Defining and Refining the “Cortisol Vacation”

Defining and Refining the “Cortisol Vacation”

Summary: There’s no clear evidence that dogs need a “cortisol vacation” of 24-72 hours. The existing scientific literature does point to high cortisol levels impacting learning and stress, but the way that stress is processed by a dog’s body is...
Working With Dogs and Children

Working With Dogs and Children

Summary: Working with clients’ children as well as their dogs introduces an additional level of challenge. Involving children in a dog’s behavior intervention can be beneficial for both, but comes with risks. Understanding more about the developmental...
Another Way Out: Friends For Life’s Fraidy Cat Program

Another Way Out: Friends For Life’s Fraidy Cat Program

Summary: How can a shelter help its most frightened cats? The Fraidy Cat behavior program at Friends For Life was designed for severely undersocialized cats who cannot live outside safely. It is an intensive program that requires a high level of resources, but data...
Working With Animals in Presentations

Working With Animals in Presentations

As a puppy trainer, zookeeper, and zoo animal trainer working in an industry where we do a lot of presentations, the question I get asked the most is how can one keep up good presentation skills and get the message across whilst presenting with animals, in front of an...
Using Research-based Protocols with Shelter Dogs

Using Research-based Protocols with Shelter Dogs

Summary: Shelter personnel and consultants are always looking for new tools that to introduce dogs into a new home, help resolve inter-dog aggressive behavior within a household, or form shelter playgroups. This article describes how a single evidence-based protocol...
Angles of Approach in Dog Training

Angles of Approach in Dog Training

Summary: Geometry is important to successful dog training. When doing any kind of training that involves distance from a trigger or target, paying attention to the angle you’re asking the dog to approach from can help you reach your goals more quickly. This...
Building Confidence in Foster Dogs Through Passive Observation

Building Confidence in Foster Dogs Through Passive Observation

How often do we use observation as a tool? We tend to monitor, assess, and weigh whether what we observe is what we would like to see. We question ourselves and judge the responses we observe to assess whether we are getting closer to our goal or nearing the outcome...
Making the Switch to Online Dog Training Classes

Making the Switch to Online Dog Training Classes

Our County of Monterey, California went into shelter in place on March 17, 2020, and we had no choice but to cancel all classes and refund clients any money for remaining classes. Our once-robust training and behavior program was at a crossroads. I have worked for my...
Shelter Dogs Go to College

Shelter Dogs Go to College

Summary: What better way to teach college students about canine learning and behavior than inviting sheltered dogs into the classroom? This article introduces a program at Saint Francis University that matches dogs from a local shelter with psychology undergraduates...
Lessons from my Dogs: Reflections on Animal Rights and Dog Training

Lessons from my Dogs: Reflections on Animal Rights and Dog Training

Summary: Critical self-reflection is an important part of being an ethical and effective animal behavior consultant. Animal rights is one framework for thinking about the practice of animal training and behavior modification, and noticing how what we do expresses what...