March 2009

SEMINAR NOTICE – Helping Your Pet Age Gracefully – 18APR09

Sunday, 29 March 2009
Dr. Mark Hanks, of Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinic in Orrington, will be giving a free lecture on Helping Your Pet Age Gracefully at the Bangor Humane Society on Saturday April 18th from 8:30AM to 9:30AM. If you have a senior pet and have not heard Dr. Hank's on this topic I encourage you to attend this lecture. He's discussed the same topic on previous editions of the Woof Meow Show and they have been a big hit with our listeners. Space for the lecture is limited so make sure to make a reservation by calling the Bangor Humane Society at 942-8902 or sending an email to

Open a PDF of this Post for Printing

Basic Manners Classes Added to Schedule

Saturday, 28 March 2009
Due to increased demand, we have added an additional Basic Manners classs to our schedule starting Wednesday, April 15th at 6PM.  For more information, give us a call at 945-6841 or checkout the training section of our web site.

Our Writers

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Don Hanson, BFRP, CDBC, CPDT

don-nov06-edited-for-press-release-small-web-viewDon Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop where he is also the Director of Behavior Counseling and Training. As a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) animal specialist, Don assists guardians and their dogs and cats with everything from minor training issues to serious behavioral problems such as separation anxiety, fear, and aggression. Don is also a certified evaluator for Therapy Dogs International, testing dog and guardian teams who wish to bring canine companionship to nursing homes and hospitals. You'll find Don writing about animal behavior and training, Bach Flower Remedies, pet nutrition holistic and complementary healthcare, special events and Green Acres services and products. Don is also an experienced public speaker, and has lectured on pets, behavior and the Bach Flower remedies in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Japan. He is the author of Best Friends for Life, the book used in our introductory training classes. Since January of 2005 he has been on WVOM-FM every Sunday night with "The Woof-Meow" show with co-host Kate Dutra. The mission of the show is to educate listeners how to care for and train their pets. Don is a certified member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP), and a member of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA), the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA formerly ABKA), and Truly Dog Friendly (TDF). Don and his wife share their lives with two dogs (Tikken - Golden Retriever and Dulcie - Cairn Terrier) and three cats (Batman, Thelma and Louise).

Kate Dutra, CPDT

kate-and-jasmine-smlKate joined the Green Acres staff in 1992 and was our Kennel Manager until she returned to her studies at the University of Maine in 2002. She has served as our Training Manager and in the fall of 2008 she became our Operations Manager. Kate is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and is qualified to teach all of our group classes. She also does private training sessions. Kate works with Don on pet behavior consultations, assists with therapy dog testing and is a regular co-host on the Woof-Meow Show. Having worked the retail side of Green Acres for many years, Kate is also very knowledgeable about our products and pet nutrition. She is a Kate will be writing about dog training, kids and dogs, Green Acres services and products, and on a wide variety of other topics. She and her family share their lives with Lizzie, a Hound mix and Emily and Guido the cats.

Becky Ruggiero, CPDT

becky-and-lab-small-web-viewBecky first walked into Green Acres in January of 1999 after adopting her first dog, a 10 month-old Sheltie she named Lady. Becky and Lady enrolled in Green Acres Basic Behaviors class in March of 1999, and Becky has been training dogs ever since. Since officially joining the Green Acres training staff in August of 1999, Becky has earned her Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) accreditation and attended Bob and Marion Bailey's infamous "chicken camp" for animal trainers. Today she is our Senior Lead Instructor and a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT). Becky says the best things about teaching dog training classes is "seeing the joy and increased companionship that results when dogs and their guardians truly "get" the clicker training method." Becky will be writing about dog training, kids and dogs, and other topics she thinks you'll find of interest. Becky and her family share their home with four dogs, Lady, Caspian, Narnia, and Minnie. Becky admits she has a special fondness for rescue dogs. She teaches Puppy Headstart, Basic Manners classes and our Level 2 and Level 3 Workshops.

Open a PDF of this Page for Printing

Veterinarians Concerned About Outdated and Confrontational Advice Given by Cesar Millan The Dog Whisperer

Tuesday, 24 March 2009
In an article written by Timothy Kim for the VIN News Services (5FEB09), an on-line resource for veterinarians, representatives of  the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) have expressed concern about dog training advice given by Cesar Millan, on his reality TV show, The Dog Whisperer. The AVSAB is so concerned that they have issued an official statement (Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals - to counter the unfortunate pervasive influence of Millan's show. In their position statement the AVSAB demonstrates that the dominance theory which is the core of Millan's approach, has been rejected by animal behavior experts and can actually cause serious fear aggression in dogs. In the article, Dr. Laurie Bergman, of Norristown, Pa., a member of AVSAB's executive board was quoted as saying "We had been moving away from dominance theory and punitive training techniques for a while, but, unfortunately, Cesar Millan has brought it back." Dominance theory has typically been presented as the reason for a dog's misbehavior. Its basic premise is that the dog is a pack animal like a wolf and all packs are ruled by the dominant alpha male. Millan essentially believes that in order to counter a dog's misbehavior, or as he sees it a "grab for power," a person must be the dominant alpha male and must use force and coercion to get the dog to behave and submit. The article describes Millan as using a number of assertive techniques "...negative-reinforcement, or correction... alpha rolls (the dog is rolled onto its back, a submissive position) and flooding (the dog is exposed to something that causes it anxiety and is not allowed to escape, to desensitize it).  He also has been shown choking a dog on the end of a leash until it fell onto its side, gasping for air." These techniques are of great concern to the AVSAB which has also adopted a position statement on the use of punishment for training animals ( The theory of dominance hierarchy was set into motion in 1922 by Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe and his research on chickens. It was popularized by the Monks of New Skete with their publication of How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend. This now very dated book, takes the premise that if we want the best relationship with our dog then we should treat them like an adult wolf would treat a wolf puppy, at least according to the Monk's understanding of that scenario. Many of their key recommendations focus on fear and physical punishment. Thanks to the work of Dr. L. David Mech, a senior scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, we now know that dominance theory does not apply to wolves in a natural, wild (non-captive) environment (Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs) ( Research by Dr. Ray and Lorna Coppinger (DOGS: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior, and Evolution (Scribner, NY, 2001; Univ. Chicago Press, 2002) has helped us understand that while closely related to the wolf a dog is not a  hunter or a pack animal. Dogs are primarily scavengers and when living feral often live alone or in very loose groups. So what does all of this mean? It means that the dominance theory spouted for years by many in the dog community is a poor model for describing wolf behavior and is an even worse model for training your dog. Unfortunately, just like there is still a Flat Earth Society there are still those like Cesar Millan, who hang on to a dog training model that is erroneous and based on creating confrontation and fear. The AVSAB is not the first to question Millan's techniques. On February 23, 2006 the New York Times quoted Dr. Nicholas Dodman [veterinary behaviorist and director of the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University] as saying ''My college thinks it [The Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan] is a travesty. We've written to National Geographic Channel and told them they have put dog training back 20 years.'' Later that same year the American Humane Association stated "The training tactics featured on Cesar Millan's "The Dog Whisperer" program are inhumane, outdated and improper" Kim's article concludes with a statement by Dr. Sophia Yin, a member of the AVSAB executive board, warning dog guardians to avoid dog trainers and others who: continually tell owners that they have to be the "alpha," warn owners not to use rewards too much, and uses pinch collars or shock collars on dogs in a training class. "The AVSAB recommends that veterinarians not refer clients to trainers or behavior consultants who coach and advocate dominance hierarchy theory and the subsequent confrontational training that follows from it." All of us at Green Acres wholeheartedly endorse the AVSAB's recommendations. Open a PDF of this post for printing

SEMINAR NOTICE - Nutrition and Health for Dogs, Cats and You?

Monday, 23 March 2009
Gail Fisher's All Dogs Gym & Inn will be hosting a weekend with Kymythy Schultze on April 24th thru April 26th in Manchester, NH. Schultze is the author of Ultimate Diet - Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, one of our favorite books on how to best feed your pet fresh, whole food. A Friday evening program will focus on healthy human nutrition, Saturday's session will cover natural nutrition for dogs and cats, and on Sunday Schultze will discuss holistic care for dogs and cats. For more information on the seminar go to: For more information on Kymythy Schultze go to: Open a PDF of this post for printing

What Is A Therapy Dog?

Sunday, 22 March 2009

If you are looking for someone with a therapy dog to visit your facility, contact Therapy Dogs International, Inc. at (


A therapy dog is in fact part of a therapy dog/handler team. In other words, a dog can only be a therapy dog when working with the handler with whom they have been evaluated and certified, which is also usually their guardian. A dog and their handler only become a therapy dog/handler team when they have been tested and registered by one of the therapy dog registries, such as Therapy Dogs International, Inc. ( This testing verifies that the dog has been trained to be mannerly and is comfortable around other people, other animals, and in a multitude of environments and is SAFE. Teams must maintain their annual registration with TDI in order to remain certified and covered by TDI's liability insurance.

Once a team has been registered with TDI they may be invited to visit people in hospitals, nursing home, schools and other locations. Therapy dogs should NOT be taken places unless you have first talked with the management of the place you intend to visit and they have indicated you are welcome. A therapy dog/handler team does not have the same rights as an assistance/service dog and in fact, TDI does not register dogs as part of therapy dog/handler teams if they are being used as an assistance/service dog.

What training is necessary for a therapy dog?

The dog in a therapy dog/handler team should be trained to a level so that they can easily pass the TDI therapy dog test. Details of the test can be found at TDI's website ( The test is similar to the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen test with some additional tests added. While attendance in a dog training class is not a requirement, in my experience as a TDI Evaluator, most teams that pass the test have gone through at least two or three levels of group training classes. Over the years I have noticed that the following parts of the test are the ones that are most difficult:

Test 4: Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Leash) This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog can be on either side of the handler, whichever the handler prefers. There must be a left turn, a right turn and an about turn, with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops.

Per TDI testing guidelines "The Evaluation begins as soon as the Evaluator is able to observe you and your dog, not only when you are going through the test requirements as a dog/handler team." This means that the neither the dog nor the handler should be making the leash tight at any time during the evaluation or at any time when they are in the evaluation area.

Test 8: Reaction to Another Dog This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 10 yards, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 5 yards. The dogs should show no more than a casual interest in each other.

In this part of the test we are actually asking the dog to be indifferent to their own species and expecting them not to try to greet one another. This can be especially difficult for young, friendly dogs. Having an excellent attention behavior and an automatic sit can be very helpful for passing this part of the evaluation.

Test 9: Reactions to Distractions (Leave-It) The handler with the dog on a loose leash walks past food on the ground (placed within a distance of three feet) and, upon command, the dog should ignore the food.

As scavengers, dogs have a natural instinct to check out food. An excellent attention or leave-it behavior will help a dog pass this test.

Test 10: Supervised Separation This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain its training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like. "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of site for three minutes. The dogs does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness.

Dogs need to be well socialized and comfortable around all types of people, including strangers, in order to pass this part of the test. This is not so much a training issue as one of helping your dog learn to cope emotionally with being left with someone new in your absence. Lots of gradual practice is essential to passing this part of the test. Dogs that are asked and expected to "stay" when left in this situation usually get more anxious.

Test 11: Say Hello The TDI Certified Evaluator will test the willingness of each dog to visit a person and that the dog can be made readily accessible for petting (i.e. small dogs can be placed on a person's lap or can be held, medium and larger dogs can sit on a chair or stand close to the patient to be easily reached.)

When I conduct this part of the test I am looking for a dog that willing approaches me and obviously wants to interact in a friendly manner yet, is not overly rambunctious. If a dog does not have a gregarious personality and is not interested in meeting people they may be able to pass other parts of the test but may not enjoy doing therapy work. It is not fair to ask such a dog to be part of a therapy dog/handler team.

Dogs that have been trained to shake or do other things with their paws often fail this part of the test because they initiate contact with their paws without being cued to do so.

Can any dog be part of a therapy dog/handler team?

Any dog/handler team can take the TDI test but as I have alluded to above, not all dogs will be suitable for therapy work. A dog/handler team can take the test, pass, and successfully do therapy work for years and then reach a point where it is no longer fun for the dog. This is what happened with my Golden Retriever, Tikken. She passed the test shortly after her first birthday and we started doing visits two to three times a month, primarily to nursing homes and group homes for children. She did very well and patients really enjoyed her visits. Then after a few years I noticed she was hesitant walking into the door of the nursing home one day. We decide to go home that day and tried a couple of more times. When she continued to be hesitant I knew it was time for Tikken to retire form therapy work. No matter how much the patients need and want to see our dog, our first responsibility is to our dogs needs.

When should one starting training a dog for therapy work?

Although a dog cannot take the TDI therapy dog test until they are one year old, training for therapy work can, and in my opinion should, start in a puppy socialization class at 8 weeks of age. I believe a major factor in a dog's success as a therapy dog will involve a well designed socialization program that will expose a puppy to a wide variety of people, places and things. Open a PDF of this post for printing

STAFF NEWS - Green Acres Kennel Shop Staff Completes Training

Saturday, 21 March 2009

For Immediate Release

Saturday, March 21, 2009 Contact:     Don Hanson Green Acres Kennel Shop 945-6841 [Bangor]- Rachael Bridges, Elizabeth Lutz, and Hilary Woodward, certified pet care technicians and play group supervisors at Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, attended the "Canine Body Language and Contextual Meanings" seminar presented by certified dog behavior consultant Sarah Kalnajs, in Portland on February 28th. The seminar focused on reading a dog's body language to better assess their style of play and emotional state. Angela Allen, Joel Mahaffey, and Becky Ruggiero, certified pet dog trainers at Green Acres Kennel Shop, attended  the "On Leash Reactivity: The Problem and The Program" seminar presented by certified dog behavior consultant Sarah Kalnajs, in Portland on March 1st. This seminar focused on training dogs that are reactive towards other dogs and people when on leash. Paula and Don Hanson, co-owners of Green Acres Kennel Shop, attended the Rabies Challenge Fund seminar at Rutgers University on March 14th. Speakers Dr. Ronald D. Schultz and Dr. W. Jean Dodds reviewed the last recommendations on pet vaccination schedules from the American Animal Hospital Association and discussed adverse reactions to vaccinations. In business since 1965, Green Acres Kennel Shop at 1653 Union Street is a Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) accredited facility offering boarding, daycare and grooming for dogs and cats, as well as pet behavior consultations and training classes. The Green Acres retail store offers a wide variety of wholesome pet foods, treats and quality supplies. For more information, please call 945-6841 or visit Open a PDF of this post for printing

HEALTH ALERT! - Sago Palm Plant Toxic to Pets

Friday, 20 March 2009
In a news alert issued today, the ASPCA has reported on the death of a lab mix due to the ingestion of parts of a sago palm plant. This plant, with dark green leaves and a hairy trunk has become a popular house  plant and is very toxic to pets. The Animal Poison Control Center, operated by the ASPCA, reports that since 2003 the number of reported animal poisonings due to the sago palm plant has increased by 200%. Fifty to seventy-five percent of those cases resulted in a fatality. All parts of the sago palm plant are considered to be toxic. Typical signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure. For more information on the Animal Poison Control Center and plants that are toxic to pets, check out this link: Open a PDF of this post for printing

Welcome to the Green Acres Kennel Shop Blog!

Wednesday, 04 March 2009

Why A Green Acres Blog?

When Paula and I became the owners of Green Acres Kennel Shop in 1995 we not only wanted to provide your pets with a "home away from home," but we also wanted to become a reliable source for useful, pet-related information. It has been our goal to serve as a resource that can help you and your pet to have the best life possible. Over the years we've been able to provide you with information on pet behavior and training, animal nutrition, traditional, alternative and complementary healthcare, grooming, therapy dogs, great books, pet related events and facts about our many products and services. We've communicated that knowledge through our personal conversations with you, in seminars, dog training classes, our periodic newsletter Paw Prints, on our web site (, and on The Woof Meow Show on WVOM and WVQM (103.9FM & 101.3FM). We view a blog as just another communications medium that the Green Acres team can use to help keep you informed via your web browser or email inbox. A blog's great advantage over the other communication mediums in use is its immediacy and opportunity for you to provide us with valuable feedback. We are committed to providing our local clients, as well as the pet community at large, with relevant, focused and useful information that will inform, educate and occasionally entertain. We promise to label each post clearly so as not to waste your valuable time. While we will occasionally discuss services and products, it will be with a primary goal of education. Lastly, now and then we may use this blog to inform you of a special deal or coupon on a specific product or service. We welcome comments on our posts but do ask that you become a subscriber if you wish to comment, subscribing with your full name and a valid email address. I sincerely hope that you will feel comfortable inviting the Green Acres blog into your email inbox and look forward to your participation and comments.

Don Hanson, BFRP, CDBC, CPDT co-owner, Green Acres Kennel Shop

© Green Acres Kennel Shop, Bangor, ME -

Open a PDF of this post for printing

About Green Acres

Wednesday, 04 March 2009
aboutbiz Green Acres Kennel Shop is a pet care facility in Bangor, Maine offering boarding, daycare, grooming and pet behavior consultations for dogs and cats and their guardians. Additionally, we offer group and private dog training classes, seminars and a wide array of wholesome, healthy pet foods and quality pet products. In June of 2007, Green Acres became one of 89 kennels in the United States accredited through the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA), now the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) Voluntary Facilities Accreditation program. The PCSA's VFA program represents a significant advance in the professionalization of the pet care industry. It establishes nationally-accepted standards of design and performance for pet care facilities. These standards were developed over a six-year period by a working committee of PCSA members which included pet care facility operators, pet owners, veterinarians and animal care experts. During the development stage of the program, PCSA members were surveyed and interviewed about many different phases of pet care facility operations and management procedures. The resulting program contains over 200 industry-recognized "Standards of Excellence." Green Acres Kennel Shop has been voted the Bangor Regions Best Kennel in a survey conducted by Market Surveys of America every year since 2002. They have been voted the Bangor Regions Best Pet Store every year since 2007. First established as a boarding kennel in 1965, Green Acres Kennel Shop has been owned by Don and Paula Hanson since 1995. The Hanson's moved from Wisconsin to Bangor in order to purchase Green Acres Kennel Shop after deciding they wanted to own their own business and focus on their passion - dogs and cats. Don Hanson is Green Acres' Director of Behavior Counseling and Training. As a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) and Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) animal specialist, Don assists guardians and their pets with a wide range of behavioral problems. A member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) since 1995, in 1998 Don was asked by Dr. Ian Dunbar to serve on the APDT's Education Committee. He was one of twenty dog training professionals and behaviorists selected by the APDT to research and develop the first comprehensive written certification examination for pet dog trainers. He became one of the first trainers certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers in September of 2001. Health and behavioral issues with his own pets initiated Don's interest in complementary healthcare (for a full account of that story see The Evolution of a Pet Care Professional on our website, In November of 2003, Don completed the coursework necessary to become the first Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) animal specialist in the United States. Don is very involved in the pet community. He has served on the Bangor Humane Society Board of Directors since 1996 and was its President from 1998 through 2003. In 2001 he was first elected to the APDT Board of Directors. Elected again in 2004 he served as Vice President in 2005 and 2006 and President in 2007. He currently serves on the Maine state Animal Welfare Advisory Council (AWAC), representing licensed kennels. Don has presented seminars on pet behavior, dog training, pet nutrition and Bach Flower Remedies in Canada, the Caribbean, Japan, and throughout the US. Don is the host of "The Woof-Meow" show, a weekly radio program on WVOM-FM. He also writes articles for the DownEast Dog News and other pet related publications. Don is a certified member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals (AABP), and a member of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA), the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA formerly ABKA), and Truly Dog Friendly (TDF). Paula works in the front lines of Green Acres, managing the retail operations and checking in guests. She is responsible for much of the day to day business and customer service, ever searching out the highest quality products for the lowest prices to pass on to our clientele. She is a PCSA Certified Advanced Pet Care Technician. Additionally, due to her previous work experience, she has become Green Acres resident health care expert. Prior to buying Green Acres, Paula was a veterinary technician and office manager for a small animal practice in Madison, WI. An animal lover all her life, Paula has raised numerous dogs and cats. Paula and Don are very interested in holistic and complementary health care for pets and people. They have both attended numerous seminars and workshops on nutrition, homeopathy, herbal medicine, and flower remedies. Don and Paula share their home with 2 dogs and 3 cats; Tikken (a Golden Retriever and Dulcie a Cairn Terrier, Batman (a domestic short haired cat) and Thelma and Louise (the Green Acres two domestic short haired cats and official mouse patrol). don-paula-tikken-dulcie-batman-thelma-louise-nov06-edited-small-web-view

Open a PDF of this Post for Printing

We'll throw you a bone...
Sign up for our e-mail newsletter