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The show about how to have a better relationship with your dog or cat. Get tips on dog and cat behaviour and training, learn about the science on dogs and cats, and find out which books we're reading (animal-related and more generally). Hosted by Zazie Todd PhD and Kristi Benson CTC of Companion Animal Psychology blog.
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The Wild At Heart Podcast

Emily Priestley, CTC, CDBC, SAPT

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Emily Priestley, CTC, SAPT, CDBC, has worked professionally with dogs for over a decade. Specializing in reactivity and herding breeds dogs who are struggling to fit into pet homes, Emily has a passion for helping the underdog. The Wild at Heart Podcast is designed to help you understand the dogs she loves so much and help you learn how these dogs think. The podcast will bring you the top minds in the field and will help both professionals with experience in training and pet owners who want ...
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We talk about the health issues faced by flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs and cats and why these breeds are still to popular with Dr. Dan O'Neill and Dr. Rowena Packer of the Royal Veterinary College. We start by talking about what we mean when we talk about brachycephalic dogs. Pugs, Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs are the poster children for these …
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Zazie and Kristi are joined by Grant Hayter-Menzies to talk about his book Freddie: The Rescue Dog Who Rescued Me. In this episode, we’re joined by writer and biographer Grant Hayter-Menzies to talk about his book Freddie: The Rescue Dog Who Rescued Me. We talk about how Freddie came into his life and the important ways in which dogs help us, even …
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Zazie and Kristi are joined by zoologist Dr. Jo Wimpenny to talk about her book, Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables, which is out now in paperback. In this episode of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation, Zazie and Kristi are joined by zoologist and writer Dr. Jo Wimpenny to talk about her book Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fabl…
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Social media is necessary for any business owner, dog trainers included. But it’s also a complicated place to navigate and try to figure out if you don’t have a user manual. I’ve heard some amazingly qualified positive reinforcement trainers say they don’t know where to get started on Instagram, so they avoid posting. I’ve certainly had to fumble a…
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Many social media influencers and trainers avoid calling out abusive dog trainers because of backlash from those who choose to hurt and scare animals in the name of training. 2023 was a hard year for many of us because there was a movement calling the force-free community “extremists” if we decided to voice concerns over abusive practices. While we…
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Zazie and Kristi are joined by TikTok star Jennifer Malawey (Dizzy Dancing Dog) who shares her secrets about how to us social media to help dogs. Jennifer Malawey has a CTC from the Academy for Dog Trainers andis a Certified SA Pro trainer who works on separation anxiety cases. She also puts out fantastic content on dog training on her social media…
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This is the episode you’ve all been waiting for. We’re getting into border collies and talking about sheepdog trials! What started as a couple of men making a bet in a pub in Wales in the 1800s has become an international sport with everyone of all ages competing on many levels with their dogs. My guest today, Lisa Wright is a retired professional …
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Erin and I sat down to chat about some specific factors in aggression cases, but we ended up scaling back and focusing on an overview. This topic is so broad, and Erin will be back to dive deeper into aggression! This episode is a great place to start for any guardian or trainer looking to understand their dog and what drives these unwanted reactio…
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If you've ever wondered about the life of sled dogs, Kristi is here to give us a primer on these fantastic dogs. I had the opportunity to work with ex-sled dogs at the BC SPCA. They were unlike everything you'd imagine if you watched Balto, from their looks to their personalities. They were fun, quirky, smart and looked like a regular mixed breed d…
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Maja is a talented trainer from Montreal, Canada. She works in person and virtually through Ivy League Dogs. Maja and I have something in common: we both started training in shelters. Maja’s skill set is unique, though- she worked with dogs rescued from the meat trade. These dogs came with a unique set of challenges. Maja weighs in on what it’s lik…
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Zazie and Kristi chat with Victoria Schade, dog trainer and author of delightful romcoms, about her upcoming book Unleashed Holiday. We learn about the Puppy Bowl and Victoria's involvement in it as lead animal wrangler, and how she made the move to writing, first with nonfiction books about dog training and then to romcoms. We chat about how Victo…
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Although I’ve worked with thousands of dogs, I’ve worked with many more cats. Most cats who came into the shelter were not cared for on the same level as our dogs. When I started managing the shelter, only 6% of cats who came in as strays were claimed by their owners. We increased this number over the years, but most people don’t see their cats as …
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On this episode of the Wild at Heart Podcast, we're switching gears. I'm talking to the amazing Beth Bigler, a pet loss grief counsellor. We're getting into it and talking about grief counselling, what to expect and how to find your way forward. And while talking about death, we're doing it in a supportive and transformative way. It's also intimate…
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In this episode we chat about how to groom your cat and how to deal with mats, as well as how to trim your cat’s nails. We discuss the many reasons why it’s important not to “declaw” your cat and how it’s really like an amputation. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats and we talk about the kind of post to provide to keep your cat happy. We als…
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Welcome to the inaugural episode of the Wild at Heart podcast! In today's episode, we'll explore the ongoing debate surrounding the current and disturbing anti-fetch movement with the invaluable insights of world-renowned trainer Jean Donaldson. Recently, a surge of online posts claims that fetch is detrimental to our dogs, causing a severe welfare…
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Kristi and Zazie are joined by author Sassafras Lowrey to talk about her latest book, Claw This Journal, which is full of fun tips for activities to do with your cat. We learn about how Sassafras's cat Thing came into her life and why she wrote this book. We talk about enrichment for cats, and how it's important to tailor it for individual cats. We…
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It’s surprisingly common for newly-adopted dogs to get lost, and for any dog to go missing at some point in their lives, even if only for a moment. How can we stop dogs from getting lost? We chat with Maria Karunungan of Fetch the Leash in Burlington, Vermont, about the steps dog guardians can take to prevent their dog from getting lost. From the b…
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We talk about how much grooming dogs need, whether they have short fur or long fur, and why it’s important to stay on top of it. We chat about the research that shows that dogs can find grooming stressful, and the training we can do to make it easier. It's so important to go at the dog's pace. A lot of people find doing their dog’s nails a chore, a…
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Resource Guarding in Dogs We talk with Lisa about what resource guarding is and the body language that you should look for to spot it. People often have an emotional response to resource guarding—it can be a shock if your dog growls at you—and we talk about why you shouldn’t punish the growl and how to deal with those completely normal feelings. We…
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Kindness in dog training We talk with Jane about the importance of kindness in dog training, both kindness to dogs and kindness to people. We begin by talking about the most important ways to be kind to dogs. Jane specializes in working with clients whose dogs have separation anxiety, and we also talk about how to help people deal with this tricky …
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Training Tricks with Your Dog (and Cat) Teaching tricks to your dog is fun and cute, and a great way to improve the human-animal bond. Plus, you get to show off how adorable your pet is. Erica Beckwith is the talented tricks trainer behind A Matter of Manners Dog Training, where she does behaviour consults for dogs and cats and runs online classes …
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The Pawsitive Post In Conversation Ep 4 with special guest Jean Donaldson. #CAP10. Zazie and Kristi are joined by Jean Donaldson, one of the world's top dog trainers, founder of the Academy for Dog Trainers, and author of Culture Clash. Zazie, Kristi, and Jean talk about what's changed for dogs over the last ten years: the move to reward-based dog …
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Episode 5 of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation sees Zazie and Kristi talk about the names we give our pets. We chat about how we choose them, what makes a good name, how we use our pets' names, how to change a pet's name, and whether they know their own and each other's names. As well, we talk about the books the book club is reading right now and…
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we talk about countering misinformation about dogs and cats with truth sandwiches. We run through some myths about dog training and cat behaviour, talk about why they are wrong, and figure out some truth sandwiches to help correct the misinformation. We consider: why it’s wrong to take a dominance approach to dog training why we should use positive…
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We talk about New Year's Resolutions, habits that are a good idea for pet guardians, helping dogs and cats cope with winter, grooming dogs and cats, writing habits, and what we're reading right now. The books mentioned: A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of dogs in a World Without Humans by Jessice Pierce and Marc Bekoff The Sleep Solution: Why You…
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We chat about the Genius Dog Challenge, where scientists are finding dogs who know a lot of words, and Stella the dog who learned to use buttons to communicate. We also talk about the words and behaviours our own dogs and cats know--and the behaviours we think are important for every pet to know. Kristi tells us about her courses for people who nee…
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Meet Zazie Todd and Kristi Benson, the hosts of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation, as they chat about dogs and cats. This podcast is for anyone who wants to learn more about how to have a better relationship with their dog or cat. We'll focus on dog and cat behaviour and training. Whether you are a dog person or a cat person, there will be somethi…
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