#PPGSummit 2019: Sound Bites

By Susan Nilson “We need to be careful when using genetics as an easy ‘explanation’ for behavior…Genetics has an important and undeniable contribution to behavior, including aggression. However, how and to what degree genetics interacts with environmental variables is far from known. Understanding how environmental risk factors mixed with more susceptible genotypes may help contextualize risk and our understanding of […]

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The Escape Artist Dog

By Beth Napolitano According to PAWS (2019), we are justified in worrying about our dogs’ safety when we are out with them in public places: “Escaping is a serious problem for both you and your dog, as it can have tragic consequences. If your dog is running loose, he is in danger of being hit by a car, being injured […]

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A Better Awareness of Overarousal

By Anna Bradley When mentioning “arousal” or “overarousal,” dog owners may have some idea as to their definition, but in my experience the consensus seems to be that the terms generally refer to negative trigger events. This is inaccurate, however. Arousal triggers include positive as well as negative events. Examples of positive arousal triggers may include greeting a familiar person, getting […]

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March 27, 2019: Newly Published Review Debates Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs

The new paper, What is the Evidence for Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs? A prequel to “No Better than Flipping a Coin,” presents the following highlights:  Colloquial usage of scientific terms such as “validated” can be misleading. No shelter canine behavior evaluation meets accepted standards as being validated. Published error rates are too high to justify routine […]

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The Journey of a Crossover Trainer

By Nichola Marshall  My dogs are livestock guardian dogs and some people will tell you that they cannot be trained to be “obedient.” My old girl was trained “old school.” She is a very good girl and now I understand why – she has been conditioned to avoid an aversive (leash check) by responding to a verbal cue…It seems so obvious […]

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Lessons from Bogie

By Shannon Finch Later, my client told me what had happened that weekend. They had had guests, and Bogie had been whining and crying in his crate, so her husband used a shock collar to keep him quiet. Things suddenly became very clear. I now understood why Bogie’s progress was so sporadic. My client used positive reinforcement, but her husband was […]

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Februrary 22, 2019: BC SPCA Urges Dog Owners Not to Use Shock Collars

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) in Canada is urging dog owners to refrain from using electric shock collars as a training tool for their pets, stating that pet owners are often unaware of the harm the devices can cause. Says Dr. Karen van Haaften of the BCSPCA: “[Shock collars] cause pain and signs of fear in […]

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