Conduct a complete stress release program at least three days prior to beginning the Acclimate - Tolerate - Accept (ATA) dog process. • Initiate a protocol of errorless prevention and management. • Get all family members on board to prevent, manage and work through the phases of acclimation, tolerance and acceptance. The ATA dog process involves using the same step-by-step, systematic process with all multi-dog households. The difference lies in how quickly you can move forward, paying close attention to duration and distance, calming and stress signals, and body language in general.

the ATA dog process, and that is their legacy. Let's now take a look at the process to revert to a peaceful household. Note: It is essential that dog guardians are assisted by a professional who understands what to do and how to implement the process. The process provides an overview, but is not a recipe and must be adjusted to each individual case. It comes only after a thorough functional assessment and prognosis, and a stress release protocol (which is mandatory for my business and working with two dogs fighting). There is a layer of preparation prior to implementation. As professionals, we really have to know the dogs we are working with. The triggers and stimuli must always be evaluated and the environment has to change. Starting with just feeding sets the stage for moving forward.

Teaching, Not Scolding

Systematic Stage-by-Stage Process

The goal is to prevent fights from occurring again by uncovering why they are happening in the first place. Start at where the dogs are now, the concept being to reward them for what they are doing right, rather than waiting for them to do something wrong. In the case of the Rottweiler and Doberman-mix, I first sought several trainer opinions and, across the board, they said rehome or euthanize. Of course, as a professional, those options need to be on the table and a discussion with dog guardians must occur. In this case, the dogs were friendly to people, had not fought for years prior, came together during a marriage of the two pet guardians, no children were involved, and the guardians were willing and able to do the work needed, so the prognosis was good, in my opinion. My functional assessment concluded that, if the Doberman became overaroused, she would redirect on the Rottweiler. The ATA dog process was developed from working with these two females, whereby it took on a reality and life of its own, going from acclimation to tolerance and finally to acceptance. The first two parts of the ATA dog process have very specific steps (described below). Movement forward occurs only when the dogs are ready, not when anyone thinks they should move forward. Going too fast will put the process out of synch and backward movement will be inevitable, while going too slow will hinder the process progressing beyond a certain point. A very clear structure needs to occur, along with the creation of a true partnership between pet guardians, pet professional and the dogs. The process involves: • Prevention and management. • Stress release. • Systematic acclimation leading to… • Tolerance, and finally… • Acceptance. • Maintenance. A complete veterinary check-up may be required, including blood work-ups (complete blood count and serum chemistry) and discussion about medication, if needed. During the process the Rottweiler and Doberman-mix were enrolled in two levels of reactive dog classes, both were put on a raw diet, and it was discovered the Rottweiler had hypothyroidism. After the process, both dogs lived in the same family peacefully for the rest of their lives, both recently passing on. These girls were the beginning of

Pre-Stage A stress release protocol of at least three days (more if necessary) is required, as the dog(s) will benefit and it will make the process a smoother transition to final results (see Canine Emotional Detox:The Missing Link, BARKS from the Guild, June 2012, p. 36-41). A veterinary check-up is highly advised.

Stage One: Acclimate

Stage one involves three steps all aimed at starting to equalize the household by making sure that, every time the dogs see each other, good things are happening and rewards are delivered. “Acclimate” = become accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions, or (in terms of biology) respond physiologically or behaviorally to a change in a single environmental factor.

Given the above definition, it becomes critical during this stage to implement an errorless prevention and management process. This means there must be changes to the home environment and the way day-to-day routines unfold. In addition, the dogs need to acclimate to each other, as though they were being introduced into the household for the first time. Is it easy? No. Is it effective? Yes. Is it progressive? Yes.

The Three Steps ◦ ◦ ◦

1. Remaining neutral. 2. Reward one dog at a time, using the dogs’ names. 3. Equalizing, i.e. releasing treats at same time.

Stage One, Step One: Remaining Neutral Session Length: 10 minutes (no more, no less). Distance: The dogs should be two full arms’ lengths and a human body away from each other at an absolute minimum. The distance needs to be where the dogs are below threshold and feeling comfortable. If that is a football field away, then that is where it has to start, moving closer only as the dogs’ body language indicates that you can do so. Obviously this can mean it is necessary to walk between the dogs to deliver the rewards, or use more than one participating family member, with the dogs behind baby gates, in Xpens or held on leashes. BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Photo: Diane Garrod

Make arm movements break, the dogs go to sepadramatic, because they will rate quarters, then come come to mean something to back in. the dogs, and become a The feeding is slow, dragreat redirect signal. matic and meticulous, so the The set-up involves: rewards used may not be as • One dog on either many as you might think. Do side of guardian's body at step one three times in one arm's length or at a distance. day before going to the next • The resource step. guarder or perpetrator is on Stage One, Step Two: Releash held by a family memward One Dog at a Time ber (no pulling allowed, so Step two is similar to step this person has to stand far one, except the guardian enough back that the dog now looks at the first dog can go to the end of the (still being dramatic with leash and be right at the their arm and the food) and arm's length of the person says one name at a time, These dogs have worked their way up to a distance doing the exercise). positively to the point where they can also be off feeds and then does the • A bowl of the dogs’ leash; behavior professionals must always consider distance, duration and distractions same with the other dog. daily food or rewards, when working through the protocol Set-up and duration are the preferably of high value. same as in step one. (Note: Mealtimes are ideal for this). Work toward a positive solution equalizing the household. In • Putting the bowl on a table in front of the guardian, or this step, start looking for the dogs glancing briefly at each other, in the lap of the guardian who is seated or standing and facing remaining calm (especially if you start to move them incremenforward. The dogs are on either side, not in front of the guardian, tally closer) until they are a full two arms’ lengths and one body but exactly to the side at arm's length. length away. Arms should be outstretched so take time to meas• If walking between the dogs with an increased distance, ure this, mark on the floor how far the dogs can come. There set up the table at the mid-point. should be no growling, hard staring, lunging, barking etc. It is esThe Process: sential to keep the dogs below threshold and always end on a • The guardian does not talk to dogs or look at them (no high note. eye contact). • A treat is released quietly first to one dog, then the The Process: other. The first dog should be the dog that has been in household • The guardian will now say the dogs’ names, and look at the longest because, often, the reason fights occur is when a new each dog only when feeding. dog comes in and is given full run of the household, with the dog • A treat is released first to one dog, then the other. The who has been there prior taking a back seat. Showing the dogs first dog should be the dog that has been in household longest. that they are both family members helps the first dog see the This does not actually matter except in the beginning of the other dog differently, i.e. good things happen around him, and process, but mixing it up later makes it fun as the dogs become vice versa. The situation thus equalizes. It does not matter who is engaged with the owner, the owner with the dogs, and the dogs the instigator or who is the victim; both are operating out of fear with each other. If it is not fun for all, the prognosis will not be or challenge, and one may be fighting back or not. It is more good. about setting up the environment so every time the dogs see • For an example of how to work with these tools, see Soho and Navie, a challenging case (SassyCats78, 2014). each other, good things happen. • The guardian puts both hands in the bowl and puts one • The guardian puts both hands in the bowl and puts one treat in each hand. treat in each hand. • One hand comes out of the bowl to the first dog. The • One hand comes out of the bowl to the first dog (eyes guardian looks at the dog as their arm comes down, says the are forward - no looking at or talking to the dog). dog's name and releases the food. • The guardian’s arm comes up out of the bowl and • All is done at an arm’s length away. around (dramatic), then down to the dog's mouth, which is an • Repeat. Duration 10 minutes. arm's length away (or walk to each dog back and forth). Release • Decrease distance incrementally. Keep duration steady. the reward. When you have worked up to a minimum of one arm’s length • Repeat with the other dog. away or closer, go on to stage two. • Repeat for 10 minutes. If there is more than one • Working through stage one, steps one, two and three guardian, spend five minutes with one guardian and five with the other, with a five-minute break in between, if needed. If there is a should take about five to seven days 22

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

COVER STORY Stage One, Step Three: Equalization Starts Step three is similar to step two, except the guardian now releases the food at exactly the same time for both dogs. The guardian says the first dog's name and then the second without yet releasing the food, which is positioned near mouths. After the second dog's name is spoken, the food is released simultaneously. By this time, the dogs should be very happy to see each other, with tails wagging softly, and glancing at each other happily. Good things are happening, and the dogs anticipate this will continue. The Process: • The guardian will now say the dog's name, and look at each dog only when saying his name. • The treat is released simultaneously, equalizing. • The guardian puts both hands in the bowl and puts one treat in each hand. • Both hands come out of the bowl, one for each dog. • All is done at an arm’s length away. (Note: It is rare that the dogs would be as close as in the photo (see page 22, top center). These dogs have worked their way up to this distance positively to the point where they can also be off leash.You would never want to start with this proximity, nor without barriers at first, nor with dogs who might be resource guarders.You always must focus on the 3Ds, i.e. distance, duration and distractions, that are acceptable and workable for both dogs. As you move forward, decreasing distance incrementally and comfortably for both dogs is key. Increasing the duration they are together from a successful 1 to 10 minutes, then incrementally more, and being aware of distractions in the environment that could trigger a response from either dog is also key. Keep the dogs successful. A professional would always be looking at the 3Ds before moving forward or backward in the process. • Repeat with the other dog. • Repeat for 10 minutes. Note: Dogs with more volatile relationships may have to start behind a baby gate or much further than an arm's length away, in which case the treat will be tossed to the dog. Stage Two: Distance Decreasing Process, Protected Contact,Tolerance “Tolerate” = allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference or accept or endure (someone or something unpleasant or disliked) with forbearance or be capable of continued subjection to without adverse reaction. It is important not to rush these sequences. By not rushing you are more likely to be successful in having dogs that will learn to live civilly with each other in a lasting manner. Stage two is all about introducing a distance decreasing process and using protected contact. It is about developing what I call drama arms, a dramatic signal to the dogs that good things are flowing. Equipment needed may include Xpens or baby gates. You can also have one dog in an Xpen and the other on a leash held by another person, but note that a tether should not be

Prevention and Management

“Errorless prevention and management is critical in dog-dog aggression cases, but when used in isolation, does not teach the dogs anything, and can be stressful for both the people and the dogs.There is always the risk that an approach of prevention and management only can go very wrong. Instead, moving through the Acclimate - Tolerate - Accept dog process, we are teaching the dogs what we want them to do instead, making being together a good thing, and providing away time and more. Prevention and management may be viewed perhaps as an ‘easy way out,’ but it does not address the problem nor move the dogs forward.” - Diane Garrod

used if a dog lunges, barks or is leash aggressive. Sometimes circumstances are such that there is one person to each dog. Each case is unique. Where this process does not work is if a new puppy or dog has been brought into a household with an already dog-aggressive dog that has not been worked with. That is a disaster waiting to happen because the dogs have no prior history with each other to indicate they might get along in the future. It is always a risk. Tolerate 1 Both dogs will be in Xpens. The goal is to see the dogs acknowledging each other, lying close in the knowledge that when they are together good things happen. Treats will flow here. As a professional, you are constantly assessing body language. When you move through issues you do not always see good warm fuzzies, but what you really do not want to see is the dogs going over threshold. A calming signal like a dog turning his back is acceptable. In such a case you would go no further or move the Xpens any closer. Instead, you would move the dogs back 5 feet or so, do one final feeding, and end the session on success with it being comfortable for both dogs. Working a dog or dog(s) through intraspecies issues means making a big effort to work through what you are actually seeing. The process itself depends on what the dogs are telling you -you can go forward and backward at any time and must be an expert in reading signals and body language. Many people go too far too fast or too slowly. There is a fine line here. Note that a dog turning his back can also indicate "thinking," depending on the context. In subsequent sessions, the Xpens will be incrementally moved closer, 1 foot at a time (or whatever distance the dogs can tolerate), until they are together, then you will move to stage three. The sessions must always go at the dogs’ pace and may need to go backward or forward at any moment. To keep moving forward even ¼ inch when you do not have the distance decreasing body signals you are looking for is unacceptable. Tolerate 2 Start with the Xpens as many feet away as it takes for the dogs to be relaxed and below threshold and gradually move closer. The distance in the photo (see page 24, top left) is about 10 feet so very careful movement is required with lots of rest periods. Calculating proper distance is critical. Understand that each case will be based on the individual dogs, and that the ATA process is not a one-size-fits-all recipe in any sense. BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


Photo: Diane Garrod


Photo: Diane Garrod

The goal is to move the dogs incrementally closer to a point where, under supervision, they can be together successfully for one to five minutes

Photo: Diane Garrod

The dogs are rotated with one in the Xpen and one out, while the behavior professional watches for and rewards distance decreasing signals

Photo: Diane Garrod

The distance here is about 10 feet so very careful movement is required with lots of rest periods: Calculating proper distance is critical and each case will be based on the individual dogs involved

At this stage of the program the dogs are tolerating each other


BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

What You Are Watching for in Stage Two: • Distance decreasing body language. • The dogs are civil to one another behind protected contact. Set-up: • Two Xpens are ideal. • The dogs should be at a distance where no reactions are occurring and they both feel safe to complete the exercises. Set-up should be done both indoors and outdoors. • The process now involves only feeding when you see a distance decreasing signal initiated by one or the other dog such as a play bow, a relaxation posture (a sit or a down), lying down close to each other, looking softly at each other and turning away, soft tail wags, etc.).You can start to use a clicker here for more precise communication. Click or mark (with a “yes!” or other word) and reward any distance decreasing signal you see. Precision is important at this stage.You are rewarding what the dogs are doing right. • Keep duration to five minutes, three times a day. • Before moving to stage three, the dogs should be eager to see each other from a distance, incrementally moving closer to 15 or 10 feet and offering distance decreasing signals, indoors and outdoors.

What are distance decreasing signals? It is very important to understand what constitutes communication, and what constitutes reacting to or aggressing on. Distance decreasing signals indicate that a dog wants another person or dog to come closer. Signals include play bows, easy wagging tails, grinning (a closed-mouth gesture with the front teeth showing, and usually the corners of the mouth are pulled back so you can see the back teeth, too), relaxed posture and soft eyes, and licking (to the side of the mouth instead of licking the front nose/lips area). If you see a dog giving one such signal, progress is being made, but remember to take everything in context. If there are mixed signals, it is best to take things very slowly. Stage Three Set-up: • Xpens next to each other (at a speed the dogs can tolerate, move closer, one foot at a time). • One dog in, one out (either on or off leash, it depends on the dog at this stage). • Rotate – reward for the right behavior and look for distance decreasing signals. The goal is to incrementally move the Xpens closer until they are around 5 feet apart, and then place them right next to each other. Once this is achieved, you can begin to use mats and ask the dogs to lie down. The process you choose depends on the volatility of the dogs’ previous interactions and the progress witnessed. This is the middle stage in terms of tolerance. The Process: One dog is in the Xpen and one is out. Alternatively, one dog can stay on mat with the other supervised and walking around. Then rotate. Continue looking for and using mark/reward for distance

Tolerate 3 At this point we start distance work, slowly decreasing if we are getting the proper signals. Each dog is released from any barrier and is on leash. Rotate who is out and who is in. One dog in the photo (see page 24, bottom left) looks to me for the next steps and trusts me. The Cairn is inching away but we are at a certain distance so I am just standing. If this happens, walk backwards, call the dog or use a positive interrupter, reward and then reset. The photo (top right) depicts an example of a female Havanese and a female Cairn terrier, where we have taken a step forward. This, however, is not okay with the dogs at this point, so we remove the social pressure, toss a handful of rewards to the Havanese, and the exercise ends. Always end on success. Let the

A neutral dog has been added as a go-between to remove social pressure and bring a sense of calm to the process

We have taken a step forward but this is not okay with the dogs at this point, so we remove the social pressure and end the exercise

Photo: Diane Garrod

Stage Four: Be Prepared - Checklist,Tools of Tolerance • Use of barriers and markers. • Use of distance. • Use of duration. • Watching for positive changes in emotional responses (CERs) to each other. • Proofing progress. • Going from barriers to leash, to long line. • Practicing approaches, walk aways, walk-bys - all highly rewarding. • Work on manners, come aways, whistle recalls. • Off-leash work starts - decrease duration (whenever you add new contexts, decrease duration and increase distance). • Neutral dog addition (if one is available). Start on-leash work, and move to a long line when the dogs are ready. The goal is incremental duration of up to 10 minutes of peaceful compliance, then 20, 30 and 60 minutes. The dogs are still supervised together. This is a tolerate advanced stage. At this stage you may want to go back and forth between stages three and four depending on the dogs’ comfort levels and the context of where they are in your environment. Duration is key. Keep togetherness rewarding and successful. Use dramatic arm movements as a positive cue, move between the dogs, rewarding what they are doing right, and mark and reward that. Always end on a high note. Use the checklist of tolerance tools to develop a format where you work both dogs on leash, do static distance sits and downs, parallel walks at an acceptable distance, distance approach/retreat and slowly decrease distance, and slowly increase duration of exercises. Here, you can be creative.

Photo: Diane Garrod

decreasing signals. By now everything should be flowing smoothly and the dogs are willingly and eagerly giving distance decreasing signals whenever they see each other. They are tolerating each other. It is as simple as that at this stage. Go back and forth in the stages as needed. The goal is to move incrementally closer and start to, under supervision, provide closer proximity where the dogs are together successfully for one to five minutes.You are working toward 10 minutes of peaceful tolerance with supervision, but do not assume anything at this stage.


dogs go to separate areas to relax and process the information they have received. These sessions last only about five minutes, followed by a processing period and then five minutes more. In addition, a series of impulse control skill work, working one dog at a time in the household, should begin. If you have a neutral dog, as in the photo of the two Cairn terriers (second from top), add him now as a go-between. This removes social pressure while the neutral dog teaches the other dogs and brings a sense of calm to the process. One stage four case I consulted on involved a 4-year-old pit bull mix who started habitually aggressing toward the 4-year-old herding mix in the household with unclear and globalizing triggers. It started with resource guarding but the guardian said it happened out of nowhere, with unidentifiable and unpredictable triggers. One injury that was caused by the pit bull mix to the herding mix required veterinary attention. In this case, muzzles were initially required on both dogs. In this case video example, Fence Between (Donaldson, 2014), the dogs are working through the fighting in stage four, and in this video, First few trials of our session today (Donaldson, 2014), we can see some nice progress with the same two dogs in stage four. There is an eagerness to see each other, and some good distance decreasing signals. Stage Five “Accept” = to agree or consent without adverse reaction or to live peacefully. BARKS from the Guild/May 2017




The dogs are now in post stage, which involves maintenance and growth, continued acceptance, and a peaceful existence

Photo: Diane Garrod

Photo: Diane Garrod

At the start of the process, these Havanese and Cairn terrier females could could not be within 100 yards of each other; now they feel safe and confident around each other

The goal at this stage is to extend the duration of the dogs’ supervised time together both on and off leash to include supervised walks. Following an off-leash duration starting at 10 minutes, you can proceed to short unsupervised togetherness (you are out of sight, but not out of reach) starting at one minute. End on success frequently in this stage. What you will notice through the acceptance stage as a systematic process: • The dynamic has changed. • Environmental enrichment, exercise, and relaxation are taking the edge off. • The dogs are eager to see each other and to be together peacefully. • The dogs come away quickly on cue. • Every time the dogs are together good things continue to happen. • Prevention, management and supervision are easier but will be there for a lifetime. This stage is where the dogs start to accept each other again. It is your job not to assume anything, but to know the triggers and positive and negative body language, and give the dogs regular breaks from each other. The duration can increase to two hours, then incrementally more. This is where you see what the dogs can accept and how far they can go, but the goal is always to end on success. By now, a peaceful household should have been achieved. As you go through the steps there is no room for error. In all stages, the goal is that the process is smooth and no fights break out. This takes supervision, consulting with a qualified multi-dog household fighting professional, and making sure the dogs’ acceptance levels are adhered to and watched closely, and that regular relaxation periods occur away from each other for life.

Xpens were no longer necessary. After much proofing, leashes were no longer necessary either. The difference in the dogs’ body language is apparent. The dogs are calm and focused. They are enjoying each other's company. They have achieved a feeling of safety, trust and confidence. The transformation of the Havanese and the Cairn is now complete and they have a new life together.Years later all is well. What did it take? It took 21 days of the Havanese being removed from the home. During the removal there were four days of stress release, then nine days of retraining and integration back into the household, followed by equalization, acclimation and two months of continued ATA working toward acceptance. The total time to complete acceptance was three and a half months. Acclimation and tolerance take the longest time to achieve, and acceptance is a result of these two pieces. When acceptance is achieved the dogs’ body language will indicate that you have reached this point. Enjoy the process, develop safety, trust, confidence and a high level of responsiveness to various cues as you move forward and work toward a peaceful outcome. n

Post Stage This stage involves maintenance and growth, continued acceptance, and a peaceful existence (see photo, top right). The photo (top left) is what we worked up to with the Havanese and Cairn terrier females. There was a point in this process where these dogs could not be within 100 yards of each other. Putting two Xpens together, then one, then highly rewarding the dogs and monitoring them got us to the point where

Diane Garrod PCT-A CA1 BSc is a certified American Treibball Association instructor, and a judge, charter member and marketing chair for the National Association of Treibball Enthusiasts. She is also the owner of Canine Transformations,, based in Langley, Washington, where she conducts Treibball workshops, classes and private consults.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


Donaldson, K. (2014, September 22). Fence Between [Video file]. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from Donaldson, K. (2014, October 1). First few trials of our session today [Video file]. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from SassyCats78. (2014, February 6). Soho and Navie, a Challenging Case [Video file]. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from


Garrod, D. (2012, June). Canine Emotional Detox: The Missing Link. BARKS from the Guild (2) 36-41. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from

When Slowly Is Faster


Alex Walker relates her journey towards counterconditioning her reactive rescue dog,


Leo, to accept and even enjoy a nail trim

s a new trainer, “the fastest way is the slowest way” was something I heard more than my fair share of times. However, it was not until I adopted my very first “reactive” dog that I actually understood the intention behind this famous phrase, and how slow the “slowest way” actually was. Let me take a moment to introduce you to my first rescue dog, Leo. Just over 1 year old, he was pulled by a critical care rescue purely by the luck of the draw. He had generalized demodex, ingrown rear dew claws, and was labeled fear aggressive by the organization, yet in spite of all this was a very sweet dog. That sweet dog became a terrified dog, however, the evening of our first attempted nail trim. I quickly learned that, to Leo, there was absolutely nothing more terrifying than a nail trim. He would scream, gator roll, and attempt to bite. At the vet, even the most basic exam became impossible. I will be the first to admit that, at the start of our journey to train a voluntary nail trim, I did just about everything wrong. Like many pet owners, I was impatient. I was worried for my dog as his nails (like all dog nails) just kept growing with every day that passed. Walks outdoors helped maintain only his back nails and, of course, even these walks did little to impact those unruly rear dew claws. Feeling desperate I resolved just to “get it done.” I enlisted the help of a couple courageous friends and family members and one evening I lured an unsuspecting Leo into my bedroom. I will save you all of the gory details. In the end though, not only did I get nothing “done,” but I had scared my dog so much that he refused to even enter my room for the rest of the evening, and to this day I still have to contend with this experience. Because of it, Leo is often suspicious of change and hesitant

Leo easily picked up on the new behavior of "scratch," and was soon happily filing his own front nails

Rescue dog Leo was terrified of nail trims, so author and guardian Alex Walker created a scratch board to get his training started

to trust even the smallest movement in criteria. Often, what would seem to be the addition of a simple step instead takes on its own level of slow and consistent work. This is extremely at odds with how Leo tackles other training tasks and I believe this is largely due to his early negative emotional responses associated with the experience. In any case, that one truly terrible evening was more than enough emotional learning for the both of us so, first thing the next morning, I did the same thing we ask our clients to do: I consulted with a force-free trainer. Although this consultation could not magically convince Leo to love nail trims, it did help me build a plan. The very first step of this plan was to schedule a meeting with my vet to sedate Leo and trim his nails to a safe length without all the associated panic. From here, I would hit the ground running and begin to slowly desensitize and countercondition him to the process of a voluntary nail trim, one toe at a time. I learned very quickly that even with my shiny new plan in place, I still had a lot to learn and in the beginning I stumbled quite a bit. Looking back now, I realize the biggest problem and the largest obstacle I had to overcome was me. I often found myself pushing Leo too far too fast, and the closer I got to that goal behavior the faster I tried to move. I made the mistake of jumping on every sign of success with little hesitation and very little consideration for the pace of my dog. This not only constituted a failure on my part, but each time I pushed a little too much we both experienced that classic one step forward and two steps back. Only when I finally stopped getting in my own way and started to respect the pace Leo was BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


TRAINING When training a voluntary nail trim -- or any behavior -it is essential to understand that the dog sets the pace

Leo was desensitized and counterconditioned to the process of a voluntary nail trim, one toe at a time

comfortable with did the “magic” finally start to happen. Today, I can successfully and safely maintain Leo’s nails from the comfort of my own living room. No more vet visits, no more sedation, and best of all no more fear. I undertook this journey in very small steps, and listed below are some of the most important things I feel I learned as we worked to build Leo up to a voluntary nail trim, and that we continue to improve on to this day. • Know your tools: Long past are the days when all we had at our disposal were a basic pair of clippers. DIY scratchboards, dremels, hand files, sanding blocks and even the pavement outside my house all served to assist in the nail trimming process in one way or another. The biggest disservice I did myself when starting out was not taking the time to understand all my options. Only by taking the time to explore each one did I find the tool that Leo was most comfortable with and I felt the most confident using. • Know your dog: By far the most important element of learning this new behavior is the dog himself. It is essential to understand that the dog sets the pace, and it is not until he gives the okay (think relaxed and happy body language) that we move on to the next step. Watch and see what rewards the dog is motivated to work for, how and where he likes to be rewarded, and 28

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

A dog may need more time to acclimate to certain steps of the training process

Trainers can avoid stress for both themselves and the dog by not setting a timeline to achieve the final goal

what steps of the training process he may need more time to acclimate to. All my biggest breakthroughs came about because I took a step back to actually look at what my dog was telling me. One of the largest breakthroughs for me was a lesson in how I went about rewarding Leo. Historically I would take a high value reward (like peanut butter), pile it up on a spoon, offer it and then remove again after Leo had taken a few short licks. I noticed that when I presented the spoon, Leo began to try and snatch large globs of peanut butter, often causing the majority of it to topple off the spoon and directly into my lap. Seeing this, I changed my strategy. Instead I would place a small amount of the high-value reward on the spoon and let Leo sit and lick it as long as he liked. This way I used less, rewarded more, and did not end up with a mouthful of soggy peanut butter in my lap. • Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Many times, we may feel hesitant to ask for advice from other professionals. However, the decision to speak with a force-free trainer more experienced than myself regarding building a voluntary nail trim was the best thing I could have done. As both a dog owner and trainer, the biggest disservice we can do ourselves is to stop learning, especially when it concerns a topic that could exponentially improve the welfare of the animals in our care. If nothing else, my consul-

tation helped ground me, and forced me to sit down and really look at all the variables. The end result was a plan that worked for both me and my dog. • Celebrate the small steps: The journey to counterconditioning a behavior with so many failures attached to it was not easy and it was not fast. Sometimes, going at the pace of your dog requires that you go incredibly slowly, and that is absolutely fine. One of the best things I did to motivate myself was to stop trying to establish a timeline to finish the behavior, and instead take it day by day. Instead of viewing a session as a failure when I could not clip or file a nail, I began to view any progress as a success. My relationship with my vet was pivotal during this change because it gave me a way in the face of failure to ensure Leo and his nails stayed healthy and safe, even if I had to do a little bit of editing training wise. When I stopped seeing the glass half empty and began to celebrate our small successes I finally started to notice all the progress we had been making. At the very least, every voluntary session served to reestablish the trust between myself and my dog. During the early stages of Leo’s training, I needed a way to not only get him comfortable with the feeling of having his nails filed, but also make real progress to keep the nails at a safe and comfortable length. To achieve this I started with a scratchboard, a tool I "DIY'ed" at home after a trip to Home Depot to purchase some plywood and sandpaper covered stair turf. A quick study, Leo easily picked up on the new behavior of "scratch," and was soon happily filing his own front nails in between our already scheduled nail training sessions. This was a great first step for Leo and I think it was in part so successful because it was fast, fun and was disguised as a trick that Leo could start and stop at will. Today we still practice with the scratch board just to maintain the behavior and Leo continues to scratch just as enthusiastically as when I first began teaching the behavior. In the end, despite the challenges, training a voluntary nail trim with my reactive dog remains one of the most rewarding training experiences that Leo and I have shared. It served not only to enhance my dog’s quality of life, but in the process made


me a much more precise and empathetic trainer. Walking through those small, slow steps gave me the first-hand experience and confidence to begin the counterconditioning process on a variety of husbandry behaviors I had previously mentally filed away as “too difficult” or time consuming. What started out of a desperation to safely maintain my dog’s nails has turned into training voluntary blood draws and injections on a dog that, in the past, was unable to be handled for even a simple physical examination. The training process for these was not necessarily the same, but I structured the sessions based on my experience teaching the nail trim, a behavior that Leo was equally, if not more, uncomfortable with. For example, when starting to train a voluntary blood draw and injection behavior to help Leo feel more secure at the vet, I began with simple steps like body position and duration targets. Understanding how to keep my dog happy and comfortable with behaviors that were initially frightening was key, and I made sure to slowly introduce the criteria focusing on Leo's voluntary participation -- something that, as I have said, was a concept I often struggled with during the early stages of building the voluntary nail trim. In the face of failure, my advice is to take a small step back and go at the pace of your dog. Even if at first it seems hopeless and a little silly (it’s not!) to reward something as “simple” as the sight or sound of the nail trimming tools, remember: the fastest way really is the slowest way. n

Alex Walker is a dog trainer at Courteous Canine Inc. DogSmith of Tampa,, as well as a trainer and animal ambassador keeper at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, She works with a variety of species, training everything from basic husbandry to agility, and developed a passion for force-free training after adopting her first rescue dog, Leo. She possesses dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and anthropology and is a licensed Pet Dog Ambassador instructor and assessor, is TrickMeister certified, and a Canine Good Citizen evaluator.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Agility with a Difference

Morag Heirs explores the world of activities available to deaf dogs and their owners, and outlines the different aspects of training


Grub and his guardian Lisa Jarvis have developed into an excellent agility team because they have adapted to working with each other efficiently

gility comes in various flavors depending on where in the world you live, and most organizations are sufficiently enlightened to allow deaf dogs to compete. It is also one of those sports where we are constantly reminded that it is our body language that really matters. How often have you seen a handler calling a cue or obstacle name but their dog follows the accidental hand signal and goes off course? There are many successful deaf dogs taking part in fun agility, weekly training sessions and competing at all levels. In most cases, spectators would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the deaf dog and the hearing dog. In this article I am going to look at some real life examples of deaf dogs learning and loving agility, while explaining some of the training aspects that can be a little bit different. Case Study 1: Body language is more important than signs for obstacles Dog: Grub Age: 5 years Breed: Sealyham/Jack Russell terrier cross Guardian: Lisa Jarvis

Says Jarvis: “Starting agility training with Grub was simply a natural progression from our puppy and follow-on training classes at Heavens Gate, National Animal Welfare Trust in Somerset, UK, the organization I adopted her from at six months of age. The in30

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

The focus Horus needed for agility overrode his anxieties about the environment

tention was always just to have fun and not compete, to progress our training and bond, with the added bonus of being able to volunteer as members of the Heavens Gate Agility Display Team and show just how wonderful deaf dogs can be. “Grub took to agility training and rapidly gained confidence in using all of the pieces of agility equipment, showing no fear or apprehension of heights on the A-frame or dog-walk and a preference for the tunnels, even the cloth ones, which, considering her small size, still surprises me. This lack of fear, or awareness of heights, is why the seesaw is the only piece of kit we have a distinct sign for, mainly to get Grub to slow and allow time for the seesaw to lower to the ground. “More time in training was, and still is, spent on me being clear and consistent with my signs when running a course. Wonder Woman had nothing on me when trying to master a frontcross! A lazy wave of my hand has caused Grub to jump onto and run along the top of a tunnel rather than through; not helped by me and the trainer falling around laughing and thereby reinforcing it – cue one clown of a dog repeating it! Although in height we differ widely, our running speeds are just about matched, so more emphasis is now placed on my feet, their direction and momentum. [This is] useful for Grub as, even when lowered, my hand is still above her natural eye gaze and she needs to be looking at the next obstacle. However, it does make for some interesting maneuvers on my part as it means, if Grub suspects I am slowing or turning, she is less likely to commit to a

tunnel, for example.” Grub and Jarvis are an excellent example of a great agility team who have adapted to work with each other efficiently. We are often asked on the Deaf Dog Network how to teach obstacle signs to deaf dogs, yet in most cases this is just not necessary. Obstacle signs add a layer of complication to the handler, and the body positioning should be enough in most cases. Where an obstacle presents a specific challenge, like the seesaw for Grub, a specific sign can be useful but new handlers need to think about whether this is really necessary for them. Case Study 2:The importance of foundation skills Dog: Scout Age: 2.5 years Breed: Border collie Guardian: Clare Ross

Says Ross: “Scout came to me at 15 weeks old and we immediately started training for agility, this meant lots of groundwork, self-control, and body awareness exercises. By the time we were ready for working on equipment we found the transition easy. “Having a good agility trainer who is willing to help you think outside the box and develop your handling skills is helpful. The only drawback I have found is distance handling. I can only give cues when he's looking at me, but having a dog who is completely focused on me and ignoring all other distractions completely makes up for it.” Scout is completely deaf, and was intended to be a working sheepdog until his deafness was identified. Ross is an agility trainer herself, which has definitely helped when deciding how to tackle his training. Scout’s example highlights the importance of good groundwork – even for those who never plan to actively compete, doing agility safely and competently is about a lot more than getting a dog over a few jumps. The groundwork and body awareness skills mean that obstacles and sequences are just like fitting jigsaw puzzle pieces together. Of course this is true for all dogs, not just deafies, but when you cannot shout extra cues to your dog, it does mean they really have to understand each exercise.


Case Study 3: Collar grabs for everyone! Dog: Pepper Age: 6 years Breed: Border collie Guardian: Karen Fiddler

Pepper races around Says Fiddler: the agility field every “I’d always chance she gets and gets enormous joy viewed agility from herding her as an effortless guardian union of human and dog. I’d pictured my collie, Pepper, effortlessly leaping over tire horse jumps in rural gallops. I had no idea of the work and training involved in agility, or what a joy it would be for both of us. “When our very good friends Dawn (human) and Jussi (gorgeous black Labrador) suggested agility, we leapt at the chance. Dawn knew the trainer, Louisa (of Brighter Dog Training in Thatcham, UK), and we pootled over to the field in Berkshire, as fast as our white Ford Fiesta could legally drive us. It was a hoot! Pepper, at every chance, raced around the field. I hadn’t realized she got such joy from herding me – what I’d always taken as walking alongside me was, to her, play. We had a lot of behaviors to work on. I learned a lot of new vocabulary. “Louisa was perfect for Pepper: calm, patient and thoughtful. With tiny steps that exuberant collie learned she had choices. She chose to go through a tunnel; chose Scout is completely deaf, and was intended to be a to do a wing wrap; and chose to go over working sheepdog until his a series of jumps. Together we learned a deafness was identified new value to toys. A simple “collar grab” instruction became our most valuable asset to transfer to our everyday walks. Yes she’s deaf, but her ability to understand, to figure out what is being asked of her, is immense. Her everyday choices are now more instant and reliable than before we started agility. Our bond deepened.” (Note: for more on collar grabs, see Gadgets and Gizmos, BARKS from the Guild, October 2014, p. 30-32) With Pepper, Fiddler started agility with a slightly older rescue collie but had a similar experience to Ross and Scout. Finding a trainer who teaches the key skills in small steps makes for a fantastic

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



learning experience regardless of how well a dog can hear. The “collar grab” was initially publicized by Susan Garrett of Say Yes Dog Training and is really useful with a deaf dog when you have fewer options. When working with my own deaf/part-blind collie, Bronte, I have found that the collar grab is key to building drive and forward movement. Bronte found it difficult to focus on moving away from me. After all, we had spent so much time reinforcing good eye contact and check-ins. While we built up her toy drive, I included the collar grab/release as a cue for her to chase out after her toy. Now we have a great conditioned response – I grab and slightly pull back on her collar, Bronte gets excited and ready to run in whichever direction I point her. Case Study 4: Agility can provide the focus to work around distractions Dog: Horus Age: 11 years Breed: Border collie cross Guardian: Rosie Gibbs

Says Gibbs: “Horus and I started agility within a couple of months of his adoption as a 2-year-old, solely because I thought it would help us communicate and bond. There was never any intention of competing. I thought it would be impossible with a highly reactive deaf dog. Entering an open field with no fences, and thousands of people and dogs around would be completely incomprehensible. “We worked hard at maintaining focus between every obstacle, and gradually picked up speed and consistency to be able to do a full course. We went to our first indoor show six months after starting and got a third [place]. I was astonished that the focus he needed for agility overrode his anxieties about everyone around us, and it really cemented our relationship. It also fine-tuned my body language to a very high level as he only ever made a mistake if I dropped a shoulder or turned too soon, never because he wasn’t watching. “We competed for a couple of years but physical health led to his early retirement. He has never forgotten his training though, and we use it every day on walks and in the house, directionals to indicate where he needs to go, stays to keep him safe or pose for photos, and sometimes we just play with a few cones for fun.” Gibbs has worked so hard with Horus, and to get to the stage where they could compete is really quite an achievement. One of the big fears for a lot of deaf dog owners is a situation where their dog does not or cannot check-in for instructions. If the hearing dog opts out of the course and heads for a spectator the handler can always call them (even though it might not be effective!). The deaf dog handler can only watch, however, and try to move into line of sight, hoping against hope that their dog looks back. Just as with Horus, this means training needs to be as much about consistent attention and focus as it is about sequences or obstacles. As trainers, we really do not want the deaf dog to learn to self-reward through “zoomies,” or start to habitually break focus after specific pieces of equipment. Often these be32

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Working with Horus made guardian Rosie Gibbs fine-tune her body language to a very high level as he only ever made a mistake if she dropped a shoulder or turned too soon, and never because he was not watching

Scout: when you cannot shout extra cues to your dog, it means he really has to understand each exercise, underlining the importance of solid groundwork

Grub’s guardian finds that most time in training is spent on her being clear and consistent with her signs when running a course

haviors are pointers to stressors we need to assess, but agility is also a sport that reveals any lack of focus in a relationship. All that concentrated check-in training (see Waving Loudly, BARKS from the Guild, January 2015, p. 35-37) should hugely reduce the chances of losing focus for too long.

Bonus Training Tip:Treat Magnets

Ross introduced me to the wonderful book by Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh, Agility Right from the Start, about four years ago. Then, at subsequent UK Clicker Expos, we had the chance to meet the authors and explain how useful we found their systems when working with deaf dogs. I would thoroughly recommend anyone interested in agility at any level to invest in a copy. One of Bertilsson and Johnson’s key foundation skills concerns “transporting� the dog between exercises or obstacles. A well-trained collar grab can be a great option, but the authors also introduce the idea of a treat magnet (or toy magnet) on your hand, which the dog is so thoroughly engaged with following, that he magically ends up back at the start. Treat magnets work well for any dog, but we find them extra effective for our deaf agility dogs when you want to avoid losing their focus in the presence of fast running dogs or exciting movements from other handlers.


As you have probably realized by now, deaf dogs are more than


capable of excellent agility performances, whether it is just for fun or as serious competitors. Deaf dogs benefit from core skillbased teaching approaches, and will highlight any inconsistencies in handler body language. Handling a deaf agility dog is, in fact, an excellent way to get feedback on your own skills if you normally work a hearing dog – why not try it and let me know how it goes! n


Bertilsson, E., & Johnson Vegh, E. (2010). Agility Right from the Start. Waltham, MA: Sunshine Books, Inc. Deaf Dog Network: Heirs, M. (2014, October). Gadgets and Gizmos. BARKS from the Guild (9) 30-32. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from Heirs, M. (2015, January). Waving Loudly. BARKS from the Guild (10) 35-37. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from Say Yes Dog Training: Morag Heirs PhD MSc MA (SocSci) (Hons) PGCAP is a companion animal behavior counselor who runs Well Connected Canine,, in York, UK, which offers small group classes, private lessons, behavior rehabilitation and workshops for trainers. She works with deaf and blind dogs professionally, and provides training and support for the Deaf Dog Network,, among other organizations.



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The Sharing Game

Angelica Steinker explains how and why the sharing game can help dogs in the same


home remain calm around valuable resources

eaching two dogs to share food The treat game or toys helps prevent aggression teaches dogs that when dog A and promotes harmony in your gets a treat, dog B will get one dog family. right afterwards, To play the sharing game, ask both and vice versa dogs to sit, then feed one dog and immediately feed the second dog. Note, however, that if the dogs have a history of showing signs of stress or tension around food or toys, you must separate them at least via a baby gate. Alternately, if you have more than two dogs, you need to play the game with different sets of two dogs. The two dogs pictured (right) live in the same home and do not have a history of growling, nipping, lunging or fighting over resources. The owner is preparing to feed one of the dogs a treat while the other dog patiently waits. This game teaches dogs that, when dog A gets a treat, dog B will get a treat right afterwards, and vice versa. In behavior terms, you are respondently conditioning the dogs to the fact that the presence of the other dog is actually a good thing, and means it is more likely both dogs will get treats. If these dogs had a history of resource guarding from each other, they would both be on leash with each one held by a different person. This allows the person feeding the dogs to move back and forth between the two dogs. If necessary, you can have two people, one feeding each dog machine gun style to start Dogs can learn to share toys calmly and happily via the same training principles used in the treat sharing game

with. This creates what is called behavioral momentum and can help jumpstart success. Gradually, over time, the distance between the two dogs is decreased, but only if the dogs’ body language shows signs that they are relaxed and happy. Once you have played the sharing game with food, you want to make sure to also play it with toys. Dogs do not automatically transfer learning from one context to another. The toy sharing game is played exactly the same way except, instead of food, the toy is toggled back and forth between the two dogs.

Toy Sharing Game

Again, start with leashes or baby gates if needed. Using two toys may be helpful to start with. Keep the game very calm at first to help set the dogs up for success.Very gradually begin increasing the intensity and the duration of the play. Be sure to change only one variable at a time, first intensity and then duration, before adding them both togethere. When you do add intensity and duration, reduce the duration to half of what you were doing previously. Using the same technique, you can also teach dogs to share human affection. As before, toggle back and forth between the two dogs, first petting dog A and then dog B, and so on.

Chew Toy Sharing Games

Remember that dogs may also have trouble sharing things like chew toys. If this is the case you can have one person hold a chewy for dog A, and a second person holding a chewy for dog B. Over time, as long as the dogs are displaying body language consistent with relaxation and joy, you can decrease the distance between them.

Training Tips for Sharing Games Š Can Stock Photo/suemack

Sharing game training needs to be broken down into tiny steps. This has several purposes: 1. It keeps the dogs sub-threshold, meaning they feel happy and relaxed and display the corresponding body language. 2. It makes the process seem ridiculously easy to the dogs which instills a feeling of joy and a positive state of mind. 3. It empowers the dogs to control the process via their body language. If they show even the mildest signs of stress, you immediately make it easier for them. If they are happy, you can make it a tiny bit harder.


BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

4. Remember the fastest way to do this is the slowest.You can move through the approximations and training steps quickly, but if you push too hard and the dogs get tense, you lose. 5. When not training, avoid any triggers. The only time the dogs are exposed to each other and any resource that may trigger guarding is when you are having a fun training session. 6. Before you do training sessions, be sure the dogs are exercised. Using a toy like a flirt pole to wear both dogs out prior to a sharing game session is an ideal approach. Note that flirt poles should only be used with one dog at a time. They often trigger excitement which may inadvertently lead to an altercation or fight. Also, if two dogs play with the toy at the same time, they may violently slam into each other and cause injury.


7. Keep training sessions short and happy. If you have had any success playing the sharing game, do share them with me! And remember, when you have more than one dog, promoting harmony in as many ways as possible makes life easier for everyone. n

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

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BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



The Best Relationship

Kathie Gregory discusses the importance of knowing when and how to add a new dog to


the household, and how to have the best chance of making it a success

utting in the time and effort to getting it right when you introduce a new puppy to an existing dog is essential, but in reality, setting up for success starts well before you bring your new puppy home. My own two dogs are a match made in heaven, and their relationship is wonderful to see. I ensured every aspect in my control was given the time it deserved to help create a successful relationship. The part that is not in my control is fate. There is always an unknown element: you can do everything right, and for reasons unknown, it still turns out wrong. There are also instances where everything is wrong and it really shouldn't work, but it does.You cannot be completely certain that the two dogs you bring together will like each other, that is up to them, but you can give them the best chance of a fantastic friendship. It starts with your existing dog, and ensuring he is emotionally resilient, can regulate himself, and has learned enough to listen and respond when needed. Every dog will have strengths and weaknesses. My Wolfie was a high arousal puppy. He went from zero to completely over the top if so much as a butterfly flew by. Being a , every movement set him off, along with us, playing, and any event or change from one activity to another. He could not control his arousal levels, and it seemed impossible to get through to him. At this point in his life, the addition of another dog would have been far too much for any of us to cope with. More importantly, how would the new dog react to Wolfie when he was overaroused, and how would Wolfie respond? What kind of relationship would result? The best relationships are based on complete trust, so if you start from a point where the emotional response from your existing dog is unbalanced or not open to new situations, there are likely to be feelings and associations that are not conducive to a good friendship. If these are then reinforced, it may lead to two dogs that never achieve a good friendship, or a breakdown in the friendship further down the line. Ideally, your dog needs to be emotionally strong enough for his sense of security to remain even though there is another dog in the home. In reality, this may not be the case if you have a 36

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Managing first interactions between Wolfie (left) and Remy was key to assisting their burgeoning friendship

nervous dog, so assessing what may further compromise that state of mind and how to avoid it is essential. Even emotionally secure dogs can feel insecure, but if you know there is a specific issue, you can manage that more closely. A new puppy has not yet learned much, so it is somewhat unreasonable to expect a good level of response. An older dog may have learned more and be able to respond more readily, but you do not yet have a relationship with the new dog, and thus he is unlikely to respond to you as well as your existing dog. If your existing dog has learned awareness and control of his emotional mind, he should be able to listen, respond and make sensible decisions when faced with the excitement of a new dog. As I have said, at 8 months old Wolfie was not able to manage his arousal levels well enough for us to consider taking on another dog and being able to manage them without resorting to physical intervention. I feel very strongly that if I have to have a big input in physically managing a situation, then it is not the right time for that situation to occur and my dog is not ready for the challenge of what I propose. Besides, Wolfie is an Irish wolfhound! Although I felt it was too soon to add another dog to our family, we started looking as it can take time to find the right one. We continued to teach Wolfie to manage his arousal levels, be aware of his emotions and choose to regulate them, along with his education in decision making and knowledge of different

situations. Something that runs through everything I do is to work in a way that increases an animal’s sense of self-worth, confidence and emotional resilience. Choosing the right companion for Wolfie involved deciding first what age the new dog should be. As Wolfie was still a puppy, we wanted a youngster for him to grow up with. The next consideration was size, energy level and activity preferences. Wolfie likes to be active and play, so a dog that did not want or need more than minimal exercise would not have been ideal. Wolfie also likes to sit and watch the world go by, so a dog who wanted to be on the go all the time would also have been the wrong fit. A dog less interested in company would not have been the right one either. We wanted a dog that could run and play with Wolfie, so a very small dog did not seem right. There are many playful, active and fast tiny dogs, but we like big dogs. Another wolfhound is not right for us either, so a smaller dog – but not too small – was decided on. Wolfie is an open, friendly boy, and when not overaroused, is neither overexcitable nor reticent with other dogs. He reads their signals very well, and the conversation between him and whoever he meets is enjoyable. We expect dogs to automatiAfter just a few cally understand weeks, Wolfie (top) each other’s body and Remy were able to stay together language and reunsupervised and spond appropriare now the best of friends ately on that information. But whilst they do understand their own species, it is not always easy to interpret the body language of a stranger. Think about someone you know well and how you only need subtle signs to know how they are feeling, then look at a stranger.You can interpret some signs, but as you do not know the person, you can only guess the reason they are being displayed. Nor do you know how they will respond if you interact with them, unless they are making overt signals that cannot possibly be misunderstood.Your own emotional state influences how you view things, and there is also impulse control to consider. There is a lot more to dogs communicating successfully than just expecting them to get on with it. Teaching Wolfie to read canine body language and signals well enough to respond another dog in the appropriate way helps him feel secure and comfortable around other dogs. If an approaching dog displays signals indicating he is not coping, Wolfie simply turns away. We would have preferred this same easy going personality in our new dog.


There was also another consideration. As a professional behavior consultant, I am well placed to take on a dog that has issues, and there is always the question of how can I help a dog in need. However, I have to look at my own emotional resilience. In the past, I have taken on an extremely reactive rescue dog who was sorely in need of a home, and have also had “challenging” breeds. Most of my work involves reactivity and aggression. When I was younger I had the drive to take on these things, but being aware and vigilant all of the time is now a bit more than I can manage. Whilst I am in the midst of this emotionally draining lifestyle in terms of my work, I do not want to add to the stress with my own dogs. Thus, after much consideration and research, our new dog was a barbet puppy, whom we called Remy. Managing first interactions and the burgeoning friendship between Wolfie and Remy, my job was to ensure both dogs felt safe, were not overwhelmed, and were able to have time to themselves. I ensured that each dog was in a positive frame of mind and receptive to interacting, thus bypassing wariness, insecurity, irritation or defensive feelings about each other. Supervision to prevent disagreements, things getting out of hand, or a lack of reading and understanding each other, was also an essential part of the transition to becoming best friends. The first day was all about making sure Wolfie felt comfortable with a puppy in his home, and that Remy was not overwhelmed or scared. We took Wolfie with us when we collected Remy so although they sat apart, they saw each other for the journey home. Once we arrived home we had both dogs on a leash and let them wander around. All the time I was assessing them both, looking at their body language and responses to each other, and was there to reassure, distract and support them throughout the day. Wolfie already understood cues and by now could regulate his emotional mind, so he was off leash and trusted to be careful around Remy that first day. All he needed was a little direction on occasion as to how to behave around Remy. Remy took a shine to Wolfie the moment he first saw him, partly due to all the research we had put into finding the right puppy, but also partly fate. This meant that Remy followed Wolfie around and was interested in engaging with him. I started teaching Remy word association straight away, and as he followed Wolfie and associated what I was saying with what he was doing, it was not long before BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Remy was also off leash that first day, and able to adjust himself to my suggestions on how to behave. From there things progressed smoothly. I supervised the dogs all the time so there was no chance of anything going wrong, but I was mostly hands-off and just using my voice to direct and guide them. Food, toys, and playing together are often the things that cause difficulties when dogs are getting to know each other so Wolfie and Remy were in different rooms for meal times. Over the next few weeks I gradually introduced them to being around food at the same time, starting with treats. It was not long before they were companionably eating their meals next to each other. I deliberately left Wolfie's toys out when Remy arrived so it was a normal thing for them to be around but I started play with toys separately, with one dog playing whilst the other was relaxing. I would throw a toy for Remy when Wolfie came up for attention so they were not in the position of both wanting the same toy at the same time. If they were both around the same toy, then I used cues to facilitate the interaction. If there was any sign of one of them not being comfortable with the other, I dealt with it by distracting them and leading them to do something else. Play relied on Wolfie managing himself to start with as Remy had not at that stage learned how to manage his arousal levels. If things started to get a bit excitable, I would ask Wolfie to run around the yard to get rid of his excitement and energy, giving Remy a chance to calm down, or burn off his energy chasing a

toy. As I had spent a great deal of time teaching the dogs to be calm and not go over the top, to understand each other’s communication, and adjust for each other by using cues, distraction, diffusing, and refocusing techniques, play progressed easily. At all times I was assessing their emotional state and teaching them how to develop their friendship and understanding of each other without any misunderstandings or emotional insecurities. My time was well spent, as it only took a few weeks for me to be sure I could trust them to manage themselves on their own, with supervision only being needed when they were excitable, and as an ongoing management strategy around food. My boys are now best brothers. They are both open and confident in themselves and each other, there is no unease or defensiveness in their relationship, and it is a joy to see their lives enhanced by their friendship. n Kathie Gregory is a qualified animal behavior consultant, presenter and author who specializes in advanced cognition and emotional intelligence. Passionate about raising standards and awareness in how we teach and work with animals, she has developed Freewill TeachingTM,, a concept that provides the framework for animals to enjoy life without compromising their own free will. Her time is divided between working with clients, mentoring, and writing. Her first book, A Tale of Two Horses: a passion for free will teaching, was published in 2015, and she is currently writing her second book about bringing up a puppy using freewill teaching.

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Finding the Disconnect


Susan Claire investigates whether students can help the veterinary profession cross over to

force-free training, highlighting an innovative program currently underway in a Miami school


Student handlers in the PUPE SPOTS Training Program get to know their dogs through play and three types of weekly training classes. Back row (L to R): Instructor Sandra Machado, Andy Soto with Scooby, Sheila Vasco with Jackie, Brianna Davila with Jerry, Hannah Richardson with Becky, Andrea Ruiz with Lily, and author/instructor Susan Claire. Front row (L to R): Amanda Guzman and Riley, Marcos Perez and Bailey, Robert Tejidor and Luna

s a professional behavior consultant and trainer, when I first asked my own veterinarian for client referrals he was reluctant. In the past, he explained, clients had been unhappy with trainers he had referred them to and that it had reflected negatively on him. I admired his discretion, and was thrilled at the opportunity to explain what I do. But I was soon to learn that the veterinarians who do more than say, “Sure, put your brochures over there,” with all the rest, are few and far between. Even those who pleasantly surprise me by requesting a meeting, sometimes lack the conviction to consistently refer clients to force-free, or even credentialed, trainers. Several years ago, I was contacted by the new medical director at a corporate-owned veterinary practice. She explained she would like to start referring clients to positive reinforcement trainers only, and invited me for a meeting. During her tenure, we enjoyed a professional relationship until someone else took over. One day, however, a long-time client she had referred called me, crying hysterically. While boarding at the veterinary hospital, my client’s fearful dog had bitten an employee in the face when she had cornered him in a run, shook open a blanket, and leaned forward to place it on the floor. My confused client tearfully told me the trainer the new medical director worked with had insisted she send her dog away to “boot camp” immediately. If she did not, allegedly the dog would one day turn on her and attack her. I reached out several times to discuss the case, and offer bite prevention training and body language presentations for the staff. My

call was never returned by the recently hired medical director, who had brought her own compulsion-based trainer into the practice relationship.

Conveying the Force-Free Message

The training profession, no longer a matter of “methodologies” and equally valid “points of view,” now has a veterinary standard of care, best practices and codes of ethics in place. Scientific research demonstrates that punitive collars and methods cause injuries both physical and emotional. Why, then, do some clients still get outdated behavior advice from their veterinarians? Why are some of our veterinarians and their staff still talking about dominance and pack theory? Why would a veterinarian in my area instruct every client to use a choke collar (including a mutual client’s dog that I had successfully desensitized to having his collar touched, after snapping at Dr. X for grabbing it)? Why would a veterinarian I admire for his implementation of Fear Free℠ protocols tell me that dogs “play us,” when my dog yelped during an ear exam? Why does a local practice have a sign on the outside of the building that says “The Gentle Vet,” yet a countertop full of compulsion trainers’ brochures on the inside? Where is the disconnect?

The Big Idea

One day, Miami, Florida-based veterinarian Dr. Karen Ashby had an epiphany. A big picture thinker, she had the idea to “infect” her profession with a “virus for good.” This “virus” would take the BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


TRENDS Students learn hands-on about enrichment, proper use of equipment, safe kennel protocols, lowstress husbandry, bite prevention and supervising playgroups

form of a small army of high school students, deeply indoctrinated in force-free behavior study and hands-on practice. Her vision was for these veterinary science students to infiltrate the workforce in the veterinary and other dog-related fields and, with their knowledge and youthful passion, change these industries from the inside out. As Dr. Ashby’s vision began to take form, she developed an alliance with the Miami Veterinary Foundation (MVF), industry sponsors who donated supplies, and a team of force-free trainers. With these resources and a plan for implementing her big idea, Dr. Ashby approached Yleana Escobar, who teaches the veterinary science magnet program at Felix Varela High School in Miami. Together they developed a program called the PUPE SPOTS Training Program. PUPE is the MVF’s initiative to “Prevent Unwanted Pet Euthanasia.” The SPOTS portion of the program stands for “Students Providing On-campus Training Services.” See A Magnet High School Filled with Animals Where Students Learn About Compassion and Save Lives to Boot (ShelterMe TV, 2017). I met Dr. Ashby four years ago when she asked me to give a lecture on canine body language at the University of Miami. I had been looking for a “big picture project” to get involved with and was thrilled when she asked me to be her assistant and supervising coordinator for the project. We developed an overview with clear goals and principles and assembled an excellent team of dedicated (volunteer) professionals. Our training team includes three PPG members and business owners, who have many years of experience working with shelter dogs: myself, Sandra Machado CPDT-KA VSPDT, and Christine Geschwill CPDT-KA. Chris Septer, our agility foundations coordinator, is also the executive director of the MVF, and performs the important functions of marketing and fundraising. Our training team is rounded off with Jennifer Lie-Gaither as a rotation trainer, a veterinary distribution representative who supplies the program with donated medical supplies and supplements, and a veterinary technician assisting in the medical oversight of the dogs.Veterinarians from the MVF 40

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

The dogs’ training progress is documented on social media, thereby generating public interest and assisting adoptions

also donate their services in the event a dog needs medical attention. Each program semester, our training team, including the students, carefully evaluates a group of six to eight dogs at Miami Dade Animal Services and brings them to the school, where they live in spotless indoor kennels with beds, plenty of toys, and an outdoor play area. Student handlers get to know their dogs through play and three types of training classes held weekly: Life Skills/CGC, Nosework and Agility Foundations. The students’ classroom learning includes lectures on body language, sciencebased training, learning theory (these kids know their quadrants) low-stress handling, as well as videos, reading and writing assignments. Entrusted with the care of the dogs, the students learn hands-on about enrichment, proper use of equipment, safe kennel protocols, low-stress husbandry, bite prevention and supervising playgroups. The entire process from selection, through completion of training is documented by a student media team, which posts the dogs’ training progress regularly to social media, thereby generating public interest. By the time they complete their training, the dogs already have interested families waiting to adopt them. At the end of the 12-week program, the student/dog teams take the Canine Good Citizen test. We then assist the students in determining which home is the best fit for their dog. Follow up behavior advice is provided so the adopters can continue the training begun by the students.

Outdated Behavior Norms

One of the things that makes this 100 percent volunteer project so rewarding is being in a position to obviate the outdated attitudes about behavior many of us confront daily. Some students already have jobs or internships in dog-related fields that have not embraced the force-free message. They are sometimes asked to do things that are in direct opposition to what they are learning in the program. Our passion is giving these students the tools and knowledge to think critically and pay attention to what the

dogs are telling them. We want them to know the difference between a dog being trained and a dog being shut down. To this end, our classroom presentations include dissecting videos found online and on television. Recently, we analyzed four different approaches to resource guarding, and how each affected the dog’s emotional state, as displayed through body language. Students often relay experiences they have while working. One student, while assisting a vet tech handling a large dog, noticed the dog doing tongue flicks, displaying whale eye, hard stares and quick freezes. She stepped in and told the tech, “That dog is going to bite you.” He laughed and brushed her off and within seconds, was bitten by the dog. The student was surprised by her own correct prediction, and so was the tech. The very nature of this program begs the question: Will the students change the industry or will the industry change them? Can these students help the industry cross over?


crossover trainer, amazing body of work. While many trainers devour the work of these veterinary experts, at the same time they must be wondering, why are their own colleagues not getting their force-free message? Experienced force-free professionals and young trainees need to be looking to partner with veterinarians in the care of our mutual clients. After all, we both have the same goal: to improve the lives and relationships between people and their amazing, and oh-so-deserving, dogs. n Students receive the tools and knowledge to think critically and pay attention to what the dogs are telling them, so they know the difference between a dog being trained and a dog being shut down

Crossing Over

Crossing over is a journey that can take years. My journey began in 1993, in competition obedience, with my beautiful 5-monthold Weimaraner, Alex. Using chokes and prongs, the instructors taught me how to do leash corrections that were not deemed sufficient unless they elicited a yelp. I learned how to set my dog up to fail, so I could “teach” him by correcting him. When I reached utility training, which includes identifying and retrieving articles with the handler’s scent, Alex started picking up my clothes in his mouth and carrying them around the house. He would walk back and forth past me, looking to see if I was watching. No matter how many times I furiously grabbed the clothes out of his mouth and smacked him in the face, he kept doing this behavior. Ironically, I would wonder, “Why doesn’t he ever learn?” With all the training accomplishments of utility under my belt, still, I was totally oblivious to the beauty of a dog offering a behavior. Although I knew how to compel my dog to perform complex behaviors, I lacked the underlying knowledge of learning theory and scientific principles. The night before Alex left me, at the age of 14, I sat on the floor and cried with him. I thanked him for sharing his life with me and for never being as physically punishing to me as I was to him during our early years together.


PUPE SPOTS Training Program: ShelterMe TV. (2017). A Magnet High School Filled with Animals Where Students Learn About Compassion and Save Lives to Boot. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from Susan Claire CPDT-KA is the owner of PlayTrain Positive Dog Training, Inc.,, in Broward County Florida. Susan has volunteered at the Humane Society of Broward County since 1999, and has participated in and helped develop a variety of behavior-based programs there.

Force-Free Message

I first heard the force-free message in 1994, when a woman approached Alex and I. He was sporting his prong collar, and she kindly asked if I was aware that there were much better collars I could use that did not hurt my dog. She was clearly ahead of the curve, and although I would not be ready to cross over for another five years, I will never forget her kind concern. Fast forward to 2017: Our veterinarians have so many awesome colleagues who exhort the force-free message. These include Dr. Karen Overall’s long-respected wisdom and compassion, Dr. Marty Becker’s Fear FreeSM vet visit movement, and Dr. Sophia Yin’s, herself a BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Of Piglets and Puppies

Lara Joseph explains the risks of predator and prey living together and the importance of


educating the pet-owning public, especially with regards to “cute” videos on social media

iglets and puppies, is there anyAt author Lara Joseph’s training center, staff thing more adorable? Maybe regularly practice all even both of them together. It is mammals stationing important, though, to realize that, while while bird cage doors are opened, and where their appearance may be cute when food bits are prevalent on the cage floors. they are young, as they mature, so do Stationing starts with their looks and their behavior. Pigs are each animal at a certain distance from pigs and dogs are dogs, and they both each other, then closer behave very differently. The general, proximities are shaped to replicate day-to-day companion-animal owning public is activities at the center largely not aware of this and may not see these differences, which can lead to dangerous situations, failed expectations, and a good probability of an animal losing his home. And that animal tends to be the pig, purely because he is acting like a pig. Pigs and piglets are new to the popular, companion animal world. I have written previously about how pigs are quickly filling up animal shelters due to owners being unprepared for their growth, their behaviors being very different to those of dogs, and the destruction they can cause due to lack of enrichment (see Creating and Maintaining Independence, BARKS from the Guild, November 2015, p. 50-51 and Pigs at Work, BARKS from the Guild, January 2015, p. 21-22). I once asked a pet sitter if she had ever sat for a pig, and she replied, “I sit for dogs all the time and it can’t be that different.” This was coming from someone working in the animal field, a professional. I responded, “It is very different, and the behaviors you might see could shock you if you retain that mindset.” I bring up this topic for several reasons. I see many house-


holds living with prey and predator, and my training facility is also full of prey and predator. I train and prepare for accidents. I am a professional trainer yet I still struggle to dedicate the time and attention required daily to maintain the necessary training to keep everyone safe. I wonder then how the average pet owner, or someone who works a 9-5 job, does it. Here’s one example of the prey and predator living together: I have three dogs and one pig at my training facility. My eye is always on the pig. Always! I am always testing my recall with him and the dogs. I am always working on stationing and training them when they are together. Pigs can be, well, pigs, and there are several concerns I have when pigs and dogs are together. These concerns can be seen in some of the many videos circulating on social media. There are those that we, as professional animal caregivers, cringe while watching: the little girl hugging the snowy owl, the chameleon reaching for the sky, parrots playing with cats, and piglets interacting with puppies. What scares me is that the videos in question are commonly shared by the very community that cares for -- and purports to be knowledgeable about -- one or more of the species concerned. There is one particularly disturbing video. It is disturbing because of what I saw, what I saw in the future for the two animals involved, and the feedback I received after I stated my concerns. The video features a piglet, approximately 3-4 months of age, interacting with a young but strong puppy. It was shared by the animals’ guardians. I am not sure how long ago it was taken or how long it has been circling social media. However, it has been mistakenly viewed by many that both the animals are playing. As a pig trainer, what I saw was a piglet with hard hooves jumping on the dog. This may not have hurt the puppy at The sound of food dropping on the floor is a conditioned the time, but it soon would. When my pig reinforcer for many animals to move toward the sound, but this steps on my foot, it can bring me to my could be a very dangerous situation when bringing dogs and pigs knees. I saw the pig grabbing the puppy’s together, as pigs naturally fight for food.Teaching a station to one or all the animals to practice staying in one place while food is cheek with his teeth and shaking vigorously dropped is a regular practice at Joseph’s training facility from side to side. With the two being so BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

young, I am not sure how that biting and shaking did not get more of a reaction from the dog. I then saw the piglet try to run away and the dog reach up and grab his back leg with his mouth and pull the piglet back to him. This type of interaction was bound to bring devastating results as the two aged. Pigs give a squeal that can send a dog over threshold. If it does not, this same squeal, paired with their jerky movements and fast running, is a trigger for many dogs to chase. The squeal can mean many things but when I hear it, I ask my dogs for a station immediately while I try to remove the reinforcer for the squeal. With those triggers explained, you may better understand my concern with this video. So much so, I did a live-stream stating my concerns with all of the videos mentioned above. To my dismay, and not surprisingly, I was told by several people that both the piglet and puppy were deceased. I was also told this video had brought out much concern from the educated pig community. I am not sure what happened to the little girl and the snowy owl. I pointed out at least 11 separate instances during the twominute video where the owl was communicating his discomfort with the little girl hugging him. And let’s not forget the dangers of having cats and birds together within any degree of proximity. We know cats are hunters. At the same time, many people clip the wings of birds as a form of behavior modification. This can be disaster waiting to happen. It is all about the education. We know that. How can we communicate this more effectively? From my perspective, I have seen that directing people toward education-based groups such as PPG has made a difference, as does making such groups easy to access. If someone shares a video A with me that may look cute and I am not sure what is going on, I search for a group or educated individual that does know. Otherwise, if I share or like the video, I may be giving my approval for a dangerous situation. I want to be sure I am helping pets and educating their owners to the best of my ability, not inadvertently helping to spread inaccurate, scientifically unsound material. n

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Taking a pig to a park or a pet store where there are a lot of other dogs, could be a dangerous situation for the pig; the pig may be well trained, but what about other people’s dogs?


Joseph, L. (2015, November). Creating and Maintaining Independence. BARKS from the Guild (15) 50-51. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from Joseph, L. (2015, January). Pigs at Work. BARKS from the Guild (10) 21-22. Retrieved March 21, 2017, from

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

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

courses advocate force-free methods ONLY

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

Tel: 0208 6269646 BARKS from the Guild/May 2017




Best Practices

In the second part of this two-part feature, Lauri Bowen-Vaccare continues to outline important health and safety standards for dog boarding and day care facilities

© Can Stock Photo/photography33

n the first part of this article (see Meeting the Standard, BARKS from the Guild, March 2017, p. 41-43), I discussed some of the minimum standards dog boarding and day care facilities should practice to ensure the health and safety of the dogs in their care, as well as that of their employees. Now we are going to look more closely at a number of issues, including medical care, training methods, and feeding. #1. Dog owners should be allowed to speak with staff about training, handling and husbandry methods, and ask if they have a trainer on staff. Owners should also be allowed to observe a few training sessions or videos if they ask to do so. • Owners should be aware that the methods the trainer uses, even if the trainer doesn’t work with the boarding and day care clients, are methods that the facility owner most likely approves of (otherwise the trainer wouldn’t be working there). • Even if the trainer does not handle boarding or day care dogs, staff may be inclined to use the handling techBoarding and day niques they observe the trainer using, especially if the care staff should be owner and/or manager(s) of the facility encourages the use knowledgeable about training, handling of these methods. and husbandry methods • Staff and trainers should refrain from using any form of physical punishment or “corrections,” and refrain virus, bacteria, fungus, etc. and until the risk of spreading disease is from habitual scolding – both indicate a lack of knowledge and train- resolved – anywhere from 3 to 21 or more days, depending on the ing and, possibly, a mismatched play group if these things are occurtype and severity of disease. ring during group play. #4. Staff members should have a working relationship with the clos• Physical punishments or “corrections” include, but may not est vet to their facility, as well as how to get there. be limited to: squirt bottles, leash jerks, scruffing, body jabbing, elec• The facility, its owners, and staff, etc. in general, should be trical shock, whips/crops, sticks, “alpha rolls,” etc. Verbal/audible in good standing with and trusted by local veterinarians. “corrections” include but may not be limited to yelling, shaking • Staff should provide owners with a list of nearby veterinary penny cans, throwing chain bags, growling, snapping whips/crops, etc. clinics and their phone numbers if asked. • If staff find themselves having to interrupt a dog because of • Owners are encouraged to speak with area veterinarians inappropriate behavior more than three times, the dog should be re- regarding boarding facilities' reputations and whether or not they moved from the situation and allowed to settle and then, if possible, refer to particular facilities, and why or why not. participate in a more appropriate setting, either by himself, with a #5. Staff members who have been designated to give tours of the fastaff member or with one or two dogs who have been properly ascility should be able explain their cleaning, health, and safety practices if sessed for that dog. asked. #2.The facility owner and the staff should have basic knowledge of #6. Staff members should have, and be able to explain, their emerhow communicable and non-communicable disease, para-intestinal, fungal, gency plans in case of a fire, tornado, etc. if asked. bacterial, and viral illnesses are spread, and how to prevent dogs and em• These emergency protocols may be regionally-specific. ployees from becoming ill, as well as how to prevent illness from spreading • Disaster plans should be practiced to ensure that, if they out into the community. are needed, staff can respond appropriately and immediately. #3.The facility owner and staff should be knowledgeable in proper in#7. Ideally, at least one staff member per shift has been trained in dustry protocols that address infectious disease, should they discover more basic canine first aid, as well as CPR. than a couple of dogs who have visited their facility, have been diagnosed. • Most boarding/day care facilities do not (yet) offer this • A responsible facility will immediately close for business service, and should not deter owners from using the facilities based and empty its facility of every animal as quickly as possible. Staff will solely on the absence of first aid-trained staff. notify area veterinarians, as well as all of their clients whose dogs • If a boarding facility employs staff who are certified, owners have visited their facility within the last several weeks. The facility are encouraged to ask by which program certification was granted. will remain closed for as long it takes to rid the property of the #8.With the exception of a professional positive reinforcement-based 44

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

dog behavior consultant/trainer who is knowledgeable and practices the most up-to-date philosophies and methods, staff are not qualified to offer behavior or training advice. • Owners should keep in mind that the animal training and husbandry industries are completely unregulated. Anyone can claim to be a dog trainer, and charge for those services. • Because there are no requirements in the animal behavior and husbandry fields, anyone can open a dog boarding and day care facility and charge for those services. • Owners are strongly encouraged to inquire about any trainer's and facility owner’s education, training, experience and how they continue their education. • Owners are further encouraged to conduct research of their own, and determine if their findings coincide with their beliefs as to how animals, specifically their own pet, should be handled. • As previously stated, owners should also keep in mind that even if a trainer does not handle boarding clients, their methods and philosophies most likely coincide with those of the facility’s owner (or else they would not be working there), and staff may be inclined to use those same techniques when handling boarding and day care guests. #9.With the exception of a veterinarian, staff are not qualified to offer medical advice, which may include, but is not limited to, vaccination information/practices, medication, illness or physical ailment diagnoses and treatment, etc. • Very few boarding facilities employ veterinarians. #10. Staff are not qualified to determine their clients’ dogs’ diets. • If the owner brings their own food and treats, staff must feed it according to the owner’s directions. • Staff should ask owners before giving dogs any food items other than that which owners have packed for their dog. • Staff should be fully aware that some dogs have extremely sensitive systems, and wavering from their diets can cause moderate to severe health issues. • Staff must feed the dogs the food which their owners sent with them, unless otherwise noted by the owners. • Staff should be fully aware that dogs who eat a prescription diet must eat that diet, per the dog’s veterinarian’s instructions. Feeding food, other than that dog’s prescription diet, could prove fatal in some cases. • Staff should be fully aware of a dog’s possible or known food allergies. • Staff must feed a dog the amount of food designated by the owner. #11. Facilities that offer their own food have the right to charge owners for use of the food. • Owners should expect to pay for the use of food provided by the facility. #12. Facilities that offer their own treats have the right to charge owners for the use of the treats. • Most facilities do not charge for providing bedtime treats,


random treats given throughout the day, etc., but this will vary from facility to facility. #13. If an owner doesn’t send enough food, the staff must contact the owner to inform them of the shortage. If an employee is asked to purchase food for the dog, the dog’s owner is responsible for the cost of the food, and possibly mileage.This will vary from facility to facility, although most to do not charge for mileage. #14. Staff are not qualified to alter a dog’s medication or supplements in any way. If there is a question about the items provided by the dog’s owner, or dosing instructions, staff are to speak directly with the dog’s owner and/or the dog’s vet. • If a dog’s owner doesn’t send enough medication for their dog, staff are to immediately notify the owner of the shortage. If staff purchase medication for the dog, the dog’s owner is responsible for the cost of the medication, and possibly mileage. This will vary from facility to facility, although most to do not charge for mileage. #15. If there is overnight staff, they should have the same qualifications as day staff. • Overnight staff should stay awake to supervise the dogs. • Most facilities do not offer overnight supervision, and the lack of overnight supervision should not deter families from using a facility that they otherwise feel fills their dogs’ needs. Some facilities may have a professional cleaning business come in for overnight cleaning. This is not recommended for a number of reasons, including but not limited to: 1) They are not dog professionals and, therefore, are not qualified to be around other families’ pets, especially unsupervised. 2) They are not employees of the boarding facility and should not have access to any areas where dogs reside without being chaperoned by an employee of the facility. 3) the cleaning protocols they employ cannot be guaranteed to address what is necessary for an animal care facility. 4) daily cleaning and sanitizing should be done, regularly, by the facility staff during the day per proper protocols. 5) the disruption of active cleaning, whether being executed by a professional cleaning business or facility employees, is disruptive to the dogs who need to rest and sleep, overnight. n


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

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Francine Miller looks into the feline socialization period and explains how a kitten’s early experiences affect how friendly he becomes as an adult

hankfully, more people are now aware that puppies need early socialization to have the best shot at being behaviorally healthy, but there are still many that are sketchy on the details of the process. Very few people are aware that kittens also undergo a sensitive period, and that socialization during their early weeks can greatly influence their temperament. Bateson (1979) defined a sensitive period as an age range during which particular events are especially likely to have long-term effects on individual development. A sensitive period may best be defined as the period of time when an animal is best able to attend to and be affected by stimuli, which, when missed, puts him at risk for concerns pertaining to those stimuli. The socialization period is the time when all primary social bonds are formed and constitutes the single most important period during a cat’s life. During this phase, striking behavioral changes occur because of growth and experience. Socialization can occur between a kitten and humans, or between a kitten and his alleged natural enemies, such as dogs and the other unlikely friendships we see so much of on social media. Species identification also occurs during the socialization period. Not only does this permit a cat to recognize other felines, it also teaches him to tolerate, if not fully accept, other cats in social situations. Although sensitive periods have been emphasized as less important in the development of good pet cat behavior compared to the canine equivalent, feline sensitive periods are shorter, more discreet, and (when a kitten misses out on socialization during this period) more frequently implicated in the development of behavioral problems such as play aggression, inappropriate play behavior, and fear aggression. A kitten is more likely to have good social behavior if left with his mother and siblings until he is at least 8 weeks of age (12 weeks is preferred) and in an environment with substantial exposure to friendly people. Early development with the queen and siblings teaches kittens to temper play responses; kittens that never learn this may play too aggressively with people. Kittens separated at an earlier age are more likely to be cautious and aggressive. The American Association of Feline Practitioners - American Animal Hospital Association (AAFP-AAHA) Feline Life Stage Guidelines (2010) state that cats are considered kittens from birth to 6 months old. The critical period for kitten socialization usually occurs during the early weeks of a cat’s life starting between 2 to 7 weeks of age (early socialization occurs between 38 weeks, late socialization between 9 and 16 weeks). During this period, the cat becomes used to sights, sounds and smells, as well as how to interact appropriately with other cats, people, and other animals. A young kitten has a fearless, exploratory nature 46

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

© Can Stock Photo Inc./michaeljung


A Good Start in Life

The amount of handling a cat receives as a kitten will affect his degree of friendliness as an adult

during the socialization period. He may startle easily, but will recover quickly. The amount of handling a cat receives, the age at which this occurs, and the number of handlers all affect a kitten’s degree of friendliness towards people later in life. Frequent gentle handling and play with varied people including men, women and supervised children is ideal. It is important to encourage the cat to be comfortable with being held, picked up and touched in different places, such as the ears, paws and belly.You can socialize a kitten very well in as little as 15 minutes of daily handling during the sensitive period. Cats that have been handled by only one person can be held for, on average, twice as long by that person than by any other, but cats with experience of four handlers will stay with any person, including a stranger (the multi-person cat becomes socialized to all humans that behave in broadly the same way). Kittens can do this easily until they reach the end of the socialization period, when they become naturally wired to be more suspicious of things they have not yet experienced, so they can react more cautiously to new things in the environment, such as potential predators.

Kitten Garten

If you are lucky enough to have a kitten class available in your area, I would recommend you enroll your kitten immediately.

out and accessible in the home to create and maintain a positive association with it by making it a comfortable resting, feeding or play location.You can also place familiar clothing from a favorite person in the carrier and apply Feliway spray (a calming synthetic feline pheromone) just prior to travel. It may also be a good idea to provide a cover or hiding option for your kitten in or over the carrier. Finally, by withholding food prior to travel you may prevent motion sickness and increase interest in treats at the clinic.You have options to help your kitten have a positive veterinary experience. When possible, look for a Fear Free Certified Professional, or find a Cat Friendly Practice®.

The Growing Kitten

Many cat parents who have rescued either a kitten or a cat, experience frightened, shy animals that most likely did not have the benefit of early socialization. Even if these cats would rather not be touched or sit on your lap, they may follow you around, give and seek attention in other ways and form a very close bond with you. If your cat missed out on early socialization (or you simply do not know about your cat’s early life), don’t worry. Behavior can be modified and it is still possible to build a bond. It just may take longer for an adult cat or older kitten to be comfortable with surroundings and people. Cats need resources and the ability to perform their natural behaviors, as well as having control over their social interactions. Every cat needs a safe place he can retreat to so he feels protected, a place he can also use as a resting place. The cat should have the ability to exit and enter the space from at least two sides if he feels threatened. Most cats prefer that the safe space is big enough to fit only themselves, has sides around it and is raised off the ground. If you have more than one cat, provide multiple and separated key resources such as food, water, litter boxes, scratching areas, play areas and resting or sleeping areas. Separation of resources reduces the risk of competition and challenges from other cats which may result in stress and behavior problems. Provide opportunities for play and predatory behavior. Cats need to fulfill their natural need to hunt. Interactive toys, such as DaBird, that mimic prey are ideal. Allowing the cat to intermittently capture the “prey” and be given a treat as a result will ensure he completes the prey sequence and help prevent © Can Stock Photo Inc./Cherrymerry

Classes are usually open to kittens from 7 to 14 weeks of age. Kitten classes allow kittens to play together and to be exposed to people of different ages and genders. With positive reinforcement, this exposure helps the kitten to better adapt to all possible changes that may occur in the family and home environment, setting the stage for a lifetime without fear of noises, people, places and experiences. Participating kittens may gain confidence as they travel regularly in the car, play with other kittens and toys and benefit from collecting information and observational learning even if he or she chooses not to interact. If you don’t have a kitten garten class in your neighborhood, don’t despair. When you bring your kitten home, keep in mind the types of situations your cat will likely be exposed to during his life, and present those situations to him as a kitten. It is essential that these experiences are positive and the kitten does not experience fear in any of the situations presented. Each of these exposures should be presented carefully and with positive reinforcement, by pairing the socialization experience with positive rewards. Should the kitten display signs of fear, make the experience less intense. Present new things in such a way that he can approach a stimulus on his own terms Making an effort to and at his own pace. socialize a kitten pays You can also creoff later in life, helping the adult cat’s ability ate a socialization to adapt to a changing schedule for your environment and be new kitten. For exam- generally less fearful ple, get him used to guests in the home so he does not spend the rest of his life hiding when people visit.You can easily do this by inviting friends over for coffee or dinner and finding ways to make the experience rewarding for the kitten. Encourage him to approach your guests and reward him with tasty treats when he does so. Ask your friends to help by playing with the kitten (with a familiar toy) and petting him if he is comfortable with it – accompanied by treats.You could even desensitize and countercondition the kitten to the sound of the doorbell and a knock on the door, as these are often a signal for a cat to run and hide. During this time, you can also introduce tooth brushing, pilling, giving liquid medications via syringe, gentle examination of ears, teeth, nails and grooming, training to a harness and leash for walks outside, car rides, nail clipping, bathing, etc. It is unfortunate that many cats are not taken to their vet for regular appointments because it is so stressful on the both the cat and the pet parent to transport the cat to and from the hospital. This is why making the cat carrier a safe haven is critical for the rest of your cat’s life. You can do this by keeping the carrier


BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


frustration, unlike laser pointers that do not direct the cat to prey. (Note: Laser pointers can be an excellent toy for cats if used properly—pointing the laser onto soft toys and treats so the cat can complete the prey sequence.) In addition, respect the importance of your cat’s sense of smell. Cats use this to evaluate their surroundings and mark their scent by rubbing their face and body, which deposits natural pheromones, to establish boundaries within which they feel safe and secure. Avoid cleaning their scent from these areas, especially when a new cat is introduced into the home, or when there are other changes in people or pets, or in the environment of the home. Be aware that some smells can be threatening to cats, such as the scent of unfamiliar animals or the use of scented products, or detergents. One excellent way to provide environmental enrichment is to introduce food puzzles so your cat can forage for part of his meal, providing a more natural feeding behavior. Also, provide appropriate places for your cat to scratch throughout the home.Vertical scratching posts should be tall enough that an adult cat can stretch out completely as this is the way they stretch their back and shoulders. Try both vertical and horizontal scratchers, as cats may prefer one over the other. If you need to get your cat interested in a scratcher, use catnip on it, or play a game with him around and over it. Provide positive, consistent and predictable interaction with your cat. Cats have individual preferences with respect to how much and what kind of interactions they prefer, such as petting, grooming, being picked up and sitting or lying on a person’s lap. To a large extent, this depends on their early socialization. Respect your cat’s individual preferences and don’t force interaction. Instead let the cat initiate, choose and control the type of human contact.


American Association of Feline Practitioners - American Animal Hospital Association. (2010). Feline Life Stage Guidelines. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from Bateson, P. (1979, May). How do sensitive periods arise and what are they for? Journal of Animal Behavior (27) 2 470-486. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from


The American Association of Feline Practitioners & International Society of Feline Medicine. (2013). AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines. Retrieved March 13, 2017, from Bradshaw, J., & Ellis, S. (2016). The Trainable Cat, a Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat. New York, NY: Basic Books Cat Friendly Practice®: Fear Free Certified Professional: _free/directory.aspx Food Puzzles for Cats: PPG All About Cats: 48

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Want to learn more? Consider basic training for your cat. If you have been watching the PPG All About Cats Facebook group, you will have seen some fabulous examples of clicker training for cats.You may also be interested in a new book by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis, The Trainable Cat, a Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat. n Cats need to fulfill their natural need to hunt so guardians should provide opportunities for play and predatory behavior; food toys allow cats to forage for part of their meal, which is a more natural feeding behavior

Francine Miller is an applied animal behavior counselor and associate certified dog behavior consultant (IAABC certified associate) who has 13 years experience treating dogs and cats with behavior problems. She currently offers house calls for behavior consultations throughout San Diego County, California under the business name, Call Ms Behaving,, and overnight pet sitting in the area around Carlsbad, California where she resides. She is also the vice chairwoman of the PPG Cat Committee.


If you would like to host an educational webinar for your fellow pet 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!)

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The Human Perspective



In Part Two of this two-part article, Kathie Gregory explores the art of communication with all its nuances, and explains how we can draw on this to better communicate with the horses in our care

n part one of this article (see A Two-Way Conversation, BARKS from the Guild, March 2017, p. 48-50), we looked at the common myths surrounding communicating with our horse. This time we explore all the aspects that contribute to a healthy, productive conversation. We may think that communication is what we actively say and do, and is restricted to when we are directing these at a particular horse, but this is a human perspective. We favor the spoken word as the most important way of communicating, and we often do not listen if we are not being directly spoken to, as that is someone else's conversation and not necessarily relevant to us. But this is only a small part of communication. Every aspect of us, from how we smell, what we do and where we stand, to our posture and tone of voice, is communication. Whether interacting directly with a horse or not, we are still communicating a huge amount of information to him. Communication begins the moment the horse is aware of us, although this may not be when he first sees us walk into the barn. Most people have a routine, and horses know when certain things such as topping up the hay happen. As soon as the horse hears the familiar sound of the food store door opening, he is gathering information. He can get a good idea of our mood before we even set foot in the barn. Our tone of voice and the Standing too close can cause anxiety but horse trainers can diffuse signs of rising arousal levels by changing their body language and voice to calm the horse

Dramatic movements can increase arousal levels in a horse

sound of our actions as we get things ready indicates our mood, and, in turn, our mood affects our scent. If we are happy, we may hum a tune. If we are excited, we may talk about what we are going to do. If we are in a rush, we will work faster, and if angry, we may slam things and rant in a cross voice. How we behave before he sees us tells the horse how we are likely to behave with him. Previous experience of hearing us in different moods means he has learned what to expect. Even before he gained that experience, however, he still had an idea of what to expect as so much is communicated through tone of voice, and the noise our actions make. An angry voice creates wariness, and even if we do not speak, slamming about creates tension and anxiety. By the time we walk into the barn our horse will already have adjusted his behavior to compensate for how he expects us to behave. This can lead to misunderstandings and a breakdown in communication before we have even begun. We may be excited about an event that day and want to get our tasks done quickly. Our horse may see our enthusiasm as a conversation opener to engage with us and perhaps play. However, our minds are elsewhere, and a playful horse is not helpful to finishing jobs quickly so his actions can cause us to become irritated, which leads to confusion for both of us as to why each of us responded as we did. Another example is when we are angry at something unrelated to the horse. Reading our body language reinforces what the horse heard before he saw us, and he may be wary of us or anxious. That affects his actions, and again leaves us wondering why he behaved as he did, when we have not spoken or done anything towards him that would account for it. Being able to manage our emotions and not let them affect how we behave BARKS from the Guild/May 2017


EQUINE Blocking the exit may make a horse feel his escape route is no longer available

when we are with our horse is not always easy, but it will make a big difference to our relationship.

Emotional State

Our emotional state affects everything about us, our breathing, posture, movements, tone of voice and language. Slow, calm breathing helps the body relax and takes away tension and stress in our posture. Movements become more fluid and relaxed, the voice is soft, the tone reassuring. Conversely, rapid breathing makes the body ready for action. Movements become quicker and more precise, our voice becomes sharper, our tone more commanding. A horse reads and interprets all this information to determine how he should respond. Our behavior and his interpretation of it also makes a difference to his emotional state and how he feels, which further influences his response and side of the conversation.

Body Language

Our posture and movements give a horse information which helps him choose how to respond. Relaxed body language helps the horse relax too. Purposeful body language results in the horse taking more notice of us, and responding more quickly. Big and small movements can have a different result on how a horse responds. We can change our body language to effect changes in our horse’s movements and emotional state. Horses, and indeed other species, do mirror our body language so if we want a movement to be slow and relaxed, we need to teach it in a slow, relaxed manner. Where we look is also important. Staring at a horse is not reassuring and can cause anxiety. Soft eyes and a slow blink conveys calm and can be used to reduce arousal levels when the horse understands the concept. The same results can come from a long slow breath out, or a slow lowering of our head. There are many things we can do to promote relaxation and a sense of safety, these are just a few. Combining breathing, posture and movements is very effective.

Waiting, Listening, Responding

Waiting, listening and responding to a horse is an intrinsic part of the conversation. We wait to give him time to think and respond. 50

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Relaxed body language helps the horse relax

This enables us to see what he does in his own time, which is often different to what he does if he is pushed to respond sooner than he is ready to. It is also necessary when we are with a horse that is not used to being part of a conversation, but just does as he is told. It may take time for him to be brave enough to respond or to understand that he can choose what to do. Waiting for a response is no good if we do not listen to what the horse has to say.View everything he does for what it is, his side of the conversation. If the response we receive is not what we expected, we should not be tempted to repeat what we asked for as that means we are no longer involved in a conversation but are telling him what to do. Instead, we need to respond to him for the response he has given and then continue the conversation.

Diffusing and Adjusting

We can apply this indirectly or directly. An indirect approach can make progress very successful for the horse that is emotionally or physically damaged. We can diffuse anxiety and stress by being aware of our own bodies to promote a sense of calm and nonthreatening behavior. Posture, movements and breathing all achieve this. We can adjust for our horse’s every movement and response by changing where we stand, what we do and how our body is portrayed. This kind of hands-off rehabilitation, which is so useful for traumatized horses, looks like nothing is really happening, as everything we do should be at a level where the horse only needs to respond with the slightest movement and emotional response, and our adjustments to his conversation are equally small. When working with a horse, we need to actively apply, diffuse and adjust strategies in cognitive teaching to help him regulate his emotional mind. In teaching, we can diffuse signs of a rising arousal level by changing our body language and voice to calm him, and adjusting what or how we are teaching. We can also use a well-timed, long, slow breath out, calling the horse’s name. We can suggest he does something specific, or draw his attention to us to help distract him and diffuse arousal levels when we are not teaching him, but are in the vicinity. This can be useful for helping mares manage their hormones when in season, disagree-

ments over food, and many other things. Timing is very important. We want to be in front of the mind, to diffuse the behavior and suggest an alternative before it is expressed. Once we get used to working like this we will find that we do not have to think and analyze what to do. Rather, we will do it by intuition.


Where we stand makes a difference to how our horse feels, and his sense of safety. Standing in front of the exit to the horse’s area may just be a convenient place for us, but it can make a horse feel his escape route is no longer available. He may not have any reason to leave, but the fact that he cannot without confrontation may be stressful. Standing close to a horse can make us feel as though we are communicating affection and care, but he may not see it that way. Being in a horse’s personal space when he has not invited us to get that close can be stressful for him. It may be he is just not amenable to company at that particular time, but it may also be interpreted as a potential threat if he does not trust or know us well enough. Where a horse chooses to stand also gives us information about him and how he is feeling. If he stands just inside the exit and is reluctant to move further into the area he is clearly not comfortable in the space. If he backs himself into a corner, again he is not coping well. Some horses will turn away and put their head in a corner. Again, this communicates that he finds the situation stressful. We can determine the reason during our conversation.


proach teaching and interacting, to enhance or minimize the effect each of these elements has on our horse. We need to listen to the horse, take his responses seriously and let them be the guide to our side of the conversation. We can always adjust and fine tune as we go. We have the ability to have a substantial positive effect on every single interaction we have with our horse, and the progression of the relationship. As always, the most important thing to recognize is that the horse, like any animal, is a unique individual. Our goal is to adjust our side of the conversation to make him successful, bring out his personality and help him be the best he can be. n


Gregory. K. (2017, March). A Two-Way Conversation. BARKS from the Guild (23) 48-50. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

Kathie Gregory is a qualified animal behavior consultant, presenter and author who specializes in advanced cognition and emotional intelligence. Passionate about raising standards and awareness in how we teach and work with animals, she has developed Freewill TeachingTM,, a concept that provides the framework for animals to enjoy life without compromising their own free will. Her time is divided between working with clients, mentoring, and writing. Her first book, A Tale of Two Horses: a passion for free-will teaching, was published in 2015, and she is currently writing her second book about bringing up a puppy using freewill teaching.

The Environment

The shape and size of an area has an influence on a horse’s emotional state. A horse’s instinct is to flee if there is danger, then observe and assess at a safe distance. Inevitably, small areas where this is not possible are generally seen as less safe, and may cause anxiety ranging from subliminal to over threshold. An enclosed area feels safer if the horse has a corner to back into so he is able to assess his situation, whilst knowing that nothing is coming to get him from behind. This means that round pens may promote a lack of feeling safe. An open exit can help a horse feel more relaxed as he knows there is an option should he need to leave. In terms of context, we need to ask what the area is used for. Any associations with anxiety, fear or things the horse does not like, whether emotionally or physically, means he starts off from a point of anxiety and stress. Similarly, an area that is used for something he enjoys enables him to begin in a calm and relaxed emotional state. A new area that he is unfamiliar with can often make him less at ease than something familiar, unless that familiarity is coupled with negative associations. Footing is also an important consideration. Surfaces that cause instability or difficulty in freedom of movement are going to make a horse anxious as he will not be able to move easily or quickly if he needs to. This creates insecurity. Some horses are also uncomfortable on particular surfaces, due to previous experiences or associations, and some because the surface is unfamiliar. We need to decide on what, when, where, and how we apBARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Stay Safe: Plan Ahead

In this first part of a two-part feature, Daniel Antolec discusses personal safety for canine


training and behavior professionals based on his decades of experience as a police officer

nyone working Canine behavior and training professionals need to plan with dogs underahead and be proactive if stands the need for they do not feel safe, which safety, but the member of is somewhat akin to playing chess as one of the pieces the family you are working with that has a furry coat and 42 teeth may not pose the greatest threat. In conversation with some colleagues recently, I was surprised how many had experienced dangerous clients, whether in a group class or a private session. Many canine behavior and training professionals are women, and very distressingly, most victims of violent crime in the culture of my homeland, the United States, are women. During my time in the police force, I studied violence and found, too often, that women caregivers were singled out by predatory men because they were identified as more vulnerable. I found that personally offensive and struggled against it. Now I want to help my fellow canine professionals stay safe in all situations and am about to give you some practical advice based upon my experience. At 20 years of age I embarked on a three-decade police career as a street cop. I was a first responder to thousands of situations involving people who were “over threshold” and very often engaged in violence. As a rookie working in an isolated small town, I seldom had help and realized the need for better skills. When I later worked for a larger department in a metropolitan area, I began a 23-year study of martial arts and became a certified police trainer, teaching the use-of-force system mandated in the state of Wisconsin. I also taught (free) women’s self-defense courses based on practical skills that I applied on the job. This does not make me an expert, but it means I have something to offer you in 10 simple steps. Let’s get started! Step One: Decide What You Are Willing to Do If you are a force-free professional unwilling to inflict force, fear or pain upon a dog, what are you willing to do to a human being who intends to harm you? Are you a steadfast pacifist or would you intentionally harm someone if required to act in self-defense? This crucial question is best answered in advance, rather than in the grip of terror when your survival depends upon a quick 52

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

© Can Stock Photo/Quasarphoto

response. If you are dedicated to pacifism, then your strategy must rely upon awareness, avoidance and escape. If you feel unsure about willingness to protect yourself by forceful means, then consider how you might respond if your infant was in jeopardy, or your dog. If you would use force to protect them, then why not for yourself? There is no right or wrong answer, but you should be clear about this or you will be unprepared when facing an imminent threat.

Step Two: Develop Awareness and a Survival Mentality You already are a skilled observer. If you work with dogs, then you have trained yourself to watch for subtle cues in body language, vocalization, body orientation and changes in arousal or physical activity. Dogs give us clear signals; so do human beings. Think of Kendal Shepherd’s (2004) Canine Ladder of Aggression and insert human body language at the appropriate levels. Here are some warning signs to watch for: 1. Muscle tension. 2. The presence of alcohol or illicit drugs. 3. Physical or oral agitation. 4. Hard eyes/targeting with a direct stare. 5. Invasions of your personal space. 6. Ignoring your warnings. 7. Sudden movements/testing your response. 8. Demonstrations of power/clenching fists/hitting or throwing things. 9. Sudden silence/cessation of movement. 10. Tightly closed mouth. 11. Reaching/grabbing. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In my police experience, individuals who were loud and angry were often less of a threat than those who were deadly silent, calculating their plan of attack. In any case, violence never occurred without some warning. A survival attitude is linked with the decision you made in Step One. At 17-years of age I adopted an ancient Roman phrase as my personal credo: Nemo me impuune lacessit. It means “Nobody attacks me with impunity.” I decided to fight for my survival no matter what.


That attitude gave me the will send you a text inquiry on a schedule you deterdetermination required for mine. If you do not respond, Kitestring will sumPet behavior my survival three years mon help. consultants and training later when I stood at mid4. Always professionals are night on a deserted street have a spare vehicle already adept at reading canine in a small village, outside key in a second (and feline) body the tavern where an outtreat pouch you language, and should transfer this law biker gang had just atwear at all times. skill to their human tacked one of the local If legal in your counterparts too tough guys. The bikers country of resithought they had killed dence, you might the man and were even want to conpouring out of the sider carrying peptavern when I arper spray (for use © Can Stock Photo/cynoclub only in an absolute rived. It was like a emergency). scene in High Noon, only it was no Hollywood film. I had minimal 5. Do some research on the new client.You may require a training and even less experience to deal with such a situation at veterinary reference and verify information. In Wisconsin, civil the time. I did not expect to survive the encounter if it turned and criminal records are available online. violent and I felt the worst fear of my life, yet I found fortitude in 6. Use Google Maps to view your destination in advance. my credo and was able to perform as required. This is precisely 7. Prepare an “escape clause” script in advance. If you are why one must decide in advance how to respond in an emerwith a client and do not feel safe, whip out your cell phone and gency. declare, “Sorry, this is an emergency call. Excuse me while I take this in my car,” or something similar. Once safely in your vehicle, Step Three: Plan Ahead drive away.You can later apologize, refund the fee and explain I knew there was trouble when the tavern owner raced to me that you are no longer available to work with the new client. pleading for my help. That gave me only a few seconds to plan. Everything I did from that moment was calculated to improve my Step Four: Be Proactive odds of survival.You can do the same and prepare before you In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I learned to first establish a sound position, even meet your client. Here’s how: then seize the initiative and foil the opponent’s plans at every op1. Use Google calendar (or similar software) to schedule portunity. Practicing Jiu-Jitsu is rather like playing chess as one of appointments and give others access to the data. the pieces. 2. Use a personal safety (smart device) app such as EmerIf the person you are facing has bad intentions, then he (or genSee to establish an emergency contact network. With GPS she) probably has a plan, albeit usually a simple one. Effective selfand a push of a button, you can stream live video/audio to friends defense means maintaining a position of advantage at all times, and law enforcement, or pay a monthly fee for EmergenSee staff being aware of the potential acts of the aggressor based on proxto summon help. imity and stance, and acting first to thwart the attacker’s plan. Ac3. Kitestring is a similar emergency contact service that tion is always faster than reaction. As a rookie cop I once approached a man who ultimately drew a handgun against me. The entire event took no longer to unfold than it took me to type this. Here is how it played out: I greeted the man. He looked at me, his expression changed and he immediately spun counterclockwise away from me while reaching with his right hand toward his hip, beneath his shirt. I interpreted his silent change in expression as evidence that he formulated a quick plan, and his physical act was consistent with drawing a concealed weapon. My response could have been to draw my own weapon, but coming in second place did not seem a good outcome. Remember, action is always faster than reaction. To preempt his plan, I lunged forward and focused both hands to the point in space where I anticipated he would complete the draw, after turning to face me. By the time he spun about his revolver was nearly out of the holster, but my hands were upon him and forced the weapon down and away from me. Seconds later he was handcuffed, crying and apologetic…but unharmed. BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Step Five: Diffuse Conflict Diffusing conflict is based on a skill set anyone can learn. It requires empathy, active listening and interpersonal communication. Canine professionals possess these qualities. My first instructor in professional language was Dr. George Thompson, author of Verbal Judo:The Gentle Art of Persuasion. His background was in education, martial arts and law enforcement. I found his methods at once practical and easy to apply. Thompson asserted that 95 percent of persons could be taken into custody by use of persuasion; the remaining 5 percent would not cooperate under any circumstance. Applying his methods enabled me to use less force and more easily identify the rare circumstances when force was required. It was a practical and legally defensible approach. PPG founder, Niki Tudge recently delivered a webinar, Anger Management - How to Identify and Manage Personal Anger, explaining how to diffuse conflict in equally practical terms. As a business person and canine professional, her advice applies directly. When I responded to a heated conflict as a police officer my first objective was to ensure safety, and the next priority was to diffuse conflict. Enabling others to express their frustration and anger through words rather than actions proved highly successful. Dog trainers working with fearful and aggressive dogs are quite adept at this with canines, and can surely do as well with humans. n

The second part of this article will be published in the July 2017 issue of BARKS from the Guild.

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 2017

Knowing the exact location of one’s consultation can be invaluable if personal safety feels compromised for any reason

Š Can Stock Photo/scanrail

Deciding in advance whether to use force, developing awareness and a survival mentality, planning ahead and being proactive are part of a behavior chain. If any one of the links is missing, precious time is lost, and so may be your safety.


Anger Management - How to Identify and Manage Personal Anger: EmergenSee: Kitestring: Shepherd, K. (2004). Ladder of Aggression. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from Daniel H. Antolec CPT-A CPDT-KA is the owner of Happy Buddha Dog Training,, in Brooklyn, Wisconsin. He also sits on the board of directors for Dogs on Call, Inc.,, and is a member of the Pet Professional Guild Advocacy Committee, www


Ask the Experts: The Right Timing

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

Q: Help! I know I should be selling training packages but I keep running into clients who don’t want to commit upfront. Is it okay to let them “try it out” by paying as they go or buying a smaller amount of time than I know we need? If not, how do I handle it when they ask? - Barb

A:You’re so right, Barb, that training packages are the way to go. They set the trainer, client, and dog up for success by providing a guaranteed amount of time to carry out a training plan. It’s too easy without that commitment for clients to bow out of the process early, either because they’re disappointed not to see results faster or because early results bring relief and the temptation to quit before proofing is completed. Either way, the client and dog both lose—and so does your business. With that said, it won’t come as a surprise that we don’t advocate allowing clients to side-step packages. As the trained professional, you are the only person at the initial consult qualified to Dog training estimate the amount of professionals should ensure they set up time needed to set everyclients and their one up for the best chance dogs for success by explaining why it is of success in reaching important to agreed-upon training commit to the goals. It is critical to process stand firmly and confidently by your recommendations, and require clients to make a commitment to the process. It is

© Can Stock Photo/michaeljung

not always easy to do, but here is some sample language I hope will help next time the question comes up: “I don’t work that way, I’m sorry. Let me tell you why: My job is to set you up for the best possible chance of success in reaching your training goals, and I’ve set the amount of time we need to match those goals.Without the commitment to the full process it’s too tempting to stop early. One of two things tends to happen: Sometimes it’s a matter of giving up when early progress is slow.That’s always a shame, as the learning curve can be steep at the outset and I hate to see clients give up just before we start to see faster progress. Sometimes it’s the other way around: you see some progress and the relief tempts you to quit early. I understand this—we all like to save a little time and money where we can—but quitting early usually means an unraveling of the new behavior and resurgence of the old because we haven’t finished the proofing process. As I said, my goal is to give you the best chance of success. So in order to do my best to help each client succeed, I work with very few clients at a time, and I require an upfront commitment to the full training plan.” Practice this speech so it feels comfortable next time you are asked. People are usually happy to comply with policies if they just understand how it is in their favor to do so. One additional thought: If you are finding a significant number of clients uninterested in moving beyond the initial consult, it may be time to refine your consult strategy and process, or take a look at your marketing to make sure you are drawing clients who are the right fit for your services. It is hard to sell a new car to someone who is shopping for a free bicycle. n Have a question for the business experts at dog*tec? Submit your question for consideration to

Learn how

can help your business:

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



Niki Tudge provides an evaluation of equal opportunity versus diversity management in small businesses to ensure the greatest success

t has become necessary over the past 20 years to recognize that individuals from diverse groups are less willing to shed their cultural differences in the name of blending and are placing demands on businesses to meet their unique and personal needs (Gardenswartz and Rowe, 1998). Small businesses should thus adopt new philosophies of recruitment and retention if they are to secure the necessary human capital, or labor force, within their organization. In service industries that depend greatly on people, like the pet industry, there is a greater need to attract the best candidates irrespective of personality, gender or ethnic background. If you want to leverage competitive advantage in your operating environment, then you need to develop human resource policies, and recruitment and training systems that enable your team to learn more effectively and perform at a higher standard than your local competition (Armstrong, 2001). Having a diverse workforce that is highly trained and motivated will almost certainly guarantee you a larger percentage of the market. Small pet businesses, like large organizations, have social responsibilities for their associates, customers and shareholders. At the very least, they must conform to state and federal labor laws. Many small businesses now use formal vision and mission statements along with value systems to communicate their philosophies to customers and employees. Smart business owners recognize that not only do they need to operate their business’ profitability, but do so with integrity and an ethical stance (Johnson and Scholes, 2002). Small business policies must not only mandate employment equity, equal opportunity and affirmative action to reduce disadvantages within the workplace; they should also enable these practices to shape the future of the business and its strategic direction. In order to grow, businesses need to compete and conduct business within different cultural settings, like local neighborhoods, and effectively market and communicate across different locations. The businesses that are better able to adapt and mobilize a diverse workforce to support this service delivery will be the successful businesses in the future. A diverse workforce needs to be fully engaged and on board with your company’s plans, because high level business performance and drive are generated by a labor force that is highly motivated and committed. “When diversity is not capitalized on, the organization loses the full commitment, energy and capability of the employee,” state Gardenswartz and Rowe (1998, p. 496). “Managing diversity is about ensuring that all people maximize their potential and their contribution to the organization,” adds Armstrong (2001, p. 856). If a business owner is going to focus and manage around intercultural strengths, then they need to understand how to create a level playing field for their employees. This means embracing and stewarding equal opportunity and diversity management philosophies and laws. Equal Opportunity (EEOC) in the United States is defined by the Equal Opportunity Public Employment Office as: 56

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

Managing diversity is a concept that recognizes the benefits to be gained from individual differences

© Can Stock Photo/hamik


Talking Diversity Management

a. Making the workplace free from all forms of unlawful discrimination and harassment. b. Providing programs to assist members of EEOC groups to overcome past or present disadvantages. The EEOC has mandated, through government policy, the need to develop workplace rules, policies, practices and behaviors that are fair and do not disadvantage individuals because they belong to a particular group. Equal opportunity laws date back to the early 1960’s and are federal laws that govern all business environments and employment conditions. Equal opportunity policies are your business’ way of formalizing your philosophy and operating intentions. They outline how your business will create an environment of equality irrespective of sex, race, creed or marital status. Equal opportunity policies can also address how your organization will correct any imbalances or disadvantages already in place. Affirmative action is an example of a program designed to do just that. “Affirmative action came into being because sex and race discrimination were everyday occurrences in the workplace,” states Reskin (1998). Equal opportunity programs are components of managing diversity within the workplace, they are legal requirements mandated by the federal government and are not left for your own choice and decision. The difference between EEOC programs and company diversity programs is that company-run diversity programs are strategically driven. They are designed and developed within your business to create a productive environment for all workers. As a small business owner, operating within the law is mandatory, but it is also beneficial for you to assess the needs of your employees and put in place a diversity program to meet these needs. Diversity is not equal opportunity or affirmative action, it is an owner-mandated program strategically chosen by you for your business because you recognize the importance of harnessing and fully utilizing the skills and attributes of every employee

on your payroll. Equal opportunity and affirmative action resulted from social injustices and discrimination within the workplace and these injustices required government intervention mandating changes through policy implementation, labor tracking and affirmative action programs. “Managing diversity is a concept that recognizes the benefits to be gained from differences. It differs from equal opportunity, which aims to legislate against discrimination,” states Armstrong (2001, p. 294). Diversity can be shown in four layers, according to Gardenswartz and Rowe (1998): 1. The individual and the individual’s personality. 2. Internal dimensions, i.e. characteristics of the individual, gender, age and race. 3. External dimensions, i.e. marital status, work experience and income. 4. Organizational dimension; this encompasses the work field, location, and management status. “Diversity encompasses all of the ways that human beings are both similar and different,” state Gardenswartz and Rowe (1998, p. 25). The four layers of the diversity diagram are listed below: 1. Personality Behavior Interaction 2. Internal Dimensions Race Ethnicity Physical ability Sexual orientation Gender Age 3. External Dimensions Marital status Parents’ status Appearance Work experience Educational background Religion Recreational habits Income Geographic location 4. Organizational Management status .....Dimensions Union affiliation Work location Seniority Division/department Work content To understand the needs of the individual it is necessary to look within the four layers of diversity and understand the importance of each. The first dimension is individual personality. This forms the unique core of how people behave, react and interact with others. The second is the internal dimension and is not an area that we, as managers, can control. Nevertheless, we must understand these components as they play a large part in individual behavior and attitudes. The third and external dimensions are social factors that have an impact on how people are treated at work. All these dimensions have an impact on the organization Both diversity management and equal opportunity strive to create a level playing field. The former celebrates the differences in people yet strives to eliminate bias in areas such as selection, promotion, pay and learning opportunities. The latter mandates that businesses will not discriminate with regard to selection, promotion, pay or learning opportunities based on race, sex


creed or marital status (Armstrong, 2001). Equal opportunity focuses on groups of people, while diversity management focuses on an individual’s needs. To be an effective business owner, leader and manager it is hugely beneficial to recognize the distinction between what you must do legally versus what makes good sense for your business, your employees and your community.


To achieve some of the benefits promoted by supporters of diversity management you need to develop a multicultural business that fosters and values cultural differences, however small your business (Groschl and Doherty, 1999). As the business owner and the one that sets the direction, you will need to review and revise the way you operate and how you strategically focus on both your business and the application of human resource policies. “Effectively managing diversity and creating an organization in which differences are truly valued is more than just a good idea, it is good business,” state Gardenswartz and Rowe (1998, p. 483). Diversity will enhance many areas of the business from service levels to innovation and creativity. These efforts will support your business gaining competitive advantage. Using the four layers of cultural diversity you can develop strategic plans that will not only create an environment that encourages diversity, but one in which diversity will foster and support improved business results.You may now be wondering: “What can I do to manage diversity more effectively?” This can be summed up in one word: MOSAIC. o Mission and values – Develop them and make them meaningful to everyone in the organization. o Objectives and fair practices – Develop objectives and ensure you include fair and equitable workplace practices. o Skilled workforce – Recruit for talent and train for skill. o Individual focus – Treat employees as individuals not as a herd. o Culture that empowers – Empower and trust your employees so their differences are valued and you celebrate diversity. n


Armstrong, M. (2001). Human Resources Management Practice. Bath, UK: The Bath Press Gardenswartz, L., & Rowe, A. (1998). Managing Diversity. New York, NY: McGraw Hill Books Groschl, S., & Doherty, L. (1999). Diversity Management in Practice. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management (11) 6 Johnson, G., & Scholes, K. (2002). Exploring Corporate Strategy. Harlow,UK: Pearson Education Ltd. Reskin, B. (1998). The Realities of Affirmative Action in Employment. Washington, DC: American Sociological Association Niki Tudge PCBC-A AABP-CDBT AAPB-CDT is founder and president of the Pet Professional Guild,, The DogSmith,, a national dog training and pet-care license, and DogNostics Career College,, and president of Doggone Safe, She has business degrees from Oxford Brookes University, UK and has achieved her DipABT and DipCBST. Recently, she has published People Training Skills for Pet Professionals – Your essential guide to engaging, educating and empowering your human clients.

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017




Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too!

Don Hanson documents his journey into the world of canine behavior and explains how and why he became a force-free trainer

was not allowed to get my first puppy until I was a junior in high school in January of 1975. I am not sure why my parents succumbed to my pleas after 12 years, but they did. When I purchased my cute little puff of black fur, a Keeshond/poodle and we never-caught-the-father mix, neither the pet store nor the veterinarian suggested training her. Other than some basic housetraining, Trivia had no real training during her life. She was a happy dog who liked everyone and was with us for 14 wonderful years. However, I believe the life Trivia and I shared could have been so much better if I had known then what I know now. I am thankful PPG exists today because it is an excellent resource for anyone who has just adopted their first dog. My first venture into training a dog was when my wife Paula and I got our first puppy as a couple. It was the spring of 1991, we had just purchased our second home, and we decided we needed something to shed on the carpets (just kidding!). We did some research, and on the advice of Paula’s boss, a veterinarian, we went looking for a Cairn terrier puppy. We found one and named him Laird Gustav MacMoose, or Gus, because he just acted like a Gus. On the advice of Paula’s boss, we immediately enrolled ourselves and 12-week-old Gus in a puppy kindergarten class offered by the local dog club. We also purchased, and read, Mother Knows Best and How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend because those were the two dog training books that were recommended at the time. Our first night in puppy class was a complete disaster. Things went downhill the moment I was told to “command” Gus to sit, and Gus failed to comply. Now, this was neither a big deal to us nor a surprise, as Paula and I were well aware that Gus had not received any training. However, it was a huge deal to the two instructors. They told me, in no uncertain terms, that Gus was “exerting his dominance” and that I had to “alpha roll” him to “show him” that I was “the alpha.” The alpha roll was exactly what the books we were reading also recommended, and not knowing any better, I did as I was told. As I grabbed Gus by the scruff and pinned him, he immediately began thrashing around underneath me, growling and snapping, and trying to connect his teeth with any part of me so that I would let him go. I know now that he was terrified. When I was told to grab his muzzle and “hold it shut,” I again, naively, complied. That is when Gus taught me that the dog’s teeth will always be faster than the human’s hand. Gus instinctively sunk his canines deep into my palm. I said something inappropriate and immediately let go, and begin to bleed profusely all over the training room floor. As one instructor ran to get me some ice for my hand, the other gave me a dirty look and continued teaching the class. I handed the leash to Paula, disappointed in Gus and disappointed in myself. 58

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

At a training class back in the day, author Don Hanson was advised to “alpha roll” his puppy Gus, leading to Gus biting him and causing enormous damage to their relationship that would only repair over time

After we had gone home, it was evident that the relationship between Gus and I was severely damaged. I was no longer being asked to throw the ball by the Cairn with a tennis ball in his mouth and a vibrating tail. Gus did not trust me, and I did not trust him. I let Paula handle him in the remainder of his puppy classes, and when she went on to the next level of classes, with a different training club, I elected not to participate. I am so thankful that PPG exists and today can guide a young couple with a dog so that they can find a qualified trainer to teach them how to create and maintain a relationship based on trust and positive reinforcement. I am also grateful that PPG can recommend which books to read, and equally importantly, which to avoid. Over time Gus and I learned to trust one another again, and training and behavior became a something we both enjoyed. Paula and I adopted a second dog, and we were fortunate to discover Dr. Patricia McConnell and her Dog’s Best Friend Training facility, where we learned about the wonders of reward-based training. I worked with Gus, and Paula handled Shed, and the four of us learned a great deal, but more importantly we also had lots of fun. Gus eventually became the catalyst for our getting into the pet care services industry. He became reactive when people tried to leave our home, and it was this behavioral issue that led to my interest in canine aggression and reactivity. He also had bladder and urinary problems, determined to be due to diet, and this resulted in our preoccupation with pet nutrition. When Gus developed epilepsy, he sparked our interest in complementary medicine. Thank you, Gus, you were quite the teacher as well as

COMMENT “I became the manager of an email list for boarding kennel and day care operators in 1996. About 10 years later some members of the list began discussing how they used squirt bottles, spray nozzles on hoses, and anti-bark shock collars on their guests to control barking. I was dismayed at this and made being “pet-friendly” a requirement of being a member of the list. Around the same timeframe, a client informed me that a kennel in our area had used a shock collar on their dog while they were a guest and was very upset about it. As a result, Green Acres published its first position statement, Position Statement of Pet Friendly, Force Free Pet Care. Some of our competitors were not happy because they felt it made them look bad, but I believed then what I believe now.We were doing what was in the best interest of our clients and their pets. Our continued success confirms our clients agree. However, I have taken my share of flack from others in our profession and, again, want to thank PPG for making the world a less lonely place.” - Don Hanson ACCBC BFRAP CDBC CPDT-KA

being a fabulous, furry, friend. In the fall of 1995, after purchasing the Green Acres Kennel Shop, we moved from Wisconsin to Maine and jumped right into our new business. Having learned the value of professional organizations in my previous career, I found and joined both the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA) and the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Through the APDT email list, I met several people, many who are now wonderful friends, and started to read books that they recommended. I also began attending seminars and worked with our existing trainer to learn my craft. In 1998, I attended my first APDT conference in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania and stepped right into my first debate over shock collars. A shock collar company was exhibiting at the APDT trade show, and there was a significant discussion as to whether or not they should be allowed to do so. I was firmly in the anti-shock camp. After that conference, APDT adopted a policy that prohibited the promotion of shock collars at their conferences. Three years later, I was encouraged to run for the APDT board of trustees and started my first three-year term on the board in 2002. Hoping to expand upon the ban against shock collars at the conference, in July of 2002 I proposed that the organization adopt a resolution defining dog-friendly dog training. At the core of my proposal was the statement, “Dog-friendly training does not include the use of tools or methods that cause pain, physical injury, suffering or distress.” Unfortunately, my motion died for lack of a second. I was very disappointed that the topic did not seem to be open for discussion at that time. I served on the board for two consecutive terms waiting for an opportunity to take a more assertive position on dog-friendly practices, but it did not happen during those six years. I was again encouraged to run for the board in 2010 and was elected to another three-year term. Sadly, it was evident the organization was still not ready to take a stand. I do believe they have done many good things for our profession, but it disappoints me that they have, thus far, not been willing to take a strong position against the use of force, fear and pain. Thus, in 2014, I took my first serious look at PPG, applied for

Hanson believes his childhood dog,Trivia, would have had a much better life if he had known then what he knows now

membership and let my membership in other professional organizations expire. Earlier I stated that I believe professional organizations are important. To me, membership in such an organization demonstrates an individual’s and a business’s commitment to the best practices of their profession. For that reason, as soon as a staff member at Green Acres completes their probationary training period, I enroll them as a member of PPG, no matter what role they play in my business. Every trainer, pet care technician, groomer, customer service associate, and manager is a PPG member and they are all expected to live up to and adhere to PPG’s guiding principles. It is a condition of employment. I am so very thankful that I finally found a cohort of likeminded pet care professionals who are committed to the same things that I am, and are willing to say so publicly. Thank you PPG, and thank you PPG president, Niki Tudge. n


Green Acres. (2007).Position Statement of Pet Friendly, Force Free Pet Care. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Guiding Principles. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from Pet Professional Guild. (2017). Pet Training, Management and Care: We Now Know Enough to Stop Shocking our Pets - An Open Letter to Pet Industry Representatives Regarding the Use of Shock in Animal Training. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from

Don Hanson ACCBC BFRAP CDBC CPDT-KA is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop,, in Bangor, Maine. He is a Bach Foundation registered animal practitioner, certified dog behavior consultant, associate certified cat behavior consultant and a certified professional dog trainer. He produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show,, streamed every Saturday at 9 a.m. (ET). He also writes about pets at the Green Acres Kennel Shop Blog,

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



Helping “Difficult” Dogs

In our ongoing series of PPG member profiles, this month BARKS features Pam Francis-Tuss


of Obedient Pups Professional Dog Training in Sacramento, California

am Francis-Tuss retired at 55 after 34 years as a medical manager, a position that she “really hated.” She worked for a few rescues and shelters and found she had a “pretty good knack at working with dogs.” Thus, she sought out CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, went back to school and became certified as a dog trainer. Q:Tell us a little bit about your own pets.

A: I have 4-year-old female mini pit mix named Maddy who is very noise reactive, but also very ball motivated. A ball will bring her right out of her "reactivity," for lack of a better term. Or she may just be a true drama queen! My son's dog, Cooper, also lives with us. Cooper is an 8-year-old boxer/old English sheepdog mix. Maddy and Cooper are best friends and plan their daily routines around playing and sleeping.

Pam Francis-Tuss with her "study dog,” Cash, when she first went back to school

Q: Who has most influenced your career and how?

A: All my past dogs for the incredible love and compassion they have all shown me throughout their lives.

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

A: After working in the shelter I discovered my true passion to be helping “difficult” dogs get adopted. I wanted to do something that would keep dogs in their homes and out of the shelter, so preaching early and proper puppy socialization and training dogs to behave nicely was a huge start. Q: Are you a crossover trainer or have you always been a force-free trainer? A: I have always been a positive trainer.

Q: What drives you to be a force-free professional and why is it important to you?

A: Twenty years ago, I adopted a puppy from the shelter. However, she was not well socialized so I took her to a well-known pet retail store for training. She barked at everyone and all the dogs too, and the trainer told me he could fix it. He took both me and my puppy around the side of the building and, every time the puppy growled at him, he hanged her. As he went to do this the second time, I grabbed the leash and left. I was forced to live with the consequences and, for the next 16 years, our dog would not allow anyone but myself, my husband or my son near her without growling or snapping. There is nothing better than an incredible bond between an owner and their dog, and when I found out I could train my dogs without the use of force, I was sold and am now very passionate about it. 60

BARKS from the Guild/May 2017

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

A: The use of harnesses for loose leash walking and getting people to stop using leash pops. Q:What do you consider to be your area of expertise? A: Basic obedience and puppy socialization.

Q:What is the favorite part of your job?

A: I work in many capacities, not only as a private dog trainer. I am contracted to my local shelter to train their volunteers to become positive dog handlers. I also work with a group called Pawsitive Impact where I take our shelter dogs to the County Juvenile Detention Center for a five-week program. We teach the young men there how to become positive dog handlers (similar to my class at the shelter). I love to see how much these young teens grow and learn about dogs but, most of all, my shelter dogs get well trained so they are ready for adoption. Q: What is the funniest or craziest situation you have been in with a pet and their owner?

A: I went to train a 6-month-old labradoodle that had this rather odd sit. Every time I asked him to sit he would do it, but then immediately turn his head to the left. I thought this was strange and asked why he did this. The owner said she had no idea so I asked her how she might have inadvertently taught him.


When she told me, it sounded correct so I asked her to show me. Her apartment was right by the pool so there was a lot of noise outside. When she demonstrated, her timing was rather slow to mark the behavior, so the dog would sit and, while he was waiting, would look towards the window on his left where the noise was coming from. That was the point where she marked the behavior. She did not realize that marking so slowly could cause something like this and I had no idea how to undo it! Q: What reward do you get out of a day's training?

A: Knowing that I assisted to create an even stronger bond between a dog and his owner, and, hopefully, one less dog to ever enter a shelter due to behavior problems. Q: How has PPG helped you to become a more complete trainer? A: The training, webinars and articles have all added to my knowledge as a professional.

Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer starting out? A: Read everything, watch the great trainers and find yourself a really good mentor. n Obedient Pups Professional Dog Training,, is located in Sacramento, California To be featured in the BARKS Profile section, complete this form:

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BARKS from the Guild/May 2017



An Emotional Roller Coaster

In Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, Eileen


Anderson combines a moving personal account with in-depth research to provide a

comprehensive resource on living with a dog with dementia. Reviewed by Don Hanson

Photo: Eileen Anderson

would recommend that anyone with an you are not already providing your dog with older dog read this book. Thanks to modfrequent mental stimulation, talk to a profesern veterinary medicine our dogs are livsional rewards-based trainer and ask how ing longer, and that means they are more they can help. susceptible to age-related disorders like Elsewhere, Anderson discusses medicaarthritis and dementia. In the past 21 years, I tions and supplements that can be helpful in have lived with six dogs that lived into their managing CCD. The one area where I differ teens. Three of them, or 50 percent, experiwith her is on the topic of nutrition, as I enced varying levels of Canine Cognitive would recommend any pet owner work with Dysfunction (CCD), or what some call “doga holistic veterinarian to develop a diet made gie dementia.” I have friends and colleagues of fresh whole foods, rather than feeding who have also had dogs that experienced highly processed food from a bag. various degrees of this disorder. As the At the end of the book, there are recomowner of a boarding kennel and day care, I mendations on techniques the reader can can say, anecdotally, that the incidence of use for objectively assessing their dog’s qualdoggie dementia seems to be increasing. That ity of life, and factors to consider when makis why I recommend you read this book. ing that heartbreaking decision if, and when, Author Eileen Anderson starts by sharing to euthanize, accompanied by poignant perthe story of her rat terrier Cricket, and how sonal accounts of dog guardians who have Cricket’s dementia affected both their lives. been through the process, including AnderAnderson had adopted Cricket as a middleson and Cricket. Author Eileen Anderson’s dog, Summer, poses with her guardian’s Maxwell aged dog after she had been abandoned in an As stated on the book’s cover, this work Award-winning book overnight box at a shelter 500 miles away. At is designed to provide “help for owners of the age of 15, Cricket suddenly stopped enjoying accompanying dogs with memory loss and dementia,” and that is exactly what Anderson to her office and the attentions of her co-worker. She Anderson has achieved with this moving personal account that became anxious and developed a misunderstanding of doors. Aldoubles as a well-researched, candid resource on living and manthough Anderson did not initially make the connection, she was aging a dog with CCD. “Lots of people are completely unaware of eventually driven to conduct some research and found a list of dog dementia until their dog starts behaving oddly,” Anderson symptoms, “almost all of which Cricket had.” The list included writes. “I was.” n Remember Me? Loving and Caring for a Dog “standing at the wrong side of the door, getting less friendly with with Canine Cognitive Dysfunction known people, standing in corners, staring off into space, and more.” Eileen Anderson (2015) Anderson proceeds to discuss her journey with Cricket, the 158 pages symptoms of CCD, the importance of getting a veterinary diagBright Friends Productions nosis, and the subsequent various treatment options. She also exASIN: B018224Y5Y plains how to manage a dog’s environment and daily routines to minimize stress for the dog and their guardian. I like how she emphasizes that caring for a dog with this disorder will impact best of one’s life and that it can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Bringing the stry to the pet indu nd share Because of this, Anderson stresses the importance of taking good a a ch t, chuckle care of oneself in order to be able to do the best for one’s dog. The author’s guidelines on how to help one’s dog face spePPG World Service is the official international e-radio webcific challenges such as drinking, eating, elimination, hygiene, casting arm of PPG, showcasing sleeping and basic movement are all very helpful. I love that she global news and views on force-free pet care. Join hosts also discusses the importance of mental enrichment to help keep Niki Tudge and Louise Stapleton-Frappell and their special the dog’s mind engaged. Mental stimulation is something I recomguests at noon ET on the first Sunday of every month! mend with a young dog, long before one needs to worry about dementia, but I find this is often overlooked until it is too late. If

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BARKS from the Guild/May 2017