Our Blog

The Changing Face of Synergy

by | November 1, 2022

  Synergy has evolved over the course of its existence, and especially over this time of COVID. Our team leaned into these changes without hesitation to provide online support for our clients and their pets. I became a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, and as a practice we started expanding our services to include some diagnostics and....

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Shock Means Shock

by | April 26, 2021

Words matter. The words we choose to describe things matter. We’ve talked in the past about how much words matter, and the way they frame our subjective interpretation of events, interactions, and behaviors. Words such as “dominant”, “stubborn”, and “command”, don’t foster a mutually respectful relationship with our pets.In fact, these words more often lead....

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Just Give Them the Treat!

by | April 19, 2021

There seems to be a pervasive and persistent piece of training advice that amounts to something like- “nothing in life is free,” or “make them work for it.” Many trainers will still tell pet guardians that their dogs should train for every piece of their daily food; perform a specific behavior before having access to....

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“Fine” is a Four-Letter Word: Part 2

by | April 5, 2021

So there was a family with a massive and beautiful tree growing right over their house. The city sent someone to inspect the tree for potential safety concerns and gave it a green check, indicating it was “just fine.” Less than six months later, a routine storm caused a huge branch to break off from....

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The Truth about Behavioral Medications

by | March 22, 2021

In many communities, there are myths, stigma, and judgments surrounding the use of behavioral medications for humans and animals. The debate can become quite heated, especially given the highly personal and sensitive nature of mental health and therapeutic journeys. At Synergy, we work every day to dispel myths, share and use accurate and up to....

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Cats Are NOT Low-Maintenance Pets

by | March 13, 2021

There is a pervasive belief that cats are easy pets. Many folks talk about cats as animals that mostly care for themselves, entertain themselves, are largely independent, and prefer to just sleep all day and eat out of a bowl. These assumptions are simply not true. Cats are NOT “low maintenance” pets! Bored, under-stimulated cats....

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Belly Rub Invite?…Or “Please Stop!” Plea?

by | March 1, 2021

When a dog rolls over and exposes its belly, what is the first thing you tend to do? What if the dog exposing its belly is your own dog cuddling with you on the couch? Now, what if the dog is your friend’s dog you have just met in their home a few minutes ago?....

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Separation Anxiety is NOT Resolved by Taller Fences and Stronger Crates

by | February 22, 2021

You have probably seen the social media advertisements, right? The extra soft bed that “cures” anxious dogs;the special indestructible metal crate that helps dogs with separation anxiety feel “safer”;or the super-tall fences (sometimes with coyote rollers!) over which no dog can leap. These are such tempting, easy, albeit often rather expensive, proposed solutions to a....

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E-Collar or Recovery Collar? Time for a Rebrand!

by | February 15, 2021

Veterinary friends and pet guardians!  Some food for thought.  In many veterinary environments, the term “e-collar” refers to the “cone of shame” (aka, Elizabethan collar) that we use to keep dogs and cats from licking or chewing at injuries, surgical wounds, etc. For many clients and dog trainers, however, the term “e-collar” refers to the....

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Big Emotional Change Requires a Big Emotional Experience

by | February 1, 2021

Trainers often hear pet guardians lament, “He never does that for me!” And perhaps it is true. Why does this happen? How does your trainer make it look easy? The reasons for this are many, but one of the simplest explanations is just a word: JOY. Too many people think that positive reinforcement training is....

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Successful Management is a Double Bubble

by | January 25, 2021

We really love good management! It has been on our minds recently, especially with so many pet guardians working and attending school from home. Now is a fantastic time to establish good management practices to help bring out the best in your pet! Managing the environment is often a matter of safety. We prioritize the....

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Management is Key to Behavior Training

by | January 18, 2021

The first and arguably most important part of a successful behavior modification plan is management.But what is management? What does it look like? And why is it so important? The concept of management in training is all about setting up the environment to help make the desired outcome more probable, while also limiting or eliminating....

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Positive Reinforcement

by | January 11, 2021

Guess what?? Positive reinforcement is a procedural and behavioral outcome. This means that it works, by definition. That is, if a behavior occurs more frequently, then it has been reinforced. If that behavior is occurring more frequently because something pleasurable or appetitive has been added to the situation, then positive reinforcement has occurred. If you....

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Behavior is the Real Measure of Success

by | December 14, 2020

While researching various animal trainers who will gladly take your money to train your pet, you very likely have come across the professionals who advertise quick and guaranteed results; for example, a two-week board and train guaranteed to “fix” your aggressive dog; or a horse trainer promising to “break” your new horse in just one....

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Train FOR the Moment, Not IN the Moment

by | November 30, 2020

When athletes train for the big game, they run drills and condition on their home court or field; they don’t learn how to shoot the ball during the heat of the game. Sometimes, if a child is having a hard time socially, their family might sign them up for rock climbing lessons, or have them....

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