Resources

PET BEHAVIOR

WHERE CAN I FIND QUALITY PET BEHAVIOR INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET?

  • Animal Behavior Associates offers free downloads, a blog, educational telecourses, books, and more from Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists Suzanne Hetts, PhD, CAAB and Daniel Estep, PhD, CAAB.

  • The Pet Professional Guild was founded on a commitment to provide educational resources to pet industry professionals and the pet-owning public while emphasizing collaboration of force-free pet trainers and pet care providers. 

  • Dogmantics Dog Training, owned and run by Emily Larlham in San Diego, California.  She is known around the world for her popular Youtube Channel ‘Kikopup’ where she has posted over 200 free in-depth dog training tutorials.  She believes that by putting out free training tutorials that don’t involve any forms of physical or psychological intimidation, it will not only effect how people treat animals but also how people treat other human beings.

  • Eileen and Dogs, a blog sharing videos, photos, and well-researched education about canine behavior, training, and how to recognize your dog’s communication.

  • Karen Pryor Clicker Training Founded in 2001, Karen Pryor (KPCT) is a leader in the field of animal training and a recognized world leader in the science and application of marker-based positive reinforcement, or what is often called "clicker training." The company believes passionately in the power of the clicker training approach to enrich the lives of pet owners, animal professionals, and the animals they live with, work with, or study. See these terms for more information on markers, clickers, and positive reinforcement.

  • The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) is a group of veterinarians and research scientists dedicated to improving the lives of animals and people through an understanding of animal behavior. Visit their site and discover how insight into animal behavior can strengthen your bond with your pets and enhance the welfare of your patients.

WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON THE HOT TOPIC OF "DOMINANCE-BASED" DOG TRAINING?

The professionals at Clever Critters use science-backed and up-to-date information as a guide for all animal training. The current literature does not find a "dominance-hierarchy" approach to dog training to be effective. Also, the definition of "dominance" in the animal behavior literature is quite different from how some pet professionals (who are not behaviorists) or pet parents might define dominance. We have found that most of what our clients have heard about dominance is incorrect, steeped in myths and misconceptions. When we are working with a dog who has difficulty in social situations with other dogs or people, we focus on the individual dog, his genetic influence, his behavioral history, his learning experiences and history, his environment, and what we can observe to determine appropriate treatment. We do not try to fit his behavior into a dominance model.
 

Other prominent professionals agree that we need alternatives to dominance-based dog training: 

ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO DOMINANCE THEORY FOR DOG BITE PREVENTION

Children are among the highest risk for dog bites. The most effective prevention for dog bites is continued education on canine behavior and body language in combination with force-free training and behavior modification. Some organizations whose focus on helping families with children and dogs with the use of force-free training and education are the following:

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  • Family Paws® Parent Education (FPPE) is the parent organization of two International licensed programs: Dogs & Storks® and Dogs & Toddlers™ . FPPE provides specialized programs for new and expecting families with dogs.  They offer a wide range of support to families, dog professionals and childbirth professionals to support success between babies, toddlers, and children and family dogs.

  • Doggone Safe is a non-profit with over 1400 members in more than 30 countries. Their goal is the education of safe human-canine interactions to prevent dog bites that can ultimately lead to serious and life altering ramifications for both people and their pets.

  • Living with Kids and Dogs Kids and dogs can be best friends ... if a wise parent sets them up for success. Being the parent with kids and dogs isn't always easy. Good kids and good dogs will have miscommunications every day, but there are many simple strategies you can use to make your life less chaotic, more cooperative, and lots more fun.

ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES TO DOMINANCE THEORY FOR DOGS BEHAVING AGGRESSIVELY

  • The Ladder of Aggression Aggression is a set of behaviors our dogs use to cope with stress, such as a perceived threat. The ladder of aggression portrays the escalation any dog will give in their behavior as a way to communicate their fear, anxiety, and stress, also known as FAS, in accordance with their perception of the intensity of the threat. Just as the average human does not naturally jump right to severe and escalated responses, neither do our dogs. The purpose of these behaviors is to deflect threat and restore peace and comfort. Based on a dog's genetic influence for stress or stress recovery physiologically, their history of learning on how to cope or deal with stressors, and the context of the environmental stressors, each dog will have their own escalation, or way of communicating, their discomfort. Be it Fight, Flight, Freeze, of Feint. Even once a dog escalates to a bite, there are multiple levels of bites (see below) a dog may attempt in order to deflect the threat. 

  • Dr. Ian Dunbar's Dog Bite Scale, and depicted by Dr. Sophia Yin here, demonstrates that even with a dog that bites, there is an escalation to be evaluated and understood. A growling or biting dogs does not equate to an aggressive dog, however, assessing and understanding the dog's escalation and the perceived threat are crucial to behavior change via appropriate behavior modification.

  • About Canine Temperament

    • Because of breed-specific dog legislation and negative publicity associated with many breeds of dogs, temperament testing has assumed an important role for today’s dog fancier. The ATTS Temperament Test provides breeders a means for evaluating temperament and gives pet owners insight into their dog’s behavior. It can have an impact on breeding programs and in educating owners about their dog’s behavioral strengths and weaknesses as well as providing a positive influence on dog legislation.

  • Q: What is breed-specific legislation? 
    • A: Breed-specific legislation (BSL), also referred to as breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL), is a law or ordinance that prohibits or restricts the keeping of dogs of specific breeds, dogs presumed to be specific breeds, mixes of specific breeds, and/or dogs presumed to be mixes of one or more of those breeds. 

  • Research has consistently shown that visual breed identification is very often inaccurate, and scientists have known for decades that even first generation crossbreeds usually look dramatically different than either parent. Moreover, recent research also indicates that even experts have very little agreement when visually determining breed.

  • Information on Medically Attended Dog Bites

  • National Canine Research Council brings together leading experts in academia from all over the world who provide the highest quality research, policy recommendations, and analysis on a full range of canine behavior science topics.

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