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!
The Challenge of Breed Discrimination
It was finally a beautiful day in Chicago so I grabbed my bag, my leash, a pocket full of treats and tennis ball and set out for a walk. The neighbors were out and it was the perfect opportunity for a social outing - but not for me and my dog. As we walked down the sidewalk, others may have looked, some would wave, a few may have offered a smile… and then crossed the street. Social pariah? No, just me and my Rottweiler out for a stroll. From the time Chopper was a puppy, people have avoided interaction with him and, consequently, me whenever we were out together. When he was just 15 weeks old, another owner in puppy class voiced her fear and refused to play “pass the puppy” with him. My very own veterinarian tosses treats to him rather than offering them from an open hand. Having had a fear-aggressive dog in the past, socialization was foremost in my mind when this pup came into my life, but how is a person to socialize a dog properly when no one will come near? Read more.
Featured Article from the September 2018 Issue
Training the Wild Friends at Best Friends
[An] astonishing thing happened with a different tortoise who we were told was overweight and needed exercise. This tortoise started out happily taking food but then stopped eating. However, she continued to stay with the group of people. I asked the caretaker if this tortoise enjoyed being touched and he said that she did, so I asked him to show us how he touches her. He explained that she seemed to like being scratched on her legs close to her shell. We continued our stationing training, but changed the reinforcer from clicking and feeding to scratching her. The trainer would thus scratch, then stop and wait, and then scratch again when the animal moved closer towards her and the station. The behavior was completed with scratching used as reinforcement!... feel strongly that our training and mechanical skills can be greatly improved by working with different species. To see people discover this with the tortoises was incredible. Read more.