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Gerberian Shepsky

What do you get when you mix a German Shepherd with a Siberian Husky? A dog that’s easy on the eyes but tough to pronounce: the Gerberian Shepsky. No one knows exactly when or why the first Shepsky was bred, but some have guessed the goal was to create a smaller German Shepherd with the piercing blue eyes of a Siberian Husky. 

The Gerberian Shepsky is still a relatively rare crossbreed, and because there isn’t a breed standard, it’s difficult to make definitive statements regarding appearance and temperament.

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How Do Dogs Communicate with Each Other?


If you want to understand how dogs talk with one another, you'll need to "listen" with your eyes. 

When humans think about how dogs communicate with each other, vocalizations like barking and growling tend to be top of mind—even though they represent only a teeny portion of dogs' rich repertoire. We can blame this erroneous emphasis on the natural tendencies of our own species, says Melissa McMath Hatfield, MS, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of Loving Dogs in Fayetteville, Ark. While verbal communication reigns supreme among humans, body language and scent cues often "speak louder" with our furry friends.

The Bitey End of the Dog

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The "BITEY" End of the Dog

Listen to the podcast on Apple Podcasts:

A bite from a dog can have many ramifications. These can include the emotional impacts on the dog’s guardians, or the dog practicing an undesirable behavior, or even the potential fate of the dog. And of course in our litigious society, we often will see civil and even criminal ramifications when a dog inures a person or other animal. For this episode of Fresh Bites on The Bitey End of the Dog, I chat with Melissa McMath Hatfiled who is an expert on expert witness work in dog bite cases.  Melissa does an excellent job of breaking down what can happen when a bite incident ends up in court, and what to expect from both the plaintiff and defendant sides.

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What to do if you find yourself in litagation.

If you are asked to testify as an expert, then the following can be a checklist for preparing for this process. A case can involve something as simple as neighbors feuding over a barking dog or as tragic as a bite to a child's face, the rules for the process are the same.  The goal of the expert witness is to assist the trier of the facts in understanding the key issues of the case as they relate to the dog(s) and its behavior.


Portuguese Pondengo

Portuguese podengos may come in three sizes (grande, medio, pequeno) and sport two coats, but their purpose throughout history has been singular: hunting.

TDiscussing the Portuguese podengo can sound a bit like placing an order at Starbucks. That's because this National Dog of Portugal comes in three different, aptly named sizes—pequeno (peh-KEN-oo), medio (MEH-dee-you), and grande (grond, with a rolled "r")—with a difference of 60 pounds between the smallest and the largest of the breed. And if that isn't enough variety for you, the podengo's coat can be either smooth or wiry.



"Pumik are naturally sociable dogs," Hatfield continues. "But since their innate temperment is herding livestock they will need socialization to make them suitable companions for living in a home."

The pumi may look like a teddy bear that’s come to life, but these

brainy dogs are more than mere fluff. Find out more about these

Hungarian herders with a comically endearing appearance.



Dorgis are social, sprightly dogs with a loyal (and royal!) fan club. Learn what it takes to care for this bold, brainy, and beautiful mixed breed.

Arguably some of the finest things in life are portmanteaus—words that combine the sounds and meanings of two other words: brunch (breakfast and lunch), romcom (romantic and comedy), and cronut (croissant and donut). Let's add another: the dorgi—a loyal family dog who's smart, social, and whose popularity is on the rise.

Multi Dog Households: 

The Headaches and Heartaches of Living with Dogs

Who Do Not Get Along 

When it comes to our beloved Cavaliers, most of us have heard the statement, “you can’t have just one.” Most Cavalier owners go from having just one to a house filled with grandparents, aunts, and cousins! For many, they become a can’t-live-without lifelong passion. Known for their reliable, loving, and giving temperament, they induce us into wanting and having more. Add a spice of spunk and sportsmanship and they make a well-rounded companion for young and old, active or inactive, urban or country living.  




But even our “comfort spaniels” can have their moments. As rare ...

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Curious about Curiosity?


Virtual Consult Helps Fearful Shelter Puppy Gain her Happy Ending.   

Emerald slowly stood and cautiously looked out of her crate across the deck and through the window at the strange human and dog looking back at her. Even though she was outside and they were inside, this was a bold move. She leaned towards the house without actually taking a step, ready to retreat at the slightest movement. Head low, eyes alert, muscles tensed, she tried to see what was going on without actually engaging her body. Yet, even though her body was poised to withdraw, her mind was not It was busy gathering information.


Emerald was in a state of an emotional approach-avoidance conflict. She "wanted to want to" but not enough to commit physically. She was, however, accomplishing her goal: assessing, ever so timidly, her new environment. Friend or foe? Stay or run? 




A 90 Year Old Artist and a Dog Named Joe

Quickly into the phone call, it was clear that the caller was a senior; yet while the voice was still strong, there was an emotional undercurrent. She talked about her black and tan eight-year-old adopted dog named Joe. He had withdrawn from their daily routine. Instead of Joe being the center of her world, he was just orbiting it. Norma described it as a self-imposed exile. Listening to
her describe his behavior was heartbreaking. e sense of loss for this relationship was tangible; add the isolation of COVID, and the situation was serious. is relationship needed to be repaired and fast…and by phone.

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Can be subtle - but significant.

              An example of a successful virtual consult

 Tye is a beautiful, black, 4-year-old neutered Standard Poodle. He is a walking AKC advertisement for the breed standard both in conformation and in temperament. One of my favorite breeds, he is a heart stopper. He is everything he is supposed to be: well trained, beautifully behaved, and extremely responsive to his owners. However, there is one

behavioral problem that has gotten him into to some trouble: humping.

 History: Tye was expelled from a play date facility for stalking and humping his fellow playmates. He was thorough about choosing his victims, but he did not care about gender.


Unwanted Displacement Behavior



                   Not The Quick Fix You Thought! 

              "The end no longer justifies the means."

Here’s why:

Shock collars are a popular and easy technique used by many dog trainers in the elimination of unwanted behavior. Trainers advertise that they can get immediate results and transfer this technique easily to the owner; justified by the commonly used phrase, “don’t worry it does not hurt”. What owner would not want a “quick fix” that “does not hurt”? That’s the goal right? To have the dog stop doing whatever the “bad” behavior is and fast! The problem is. . .




Well, my heavens, who would have thought...

that our lives would have taken such a drastic turn in such a short period of time? Not only has the COVID-19 virus affected our entire country, with closed borders and communities, but the rest of the world is on lockdown as well. During the past few weeks in self-isolation, I have spent my time taking
Michael Shikashio's "Aggression in Dogs" Master Course. It was time
well spent and a perfect opportunity while hunkering down at home.


The New Normal


When and why human vs canine communication fails

Humans and dogs have been co-evolving for more
than 15,000 years. This coexistence has created
a relationship that enables non-verbal and verbal
communication to exist like in no other human/animal
relationship. Alerting your clients to the canine human
communication system and its inherent failures can help
alleviate potential problems.

Doggie Disconnect

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Selecting and Developing the Emotionally Sound Puppy Crucial for its Sociability

As professionals, we have clients whose philosophies about

selecting the best puppy vary. For some, only rescues are

considered and, for others, only the purebred puppy will do.

Regardless of whether the puppy is brought home from the

local shelter or imported from Germany, they all have the same

developmental period.

Let’s start with the basics. Besides overall good health, nutrition,

and training, there is another equally important component:

emotional soundness. Without it, the dog will not develop into

its fullest potential and may even develop emotional issues. The

clinging wall flower may never develop into the social butterfly;

the adage, “you can’t turn an apple into an orange,” comes to

mind, and you can’t make them “want to want to.”

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Caring For Dogs With Advanced Dementia

Whether you work in a shelter, rescue organization or are a pet parent, it would not be uncommon at some point to have to care for a senior canine citizen. Although each dog is an individual, there are some patterns of symptoms and behaviors in the aging process that we should be aware.

Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD) is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans; it is a “progressive agerelated neurodegenerative condition that affects cognitive function.” The disease, both in dogs and in humans,affects many parts of the way an individual thinks, remembers, and feels. It is marked by memory loss, a decreased ability to learn, problems regulating emotions and interacting socially, problems with sleeping andwaking, confusion and disorientation that can lead to wandering and circling, heightened anxiety, bladder and bowel control issues, and a decrease in overall activity levels.

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Attachment Scales as a Tool

Attachment, bonding, empathy, and attitudes toward dog ownership can be measured and used as a practical tool in assessing the human-dog relationship. They can be used with other kinds of classification tools, for example, they can give a sense of which of the Humane Society of the United States’ Four Levels of dog ownership the family is within. They offer you, as a canine behavior consultant, the ability to aid your client, their family, fosters, or potential adopters in identifying existing problems and for predicting potential conflict. They also aid in assessing the dog’s quality of life, and in developing a protocol.

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Caring for the Canine Senior Citizen

The formula for developing a care plan for human showing signs and symptoms of cognitive impairment or decline is similar to that of
a dog. The first rule is routine, routine, routine! It is best to create a daily routine for meals, dressing, naps, bedtime, visitors, or outings,
and prevent change as much as possible. If the routine must be varied, it is best to do so in early hours of the day before fatigue sets in
from the day’s activities. Any stressors such as rushing to complete a task, a change of environment, visitors that create anxiety (such
as small, active children), loud noises, and expressions of anger or frustration by the caregiver, can create challenging behaviors, also
called “catastrophic reactions.”


What is an Expert Witness?

According to Professor Killenbeck, the role of an expert witness in a trial is to “Assist the trier of fact (either the judge in a bench trial or a jury in a jury trial) in understanding one or more facts at issue in the case. An individual may be qualified as an expert based on his or her academic, scientific, or other specialized training, or on his or her extensive practical experience, in an area relevant to the factual issues in the case. Generally, you will be asked about the following items to establish your credentials as an expert witness: your academic training and licensure in animal behavior, your practical experience assessing and training animals, your membership in professional organizations relevant to animal behavior, whether you’ve published anything in print or online, and any honors or awards you’ve received in the field.”

Separation Anxiety  vs.  Isolation Distress

Coming in late one night after helping with an illness in the
family away from home, I was counting my blessings. A good
friend living close offered their guest bedroom and said they would
not be coming home until late. This was an ideal situation, as I
did not have the energy for a visit—I just wanted a hot shower,
jammies, and a glass of wine. Driving up, I saw her Toy Poodle
Princess looking out the window and I thought “how sweet,” being
too tired to notice that, perhaps, this was a red flag.



Proper Diagnosis, Correct Terminology Essential When Assessing Canine Mental Health Issues


The term “mental health” is appropriate, because we are discussing the dog’s emotional state. The same terms we use for humans to describe an emotion can also be used to describe the dogs. One reason is that we have no other language or term specific for the dog, e.g., fear, anxiety, or aggression. There are multiple terms that are universally understood whether describing an emotional state in a human or dog such as: depressed, afraid, nervous, or happy. These terms are similar in their definitions and descriptions and can be appropriately applied to for both species. Everyone can understand their meanings, be it with a human or a dog’s be-havior. The problem, of course, is that a human can “tell” us how they feel; a dog can only “show” us. As animal science professor, Temple Grandin teaches us, overt behavior is indicative of the internal state. We must learn to listen with our eyes.


COTD Fall 2018 Melissa Hatfield Canine M
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How to Know if the Dog is Dangerous?

There is a large spectrum from owners when it comes to
declaring that they have an aggressive dog. For example, I had
one senior client who was afraid of her dog. He would sit and
bark at her. She thought he was being “aggressive” and his
future entailed re-homing at best, or, at worst, euthanasia. Upon
observation, all he was doing was “talking” to her — it was his
way of communicating. She lived a sedentary life and he was
bored mindless. Education and an activity plan would have
been an easy fix, but she was not motivated nor committed to
the dog and choose relinquishment.

Selecting & Developing the Best Show Dog Puppy

There are many requisites that go into making a successful "show dog". For the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel this means the constant tail wag, open smile, and happy expression; his heart is in it from the time he enters the ring until he happily exits -- he is enjoying the overall experience. There are some, of course, that are born a natural showman, and everyone knows it when they see the jaunty, look-at-me trot around the ring. It seems that the dog knows it too!

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Being Accepted as an Expert


The first part of the process is being accepted as an expert witness. The
the judge must accept you are sufficiently qualified to give expert testimony. When your name is called, the bailiff will escort you into the courtroom where you will take the witness stand next to the judge's bench and be sworn in. The plaintiff and the defendant will be seated at separate tables in front of you with their respective attorneys. The attorney for your side will stand up and qualify you as an expert. They will question you about your education, training, certifications, and experience, and will then submit you as an expert. What is an expert witness? fact finder-usually


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Non Complient Client

How to mitigate training that has become resistant rather than rewarding

Do you have clients who are causing you frustration? Do you
wonder why did they hire your services only to disregard or
not follow through with your advice, or fail to incorporate
your training protocol into their dogs’ daily routine? If there has
been little to no improvement in the dogs’ behavior, why continue
this uphill battle? Is anyone really enjoying this process? 

How to mitigate training that has become resistant rather than rewarding

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