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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."


November/December 2015


In this issue

President's Letter

"P" is for "Professional"

Barks From the Board

Study Hall

Training Trivia Contest

Industry News





Working on my too-long to-do list...

Dear Certificant,

It is with mixed emotions that I put the wrap on this, my final issue as editor of the Scoop. I chose not to re-up for my CCPDT Board seat last spring due to the increase in my own workload  interfering with my ability to fulfill my commitments to CCPDT. I agreed to continue with at least a few additional issues of Scoop to allow time for a smooth transition to the next editor.

As my own plate continues to get piled higher and deeper, I find that I must regretfully let go of Scoop as well. I have no doubt it will land in capable hands and continue to provide value to our certificants.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my close association with CCPDT, both as a Board member and as Scoop editor. Staff and fellow Board members are some of the most professional and productive I have ever had the pleasure to work with on a Board, and I look forward to the realization of the great things they have in store for our dog training and behavior industry.

If you are looking for a way to contribute to our profession in a healthy and supportive environment, please consider applying for upcoming Board openings. CCPDT is always looking for new energy and new talent to help move our profession forward. You can play an important role in our future.

Meanwhile, best wishes to you all for a very happy holiday season...

See you around!

As always, if you have news of any kind you'd like to share with your fellow certificants, please send it to us at: Writeon@ccpdt.org.

Warm Woofs and Happy Training,

Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA
Scoop Editor



(and Bonnie) 




Certificants Bark Back 



Some certificants have informed us that Scoop arrives in a format that doesn't fit well into their screen. There is a link in each issues that says "Having trouble reading this? Click here." That link will take you to a readable format. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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




President's Letter - November 2015


by Bradley Phifer, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA

President, CCPDT


By now you have undoubtedly seen our new logo and website. Overall it has been extremely well received by our certificants and the general public. We think it represents a bold and professional new look. I hope you agree and have already started thinking about placing the new logo on your marketing materials. You can access the logo when you log in as a Certificant.

We have also learned that not everyone noticed the new information on logging in which was contained in the email we sent when we launched the new website. The login information for certificants to access their personal account, including CEUs has been re-set; your previous login will not work.

Instead, here is how you login:

Username:  Your certificate number
Password:  Your certificate number, followed by your first name

Example:  Assume your certificate number is 1234567 and your name is Mary.

Username:  1234567
Password:  1234567mary

Once you have accessed your account you will be able to personalize your


As always, the CCPDT Board of Directors welcomes your feedback. If you find sections of the website which are either not working or confusing, please let us know.  We are always striving to make our materials as professional and user friendly as possible.


Bradley Phifer, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA
President, CCPDT







"P" Is For "Professional"

When a Dog Bites

by James E. Akenhead, CPDT-KA 

CCPDT  Board Member and
Rebecca Park, CPDT-KSA 


James Akenhead, CPDT-KA, CCPDT Board Member 


Rebecca Park, CPDT_KSA


In this article, we will be taking a slightly different tack. With 20 years as a public training organization with a policy to see any dog with any type of behavior that can walk through the door, we will consider the bite.

We have been proud of our safety record and of our reputation as a very safe place to take your dog. This year has been different, with 20 years and a total of two bites to trainers, we have suddenly had two bites in the last six months. For us this has been a wake-up call worthy of note. We will be writing most of this article using the plural we, because it was the easiest way for the two of us to collaborate on what resulted.   

We realize that as trainers and behavior consultants we are not exempt from dog bites. In fact, those of us who work with aggressive dogs realize that the risk is increased and, therefore, it is incumbent on us to put as many safeguards in place as possible. Truth be told, we can never make assumptions about any dog; to do so is to set ourselves up to fail. In fact, one of our two bites came after about six months of work with a dog that had never indicated any aggression toward the trainer who ended up being the target. It only took one touch in the wrong place and the dog lunged so severely that he literally dragged his owner off of his chair and around on the floor.   

That said, we also certainly never want to take the position that to be bitten is inevitable. None of us would consider a bite to be a badge of honor and we would guess that for the vast majority of us we are our own worst critics when it does happen, no matter how few and far between or how unlikely the circumstances.   

Our recent experience has caused us to ask ourselves: What could we have done differently? What didn't I see? What didn't I hear? Did I ask the right questions? Did I make assumptions I shouldn't have? Did I exercise due diligence in using any and all safety precautions? Have I allowed myself to become lackadaisical? Did I ignore that little inner voice in my own head? Did I put too much trust in what the owner told me? Did I allow the owner to bamboozle me in some way? The list goes on and on. And the frustration gets worse.   

The circumstances:
First: The client misrepresented her intentions for scheduling her consult and, furthermore, withheld critical information about her dogs. In hindsight, we suspect part of her motivation was to try to take advantage of a discount that was included in our brochure which offered a price break for a second dog in the same family. The discount was initially intended for family members with new puppies. (We have since deleted that option.)   

In most situations when clients inquire about bringing two dogs to the same consult, we encourage them to bring the dog that is giving them the most angst and we will also give them suggestions to start working with the dog that stays home. At a later time, they can schedule a session with the other dog. This client was insistent she wanted to bring both dogs, having detailed her eagerness to get some training for a recently adopted female who was already showing great potential, and an older male who had been through basic and advanced obedience at another training facility and just needed to have some "brush-up" work.   

She also was rather insistent about which week, which day, and the time she wanted to meet.  Maybe one of us should have heard that inner voice that sometimes whispers to us about someone who is trying to take advantage... or perhaps you have never had one of those.   

Upon the client's entrance into the facility with her dog, observation of the dog's body language prompted a conscious choice not to handle him. For safety's sake, the client was seated at a reasonable distance from the trainer's position as she completed her paperwork. We have a specially designed tether system for scary dogs, if necessary early in a consult. This client insisted that she could keep a firm hold on her leash and not let the dog approach me unless signaled. A friend who came with her was holding the female dog who was much calmer.   We always insure a considerable distance between each handlers' chair to reduce the likelihood of arousal between the two dogs. The male had calmed down, was lying next to his owner's seat and was now willing to eat some treats that were tossed to him... Deep inside, at the time, I was already asking myself if it made sense to continue or to stop and reschedule the consult with only one dog present.   

As they were completing the necessary paperwork, the owner had apparently handed the male dog's leash to her friend, unbeknownst to me - I have no idea why. In that split second the owner's friend allowed the dog to lunge to the end of his leash and bite my arm. He was there and gone in an instant... you know how that goes. Sometimes you don't know you've been bitten until it is over. But the damage had been done. With as calm a demeanor as I could muster, I reiterated that they needed to keep a firm grip on the dog as I had quietly moved away to a sink where I could clean the wound on my arm.   

At this time the owner informed me she had a muzzle in the car and wanted to know if I wanted her to get it and put it on the dog. Yes, ma'am! About three minutes ago would have been nice; that's about how long they had been in the building.   

She came back with the dog wearing a Baskerville muzzle. Even muzzled, it was obvious this dog was still very much aroused, with a very tense body. He was periodically growling and would bark and attempt to lunge in response to the slightest movement on my part. It was during our ensuing conversation and some added probing on my part that the owner now revealed an extensive bite history, which she apparently felt justified to discount somewhat because many of the incidents were with her relatives and because the dog is now always muzzled when she takes him on walks or when she has guests in her home.   

After describing each incident, she had a myriad of excuses for each, in some cases blaming the victim. One bite had been reported to the authorities; it was to a fencing contractor working in her yard who had to be treated at the ER.   She said he "stupidly" ran when the dog charged him. In another instance she was quick to point out that when the dog went after her nephew in a doorway, "he had been drinking". It just gets better and better.   

I wanted to ask her why she chose to bring the dog in without a muzzle. But then why would that be a surprise when she had held back almost all of the dog's bite history. Outwardly I was calm but I was so annoyed with this woman's lack of consideration and in my opinion, lack of integrity, that I already knew I had no desire to continue with her as a client, under any circumstances, with any dog, especially this one.  

This was not an insignificant bite; although it didn't require stitches it was painful and did require a tetanus shot and some heavy-duty antibiotics. I felt compelled to report the bite because of concern that the owner doesn't take this dog's potential for harm seriously enough


This was a painful reminder to review our operating process and to exercise utmost caution in all we do. I was painfully aware that I was dealing with someone who not only wanted a bargain; she wanted to call all the shots on her terms, showing little regard for others.   

As a trainer group, we have resolved to be even more careful. We will ask more questions and try to read between the lines.   

Please consider this little article as a note from fellow trainers intended to remind you to review your own safety precautions and to stimulate your brain to be on the lookout for those little things that can lead to big issues. We know you are all professionals. We also know that at times a little reminder can help.



In future issues of The Scoop we will address other topics that can help you evaluate your professionalism.




Barks from the Board
APDT 2015

by Penny Milne, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA

CCPDT Board Member


CCPDT Table at APDT Conference 


We love connecting with our certificants every year at the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) conference. 

This year, as in past years, we did a daily drawing for a Dogwise gift certificate, with extra chances available for those who followed the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) Facebook page and participated in the Rewardable Behavior Challenge. And as usual -- it was a RibbonPalooza at the CCPDT booth! To judge by the rapidly diminishing piles of CPDT-KA, CPDT-KSA and CBCC-KA ribbons, the conference appeared to be well attended by certificants from all three exams who were eager to demonstrate their achievement. And as in the past, the CCPDT was proud to donate an exam fee to the APDT Foundation's silent auction.

This year did have some surprises. The CCPDT relaunched our website just a few days before the APDT conference, so the timing was great (or maybe just a little tight!) to transition from our old booth to our new booth and display. Our friends in the IAABC booth commented that it was a "little eerie" to have left the exhibit area Wednesday night with the old CCPDT booth in place-- then come back in the morning to see a brand spanking new booth with its bright colors and appealing graphics magically replacing the old. (Thanks to fellow CCPDT board members who stayed late and "magicked" things!) Certificants were excited about the new crisp, clean logo and told us they especially appreciate the easy navigability of the new website.

We met certificants from all over the world - Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, South America, Australia, Canada and more. We enjoyed great conversations with certficants who expressed appreciation for the work of the CCPDT and pride in their credential(s). Many told us how much they liked the CPDT-KSA Exam. Certificants-to-be who had sat the Fall CPDT-KA Exam were on tenterhooks waiting for their results. Numerous trainers were brought to the booth by their certificant friends who encouraged them to test, and many CPDT-KAs vowed to sit the CPDT-KSA or the CBCC-KA at the next administration. Certificants also took the opportunity to discuss legislation with Board Member Amanda Kowalski, Chair of the CCPDT's Legislative Committee.

Board members were active in other ways at the APDT conference: Director Amanda Kowalksi starred in a guinea pig training video with her professor, Roger Abrantes. And CPDT Exam Chair Lisa McCluskey was a speaker at the conference. Her presentations were VERY well received, leading to her attendees coming by the CCPDT booth to take selfies with her and to declare themselves groupies!

We look forward to seeing you all at APDT in Las Vegas next year!  






51 Shades of Grey 

by Simon Gadbois, PhD,
of the Canid Behaviour Research Laboratory at Dalhousie University
Reprinted with permission from Do You Believe in Dog?
(Link to April 2, 2015 post )


Ha the 80's... So nostalgic of the eighties. Finishing High School, starting University, the best and the worst music of the past 50 years. Speaking of the things we are not missing: mullets and pony tails (I am so sorry mother, everybody was doing it...), parachute pants and stonewashed jeans (please don't tell me they are coming back), shoulder pads, blue eye shadow, and punitive/coercive dog training methods...

The 90's were refreshing. We started the Decade of the Brain (the new fixation and obsession with neuroscience), started to focus on dogs as genuine research subjects, and indulged in pretty radical re-thinking of everything having to do with dogs and wolves. A lot of good came out of the 90's. But a lot of myths were also created. It was also the start of a new appreciation for science in general. Popularization of science and knowledge translation became the focus of some scientists. Some did it well. Very well. Others confused popularization with oversimplifying and polarizing issues between "right" and "wrong", and encouraged the idea of a "truth" and the wrong idea that science is about "facts" or about "proving" things.

Let's examine some of those ideas. First, science does NOT prove anything. Science can only be "quite sure" (at best) about something. Mathematics (a tool of science) can offer "proofs", but the scientific process itself is not about proving anything. It does not matter if you used null hypothesis significance testing, Bayesian statistics, or any other method. If there is one thing we know about research as scientists, it is about what we are not 100% sure about. Unfortunately some scientists and non-scientists want to be convincing, and use very strong language to make their points. Many would defend that strategy by arguing that they have to convince trainers that they are doing it wrong. It seems that there is a new movement now going to rectify some of those created myths and misunderstandings. Some of us engaged in some of these comments (e.g., Roger Abrantes, Marc Bekoff, Monique Udell, myself) are often getting criticized for appearing to go against the current. Interestingly, from a scientific perspective, we are with the current. I will expand on this below.

One thing that plagues the knowledge translation process in canine science is the fact that the public has access mostly to books (albeit written by scientists). A little known fact is that most scientists don't write books (or blog posts, or Facebook comments)... They write scientific papers, present posters and give talks to peers at scientific conferences. Why? Because many, if not most, are not interested in sharing with the public what they do. They do not have the time to write books, because, after all, peer-reviewed papers, not books, will get you tenure, other promotions, and scientific funding. The result is interesting: Most non-scientists in the dog world have a very biased perspective of who is actually well-known in the canid science world. They will name Coppinger, Klinghammer, Miklósi, Mech, etc. (all truly great scientists, for the record, along with some much less well known ones in scientific circles), and overlook other giants in the field. It always baffles me that individuals interested in wolves do not know Carbyn, Fentress, Frank, Ginsburg, Harrington, Moran, Murie, Paquet, Peterson, Pimlott, Zimen, and so many others that are unavoidable contributors of the field (in number of publications as much as scientific contributions and reputation). Although most of them have not written books, or at least not after the 90's, they have undeniable clout in the field of wolf research (one of my PhD supervisors, John Fentress, is finishing a book as I write this).

So what are examples of confusions that arose from some popularized canine science? Here is a short list of myths. Let me just comment right away that anybody I know that a) actually worked with wolves or studied animal learning, and, b) actually read the scientific papers, would not make the statements below:

1. Punishment does not work and is always cruel.

2. Dominance does not exist in wolves.

3. Dog evolution has nothing to do with wolves.

There is quite a bit to say on each of these items. Note also that, on purpose, the statements are very black or white. In fact, especially with the corrections, clarifications, and even retractions of the past few years from some individuals, many of you will think I am unfairly dramatic. Well, I agree to some extent, but considering what I read on Facebook and elsewhere, this is at least the "dark" end of the spectrum.

You see, science is about shades of grey. Science seeks a consensus. Science seeks converging evidence. That rarely translates into "black or white" statements. Science is about synthesis, open-mindedness, even compromises. Pitting theories against each other is part of the process. But the point is to get to a golden middle. To that idealized "truth" that some promise you. Regardless of what they say, scientists are idealists (and human). Sometimes they get carried away by their convictions and opinions. My father gave me a gift early in my life as a young scientist. In the 50's, he was a graduate student of Jean Piaget at La Sorbonne. From what I understand, my father struggled very much in trying to reconcile North American and Continental European psychologies. In the process though, he became quite a dialectician, something he taught me through his careful consideration of any argument I would try to make or idea I would put forward (although I was not fully aware of it at the time). The process is simple: State a thesis (e.g., "punishment does not work"). Find the "evidence" for it, argue for that point. Then, state the antithesis (e.g., "punishment works"). Same process, gather the data, argue for that point. Finally, and most importantly, formulate the synthesis. It likely won't be black (thesis) or white (antithesis), it will be something in the middle, in the shades of grey. His gift was to teach me to be a relativist and never accept  dogmatism, in science, or in anything else in life.  

Very quickly, the statement, "punishment does not work", is easy to deconstruct. Obviously (and sadly) punishment (mostly) works. If any of you try to use science to make the statement "punishment does not work", you are in trouble. There are literally thousands of scientific papers and hundreds of scientific books (e.g., the classic Handbook on Operant Conditioning, Honig & Staddon, 1977; Domjan, 2003*) that will confirm this: Using punishment can suppress, if not inhibit completely, behaviours (it is, after all, the definition of the term). The question in this case is about the statement itself. The statement misses the point: What are the side-effects of punishment? That is the question! And as I often argue, then we fall into ethical arguments more so than scientific ones. I often find scientists and dog trainers not courageous enough in just making an ethical statement. My approach is to ask the question "what kind of relationship do you want with your dog, one based on coercive and punitive interactions, or one based on friendship, communication and mutual understanding?". There is another important issue associated with the arguments against punishment. Not all punishment is "punitive" and coercive. The scientific definition simply suggests that a punishment will at least reduce the frequency (count per unit of time), duration or intensity of a behaviour. Nothing here suggests the necessity of using shocks, or hitting, kicking, yelling, etc. Somehow, the connotation of the scientific term took a dark turn.

Any student in experimental psychology has done at least one cognitive computer task where the computer gives feedback for accurate (sound A) or inaccurate (sound B) responses. This is typically done so the subject can update its knowledge of the task and change its response pattern to increase performance. Is it not fascinating that the same idea will repulse many trainers? The idea of saying (softly) "no", or "nuh uh" or use a non-reward marker (a very fancy terminology to say "punishment") seems to get people all up-in-arms. Why? Well, technically, if "no" means "that was not the right choice" or "don't do that again", and the dog does not repeat the behaviour... it was a punishment. It is actually what I like to call information. Simple. We like information as humans, because it accelerates learning, it helps us make sense of the world, it helps us make sense of a set of rules in a game. When I was learning classical guitar in the 70's, I was very happy to have my teacher tell me what I was doing right, and what I was doing wrong. It was less frustrating to know about my mistakes, than trying to guess what I was doing wrong. He was paid to tell me this. Why do we deprive our dogs of that information? In my lab we work a lot with border collies. I have seen border collies go nuts if they are told only what they do right, and are ignored when making a wrong choice (for example, in a matching-to-sample task). In fact, ignoring wrong responses becomes very aversive, without really telling the dog what to avoid doing. Interesting, is it not? That will sound familiar. Positive reinforcement-only trainers will often make the argument that punishment won't tell the dog what to do. Mmmh... that's right... but it won't tell the dog what to avoid doing either. This becomes very obvious in some complex tasks with multiple choices, meaning multiple possible mistakes or misses. But again, you are not "punishing" (with the modern, non-scientific connotation), you are informing.

To summarize this discussion on punishment: 


1. Punishment works... but if punitive and coercive, it does not make it good or ethical.    


2. Punishment is not necessarily punitive or coercive.  

3. Information (feedback) about good choices (positive feedback) and mistakes (negative feedback) accelerates learning and decreases frustration... even if technically the negative feedback part, by definition, is "punishment" (as it gets the dogs to reduce or eliminate responses).

As for dominance... ugh... what a mess that one is... and the confusion between dominance (as status vs. as a trait), dominance hierarchies, aggression, aggressiveness, agonistic behaviours, rank, status, etc. People citing papers that are supposed to reject the dominance concept when they actually simply redefine the alpha role (not roll) and in fact even suggest parents have a firm hold on the pups (i.e., being quite disciplinarians)... yes, that Mech paper (1999). The same author that more recently published on dominance in wolves (e.g., Mech, 1999; Mech, 2000; Peterson, Jacobs, Drummer, Mech, Smith, 2002) because he actually never denied the existence of dominance hierarchies, and the same author that writes to Marc Bekoff about Bekoff's great piece "Social Dominance Is Not a Myth: Wolves, Dogs, and Other Animals" published in another blog platform in February of 2012: "... a quick scan of the (name removed) article reveals much misinformation attributed to me. This misinterpretation and total misinformation like (name removed)'s has plagued me for years now. I do not in any way reject the notion of dominance."

In an online essay by Mech, he also writes "Similarly, pups are subordinate to both parents and to older siblings, yet they are fed preferentially by the parents, and even by their older (dominant) siblings (Mech et al. 1999). On the other hand, parents both dominate older offspring and restrict their food intake when food is scarce, feeding pups instead. Thus, the most practical effect of social dominance is to allow the dominant individual the choice of to whom to allot food." Ironically, Mech pointed towards more tension between the breeding male and the breeding female, or between parents and progeny, than I believe we ever saw or documented at the Canadian Centre for Wolf Research (a captive pack in a 4 hectare enclosure; e.g., Fentress et al, 1987; Gadbois, 2002). So much for the idea that captive wolves are more likely to show dominance than wild ones! I am still waiting for the evidence (actual data) suggesting that captive wolves are more stressed than wild ones. So far, I see only the opposite trend, or no difference at all.

For my part, I adhere at least partially to "role theory", proposed by scientists like Bernstein, Fedigan, Gartland, and Mech (Mech, 1999 writes about "division of labour", a similar concept). In wolves, it is clear that the dominance hierarchy is in place to determine the breeding pair (as only the formerly labelled "alpha male" and "alpha female" typically breed; wolves are "technically" monogamous). This is clearly seen via noticeable peaks in aggression in (captive and wild) packs during the breeding season (January to March). Our main captive pack at the Canadian Centre for Wolf Research rarely displayed significant aggression or dominance conflicts outside of the breeding season (with some exceptions over the 30 year life of that pack). And even during the breeding season, my Master's student Barbara Molnar re-analyzed my PhD videotapes to find that they still engaged in almost 3 times more affiliative behaviours (e.g., play) than agonistic behaviours during that more "conflictual" time of year! 

We also forget that not all packs (captive or wild) are the same. Some form nuclear family groups (mom, dad, pups of the year). In those groups you are less likely to find any dominance hierarchy. Why? Well, for one, wolves don't "enter" the dominance hierarchy until they are sexually mature (at puberty). In principle this is not until their first Winter/Spring, and often not until the following breeding season, in other words, well into their second year. So those "nuclear" or immediate family units (like the Arctic wolves of Ellesmere) cannot compare to wolves that form extended family groups that are multi-generational (with cousins, uncles, aunts, even grandparents, being part of the group). In those family units, there will be individuals interested in breeding beyond the breeding pair. This will create conflicts (note that in principle, in larger packs, some subordinates could end-up never having a chance to breed unless they challenge the breeding individuals).

Another forgotten characteristic of dominance hierarchies, in wolves, humans, or any other animal, is that they are in place in order to avoid conflict and aggression, not contribute to it. In fact, wolves use mostly ritualized aggression, not contact aggression.

To summarize this discussion on dominance:

1. Dominance and dominance hierarchies exist in wolves.

2. It is not all about dominance, in fact, they would rather have fun with their buddies.

3. Dogs are not wolves.

Well, that last point raises yet another issue... Actually, modern molecular genetics is pretty clear about this: They kind of are the same... In the past decade, the debate is more about when and where the "split" occurred. But to play the dialectical game here again... they kind of are "not the same". We spent centuries working on selectively getting rid of aggressive behaviour in wolves and purposively making them more docile... Why insist on still seeing them as wolves? Have we failed our artificial selection (selective breeding) experiment, or are we just obsessed ourselves with status and rank (think corporations, the military, academic ranks, sibling rivalries)? And again, what kind of relationship do you want with your pet? Personally, I would rather have a friend than a competitor or slave. I don't get the paranoia, or the servitude angle. That is why I pick dogs as pets, and not grizzlies or wolverines.

To summarize our current knowledge on the origin of dogs: 

1. Dogs: They are virtually undistinguishable from wolves, genetically speaking. It is certainly easier to see the similarities than the differences. Somehow these days it is trendy to talk about the differences. 

2. Dogs and wolves: They are at the very least extremely close in evolutionary terms. Coppinger discusses this in terms of genealogy, Fentress used to refer to the evolutionary bush (as opposed to an evolutionary tree). Great metaphors in both cases. 

3. Obviously domestication induced changes. That was the whole point. Pointing out differences to advance the idea that they are different species is forgetting what artificial selection is about (e.g., inducing neoteny).

For people that may have followed some of my posts on the internet over the past 20 years (Facebook, the old "applied ethology listserv", "human ethology" list, etc.), I know I will sometimes exasperate some with my relativist attitude and (now you know) my dialectical style... But science is NOT about all-or-nones and black or white judgements, at least, not for long. Science is not infallible, nor is it dogmatic. Science is an attitude, a cognitive style, a method. And I do not accept the idea that the popularization of science and knowledge translation mean that you need to oversimplify the information, especially when communicated to people that will educate others about behaviour, dogs and wolves. Maybe some scientists think that the public is not smart enough to be given all the information and nuances necessary. I would rather give the public the benefit of the doubt and let them decide.

As Spring is upon us, wolves already think about dens, pups, play and fun and leave the politics behind for another year. I wish you the same, until next time.

Simon Gadbois, Ph.D.

Canid Behaviour Research Laboratory

Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Lab Facebook Page

Lab Facebook Group 



 Note: The Dalhousie University Canid Behaviour Research Team uses force-free, positive methods of training dogs for olfactory detection, discrimination, identification, tracking and trailing. All dogs are pets volunteered by their owners and are selected for temperament, trainability, scent abilities, and play drive (i.e., "work" drive). For that reason, 95% of our volunteers are border collies or border collie mixes.

* Domjan writes in fact, in this popular textbook (p. 302, 2003, 5th edition) "On the basis of a few experiments Thorndike (1932) and Skinner (1938, 1953) concluded that punishment was not a very effective method for controlling behavior and that it had only temporary effects at best (see also Estes, 1944). This claim was not seriously challenged until the 1960's, when punishment processes began to be investigated more extensively (Azrin & Holz, 1966; Campbell & Church, 1969; Church, 1963; Solomon, 1964). We now know that punishment can be an effective technique for modifying behavior (Dinsmoor, 1998)."




  Training Trivia!!!


Each issue we will ask a trivia question about the world of dog training. The answer will not be found in this newsletter, but rather somewhere out there in the real world. You might already know the answer, or you might have to go looking for it.

The winner, to be drawn from all the correct submissions, will receive a $25 gift certificate to DogWise. Who can't use that?

Last issue's Training Trivia question was:

What British dog trainer stumped contestants on "What's My Line," was also a horse trainer, was the only female student when she attended Harper Adams Agricultural College, had a television show in the 1980's, and was known for her "No bad dogs" philosophy? 


The answer: Barbara Woodhouse

We received 54 responses, 52 of them were correct. The random-drawing winner of the $25 Dogwise certificate is: Linda Thomas, CPDT-KA, of Friends for the Dearborn Animal Shelter, in Dearborn, Michigan  (www.dearbornanimals.org)

Congratulations, Linda! 


Here is this issue's Training Trivia question: Who trained dogs for the military in Germany at the turn of the 20th century, and is sometimes called "the father of modern 'traditional' dog training"? 


Send your answer to: Writeon@ccpdt.org, with "Training Trivia" in the subject line.

Open to CCPDT certificants only; one entry per certificant



 Industry News

Compiled by Laura Roach, CPDT-KA  


Pit Bull Crisis Prompts Support Groups to Declare October 24th National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day

October 14, 2015 - A North American coalition of over 50 pit bull attack victim support groups has launched an information website --  NationalPitBullVictimAwarenessDay.org -- to coincide with National Pit Bull Awareness Day, which was held this year on October 24. The website provides information on the growing issue of attacks on humans and animals by pit bulls, and is intended to help citizens, policymakers and elected officials better understand the scope of what they feel is an increasingly urgent public safety issue.

As reported by Merritt Clifton, Editor of Animals 24-7 on October 3, 2015, "Although only 5% of the U.S. and Canadian dog population are pit bulls, in the past nine years pit bulls have accounted for 80% of the dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks, resulting in two-thirds of the deaths and disfigurements."

The National Pit Bull Victim Awareness Day (NPBVAD) website outlines the effect of pit bulls on families and communities with respect to public safety, and their often devastating social and economic impacts. Various stakeholders in the pit bull issue are identified and addressed, including taxpayers, legislators, emergency and healthcare workers, animal control officers, law enforcement agencies, pet owners, farmers and humane organizations, among others. According to Clifton's research, since 2010, 30 pit bulls  adopted from shelters have killed people.

The NPBVAD website lists more than 50 organizations and advocacy groups from across the continent whose purpose is to alert the public to the alleged pit bull crisis.

Read the entire article here:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/10/prweb13018456.htm


USDA Releases New Guidance Rules on Live Pet Sales

October 6, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released new guidance on rules governing the sale, breeding, adoption and transport of live animals. One important change is the definition of a retail pet store (RPS), which has been changed to take account of the fact that there are now breeders selling live animals sight unseen over the Internet.

The government's new definition of an RPS is: "A place of business or residence at which the seller, buyers and the animal are physically present."

Retailers who sell their animals to customers in a face-to-face transaction do not need a USDA license because the animals are on display, which the government believes helps ensure their health and humane treatment.

Read the entire article here:  http://www.petproductnews.com/News/USDA-Releases-New-Guidance-Rules-on-Live-Pet-Sales/-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Pet Tech Tracks Dogs' Tails to Understand Behavior

October 7, 2015 - DogStar Life has created the world's first dog emotion tracker. Launched on Indiegogo,  TailTalk draws on current canine behavioral research to document dogs' emotional states based on the complex signals delivered through their tails. The wearable tracker reveals the peaks and valleys of a dog's happiness throughout the day, reported through a companion app available for iOS and Android.

Worn on a dog's tail, the lightweight, chew-resistant, water-resistant tracker collects actionable data on its happiness throughout the day, passing insights to the companion app via Bluetooth, according to the company. Owners can survey data to discern patterns and determine which environments, people and toys most excite their dog and avoid those that cause stress.

Read the entire article here:  http://www.petproductnews.com/News/New-Pet-Tech-Tracks-Dogs-Tails-to-Understand-Behavior/------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Pooch Perk: More Companies Embracing Pet-Friendly Office Policies

October, 2015 - Millennials will surpass baby boomers as the largest pet-owning generation in about three years, according to Stifel Equity Research, and they'll make up almost half of the work force by 2020. Now some companies are looking to attract those younger employees by allowing pets in the office.

A 2015 Society for Human Resources Management survey found 8 percent of American workplaces allow employees to bring their furry family members to work, up from 5 percent in 2013. The same survey found that 9 percent of companies, including Google, offered pet health insurance to employees, which also marks an increase in recent years.

According to Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), millenials (18-34-year-olds) tend to look at their pets as family, and seem to be more verbal in their wants and needs for their pets, making sure their pets are well tended and cared for. APPA is a trade group representing about 1,200 manufacturers of pet products.

Several executives from pet-friendly companies such as Petco, say it can be hard to find commercial real estate space in major cities, since many buildings have "no pet" policies.

Read the entire article here: http://www.nbcnews.com/business/careers/pooch-perk-more-companies-embracing-pet-friendly-office-policy-n445931



ASPCA Program Works with Abused Dogs

ASPCA's new state of the art center rehabilitates dogs to prepare them for adoption

October 13, 2015 - Last year the ASPCA closed its enforcement unit and shifted enforcement duty to the New York Police Department. With the police department's increased resources and wider reach, the number of dog cruelty cases surged, leading the ASPCA to open a new behavior center designed to handle the most horrific cases. These dogs come in so traumatized that they cannot be safely put up for adoption. In many shelters these dogs would be euthanized, but ASPCA's behavior center gives them the time and resources needed to heal.

When Alvin, a young Pit Bull mix, arrived at the center three months ago, he was so emaciated and weak that he couldn't walk. His owner was charged with his abuse. Alvin was afraid of people that he didn't recognize, as well as unfamiliar clothing and objects.

The ASPCA's state of the art facility was designed with dogs like Alvin in mind,  including rooms that can be cleaned without handlers having to enter a dog's individual space. Soundproofing and light dimmers are used, along with calming scents and music, to create a tranquil atmosphere. Specialists carefully monitor each dog's condition and progress each day. This information is used to customize the behavior modification programs, but also to provide evidence in the prosecution of abusive owners.

Read the entire article here:  http://thebark.com/content/nyc-behavior-program-works-abused-pups



New York Dog Trainer Accused of Neglecting Dogs

October, 2015 - STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - A New Springville woman who runs "Cascio Canines," a rescue-dog training business, is accused of neglecting three dogs in her care. Police say Georgie Cascio, 35, was supposed to be caring for the three dogs - Molly, Rufus and Thelma. However, when police visited her home in early October, they found the emaciated dogs "in crates with no available food or water," according to a criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, Cascio received Molly, a 3-to-5-year-old Labrador mix, in February 2014, and Thelma, a 9-to-12-month-old pit bull mix, this past August, for behavioral training and boarding. She reportedly took in Rufus, a 3-to-4-year-old pit bull mix, for boarding on July 15. None of the three dogs were underweight when Cascio took them in, the complaint alleges.

Cascio told police she was training the dogs, according to court papers. "They are being crate-trained," she reportedly said. "As long as they can stand up and turn around, that's all the space I need to give them. If I gave them a bigger crate, they would pee in them."

She faces three misdemeanor charges of torturing and injuring animals, according to information from Acting District Attorney Daniel Master's office. Cascio remains free on her own recognizance until her next court date on Decemeber 4. Assistant District Attorney Jane Grinberg is prosecuting the case.

Read the entire article here:  http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_rescue-dog_train.html 


British Dog Trainer Sued Over Alleged Failure to Train dog

October, 2015 - Tracey Egan, owner of Precious Pooch, who promotes her abilities to make dogs do what she wants, is being sued by a client who begs to differ. After her suit was reported in the local press, another owner came forward to say she has already won a legal case against Ms. Egan after paying a considerable sum for training. Both owners have complained that Miss Egan's training methods - costing £200 a day - had no effect on their dogs' behavior.

Ms. Egan, 35, whose previous clients include a Saudi princess with whom she also fell out over a disputed bill, offers her clients an "emergency boot camp" for their dogs. She takes pets out of their home environment and away from their owners for a fortnight to correct bad behavior.

Other British trainers argue that such sessions are useless without the presence of the owner. The British Kennel Club is also scathing about boot-camp training. "The Kennel Club would always insist that dog owners are present during training because they need to learn how to control and understand their dog if there is to be a long-lasting impact on their dog's behavior," the club said.

Last week, Ms. Egan was reportedly forced to take down a claim on her website that her company was approved by the Kennel Club after the club said it was not true. "Precious Pooch is not a training school affiliated with the Kennel Club," it said.  


Read the entire article here:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/11846579/Dog-trainer-to-the-rich-fined-4250-in-row-over-puppy.html  

Prosecutor drops animal abuse charge against man at St. Peters dog training facility

October, 2015,  ST. PETERS, Florida - Prosecutors have dropped an animal abuse charge filed against one of two men accused of using shock collars causing pain to four dogs at a St. Peters dog training facility. The charge against Anthony Dean Lampert, 45, of west St. Louis County, was dropped after a further review of evidence, the St. Charles County prosecutor's office said. After the review prosecutors didn't believe they could prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lampert had faced one count of animal abuse, a misdemeanor. Three counts of animal abuse remain pending against Nicholas Zachary Labath, 24, of St. Charles County. The charges relate to incidents in July at Sit Means Sit, at 2901 North St. Peters Parkway, according to court records. The records said videos of the alleged abuse were submitted to St. Charles County animal control officials. County officials haven't said who took the videos or submitted them.

Read the entire article here:




The Humane Hierarchy


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


Application of the Humane Hierarchy


The Humane Hierarchy serves to guide certificants of the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) in their decision-making process during dog training and behavior modification. Additionally, it will assist the public in understanding the standard of care to be applied by dog training and behavior professionals when determining the order of implementation for applying training practices and methodologies.



The standard of care for CCPDT certificants is that the Humane Hierarchy will be used as a guide in their decision making process when implementing training and behavior protocols. This standard of care should be followed when the certificant is working directly with a dog, creating a training plan for the client to follow, or assisting a colleague.




Please utilize the following steps to modify or manage a behavior:

1. Health, nutritional, and physical factors: The certificant ensures that any indicators for possible medical, nutritional, or health factors are addressed by a licensed veterinarian. The certificant also ensures that factors in the physical environment that have a potential to impact the dog's health, nutrition and physical condition are addressed.

2. Antecedents: The certificant implements environmental management strategies to prevent the behavior from occurring.

3. Positive Reinforcement, Classical Conditioning (not listed in order of preference):

a. Positive Reinforcement: The certificant ensures that reinforcement is delivered for the desirable alternative behavior, and that such reinforcement is of higher value to the dog than the reinforcement the dog has received in the past for the unwanted behavior.

b. Classical Conditioning: The certificant changes the dog's association with an aversive stimulus while presenting the aversive stimulus at a sub-threshold intensity.

4. Live With or Manage the Behavior, Negative Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, Extinction, Consult Another Professional (not listed in order of preference):

a. Live With or Manage The Behavior: Certificant elects to cease modification techniques and implement a management plan.

b. Consult Another Professional: At times, it may be beneficial for the certificant to consult another professional such as a dog trainer, veterinarian, or behaviorist for additional advice. Consulting with other professionals can be beneficial, particularly when a problem behavior does not resolve with the previously mentioned interventions.

c. Negative Punishment: The certificant withdraws a positive reinforcer when the undesirable behavior occurs to reduce the probability that the behavior will occur in the future.

d. Extinction: The certificant withholds reinforcement of a previously reinforced behavior with the goal of extinguishing the behavior.

e. Negative Reinforcement: The certificant withdraws an aversive stimulus when the desired behavior occurs in order to increase the probability that the behavior will occur in the future.

5. Positive Punishment: The certificant delivers an aversive consequence in response to the undesirable behavior in order to reduce the probability that the behavior will occur in the future.



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. 









Bradley Phifer, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Indianapolis, IN  

 Vice President

Julie Buesser, CPDT-KA

Forest Park, IL


Carol Hutelmyer, Public Member 

Philadelphia, PA


Ruth LaRocque, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Seattle, WA 



James E. Akenhead, CPDT-KA

Alliance, OH

Jamie Bozzi-Surmont, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KSA   

Chula Vista, CA 

Amanda Kowalski, CPDT-KA  

Shrewsbury, MA  

Lisa McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Seattle, WA

Penny Milne, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Laguna Beach, CA 

Nicole Skeehan, CDPT-KA

Morrisville, PA

Shawn Smith, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Whitewater, WI 


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Board email: board@ccpdt.org


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Non-voting: Joan Campbell

New York, NY 10018-0903




Non-voting: Jenna Webb

New York, NY 10018-0903



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Pat Miller,  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA








Lisa R. McCluskey, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CHAIR 

Amy Blum, CPDT-KSA

Jamie Bozzi, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA
Sally Bushwaller, CPDT-KSA

Doug Duncan, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Barbara T. Dwyer, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

Ruth LaRocque,  CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
Vivian Leven, CPDT-KSA  

Stephen McKay, CPDT-KSA

Penelope Milne, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA

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Daniel Spangler, CPDT-KA
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Penelope Milne, CPDT-KSA, CBCC, CHAIR 

Beth Mattei-Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

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Shawn Smith, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Ruth LaRocque, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA


Pat Miller, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA



Julie Buesser, CPDT-KA, CHAIR

Deborah DeSilva, CPDT-KA



 Amanda Kowalski, CPDT-KA, CHAIR   

James Aikenhead, CPDT-KA

Ruth LaRocque, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

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Nicole Skeehan, CPDT-KA, CHAIR
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