A few months ago, we introduced you to FACE friend and supporter Linda Michaels of Del Mar Dog Training in a blog post. Linda is a top-rated dog trainer and behavior expert who created the Hierarchy of Dog Needs® approach to force-free behavior modification. Linda has expanded the ideas she outlined in the Hierarchy into a brand-new eBook called the Do No Harm™ Dog Training and Behavior Manual. The manual is a great resource for anyone interested in learning about force-free solutions for common dog behavior problems (pet parents, trainers, animal welfare workers and volunteers, groomers, and more). The book is available for purchase in pdf format HERE.
The manual covers both basic obedience and more advanced behavior issues like aggression and separation anxiety. Topics covered include advice on finding the right dog for your family and lifestyle, as well as step-by-step training how-tos for many key behavior areas, such as:
Socialization to people and other dogs
Dog safety and body language
Good manners and impulse control
New puppy training
How to avoid “treat dependence”
Teaching the basic commands
Protocols for dealing with serious behavior problems
Linda has an MA in Experimental Psychology and has worked not only with dogs, but also wolves and wolfdog hybrids in need of treatment for aggression. The foundation of her approach is to avoid the use of harsh, dominance-based training methods and aversive collar devices (shock, prong, choke). Linda believes that these methods are often counter-productive and can in fact increase aggression in dogs.
The Hierarchy of Dog Needs® concept is based on the idea that dogs (just like people) have fundamental needs that should be met both in the training process and throughout their lives. Besides basic physical needs like food and shelter, dogs also need to feel safe, secure, and loved. Linda’s training methods take these important emotional needs into account, leading to optimal results.
As Linda notes, traditional dominance training methods and devices can inflict irreversible psychological damage on our dogs. “This manual was written for ‘the heartbeats at our feet’ with their well-being and best force-free care and training practices in mind,” says Linda. “We no longer leave the door open for any justification to use aversive/punitive methods of training with dogs.” The key to effective training is the proper use of force-free methods…now easier than ever thanks to Linda’s contributions to the field!
It’s very common to find baby wildlife this time of year. While you may want to spring into action and “rescue” baby squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc. when you don’t see their mom around, wildlife experts will tell you that well-meaning “rescuers” are actually “kidnappers”—taking babies away when their mother is alive and well.
Here in California, the San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program has great information on its website about what to do if you find wild critters in your neighborhood that look like they might need rescuing, whether they’re babies, injured, or just made their way into your home.
As a general rule, when you see babies without mom nearby, don’t assume that they are orphans in need of rescuing. Keep an eye on them if you are not 100% sure that mom is really gone.
Defenders of Wildlife has these great common-sense tips to keep in mind if you find wild babies in your yard:
Keep your distance if you want to take a photo, or better yet, skip the photo session!
Keep your cats and dogs inside to make sure that the babies stay safe. It’s also a good idea to make sure that children stay away from the babies.
It’s OK to place a baby bird back in its nest. If you don’t see the nest you can place it in a small container in the likely tree. It’s a myth that the mom will reject the baby bird if you touch it.
Avoid pruning trees and shrubs during nesting season.
Sick or injured babies should only be cared for by specially-trained wildlife rehabilitators.
April 1st marks the beginning of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, one of the best-known animal awareness events. There are lots of ways you can help prevent animal cruelty…volunteering at your local shelter, donating to an animal charity, or helping to raise awareness about animal welfare issues through social media…to name just a few.
Here’s another great way to mark the occasion, and catch up on some reading, too! We’ve gathered some of the best books about animal welfare and put together a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month reading list. Click on each title to learn more about the books on the website Goodreads.
The Humane Society of the United States recently announced the creation of their new “Humane Puerto Rico” initiative. Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the U.S. and according to HSUS, there are many dogs, cats, and other animals there that are in urgent need of help. Did you know that the euthanasia rate for shelter dogs and cats is 95%, and that many thousands of homeless pets roam the streets of this island?
What will the initiative do? There will be a multi-faceted effort to improve the lives of the animals of Puerto Rico in several areas, including:
Training law enforcement officers and prosecutors on animal cruelty crimes.
Donating law enforcement evidence-gathering kits.
Cracking down on puppy mills.
A humane education program that will reach every K-12 public school student.
New tools and technology for animal shelters on the island.
Partnering with Humane Society International on low-cost spay/neuter programs.
Puerto Rican government officials signed an agreement pledging their cooperation to help solve critical issues such as animal cruelty, the street dog population, and the euthanasia rate. HSUS notes that many tourists visiting Puerto Rico have been struck by the number of homeless animals in poor condition wandering the streets, and have contacted various organizations to see what can be done.
Interested in learning more about the HSUS Humane Puerto Rico initiative? Click HERE for the original story. For an update on what’s been going on lately, including a contraception program for the free-roaming horses of Vieques, and the launch of the Sister Shelter Project, in which shelter professionals from several states will provide assistance to Puerto Rican shelters, click HERE.
Animal hoarding stories are always tough to hear about. A recent hoarding case in the San Diego County community of Poway has gotten a lot of attention recently. An incredible number of dogs were rescued from a hoarding situation…123 to be exact (the number grew after animal welfare workers found additional dogs that the owners had been hiding during the original rescue operation).
In this sad case, an elderly couple had been hoarding these little Yorkie-mix dogs in their home, and the living conditions faced by the dogs were, as you can imagine, horrific. The dogs are now in the care of the San Diego Humane Society, and it’s been all hands on deck caring for these sweet pups. They’ve needed grooming, dental care, vaccinations, and other services.
They soon will be made available for adoption. San Diego Humane has set up a special web page to help field the many inquiries about the adoption process for these Yorkies. If you live in the San Diego area, consider opening your heart to one of these special dogs. You can also watch a news video about the dogs HERE.