The Unintended Consequences of Shock

(Confidentiality Notice: Names in this blog have been changed to protect privacy, but the facts remain unchanged. Photographs have been used with written consent.) Betsy is a kind person who contacted a shelter in June of 2016 to help find a nice family dog to share her life with through adoption. She learned of Zelda, a female one year old […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (6/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Inter-Cat Aggression Living with cats who do not get along is stressful for everyone. Sometimes the cats need to be completely separated and then formally re-introduced. In many cases, the best outcome we can hope for is for the cats to coexist peacefully to a point where they tolerate each other, even if they […]

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Mama Dogs Don’t Use Treats…..

By Yvette Van Veen Many people seem enamoured with the idea that we should emulate what dogs do in the wild.  “Mama dogs don’t give treats in the wild,” is one of the more common expressions.  This one carries quite a punch.  People have a natural affinity for natural. Expressions, analogies, metaphors and idioms can serve various purposes.  They can […]

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The Pet Professional Guild Position Statement on the Use of Shock in Animal Training

It is Pet Professional Guild’s (PPG) view that electric shock in the guise of training constitutes a form of abuse towards pets, and, given that there are highly effective, positive training alternatives, should no longer be a part of the current pet industry culture of accepted practices, tools or philosophies. In this position statement, PPG will combine decades of research […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (5/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Introducing Cats to Each Other In a nutshell, cats should be gradually introduced to each other one sense at a time: first by scent, then by sight, and then physically. Throughout the process, positive associations are built up with the scent, sight, and physical presence of the other cat using food, play, brushing, low-key […]

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The Neurological Benefits of Counter Conditioning Leash Reactive Dogs

Creating new and better associations for dogs on leash when exposed to fearful/stressful stimuli is crucial, as it is better for all involved for the dog to be less stressed and less fearful. The goal is potentially a positive association is created, or at least less stress. When this can be achieved via counter conditioning and desensitizing dogs to these […]

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Higher-Order Conditioning: Did it Happen To My Dog?

  The other day I was sitting in my bedroom with Clara and Zani and the doorbell rang. And there was dead silence. This pierced my heart. If you follow the blog, you know that I lost my dear dog Summer suddenly in August. She was wonderful beyond compare. She also barked reactively at delivery trucks, the mail carrier, anyone […]

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The Science of Force-Free Learning: How Our Pets Learn!

Introduction Here at the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), we like to focus on building relationships with our pets by using positive reinforcement to train new skills, and to build new behaviors as replacements for problematic ones. Because the emotional brain inhibits the rational brain (and vice versa), nobody, and that includes our pets, can learn something constructive and pleasant when in a […]

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Clicker Training for Cats (4/6)

By Paula Garber and Francine Miller Clicker Training for Behavioral Problems: Clawing Furniture/Destructive Furniture Scratching Destructive furniture scratching is a commonly reported problem in cats, and one of the many unwanted behaviors that clicker training can help. Without going into all the reasons cats scratch (for more details on scratching, see Scratch Here, Not There, BARKS from the Guild, July […]

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An Open Letter to Veterinarians on Referrals to Training and Behavior Professionals: Recommended Best Practices

Dear Veterinarian, There are numerous professional organizations that offer membership and credentials in the field of animal training and behavior. Few, however, hold their members to a strict code of conduct which involves the application of their trade through scientific protocols and the objective to cause no harm. Unfortunately, the pet training industry is entirely unregulated, meaning that anyone can […]

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