The Scoop 
Official Newsletter of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers

"The CCPDT exists to be the industry leader in defining and maintaining competency in the dog training and behavior profession."

  
May/June 2014
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Challenge Yourself

In this issue
Certificants Bark Back
Message From the President
The Board Barks Back - Starr Ladehoff
Call For Case Studies
News Quiz Contest
Humane Hierarchy
Industry News
Dear Certificant,

It appears our long, rough winter is finally over and it's time to really get down to the business of dog training and behavior modification for 2014. Our season is in full swing, and we've just completed one of our most challenging Reactive Rover workshops to date. One of the participants was a lovely little Pit mix from New York City whose very dedicated owners have been working for two years to help their girl learn impulse control. (Have I mentioned that I get the best clients?) Dio's threshold distance can be as much as 200 feet or more. Try walking that through the streets of NYC where you can't walk around the block without encountering at least a dozen dogs! And oh yes, 5:00 a.m. is when everyone else walks their reactive dogs so you're not even safe then...

Challenging is good. I've probably gotten into a bit of a routine with our Reactive workshops, and this one really made me stop and think. Having three other excellent trainers (Shirley Greenlief, CPDT-KA, PMCT, Peaceable Paws, Fairplay, MD; Sean Howard, CPDT-KA, PMCT, Up With Pup, Toronto, Canada; and Amie Glasgow,  CPDT-KA, Maryland SPCA, Baltimore, MD) to assist and share thoughts and perspectives on this dog was immensely valuable as well. Our colleagues are such valuable resources!

The adorable little Beagle/Terrier mix in the above photo is demonstrating one of the beneficial results of challenging yourself - you sleep really well. (Cassie is sleeping off the effects of a two-day Shaping workshop held here at Peaceable Paws in March.)

I like to keep myself challenged,  not only with difficult dogs in Reactive Rover workshops, but also by keeping up with advances in the animal behavior and training profession. A couple of years ago Treibball arrived on the scene, so I started offering Treibball classes. This past year, Claudia Fugazza's "Do As I Do" project (teaching dogs to learn by imitating human behavior)  made it to the U.S. I purchased her DVD from Tawzer Dog, watched the video, practiced the fascinating technique with my own dog, and then offered a two-day workshop. (I now have two six-week "Copy That!" classes and another workshop scheduled.)

New stuff - fun!!!    

Challenges keep us sharp, they keep us young, and they keep life interesting. They can keep us current in our profession and equipped to offer our clients the most effective services possible. I have often said I wouldn't be training today if we were still using old-fashioned force-based methods. Anyone else remember those days? If it didn't work, do it harder. If it still didn't work, do it more and harder. If it still didn't work, either you weren't doing it hard enough, or your dog was defective. Never once were we told (or did we ask) "why" something worked - or not. It was just the way it was done, so you did it.

Now we know there are lots of ways to get behavior, and if one way doesn't work, we can try another way. The more we challenge ourselves to keep learning and doing, the more ways we have to get behavior, and the better we are at our craft and profession, both the art and the science of dog training and behavior. Not coincidentally, this is why true professional certification programs require CEUs.

So - what are you doing to challenge yourself this year? What exciting new books, DVDs and seminars are you reading/watching/attending? What are you doing to freshen the services you offer as well as your own mental sharpness? How are you keeping
your life interesting?

Let us know. We'd love to share some of our certificants' 2014 planned challenges in the next issue of Scoop! Send yours to: Writeon@ccpdt.org - we'll print as many as we can.  
 
Warm Woofs,   
 
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Scoop Editor

  
(and Bonnie) 

P.S. Check out the news quiz contest in this issue of Scoop! All the answers to the quiz can be found in this issue of Scoop. Winner of a $25 Dogwise gift certificate will be drawn from all the correct entries submitted. Who can't use a $25 gift certificate from Dogwise? 
 
Certificants Bark Back
  
 
4-28-2014

No barks from readers this last issue - let us hear from you!!

We love hearing from you! Send your reader comments to: WriteOn@ccpdt.org

Message From the President

by Bradley Phifer CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA

President, CCPDT

 

President's letter - May 2014 

 

The Board's Role 

 

New Board Member 

We had several strong candidates nominated to serve on the CCPDT Board of Directors. I am pleased to announce that, after much consideration,  Penelope Milne, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA has been elected to fill the open seat. Penelope has actively worked on many CCPDT committees, and was an important part of the team that put together last year's role delineation survey. I know that she will be a valuable addition to the Board and look forward to her joining our leadership team.  

 

In addition to Penelope's election, Shawn Smith, Lisa McCluskey, and Lou Mande will return for another two-year term on the Board. Sadly, Starr Ladehoff will step down after her term ends in May 2014 to focus on other professional commitments. On behalf of myself, and the entire organization, we thank Starr for her contributions over the past two years.  

 

The Role of the Board 

The primary purpose of the Board of Directors is to set the strategic direction for the organization.  This involves defining the vision, mission, and goals for CCPDT.  The Board has the responsibility to see that the organization remains financially sound, does not engage in activities that are unlawful or outside the scope of the mission/vision, and remains on track to meet the goals set by the Board. Each member of the Board also plays an important role in being either chair of, or a participant in, the committees that do much of the work for the organization.

 

Perhaps the most important role of the Board in its service to potential candidates, current certificants and the public, is through approving the body of knowledge utilized on each new form of the CCPDT examinations. Members of the Board of Directors spend an entire day per examination each year, reviewing one-by-one each question on the examination(s), ensuring that they are clear and appropriate for the respective examination. They review the statistical performance of questions that have been used before. They review the statistical performance of prior versions of the examination. They try to ensure that a new version of each exam is close in difficulty level to those that have gone before.  It's an arduous and rigorous process, but necessary to the validity of the exams.

 

Wanted: Public Member for CCPDT Board 

At the present time the Board has one additional opening - our current Public Member will step down at the end of her one-year term when it ends in May.  The standards of the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA) of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) requires that certification councils have someone on their Board who represents the public. In the case of CCPDT this must be someone who is not professionally associated with dog training or behavior consulting, is not a close relative of anyone within the dog training and behavior consulting field, and has never worked within the profession or with dogs.  If you know of someone who might be interested, the job entails being able to attend two in-person board meetings a year (1 to 1 ½ days, expenses reimbursed) and participating in monthly conference calls of about 90 minutes duration. The Public Member may also be asked to serve on a committee, if his/her interests or background would be of benefit.  If you know of someone who might be interested, please contact our executive director, Joan Campbell, joan@ccpdt.org and she'll send a nominating packet.

 

Brad

Regards,

 

Bradley Phifer CBCC-KA CPDT-KSA

President, CCPDT 

bphifer@ccpdt.org  

 

 

The Board Barks Back 

Dr. James Akenhead, CPDT-KA 

 

My life as a dog lover started when I was 5... at least that is as far back as I can remember bringing home dogs and asking my parents if I could keep them. The answer was always no, we lived in an apartment, and that was not appropriate for a dog. In spite of resistance from my parents I did have a dog in the neighborhood dog pack. That was back in the days when dogs could roam around a community and if they didn't kill something people let them alone. Traffic was also less and a little slower so they had a chance for survival. That dog pack went everywhere the neighborhood kid pack went.

 

Finally, when I was a sophomore in high school my dad made me a deal that if I got on the honor roll in school, I could have a German Shepherd. He thought he would never have to pay up on that deal... Surprise, I scratched up enough grades to make it... French was my biggest barrier and the teacher liked me (smile). My next move was to work for a veterinarian. I thought I might choose that as a career. I am glad I had that experience because I found it was not for me.  In those days, pain was a big part of a veterinarian's life and that didn't fit for me. From there, my work with dogs continued in the world of training and behavior.  

 

 

Dr. James Akenhead, CPDT-KA, and friend

 For more than 45 years, I have owned and trained a variety of dogs. With my wife, Dr. Charlene Akenhead, I have bred and trained Shepherds and Malamutes. In 1995, with my son Matt, Signature K-9 Training and Behavior LLC was founded in northeastern Ohio. Signature K-9 does about two-thirds of its work in private consultations. About half our work is with difficult dogs. In addition to the usual group classes, we also offer group classes for reactive and shy dogs.

 

In the academic world, I have five earned degrees, including a Doctorate in Research and Education as well as a Masters Degree in Counseling.  I am certified as a canine trainer or behavior consultant by four independent organizations.  I have been listed in seven

Who's Who anthologies on leadership and have been recognized as a Distinguished Alumni by Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Along with wife, Charlene, I was chosen as Business and Professional Person of the Year in our community, just outside of Alliance, Ohio. I have presented at the conference of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and for the Canine Behavior program at Kutztown University. Based on my experience at Kutztown, I founded a behavior program at Youngstown State University. 

 

After being pestered by friends, I wrote: Thoughtful Owners, Great Dogs, a book intended to help people understand that dogs can be trained without harsh methods. I have also authored four other books on leadership and organizational development. I sought membership on the CCPDT board because it is positioned to be a major influence in establishing the bar for professional trainers. I wanted to contribute to that endeavor. I have also served two terms on the board of directors of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, where I also served as Human Resource Coordinator; Early in my career, I worked as director of an international trainer's organization with members in 50 states and 30 countries. I am also a professional member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and the Association of Canine Professionals.  

National Dog Bite Prevent Week

The Trainer's Role

by Laura Roach, CPDT-KA  

 

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 19-25 and it is our duty, as trainers, to help educate our clients on how their families should safely interact with their favorite four-legged family members. More than 4.5 million people each year are bitten by dogs and 50% of dog bites are to children 12 and under. The majority of dog bites could have been prevented through education.

 

So What are the Facts?

·      More than 4.5 million people each year are bitten by dogs

·      Children are most often affected and, when bitten, are more seriously injured

·      More than 800,000 people receive medical attention for dog bites each year, and over half of them are children

·      Most dog bites to children happen during normal, everyday activities with their dogs, and while interacting with familiar dogs

 

We need to teach both adults and children how to properly interact with dogs, both familiar and unfamiliar. As dogs have become man's best friend, our trust in them has skyrocketed, but the truth remains that they still have undesirable behaviors that are innate and can be triggered by their human counterparts.

 

Educating Children

 

Here are some simple tips to give children when talking to them about interacting with dogs, including their own dog.

·      When a dog is busy, leave her alone. Don't try to take her food, toys or bones.

·      Never wake a dog up who is sleeping.

·      Don't kiss, hug or pick up your dog.

·      Never poke, kick, or slap a dog.

·      Don't pull on their ears, tails or fur and don't mess with their feet.

·      Never approach a dog you don't know.

·      If a dog approaches you that you don't know, stand still. Keep your hands at your side and don't look at the dog.

·      Always stay calm around dogs. Don't yell, shout or run.

·      If you see a dog you want to pet, ask their human for permission first.

 

Educating Adults

 

Adults never think their own dog would bite, but put in the right circumstance, any dog can. Educate parents on the do's and don'ts they should teach their kids. Also, recommend the following:

·      Spay or neuter your pet

·      Don't allow your dog to roam loose

·      Don't chain your dog up, especially if people can access your yard

·      Supervision is the key! Always monitor your dog when she is around your children or other people. Especially if your dog is around children 12 and under.

·      Properly socialize your dog

 

We can all do our part in helping to lower the instances of dog bites through educating our clients.

 

Laura Roach, CPDT-KA, Best Behaved Dog, a.k.a. Director of Buddies Brands

Camp Bow Wow®, Home Buddies® and

The Bow Wow Buddies Foundation

www.campbowwow.com

 

 

Trainer Spotlight  

Melony Phillips,CPDT-KA,  

 VSPDT, Licensed Dogs & Storks and Dogs & Toddlers Presenter

 Owner, Delightful Dog, LLC

by Monique Williams, CPDT-KA 

 

After enjoying both practicing massage therapy and training massage therapists for about 14 years, Melony decided to pursue a career of her dreams. She has been practicing in this field for about eight years, training dogs and teaching families how to work with their dogs. Melony conducts in-home private sessions and group classes. Melony also practices canine massage therapy and is a Certified Canine Water Therapist.

www.Melony.Phillips.positively.com

Melony and several friends 

1. What was the first animal you remember training?

The first pet I trained was a parakeet when I was eight years old. I taught her to stay on my shoulder (her wings were not clipped) which allowed her to be with me throughout the house. When our family went to the table for a meal or strangers came to the house, I taught her to hide under my shoulder length hair so she was safe and I could keep her with me.

 

My parents always knew when they sent me down the road on an errand that I may or may not complete the errand but I often came home with some animal I'd rescued. Early on, I rescued a kitten with a broken leg from underneath a building. I put my hand down and she crawled into my hand so I took her home. Her name was Midnight and she would come when called, sit and stay where I told her to, walk with me. I never thought of it as training we were just being us! When I went away to college I took with me one of Midnight's offspring, named Onyx. I taught him to ride in my vehicle, walk on leash, and alert me when company arrived.

 

I grew up in the country so most of our animals were "yard" dogs and cats. I think I trained them by just talking to them. They seemed to like being around us so if we were going to the field or just down the road we told them to come, and they did! Our dogs and our cats would go for walks with us. We just seemed to work together.

 

One of the most interesting animals I "worked" with was a large parrot. This was a bird that bit everyone except the two owners. When I was young and visiting the home where the parrot lived. I would sit by the bird cage, not staring at him, just hanging out without any expectations but to have the bird comfortable with me around. Before long he came and stood on my arm and hung out on my shoulder. The owners were stunned. My parents were not. They said "she does this kind of thing with animals all the time" and went about their visit.

 

2. What factors most influenced your decision to become a professional dog trainer?

I was introduced to Joyce Clemens, a positive behaviorist. After speaking with her and seeing her work, I decided to mentor under her. I mentored under her for two years. Learning from Joyce that there were positive ways to work with dogs convinced me to look at training as a career. Through my studies I learned more about positive training and haven't looked back since.

 

3. What influenced you to become a CPDT or CBCC? Do you plan to maintain your certification when it is time to renew? Why?

CCPDT offers the only test that requires CEU's and has a set of professional standards based on scientific studies. I felt passing this test proved I not only have a basic amount of training but that I am committed to continuing my studies and furthering my education. Yes, I will continue to renew my certification.

 

4. Do you have a training specialty?

I am a family dog trainer. I work with families to help them live happily with their dogs according to their own goals. I also work to help the families understand how to read the dog's body language and thereby communicate more effectively.

 

I am a licensed presenter for Dogs & Storks and Dogs & Toddlers, so it is a lot of fun when I work with expecting parents and grandparents, as well as aunts and uncles. I love to see families who love their dogs come together to help make sure children and dogs are all safe.

 

5. What have you found to be the most effective form of marketing for your business?

Word of mouth and neighbors seeing less well-mannered dogs become better behaved as the owners work with their dogs.

 

6. What is your greatest challenge as a dog training business owner-marketing,time management...?

Time management. Returning phone calls and emails can get backed up. I also work diligently to keep time in my schedule for my husband and my own dogs and cats. I tend to get busy and forget to make this time available. It's an ongoing challenge.

 

7. What are the most common training or behavior issues you solve for your clients?

I work with many reactive dogs and their owners in private sessions. And in my group classes the most common issue tends to be age related. My co-trainer and I actually created what we call the Terrific Teens class for dogs between the ages of 6 months and 22 months. Our clients say this is the most fun class as well as the most challenging. We focus on those out of control teen dogs and work to help the sometimes frustrated owners learn they can actually enjoy this time in their dog's life.

 

8. What mistake do you think is most common for dog owners to make?

Not recognizing how to read their dog's body language. I have seen great changes in the human - canine bond when the human began to understand how to discern when their dog was comfortable or stressed.

 

9. What is your favorite tool in your training toolbox?

The ability to help owners read and understand their dogs better. I love when an owner says they went to a new place with their dog and either had a great time or realized their dog was a bit overwhelmed so moved their dog further away to a place that was more comfortable and then enjoyed their outing together.

 

10. Is there a different animal you would like to train? Or a training specialty you would like to learn?

I may actually be getting the opportunity to work with someone who has a pot bellied pig, and am excited to see what we can learn together. I am currently and slowly working to learn herding with my Australian Shepherd. It is challenging to find this done positively therefore it is a slow process and I am grateful to those who have worked with me so far and honored my boundaries around this training. I have also recently found someone who works in the Schutzhund sport positively, so am hoping to connect and learn more.

 

11. What activities do you enjoy with your own dogs?

We have enjoyed Nose Work(R), hiking, herding and rally. Our newest fun experience is stand up paddle boarding with our dogs.

   

Call For Case Study Submissions 
 
We are seeking case studies from certificants to publish in alternate issues of Scoop.  Authors of cases selected for publication will be paid 15 cents per word. You can refer back to the January/February issue for details on how to present your case study. Here are some brief tips:
 

1. Respect client confidentiality. Do not include client or dog names. You may "change the names to protect the innocent" if you would like to be able to refer to client or dog throughout the article.

2. Article should be 1,000 to 1,500 words.

3. Protocols utilized for training or behavior modification should follow the Humane Hierarchy as described elsewhere in this newsletter.

4. Article should include an outcome - at least far enough into the modification program to describe the effect of the intervention/protocol.

5. Submitted articles will be peer reviewed and may or may not be selected for publication. 

6. Submit to: WriteOn@ccpdt.org

7. Authors of articles selected for publication will be paid at a rate of $.15 per word. Payment will be made following actual publication.

8. Deadline for submission for May/June issue is April 1, 2014. 

 

NEW CONTEST!!!!!

 

Welcome to our Scoop News Quiz contest.  We had 18 entries last month - 14 correct ones. The winner of last issue's contest and recipient of a $25 Dogwise gift certificate is: Pat Hennessey, CPDT-KA, TTCAP2, SCDBC of N2paws of Leawood, Kansas. Congratulations, Pat!

 

Here are the correct answers to last issue's News Quiz:

 

1. What governor declined to sign a bill that would have prevented convicted animal abusers from working with animals? New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie. (The man just can't cut a break, can he?!)

2. What is the application deadline (date) for CCPDT Board candidates? 5pm EDT, Friday, March 7, 2014

3. What are three new products (and their purposes) that were highlighted at the 2014 NAVC conference in Orlando, Florida in January? Apoquel, to treat allergies
Zylkene, to treat anxiety
Nexgard, oral medication for fleas and ticks

4. Who are the two French scientists who conducted a comparison study on training methods and stress in dogs?
Stephanie Deldalle and Florence Gaunet

5. Where does Positive Punishment fall in the Humane Hierarchy?
Last (#6)

6. What animal rescuer faces legal trouble over his efforts to rescue dangerous dogs, and in what state was his rescue organization located?
Steve Markwell, Forks, Washington

See this issue's 6 Scoop News Quiz questions below. Winner will be selected randomly from all the correct entries submitted. Send your entry to:  

WriteOn@ccpdt.org

Entry deadline is June 15, 2014. One entry per person. Contest open to CCPDT certificants only. Correct answers will be published in next issue.

Winner of the May/June contest will receive a $25 gift certificate to DogWise (WooHoo!!)


6 SCOOP NEWS QUIZ QUESTIONS

1. What is the primary purpose of a Board of Directors?

2. How many people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S.?

3. What was the first animal Melony Phillips trained?

4. In what country did a dog testify in a murder case?

5. What are three programs designed to help owners cope with dogs who aren't comfortable being approached?

6. What two breeds of dogs has Dr. James Akenhead bred? 


The Humane Hierarchy

 

Here is the oft-referred to Humane Hierarchy(1) (from our website - ) to which our certificants are expected to adhere:
  

Purpose: This position statement serves to guide certificants of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) in the decision making process during dog training and behavior modification. Additionally, it will assist dog owners and dog care professionals in understanding the standard of care to be applied in the dog training industry in determining training practices and methodologies and the order of implementation for applying those training practices and methodologies.

 

Position of the CCPDT: The standard of care for CCPDT certificants is that the Humane Hierarchy be used when making decisions regarding training protocols and behavior interventions. This use should occur regardless of whether the certificant is performing the training or setting up a protocol for the dog owner or another professional to implement.

 

The Humane Hierarchy, as adopted by the CCPDT, is as follows:

 

Hierarchy of Procedures for Humane and Effective Practices

 

1. Health, Nutritional, and Physical Factors:
The certificant should ensure that any indicators for possible medical, nutritional, or health factors are addressed by a licensed veterinarian. The certificant should also ensure that potential factors in the physical environment are addressed. 

 

2. Antecedents:  

The certificant should redesign setting events, change motivations, and add or remove discriminative stimuli (cues) for the problem behavior.

 

3. Positive Reinforcement:  

The certificant should employ approaches that contingently deliver a consequence to increase the probability that the right behavior will occur, which is more reinforcing than the problem behavior.

 

4. Differential Reinforcement of Alternate Behavior:  

The certificant should reinforce an acceptable replacement behavior and remove the maintaining reinforcer for the problem behavior.

 

5. Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Extinction

(these are not listed in any order of preference):

a. Negative Punishment - The certificant should contingently withdraw a positive reinforcer to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.

b. Negative Reinforcement - The certificant should contingently withdraw an aversive antecedent stimulus to increase the probability that the right behavior will occur.

 

c. Extinction - The certificant should permanently remove the maintaining reinforcer to suppress the behavior or reduce it to baseline levels.

 

6. Positive Punishment: The certificant should contingently deliver an aversive consequence to reduce the probability that the problem behavior will occur.

 

Please direct any questions regarding this standard of care to our administrator at administrator@ccpdt.org.

 

(1) Adapted from What's Wrong With This Picture? Effectiveness is Not Enough, Susan Friedman Ph.D., Good Bird Magazine, Volume 4-4; Winter 2008. 

 

 

Industry News
by Laura Roach, CPDT-KA 

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April 3, 2014  

Bandannas for Pups - Color Coded System Alerts People on How to Approach Dogs

When Brigitte Blais' Bull Mastiff, Diesel, was recovering from surgery, he wasn't tolerating other dogs very well (understandably). But when they went on walks, other people would routinely let their pups run up to Diesel, leaving Brigitte to frantically pacify the situation. Brigitte wished there was a way to let others know that Diesel was not reliably dog friendly.

Brigitte then started D.E.W.S. (Dog Early Warning System) in her town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada. She came up with a simple program where dogs wear bananas indicating how they should be approached or interacted with----red for dogs to be avoided, yellow for those who can't be approached by other dogs, but like people (with the caveat that strangers first ask for guidance on how to interact), and green for dogs that love everyone.

There are still some critics over this system as it doesn't teach people to ask before coming to pet their dogs, and even if a dog is labeled with a green bandanna, it doesn't necessarily mean they will be safe in all situations where people or other dogs approach them.

Link - Bandanas for Pups: http://thebark.com/content/bandannas-pups 

 

See also:

 

The Yellow Dog Project:

http://www.theyellowdogproject.com/The_Yellow_Dog_Project/Home.html  

and

Dogs in Need of Space: http://dogsinneedofspace.com/  

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March 17, 2014

Dakota and Utah to be the 17th and 18th states to preempt breed-specific legislation.

 South Dakota's SB 75 makes clear that responsible pet ownership is a legitimate and important government concern and that its responsible pet ownership obligations apply to everyone equally.

The Utah legislature has also passed a similar bill, which is awaiting final signature into law from Governor Gary Herbert.

 

South Dakota and Utah join the growing roster of states that adopted similar measures. In 2013, Nevada, Connecticut, and Rhode Island all enacted similar state laws prohibiting regulation of dogs on the basis of breed. This trend shows a growing recognition among legislators of the wisdom of the recommendations of the American Bar Association and the White House, along with the consistent position of animal experts and animal welfare organizations that regulating dogs on the basis of breed or appearance is never an effective solution for community safety. Instead, community safety benefits from a responsible pet ownership model, which applies clear principles to all dog owners.

 

Link: Two more states preempt breed specific legislation

http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/blog/south-dakota-and-utah-to-be-the-17th-and-18th-states-to-preempt-breed-specific-legislation/?doing_wp_cron=1396575733.4591910839080810546875  


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March 18, 2014 

Dog DNA Has Role in Developing New Therapies for Human Cancers

Using genomic analysis to study cancer in dogs can help develop new therapies for humans with cancer, according to a proof-of-concept study led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).

 

Pure-breed dogs, whose genetics have been standardized by hundreds of years of human intervention, provide highly predictable genetic models useful in designing clinical trials, in which specific drugs are matched to the molecular profiles of human patients, according to the study published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

 

"Our canine companions are not only 'Man's Best Friend,' but our study shows that dogs also can help human patients pursue battles against various types of cancer," said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen President and Research Director and the study's senior author. "Not only do dogs with cancer benefit from this research, but people do, as well."

 

While there are, relatively, many genetic differences among humans with the same type of cancer, there are far fewer genetic differences among dogs of the same breed, making it vastly easier to identify and study the genes driving canine cancers.

Genetic samples from 31 dogs were analyzed in the proof-of-concept study organized under NCI's Comparative Oncology Trials Consortium (COTC). Genetic samples were derived for this study from tumor biopsy samples.

 

The study's 31 samples of dog tumors was compared to 40 normal canine tissues samples as a way of estimating the variance in gene expression. The target turnaround time for this analysis was 7 days, but the study averaged this process in less than 5 days.

 

Data from this study serves as rationale to now include dogs with spontaneous cancers in the advancement and optimization of PMed for human patients, according to the study, Prospective molecular profiling of canine cancers provides a clinically relevant comparative model for evaluating personalized medicine (PMed) trials.

 

Dog DNA Plays Role in Developing New Therapies for Human Cancer

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140318154931.htm

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April 3, 2014

Dog Testifies in French Murder Case  

A dog was recently interrogated in French court in an effort to identify the man believed to have murdered the pooch's owner. As barking mad as it may sound, dogs being drafted in as key witnesses, is something of a recent trend in French court cases.No one could accuse a judge in the French city of Tours of not being willing to think outside the box in order to solve a murder.

 

During a recent preliminary hearing the judge called a nine-year-old Labrador named Tango to the witness stand in an attempt to confirm the allegations against his master's presumed killer, RTL radio reported. The judge ordered the suspect to threaten the canine with a bat, with the idea being that Tango's reactions could be used to identify or rule out the suspect. And in a nod to the scientific method of keeping tests fair, a second dog named Norman, of the same age and breed as Tango, was brought in to serve as the 'control group'.

 

Perhaps not surprisingly the suspect's lawyer, Gregoire Lafarge, said the whole thing was totally absurd.

 

"So if Tango lifted his right paw, moved his mouth or his tail, is he recognizing my client or not?' Lafarge told RTL. "I find it very troubling for the French legal system. If a judge ignores the demands of reason and surrounds himself with experts who are unreasonable, well the system becomes very dangerous."

 

The experiment ended up being a total failure and Tango and Norman were allowed to return to their dogs' lives.

 

Link: Dog Testifies in Court in French Murder Case

http://www.thelocal.fr/20140403/another-dog-testifies-in-french-murder-case

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March 28, 2014:

Stunning Photo Series Highlights The Beauty Of Black Dogs That Are Often Overlooked In Adoption

Photographer Fred Levy may have found his most photogenic subjects yet. The 44-year-old from Maynard, Massachussetts, recently launched the Black Dogs Project, a photo series that photographs black dogs against a dark background. The initiative tells the story of the difficulties these dogs face when waiting to be adopted.

 

Although he hasn't found any concrete statistics, after speaking to people who work in the pet industry and at animal shelters, Levy found out that black dogs are often treated differently than other dogs -- and are often overlooked by people who come to shelters with the intention to adopt. The phenomenon is commonly referred to as "Black Dog Syndrome" or "Black Dog Bias," a stereotype against dark-colored animals possibly ingrained in people through depictions in movies and books, according to experts.

"Sometimes black dogs are seen as scarier by people,"Hope Hancock, the executive director of the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County in Raleigh, N.C., told ABC News. "It's very, very unfair -- you can get a bite from a little yellow Chihuahua faster than one of the bigger black dogs."   

 

Link: Stunning Photo Series  - Black Dogs Project

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/black-dogs-project_n_5037181.html 




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