The Art, Science and Ethics of Using Decoy Dogs

By Yvette Van Veen  A decoy dog can help a reactive dog overcome any frustration triggered by the leash © Can Stock Photo / eldadcarin Learning to work with a reactive, anxious or fearful dog is a challenging process. Dog owners especially struggle. They must learn new skills and execute…

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The Rollercoaster of Reactivity

By Mary Jean Alsina A leash gives a dog no option to escape, leaving him little recourse but to behave aggressively in an attempt to keep the perceived threat at bay © Can Stock Photo / hannadarzy Leash reactivity can be one of the most common (and embarrassing) problems dog…

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Why Counterconditioning “Doesn’t Work”

By Angelica Steinker Counterconditioning can only be successful when a dog feels safe and relaxed © Can Stock Photo/damedeeso A common criticism of counterconditioning is that it does not work. While there can be many reasons why a behavior modification protocol based on counterconditioning fails, it is, in fact, almost…

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First Impressions

By Yvette Van Veen Free-roaming animals are unaccustomed to restraint, so crates, doors, leashes and fences are foreign concepts to them when they are brought into people’s homes to become pets © Yvette Van Veen Fourteen years ago, a series of serendipitous events led me toward a career working with…

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Building a Feline Behavior Volunteer Program…from Scratch

By Melissa Taylor and Alese Zeman One of the duties of BV2s, like Beverly Burns, is carrying out matching assessments to help adopters find the right fit © Friends For Life There’s no way we at Friends For Life Animal Shelter can handle all of Houston, Texas’s feline behavior needs,…

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Alone Training

By Don Hanson Dogs that have not learned to cope with being alone can become anxious or fearful when they are suddenly left on their own © Can Stock Photo / adogslifephoto Dogs are social animals, and most will actively seek out our companionship. They can quickly become accustomed to…

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A Positive Strategy

By Tamsin Durston With dogs so expert at reading human emotional expressions, their behavior will often be influenced by how their guardian is feeling © Can Stock Photo / cynoclub As I set up my dog on the start line of an agility course, I want her to feel excited and…

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Building a Shock-Free World for Pets

By Don Hanson Trainers, behavior consultants and pet professionals, the Shock-Free Coalition needs your help! Specifically, we need your help in educating your clients, colleagues, friends, and family members about the benefits of using reward-based training and the dangers of using a shock collar as a training tool. Our goal…

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“I Will Never Use the Shock Collar Again!”

By Eileen Anderson This is a story from a client of one of my professional trainer friends. Let’s call my friend “Phoebe.” My friend had met the client for some coaching for her young, exuberant dog, Raven. But it was a very long distance for the client to come. My…

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