At BARKS, we believe pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in safe, enriched environments free from force, pain and fear. In this cyber-driven world, where information may not always be current, accurate or scientifically sound, we provide a platform for promoting education, resources, equipment, ideas, methods and techniques that both pet professionals and guardians can trust. We believe this forms the foundation for a pet's healthy socialization and a stable environment that is better suited to preventing behavior problems, while protecting the overall wellbeing of each individual animal.

BARKS covers all things animal behavior and training, pet care, canine, feline, equine, avian, pocket pets, and exotics, as well as business, sales, marketing and consulting. A must-read for animal behavior, training and pet care professionals, and pet guardians interested in learning more about modern, science-based, force-free training techniques and tools!

Editor's Pick

The Crossover Client

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When I crossed over to training primarily with positive reinforcement, I had no idea how much my behavior and even my belief system would need to change. I had to question my faith in some long-held cultural assumptions and learn to rely on scientific observation and analysis. Crossing over was a lengthy process for me, and even now, after several years, I occasionally fall back onto old assumptions and behaviors. I wonder sometimes if I am the only one so vulnerable to cultural programming. But a quick look around social media says no, I am probably not. There are intellectual, emotional and cultural barriers to crossing over. For me, certain barriers were so large that they defined whole phases in my thinking and practice regarding training. I’ll share several of these phases here, in case identifying them could be helpful to trainers who meet with resistance or confusion from their clients. Once upon a time, I was that client. Read article

Featured Article from the November 2018 Issue

Is "Maybe" Addictive?

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In operant conditioning, behavioral responses that are positively reinforced increase in frequency, intensity or duration. The cue is given, the response occurs, reinforcement follows and the loop is repeated. One would perhaps expect dopamine levels to rise upon receipt of the reinforcer. But do they? Some studies have shown that increases in dopamine are not, in fact, directly related to the reinforcer. Rather, it is the anticipation of the reinforcer that causes dopamine levels to spike. Although dopamine signals may well be activated during the consumption of a tasty meal, they are often activated to the same or even higher extent, before the food has even been tasted. In their paper, “What is the Role of Dopamine in Reward: Hedonic Impact, Reward Learning, or Incentive Salience?,” Berridge and Robinson (1998) cite a number of studies that point towards the activation of dopamine not being directly related to pleasure and happiness, but about the pursuit of pleasure, and the anticipation of the reward. Read more