What’s Shocking about Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Training

< A short link to this post – http://bit.ly/ShockBARK-JUL2019 >

< UPDATED – 27JUL19 >

< A short link to a podcast on this topic – http://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatShock-27JUL19 >

< The original version of this article was published in the July 2019 issue of Barks from the Guild, a publication of the Pet Professional Guild. >You may read it in its original format by clicking here, or you may download a printable PDF file by clicking here.

The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) was founded in 2012 by current president, Niki Tudge. As a dog training and pet care professional, Tudge, like many of us, was discouraged by the flawed and harmful information being disseminated around the profession, including by some trainers, day care operators, groomers, boarding kennels, breeders, shelters, rescues, veterinarians, and even “reality” television shows. In some cases, the latter were promoted as offering “expert” dog training advice, but were, in fact, just like most “reality” TV: entertainment based on conflict and drama.

From its inception, PPG has been committed to the training, care, and management of companion animals that are free from pain, force, and fear. Its Guiding Principles (2012) state that members are obligated to follow this philosophy: “To be in any way affiliated with the Pet Professional Guild, all members must adhere to a strict code of conduct. Pet Professional Guild members understand Force-Free to mean: No shock, No pain, No choke, No fear, No physical force, No compulsion based methods are ever employed to train or care for a pet.” [Emphasis added]

This guarantee to kind, compassionate and scientific training methods is why I am a member of PPG and why the Find A Professional section of the PPG website is the first place I go when looking to refer to another pet care professional. Whoever I recommend reflects on my reputation and that of my business, so it is essential I know that those receiving my referrals are committed to training, care, and management that comply with PPG’s Guiding Principles.

In January 2015, the PPG Advocacy Committee was born with its mission defined thus: “To reduce or eliminate the practice of using electronic shock devices in the training of domestic pet animals. PPG will achieve this goal through strategic professional, respectful and energetic processes of advocacy and education. These efforts will at all times adhere to the Guiding Principles of PPG and will be accomplished through the development of specific action plans, as determined by members of the PPG Advocacy Committee.”

Key to this plan was to use the existing and developing scientific literature, demonstrating that using shock to train animals is unnecessary and often harmful and not in the interest of animal welfare, as a foundation. Next came the Shock-Free Coalition, established in September 2017, a child of the Advocacy Committee, but a separate entity with its own website and a very clear mission: “The key purpose of the Shock-Free Coalition is to build a strong and broad movement committed to eliminating shock devices from the supply and demand chain. This goal will be reached when shock tools and equipment are universally unavailable and not permitted for the training, management and care of pets.”

Critical steps in this process are:

  • To engage and educate pet owners and shelter/rescue workers to help them make informed decisions about the management, care, and training of the pets in their charge.
  • To build a worldwide coalition that provides pet owners access to competent, professional pet industry service providers.
  • To create widespread pet industry transparency and compliance regarding how professionals implement their services and communicate their philosophy to pet owners.
  • The Shock-Free Coalition website serves as an educational resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the organization and why ending the use of shock is so essential. It also offers anyone the opportunity to support the cause by taking the Shock-Free Pledge, either as an individual or as a business. Participants may pledge at several different levels ranging from simply signing the pledge to signing the pledge and making a recurring financial contribution to help the mission continue toward its goal.

What Does Science Tell Us about Shock?

The Shock-Free Coalition did not come to its conclusion that using shock for the training, care, and management of pets was unnecessary and harmful out of the blue. Its position is based on the careful review of the growing number of peer reviewed, scientific studies that demonstrate that shock is not only unnecessary, but is harmful, both physically and psychologically.

What Do the Professional Organizations Say?

The current scientific data, in addition to the moral and ethical concerns about mental and physical damage to animals subjected to methods using force, fear and/or pain have moved a number of representing professional organizations to advocate for the use of humane training techniques founded on evidence-based learning theories and avoid training methods or devices which employ coercion, pain, force and/or fear (Tudge & Nilson, 2016). These include, but are not limited to:

  • “The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) guidelines oppose aversive training techniques, such as prong (pinch) or choke collars, cattle prods, alpha rolls (forcibly rolling a pet on his or her back), electronic shock collars, entrapment, and physically punishing a pet. The guidelines note that aversive training techniques can harm or even destroy an animal’s trust in his or her owner, negatively impact the pet’s problem-solving ability, and cause increased anxiety in the animal. Aversive techniques are especially a concern if pets are already fearful or aggressive, rendering any aggressive dog more dangerous. According to the AAHA guidelines, the only acceptable training techniques are non-aversive, positive techniques that rely on the identification of, and reward for, desirable behaviors. Positive reinforcement is the most humane and effective approach.” – American Animal Hospital Association (2015).
  • “The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) supports the use of humane training methods for dogs that are based on current scientific knowledge of learning theory. Reward-based methods are highly recommended. Aversive methods are strongly discouraged as they may cause fear, distress, anxiety, pain or physical injury to the dog.” – –          Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (2015).
  • “Aversive, punishment-based techniques may alter behaviour, but the methods fail to address the underlying cause and, in the case of unwanted behaviour, can lead to undue anxiety, fear, distress, pain or injury.” – British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (2019).
  • The British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) “recommends against the use of electronic shock collars and other aversive methods for the training and containment of animals. Shocks and other aversive stimuli received during training may not only be acutely stressful, painful and frightening for the animals, but may also produce long term adverse effects on behavioural and emotional responses…The BSAVA strongly recommends the use of positive reinforcement training methods that could replace those using aversive stimuli.” – British Small Animal Veterinary Association (2019).
  • “The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has concerns about the use of aversive training devices to control, train or punish dogs. The use of devices such as electronic collars, as a means of punishing or controlling behaviour of companion animals is open to potential abuse and incorrect use of such training aids has the potential to cause welfare and training problems…Electric pulse devices are sometimes used in dog training as a form of punishment to prevent a dog from repeating bad behaviour. Although training a dog is important for their well-being, research shows that electric pulse collars are no more effective than positive reinforcement methods. BVA has consulted with experts and examined the evidence. Research by Schalke, Stichnoth and Jones-Baade (2005) showed that the application of electric stimulus, even at a low level, can cause physiological and behavioral responses associated with stress, pain and fear. In light of the evidence, BVA has concluded that electric pulse collars raise a number of welfare issues, such as the difficulty in accurately judging the level of electric pulse to apply to a dog without causing unnecessary suffering.” – British Veterinary Association (2018).
  • “The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) does not support the use of electronic behaviour modifying collars (e-collars) that deliver aversive stimuli for the training or containment of dogs. E-collars have the potential to harm both the physical and mental health of dogs. They are an aversive training method that have in some studies been associated with significant negative animal welfare outcomes. Positive reinforcement training methods are an effective and humane alternative to e-collars for dog training…The use of pain to train dogs is no more acceptable or humane when it is administered by remote control, than if it was delivered as a physical blow such as a punch or kick.” – New Zealand Veterinary Association (2018).
  • “E-collar training is associated with numerous well documented risks concerning dog health, behavior and welfare. Any existing behaviour problem is likely to deteriorate or an additional problem is likely to emerge, when such a collar is used. This becomes an even greater risk when this aversive tool is used by an unqualified trainer (as training is largely unregulated throughout the EU, it appears that a large number of trainers are unqualified). Additionally, the efficacy of these collars has not been proven to be more effective than other alternatives such as positive training. Hence, European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology (ESVCE) encourages education programmes which employ positive reinforcement methods (while avoiding positive punishment and negative reinforcement) thereby promoting positive dog welfare and a humane, ethical and moral approach to dog training at all times.” – European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology (2017).
  • In addition to these professional bodies, several countries, including England, Wales, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, the province of Quebec in Canada, and the states of New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in Australia, have already banned electronic stimulation devices. Under recent amendments to ACT animal welfare legislation, anyone who places an electric shock device, such as a shock collar, on an animal, will attract a maximum penalty of AU$16,000 [$11,000] and a year’s imprisonment (Brewer, 2019). In Scotland, “strict guidance” has been published by the Scottish Parliament which provides “advice on training methods and training aids for dogs, with particular focus on the welfare issues that may arise from the use of aversive methods including e-collars. It highlights the potential consequences of the misuse of aversive training aids, including possible legal consequences.” (The Kennel Club, 2018) (Tudge, Nilson, Millikan & Stapleton-Frappell, 2019).

Examining Arguments

Meanwhile, there are pet care professionals, pet owners, and moneyed interests, such as the companies that manufacture and sell shock collars, who disregard all the research and advocate for the continued use of shock. Common arguments include that the shock “does not cause pain or discomfort” and therefore cannot be abusive or inhumane; shock is “more efficient” for training than positive reinforcement training; shock is the “only way” certain behaviors can be trained (e.g., snake avoidance training); and using shock “saves dogs’ lives.” Let’s now look at each of those arguments individually and examine them from a scientific perspective.

#1: Does the electric shock from a shock collar cause pain? States Anderson (2012): “During the initial training period, [shock] must be painful, uncomfortable, or frightening, or it wouldn’t work. It has to have some unpleasant feeling that is robust enough to get the dog to work to make it stop.”

Science, through published peer reviewed research, is quite clear that shock collars cause pain. While proponents might call it a “stim” a “tap,” or a “static charge,” we know from the science of operant conditioning that the aversive stimulus (electric shock) must be sufficiently distressing (i.e., physical or emotionally painful) to cause a change in behavior. If it did not hurt, it would not work.

Several studies have reported that shock collars cause undue stress to dogs. A study by Schilder and van der Borg (2004) examined guard dogs who were specially bred for toughness and low sensitivity to pain and stress and found that training with shock collars caused long-lasting stress effects — to the point that the dogs continued to associate their handler as aversive even outside of a training context. The dogs exhibited behaviors associated with fear and anxiety long after they had received shocks. “The conclusions, therefore are, that being trained [with electric shock] is stressful. That receiving shocks is a painful experience to dogs, and that the dogs have learned that the presence of their owner (or his commands) announces reception of shocks, even outside of the normal training context.” (Schilder & van der Borg, 2004).

Fear and Anxiety

Late veterinarian Dr. Sophia Yin (2011) discussed this study in a post on her blog and made the following key conclusions:

  • Overall, the researchers concluded that even when compared to working dogs trained using choke chain and pinch collar corrections, dogs trained with electronic shock collars showed more fear and anxiety behaviors than those trained by other traditional police dog and watch-dog methods.
  • Avoidance behavior and fear postures during the shocks indicated that the shock elicited both pain and fear and therefore were not just a distraction or nuisance.
  • “The enormous rewards the dogs experience during training i.e. chasing down, catching a criminal and winning the sleeve, do not counter the negative effects of getting shocked. This is in spite of the fact that handlers of non-shocked dogs admitted that they use prong collars and that their dogs experienced beatings and other harsh punishment, such as kicks or choke collar corrections.” (Yin, 2011).

An important point to note here is that shock collar users may sometimes say something along the lines of, “I don’t use the shock feature any more. I only use the collar with the beep on now.” However, the Shock-Free Coalition (2019) points out that the tone itself can become as aversive and damaging as the shock once the association has been established: “If I pull out a gun, and I cock it, are you any less scared than if I fired it? If your dog does what you ask when he hears the beep, it means that he has learned that the beep predicts a painful shock, just like cocking the gun predicts a bullet hitting you. While the collar is no longer physically hurting the dog, it can still be scarring him emotionally.”

Another study, by Schalke, Stichnoth, Ott and Jones-Baade (2007), examined the use of shock for training to stop undesirable hunting/ chasing behavior. This study also revealed that the dogs being trained with shock found it to be very stressful. The authors concluded, “…the general use of electric shock collars is not consistent with animal welfare.”

A third study, AW1402, conducted by the University of Lincoln and the University of Bristol for DEFRA in the United Kingdom (2010), compared the features of several shock collars and examined how they are typically used by pet owners. The researchers concluded that “for a subset of dogs tested, the previous use of e-collars in training are associated with behavioural and physiological responses that are consistent with significant negative emotional states; this was not seen to the same extent in the control population. It is therefore suggested that the use of e-collars in training pet dogs can lead to a negative impact on welfare, at least in a proportion of animals trained using this technique.”

The AW1402 researchers also observed that the instruction manuals that came with shock collar products did not provide an adequate explanation of how to use the device. When the individuals using the collars were interviewed, they could not explain how to use the collar properly and often indicated that they had failed to read the instructions or chose to ignore them. The researchers concluded that “…some of the reported use was clearly inconsistent with advice in e-collar manuals and potentially a threat to the dog’s welfare.” (DEFRA, 2010).

As noted in the AW1402 study, misuse and inappropriate use of shock collars are not uncommon. One of my employees witnessed such abuse at a field trial event. A dog owner with two dogs was working with one dog and had a second dog in his truck in a crate. The dog he was working with did not respond to a cue, so the owner pressed a button on the remote to shock the dog. The dog still did not respond to the cue, so the owner shocked the dog again. Meanwhile, the dog in the crate was yelping each time the owner intended to shock the dog he was allegedly training. It was not until our staff member pointed it out that the owner realized he was shocking the wrong dog as he was using the wrong remote unit.

Ultimately, I think the question everyone with a dog needs to ask themselves is, “Do I want to be working with a pet care professional that does not understand the basic principles of learning?” States veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta in the 2017 documentary, Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats:If your trainer is still using pinch collars and choke collars, they haven’t read a book or gone to a scientifically based seminar in 25 years.” The sad fact is that dog training is an unregulated profession, and because of that, there are far too many people in the profession spreading disinformation about dogs, their behavior, and how to train them.

For anyone who understands how animals learn, what could be their motivation for using, recommending, and selling shock collars all the while telling people it’s not really a shock and/or it won’t hurt their dog? They are certainly not being truthful. Sadly, greed has caused humans to do unethical and unnecessary things from the beginning of time. I believe this excerpt from Dogs, Cats, and Scapegoats (2017) further illustrates my point about shock causing pain as well as the motivation for selling shock collars. It begins with Dr. Radosta’s statement cited in the previous paragraph and continues with a video of someone demonstrating a shock collar on themselves. I use this excerpt in my orientation program for all my Basic Manners students and in a presentation for my aggression clients, and it does help people understand that shock is very painful.

#2. Is training a dog with an aversive such as a shock collar more efficient than using positive reinforcement training and food? The next argument we might hear in favor of using shock is that the pain it causes is “irrelevant,” because, as a training method, it is “so much more efficient.” Well, is it?

The DEFRA AW1402 study (2010) indicates that not only does shock cause pain, it is often misused. This led to a second DEFRA study, AW1402a (2011), to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs. AW1402a was designed to investigate how dogs would react when a shock collar was used per the manufacturer’s instructions. The study looked at three different groups of dogs, all with owners that had reported their dog either had a poor recall or chased cars, bicycles or animals. One group of dogs was trained with a shock collar by dog trainers that had been trained by shock collar manufacturers; the second group of dogs was trained by the same dog trainers but with positive reinforcement. The last group of dogs was trained by members of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) in the United Kingdom using positive reinforcement. The researchers found “behavioural evidence that use of e-collars negatively impacted on the welfare of some dogs during training even when training was conducted by professional trainers using relatively benign training programmes advised by e-collar advocates.” The study also demonstrated that the shock collar was no more effective at resolving r call and chasing behaviors than positive reinforcement training.

Ethics and Welfare

A study by Hiby, Rooney and Bradshaw (2004) specifically assessed the effectiveness of different training methods (positive reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative reinforcement) and how they affected a dog’s behavior. The scientists did not just look at shock as an aversive, but even evaluated vocal punishment and physical punishment. They concluded: “There are ethical concerns that dog training methods incorporating physical or verbal punishment may result in pain and/or suffering. We provide evidence that, in the general dog owning population, dogs trained using punishment are no more obedient than those trained by other means and, furthermore, they exhibit increased numbers of potentially problematic behaviours. Problematic behaviours can compromise welfare as they are often associated with an increased state of anxiety (e.g. Askew, 1996) and they can also lead the owner to relinquish the dog (Serpell, 1996). Because reward-based methods are associated with higher levels of obedience and fewer problematic behaviours, we suggest that their use is a more effective and welfare-compatible alternative to punishment for the average dog owner.” (Hiby, Rooney & Bradshaw, 2004).

A 2012 study by Blackwell, Bolster, Richards, Loftus and Casey specifically looked at the use of shock collars for training dogs, why owners used them, and how effective they were. The researchers concluded that “more owners using reward based methods for recall/chasing report a successful outcome of training than those using e-collars.” (Blackwell, Bolster, Richards, Loftus & Casey, 2012).

Aggressive Behavior: Case Studies

How can shock cause aggressive behavior? I believe most everyone understands that there are times when they have been anxious, reactive, rude, or outright aggressive when they were experiencing any type of pain or stress. Often, the target of that aggression will be whatever they are focusing on when they experience the pain. Here are two cases involving dogs that were brought to me for a behavior consultation due to aggressive behavior. In both cases, the owners believed the aggression had been caused by the use of a shock collar.

Case #1: Jake

“Jake,” a very social dog, bounded off to greet every person he saw. Jake’s guardians were concerned about him leaving the yard because he frequently went to visit the neighbors. He loved visiting with them and they enjoyed having him there. For what they believed was Jake’s protection, the family installed an underground fence system that would keep him in their yard. They trained him to the system per the manufacturer’s instructions.

After the system was installed, Jake saw the neighbor out in her yard. Since he had always liked his neighbor, he ran straight toward her, but was shocked when crossing the invisible line. This happened a few more times, until, one day, Jake was inside his home when the neighbor knocked on the front door. When the family opened the door, Jake saw the neighbor and immediately reacted by biting her in the leg.

To Jake, the neighbor was the predictor of the shock, and he now associated her with being shocked. This incident could have been pre-vented with the installation of a real fence or by supervising Jake when he was out in the yard.

Case #2: Jenny

“Jenny” would drag her guardians around on her leash, especially when she saw another dog. Jenny was just curious and friendly and wanted to greet the other dogs, but her guardians were older, and Jenny was an energetic and powerful dog. They had made no attempts to train Jenny and were frustrated with being dragged around anytime Jenny saw another dog. They went to a big box pet store where it was suggested they purchase a remote shock collar. They were instructed to shock Jenny whenever she pulled on her leash.

On their next walk, Jenny, as she always had done, moved forward in friendly greeting when she spotted another dog. Jenny was fixated on the dog she wanted to meet when she was shocked. The next time Jenny saw another dog on a walk, she immediately became anxious. As the dog approached, Jenny lunged, but this time she also growled and bared her teeth. Jenny had become very afraid. She was trying to look fierce to scare the dog away before he hurt her, when she was shocked yet again. Jenny, now anxious and confused about other dogs, learned to become aggressive because of her fear of the shock, which she associated with other dogs.

Jenny’s guardians did not train her to stop pulling; all they succeeded in doing is making a previously dog-friendly dog, dog-aggressive. If they had enrolled Jenny in a reward-based training class and made use of a front-connect walking harness, they could have taught her to walk nicely without ever causing her any pain or fear.

These are not isolated occurrences. I have training colleagues throughout the country that could tell you of similar incidents. A study by Polsky (2000) examined five cases of severe attacks by dogs who had been trained or contained via electric shock. None of the dogs had a history of aggression before being shocked. The study concludes there is a high probability that experience with shock was at least partially responsible for the aggressive behavior. This is very similar to Jake’s story.

#3. Is the use of aversives necessary to train behaviors such as snake avoidance?

Why use a shock collar if we know it can cause pain and can create previously nonexistent behavior problems like anxiety and aggression, especially when it is no more effective and often less effective than reward-based training? One answer we may often hear is that there are certain behaviors you can “only” teach a dog with an aversive like a shock. A typical behavior that is often used as an example is training a dog to stay away from rattlesnakes, or any other kind of venomous snake. While there is no peer reviewed literature to support the argument that shock is not necessary for training snake aversion, nor is there any peer reviewed literature to suggest that it is. Meanwhile, there is ample anecdotal evidence that demonstrates shock is not necessary in training more challenging behaviors. Certified professional dog trainer Pamela Johnson conducted a webinar for PPG where she explains exactly how to train your dog to be safe around snakes without resorting to the use of shock.

When it comes to teaching animals “mission critical” behaviors, far more advanced than rattlesnake aversion, one only need to look to the work done by Animal Behavior Enterprises (ABE) and the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Training program. Marian and Bob Bailey were part of both of those efforts and trained animals to do many amazing things all with positive reinforcement training. Yin (2012) discusses how Bailey and Bailey continued to use their expertise to help train military dogs and also shares a little-known story about work they did in the 1960s training cats for the Central Intelligence Agency. What were the cats trained to do? To follow people through airports. If you want to learn more about how animal training moved from being a craft to a science, you might want to track down a copy of a film ABE made on the subject called Patient Like the Chipmunks.

#4. Does using a shock collar save dogs’ lives?

Sometimes we might hear or read on social media that “using shock can save a dog’s life.” This is essentially the argument for using shock to train snake avoidance. In reality, it is a last-ditch attempt to “shock” an owner into a state of fear and anxiety, because no one wants their dog to die. The fact is there is no peer reviewed research to prove or disprove this statement, and never will be, because the design of such a study would never be approved by a review board because it would not be ethical.

How You Can Help

If the Shock-Free Coalition is going to be successful, we need the help of every single PPG member as well as all of the pet parents that want the best life possible for their furry friend. Here are some things you can do to help:

Sign the Pledge

If you are a PPG member, a pet parent, or a pet care profession and have not signed the Shock-Free Pledge), please do so! I get it, we’re all busy, and sometimes we put things on a “to do list” and then just never get to it. As a PPG member, you have already committed to The Guiding Principles, so we know that you understand the importance of ending the use of shock collars. It is important that we get all PPG members to sign the pledge.  It is equally important that we get pet parents and pet care professionals to support our call to end the use of shock for the management and training of dogs.

Position Statements

Familiarize yourself with the PPG Position Statement on Shock Training and the AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines. These two documents, especially when used together, make a compelling and scientifically sound argument for never using shock. Ask the veterinarians in your community if they are familiar with the AAHA Guidelines, especially those that are AAHA accredited facilities. If they are not, print a copy and share it with them. You might even highlight the most important parts.

Even though the ESVCE Position Statement on Electronic Training Devices focuses primarily on Europe, being one of the most recent position statements, it is a valuable resource anywhere. Ask the veterinarians in your community if they are familiar with this document and if they are not, print a copy and share it with them.

On the Web

The Shock-Free Coalition website is full of excellent information for you to review and share with others as you help spread the word about the importance of educating people about the use of shock. This material is freely available to you for when you need to speak to clients and others about the reasons for selecting positive reinforcement training as opposed to using aversives.

A special thank you to Susan Nilson, the BARKS from the Guild editor-in-chief, for her contributions to this article.

References

American Animal Hospital Association. (2019). AAHA behavior guidelines offer solutions to managing behavior problems with your pet. Available at: http://bit.ly/AAHABhx2015

Anderson, E. (2012). What is Shock Training? – Is It Really Just A Tap? Shock Collar Training Explained. Available at:   http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Anderson-WhatIsShock

Blackwell, E.J., Bolster, C., Richards, G., Loftus, B.A., & Casey, R.A. (2012). The use of electronic collars for training domestic dogs: estimated prevalence, reasons and risk factors for use, and owner perceived success as compared to other training methods. BMC Veterinary Research (8) 93. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Blackwell-BMCVR-2012

Brewer, P. (2019). Do let the dogs out: Huge fines for pet confinement part of ACT animal welfare overhaul. Available at: http://bit.ly/2Wx0Qu8

British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (2019). Position Statement on Animal Training. Available at: http://bit.ly/2XEb8W2

British Small Animal Veterinary Association. (2019). Position Statement on Aversive Training Methods. Available at: http://bit.ly/2F0HdAa

British Veterinary Association. (2018). Aversive training devices for dogs. Available at: http://bit.ly/2XByUlv

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. (2015). Humane Training Methods for Dogs – Position Statement. Available at: http://bit.ly/2KHCcQr

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (2010). Studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs: Project Code AW1402. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-DEFRA-AW1402-2013

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (2011). Studies to assess the effect of pet training aids, specifically remote static pulse systems, on the welfare of domestic dogs; field study of dogs in training: Project Code AW1402a. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-DEFRA-AW1402a-2013

European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology. (2017). ESVCE Position Statement: Electronic Training Devices. Available at:  http://bit.ly/SHOCK-ESVE_Pos

Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J., & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2004). Dog training methods—their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare (13) 63–69. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Hiby-AnimWelfare-2004

New Zealand Veterinary Association. (2018). Use of behaviour modifying collars on dogs. Available at: http://bit.ly/2F1z6Dj

Pet Professional Guild. (2012). Guiding Principles. Available at: http://bit.ly/PPG-GuidingPrinciples

Polsky, R. (2000). Can Aggression in Dogs Be Elicited Through the Use of Electronic Pet Containment Systems? Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 3 (4) 345‐357. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Polsky-JAAWS-Aggx-2000

Sandgrain Films. (2017). Shock Collar [Video File]. Available at: http://vimeo.com/235106629

Schalke, E., Stichnoth, J., & Jones‐Baade, R. (2005). Stress symptoms caused by the use of electric training collars on dogs (Canis familiaris) in everyday life situations. Current Issues and Research in Veterinary Behavioral Medicine. 5th International Veterinary Behavior Meeting. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 139‐145.

Schalke, E., Stichnoth, J., Ott, S., & Jones‐Baade, R. (2007). Clinical signs caused by the use of electric training collars on dogs in everyday life situations. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 105 (4) 369‐380. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Schalke-AABS-JUL2007

Schilder, M., & van der Borg, J. (2004). Training dogs with help of the shock collar: short and long term behavioural effects. Applied Animal Behaviour Science (85) 319–334. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Schilder-AABS-MAR2004

Shock‐Free Coalition. (2019). Myths and Misconceptions. Available at:  https://www.shockfree.org/Education/Myths-and-Misconceptions

The Kennel Club. (2018). The Kennel Club and Scottish Kennel Club Welcomes the Scottish Government’s Effective Ban on Shock Training Devices. Available at: http://bit.ly/31r1Zm7

Tudge, N.J, & Nilson, S.J. (2016). The Use of Shock in Animal Training. Available at: https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

Tudge, N.J, Nilson, S.J., Millikan, D.A., & Stapleton‐Frappell, L.A. (2019). Pet Training and Behavior Consulting: A Model for Raising the Bar to Protect Professionals, Pets and Their People. (n.p.): DogNostics Career Center Publishing – https://petindustryregulation.com/

Yin, S. (2011). Are Electronic Shock Collars Painful – A New Study Reveals Some Answers. Available at: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-Yin-Pain-2011

Yin, S. (2012). How Technology from 30 Years Ago is Helping Military Dogs Perform Better Now. Available at: http://bit.ly/POS-REI-SpyCats

Resources

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) 2015 Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines: http://bit.ly/AAHABhx2015

European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology ‐ Position Statement on Electronic Training Devices: http://bit.ly/SHOCK-ESVE_Pos

Pet Professional Guild ‐ Rattlesnake Avoidance Training Using Force‐Free Methods [Webinar]: https://petprofessionalguild.com/event-1913569

Pet Professional Guild ‐ Member Search: http://bit.ly/PPG-Find-A-Prof

Pet Professional Guild ‐ Position on Shock Training: https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/shockcollars

Shock‐Free Coalition: https://www.shockfree.org/

Shock‐Free Coalition Pledge: https://www.shockfree.org/Pledge

Other Related Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Hanson, D. (2004-2018). The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars, Available at: http://bit.ly/ShockCollars

Hanson, D.  (2018) Helping Your Dog Thrive with Brambell’s Five Freedoms, Available at: Brambell’s Five Freedoms

Hanson, D. (2018, 2019). Things I Wish I Had Known…, Available at: http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown

Hanson, D. (2006). Green Acres’ First Statement on Being A Pet Friendly-Facility, Available at: http://bit.ly/GAKS1stPetFriendly

Hanson, D. (2006). Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet Friendly, Force-Free Pet Care, Available at: http://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Hanson, D. (2018). The Shock-Free Coalition: What’s Next?, Don Hanson explains how to keep the momentum going once you have signed the Shock-Free Pledge, http://bit.ly/BARKS-ShockFreeMAR2018

Hanson, D.  (2018) Celebrating the 1st Year of the Shock-Free Coalition – +R Rocks, Available at: http://bit.ly/Shock-FreeRocks

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – What’s Shocking About Shock – What Science Tells Us About the Use of Shock in Dog Traininghttp://bit.ly/WfMw-WhatShock-27JUL19

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockPodcast

Podcast – The Woof Meow Show: The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudgehttp://bit.ly/PodCastShockFree-NikiTudge-2017

©27-Jul-19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

What’s In A Name – The importance of choosing and using your dog’s name wisely

< A version of this article was published in the July 2019 issue of
Downeast Dog News>

<A short link to this post – http://bit.ly/WWM-Name-JUL2019>

Your dog’s name is an essential signal you will use when you want to communicate with them. At its most basic, to your dog it means “pay attention to whoever said my name,” and if you want it to work at its best, it should mean “paying attention to whoever says my name results in yummy rewards!”

Choosing A Name for Your Dog

If you adopt a puppy, from a breeder or a shelter, you will be able to name them anything you want. However, I suggest you spend some time thinking about the name you pick. There are personal factors to consider, as well as practical considerations.

Practical Considerations for a Puppy Name

  • Choose a name that is at most two syllables; a name that is short and distinct. While Princess Margaret could be a marvelous name for a dog, its length may make it less effective. I would suggest you use Princess, Maggie, or Mags for training. Short names are easier for dogs to recognize.
  • Choose a name that is unique and will not sound in like a verbal cue you use for training or the name of someone in your home. For example, “Clown” could be an excellent name for a dog that is an incessant goofball. However, it sounds like the verbal cue, “Down.” That could make things confusing for your beloved Clown, so perhaps “Goofy” would be a better name. Avoid selecting a name that is similar to the names of others, animals, or people, that live in your household. Having a Joe, Moe, and Beau, all in the same house could become very confusing. Moreover, those names also sound like “No,” a word that most pet parents use far too often.
  • If you follow the above suggestions, your dog’s name can be anything you want it to be.

Practical Considerations for an Older Dog

Most older dogs we bring into our families will already have a name. If the dog already responds cheerfully to their name, keep the name, even if you are not fond of it. We adopted our dog Shed when she was five years old. We were told the name was an abbreviation for Sh**head, which was a reason not to like the name. However, Shed responded to “Shed” with joy and enthusiasm, so that remained her name.

Our dog Muppy was picked up as a stray in Mississippi when she was about 18 months old. She was pregnant so went into a foster home for 8-weeks where she was named Marlene. Somewhere between her foster home and her transfer to a rescue in New Hampshire, she became Molly. When we got her, she did not respond to either name, and so we took some time to get to know her personality. After about a week, she became “Muppy.” She has been with us for six years now, and everyone agrees that her name suits her well.

Personal Considerations

It’s your dog so you can name her anything you want; however, other family members may wish to have a voice in the matter. I suggest the adults have veto power so that they can ensure that the name is practical, as noted above. For example, it is entirely within the realm of possibility for a child to believe that “Mister Fluffy Pants” is the best name ever, but, I suggest you meet them halfway. Get the puppy something (a bowl, a bed, a collar, etc.) labeled “Mister Fluffy Pants” but agree to use something shorter for training; perhaps “Fluffy.” Whatever you choose for everyday use is the name that should be on your dog’s ID tag and microchip records.

If got your puppy from a breeder that will register the litter, they might have a say in the puppy’s registered name. Our Golden Retriever, Tikken, was bred by Mariner Kennels and was born on Martin Luther King Day. Mariner considered her to be part of the “Freedom” litter and wanted her registered name to include the words “Mariner” and “Freedom.” Our choice for Tikken’s registered name was “Mariner Freedom Fighter,” which led us to the name Tikken < FMIhttp://bit.ly/Tikken-Memories >.

Do not feel compelled to choose your dog’s name on the first day, or before you bring your puppy home. However, recognize that you do not want to wait too long. From the moment my wife and I met Gus, even before we chose to take him home, we knew he was a “Gus.” The longer he was with us, the more we were convinced we chose wisely. With Tikken, Dulcie, and Muppy, it took us some time to select the name that suited them.

Practical Considerations for All dogs

NEVER use your dog’s name in anger or frustration. Doing this just once may cause your dog to want to avoid you. It can take lots of work to recover from this mistake.

Frequently reward your dog, with food, for responding to their name < FMI –   http://bit.ly/TeachingTheNameGame >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Remembering Tikken – http://bit.ly/Tikken-Memories

Dog Training – The Name Game –   http://bit.ly/TeachingTheNameGame

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©8JUL19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Dog Training – The Name Game

< A short link to this article – http://bit.ly/TeachingTheNameGame >

OBJECTIVE: This behavior has three purposes.

  1. To teach your dog to immediately orient towards you upon hearing you say their name once, and
  2. for you to learn the importance of only using the dog’s name once, and
  3. for your dog to learn that responding to their name will be rewarded.

Every time you repeat your dog’s name, or a cue for a behavior like “Sit,” your dog is learning what you are attempting to communicate is not relevant. They may even be learning that they are only to respond when you use the cue more than one time. They could also learn to tune you out. After all, how do we react to nagging?

You may practice this behavior for a set period, a couple of minutes, or do it randomly throughout the day or while you are watching TV at night. You will need to wait for the dog to become mildly distracted to practice this behavior. By mildly distracted, I mean the dog is not looking at you. Do not try this behavior if the dog is intently focused on something else like watching a squirrel through the window or chewing on a bully stick.

PREREQUISITE(S): You must have exposed the dog to the clicker so that they understand a “click” marks the desired behavior and will result in a food reward.

Have your clicker in your hand and treats readily available.

Read all of these instructions before practicing.

TRAINING INSTRUCTIONS

With you and your dog in the same room, wait for your dog to orient away from you. The instant they do so, say their name ONCE, wait and then click at the precise moment they look towards you (they do NOT need to make eye contact, sit, or approach you at this point), and then offer them a treat immediately in front of you.

Disengage with the dog and wait for them to orient away from you before repeating.

If you have someone else with you, they can be a mild distraction for the dog. If you live alone, wait until the dog disengages and then immediately repeat. If you wish to do this while you are watching TV, you might want to practice the behavior every time there is a commercial.

Practice the Name Game at least twice a day, ten repetitions each time. As your dog responds faster and more reliably, start to change variables one at a time. For example, if the dog is immediately looking at you upon hearing their name when you are standing in the kitchen, start to practice in a different room. Practice with you standing in the living room. Once the dog is responding with you standing in at least three places in your home, practice in each of those rooms with you sitting in a chair. You can then repeat teaching the behavior in those three rooms with you sitting on the floor. When your dog is reliably responding to their name when you say their name once, in every room of your home, it is time to start training outdoors in your yard. Recognize that this will be more difficult as the outside is much more distracting.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

What’s In A Name – The importance of choosing and using your dog’s name wisely – coming Soon!

Dog Training – What Is Clicker Training? – http://bit.ly/WhatIsClickerTraining

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, ME where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, the Apple Podcast app, and at Don’s blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©9JUN19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Podcast – The Benefits of Training Your Dog and 2019 Classes at Green Acres

< A short link to this pagehttp://bit.ly/WfMw-Training2019 >

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from December 8th, 2018 Kate and Don discuss the many benefits of training your precious pup. They consider how teaching your dog to have some basic manners can allow your dog to be with you more often and in more places. They address how training will help keep your dog safe and how it can strengthen the bond between you and your canine companion. Next Don and Kate discuss what to look for in a dog trainer and what to avoid. They also help you learn what to look for in a dog training class. Lastly, they review the dog training classes Green Acres Kennel Shop has scheduled for 2019.

You can hear The Woof Meow Show on Z62 Retro Radio, AM620, and WKIT HD3 at 9 AM on Saturday. If you are not near a radio, listen on your computer at http://bit.ly/AM620-WZON or your smartphone or tablet with the free WZON 620 AM app. A podcast of the show is typically posted immediately after the show. You can download this show and others at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/, at Don’s blog http://bit.ly/Words-Woofs-Meows and the Apple iTunes store.

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

Contact Info

Green Acres Kennel Shop
1653 Union Street, Bangor, ME 04401
207-945-6841

Website – https://www.greenacreskennel.com/
Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/GreenAcresKennelShop/
Blog https://www.words-woofs-meows.com

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

 

How to choose a dog trainer – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 1 – WWM-JAN2019http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-1

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Aversives are Unnecessary and Counter-Productive When Training A Dog – Part 2 – WWM-FEB2019 –  http://bit.ly/Things-Aversives-2

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Care –  http://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogs – http://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars – http://bit.ly/ShockCollars

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

<Click on the title to listen to the show>

How to choose a dog trainerKate and Don discuss what to look for when selecting a dog trainer and dog training class, as well as what to avoid. Dog training and recommended approaches to training a dog have changed dramatically as we have learned more about canines. As a result, we now know that some long-standing methods used to train a dog in the past, are in fact detrimental and can cause severe and long-term harm to your dog. Learn what to look for so that you and your dog have the best experience possible.

 

©07FEB19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Book Review – Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog by Linda P. Case

< Updated 20MAY19 >

< A short link to this article – http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart >

< A version of this article was published in the December 2018 issue of Downeast Dog News>

If You Love Dogs or Work with Those Who Love Dogs, You Need to Read This Book!

What we know about the science of canine behavior and dog training is continually evolving. As such, every year I like to select a new book to recommend to my students, my staff, area veterinarians, and my colleagues that I feel will be the most beneficial to them and their dogs. This year I have chosen Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog by Linda P. Case.

In May of 2019, The Woof Meow Show released two podcasts where Don and Kate interviewed Linda Case about Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog. Links to those podcasts can be found below:

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 1 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-11MAY19

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 2 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-18MAY19

At the beginning of her book, Case states she has two primary objectives: “…to provide accurate summaries of some of the most important evidence regarding present day understanding of the dog’s history and domestication, behavior, social cognition, and learning process.” and “… to apply this information to practical dog training methods and to provide means for communicating this information and teaching these methods in ways that are both interesting and useful to all dog owners.” From both my perspective as a pet care professional and as a pet parent, I believe that Case has met her objectives admirably.

Those of you familiar with my column know that I am passionate about setting the record straight on the following; dominance ( http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance ), dog breeds ( http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter ), the importance of puppy socialization ( http://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy ), and the unnecessary use of aversives for the training dogs. ( http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive ). Case addresses all of these issues thoroughly.

The idea that one must be dominant or the “Alpha” with their dog has probably done more damage to the human-dog relationship than any other piece of bad advice given by anyone about dogs. Case does an excellent job of getting into the scientific details about dominance. She clearly explains how dogs and wolves are related and how they are also very different. Case then goes on to discuss the scientific view of how the dog evolved and eventually became our companion. No discussion of that process would be complete without a review of how humans developed a seriously flawed theory called the “hierarchical model of pack behavior” which led to the false belief that we had to dominate our dogs and physically punish them to ensure we were always in control. Case uses science to explain how this model has been refuted and goes on to state “A parent-family model better describes wolf relationships in packs than does an outdated hierarchy model that focuses on strict social roles and conflict.” If you are a trainer and having difficulty explaining this to your clients, or a pet parent trying to explain this to other family members, you need to purchase and share this book.

Other topics addressed by Case include:

  • Dog breeds and how they influence behavior. Anyone thinking of getting a dog should read this section before deciding which kind of dog they want as a companion.
  • The critical importance of adequate and appropriate puppy socialization and habituation. Case explains why early socialization is crucial to a puppy’s development but adds a very important warning; if you do not do it right, you may create behavioral problems. Socialization is one of those issues that I find far too many alleged “dog experts” do not understand well. They are all perfect candidates for this book.
  • The emotional response to the use of aversives in training and why reward-based training free of pain, fear, and force is the only humane choice. Case notes that she has chosen “…reward-based training methods (aka positive reinforcement) as a training approach because: 1) It works well. 2) It has desirable emotional and relationship benefits for our dogs and for us and is not associated with causing pain, anxiety or stress in dogs. 3) We have evidence for 1 and 2.”

As a pet care professional, I have found the biggest obstacle to helping my clients, and their dogs are often the erroneous beliefs they have acquired about dogs and their behavior from the internet, TV, friends, family, and sadly even ill-informed pet care professionals. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) acknowledged this as a serious problem in 2015 when they published their 2015 Canine and Feline Behavior Guidelines. Unfortunately, this document was not written for Jane and Joe Pet-Parent and does not offer the additional wise counsel found in Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog. Linda Case, thank you for filling that void! For those that want to know as much as possible, Case has also provided ample references to the scientific articles supporting her work.

If you love your dog, or if you work with people that love their dogs, you owe it to them to read Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog by Linda P. Case. It is the smart thing to do.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

A Recommended Reading and Listening List for Pet Care Professionals – http://bit.ly/ForPetCarePros

Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Parts 1 thru 5 as a printable PDF file – WWM JAN2018 thru WWM MAY2018 – http://bit.ly/Brambell-1thru5-PDF

Dominance: Reality or Myth –  http://bit.ly/Dominance-RealityorMyth

Does My Dogs Breed Matter? – Parts 1, 2 & 3http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet-Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

How to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

What Is Clicker Training? – http://bit.ly/WhatIsClickerTraining

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 1 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-11MAY19

Dog Training and Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, an interview with Linda Case, Part 2 – http://bit.ly/WfMw-LCase-18MAY19

Canine Behavior: Myths & Facts (2016)< click to listen or download >

The Dominance and Alpha Myth – < click to listen or download >

Don Hanson and Dr. Dave Cloutier on Puppy Socialization and Vaccination – < click to listen or download >

Does My Dogs Breed Matter –  < click to listen or download >

How to Choose A Dog Trainer (2017) < click to listen or download >

Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic< click to listen or download >

Prof. Chad Montrie and the documentary Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs – < click to listen or download >

 

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©20MAY19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Keys to Successfully Training Your Dog

< DRAFT >

This article is a work-in-progress but if you attended my seminar at the P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center on 10NOV18, I wanted you to have at least an outline of what I discussed. I encourage you to check back at this link < http://bit.ly/DogTrainingKeysToSuccess > as I finalize this article.

Recognize That Your Dog Is A Sentient Being with Feelings

Dogs are thinking and emotional creatures. They clearly demonstrate positive feelings such as happiness, joy, and contentment. A dogs emotions can also have a negative nature, like anxiety, sadness, fear, and anger. Whether positive or negative, the emotions of you and your dog can both affect training. Make sure that both of you are in a positive and healthy emotional place before beginning any training session. Take the time to learn how your dog expresses their emotions. < FMIIntroduction to Canine Communication – http://bit.ly/CanineComm >

Recognize That Training Will NOT Resolve Negative Emotions

Training a dog to sit, or down, or to come when called will not typically resolve the dogs fear or anger. Asking a dog to do something counter to their emotional instincts may in fact make their emotional response more severe. This is often misunderstood by trainers, veterinarians, and shelters or rescue groups. Those that are unaware may suggest that a dog with aggression or reactivity issues towards dogs or other people, or both will improve with obedience training. While such training can be wonderful for helping an unruly dog to learn manners to make them easier to live with, it will not inherently make their fear go away or their anger dissipate. If a dog is reacting to people or other dogs, putting them in an environment where they are confronted by their triggers may in fact make their reactive behavior become more likely and more intense. Dogs and the people who love them can be helped but they would be better off working with a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) or a veterinarian accredited by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB). It is also imperative that no aversive of any kind are used with these dogs as a response to their reactivity or aggression.
< FMI – What Is A Pet Behavior Consultant?  http://bit.ly/WhatIsPetBhxConsulting >

< FMI – Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive >

Accept the Dog That You Have

When you get a dog, you may have certain goals and ambitions for that dog. Your dog may have a different agenda. It is important to recognize that not every dog will be the dog we want them to be. When I brought my Golden Retriever Tikken home, it was with the goal and the hope that she and I would eventually compete in agility. Tikken had no real interest in agility so I found something else for her to do that she enjoyed, being a therapy dog and visiting seniors and children. < FMIAccepting the Pet You Have http://bit.ly/AcceptingYourPet >

Work As A Team & Be Consistent – ALWAYS!

Training your dog will be much easier if you and your dog have a relationship based on mutual trust and acceptance and the simple fact that you enjoy being with one another. The old model of dog training was based on the idea that you and your dog were on two different teams. I can tell you that after twenty-three plus years of working with people and their dogs, those that view themselves as being on the same team and working together are not only happier but they are also more successful.

If your dog lives with more than one person, or frequently is around other people, you need to recruit those people to join the team and to work with you and your dog. It only takes one person around your dog to undo what you and your dog have accomplished together. You know that one person that continues to encourage and reward your dog for jumping up on them? They are not helping. Even extended family members, those that might only see your dog every couple of months, can and should be part of the training process.

Consistent rules, training methods, and cues are essential to successfully training your dog. All those involved need to understand and be doing things in the same manner.

< FMIWhat Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining >

ALWAYS – Manage to Prevent Behavior You Do Not Want

At some point, almost all dogs will exhibit a behavior we do not like. While we do not need to accept these behaviors, in most cases, we do not always need an elaborate training solution to stop the behavior. Sometimes the simplest and most effective solution is to use are allegedly more powerful brains to develop a strategy to prevent the behavior. For example, if our dog is anxious and uncomfortable around the grandchildren when they visit once a year, keep the dog in another room with their favorite toys or board them when the grand kids come to visit.

Many of the behaviors we do not like, such as jumping, are inadvertently rewarded by us because we give the dog attention whenever they exhibit the behavior. Attention can be looking at the dog, talking to them, or touching them. The same often happens if you have a dog that steals socks. They can quickly learn that stealing socks from the floor or the laundry basket results in a rousing game of chase. Since they love the game, they quickly learn exactly what to do to get you to play. Would it not be easier just to keep the socks somewhere the dog cannot get to them? As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

ALWAYS Focus on Rewarding Behavior You Like

Equally important to ignoring undesirable behavior is the need to reward behavior you like. A reward can be many things and will vary from dog to dog, but in most cases, it will be food. If you ignore the dog when they jump up on you and instantly reward them with a tiny morsel of food the instant they have all four feet on the ground, they will learn much faster. One of the most frequent errors I see people make when training there dog is to failing to reward behavior, or to stop rewarding the behavior before it is firmly established.

Do NOT Get Stingy with Rewards & Treats

Directly related to rewarding behavior is the quality of the treat you are using. Just as most people would find a piece of fine chocolate more rewarding than a stale saltine cracker, most dogs will find a tiny piece of meat more valuable than the largest dog biscuit.

The frequency of the reward is also important, especially when training in more distracting environments or when working on more difficult behaviors like walking on a loose leash. If you are not making progress, try rewarding more frequently.

NEVER Forget to Reward Your Dog For Just Being Good

Sadly, it seems to be human nature, mine included, to be more likely to react when our dog is doing something we do not want than it is to acknowledge desired behavior with a reward. If you enjoy your dog when they are lying at your feet or calmly sitting in your lap, do not forget to reward them. If our employer forgot to pay us, would we be happy? Remember, behaviors that are rewarded consistently will be consistently repeated.

Be Thoughtful About the Cues You Use for Behavior

People like to talk hoping their dog will listen and perform a requested behavior, while dogs like to watch not understanding the need for all the chatter. Remember dogs are visual creatures. Start by training a visual cue before you even think about adding a verbal cue. Do not add a verbal cue until the visual cue is reliable; the dog responds 90 times out of 100 in any environment, context or situation. Dogs typically never develop a reliable response to a cue because people do not adequately train the cue and do not sufficiently reward the desired behavior.

Visual and verbal cues need to be consistent among all of those training the dog; they need to look the same. Remember your dog is great at discriminating tiny differences while they generalize poorly. I also find that many people like to give visual cues like a “fast-talking” urbanite that has consumed five Red Bulls too many. Or alternatively, a visual cue where the individual giving the cue has so many moving body parts, it looks like a pitcher winding up to win the World Series. Make your visual cues slow, deliberate, and simple.

Consistency is equally important with verbal cues. There is a difference between: “sit”, “siiiit,” “sit sit, sit?” and “can you sit?” Again, keeping a verbal cue short, deliberate, and simple will make training easier. Also, make sure a verbal cue for one behavior does not sound like that for another behavior.

ALWAYS Keep Training FUN! – ALWAYS!

If a training session stops being fun for either you or your dog, STOP and go do something you will both enjoy. If that is not possible, STOP and seriously evaluate why training is no longer fun.

Back when I first started training dogs professionally, I was still taking my Cairn Terrier Gus to classes on a regular basis. At one point, Kate, our class instructor, witnessed what was probably the least enthusiastic recall she has ever seen. Gus and I were at opposite ends of our field when I gave him his cue to come. He came but at the slowest pace possible, acting like he wanted to do anything but come to me. At the end of the class, after the other students had left, Kate took me aside and politely kicked us out of class. She observed that neither Gus nor I were having fun and that training was damaging our relationship. She suggested we just go and have fun. It was the last class Gus and I were part of, and we had a great relationship the rest of his life. Thank you Kate for such good advice and your honesty!

Work with a Force-Free Certified Professional Dog Trainer

No matter how many dogs you have trained or how many training classes you have attended, I would encourage you to work with a Force-Free, Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT) every time you bring a new dog into your home. Such an individual has proven their knowledge experience through a rigorous examination and will typically have experience with more dogs and a wider variety of breeds and temperaments than you ever will. They should also be committed to force-free, fear-free, and pain-free training, as any other type of training will be counter-productive. Even though I am a CPDT I take my dogs through classes taught by others. Many of my colleagues do the same.
< FMIHow to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer >

 

A Force-Free Certified Professional Dog Trainer will:

  • Help you understand your dog’s physical, mental and emotional needs.
  • Teach you about the myths and facts about dog behavior.
  • Help you to understand how your dog communicates.
  • Teach you how to most effectively and efficiently teach and reward behaviors.
  • Help prevent you from unintentionally rewarding undesired behaviors.
  • Coach and reward you on what you are doing, because it is not just your dog that is learning.
  • Teach you the importance of being proactive and not just reactive.
  • Help you set realistic expectations for your dog, you and your family, and your situation.
  • Show you the benefit of making training FUN! for both you and your dog.

In addition to teaching people how to train their dogs, I also help people that have dogs with often extremely serious behavioral issues such as aggression and separation anxiety. In my twenty-three years of training and working on behavioral cases, the vast majority of dogs I have seen for behavioral issues have never been trained. Training, when done proactively, can prevent behavioral issues.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Introduction to Canine Communication – http://bit.ly/CanineComm

What Is A Pet Behavior Consultant? – http://bit.ly/WhatIsPetBhxConsulting

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

Accepting the Pet You Have http://bit.ly/AcceptingYourPet

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

How to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

 Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

©9-Nov-18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Understanding Dog Behavior, How Dogs Learn, and the Most Humane (Best) Ways to Train Them – 10NOV18

A seminar for the P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center in Camden, Maine

< Last Updated – 9NOV18 – 9:01PM >

< short link to this page – http://bit.ly/PAWS-Camden-10NOV18 >

On Saturday, November 10thth, Don Hanson of the Green Acres Kennel Shop presented a seminar for the P.A.W.S. Animal Adoption Center of Camden, Maine entitled Understanding Dog Behavior, How Dogs Learn, and the Most Humane (Best) Ways to Train Them. This blog article contains links to articles and podcasts that may be used as a reference to material presented at the seminar.

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Our Responsibilities to Our Dog(s) – Brambell’s Five Freedoms

Helping Your Dog Thrive – Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Part 1, Freedom from Hunger and Thirsthttp://bit.ly/Brambell-Hunger-Thirst

Helping Your Dog Thrive – Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Part 2, Freedom from Discomfort http://bit.ly/Brambell-Discomfort

Helping Your Dog Thrive – Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Part 3 Freedom from Pain, Injury or Diseasehttp://bit.ly/Brambell-Pain-Injury-Disease

Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Part 4 – The Freedom to Express Normal Behavior – http://bit.ly/Bramble-NormalBehavior

Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Part 5 – The Freedom from Fear and Distresshttp://bit.ly/Brambell-Fear-Distress

Brambell’s Five Freedoms – Parts 1 thru 5 as a printable PDF filehttp://bit.ly/Brambell-1thru5-PDF

The PPG and AAHA – Making A Kinder World for Dogshttp://bit.ly/PPG-AAHA-BHX

Anxiety & Fear

Alone Traininghttp://bit.ly/AloneTraining

Crate Habituation to Reduce Anxietyhttp://bit.ly/CrateHabituation

Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do? – WWM – APR2017 – http://bit.ly/HelpDogAggx

How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful? – http://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear

Preventing separation anxiety – Teaching your dog to cope with being alonehttp://bit.ly/PrevSepAnx

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress – http://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

What Should I Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me? http://bit.ly/StealGuardGrowlSnap

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://bit.ly/DogGrowls

Canine Behavior – Myths & Facts

Animal Welfare – Understanding Behavior; Why It Matters – http://bit.ly/AnimalWelfare-Behavior

Dangerous Dogs! – What Shelters, Rescues, Prospective Adopters, and Owners Need to Knowhttp://bit.ly/Dangerous-Dogs

Does My Dogs Breed Matter? – Parts 1, 2 & 3http://bit.ly/DoesDogBreedMatter

Dominance: Reality or Myth –  http://bit.ly/Dominance-RealityorMyth

Puppy Socialization and Habituationhttp://bit.ly/SocializationPuppy

Reward Based Training versus Aversiveshttp://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockCollars

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress – http://bit.ly/Canine-Stress

What Should I Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me?http://bit.ly/StealGuardGrowlSnap

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://bit.ly/DogGrowls

Dog Training

A Rescue Dogs Perspective – WWM JAN2016 – http://bit.ly/Rescue-Muppy

Barking – How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Barking? – http://bit.ly/BarkingHelp

Help! My Dog Gets Distracted (And Sometimes Wild and Crazy!!!) in Public – WWM-AUG2018 http://bit.ly/Distracted-Attention

How Do I Get My Dog to Walk Politely Instead of Pulling on the Leash?http://bit.ly/WalkingPolitely

How to Choose a Dog Trainerhttp://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

Keys to Successfully Training Your Dog http://bit.ly/DogTrainingKeysToSuccess

 Reward Based Training versus Aversives –  http://bit.ly/RewardVSAversive

 Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior http://bit.ly/GAKS-Attention

The misunderstanding of time by Nancy Tanner – http://bit.ly/Patience-Dogs

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Started Training Dogs – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship – WWM-SEP2018 – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance

What Is Clicker Training? – http://bit.ly/WhatIsClickerTraining

What Is Dog Training?http://bit.ly/WhatIsDogTraining

What Should I Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me?http://bit.ly/StealGuardGrowlSnap

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls?http://bit.ly/DogGrowls

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show

( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Canine Behavior & Training

Podcast – We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/03/04/podcast-were-getting-a-new-puppy-or-dog-part-1/

Podcast – We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/03/11/podcast-were-getting-a-new-puppy-or-dog-part-2/

Podcast – How to choose a dog trainer – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/01/08/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/10/21/podcast-the-unintended-consequences-of-shock-collars/

Podcast – Canine Behavior: Myths and Facts – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/27/podcast-canine-behavior-myths-and-facts/

Podcast – The Four Essentials to A Great Dog – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/02/21/podcast-the-four-essentials-to-a-great-dog/

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1– 12JUL15 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/12/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-1/

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2– 19JUL15 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/19/podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-2/

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/07/27/blog-post-27jul15-podcast-dog-training-questions-for-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks-part-3/

Podcast – Pet Behavior Counseling and Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks –– http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/01/10/podcast-pet-behavior-counseling-and-don-and-kate-with-special-guest-host-dr-mark-hanks/

Podcast –Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/13/podcast-the-woof-meow-show-pet-behavior-vets-the-aaha-canine-and-feline-behavior-management-guidelines-with-dr-dave-cloutier-from-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/10/21/podcast-the-unintended-consequences-of-shock-collars/

Podcast – Dog Bites and Fatalities with Janis Bradley – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/06/24/podcast-dog-bites-and-fatalities-with-janis-bradley/

 

Books ( In order of preference )

Canine Behavior & Training

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas, Dogwise Publishing, 2006, An excellent book on understanding a dog’s body language. Includes descriptions of how you can use your own body language to better communicate with your dog.

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018, If you love your dog, or if you work with people that love their dogs, you owe it to them to read Dog smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog. 

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet, John Bradshaw, Basic Books, 2011, 

A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog!: A Fun, Interactive, Educational Resource to Help the Whole Family Understand Canine Communication. Keep … Generations Safe by Learning to “Speak Dog!”, Niki Tudge, Joanne Tudge, 2017 

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001. I have been reading Pat Miller’s articles in the Whole Dog Journal for years and have loved everything she has written. She is a skilled and compassionate dog trainer who really knows how to communicate to dog owners through her writing. This book is a superb “basic dog book” for anyone with a dog, and I highly recommend it.

The Other End of the Leash – Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs, Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., Ballantine Books, 2002, An information-packed, immensely readable book. In it you will learn how to have a better relationship with your dog through better communications. Dr. McConnell clearly explains the manners in which dogs and their people communicate.

 For the Love of A Dog Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., Ballantine Books, 2005, 2006, A superb review of emotions in both dogs and their people and how they bring us together and can rip us apart. Once again Dr. McConnell helps us to better understand our dogs and in doing so have the best possible relationship with them.

 Dogs: A new Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, University of Chicago Press, 2001, An evolutionary biologist and dog lover, Coppinger outlines the likely process that resulted in the longstanding canine-human relationship.

 

©9NOV18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

 

 

Celebrating the 1st Year of the Shock-Free Coalition – +R Rocks

< A version of this article was published in the November 2018 issue of Downeast Dog News>

It was a year ago that I first wrote about the formation of the Shock-Free Coalition, an international initiative that “…believes that pets have an intrinsic right to be treated humanely, to have each of their individual needs met, and to live in a safe, enriched environment free from force, pain and fear. Members of the Shock-Free Coalition consider it to be their responsibility and utmost obligation to be vigilant, to educate, to remain engaged and work toward eliminating shock as a permissible tool so it is never considered a viable option in the training, management and care of pets.”    ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock ).

Since then the following has happened:

  • Niki Tudge, the founder of The Pet Professional Guild, appeared on The Woof Meow Show to discuss the Shock-Free Coalition ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/PodCastShockFree-NikiTudge-2017 )
  • Eleven pet care professionals representing thirteen businesses in the state of Maine joined together to run a full-page ad in the November 2017 issue of the Downeast Dog News announcing their support of the Shock-Free Coalition. ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME-Ad-NOV18DEDN )
  • In January of 2018 electric shock collars were banned in Scotland.
  • In February the Sun reported, “Electric shock pet collars to be banned for being ‘unnecessary and cruel’ forbidding their sale and use in the UK.”
  • The Shock-Free Coalition launched an improved website with chapters and regional coordinators in AZ, CA, CO, FL, HI, ME, OR, TX, Australia, Canada, England, Gibraltar, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales ( FMIhttps://www.shockfree.org/Chapters )
  • A paper published in Volume 25 of the Journal of Veterinary Behavior by Dr. Sylvia Masson et al. discussed electronic shock collars used to address barking, containment (underground fences), and remote training. The paper’s authors concluded “...there is no credible scientific evidence to justify e-collar use and the use of spray collars or electronic fences for dogs. On the contrary, there are many reasons to never use these devices. Better training options exist, with proven efficacy and low risk.” and recommend that the sale, use, and promotion of shock collars be banned.
  • The Pet Professional Guild (PPG) has designated Saturday, November 17th, 2018 as the first-ever International Day of Advocacy to celebrate its official launch of the Shock-Free Coalition one year ago. The focal point of the celebration will be Let’s Celebrate +R, a photo and video competition where pet professionals and enthusiasts can showcase the best of positive reinforcement-based pet training and education.

Let’s Celebrate +R

Let’s celebrate +R is a competition open to all who wish to advocate for force-free training by demonstrating their skills as a way to promote the educational message of pain-free, force-free, and fear-free training. Most people do not want to harm their dog and do not understand that shock collars work by causing physical and emotional pain and fear.

To participate in the International Day of Advocacy 2018, all you need to do is take a photo and/or make a short video and submit it to one of the Let’s Celebrate +R competition categories. There are three competition categories in both photos and videos. The contest will run from November 10th through November 24th and is open to all.

Winners and runners-up from each category will have the opportunity to win fabulous prizes! The winners from each of the six categories will then be forwarded to the final judging category, Best Overall Entry.

Each entry will receive 1) One 2018 competitor medal – mailed to you in November 2018, 2) your supporter certificate, 3) access to purchase a unique event participant T-shirt, and 4) eligibility to win the grand prize, which is The Pet Professional Guild Annual Convention Package (USA: Portland, Oregon – April 26-28, 2019). ( FMIhttps://petprofessionalguild.com/Lets-Celebrate-Plus-R )

To Learn More

If you want to learn more about shock collars and why the Shock-Free Coalition believes that their use, sale, and promotion should be banned,  I encourage you to visit these two sites – http://bit.ly/ShockCollars or https://www.shockfree.org/About/What-Experts-Say. The scientific evidence against the use of shock is overwhelming with no scientific evidence to support its use.

Please Join Us!

If you agree that using electric shock to care for, train or manage a pet is harmful and counter to having a rewarding relationship with a pet, please take the shock-free pledge at https://www.shockfree.org/chapters/Maine and if possible donate https://www.shockfree.org/Donate

Thank you for helping to make the life of pets free of pain, free of force, and free of fear.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

 The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockCollars

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member? – WWM-OCT2017 –   http://bit.ly/BestFriendsAndShock

Shock-Free Maine Coalition Ad in November 2017 Downeast Dog Newshttp://bit.ly/Shock-FreeME-Ad-NOV18DEDN

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collarshttp://bit.ly/ShockPodcast

Podcast – The Woof Meow Show: The Pet Professional Guild and the Shock-Free Coalition with Niki Tudgehttp://bit.ly/PodCastShockFree-NikiTudge-2017

Web Sites

Shock-Free Coalitionhttps://www.shockfree.org

About Don

Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor, Maine where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) and is committed to PPG’s Guiding Principles and the Pain-Free, Force-Free, and Fear-Free training, management, and care of all pets. Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©1NOV18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Dog Training & Behavior – Help! My Dog Gets Distracted (And Sometimes Wild and Crazy!!!) in Public

< A version of this article was published in the August 2018 issue of Downeast Dog News >

Don & Muppy Acting Crazy

When we put our dogs into new situations, they often divert their attention away from us and toward anything and everything but us. Sometimes they even get a little over-enthusiastic or what some people consider CRAZY. One example of this is the dog in a training class that is more attentive to the instructor than the person they live with 24/7. Students often attribute this to a mystical ability only found in dog trainers, but it comes down to something much simpler. The dog trainer, provided they are reward-based and pleasant, is also often more interesting than you merely because they are novel and different. Remember, living with you 24/7 leads to a sense of familiarity which can cause, no offense intended, boredom (yawn!). I understand why you want your dog to learn self-control, especially in public situations. To get focused, undistractable behavior you need first need to understand why you may not be able to hold your dog’s attention.

Your dog is young and well socialized. – Remember when you were young and carefree? Every new thing you experienced was exciting and an excuse to have some fun. Young dogs can be much the same way, especially if you did a good job socializing and habituating them so that they are not fearful. Pat yourself on the back and let your dog enjoy the moment because you will be sad the day they lose that enthusiasm.

Your dog is insufficiently trained for the situation in which they have been placed. If you have attended a dog training class, hopefully, you have learned that dogs do not generalize well. In fact, if you teach your dog the sit behavior to pure perfection, but only train your dog in your kitchen, your dog may be clueless if you cue them to sit in the living room or at a park filled with novel distractions. Dogs need to learn a behavior in a wide variety of environments and situations before you can expect them to respond to a cue in almost any situation. I am not just talking about teaching your dog in various spaces but also around a wide variety of distractions. Also, recognize you need to do this in small increments. Just because your dog will sit in front of one motionless child that they know does not mean they will sit in front of seven children they do not know that are running around erratically while giggling.

Your dog has not learned the benefit of focusing on you. One of the first and most important behaviors we teach in our classes is the Attention or Look behavior. Attention is all about teaching your dog that focusing on you is one of the most rewarding things that they can do. Training your dog to pay attention to you is fundamental to teaching them anything else. A great Look behavior eases teaching both Leave It and Heeling. If you do it right, increasing difficulty and distractions in tiny increments, you will be able to maintain focus in distracting environments. FMI –  http://bit.ly/GAKS-Attention

Your dog finds interactions with others more rewarding than you. If your dog is going through the motions with you and would rather be with anyone but you, you need to stop training and focus entirely on restoring your relationship. Years ago one of my employees kicked me out of a class because Gus and I were just going through the motions. We were working, but neither of us was having fun. It was the best advice I could have received. Do NOT delay, find a dog trainer who can help you and your dog rediscover the fun in one another! FMI – http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

Your dog is fearful and stressed. Not everyone can tell when a dog is stressed or afraid. In some cases, a dog might shut down and freeze doing nothing at all, and other times they might be bouncing around acting crazy. I believe everyone should be aware of how a dog expresses his or her emotional state through body language. FMI – http://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear

Reinforce the bond you have with your dog on a regular basis, train them with rewards and fun to respond in the environments that they will experience, keep them out of stressful situations and be patient. Do these things and your dog will focus on you.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Dog Training – Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior –  http://bit.ly/GAKS-Attention

How to choose a dog trainer http://bit.ly/HowToChooseADogTrainer

How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful?  – http://bit.ly/DogsSignsofFear

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

How to Choose A Dog Trainerhttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2017-01-07How_to_Choose_A_Dog_Trainer.mp3

Podcast – Listener Questions #33 – https://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2018/08/09/podcast-listener-questions-33/

Podcast –Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines – Dr. Dave Cloutier – Veazie Veterinary Clinichttps://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/07/02/podcast-encore-pet-behavior-vets-the-aaha-canine-and-feline-behavior-management-guidelines-dr-dave-cloutier-veazie-veterinary-clinic/

________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( greenacreskennel.com ) in Bangor where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonam.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at http://woofmeowshow.libsyn.com/. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com. He is committed to pet care and pet training that is free of pain, force, and fear. The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©19AUG18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog – Gus, the Dominance Myth, An Alpha Roll, and a Damaged Relationship

< Updated 2JAN19 >

< A version of this article was published in the September 2018  issue of Downeast Dog News >

< A short link to this article on my blog – http://bit.ly/Things-Gus-Dominance >

In a recent interview, I was asked a series of questions about how to choose a dog trainer. One of the questions was “What would you like to have known when you started training dogs?” This post will be the first of a series of article inspired by that question.

This series of articles has since been renamed Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog, and you can find a complete list of posts in the series at < http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown >

Don & Gus in 1991, Before the Alpha Roll

In the spring of 1991, I had a new 12-week old Cairn Terrier puppy named Gus. I had no knowledge of dog training, but a desire to learn. I started to learn by reading two of the most popular dog training books at the time; How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend and Mother Knows Best. The basic premise of both books was that a dog is a wolf and the best way to train and care for a dog is to dominate it like an Alpha wolf would dominate a wolf pup. My wife and I also enrolled ourselves and Gus in a puppy kindergarten class offered by the local dog club.

Our first night in puppy class was a complete disaster. I was told to command Gus to sit, and Gus failed to comply. Now, this was not a big deal to us nor a surprise, as we were well aware that Gus had no clue what we wanted him to do when we said the word “Sit.” However, Gus’ failure to comply was a massive deal to the two instructors. They told me, in no uncertain terms, that Gus was exerting his dominance and that I had to alpha roll him to show him that I was the Alpha. The alpha roll was precisely what the books we were reading recommended, so not knowing any better I did as I was told. As I grabbed Gus by the scruff and pinned him, he immediately began thrashing around underneath me, growling and snapping, and trying to connect his teeth with me, so that I would let him go. I know now that Gus was terrified but at the time believed I was doing the right thing.

The instructor now became even more adamant: “We can’t have that! Grab his muzzle and clamp it shut!” My instincts said “Whoa! That’s not safe!” but these people were the “experts” so I tried grabbing Gus’ muzzle in my hand. Instantly, I felt his canines puncture my palm. As my blood started dripping on the floor, Gus broke free and moved as far away from me as he could. There is something to be said for listening to your gut instincts. Gus followed his; I failed to pay attention to mine.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, everything that I had read and been taught about the alpha wolf rollover was based upon flawed knowledge. My puppy was afraid for his life, and it was my fault.

When we got back home, it was evident that the relationship between Gus and I was severely damaged. I was no longer being asked to “throw the ball” by the puppy with the joyously vibrating tail. Gus did not trust me, and I did not trust him. Over many months Gus and I learned to trust one another again, and training and behavior became something we both enjoyed. We were fortunate to discover Dr. Patricia McConnell where we learned about the wonders of reward-based training. We had fun; our dogs had fun and that should be a primary focus of training.

So this is what I would have liked to have known before I started training Gus.

  • Just because something is in a book written by an alleged expert does not mean it is good advice or even factual.
  • The study of wolf packs in the wild has taught us that a wolf pack is a family working cooperatively to survive to pass on their genes. Their survival depends on cooperation, NOT competition to be the alpha within the pack.
  • The violent alpha roll described in the books I read has never been observed happening in a wolf pack. A wolf pup may voluntarily roll on its back and submit to an older wolf, but it is never physically forced to do so.
  • Karen Overall is a veterinarian who is also one of the few vets that is also a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behavior. She also has a PhD and is certified by the Animal Behavior Society as an Applied Animal Behaviorist. In other words, she is one of the leading experts on the planet on dog behavior. This is what she said about dominance at a PPG conference in 2016. “Dominance theory has shut off scientific research and has crept into medicine to the point where we think we can do things to animals whereby we are asking them to ‘submit’….dominance theory is insidious and has crept into everything we do with dogs and it’s wrong. It has gotten in the way of modern science and I’ve just about had it. Every single thing we do with dogs hurts them because we don’t see them as individuals or cognitive partners.” [ Emphasis Added ]
  • In the 2017 documentary, Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats Overall sums it up very well when she states: “In the evolutionary literature “alpha” was just a shorthand for breeding. I’m the alpha – that you feel that you have to compete with a dog in your household over some imaginary rank, what does that say for how you live with people?” [ Emphasis Added ]
  • The entire concept of dominance is not only an erroneous understanding of the dog-human relationship, but it is also counterproductive to a harmonious relationship with our dog and may cause aggression as it did with Gus.

Unfortunately the same bad advice I received in 1991 is still being promulgated today, in spite of the fact that major canine organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT),  all warn of the use of dominance-based training.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( http://www.words-woofs-meows.com )

Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Selected My First Dog Link Page http://bit.ly/ThingsIWishIHadKnown

Dog Behavior – Dominance: Reality or Mythhttp://bit.ly/Dominance-RealityorMyth

Thank You, PPG, and Gus Too! – from the May 2017 issue of the Pet Professional Guild journal, BARKS from the Guildhttp://bit.ly/ThanksPPG-Gus

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
( http://www.woofmeowshow.com )

The Dominance and Alpha Myth –  http://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2010-03-21-The_Dominance_Myth.mp3

Prof. Chad Montrie and the documentary Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogshttp://traffic.libsyn.com/woofmeowshow/WoofMeowShow-2013-01-26-Tough_Love_Chad_Montrie.mp3

Other Publications

BARKS from the Guild – May 2017 – Thank You,  PPG , and Gus Too! https://issuu.com/petprofessionalguild/docs/bftg_may_2017_online_edition_opt/58

Videos

Tough Love: A Meditation on Dominance and Dogs, Anchorhold Films, 2012https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIjMBfhyNDE

Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats – The Mind of Cesar Millanhttps://vimeo.com/236013182

Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms “alpha” and “beta” wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accuratehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtFgdwTsbU

Position Statements

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animalshttps://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Dominance_Position_Statement_download-10-3-14.pdf

Association of Professional Dog Trainers –  APDT Position Statement on Dominance and Dog Traininghttps://apdt.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/dominance-and-dog-training.pdf

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position Statement on Pet Friendly, Force-Free Pet Carehttp://bit.ly/GAKS_Pet-Friendly

Green Acres Kennel Shop Position on the Use of Dominance and Punishment for the Training and Behavior Modification of Dogshttp://bit.ly/GAKS-Pos-NoPain-NoForceNoFear

The Pet Professional Guild – Position Statement – Dominance Theory in Animal Training – https://www.petprofessionalguild.com/DominanceTheoryPositionStatement

 

Books

Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018read a review at http://bit.ly/BkRvw-Case-DogSmart

Dogs: A New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, University of Chicago Press, 2001.

Dominance: Fact or Fiction, Barry Eaton, 2002.

Dominance Theory and Dogs Version 1.0, James O’Heare, DogPsych Publishing, 2003.

Don’t Shoot the Dog – The New Art of Teaching and Training (2ndedition), Karen Pryor, Bantam Books, 1999.

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas, Dogwise Publishing, 2006.

Stress in Dogs, Martina Scholz and Clarissa von Reinhardt, Dogwise Publishing, 2007.

The Culture Clash, Jean Donaldson, James & Kenneth Publishers, 2005.

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001.

 

©2JAN19, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
< Click for Copyright and Use Policy >