Creating a Just and Joyful World for Dogs

Creating a Just and Joyful World for Dogs

“I believe the future involves more than just allowing the learner to opt-in and to opt-out (though that’s pretty cool, it has been around for a while). The future includes asking for the learner’s active permission to start, and to continue, with training. To direct...
What Can “Streeties” Teach Us About Companion Dogs?

What Can “Streeties” Teach Us About Companion Dogs?

Let me start by saying I am not an expert on street dogs. However, I am currently working on my PhD, and part of my investigation centers around how we might give companion dogs better autonomy. This naturally led me to research street dogs and how they spend their...
Selecting Shelter Dogs for Education Programs

Selecting Shelter Dogs for Education Programs

When the idea of pairing shelter dogs and youth is discussed, dog training professionals generally have one of two reactions: That’s fantastic! – or – That’s risky! For decades, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) has brought amazing...
Dangerous Puppies: A Heartbreaking Choice

Dangerous Puppies: A Heartbreaking Choice

August 2008, deep south Alabama summer, the air is hot and thick. The phone rings at the Safe Dogs by the River Rescue and Training facility, the only positive reinforcement-based facility in the region. It’s a fellow rescuer, the director of a local rescue that I...
Defining and Refining the “Cortisol Vacation”

Defining and Refining the “Cortisol Vacation”

The dog training community is full of information, rules, and guidelines that have been passed from trainer to trainer, even from generation to generation. In the past, this was an effective way of passing knowledge between trainers and on to clients, based on what...
Working With Dogs and Children

Working With Dogs and Children

Some people are dog people, some people are kid people, some people are both. Those who are just dog people struggle to understand what all the fuss is about kids, and those who are just kid people don’t understand why and how you can possibly love a dog like a family...
Another Way Out: Friends For Life’s Fraidy Cat Program

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

While shelters across the country continue to increase their live-release rates, it becomes even more necessary to find new, innovative ways to save the most vulnerable populations. One population commonly overlooked as a focus of a behavior and training program is...
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

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. I have successfully used a single evidence-based protocol to do all...
Socially Conscious Sheltering: Examples in Practice

Socially Conscious Sheltering: Examples in Practice

Socially conscious sheltering (SCS) is a framework and philosophy against which shelters can align programs and operational structures to ensure that their practices and policies address the needs of their communities. These authors have explored the basics of SCS in...
Angles of Approach in Dog Training

Angles of Approach in Dog Training

When professionals talk about dog training, certain topics come up repeatedly. For example, you will find many different articles that talk about the 3 Ds in dog training (distance, duration, distraction), there is a lot of talk about the ABCs of behavior (antecedent...
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

Affiliation: ¹Department of Psychology, School of Health Sciences and Education, Saint Francis University. ² Marigold Holistic Pet Care Paisley spent over a year at the shelter. With her large and strong physique, designated Pit Bull breed, and excessive humping...
Working With Cats After the Camp Fire

Working With Cats After the Camp Fire

Winner of the 2020 Rebecca Park Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice Scholarship In times of social isolation, Laughter can be the shortest distance between two people. Under the current pandemic crisis, I am reminded that the best resilience is built...
Documentation Made Easy!

Documentation Made Easy!

I am sure you did not become an animal behavior consultant to spend hours writing behavior plans and other reports.  However, for most of us, it is part of what we do and, I think, a necessary part of our work. It helps us stay focused and track progress. What if I...
Chickens and Roosters…As Pets?

Chickens and Roosters…As Pets?

Chickens are the most widely found bird in the world, and there are only a few countries where they do not live. With an estimated six to eight chickens per person, they are also the most populous bird.1 Nevertheless, perhaps because chickens are typically perceived...
Cat Reintroductions via Online Consultations

Cat Reintroductions via Online Consultations

I did more virtual cat behavior consultations in March, April, and May of 2020 than I had done in my previous four years of consulting. I feel that I’ve really improved regarding being efficient at getting and giving information! In this article, I will share some...
Being a BAME Woman in the Gundog Training Community

Being a BAME Woman in the Gundog Training Community

I have no doubt you are aware that the gundog community is heavily dominated by white men, whereas the general dog sports community is mainly dominated by white women, at least when talking about those who actually compete. I am a mixed-race woman. My father is Black...
Pandemic Poultry Purchasing

Pandemic Poultry Purchasing

Poultry purchasing during the pandemic has brought attention to the need for animal behaviour consultants to have a basic level of understanding of chicken behaviour. Many new chicken owners would benefit from reputable behavioural expertise and resources during this...
The Politics of Identity in Hunting Dogs

The Politics of Identity in Hunting Dogs

My insights into the hunting dog’s world begin with my own experiences of Cypriot hunting dogs, and an engagement with data that exists in my home and workplace in Cyprus. It makes its presence known to me continually and is not to be ignored. Indeed, the...
A Different and Artistic Angle on the Intellect of Dogs

A Different and Artistic Angle on the Intellect of Dogs

However well you navigate the endless rabbit hole of social media, you’ll no doubt notice that pet photography in all its forms has blossomed there. Pet selfies, pet portraits, funny moments, model pup poses, and all the loving candid moments in between — our pets...
The Importance of Collaboration and Mentoring in Dog Training

The Importance of Collaboration and Mentoring in Dog Training

I am new to the dog training world. I, like many of us in this industry, have always had a passion for dogs and how they learn. As a certified dog trainer, however, I am new. This is not my first career, which definitely affects my perspective on this issue. My first...
Five Ways to Protect Your Behavior Consulting Business

Five Ways to Protect Your Behavior Consulting Business

Are you thinking of opening your own business as a behavior consultant? Maybe you already have, or you are working as an independent contractor? Being your own boss has a lot of advantages, but there is heavy responsibility as well. As many have learned from the...
Separation-Related Problems in Cats

Separation-Related Problems in Cats

Cats often suffer from the perception that they are the easier option, the “set it and forget it” pet that requires less attention and is less impacted by our absence. In reality, they are complex individuals who are capable of forming deep social attachments and are...
Using Dog Training Tools for Myself During a Pandemic

Using Dog Training Tools for Myself During a Pandemic

It’s 10 p.m. on a Sunday night. I’m out on our block in Brooklyn with my dog, Eddie, for a final pee before bed. The fireworks started a few moments after we got to the sidewalk. They’re farther away than they were the night before but the booms are big and coming at...
Target Training for Horses: Hit or Miss?

Target Training for Horses: Hit or Miss?

In the beginning Most equestrians have heard of clicker training, and many now practise it, but compared to traditional horsemanship it is still the new kid on the block. In the 1940s Keller and Marion Breland (and later with Bob Bailey) trained many different animals...
Research Report: Dog-Dog Aggression in the Household

Research Report: Dog-Dog Aggression in the Household

Canine housemate aggression is a serious behavior problem in many dog households. Accurate reporting of the incidence of housemate aggression is challenging. Few owners report fights between housemates to the veterinarian. Presentation for bite wound care is often the...
Training to Keep Cats Safe in Cars

Training to Keep Cats Safe in Cars

Veterinarians must do the impossible to preserve the physical and emotional health of their patients. Advising owners on how to transport their pets in a vehicle is essential, since it is common for dogs and cats to travel for clinical consultation by car, where if...
Case Study: “Remy” – Aversion to Towels

Case Study: “Remy” – Aversion to Towels

Case information: Name: Remy Age: Approximately 7 years old Breed: Texas heeler (Australian cattle dog/border collie/Australian shepherd mix) Sex: Female, spayed History Presenting complaint: Human-directed aggression while being toweled off. Acquired from and age at...
Reinforce This!

Reinforce This!

As trainers, one of the key skills we have to learn is reinforcement delivery. It looks like the easiest part of training but, in fact, it’s one of the parts that can cause the most frustration for teacher and learner! Errors in delivery can reinforce the wrong...
Boo! Training a Bear 2019

Boo! Training a Bear 2019

Readers were introduced to Boo, a male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horriblis), in the Winter 2018 and Winter 2019 issues of the IAABC Journal. Born in 2002, Boo weighs around 550-600 pounds in the spring, and up to 750-850 pounds in the winter before hibernation. We...
Experiences from CICA 2020

Experiences from CICA 2020

With great enthusiasm, I traveled to Mexico City to participate in CICA 2020. I arrived two days earlier to meet my IAABC Mexico colleagues and to finally get to know some members of our volunteer team in person. Along with Sandy Guevara, Paola Morali, and Hugo Bravo,...
Socially Conscious Sheltering

Socially Conscious Sheltering

The concept of socially conscious sheltering (SCS) as an approach to sheltering was developed in Colorado by shelter leaders Apryl Steele, DVM, Jan McHugh-Smith, Lisa Pederson, and Judy Calhoun. Three of these shelter leaders co-authored an article, “Crisis in Animal...
Coping with Quarantine at a Shelter

Coping with Quarantine at a Shelter

This is a reflection on a distemper outbreak/quarantine from a behavior perspective, as opposed to an operations, medical, or management review. Our shelter Maricopa County Animal Care and Control is located in Phoenix, Arizona. We have two shelter locations known as...
Petting and Stroking Parrots

Petting and Stroking Parrots

Many of our clients have been told not to pet their parrots. Don’t touch your bird here, don’t touch your bird there…but of course they (and we!) still want to, and can’t always resist. This leaves the question: What can we do, and what should we tell our behavior...
Chronic Pain, the Brain, and Behavior

Chronic Pain, the Brain, and Behavior

What is pain? Pain, simply defined, is an aversive sensory experience. In general, it can be broadly categorized as either nociceptive or neuropathic. Nociceptive pain is caused by a noxious stimulus, associated with actual, or in response to potential, tissue damage,...
Should Play Be Part of a Puppy Kindergarten Class?

Should Play Be Part of a Puppy Kindergarten Class?

Early puppy socialization classes can have the most beneficial effect on the future success of a dog’s life. Good classes teach owners how to better understand their puppy, while introducing the puppy during their most critical learning period to all the things they...
Tossing Food in Service Dog Training

Tossing Food in Service Dog Training

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official position on the topic of the organization he is working for. There is a huge variety in service dog tasks, and there are some core skills every service dog should...
Working with Penny, a Fearful Horse

Working with Penny, a Fearful Horse

I have been working with dogs and their humans for over 20 years. In the last two to three years I have been practicing the use of training with applied behaviour analysis using positive reinforcement with species other than dogs. Applying the science of learning to...
When Academic Life Meets Dog Life

When Academic Life Meets Dog Life

Having a desire for balance between life and work is something that most people can easily relate to. Being in academics can be challenging in and of itself. Add in work and your own dogs, and it can feel pretty daunting at times. This is my story as a PhD candidate,...
Beyond the Gate

Beyond the Gate

Have you done cat reintroductions for clients, where everything was going fine until they removed the gate? Perhaps a cat chased the other one once the gate was removed. Or a cat just turned and hid when there was no gate. Or one cat played in a manner that was too...
Zoos: Time Saving Through Training

Zoos: Time Saving Through Training

There’s a conundrum when it comes to the training and behavior management of animals in zoos: Training may be considered important for the management of animals but is often viewed as a luxury.  It’s not uncommon to hear keepers make statements such as, “I’ll train if...
Kids and Shelter Dogs Teach Each Other

Kids and Shelter Dogs Teach Each Other

As a professional working in animal behavior and training, I have always enjoyed the partnership of human and non-human animal, and what a better way to embrace that than to start teaching young people to respect and love animals. That was my inspiration to create a...
The Welfare of Pet Hedgehogs

The Welfare of Pet Hedgehogs

Although hedgehogs have been domesticated for a significant period of time (dating back to B.C. times), they remain for the most part the solitary, relatively unsocial creatures that they are in the wild.1 Despite their rise in popularity, especially in recent years,...
Behind the Scenes with Chaser, the “World’s Smartest Dog”

Behind the Scenes with Chaser, the “World’s Smartest Dog”

In a world where human beings claim to be the superior thinking creature, some of us are convinced that dogs, our lifetime partners, possess cognitive capabilities far more sophisticated than we ever imagined, abilities that we, for thousands of years underestimated....
Training Cats to Become Therapy Cats

Training Cats to Become Therapy Cats

“I’m so happy to see my favorite cat!” the older gentleman said as Rainy and I entered his room at the senior retirement community. He held out his shaking hand to pet Rainy and said that he had been feeling down and in need of company. After he had stroked Rainy a...
Scratch This, Not That!

Scratch This, Not That!

Cats scratch for many reasons such as nail care, exercise, tension relief, and communication that includes both physical and chemical messages (DePorter, 2019). Scratching behavior is so innate that even cats who have undergone partial digital amputation, also known...
How to talk about….

How to talk about….

Everyone has different strengths in how they communicate with clients, and one way to approach a situation won’t work for everyone. In our “How to Talk About…” series, IAABC members talk about the strategies they use to approach tricky situations in their behavior...
Looking Back on Research Experiences

Looking Back on Research Experiences

CHBCs Catherine Bell, Suzanne Rogers, and Debbie Busby recently published an equine welfare paper in the journal Animals. Titled “Improving the Recognition of Equine Affective States,” it represents a few years’ worth of work, completed independently of our...
Lyviera’s Journey

Lyviera’s Journey

Lyviera is a Selle Francais mare who was initially bought by a riding club’s owner to be his personal competition horse. While she excelled in show jumping and was very strong in cross country, she was difficult in dressage, specifically very stiff on one side and...
Working from a Distance: Online and Remote Consults

Working from a Distance: Online and Remote Consults

My animal training and behavior clients are often surprised to hear that I’ll be working with them from my home in Puerto Rico. At first this might seem like a complicated proposition. However, the more I’ve worked remotely the easier, smoother, and more comfortable...
Skateboarding, or, What I Learned from the Chickens

Skateboarding, or, What I Learned from the Chickens

  It was December of 1999. A few of us were sitting around complaining about how hard it was to get our students to let go of food – luring. Someone came up with the idea that we might introduce skateboard training, since it would be very hard to train that...
The Gift of Sam

The Gift of Sam

  I close my book, place it on the bedside table, and turn off the light, the signal for Sam, my yellow Lab, to jump up on the bed for one last goodnight snuggle. My room is dark: I no longer have to sleep with the light on and under the covers. I no longer see...
The Dog’s Nose in Prostate Cancer Detection

The Dog’s Nose in Prostate Cancer Detection

Puppies are born blind and deaf, and stay this way until approximately 14 days of age, so their lives depend on finding the mother’s nipple through smell. This early stimulation of olfactory organs allows them to reach adulthood with the ability to smell the...
Communication and Documentation in an Animal Shelter

Communication and Documentation in an Animal Shelter

It is the responsibility of the Behavior and Training Department at our animal shelter, the Humane Society of Pinellas (HSP), to create, communicate, and implement behavior modification and training plans for the animals in our shelter’s care. Staff and volunteers are...
Grey Zone Dogs

Grey Zone Dogs

“Is this a no-kill shelter?” That’s one of the most common questions I was asked when I worked at the Denver Dumb Friends League, a huge shelter that provides services to over 20,000 homeless animals per year. The answer depends on how you define no-kill: Our live...
An Interview with Michele Pouliot

An Interview with Michele Pouliot

Michele Pouliot is widely credited with introducing positive reinforcement-based training to the guide dog world and promoting the expansion of Clicker Training internationally within the guide dog field. Before she started working with guide dogs in 1974, Michele was...
Using Rotation to Reduce Stress in Multi-Cat Situations

Using Rotation to Reduce Stress in Multi-Cat Situations

Multi-cat homes where all the cats live indoors are growing more and more common in today’s feline world, as shelters, breeders, and behavior consultants recognize the benefits of bringing more than one cat home. In fact, most people who have cats have two or...
Managing Canine Osteoarthritis

Managing Canine Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease commonly seen in pet dogs. It has been found that 80% of dogs over the age of 8, and 20% of dogs over the age of 1 have osteoarthritis to some degree, with complications of arthritis being one of the leading causes of euthanasia in...
Outdoor cats: Science and Welfare

Outdoor cats: Science and Welfare

Recent research (Chalkowski et. al 2019) into whether outdoor access was a risk factor in the spread of 19 different pathogens, some of which transmit to humans and wildlife as well as to other cats, revealed that cats with outdoor access were 2.77 times more likely...
Cueing our Learners: Giving Feedback in Dog Training Classes

Cueing our Learners: Giving Feedback in Dog Training Classes

Dog trainers and behavior consultants tend to spend a lot of time helping our learners – the clients, not their dogs – develop new skills to help manage their canines. Yet early in my career I had observed that the majority of our professional development tends to be...
Every Tale Tells a Story

Every Tale Tells a Story

Winner of the 2019 Rebecca Park Scholarship It is my slogan to help people understand animals mindfully and sympathise with their needs and feelings based on scientific knowledge. Our companion animals have their own needs and feelings. All animals are unique and...
Working with Rescues as an Animal Behavior Consultant

Working with Rescues as an Animal Behavior Consultant

Building a relationship with your local rescue can not only be a way of improving the welfare and rehomeability of many dogs but can also help with expanding your client base and business. Time is a hugely important and often stretched resource and therefore the idea...
How to Talk About…

How to Talk About…

In this regular column, we ask animal behavior consultants how they approach some of the most common challenges in working with clients. This issue, we’re covering two subjects. Lisa Ackerman discusses her approach to working with a family where one or more members...
Puzzle Feeding for Snakes

Puzzle Feeding for Snakes

Environmental enrichment and focus on animal welfare are now common practice for many pets. Some companies have started producing toys specifically designed for foraging. It’s even becoming standard in zoological facilities to provide such opportunities for many of...
Reflections on Pain in Equine Behavior

Reflections on Pain in Equine Behavior

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard (or seen on social media) someone say “I’ve had all the physical checks so it must be behavioural” when referring to a behavioural problem. What exactly are “all the physical checks”? A...
Using Mat Work Training in Behavior Modification

Using Mat Work Training in Behavior Modification

The concept of mat work or place training is nothing new in dog training. However, it remains one of my favorite behaviors to teach because it is very useful for pet owners and extremely versatile in behavior modification work. This involves teaching a dog to go to a...
Danger at the Door

Danger at the Door

City life is not easy for all dogs. For the outgoing canine “extrovert” it’s a walk in the park — new friends and adventures around every corner. For the more reserved or fearful dogs, however, it can be a nightmare. One of the unique challenges for dogs in...
Environmental Cues in Service Dogs

Environmental Cues in Service Dogs

Navigating one’s daily tasks isn’t always easy — especially while living with a disability. Fortunately, there are service dogs that can be trained to do all sorts of tasks for their humans, and make significant improvements to their handlers’ lives. They might open...
Training Shelter Dogs for Conservation Detection Work

Training Shelter Dogs for Conservation Detection Work

The San Joaquin kit fox is a small endangered species of fox that lives in Mexico and the southwestern United States. Its scat is small — these foxes are only about 5 pounds. The almond-sized scat pellets are usually the same color as the desert ground. Biologists...
Helping Pet Store Parrots Live Their Best Lives

Helping Pet Store Parrots Live Their Best Lives

A parrot is an iconic part of a pet store; many people have strong memories of visiting pet stores as children and being amazed by a big red macaw, or delighted by flocks of colorful lovebirds. Even now, many companion birds are bought after a visit to a store that...
What Is a Relationship? Lessons from a Warthog

What Is a Relationship? Lessons from a Warthog

I heard a soft, high-pitched whine with an ascending tone from our 5-year-old female African warthog. I looked at Sophia, to see her stopped, stiff and still. It was early evening, and she was out for a walk with me and another trainer as part of her enrichment...
How To Talk About…Adding More Litter Boxes?

How To Talk About…Adding More Litter Boxes?

As trainers and behavior consultants, we’re often tasked with telling clients things that they might not want to hear. We’re experts in knowing what needs to be said — in identifying behavior challenges and creating ways to address them — but sometimes we can all...
Developing an Agitation Rating Scale for Horses

Developing an Agitation Rating Scale for Horses

I have ridden horses for over 40 years, successfully competing at 3-star eventing and grand prix dressage. I have been an Australian representative rider and an EFA Level 3 coach. My many years of coaching, from amateurs through to elite-level riders, has taught me a...
Ask the Ethics Committee

Ask the Ethics Committee

The world of animal behavior consulting is always changing—we’re seeing new clients in unique situations, working with individual animals, learning about innovative techniques and cutting-edge research, and trying to navigate business, marketing, and social media....
Cooperative Care for Canine Cataracts

Cooperative Care for Canine Cataracts

Bilateral cataracts are a condition that many dogs face as they age. While most do not see a reduction in their quality of life, this was not the case for Jeter, a 9-year-old terrier mix. After observing that he had low contrast sensitivity causing him to walk into...
From Skinner Box to Show Biz and Beyond

From Skinner Box to Show Biz and Beyond

When Marian Kruse entered the University of Minnesota in 1938, her ambition was to major in Latin and minor in Greek. Marian later wrote of “harboring the strange notion of becoming a Latin teacher in Alaska.” Before matriculating and heading to Alaska, however, even...
Training Snakes to Voluntarily Relocate

Training Snakes to Voluntarily Relocate

The following is an overview of two methods I have used to train snakes to voluntarily shift from their normal enclosure/living space into a temporary holding area or transport container. These methods have worked successfully for carpet pythons (Morelia spilota) and...
A Bird, Her Game, and What They Taught Me About Training

A Bird, Her Game, and What They Taught Me About Training

I have an Aru Eclectus hen named Cah’ya (pronounced “cha-HI-uh”) who invented her own game. In this game, she stands on my arm and slowly leans far over to one side. I am then supposed to lean to the opposite side. She waits for me to do so. Then she slowly leans over...
A Personal History of Dog Training

A Personal History of Dog Training

I would like to introduce myself so that you can better understand the basis of this article. I became a professional dog trainer by 1961, at the age of 15. Prior to that I had studied dog training as best as one could in those days. I learned by training my own and...
Rebecca Park Scholarship Winning Essay

Rebecca Park Scholarship Winning Essay

Twice a year, IAABC holds a contest for a Rebecca Park Scholarship, which grants the winner a free place on the IAABC Animal Behavior Consulting: Principles & Practice online course. The following essay was the winning entry for Spring’s scholarship, and was...
IAABC’s Position on Dominance  

IAABC’s Position on Dominance  

Dominance is a concept we frequently encounter in discussions of companion animal behavior. Many pet owners believe that the most important thing they can do to ensure their animal behaves appropriately is to establish themselves as “dominant,” “the alpha mare,” or...
What Does Maslow’s Pinnacle Mean for Horses?

What Does Maslow’s Pinnacle Mean for Horses?

How best to meet the behavioural and emotional needs of horses is the crux of a typical behavioural consultation. The job of the behaviour consultant is to tread the path of assessing and meeting the needs of the horse, whilst simultaneously managing the desires and...
Euthanasia in Shelters: Data and Decisionmaking

Euthanasia in Shelters: Data and Decisionmaking

Euthanasia in shelters is a frequently discussed topic among staff, volunteers, and increasingly on social media by people with little experience of the realities of the situation being discussed. Looking at these often highly emotional discussions, it would seem that...
Boo! Training a Bear: 2018

Boo! Training a Bear: 2018

Background Readers were introduced to Boo, a male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), in the Winter 2018 issue of the IAABC Journal. Born in 2002,  Boo weighs around 550-600 pounds in the spring, and up to 750-850 pounds in the winter before hibernation. We came to take care...
The Most Successful Case I Ever Lost

The Most Successful Case I Ever Lost

We are teacher and trainers. We are also learners. Our animal clients have lessons for us, it seems, each time we meet. When is it time to observe? When is it time to step back, adjust our plan? When do we push forward? We are familiar with these lessons, we trainers...
The Shelter Playgroup Alliance

The Shelter Playgroup Alliance

How the Shelter Playgroup Alliance (SPA) Started Toward the end of 2017, I was putting the final touches on a canine enrichment program for the open-admission, high-volume shelter at which I am a behavior and training consultant. I started to develop an inter-dog...
The Benefits of Teaching a Parrot Tricks

The Benefits of Teaching a Parrot Tricks

Living with an intelligent exotic animal like a parrot can be an absolute joy. It can also be quite challenging trying to meet the complex needs of these marvelous sentient beings. The most effective and humane, and least intrusive, way to interact with your bird is...
Hunting Enrichment Part 2: The great outdoors

Hunting Enrichment Part 2: The great outdoors

If you ask clients why they do not allow their cat outdoor access, you will hear a few common things: The client is fearful that harm will come to the cat, the client lacks knowledge on how to safely provide outdoor access, or the client simply doesn’t feel the...
Cooperative Care: The How and the Why

Cooperative Care: The How and the Why

Cooperative care involves training an animal to not only tolerate handling and husbandry procedures, but to be an active, willing participant in these experiences. In this column, we highlight some useful behaviors to teach clients to facilitate cooperative care, and...
Directional Control: Not Just for Working Dogs

Directional Control: Not Just for Working Dogs

Moses leaps into action, darting across the field and vaulting onto a platform located 25 yards away. Happily holding there, he waits for the next cue, then runs to the next target. A total stranger is directing him while I stand out of the picture. I spent two...
Pig behavior in videos on social media: Cute, but concerning

Pig behavior in videos on social media: Cute, but concerning

I’ve been working with companion pigs for years, and I find them endlessly fascinating. Pigs are still increasing in popularity as household pets after the “mini pig” craze started up about 30 years ago, in part because they make captivating video stars that people...
Calgary Bird School: An Obedience Class for Companion Parrots

Calgary Bird School: An Obedience Class for Companion Parrots

In a little city in Canada, owners are meeting once a month for a dog training class. Except there are no dogs in this class, only parrots! Birds in class learn foundation behaviours like “Step Up,” “Target” and “Station.” They’re introduced to marker training and...
What Can Street Dogs Teach Us About Socialization?

What Can Street Dogs Teach Us About Socialization?

There are certain truths we all hold as self-evident. One is that basic training is essential for all dogs. A dog whose behavior is “civilized” is able to be a fully participating member of the family. Further, if a dog develops a behavior problem, the foundation of...
What We Need to Learn About Missing Dogs

What We Need to Learn About Missing Dogs

The Missing Animal Response Network is an international network of lost-pet recovery specialists (volunteers and professionals) who are interested in learning as much as we can about the behavioral patterns of lost pets. The foundation for our missing animal response...
Environmental Enrichment for the Horse: The Need to Forage

Environmental Enrichment for the Horse: The Need to Forage

The most commonly used definition of environmental enrichment is by Shepherdson (1998): “an animal husbandry principle that seeks to enhance the quality of captive animal care by identifying and providing the environmental stimuli necessary for optimal psychological...
Hunting Enrichment for Indoor Cats Part 1: Indoor Activities

Hunting Enrichment for Indoor Cats Part 1: Indoor Activities

When one thinks of “enrichment” for cats, typically food-based activities such as treat balls come to mind, along with cat toys. A few cats are unmotivated by the treat ball, and a lot of adult cats couldn’t be bothered to give chase to that tired old mouse toy. Most...
Tort Reform: On Training a Tortoise in Nose Work

Tort Reform: On Training a Tortoise in Nose Work

I began training dogs as a teenager almost 40 years ago, and my interest in other species has been expanding as I continue to learn and grow as a professional. I have also worked with cats, goats, pigs, horses, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, chickens, ferrets, and...
Special Challenges of Senior Cats in Shelters

Special Challenges of Senior Cats in Shelters

How do senior cats end up in shelters? For over a decade, I have volunteered in the cat areas at Dallas Animal Services (DAS), a municipal shelter which has the fifth highest intake volume of animals in the United States. I routinely see senior cats on their rescue...
What is Cooperative Care?

What is Cooperative Care?

Cooperative care involves training an animal to not only tolerate handling and husbandry procedures, but to be an active, willing participant in these experiences. Cooperative care is quite common in zoos, where large or potentially dangerous animals cannot otherwise...
Teach Your Bird to Play Family Games!

Teach Your Bird to Play Family Games!

In my childhood household, you weren’t an actual human until you could play the card game Rummy. Our family comprised two parents and four kids, and my poor youngest brother only became fully and properly recognized when he was finally able to hold some cards, count,...
Interview with Dr. Alexandra Protopopova

Interview with Dr. Alexandra Protopopova

“I was actually planning to be a veterinarian.” And so were declared the earliest professional aspirations of Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, PhD, a scientist whose work is finding a varied and eager audience in the animal welfare world these days. With a doctorate in...
An Evaluation of Parelli’s Training Methods

An Evaluation of Parelli’s Training Methods

Horsemanship is the skill of managing and working with horses that is developed through experience and knowledge (Goodwin et al., 2009). Natural Horsemanship (NH) trainers are those who work closely with horses and use understanding of equine natural behaviour and...
Cat Training Corner: Preparing for Bloodwork

Cat Training Corner: Preparing for Bloodwork

Periodically, bloodwork may be required as part of your cat’s annual exam and in times of illness.  Blood draws require the cat to be exposed to various novel stimuli that may result in anxiety.  Getting kitty accustomed to the technique, sights, sounds, and...
Glucocorticoids, Stress, and Behavior Consulting

Glucocorticoids, Stress, and Behavior Consulting

As behavior consultants, we often focus on classical conditioning and the four quadrants of operant learning, but there’s so much more to consider. We don’t necessarily think about what’s happening internally—especially beyond an animal’s immediate...
Mental Stress in Service Dogs

Mental Stress in Service Dogs

Working dogs give their hearts and souls to meeting their disabled handlers’ needs. The relationship between dogs and their handlers is deeply personal, interdependent, and intimate. This article addresses reducing mental stress for service dogs and improving the...
Insights from Cat Agility

Insights from Cat Agility

Over the past twelve years, I’ve trained five cats in agility (three of whom are still part of our family), and from them I’ve gained insights into cat behavior. Some insights were not unfamiliar to me due to attending dog training classes. For example, each animal...
Career Paths: Jessica Fritschi

Career Paths: Jessica Fritschi

One of the most common questions IAABC gets is about how to get started working with pets and their people. The truth is, there’s no set career path, and no single qualification that prepares you for this uniquely challenging, endlessly fascinating work.  In this...
Diet and Behavior in Companion Parrots

Diet and Behavior in Companion Parrots

When we discuss nutrition, we usually focus on its impact on physical health. However, brain health is just as important. Science has proven that an animal’s diet must include all essential nutrients or both physical and brain health may suffer. If a balanced,...
Calling All Crows Part 2: Social Learning and Novel Objects

Calling All Crows Part 2: Social Learning and Novel Objects

In my last column, I talked about how I trained the crows that visited my garden to come to me on cue, using food to reward them for visiting. Now that I had “my” crows reliably visiting the garden and could attract them whenever I wanted, it seemed like a good time...
Screaming!!

Screaming!!

If you have ever shared your home with a feathered friend, you more than likely understand why I added two exclamation points at the end of that word. For us as humans, screaming is one of the most annoying, painful, and downright unacceptable natural behaviors of...
Caring for Dogs with Advanced Dementia

Caring for Dogs with Advanced Dementia

Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans; it is a “progressive age-related neurodegenerative condition that affects cognitive function”. The disease, both in dogs and in humans, affects many parts of the way an individual thinks,...
Spotlight on Research: Dr. Tammie King

Spotlight on Research: Dr. Tammie King

Dr. Tammie King works at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition  in the U.K., the fundamental science centre for Mars Petcare that is engaged in a variety of behavior-related projects, in addition to conducting research on pet health and nutrition. Tammie  has published...
Impressions from the IAABC Conference Boston 2018

Impressions from the IAABC Conference Boston 2018

Last April, as part of the team of the new IAABC Español Division, we traveled from Chile to our first annual conference of the IAABC. We are Uli Grodeke, trainer and behavior consultant, Wen Bautista, dog lover, and Carmen Arroyo, veterinarian and dog trainer....
Is a Busy Parrot Really a Happy Parrot?  

Is a Busy Parrot Really a Happy Parrot?  

As bird owners, we are quickly taught that toys are super-important for parrots. We need to keep them busy to avoid boredom and stereotypical behavior, and to keep them healthy. Keeping parrots occupied is indeed an important part of bringing them in to our homes, but...
Online Behavior Advice: Help or Harm?

Online Behavior Advice: Help or Harm?

I founded the “Dog Training 101 Community Forum” on Facebook late in 2010. At the time, I was exhausted from working in rescue—having volunteered doing adoptions, transport, and even starting a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. With 10 “Godpuppies”, I knew I couldn’t...
Building a Solid Volunteer Base

Building a Solid Volunteer Base

So many people working at nonprofits are caught in the cycle of focusing on the urgent task in front of them and just trying to get through the day. They know a well-trained and motivated team of volunteers could really help them accomplish more without breaking the...
Pet Retention Programs in Play: A Case Study

Pet Retention Programs in Play: A Case Study

In July 2017, the Pet Retention Program at Contra Costa Animal Services (CCAS) got a request for the return of a young tabby cat adopted from the shelter a few months prior. When Stefani Buzzard, the pet retention coordinator at the time, responded with a request for...
Interview with Brennen McKenzie, the Skeptvet

Interview with Brennen McKenzie, the Skeptvet

Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine is a multimillion-dollar industry that encompasses everything from reiki to nutritional supplements, and offers treatments for a full range of medical and behavioral complaints. From the five-dollar “calming treats” we...
Literature Review: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Literature Review: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction

Just like their human caretakers, pet dogs are reaping the benefits of medical advancements and are living longer than ever before (Katina et al., 2016; McGreevy & Bennett, 2010). While a longer lifespan is viewed as a positive by most owners, a dog’s golden years...
When do you Fire a Client?

When do you Fire a Client?

As a behavior consultant, there will likely come a time when it becomes obvious to you that a client is no longer the right fit to be working with you. This may be because of scheduling conflicts, cooperation of the owner, an irreconcilable difference in goals, or...
Career Paths: Barbara Davis

Career Paths: Barbara Davis

When did you decide to pursue behavior as a profession? There were really two times this came up for me. In the early days of my training career (in the 1970 and ’80s, so really prehistoric!), I worked with a lot of mentors and was fascinated by the way they worked...
Canine Search and Rescue

Canine Search and Rescue

In recent years, canine search and rescue (SAR) has become popular. In the not-too-distant past, most people did not know what it was. For example, when people saw members of my unit with the K9 SAR logo on their uniforms, they would comment that it was nice that we...
Attracting Parrot Behavior Clients Before They Need You

Attracting Parrot Behavior Clients Before They Need You

As a certified parrot behavior consultant and certified professional bird trainer setting up a practice, one of my first impressions was that people seem to be more reluctant to spend money on a bird than on a dog. Experience a serious issue with a dog and most people...
Disaster Preparedness Skills for Your Feline Behavior Clients

Disaster Preparedness Skills for Your Feline Behavior Clients

When a client contacts you for help with their cat’s challenging behavior, you have an opportunity to give them tools that they may not even realize they need. In the course of identifying the problems their cat is having and coming up with a solution, a behavior...
Feral Kittens

Feral Kittens

It’s springtime, which means kitten season is upon us. Shelters around the country will soon be inundated with box after box of kittens that need to be bottle fed or “tamed.” These kittens will come from under a person’s porch, a live trap set for skunks, and inside...
Boo! Training a Bear

Boo! Training a Bear

Boo is a male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos), born in 2002. He weighs 550 to 600 pounds in the spring, and up to 750 to 850 pounds in the winter before hibernation. We came to take care of Boo after he and his brother Cari were orphaned at approximately 5 months of age,...
Behavior Theory and Stallion Management

Behavior Theory and Stallion Management

Introduction Stallions can be used in different disciplines and they may stand at stud either as retirement or alongside their “career” (Burger et al., 2012). Traditionally they are managed with little regard to their natural behaviour (McDonnell, 2016b); they may be...
Rural Dogs

Rural Dogs

Often times in sprawling country areas, such as the one I’m writing from now, the overall majority of dogs (and cats) brought into shelters and rescues are what I typically describe as “rural.” Not exactly social and not exactly feral, the...
Reinforcing Change

Reinforcing Change

“All done!” I cried. Amid applause and cheering, the retired police sergeant hopped up from his position prostrate on the folding table. We had accomplished our crowd-sourced training goal—using a clicker, I had shaped him to lie face down on this rickety table for...
Cat Training Corner: Training a Kitten to “Go to Box”

Cat Training Corner: Training a Kitten to “Go to Box”

Go-to-box training is a very useful tool. It enables you to not only relocate a cat, but more importantly to refocus him. It is an excellent tool for teaching impulse control. I find that target training is the best first step to teaching this. Below is a case study...
Embracing Anthropomorphism

Embracing Anthropomorphism

As any animal behavior consultant can attest, one of the greatest challenges we face is dissuading owners from anthropomorphizing their pet’s behavior. In many respects, anthropomorphism is the proverbial gorilla in the room: It’s taboo, highly controversial, and most...
Perspective: IAABC’s Aggression in Dogs Seminar in Chile

Perspective: IAABC’s Aggression in Dogs Seminar in Chile

So, this is huge. When the APDT Chile announced its intention to become part of the IAABC and to host a congress on aggressive dog handling techniques with Trish McMillan Loehr and Michael Shikashio in Santiago de Chile, I pricked my ears: the IAABC’s presence here in...
Career Paths: Katenna Jones

Career Paths: Katenna Jones

Animal behavior consultants come from all walks of life. One of the most common questions IAABC gets is about how to get started working with pets and their people. The truth is, there’s no set career path, and no single qualification that prepares you for this...
Is “Dominance” a Four-Letter Word?

Is “Dominance” a Four-Letter Word?

I had occasion today to think about how we working livestock guardian dog (LGD) owners view dominance in our dogs. Before we get into any further conversations about training, I think we should take a closer look at what dominance is and, perhaps more importantly,...
Introducing a New Horse to a Group

Introducing a New Horse to a Group

Earlier this summer I purchased a new horse. Before bringing him to our farm, I gave a lot of thought to how I would introduce him to the five equines already living on our farm. I allow my horses as much social contact as possible given that horses are social...
Successfully Handling Transitions in Shelters

Successfully Handling Transitions in Shelters

Animal shelters and rescues often struggle with resources. The ability to adapt to change is just as important as community and staff support. In April of 2007, the Jacksonville Humane Society suffered a great loss after a massive fire, which you can learn more about...
A Perfect Human-Animal Bond Storm

A Perfect Human-Animal Bond Storm

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion. Arthur Koestler Although many items appear on my list of enjoyable activities, reading mysteries remains a lifelong favorite. This ongoing exploration of the who, what, where, when, how, and why of hundreds of plots...
Career Paths: Stephanie Edlund

Career Paths: Stephanie Edlund

Animal behavior consultants come from all walks of life. One of the most common questions IAABC gets is about how to get started working with pets and their people. The truth is, there’s no set career path, and no single qualification that prepares you for this...
The Internet, Exercise, and Parrots

The Internet, Exercise, and Parrots

On the Internet, you may come across all manner of fun, interesting, and sometimes zany things that parrots can do. It can be funny to watch, or just interesting to learn. Kudos for continuing to research and discovering new ways to improve your birds’ lives! We...
Cat Training Corner

Cat Training Corner

This column highlights some of the great training you and your cat can do together. We’ll start with how to train a foundational behavior, and build up to showing off some of the fun and useful tricks that build on that groundwork. This issue we’re looking at...
Behavior Consulting for Reptiles

Behavior Consulting for Reptiles

We talk to Danielle Beck, ABTC registered clinical animal behaviourist, and the United Kingdom’s only reptile behavior consultant working with pet lizards, about the unique challenges of working with these fascinating and often misunderstood animals. How did you get...
Playgroups the LIMA Way

Playgroups the LIMA Way

Playgroups are undoubtedly a beneficial practice in shelters and rescue groups, and over the past few years they have increased in popularity. As with most tools, though, playgroups can be implemented with varying degrees of skill, or misapplied altogether. While my...
Spotlight on Research: Lauren Robinson

Spotlight on Research: Lauren Robinson

This issue, we talked to Lauren Robinson, recent PhD graduate from the University of Edinburgh. Lauren’s work focuses on how we measure personality and welfare, and how these two areas interact. She has worked with many different species, from puppies to penguins, but...
Ask the Ethics Committee

Ask the Ethics Committee

Concerns about litigation can potentially limit dialogue about issues such as fear aggression. For example, if my dog is uneasy near strangers, I may be counseled not to talk openly about the dog’s bite risk or put a “Do Not Pet” sign on the...
IAABC News for Summer 2017

IAABC News for Summer 2017

Events and conferences IAABC Conference 2018 Our next conference is going to be bigger and better than ever, with a full three days of presentations, discussions and social events for all our Divisions. Join us on the 20th to the 22nd of April in Burlington,...
Pawsimony:  Needs Mustelid

Pawsimony: Needs Mustelid

We humans are always looking for evidence that our animal friends really do love us. That’s probably why videos like this one, which was described as a ferret mom insistently “showing” her human her new babies by leading him by the hand, are so consistently popular....
Testifying in Court

Testifying in Court

As professionals in the field of applied animal behavior, we are well-placed to understand the antecedents that cause an animal to act in a certain way. In cases where an animal has been implicated in causing injury, nuisance, or destruction of property that has...
Cat Training Corner

Cat Training Corner

This new column will highlight some of the great training you and your cat can do together. We’ll start with how to train a foundational behavior, and build up to showing off some of the fun and useful tricks that build on that groundwork. Our first installment will...
Kokoda’s Diary Part 2

Kokoda’s Diary Part 2

This is a continuation of the counter-conditioning diary I started last issue. I am working with my Eclectus parrot, Kokoda, who I would like to teach to happily accept wearing a harness. In the last issue, we had made a start on the process of gradually introducing...
Three Leash Reactive Dog Cases

Three Leash Reactive Dog Cases

The way a behavior consultant approaches a case is dependent on their education and background. As an applied behavior analyst, I approach my work as a behavior consultant with a bias toward that science. I want to understand the antecedent-behavior-consequence...
Housing Cats in Shelters

Housing Cats in Shelters

Appropriate housing is essential for animal wellbeing in shelters. Without clean, comfortable, spacious housing, no amount of enrichment will be sufficient to maintain low stress levels. An animal may receive enriching interaction with staff, trainers, or volunteers...
Stats Trek IV

Stats Trek IV

This is the fourth installment of our Stats Trek series, where we talk about all things data! In the current series, we systematically dissect a paper from the scientific literature and discuss some of the things that we should consider when reading primary literature...
Why Train Voluntary Cooperation in Horses?

Why Train Voluntary Cooperation in Horses?

 “But restraint is the only one sort of control, and absence of restraint isn’t freedom. It’s not control that’s lacking when one feels ‘free’, but the objectionable control of force.”  B.F. Skinner, Walden Two Traditional training and...
At the Foot of It All: Hoof Care and Behavior Modification

At the Foot of It All: Hoof Care and Behavior Modification

Over the last couple of years, we have increasingly seen the behavioural side to hoof care featured in videos that have gone viral on social media. One recent example showed “the duct tape method” of getting a fractious horse to stand still for the farrier. Numerous...
Counter-Conditioning a Parrot: Kokoda’s Video Diary

Counter-Conditioning a Parrot: Kokoda’s Video Diary

Kokoda is a 16-month-old female Eclectus Parrot. She was purchased from an Eclectus Specialist breeder in New South Wales and sent to me in Western Australia at around 14 weeks of age, after she was fully weaned and fledged. Kokoda is very cheeky, a total clown who...
IAABC News for Spring 2017

IAABC News for Spring 2017

Stand by for #IAABC2018! More than 200 people attended our 2017 conference in Los Angeles last month, and we were overwhelmed by the energy and friendship that developed between people from so many different backgrounds. The first-ever session of Building your...
Training Bite Inhibition in the Dark

Training Bite Inhibition in the Dark

The idea that, through certain socialization protocols, we can train a dog as a youngster to inhibit its bite as an adult is the foundation for many aspects of living with dogs: When we choose to take puppies from their mother, how we socialize them the first 16...
Simple Solutions for Common Behavior Issues in Shelters

Simple Solutions for Common Behavior Issues in Shelters

Since 1990 I have been volunteering in or working with a variety of shelters and rescue groups, until 2013 when I accepted a full-time position at Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. While there, one of my fellow behavior consultants, Allie Bender, and I...
K9 Nose Work® in Shelters

K9 Nose Work® in Shelters

The winter months are cold and damp in Kansas. During this time, a lot of our dogs do not get out for enough exercise. At the Lawrence Humane Society, we do not have indoor space for exercising our dogs. We are situated on 4 acres, and most of our property is divided...
Evaluating Research

Evaluating Research

Every behavior consultant knows not to rely on a client’s description of a pet’s behavior—you have to see that behavior yourself. Trained eyes see differently. This is just as true for analyzing research studies. It is important to understand the underlying principles...
Pawsimony: Pitch Please

Pawsimony: Pitch Please

This video pops up every so often on social media as new groups find it and, um, chime in: /wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Dogs-With-A-Perfect-Pitch.mp4 The claim is, this is a demonstration that dogs have “perfect pitch.” If that were true, the dogs would have to be...
Enrichment Involving Human Interaction Saves Lives

Enrichment Involving Human Interaction Saves Lives

As I walked through the intake room of a large county animal shelter in Dayton, Ohio, evaluating dogs to enroll in the Behavior Modification and Enrichment Program (BMP), I stopped in front of a kennel and looked down at a young pit bull–type puppy, with a turned-up...
Cat Social Lives: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

Cat Social Lives: Current Knowledge and Future Directions

Although cats are stereotypically thought to be aloof and unsocial, domestic cats display great flexibility in their social behavior.  Cats have the ability to live solitarily, to live in extremely gregarious colonies, and to live socially in homes with humans and...
Helping an Overachieving Horse Relax

Helping an Overachieving Horse Relax

One of the benefits of training with positive reinforcement is eagerness in training. Getting an experienced animal to come to you or stay with you is not usually a problem. Yet the pendulum swings both ways. We must train our animals what they should do instead of...
Birds Need to Fly

Birds Need to Fly

One of the benefits of training with positive reinforcement is eagerness in training. Getting an experienced animal to come to you or stay with you is not usually a problem. Yet the pendulum swings both ways. We must train our animals what they should do instead of...
Equine Video Ethogram

Equine Video Ethogram

Understanding body language is one of the core skills anyone living with animals needs in order to make the best decisions about their care. If you can see that what you’re doing is making your animal uncomfortable, that’s important information to help make...
Spotlight on Research: Parrot Enrichment

Spotlight on Research: Parrot Enrichment

This issue, we caught up with Joanna Berger, who recently graduated with Distinction from  the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine. As part of her Master’s project, Joanna traveled to Virginia to work with a parrot sanctuary called...
The Clinical Animal Behavioral Gold Standard

The Clinical Animal Behavioral Gold Standard

In the 1940s E. R. Guthrie and G. P. Horton designed an experiment to test feline problem-solving ability using a test box and cats that met the scientific standard. In the experiment, they placed individual cats inside a test box, outside of which they placed a food...
Cat Training: “But it’s so difficult!”

Cat Training: “But it’s so difficult!”

I have never understood the difficulty that some people have training cats. I find them intelligent, interested and engaged when I work with them, so I assume it should be the same for other trainers. However, I frequently hear that people are having trouble and...
Good Intentions Are Not Always Enough

Good Intentions Are Not Always Enough

I sat on the grassy hillside near a field, running the leash through my hands, trying to catch my breath in the fresh air. Feeling alone, frustrated, and lost, I had attempted unsuccessfully to run away from the hurt until my legs gave out and my heart pounded in my...
Virtual Consultations – Why, If, and How

Virtual Consultations – Why, If, and How

For eight years, I worked remotely from a home office for organizations that were in different time zones. Perhaps that is why virtual consultations came so naturally to me. However, if you are not used to spending 30 to 40 hours a week online, the concept may be...
Stats Trek III: What is Normal, Anyway?

Stats Trek III: What is Normal, Anyway?

This is the third installment of our Stats Trek series, where we talk about all things data! In the current series, we systematically dissect a paper from the scientific literature and discuss some of the things that we should consider when reading primary literature...
Group Living for Equines

Group Living for Equines

In this video, Certified Horse Behavior Consultant Lindsy Murray promotes the concept of group living for equines. This is Lindsy’s herd of horses that have lived together for over 20 years. The majority of the horses and ponies were taken on as rescues in need of...
Pawsimony: He’s Just Not That Into You

Pawsimony: He’s Just Not That Into You

One of the precious few things the Internet could agree on in 2016 was that capybara are awesome. The giant South American rodents supplanted 2015’s darling, the three-toed sloth, as Esoteric Animal of the Year, as videos of them chilling with ducks, eating various...
Animal Assisted Play Therapy™

Animal Assisted Play Therapy™

My name is Lucy Llewellyn, and my dog and I are “Paws4Play.” I am a qualified social worker, qualified play therapist, and Certified Animal Assisted Play Therapist. I work mostly with children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and trauma. I help these children work...
IAABC News for Spring 2017

IAABC News for February 2017

Welcome to the first IAABC Journal of 2017. After consulting with our readers and IAABC staff, our Web developer Mychelle Blake has created a new site, making it easier than ever to find the content you’re looking for. Meanwhile, managing editor Tiro Miller has been...
Ethological Considerations in the Care of Companion Parrots

Ethological Considerations in the Care of Companion Parrots

Parrots (Psittacines) are the most popular companion birds. However, most species are not domesticated, and they retain the behavioural traits seen in the species in the wild. Many conditions in which they are kept as pets are counter to the conditions to which they...
The Importance of Tracking Changes in Dog Behaviour

The Importance of Tracking Changes in Dog Behaviour

Over the many years of dog ownership, I have developed an extensive system of tracking behaviours in an effort to monitor progress (or the lack thereof) in the various interventions I try with my dogs. My background as a social worker encouraged this, as I’ve used...
Ask the Ethics Committee

Ask the Ethics Committee

Conflicting interests in dog playgroups Dear Ethics Committee, At a recent dog trainer conference, I saw a video of canine socialization within a shelter context that I found troubling. A number of dogs were potentially traumatized for the sake of helping one problem...
Obesity in Dogs

Obesity in Dogs

Oh, how I dread the sight of an obese dog. I feel bad for the dog and have the usual quick scroll of all the medical complications run through my head, but I also wince in anticipation of the upcoming discussion with the client about their dog’s weight. The range of...
Publishing for the Internet

Publishing for the Internet

So you have taken the time to sit down and carefully write out your thoughts on dogs, training, behaviour, management, or some combination thereof. Now what?  Publishing your writing on the Internet seems like a simple problem to solve. There are just so many options....
Relapse of Conditioned Fear in Horses: The Four R’s

Relapse of Conditioned Fear in Horses: The Four R’s

My 18-year-old thoroughbred is a warrior in most respects. He barely flicks an ear at a motorcycle speeding past as we cross the road; he nods politely and winks at a large coyote standing at the trail’s edge (in truth, the wink may just be a tic in his bum right...
Case Study: Cat Attacking Dog

Case Study: Cat Attacking Dog

Case information Cat’s name: Smudge Breed: Siamese/ Domestic Shorthair mix Sex: Neutered male Age: 7 years Other animals in home: 13-year-old spayed female Pomeranian dog named Bee History Smudge was found by his owner in a box full of kittens of mixed ages, which had...
The Human-Avian Bond

The Human-Avian Bond

According to the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association survey, 6.1 million American households own an estimated 14.3 million birds, making birds the fourth most common pet following dogs, cats, and fish. Despite the popularity of birds as pets, there have been...
Case Study: Raisin

Case Study: Raisin

Case Information Dog’s name: Raisin Sex: Spayed female Age: 1 year Breed: Terrier mix Other people involved: Cindy Lowrey, Megan Hewes, Sylvia Brink, Collin Stevens, and various volunteers. Location Animal shelters in Jacksonville, Florida. To help the community and...
Drama-free DRA for Barking

Drama-free DRA for Barking

A dog barking and charging at the front door is by no means a new or unexplained phenomenon. Many of them do it with encouragement from their owners as “protectors,” and some breeds were specifically bred to be guard dogs. However, as a behavior consultant living in a...
FeBARQ: Applied Research on Domestic Cat Behavior

FeBARQ: Applied Research on Domestic Cat Behavior

Over 10 years after the release of the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (CBARQ), cat owners finally have a feline version of this behavioral assessment tool available online. The Feline Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (FeBARQ)...
Health And Welfare Benefits Of A Varied Diet For Horses

Health And Welfare Benefits Of A Varied Diet For Horses

/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Harrison-New-Forest-Ponies.mp4 The New Forest pony is a native breed of the British Isles. Many of them are domestic horses that are ridden and worked, but free to roam and graze across a large area of “common” land, which has a varied...
Interview With Dr. Alexandra Protopopova

Interview With Dr. Alexandra Protopopova

“I was actually planning to be a veterinarian.” And so were declared the earliest professional aspirations of Alexandra (Sasha) Protopopova, PhD, a scientist whose work is finding a varied and eager audience in the animal welfare world these days. With a doctorate in...
The Science of Finding Lost Pets

The Science of Finding Lost Pets

If you were to ask me to spend the day searching a remote, wilderness area like the Cascade Mountains for a missing person, but you gave me no details about why they were out there, I would have a very difficult time knowing just what tools to use and where I should...
Writing for the Internet

Writing for the Internet

The Internet has offered us a wonderful means of communicating with each other. Whether you want to write for pet dog owners or other dog trainers, or even produce more scholarly articles to explore the frontiers of science as it relates to dogs and behaviour, the...
Why Do We Train Sit? Should We Reconsider Its Relevance?

Why Do We Train Sit? Should We Reconsider Its Relevance?

As far as I can tell, training a dog to sit originated in regulations formed for competition obedience around the 1920s. Before then, dogs were primarily used for sporting and herding, or were shown in conformation trials, and a sit was not often trained. Unlike our...
IAABC News for October 2016

IAABC News for October 2016

IAABC works to promote evidence-based best practice in behavior consulting for all species of companion animals, in homes or shelters. We provide certification and education for consultants all over the world, with the goal of helping clients prevent, manage and...
An Interview with Tara Gifford

An Interview with Tara Gifford

It’s simpler to ask Tara Gifford what type of animal she hasn’t trained—from dogs and horses to sharks and tigers, Tara has worked with them all. Currently, she owns a behavior consulting business, Ohio Animal Training LLC, which focuses on zoo animals and horses. She...
Pawsimony: Oh, Deer

Pawsimony: Oh, Deer

A Facebook group shared this video claiming the deer “intuitively” knew to keep still so that the man could rescue it. /wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Pawsimony-Deer.mp4 Given that the vast majority of interactions between deer and humans involve hunting, somehow it...
Sit Means Play!

Sit Means Play!

It was a second training session with an adorable Labradoodle puppy and his family. He lay patiently at their side while we began talking through solving the issues that come with bringing a young, energetic companion into their home, one with sharp teeth and an...
Case Study: Dog-directed Food Aggression

Case Study: Dog-directed Food Aggression

Dog’s Name: Benji Breed: Collie mix Sex: Neutered male Age: 3 years Other animals in the home: None Background A three-year-old neutered collie mix dog had recently aggressed to a level three bite onto two other dogs while in a home boarding facility. The family also...
Therapy Animals

Therapy Animals

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.             – Maya Angelou One of the very first things I learned when I started visiting hospitals with a therapy dog was that...
Equine Video Ethogram

Equine Video Ethogram

Understanding body language is one of the core skills anyone living with animals needs in order to make the best decisions about their care. If you can see that what you’re doing is making your animal uncomfortable, that’s important information to help make...
Clicker Training for Horses: A Video Series

Clicker Training for Horses: A Video Series

Clicker training is slowly gaining ground in the equine world.  Please join me in a series of videos that discuss and demonstrate foundational lessons for both horse and human.  In this edition, we will explore an essential skill for trainers as they begin their...
Rehabilitating an Umbrella Cockatoo

Rehabilitating an Umbrella Cockatoo

I adopted a male cockatoo from an animal shelter in February 2007. His name was Charlie, and he had obviously been neglected physically, emotionally, and socially. At that time, his diet consisted solely of Cheerios. He was plucking his feathers and fearful of people....
What Is Clicker Training Horses Actually Good For?

What Is Clicker Training Horses Actually Good For?

Clicker training is one of the recent success stories of equestrianism. It makes use of a bridging signal to indicate the moment of the desired behaviour, followed by positive reinforcement. We are told that training with positive reinforcement is more ethical than...
What Do Trainers Know About How Horses Learn?

What Do Trainers Know About How Horses Learn?

When the June 2016 issue of the IAABC Journal ran an article on eliminating the use of aversives in equestrian training, I felt inspired to offer a summary of my study on the current use of these methods in equestrian training. The notion that positive reinforcement...
Compliance and Manipulation in the Dog Training World

Compliance and Manipulation in the Dog Training World

As behavior consultants, we know that it’s important that our clients get on board with the plans we make, and follow through with what we’re trying to teach them. Usually, we can’t teach their dog everything we’d like him to learn ourselves, so our job is to make...
Welcome!

Welcome!

Welcome to the IAABC Journal! In developing this website, we hope to create a resource for sharing best practices and insights into managing and preventing behavior problems across all of IAABC’s divisions: Dog, Cat, Parrot, Horse, Shelter and Working Animals....
Stats Trek: How to Be a Commander of Data

Stats Trek: How to Be a Commander of Data

In this article series, Jessica Fry explores the role of data in behavior consulting, starting with how to build the motivation to collect and analyze data in our clients and ourselves. How do you assess client compliance? How do you detect when a client is raising...
Pawsimony: Cookie Nookie

Pawsimony: Cookie Nookie

Technology is making it ever easier to share footage of animals; something this journal is taking full advantage of. However, the rise of viral video has also lead to an explosion of anthropomorphism, as people try to explain the behavior they’re seeing. Each issue,...
Case Study: Linda and Joe

Case Study: Linda and Joe

Case Information Client name: Linda Dog’s name: Joe Breed: Dutch Shepherd Age: 3 years Additional animals in household: 2 dogs Background The client is a friend of mine, and the attack happened to me during a training session. There were no prior incidents of...
Behavior Consulting and Declawed Cats

Behavior Consulting and Declawed Cats

If you work with cats in the United States or Canada, you will face a few conundrums related to phalangectomy procedures (onychectomy/declawing).[1] The topic is considered controversial by many people, including some of your clients and their vets. This means that...
World Within a World – Changing Lives

World Within a World – Changing Lives

Every Monday morning, when I enter the correctional facility, walk through the metal detector, scanner, and guardroom, put on a body alarm and walk across the yard where hundreds of felons comingle, I ask myself “What am I doing here, and why do I continue to serve...
Side-Eye: A Critical Look at Dog Science in the Media

Side-Eye: A Critical Look at Dog Science in the Media

Recently, there has been some hubbub over whether or not you should hug your dog. The Psychology Today blog post that reignited the debate, by Dr. Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, titled “The Data Say ‘Don’t Hug the Dog!’” claimed to answer this...
The Perils of Placing Marginal Dogs

The Perils of Placing Marginal Dogs

(Originally published in Sheltering Magazine, 2003) Rosie was a loving, beautiful dog with doting owners, but in the end, her predatory instinct made her too dangerous for human society. Her attack on another dog was the last straw for her owners, who vowed never to...
Best Practices in Husbandry and Handling

Best Practices in Husbandry and Handling

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words. I’ll add that video is worth a million. As professional trainers, we offer our services in a time where modern technology can be our best friend. A baseline video here, a quick video of us working with our...
Countering Counter-Surfing

Countering Counter-Surfing

When my cat Lassie was young, she had springs for legs. I’ve never seen a cat jump as quickly or with as much agility as she would, especially when it came to accessing canned cat food as we opened it on the counter. We took video of her doing this once because it...
Service Dogs: Ethics and Education

Service Dogs: Ethics and Education

Most Americans are familiar with the presence of service animals.[1] From the standard-bearer guide dog for the blind to the much photographed but rare service mini-horse, their stories are more and more visible. Sometimes we tell those stories in order to laud an...
IAABC News – June 2016

IAABC News – June 2016

A Message from the President Greetings and welcome to the IAABC’s Journal. The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants is a worldwide organization whose members share an interest in the study and application of animal training and behavior consulting....
Case Study: Blade

Case Study: Blade

Case Information: Cat’s Name: Blade Breed: Domestic Shorthair Sex: Neutered Male Age: 7 months Background: This kitten was presented at my practice for pouncing, biting, and scratching at both owners in the household. He was adopted through another veterinary clinic...
Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

The joys of keeping our cats indoors with plenty of environmental enrichment, good food, health care and an enormous amount of love and respect are all well-documented: besides having a happier and healthier companion, those fur-kids are living longer. Much longer....
I Got a Kick Out of You…

I Got a Kick Out of You…

Pavlov was scooped, but nobody noticed. Most people have heard of Ivan Pavlov and his dogs, and many are aware of the specifics of his discovery. He accidentally conditioned dogs to salivate at the sound of a buzzer, and then realized what he had done and some of the...