Our Blog

Compliance Does Not Equal Comfort

by and | November 2, 2020

Compliance might look fancy and impressive on social media and in advertising, but it can come at a hefty cost to both our relationship with the animal and to the animal’s welfare. At Synergy, our methods are always evolving to keep up with the findings of science and ethical discourse in the world of behavior.....

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Desensitization

by and | October 26, 2020

Desensitization is a process that diminishes emotional responsiveness to a negative, aversive, or positive stimulus after repeated exposure to it. Many people use this process with our animals, both intentionally and by accident. It often occurs naturally by virtue of daily life; for example, perhaps you live near train tracks, and your cat used to....

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Muzzled Dogs Aren’t BAD Dogs!

by and | October 19, 2020

  Muzzled dogs have a bit of a bad reputation. Some people assume that a muzzled dog will bite people and is a dangerous dog. Other people think that are muzzles are cruel and restrictive. But guess what?? Muzzles are actually magic!  Dogs wear muzzles out and about, or even in the house, for a....

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Reward Your Dog For EVERY SINGLE Recall!

by | October 5, 2020

Recall is an essential skill for every dog (and other pets, too!). It is also a very expensive behavior- that is, it is hard work for your dog. Leaving behind something exciting- like a good smell, a swimming hole, a squirrel chase, or a new friend at the park- and coming aaaaaaaall the way back....

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Environmental Desensitization – Helping a Student’s Dog

by | May 30, 2016

When you are working on helping your dog become less reactive towards other dogs, a factor that often comes about is having difficulty even having them focus on you rather than the environment. One reason this can happen is a dog’s distress about being in outdoor locations where many of their triggers (stressors) have been in the past. Another reason....

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ThunderCaps – Calming an Over-Stimulating World

by | September 19, 2015

In our modern densely-populated and noisy urban society, dogs can often live much of their lives outdoors in a state of high visual stimulation. Surprising encounters at close distances and limited opportunities to escape are part of this picture also. The ThunderCap™ is a tool that can be used to reduce the stimulation of these environments. They can also be....

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“Fine” is a Four-Letter Word

by | January 20, 2015

Have you ever looked at your dog and thought that she looks “fine”? Have you described your own or another person’s pet as “fine” when you describe them to your friends? Beware, the word “fine” is often not so fine! What is “fine”? One of the most common statements that I hear when I am....

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Calming Signals or Stress Signs?

by | January 16, 2015

When working with clients, I am often asked about the body language of the dogs that we are working with. One question that comes up, particularly with those who have some background in behavior and training, is about whether the behaviors (yawning, licking lips, turning away, sniffing the ground, panting, full body shake-offs, etc.) we....

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The Misunderstood Muzzle

by | January 13, 2015

Muzzles are some of the most misunderstood, but most important, tools in dog training. It is a way to keep your dog and others around her safe while providing opportunities for training. A muzzled dog is not a bad dog, and may not even be a dog that bites.  However it is a dog whose....

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Pet Prep – Part 2 – Prepping to Be Away

by | January 9, 2015

After reading even more about the potential dangers of a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest and Portland in particular, I have decided that I would like to find ways to teach people how to help their pets in a disaster. I want to share with you some of the things that I have learned....

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A Note from Dr. Valli – Synergy Snapshot

by | January 6, 2015

Happy New Year everyone! Lana touching a target As customary this time of the year, new resolutions are made. As such, we have made a resolution to kick off the new year with a renewed vigor by writing new articles about animal behavior, and behavior-related topics, for all of you to read and enjoy. A....

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Say What? Whale Eye

by | January 7, 2014

Whale eye occurs when a dog’s head is pointed one way but their eyes are looking at something in a different direction. The whites of the eyes can be seen as an arc. It can be thought of as looking out of the corner of the eye. Dogs who show this behavior are typically concerned....

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Trainers Need Training Too!

by | January 14, 2013

I have been assisting with our Reactive Rover classes for several years, but recently I had Ferrous enjoying a day a the beach! the opportunity to join the class as a student with my own dog, Ferrous. I love being a student. Not only do I get to spend time with my dogs, which can....

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Say What? Bunting

by | January 8, 2013

Bunting, head-butting or face-rubbing, is something anyone who has been around cats will recognize. Cats will rub against inanimate objects, as well as people or other animals that they feel comfortable with.  The term “allorubbing” is also used when bunting is done in a social context. Cats have scent glands along the sides of their....

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