Category Archives: AniEd

Think in Rollercoasters!

Life is pretty exciting for dogs!

Think about the swings in excitement, up and down, presented just by normal daily comings and goings.
This might include the excitement of seeing their family, getting a meal, noises outside or at the door, other dogs in the area barking or seen out on walks, people coming and going, car travel or trips out & about, joggers or other moving things, lots of sniffs and squirrels, not having enough time or space for eating or resting, and being tired, bored, cold or hot.

All of these goings on, that are completely normal and not necessarily negative, cause swings up and down in their body’s responses and emotional reactions. Stress responses, can be good or bad, and prepare the body to deal with challenge; physical, emotional, behavioural and so on challenges.

There might not be time between these challenges to allow for your dog to recover and relax again, so when piled on top of one another, the dog’s stress response may be bigger.

Life in Rollercoasters

While stress isn’t all or always bad, being wound up or stressed over longer periods isn’t pleasant and may be damaging for the brain and body. Remaining in a stressed, excitable or wound up state can most certainly have negative impacts on behaviour and behavioural health.

When we engage the dog in an exciting or exerting activity or expose them to such situations, their body produces conditions that prepare them for the impending challenges. Some of these conditions in the body are essentially addictive…you’ve heard of “adrenaline junkies”, right?!

Canine adrenaline junkies, just like their human counterparts, may put themselves in situations where they can get their fix, even situations that wind them up due to distress, such as barking or lunging at scary things. And they need a bigger, harder hit every time.

This means these dogs are up and up and up and up, and may find it more difficult to come back down, to inhibit their behaviour, to respond to cues, and may be living in an ongoing stress bubble.

The more the dog engages in such activities the more their baseline for calm is raised and they can find it more difficult to settle or calm themselves, they might be on edge, they might lose it quickly and easily, they might be over-active.

Key points:

We don’t want to stop activity or prevent excitement…’cos where’s the fun in that?! Instead we will think in rollercoasters to help prime the dog’s stress systems to engage and relax, engage and relax.
This will help the dog develop skills that allow them to calm themselves more efficiently after getting wound up.

But as much as we might like our dogs to be calm, they do need opportunities for crazy! And establishing a way to support them in this can help them cope better with the effects of daily life, and all the challenge that brings.

Key points:

Make each day a Rollercoaster Day!

Consider ways to insert Rollercoasters and your established Wind-Down Routine across your dog’s day to help them deal with all the challenges that life in the human world presents.

Have Rollercoaster Outings too!

Think about how you might integrate Rollercoasters into your dog’s outings. Use elements of your wind-down routine to help them come down a little, before bringing them up again as you both adventure together.

Include mixes of activating and pacifying activities as you go; it’s very easy to encourage sniffing after more intense activity and then dialing it up again and bringing it down with more sniffing. This makes outings far more beneficial, enriching and tiring…but in a healthy way!

Play in Rollercoasters!

True play provides lots of opportunities to rehearse stress busting sequences, just like Rollercoasters.

Play can be tricky to define and while we certainly think we know it when we see it, our play with dogs is often misguided. We have ideas of what human-dog play should look like…things like fetch games…and when dogs don’t play this way we think they’re not that into play or toys.

As is so often typical of us humans, we often approach play in the way we think the dog should play or in the way we think the dog should enjoy playing. And this so often turns the dog off play, changes the nature of games and ultimately causes break downs in communication and relationship.

Improving toy play from intense fetch, to real interactive dog-led play takes some effort; you’re not just a ball launcher any more. You are an active participant in the dance of play with your dog. Check out this clip:


Play Challenges from #100DaysOfEnrichment for more:

Day 2 Play: Release the toy, release the joy

Day 32 Play: Fun with Food

Day 73 Play: Be goofy!

Day 86 Play: The toy is not the reward

Rollercoaster Games!

When we do play with our dogs, we are careful to play in rollercoasters. This helps to prevent mis-communications between humans and dogs that can happen when things get exciting because humans and dogs often play differently.

Tug games, and variations of this play, are better toy based games for humans and dogs to play then a lot of fetch type games. No matter, we play in rollercoasters!

In this clip, Tayto learns to release the toy and sniff to help bring him down as tugging heats up, bringing him up again:

We can also apply some established behaviours to help bring the dog down again and respond to cues, in between play that brings them up, like in this clip:

Rollercoaster Games work brilliantly without toys too:

Clip link

Play toy-searches when playing tugging or fetching games but most importantly, mix it up. We don’t do the same play moves more than twice in a row. For example, toss the toy for fetch, ask for a cued behaviour on return, tug and release, then hide the toy for a search. Mix it up!

Clip link

Regardless of how you and your dog play Rollercoaster Games, the general procedure is some version of the following:

  • start the game when the dog is offering calmer behaviour, for example, all four feet are on the floor, they are quiet
  • if using a toy, introduce the toy low down so as not to encourage jumping up or grabbing – move the toy in an enticing manner back and forth
  • tug, play, interact for a 3-count
  • say your release cue (then toss food if necessary for sniffing)
  • have a break sniffing, lying down, doing other cued behaviours for at least twice as long as the play portion (e.g. 6-count)
  • when the dog has come down a notch, start again by initiating play

Check out Day 57 of #100DaysOfEnrichment for some Rollercoaster step-by-steps.

Applying Rollercoasters

Rollercoasters are great, in the moment, to help your dog do better with feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

When they’re ‘up’, provide them outlets for the crazy that come from you. This provides a release for them and may allow you to harness their responses, so you can more effectively guide them toward healthier behaviours.

By playing in Rollercoasters, and Rollercoaster Games, you are also practicing for these situations. Your dog is learning to respond and redirect, channeling their feelings, when overwhelmed or excited. All though fun and games, bringing many other benefits to your communications and relationship together.

Forget about obedience and traditional “training”; instead, think Rollercoasters!

Hello 2023!

Happy New Year!

Bear with us as we slowly climb out from under our Holiday blankets & get back to the business of 2023! Thanks so much for getting in touch with us over these past couple of weeks; we are getting through all your correspondence and will get everyone sorted very soon. We appreciate your patience!

Indeed, your support & patience has been greatly appreciated all last year as we have been finding our feet again. We wish you & yours a wonderful New Year…I’m sure we will all be dating things with the correct year again very soon…!

Despite the pressures of this time of year, reject resolutions of deprivation & denial.

Instead, set goals for ADDING more dog to your & your dog’s life.

Make 2023 MORE DOG with AniEd!

Giving Away & Giving Back

Black Friday is now a week of deals deal deals, really starting off seasonal shopping, and followed by Cyber Monday which has probably become a whole week too…but we’re not so hot on all this and generally don’t participate.

But instead of sell sell sell I want to make sure that we can support our industry by giving away and giving back.

It’s no secret that times are tough, and it’s looking like things will be getting tougher. That impacts everyone, on a personal basis and professional. This is a scary time to run a small business.

So, if you’re a trainer, just starting out, you’re established or you’re thinking about it with a keen interest, and feel that you would benefit from some free but serious & in-depth education, this is for you!

What?

Ten longer form webinars (about two hours long plus time for Q&A) in this 2023 Webinar Program.

These are not really beginner coverings, and some basic knowledge of canine learning, behaviour & pet owner interactions is required to benefit. But, they are not necessarily advanced either so suitable for those starting out and those already established.

They are from our continuing education & development program for our trainers but these will be updated and presented live just for this program.

Topics covered (listed in no particular order):

  1. Game Changing LLW
  2. Car Comfort
  3. Barking Mad
  4. Canine Sleep & Sleeping Behaviour
  5. Canine Aging & Senior Dogs
  6. Getting Settled!
  7. Examining the Evidence: “reactivity”
  8. Examining the Evidence: “resource guarding”
  9. Examining the Evidence: Canine Fear
  10. Examining the Evidence: Separation Related Behaviours

Who?

I want to help anyone who feels that there might be barriers to education, whether that be financial or otherwise. With everyone feeling the pinch, it would be nice to support those who feel finances are a barrier to this sort of education.

We would love to support you if you are working in a voluntary capacity, trying to build and develop your business, or wanting to develop a new and fresh perspective, perhaps you need a reminder or are interested in upskilling.

I ask that if you apply that you also commit to participate as fully as possible. There’s no real point in providing live teaching and discussion if everyone’s going to just watch the recording!

This isn’t casual, when you do stuff with us you will be required to fully immerse!

Join in from anywhere in the world; all times will be Irish time (usually 7pm).

When?

This program will start in the New Year and a definite schedule will be decided according to group participants & preferences. Some options will be provided and feedback taken into account.

Generally, the dates available will be an evening once or twice a month, usually starting at 7pm (Irish time).

How?

We’re not going to ask about why you’re applying or about the barriers you experience. We don’t judge or make any inferences.

If you join us on this program, there are no obligations; this is not a selling tactic. (We don’t do that sort of thing.)

Complete the 2023 Webinar Program Application form here. Applications are open until Monday 4th December.

We will cap numbers at ten or fewer. We prefer smaller groups so nobody falls through the cracks and we can be sure to provide everyone with plenty of attention and interaction.

For more about AniEd:

Simple. Not easy.*

In the early 2000’s, TV dog training experienced a bit of a resurgence. Even though TV has often featured dogs and dog training, with the advent of social media (taking its baby steps) and the super slick presentation of Cesar Milan, and a helluva lot of TV-magic, TV dog training was booming. Internationally and appealing to all…all over.  

In just 45 minutes, look what can be achieved with both the dog and their humans…miracles at work!

The style of training demonstrated, and clearly most successful on TV, had never gone away. It’s been around forever and some of us had started to move away from this culturally appealing attitude to dogs a decade or even decades before. Battling the quick fixing had become the talk of trainer town, as those of us who had moved away from it struggled to sell our wares, to appeal to the masses, to bring them away from TV approaches to teaching dogs.

In those days we spent a lot of time, on Yahoo Groups and trainer-Twitter as far as I remember, talking about how we could help pet owners so enamored with the possibilities, to work with their dogs without pain, startle, intimidation, and confrontational attitudes.

We tried to bamboozle with “science”, which became our USP, impress with qualifications & post nominals, we tried to show that our way could be easy and quick. Just like dog whispering.
And we’ve been chasing those marketing coat-tails since.

I’m just musing here. We closed for a long time due to lockdowns and mental health, but when I came back I was certain that I wanted to do things differently. My thoughts may not resonate or appeal, and that’s just fine. I’m not sure they’re clarified terribly well.

Evolution is good, and is needed, and critiquing our own performance, without contrarianism, is essential as our industry matures.

For context.

I recently saw a TikTok video from a trainer who appears to be specifically active on that platform. It was a short clip demonstrating “one of the most important lessons” a dog should learn.
The application of aversives is often related to life or death scenarios in many species (including humans).

The trainer held open a front door and when the young dog approached the gap, the door was deliberately closed over, startling & bumping off the dog, physically moving them. Sorted!
Dog protected from running loose, and possibly dire consequences, all in the time it takes to scroll to the next video.

I can’t offer quick and easy solutions like this. Sure, I can work through some fun exercises using food rewards, and ultimately, the function of the dog’s behaviour, to reinforce various versions of waiting or engaging at open doors. But, I can’t do that in 30 seconds and make such bold life-saving claims.

The Battle of the Quick Fixes.

Quick fixes are attractive to pet owners, as they are to all humans. Pet owners are easily convinced of the appeal of the quick fix.
We are convinced that just one or two or three small changes, tweaking what we’re doing, will lead to big changes with minimal effort.

With TV training, what could be achieved in 45 minutes was the selling point…with social media though, that’s been cut down to 30 seconds…as we speed-scroll.

I can’t offer that. I can’t apply intimidation, tighten a slip lead, or bump up the social and aversive pressure. That’s not what I choose to do.

We have spent a couple of decades chasing the tails of quick fixers. Why are we marketing that? Why are we offering “just these three steps” to “fix” this or that?

Why would they choose your presumed quicker fix over another?

(I mean, we can talk about the whole “fixing” thing at another point, but suffice to say, your dog doesn’t need fixing, he or she ain’t broken.)

The Battle to Dumb it Down.

 Not only is quick fixing for sale, so is easy. We like to make sense of the world, and when we don’t understand something, we fill in the gaps in knowledge with whatever works.

That’s pretty much what’s happened with our understanding of canine behaviour down through the ages. We didn’t know, so we explained the mysteries with stories, folklore and magical thinking (and not just about dogs).

Gosh, it’s so much nicer when our understanding fits with our biases, right?!

Not only can you seek advice to “fix” your dog quickly, but also with just these three tips, a magic recipe, cookie cutter teaching, it’s easy too.

We have been chasing these tails too. Why? Behaviour is complicated, and pet owners need at least some knowledge and skill. Doesn’t mean we have to overwhelm them, and we can still present those complexities in a digestible manner, but we don’t need to pander to dumbing down dog behaviour.

For example, Explain One Concept, Five Levels of Difficulty playlist.

Do we need another guru?

Easy peasy quick fixers are elevated as gurus, as sages. The dog training industry is diverse, with people entering from all sorts of backgrounds. This means standards lack clarity and we see a lot of fads and bandwagon jumping.

We jump from cause to cause, at the whim of social media popularity… the latest quick and easy.
Critical thinking isn’t always at the forefront, and consilience is easily abandoned. The wheel gets reinvented. A lot.
And it’s an easy sell to a vulnerable population who may not yet understand the bigger picture, or understand our industry beyond social media.

We don’t need another guru selling quicker, easier, snake oil.

Great expectations.

We have higher expectations of dogs than ever before. We expect dogs to live more and more like us, and less and less like dogs. The further we keep them from their very doggieness, the more we must provide, often on a contrived basis.

And this means the needs of dogs have become more complex to meet.

Pet owners, if you want to help your dog, you’re going to need to develop some skill and knowledge, you’re going to need to put the work in. We have higher expectations…we have to step it up too.

Invest in people.

So, it’s not easy and it’s not quick.  Doesn’t sound like the greatest marketing tagline.

Why are we promoting that which we can’t deliver? That’s not so great either.

Instead, how about we try investing in support structures, in skill building, in knowledge development.
Rather than putting the emphasis on selling selling selling quick fixes and all the trimmings, let’s try teaching, guiding and supporting throughout the journey, which can take some time, and will require dedication and commitment (Williams & Blackwell, 2019).

We can invest in supporting pet owners developing skill and knowledge so their dog is safe and their needs are met.

Fly in the face of marketing.

We have to sell. We need to eat & live. Our dogs need cool stuff.

But I also want to change the tide. I know that quick and easy get views and clicks and likes. I know that the terms pet owners use to describe behaviour and “problems” are going to find me but then the proliferation of inaccuracy continues.

And what about their expectations? I sell you quick and easy but in reality, I can’t necessarily reproduce that.  

Dumbing down dog behaviour is not what I do, not what I can offer.

Unrealistic expectations, particularly about the work that will be required to live with and love a dog, contributes to dogs becoming unwanted (Hawes et al, 2020) (Diesel et al, 2010) (Diesel & Brodbelt 2008).

I’m not selling quick and easy, but I am offering unwavering support, tons of guidance, a new and revelatory understanding of your dog.

You need to feel supported, you need to feel that you understand what we’re going to be doing, but we can still recognise that adherence is shockingly low particularly as we will be asking for lifestyle changes (Lambe et al 2018) (Talamonti et al, 2015) (Casey & Bradshaw 2008).
Not quick and easy.

Balance.

This isn’t about training methods. I don’t participate in trainer wars. If you are offended or feel your training approach is targeted, that’s not the intention. Don’t feel the need to defend what you do, that is totally up to you and I’m not interested.

This is about what I can offer, what trainers who teach like me can offer. Effectiveness isn’t enough, but it is important.

I want effectiveness relative to the dog’s needs and that might mean pet owners understanding their dog’s behaviour a little more.

My route to balancing the needs of humans and dogs is through support. Being there for the long haul.

Be the change.

We can acknowledge that we will need to ask a lot of dog owners. They probably didn’t think they were signing up for that when they got their dog, but I want to be able to realign their expectations with reality.

Most of the dogs I see are demonstrating multi-layered behaviours of concern. To help build relationship, there will be lifestyle changes required, we will tackle broad areas to meet needs beyond our demands of dogs, and beyond quick fixes.

When I came back to work, and reopened, after a long COVID related closure, I vowed to do things differently. I often give out about our tendency toward reinventing the wheel but at the same time I don’t keep doing what I’m doing just because that’s what we’ve always done.

I continue to move to a more educational model, recognising the needs of pet owners, minimising blame, providing support and guidance. And it’s not quick and it’s not easy.

*Describing training as “simple, not easy” is from Bob Bailey who argues that, while training is the application of simple principles, balancing the needs of the humans and the animals add complexities.
We should be simplfying each step, adding precision to cues and reinforcers, and where there are problems, look to timing, criteria and ROR. Be a splitter not a lumper! Sounds simple, right?!

Have a plan for fright-night…and beyond!

Halloween is just upon us and over the last month or so, we have been trying to spread the word about planning to support our pets on the night, particularly in relation to fireworks, but other activities too.

For a full, in-depth program see: Dying of Fright.

Planning

A safe bunker

Time for the BEST treats & toys

Fireworks = Party-time

Turn the volume UP!

Have a plan for outings

Talk to the vet!

Dogs + Kids + Halloween

Dogs & Dress-up

Comfort your dog!

Halloween Hangover

The distress and stress associated with Halloween don’t end once the night itself is over. Not only might fireworks continue, the stress response elicited on the night might continue to impact your dog’s physical and behaviour health.

Check out our guidance for the morning-after too: Halloween Hangover.

BOO!

Happy Howl-o-ween everyone, stay safe!

Online Course: Canine Nutrition (Deep Dive)

So much to learn about in this area so let’s deep dive in!

Officially this run starts on Monday, 17th October, but you can start any time! Join in and immerse yourself in evidence based information, not ideology.

APPLY HERE

(Privacy policy here)

We have been running a science based Canine Nutrition course since 2011 so we have been working on it and refining it for a decade! In that short time, more and more valid evidence has become available on canine nutrition and our approaches to feeding dogs.
This is a growing and exciting area of research and our course will help you to apply that expanding knowledge to feeding individual dogs.

Jump to:

Online Canine Nutrition Course Details:

When? This course starts on Monday 17th October, 2022.
As soon as we receive your full payment, you will be sent access to the course website and away you go!
You can enroll and start any time!

Where? Anywhere, any time! This course is entirely online so you can participate when and where you like….from your sofa…in your PJs…
You will have access to all the course materials to download so you can work anywhere.

Who? This is a science and evidence based course; we do not endorse any particular approach to feeding dogs.
On this course you will learn more than nutrition; we spend a lot of time discussing evidence, critically analysing information, reading research papers, critiquing the science, all of which is applicable to other areas.
The quality of the evidence is our foundation, so we will not be elevating gurus and social media “nutrition experts” merely due to their profile or letters after their name.
If you are so attached to a feeding modality that you may find it difficult to consider other approaches, this may not be the course for you. And if you are looking for confirmation of your current understanding of canine nutrition, this course may cause you discomfort.

We don’t promote or condone any particular diet type or approach to feeding dogs and believe that different diet types can be designed to provide appropriate nutrition for individual dogs.

This course is for anyone who has a keen interest in really understanding how canine nutrition works, how best to look at what we know and apply that to individual dogs. You don’t need to have a science background and you will have plenty of time to digest (!) the information, with our full support.
It’s particularly suited to dog care pros such as veterinary personnel, pet retailers, training/behaviour pros and groomers. But if you have in-depth interest in science and nutrition, this might just be the course for you!

How long? This is a self-paced course and you will have access to the online course area for 7 months. Starting in October 2022, you will have continued access until the end of May 2023. 

How much? This course costs €250
You can pay the entire fee or in installments via bank transfer or PayPal.

Course fees must be paid in full before you can access the online area. Please read the terms at application carefully before committing.

What will I learn about? There is some introductory work to go through and then course content is split into eight parts, with some wrapping-up to do at the end too.
It is the most in-depth component course we have ever developed and covers all sorts of topics directly and indirectly relating to canine nutrition.

Course content:

Introduction:

  • Overview
  • Evaluating evidence

Part 1 Canine Digestion

  • Anatomy, physiology
  • Energy
  • Anatomy & dietary needs

Part 2 Nutrients

  • Everything is chemicals!
  • Nutrients
  • “Functional Foods”
  • Supplementation, antioxidants, microbiome & related

Part 3 Feeding Dogs

  • Choosing diets
  • Food safety
  • Energy
  • Lifestage requirements

Part 4 Canine Diets

  • Commercial Diets
  • Alternative Diets, RMBD
  • Human Diet Trends

Part 5 Nutrition & Behaviour

  • Eating Behaviour
  • Food in training
  • Food related behaviours of concern
  • Brain, behaviour & nutrition
  • Microbiome & Behaviour

Part 6 Malnutrition

  • Canine Overweight/Obesity Status
  • Undernutrition
  • Overnutrition

Part 7 Adverse Food Reactions

Part 8 Special Dietary Considerations

  • PARNUTs & nutrition

Wrap-Up

Goals of this course

  • to develop an understanding of the scientific and biochemical bases for nutrition including digestion and nutrients
  • to appreciate, interpret and apply nutrition information from reliable and valid evidence based resources
  • to communicate about canine nutrition objectively and without sensation
  • to develop awareness of the wide range of canine diets and approaches to feeding domestic dogs, from an evidence based perspective
  • to consider the relationships between nutrition and behaviour, and nutrition and wider health
  • to apply your developing knowledge and understanding to special dietary contexts including malnutrition and dietary sensitivities

You get: 

  • 24/7 access to the course online area, from anywhere, for seven months
  • multiple media learning resources for viewing and downloading
  • about 200 mini-lectures (written presentations for reading) covering a wide array of nutrition and related topics presented in small-ish bites so that you can take time to process and analyse
  • free access to our short course, Science & Studying Animals, to give you a foundation in understanding this evidence-based approach to learning more about animals
  • comment facility at the online course area for participation, enquiries, interactions
  • access to a private Facebook group for real-time feedback and guidance
  • regular live online meetings scheduled to suit group participants
  • ongoing online interaction with fellow-students and your tutor as we take this journey of discovery together

Submission of final assessment work is optional but you are encouraged to work through assessment and self-evaluation to support knowledge development and skill building.
As this is a self-paced course, the level of participation is up to you. There may be times when you are more available and other times when you have less availability. Obviously, to get the full benefit, we encourage the fullest possible participation.

After successfully submitting completed final assessment work, you will be awarded an AniEd certificate of achievement.

Ethos & Transparency

This topic is fraught with difficulties when it comes to discussion and application of evidence. You will have probably seen mere mentions of canine nutrition, especially on social media, descend into all sorts of faulty arguments and polarisation. That is definitely NOT what we will promote, facilitate or allow on this course.

Throughout all discussion, I will be there to guide you so that we can remain on track. We take an R+ (positive reinforcement) approach to learning and teaching, and all advice and guidance will be provided with this in mind. We must feel safe in our discussion so that we can create an environment conducive to learning for all to benefit.

We all have the same goal: to make sure we can maximise the health of our pets through careful feeding. Let’s stick together and learn together!

Transparency

This course is not supported by or promoted by any feed manufacturer or industry member; we are not selling a book or a dogmatic agenda. AniEd does not sell or recommend specific feeds and we never have.

Anne Rogers will be your tutor on this course.

Anne has worked for a major international feed manufacturer (about 20 years ago) as a nutrition advisor and has worked in pet retail and in veterinary, selling and promoting a range of feeds, too (more than 20 years ago).

Her current dog, Decker (10.5 year old entire male AmStaff), is fed raw, home-cooked, wet (tinned) and dry food, sometimes all in the same day. Over his life, he has eaten a wide range of brands without loyalty to any one particularly.

We are only interested in doing the very best for our dogs. No matter what you have fed your dog before, or even currently, you are doing your very best for your dog. And no matter, your dog loves you for that.

Each one of our dogs eats a better diet than most of the humans on this planet.

Dogs are incredibly adaptive and most are able to survive on even poor quality feeds. We are, of course, aiming for more than survival, we want our dogs to thrive. But, let’s keep all this in mind, even when discussion becomes intense.

All of this is further discussed during the course.

This course is for those really really interested in nutrition; we will (hopefully) challenge your current understanding and knowledge, supporting you as your passion for study grows.

Make sure you know exactly what you are getting into before you pay. To help, you can download some course materials samples, selected from across course content, here:

From Part 2 Section 5 Functional Foods:

From Part 2 Section 5 Functional Foods:

From Part 2 Section 5 Probiotics, Prebiotics & the Microbiome:

From Part 3 Section Making Choices

From Part 4 Commercial Diets: Safety & Quality Concerns

From Part 5 Nutrition & Behaviour Section 1 Food related behaviours of concern

If you’re ready to go, we would love to have you!

Once payment has been received, you will be provided with course access. There are no refunds, whole or partial, available for course fees once you have accessed the online course area.

APPLY HERE

(Privacy policy here)

Even more Online Canine First Aid Workshops!

These workshops have been an awesome success, improving accessibility for all and not really reducing the impacts of learning this most vital information.

The feedback has been awesome and the participation no less than I expect in in-person groups, which is just brilliant too.

Here’s what just some of our participants have to say about our Online Canine First Aid workshops:

Clip link

We have two more courses to offer in 2022, and these book up FAST!

These workshops are delivered via MS Teams; you can just follow a link that will be sent to you to join.

All times are Dublin (ROI) times and participants from all over are welcome.

October

For rescue folks, we have a FREE Online Canine First Aid workshop for you! It’s exactly the same as all the others, with the same great guidance and resources, but it’s free!

When you contact us to book your spot, we will send you a link to a form to complete.
You must be available to attend both dates to be eligible.

We do our best to keep groups small so everyone gets attention and feedback to facilitate learning. Please do share with others you think might benefit.

November

Workshops open to all!

Book quickly so you will get a place. These are the last runs for this year and November’s courses would make great Holiday gifts too…

Countersurfing!

There are many normal, natural, necessary dog behaviours that don’t sit well with humans and we’ve come up with all sorts of ways to blame dogs, label dogs and chastise dogs for being dogs.

If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you will have seen an awesome check-in photo from Team Kairo:

Not only is this an awesome array of stuffables to keep Kairo happy, also note how he is an onlooker rather than interfering and trying to get to all these yummies.

When he arrived home, just two months ago, this guy was a well practiced countersurfer. But, countersurfing is normal, natural, necessary dog behaviour so there’s absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with Kairo and this isn’t behaviour we want to stop.

Huh?

Countersurfing can be dangerous; dogs can grab foods or medications that might be poisonous to them or they might have an accident with a sharp knife, for example.

But it’s part and parcel of having a dog around; their closest “wild” relatives continue to be expert scavengers to this day.

Behaviour, once learned, is never really unlearned…it doesn’t leave your brain. Those pathways are strengthened with every rehearsal. Instead, we insert new behaviours and must practice to fortify those new pathways.

Countersurfing, like most behaviours we teach, isn’t really new behaviour to your dog. They already come with scavenging powers and know exactly how to do it! What we do though is teach them that under certain conditions, countersurfing works and is worth their efforts.

Yes, we teach them. Maybe unintentionally, but we teach them that countersurfing behaviours work to get them the good stuff!

Behaviour Works

Dogs do behaviours that work. This means learning helps animals gain access to things they like and avoid things they don’t like.

Countersurfing is a good illustration. Dogs are pretty opportunistic when it comes to food so if they come across food, they usually eat it.

Countersurfing behaviours function to get food that’s been left on counters and tables. Simples!

Behaviour doesn’t happen in isolation

When we analyse behaviour, we are not just looking at what the dog is doing. We also need to know when behaviour happens and why behaviour happens.

Understanding the conditions under which behaviour happens allows us to design behaviour change interventions to help because we can predict when behaviour will happen.

Kairo’s humans have kindly allowed me to share our program and the first part is to understand the conditions under which he countersurfed.

Kairo & Countersurfing

Whens:

Countersurfing happens when food was on the counter, when food was on the table, when humans were in the kitchen, when humans were at the counter and when humans were at the table.
And also, if humans are not present.

Whats:

Jumping up at counters and tables, with front legs off the ground; under and at the feet of humans

Whys:

Eating food on the counter or table, eating food that falls on the floor, eating food that’s given, attention & interaction, sniffing and searching for food.

It’s not the food that’s reinforcing countersurfing behaviour, it may be the behaviours of eating, seeking & finding!

Behaviour functions:

New behaviour that we teach should, where possible, function as unwanted behaviour did, and be cued as unwanted behaviour was.

The whens and whys stay the same but we will insert behaviour incompatible with unwanted behaviour.

Instead of those whens cueing jumping up and countersurfing, they’re going to cue lying down. Kairo can’t countersurf or get in the way if he’s lying down!

Kairo’s new behaviour will continue to function as countersurfing did. He had his say, telling us what he wanted, so we listened!

We have the data, now what?

Now we know the structure of our plan, we gotta do the things!

Management means to prevent rehearsal of the whens-whats-whys combo because each practice run further strengthens it.

  • When we are not teaching, Kairo doesn’t have free access to the kitchen, table or food related spots.
  • We close doors, put up baby gates, have the dog on lead.
  • Definitely no food is left out and available. This is human training!

The dog’s behaviour is information – Kairo’s behaviour tells us of his need for searching and scavenging. So we are not just going to prevent him countersurfing when it might be dangerous, inconvenient or unhygienic – we can’t stop countersurfing.

Kairo is going to have lots of scavenging outlets and learn lots and lots of behaviours to access food, interaction, sniffing and searching.

Do you do #100DaysOfEnrichment? Those challenges can be a great help!

Some good scavenger-jollies outlets include:

Foraging Boxes

Busy Boxes

Searches

Sniffing Courses

With reduced motivation to countersurf and decreased access to countersurfing contexts, we can install more effective and efficient behaviours in those contexts for food.

What to do instead?

There really is no point applying punishers on a reactive basis for countersurfing. Once the dog has got the food, the function of countersurfing, the when-what-why combo has been strengthened and you’re too late with aversives.

Instead, we get in there before the whens start, and add in another behaviour to get those whys. Teach behaviours that you would like to see and make sure they function as unwanted behaviour did.

Kairo’s humans had already been working on a default-down so he was throwing himself into a lying down position as this had been so well reinforced in all sorts of contexts functioning for the dog to get food, attention and access to all the fun stuff.

Nobody was asking him to lie down, when he wanted things, he tried lying down and that worked!

We started with lying down making hotdog happen in countersurfing places. Each time he offered his default, humans produce hotdog!

With lying down predictable, we could add in new cues for that behaviour: food on the counter or table, food prep happening, people at the counter of table.

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We have lying down quietly functioning as did countersurfing behaviours, which have now become irrelevant, ineffective and inefficient.

It’s far easier to lie down and have food come to you, rather than jumping up to try to reach it!

Team Kairo have had great success building duration between rewards so that they can apply these behaviours to real life.

Here he is, lying quietly on his mat while not just his humans but also guests have a meal together. Given that he’s a new dog to the home and how arousing guests can be, that’s a pretty awesome achievement:

This did not happen over night. We started working on this when he was a week or so home and his humans have been DILIGENTLY practicing, managing and providing Kairo with a fully enriched life and world.

When you can’t, or don’t want to teach, just manage by having the dog elsewhere, or playing The Floor Is Magic:

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The dog’s behaviour is information. If they jump up, your rate of reinforcement is too low. Increase that to establish behaviour and when that’s consistent, rate can drop again, carefully.

Get practicing! Make sure your dog’s behaviour functions for them to access the things they like, in a manner that you like too. Balancing needs and providing two-way reinforcement will be the keys to relationship building – the start can feel like a lot, but it’s not forever and you will get there. Just ask Team Kairo!

Online Course: Foundation Mechanics

Teaching our non-human animal learners is presented in all sorts of ways, but for us, the central focus must be on the learner.

Learning is stressful; think of stress as challenges that the body and brain face. But that doesn’t mean our learners should be exposed to any extra stress during learning. How we teach is a welfare issue.

Often times our learners are blamed, but as teachers, we take on responsibility for our skills and the effects that has on our learners.

This course starts your journey recognising the importance of your skills and knowledge for your learner’s welfare.

The Mechanics of Teaching includes the skills you need to teach cleanly and efficiently. This involves you being able to handle your learner, set up an appropriate learning environment, monitor the environment to maintain safety, monitor your learner to ensure their comfort, all while making sure that your behaviour allows your learner to develop behaviours that you are teaching and develop pleasant associations with the learning process. That’s a lot of multi-tasking!

To be able to do that, your behaviour, i.e. the signals you send to your learner, must be well practiced so that you can monitor everything else!

Most of the time, when we are talking mechanics, we are talking about how cleanly you present training stimuli; signals that help your learner develop the behaviours you are teaching. This is a complicated business and most people believe that you have this as some sort of ‘natural’ skillset. That’s not true. Teaching is first about developing mechanics that anyone can learn, with practice.

This program is all about you and your mechanics, rather than your learner. The danger with that is that you can become a little robotic, but that’s ok at this stage. Once you have mechanics drilled and underway, you can begin to inject some more personality into your teaching interactions. Get your mechanics drilled first!

Your mechanical skill gets your knowledge and experience from your head translated into your body movements.
But you don’t develop any of your skills in isolation. Your knowledge and understanding, your observation skills and your mechanical skills develop, each supporting one another.

Bob Bailey says, “Training is a mechanical skill! It is what you do, not what you think or know, that counts.”

Jump to:

Online Foundations Mechanics Course Details:

When? This course starts on Monday 17th October, 2022.
As soon as we receive your full payment, you will be sent access to the course website and away you go!

Where? Anywhere, any time! This course is entirely online so you can participate when and where you like….from your sofa…in your PJs…
You will have access to all the course materials to download so you can work anywhere.

Who? All our courses are evidence based but as this is a foundation level course, this information is presented in a very digestible manner, split in bite-size chunks to support your moving through the coursework.

Although these foundation mechanics are not the sexy-stuff, and application of these skills is sorely lacking in the training & behaviour industries.

This course is essential for those starting out and entering professional training, but may also be eye-opening for those already working with dogs.

We take a reinforcement based approach to teaching, but this course is not a place for ‘trainer-wars’. These are the foundations to teaching, regardless of dogma.

How long? This is a self-paced course and you will have access to the online course area for 4 months. Starting in October 2022, you will have continued access until the end of February 2023. 

How much? This course costs €150
You can pay the entire fee or in installments via bank transfer or PayPal.

Course fees must be paid in full before you can access the online area. Please read the terms at application carefully before committing.

What will I learn about? This course program is all about your skills acquisition, so there are plenty of practical games for you to practice!

This program is made up of three course components that you work through largely at the same time.

Course content:

  1. Set-Up for Success!
  • no extra stress for your learner
  • session set up
  • session planning
  • reinforcers & reinforcement
  • the learner is in control
  • introduction to the A-B-C of learning

2. Clicker Mechanics

  • learning is in the environment
  • mechanics of reinforcement
  • clicker mechanics

3. Fundamentals

  • fundamental teaching skills
  • effective teaching

You get: 

  • 24/7 access to the course online area, from anywhere, for four months
  • multiple media learning resources for viewing and downloading
  • comment facility at the online course area for participation, enquiries, interactions
  • access to a private Facebook group for real-time feedback and guidance
  • regular live online meetings scheduled to suit group participants
  • ongoing online interaction with fellow-students and your tutor as we take this journey of discovery together

Submission of final assessment work is optional but you are encouraged to work through assessment and self-evaluation to support knowledge development and skill building.
As this is a self-paced course, the level of participation is up to you. There may be times when you are more available and other times when you have less availability. Obviously, to get the full benefit, we encourage the fullest possible participation.

After successfully submitting completed final assessment work, you will be awarded an AniEd certificate of achievement.

Ethos & Transparency

AniEd provides pet-owner services too. We apply these same skills and knowledge on a daily basis with our human clients and their dogs.

Our approach is needs based; the dog’s behaviour tells us about what they need. We recognise the dog’s behaviours, even that which is problematic for owners, as being indicative of behavioural needs that must be addressed. This includes ethological considerations particularly in relation to breed/type related needs.  

We take primarily a functional approach – what does the dog gain by doing unwanted behaviour, what do they lose when we manage, what can we install in place?…and so on. What skills does this dog need to be able to live in their world, access reinforcers and experience a high standard of welfare?

We recognise the importance of assessment of the topography of behaviour, particularly signaling, as indicators of the dog’s emotional responses and affective states, while also emphasising an understanding of the contexts and conditions under which behaviour happens.

Tinbergen’s Four Problems forms part of the basis for our ethological analysis of behaviour. Functional behavioural assessment (FBA) and where possible, Functional Analysis (FA), will form the approach to analysis of behaviour and best interventions.  

We recognise that behaviour is often problematic for people and that when it impacts the animal’s physical health/welfare beyond environmental intervention, veterinary/medical collaboration is required.

Our programs emphasise owner-support and education, recognising the importance of their participation in maintaining and improving the welfare of their dog. The owners’ needs and participation are recognised as central to applying our programs, and developing relationships between pets, owners, and professionals.

All of this is further discussed during the course.

Once payment has been received, you will be provided with course access. There are no refunds, whole or partial, available for course fees once you have accessed the online course area.

APPLY HERE

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