The Ark Fundraiser – Dogsense – 28OCT17

Understanding Dog Behavior, Communication, and Learning

On Saturday, October 28th, Don Hanson and Kate Dutra of the Green Acres Kennel Shop presented a seminar as a fundraiser for The Ark Animal Shelter of Cherryfield, Maine. This blog post contains links to articles and podcasts that can be used as a reference to material presented at the seminar.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (

Dog Behavior & Training

Adopting A Pet – Finding the Right Dog for You and Your Family

Pet Behavior as an Essential Component to Holistic Wellness

Canine Behavior – Myths and Facts – Part 1, Where do we get our knowledge about dogs? –

The Four Essentials for a Great Dog – Part 1 – Knowledge, Relationship, Management & Training

The Four Essentials for a Great Dog – Part 2 – Knowledge, Relationship, Management & Training

Dominance: Reality or Myth

Reward Based Training versus Aversives –

The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars –

Is Your Dog Your Best Friend or a Family Member?, If Yes, Then Please Join Me and Take the Pledge –

Does My Dogs Breed Matter? – Parts 1, 2 & 3

Puppy Socialization and Habituation

How to Choose a Dog Trainer –

the misunderstanding of time by Nancy Tanner


Play Biting – Biting and Bite Thresholds –


Teaching the ATTENTION or LOOK Behavior

Alone Training – Preventing separation anxiety – Teaching your dog to cope with being alone

Teaching the SIT Behavior –

Teaching Your Puppy to Come When Called – Starting Points –

How Do I Get My Dog to Walk Politely Instead of Pulling on the Leash? –

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls? –

What Should My Do When My Dog Does Not Let Me Take Something They Have Stolen and Snaps or Tries to Bite Me?

Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do?

Dangerous Dogs! – What Shelters, Rescues, Prospective Adopters, and Owners Need to Know

Dog Bite Fatalities & Dog Bites – Parts 1, 2, and 3

Dr. Sophia Yin – Canine Bite Levels

 Canine and Human Communication

Introduction to Canine Communication –

Body Language of Fear in Dogs – Dr. Sophia Yin

How To Greet A Dog and What to Avoid – Dr. Sophia Yin

Dog to Dog Interactions

Pet Nutrition

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet? –

What do you feed your dog? –

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gus –

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet? –

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. –


Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (

Canine Behavior & Training

Podcast – We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 1

Podcast – We’re Getting A New Puppy (or Dog)! – part 2 –

Podcast – How to choose a dog trainer

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars

Podcast – Canine Behavior: Myths and Facts

Podcast – The Four Essentials to A Great Dog

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 1– 12JUL15 –

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 2– 19JUL15 –

Podcast – Dog Training Questions for Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks – part 3

Podcast – Pet Behavior Counseling and Don and Kate with special guest host Dr. Mark Hanks ––

Podcast –Pet Behavior, Vets & The AAHA Canine and Feline Behavior Management Guidelines with Dr. Dave Cloutier from Veazie Veterinary Clinic

Podcast – The Unintended Consequences of Shock Collars

Podcast – Dog Bites and Fatalities with Janis Bradley



Canine Behavior & Training

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals, Turid Rugaas, Dogwise Publishing, 2006, An excellent book on understanding a dog’s body language. Includes descriptions of how you can use your own body language to better communicate with your dog.

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet, John Bradshaw, Basic Books, 2011,

The Power of Positive Dog Training, Pat Miller, Howell Book House, 2001. I have been reading Pat Miller’s articles in the Whole Dog Journal for years and have loved everything she has written. She is a skilled and compassionate dog trainer who really knows how to communicate to dog owners through her writing. This book is a superb “basic dog book” for anyone with a dog, and I highly recommend it.

The Other End of the Leash – Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs,Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, Ballantine Books, 2002, An information-packed, immensely readable book. In it you will learn how to have a better relationship with your dog through better communications. Dr. McConnell clearly explains the manners in which dogs and their people communicate.

For the Love of A Dog Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend, Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D, Ballantine Books, 2005, 2006, A superb review of emotions in both dogs and their people and how they bring us together and can rip us apart. Once again Dr. McConnell helps us to better understand our dogs and in doing so have the best possible relationship with them.

Dogs: A new Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution, Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, University of Chicago Press, 2001, An evolutionary biologist and dog lover, Coppinger outlines the likely process which resulted in the longstanding canine-human relationship.

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Podcast – The Ark Animal Shelter with Vince Ewald

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In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from September 9th, 2017, Don interviews Executive Director Vince Ewald from The Ark Animal Shelter in Cherryfield, ME. We discuss the long history of The Ark, its mission, how it accomplishes that mission, the Ark’s amazing corps of volunteers, their spay/neuter efforts and educational programs. Of course, we discuss the type of pets one can find at the Ark and how you can help them find a forever home. We even talk about the debut of a children’s book, Hope for Someday, written by Vince and illustrated by the President of The Ark’s Board, Tom Leigh. It is the story of two pups who find their way into a shelter much like The Ark. If you have a child in your life, I recommend it highly!

Lastly, we discuss a seminar Don and Kate will be presenting on October 28th. Their seminar Understanding Dog Behavior, Communication, and Learning is a fundraiser for The Ark Animal Shelter and will take place on Saturday, October 28th in the community room at Machias Savings Bank in Brewer. The cost is $50, and all proceeds will go to The Ark.

Understanding Dog Behavior, Communication, and Learning will examine the facts and myths about canine behavior and discuss how people and dogs communicate so that we have a better understanding of one another. Don and Kate will also discuss how dogs learn and humane training methods. During lunch, we will show the documentary film Pet Fooled which talks about the pet food industry. After lunch, Kate and Don will be available for a 60-minute question and answer period.

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Contact Info

The Ark Animal Shelter
60 Barber Lane
Cherryfield, ME 04622

(207) 546-3484

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Book Review – The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell, PhD

SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Dog lovers who want to improve the relationship with their dog by understanding how dogs and primates can better communicate with one another.

Back in the early 1990’s, when we still lived in Wisconsin, and before we got into the pet care business, Paula and I attended several dog training classes with our dogs, Gus and Shed. It was not until 1994 that we found Dr. Patricia McConnell and her training school, Dog’s Best Friend. This dog training class was the first that all of us, humans and dogs alike, truly enjoyed. Why? Because of Dr. McConnell’s understanding of how dogs and humans communicate and her emphasis on rewarding good behavior. Now the world can benefit from her knowledge in her new book, The Other End Of The Leash.

The Other End Of The Leash is an information-packed, yet readable book. In it, you will learn how to have an improved relationship with your dog through better communication. As a scientist who has studied both primate and canine communication systems, Dr. McConnell has a keen understanding of where the communication between humans and dogs often breaks down, creating frustration and stress for both species. For example, she explains how simple innate greeting patterns of both species can cause conflict. We know that when two people meet, the polite thing to do is to make direct eye contact and walk straight toward one another smiling. However, as Dr. McConnell notes: “The oh-so-polite primate approach is appallingly rude in canine society. You might as well urinate on a dog’s head.” The fact is direct eye contact, and a direct approach is very confrontational to a dog.

Dr. McConnell also emphasizes how dogs primarily communicate visually, while humans are a very verbal species. The picture she paints of the frustrated chimp, jumping up and down, waving their hands, and screeching repeatedly is only a slight exaggeration of the frustrated human, saying “sit, sit, sit, ahhhh please sit” while displaying countless bits of body language. Primates, including humans, “…have a tendency to repeat notes when we are excited, to use loud noises to impress others, and to thrash around whatever is in our paw if we are frustrated. This behavior has no small effect on our interactions with dogs, who in spite of some barks and growls, mostly communicate visually, get quiet rather than noisy to impress others, and are too busy standing on their paws to do much else with them.” With these fundamental differences, it is amazing we can communicate with our dogs at all.

While Trisha’s book will certainly enlighten you, it will also move you. Her description of her relationships with her own animals leaves no doubt about her love and commitment. Reading her recollection of how her beloved Luke was almost hit by a car and the passing of her little Border Collie Misty had me very near tears.

FAVORITE QUOTES: “If humans are understandably a bit slow at responding to the visual signals that our dogs are sending, we are downright dense about the signals that we generate ourselves.”

Forcing dogs into ‘submission’ and screaming in their face is a great way to elicit defensive aggression. It makes sense that a dog would bite, or at least threaten to, in this context. Within their social framework, you’re acting like a lunatic.”

It seems very human to stay fixated on the negative: ‘No!’ seems to come out of our mouths as easily as breathing. But saying no doesn’t teach a dog what to do, and it keeps the attention focused on it and nothing else.”

I highly recommend The Other End Of The Leash for anyone with a dog in their life.

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