Friday, April 28, 2017

Shock Collar vs. Treat Pouch






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The Ultimate Dog Training Tip

CompanionAnimalPsychology.com

There’s a lot of incorrect dog training advice on the internet, which makes it hard for people with dogs to sort out which advice is good and which is not.

Does it matter? Some of the time, despite using methods that aren’t recommended by professional organizations, you can get away with it. Maybe you will have a well-trained dog or maybe you will muddle along. Maybe your dog will actually be a bit afraid but you won’t notice (people aren’t very good at recognizing fear).

But unfortunately, for some dogs, there will be issues. And perhaps, instead of blaming the method, you'll blame the dog.

Here’s what one scientist concluded after reviewing the evidence on dog training methods (Ziv, 2017):

“it appears that aversive training methods have undesirable unintended outcomes and that using them puts dogs’ welfare at risk”
Dog training is not regulated and so trainers do not have to be transparent about how they describe their methods. Typically, they don’t call them aversive even if they are.

But there is one piece of information about dog training that will help many people start sorting out the good from the bad. Granted, it’s not the only thing – when it comes down to it, dog training can be quite complicated – but it is a vital thing to know.

But first of all, can you guess what it’s not?  Click here to read the entire article

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

The 3 D's of Dog Training

Duration, Distance, Distractions



One thing I strive to point out at every opportunity when working with clients is the importance of developing a relationship with your dog and setting your dog up for success.  Relationship based dog training is actually teaching more than training – it is like being a good parent. It is like raising children. As parents you want to set your children up for success – same with your dog.

All too often, we set our dogs up for failure. We ask them to learn to sit in the middle of a park full of screaming children and frisky squirrels before they have learned to sit in the quiet of our living room.  We ask them to walk perfectly on a leash while out in the middle of a dog park when we haven’t perfected leash walking yet at home in our back yards. We may expect our dogs NOT to jump on people when we have not taught them some other way to greet people.  That is what I call “setting the dog up for failure”, and it can start a vicious circle of frustration for both you and your dog which breaks down the relationship.

Think of dog training like the school system. Start with something easy! Start teaching your dog in kindergarten and gradually move up to college level training. When your dog masters the small steps, build on that success and ask for something a little more complicated. Sometimes, just like children, your dog may have to repeat a course of training before moving on. It’s not fair to ask your dog for something more complicated when s/he could not master the basics.

Here is a good formula to use:    I call it the “Three D’s”.  Duration — Distance — Distractions. First, teach the behavior without any distractions!  Then, gradually increase the time (duration) still without distractions.    Gradually add in distance/distractions — starting with short distance and minor distractions. Then, combine difficulty, distance and distractions together.    Do not move to the next step until the last step has been mastered.   If your dog has trouble with any of the steps, go back to the previous step.

Always be very clear with your instructions and consistent with  follow through.    Reinforce when your dog gets it right with treats and lots of praise.   If your dog gets it wrong, don’t punish him/her.  I like to use the words “uh oh” or “sorry” – not saying them unkindly, but letting the dog know that they didn’t get it right. Don’t make your dog guess! Provide constant feedback.
Pay attention to your dog’s body language when training! If s/he is stressed in training sessions, you will need to modify your training approach or end the session and try again later.    Make learning fun… Visit the website

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Harnesses/Walking Your Dog

 Companion Animal Psychology

Published: Monday, 19 September 2016 
Harnesses are a Great Choice to Walk Your Dog

A new study compares a harness to a neck collar and finds both are good for canine welfare.



Gorgeous Milo looking happy in his front-clip harness
Milo. Photo: Sabrina Mignacca


Harnesses are often said to be better for your dog than walking on a collar, but no one had investigated it. Now, a team of scientists at Hartpury College (Grainger, Wills & Montrose 2016) has published a study of the effects of walking a dog on a harness and on a neck collar.

The same dogs were walked on a neck collar and on a harness on separate occasions, and their behaviour was monitored for signs of stress. The results show that harnesses do not cause stress and are a great choice for walking your dog.

Dr. Tamara Montrose, one of the authors of the study, told me in an email,

“Whilst neck collars are widely used when walking dogs, concerns have been raised about their potential to damage the neck and trachea. Furthermore collars can be problematic in dogs with eye conditions such as glaucoma. Harnesses are often anecdotally proposed to be better for dog welfare.
“In our study, we investigated whether dogs walked on a collar or harness displayed differences in behaviours associated with canine stress or related to restriction of movement.
“We found that there were no differences in behaviour between dogs walked on either a neck collar or a harness. The frequency of the behavioral stress indicators also tended to be low in dogs walked on either restraint type. Whilst dogs with a history of collar walking showed increased levels of one potential stress indicator (low ear position) which may suggest that these dogs are more stressed, it’s important to note that this was not supported by the other stress measures and thus this explanation should be viewed with caution.
“Our findings suggest that dog welfare is not compromised by either form of restraint, however we are interested in undertaking future study with a range of different brands of harness and collar, consideration of physiological stress indicators and assessment of gait and magnitude of pulling.”

30 pet dogs took part in the study; 15 that were normally walked on a collar, and 15 that were normally walked on a harness. Each dog was taken for a 20 minute walk along a route through a field. The middle 10 minutes of the walk was video recorded for later analysis.

Beautiful Zoe models her no-pull  harness
Zoe. Photo by Zoe's mom, Joanna.
Then the owner was given the alternate piece of equipment to use so the dog could get used to it. A week later, they returned for a second 20-minute walk in the field. It was again recorded for analysis.

The harness used throughout the study was the Perfect Fit. The group of dogs that were initially walked on a collar used their regular collar; the dogs that were fitted with a collar for the second walk were given a fleece-lined neck collar. A 1m leash was used for all of the dogs for standardization, and because this length is commonly used for dog walking.

The walks took place in the mornings in a field in Worcestershire (UK). Two routes were marked out in the field, so that dogs would walk a new route each time.

The videos were analysed for behaviours that could be signs of stress, including low tail, low body posture, licking the lips, yawning and panting. They also looked for signs that could show the dog’s movement is restricted, such as stopping.

The statistical analysis showed no significant differences between current or historical use of the collar or harness on any of the behavioural indicators, with the exception of low ears. This was higher in the dogs who were normally walked on a collar, but not linked to when they were walked on collar or harness in the study. Given the lack of other differences, this is hard to interpret.

These results show that neither a harness nor a collar causes stress to dogs. This is in contrast to prong and choke collars which have been found to sometimes elicit an aggressive response from dogs.

In other words, as commonly believed, harnesses are a good choice for walking your dog.

This is a timely finding because today sees the launch of the Harness the Love campaign from the Academy for Dog Trainers. The campaign highlights the use of no-pull harnesses to make it easier for people to walk their dog. No-pull harnesses have a front clip attachment for the leash, and a list of available brands can be found on the campaign’s website. People can take part by sharing a photo of their dog in their harness using the hashtag #HarnessTheLove.

Do you walk your dog on a harness? Click here for full article.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Reasons to Use Reward Based Training

Positive reinforcement is recommended by professional organizations

Many professional organizations have spoken out against the use of punishment in dog training because the scientific evidence shows that it carries risks.

For example, Dogs Trust recommend the use of rewards in dog training. “In order to be effective and to gain the best results, all training should be based around positive rewards. Positive reward training works because if you reward your dog with something he wants as soon as he does what you ask, he is far more likely to do it again.”

In their advice on finding a dog trainer, the American Veterinary Society for Animal Behaviour says “AVSAB endorses training methods which allow animals to work for things (e.g., food, play, affection) that motivate them rather than techniques that focus on using fear or pain to punish them for undesirable behaviors. Look for a trainer who uses primarily or only reward-based training with treats, toys, and play. Avoid any trainer who advocates methods of physical force that can harm your pet such as hanging dogs by their collars or hitting them with their hands, feet, or leashes."

Some organizations (such as the Pet Professional Guild and the APDT (UK)) and some dog training schools (such as the Academy for Dog TrainersKaren Pryor Academy and the Victoria Stilwell Academy) have a code of practice that requires their members to use kind, humane methods instead of aversive techniques.

If you are looking for a dog trainer, whether for puppy class or behaviour problems, see my article on how to choose a dog trainer.

People report better results with positive reinforcement

Several studies have found that people who use positive reinforcement to train their dogs report a better-behaved dog than those who use aversive techniques.

In a study by Blackwell et al (2008), the dogs of people who used only positive reinforcement training were less likely to have behaviour problems. They suggested this could be because dogs don’t associate punishment with their behaviour, but instead with the owner or the context, and hence may become fearful and anxious.

Another study (Hiby et al 2004) found if dog owners used punishment (whether or not they also used rewards) their dogs were more likely to have problem behaviours. People who only used reward-based methods reported more obedient dogs

These results apply to dogs of all sizes. In a study that compared small and large dogs (Arhant et al 2010), those whose owners used more punishment were reported to have more problems of aggression and excitability whatever their size. However this was most pronounced for little dogs (less than 20kg).

Of particular concern is the finding that people who use confrontational methods (such as prong, choke and shock collars or growling at the dog) sometimes report an aggressive response (Herron, Shofer and Reisner 2009). This was never reported in response to using rewards.

These studies relied on owner reports, but another study used an experimental design to compare positive reinforcement to shock collars. They looked at teaching recall in the presence of livestock and found that, contrary to popular belief, the shock collars did not lead to better trained dogs (Cooper et al 2014). And in fact, the dogs trained with shock showed signs of stress, which brings us to the next point. Click here to read the entire article.

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Project tRade


How Would You Like to Trade Your Old Dog Training Equipment for Great Discounts?
 
My Best Buddy Dog Training wants to swap great discounts on our services FOR your choke, prong or shock collars or any other qualifying pet gear. By participating in “Project tRade” you can earn 10% off your first service simply by giving us old pet gear* you have laying around. It couldn’t be easier! 

What is “Project tRade”? Project tRade is the Pet Professional Guild's (PPG) international advocacy program that promotes the use of force-free pet training equipment by asking pet guardians to swap choke, prong and shock collars (and any other devices that are designed to change behavior through pain or fear). Because we want all pets and their guardians to experience the huge advantages and long-lasting effectiveness of force-free training and pet care, we will give you great discounts on our most popular, effective, fun and pain-free training and pet care services in exchange for your old gear. 
 
Effective, humane animal training and pet care methods are the foundation of any animal’s healthy socialization and training and help prevent behavior problems. Since a wide variety of equipment and tools are commonly used when training pets, the pet-owning public needs to be aware of the potential problems and dangers some equipment may pose. Specifically, the use of collars and leads that are intended to apply constriction, pressure, pain or force around a dog’s neck (such as ‘choke chains’ and ‘prong collars’) should be avoided. Distinguished veterinarians and behaviorists worldwide are joining the discussion and calling for the elimination of such devices from the training efforts of both pet owners and professionals.
 
What Do the Experts Say?
 
Respected veterinarian and thyroid expert, Dr. Jean Dodds, recommends against choke or prong collars “as they can easily injure the delicate butterfly-shaped thyroid gland thatsits just below the larynx and in front of the trachea. These collars can also injure the salivary glands and salivary lymph nodes on the side of the face underneath both ears.”
Bestselling author and canine behaviorist, Jean Donaldson, says: "These devices (choke and prong collars), when they work, do so to the degree that they hurt. With the advent of modern methods and tools they are irrelevant.”
 
According to veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist Dr. Soraya V. Juarbe-Diaz: "Using punishment to stop behaviors is not new. Notice I say ‘stop’ rather than ‘teach’ -- I can stop any behavior, but I am more interested in teaching my students, animal or human, to choose the behavior I want them to perform because they can trust me, because I do not hurt them and they are safe with me, and because the outcome is something they enjoy.”
 
PPG thus encourages all pet owners and pet professionals to embrace modern, scientifically based, training techniques and tools, especially the latest generation of no-pull harnesses which are free of the risks posed by traditional collars and offer far more benefits. 
 
So swap your gear and help create a kinder world for you and your pet! The following discounts are provided on your first service.
 
Choke collars , prong collars, shock collars, bark collars and e-collars - trade them for 10% off your first service with us.

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Ultimate Dog Training Tip

There’s a lot of incorrect dog training advice on the internet, which makes it hard for people with dogs to sort out which advice is good and which is not.

Does it matter? Some of the time, despite using methods that aren’t recommended by professional organizations, you can get away with it. Maybe you will have a well-trained dog or maybe you will muddle along. Maybe your dog will actually be a bit afraid but you won’t notice (people aren’t very good at recognizing fear).

But unfortunately, for some dogs, there will be issues. And perhaps, instead of blaming the method, you'll blame the dog.

Here’s what one scientist concluded after reviewing the evidence on dog training methods (Ziv, 2017):

“it appears that aversive training methods have undesirable unintended outcomes and that using them puts dogs’ welfare at risk”
Dog training is not regulated and so trainers do not have to be transparent about how they describe their methods. Typically, they don’t call them aversive even if they are.

But there is one piece of information about dog training that will help many people start sorting out the good from the bad. Granted, it’s not the only thing – when it comes down to it, dog training can be quite complicated – but it is a vital thing to know.

But first of all, can you guess what it’s not?

What’s not as important in dog training as some people think


Even though some people still believe it to be the case, dominance, being the pack leader, or being the alpha (however you want to phrase it) is not the most important thing in training a dog. In fact, it's not even important at all.

One of the problems with dog training based on ideas of dominance is that it can lead to the use of confrontational methods (such as alpha rolls). Confrontational methods risk an aggressive response (Herron, Schofer and Reisner 2009) and aversive techniques may affect the dog-owner relationship (Deldalle and Gaunet, 2014). A review of the scientific research (Ziv, 2017) says these methods are not recommended because of concerns about animal welfare.

Another problem with dominance dog training is that it can mean dogs miss out on fun learning opportunities. And it is simply a distraction from people learning about modern dog training methods.

I won’t go into details here because it’s not the focus of this article. But if you want to know more, including what scientists think about dominance, see my article on problems with dominance training.

So if dominance isn’t as important as people think, what is the thing that matters?
 Click here to keep reading...


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