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Our Last Free Summer Workshops 

Workshops are from 1:30 - 3:30pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Only demo and service dogs are allowed. Register here.   

NEXT Sat, Aug 17:   That's a ... CHICKEN!
If you want to see a fascinating talk, this is it!!! Trainers have been clicker training chickens for years to improve their clicker training skills. Last February, company owners and employees, human resource managers, paramedics, fire fighters, parents and teachers of special needs children, and pet owners came together in one room with a flock of chickens. We have videos to show you what happened … plus a live chicken to demonstrate.  Speaker: Jennifer Pennington, CPDT-KA, CDBC;
Lead With Fun

NEXT Sun, Aug 18:   Advice for Adopters, Potential Adopters & Fosters
Learn how to make life with your adopted dog easier and more fun! Come hear a trainer discuss dog training and behavior, helpful pet products, and the many common issues that adopters face. There is also time to discuss your individual concerns. Presenter: Sarah Stoycos, KPA CTP; Laughing Dog Academy   

You can see our Free Fall Workshops at the end of this newsletter.   
Don't Ignore the Small Stuff
(or you might miss the bigger picture)

(c) Laura McAuliffe, Dog Communication 2017
Posted in Articles & News

My husband came home from a walk at the crack of dawn  this week and told me he was never letting Sylvi (18 month old terrible teen Inuit) offlead again. Apparently she’d lost all recall despite there being zero distractions and every time he got near her she moved further away, eventually after about 20 minutes of him trying to lure her with treats and pretending he was leaving, the appearance of a dog pal finally got her back (just as he was about to phone me to come and help). He was pretty annoyed (but he wouldn’t have shown it and would have given a good impression to the dogs of being happy and relaxed, smiling through gritted teeth), he was worried that he couldn’t get her back and it made him really late to get ready for work.


Sylvi’s recall around other dogs is a constant work in progress (and she’s managed carefully with long line etc normally at busy times) but her recall without the distraction of a fun dog is normally absolutely brilliant.

If we were a different kind of trainer and ‘old school’, we might have told her off for having crap recall, we might have even used something horrible like an Ecollar. Of course we’d never do that as we don’t use aversives. I also knew that a sudden change in behaviour meant there was likely to be an underlying cause (apart from just a recall malfunction).

After quizzing (interrogating) my husband I found out that she’d been moving further and further away and eating loads of grass. This isn’t like her either. She also had a really upset tummy later in the day. It’s more likely she wasn’t coming back as she felt unwell and so wanted to eat grass and also felt she needed to poo and as she knew it was going to be a bad one she wanted to be a long way away from anyone and in private and definitely didn’t want to be onlead! A vets trip later and some tests and we found out that she really wasn’t very well at all (she’s fine now). It just shows that we must consider medical causes for changes in behaviour before anything else and a vet visit should always be our first call.

Sylvi’s example is only a minor thing, a blip in recall and no serious behaviour issue but we should always be looking for reasons why things just aren’t quite right. I think most people are aware that sudden aggression may have an underlying medical cause and are quick to refer back to vets but other more subtle issues can also have medical causes. These dogs are often labelled ‘stubborn’ or ‘untrainable’ or the behaviours are said to be ‘unpredictable’.

The dog that won’t sit stay may have hip pain, who shies away from an over-the-head harness may have ear issues. We had an issue recently as our new rescue Dalmatian, Lucky, won’t jump in the car, an X-ray later and we discover he has a problem with his spine. Some things are easy to link, like Lucky and the car but others are more subtle, like Sylvi running away and need careful investigation.  We aren’t, as behaviourists, medically trained and it isn’t our role to diagnose health issues but we are trained to look for the behaviours that just don’t fit and for things that may need the attention of a vet. It’s so important that we analyse every aspect of a dog’s life when we are working with them, the seemingly unimportant things can be crucially important.

This is why we get so concerned about aversives- how many dogs that are subjected to aversives as reward based training ‘didn’t work’ were unwell or in pain?

This is also why it’s essential that behaviourists work on veterinary referral and a close relationship between vet and behaviourist is really important

Don’t ignore the little things as the small things can make big things happen!

Dog Communication, in Surrey, England, has been rehabilitating dogs with anxiety and aggression issues, using only positive, rewards-based methods, for over 10 years.

Laura McAuliffe is a Full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors & an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist.

NOTE: You can hear more about this topic at veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike's workshop, Pain & Behavior, on Sat, Nov 9 from 1:30 - 3:30pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Register here.

Your Dog's Friend is taking part in Strut Your Mutt, a nationwide event to help raise funds for animal welfare organizations associated with Best Friends Animal Society. Contribute to our mission keeping dogs out of shelters by joining our team or donating on our page. If we are one of the top fundraisers by Sept 5, we will have a free booth, where we can help more dog "owners" and rescues with their behavior issues.

How you can help:

  1. Register for Strut Your Mutt:
    Your $15 registration fee will get you entry into the event, an event t-shirt and your very own online fundraising page for you to share with family and friends. To get started, head to our team page and click the orange "Join Team" button.
  2. Donate to the Your Dog's Friend team: 
    100% of funds raised on the Your Dog's Friend Strut Your Mutt team page go to our mission of providing accessible, expert information about dog training and behavior to the DC area and beyond. Any amount makes a difference, so please donate today!

Free Workshop Videos
 Don't forget to check the workshops we videotaped                 at https://yourdogsfriend.org/videos/. There's
 a lot of great information, and it's FREE! #ThanksToMaddie 

"Learn to Speak Dog: how to understand and communicate effectively with your dog", presented by Jessey Scheip, KPA CTP, trainer at veterinary behaviorist Dr. Amy Pike's Animal Behavior Wellness Center

"On the Go: Bringing Your Dog Out & About Around Distractions", presented by Dog Latin senior trainer, Juliana Willems, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA

Help, My Dog is Reactive! with veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Leslie Sinn, DVM, DACVB, CPDT-KA of Behavior Solutions for Pets 

PTSD in Pets with veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Amy Pike, DVM, DACVB of Animal Behavior Wellness Center 

Helping Your Fearful Dog Navigate the World with Dog Latin dog trainer, Juliana Willems, KPA CTP, CPDT-KA 

Fun, Enriching Activities for Your Dog with Eager Beagle trainer, Karen Baragona, CPDT-KA 

Also check the short training videos and support our sponsors for National Pet Week: Georgetown Piano Bar; Muddy Branch Veterinary Center; Holistic Veterinary Healing; Loyal Companion pet stores; Dog Latin Dog Training; Behavior United; Harlow School for Dogs; Molly Carter, realtor (Long & Foster, North Bethesda). Pick up their cards or brochures at our workshops.

12221 Parklawn Drive, Rockville, MD

Basic Manners 1:THIS Fri, Aug 9 - Sept 20 (no class Aug 30) @ 10:15 - 11:15am
Start teaching basic good manners and learn what motivates and how to communicate with your dog. Basic Manners is also builds a foundation for many of our other classes.

Nose Work 1: THIS Fri, Aug 9 - Sept 27 (no class Aug 16 or Aug 30) @ 5:00 - 6:00pm
Your dog will get to use his natural instincts to sniff and chase while being physically and mentally challenged. (Since the dogs work one at a time, this class and sport are fine for reactive dogs.)

Reactive Dog Class: NEXT Wed, Aug 14 - Oct 2 @ 8:10 - 9:40pm
This class is for dogs that are reactive to other dogs on leash. It's not for dogs that have caused serious injury to other dogs or for dogs that lunge and growl at people.

Leash Manners: NEXT Fri, Aug 16 @ noon - 2:00pm (1 session)
Learn how to get and keep your dog’s attention; hold your leash so that your dog can’t pull you off your feet; use equipment to help with training; reinforce your dog effectively; maneuver around distractions.

TTouch Methods to Calm Your Dog: Sat, Aug 24 @ 1:45 - 4:15pm (1 session)
Body work, wraps & movement exercises to help your reactive, fearful, easily distracted, or elderly dog. Screens are used to help dogs relax without the visual distraction of other dogs. Learn enough in class to continue TTouch at home.

Check out our Basic MannersPuppy Kindergarten, and Puppy Party schedules here.

Free Fall Workshops
Workshops are from 1:30 - 3:30pm at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 6030 Grosvenor Lane, Bethesda. Only demo and service dogs are allowed. You can read about our workshops and register at http://yourdogsfriend.org/free-workshops/

Advice for Adopters - guidance for adopters, potential adopters, and fosters
Sunday, Sept 15, Oct 20 or Nov 17

Working With Your Reactive Dog: A Demonstration - Sat, Sept 14, 1:30pm with trainers, Sarah Stoycos, Laughing Dog Academy, and Marnie Montgomery, Joyful Dog

No Time to Train? No Problem - Sat, Sept 21, 1:30pm with trainer Juliana Willems, Dog Latin Dog Training

From Hyper Hound to Happy Hound -  Sat Oct 26, 1:30pm with veterinary behavior resident, Dr. Meghan Connolly, Atlantic Veterinary Behavior (Dr. Connolly is able to visit homes in Maryland!)

Pain and Behavior - Sat, Nov 9, 1:30pm with veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Amy Pike

The Dominance Controversy - Sat, Nov 16, 1:30pm with veterinary behavior resident, Dr. Meaghan Ropski

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Training Center: 12221 Parklawn Dr, Rockville, MD 20852
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