Free Canine Communication Webinar Tuesday Jan 14th!

Just a quick announcement: I hope you can join me and Drs Suzanne Hetts and Michele Wan for the first “CAAB Chat” webinar, next Tuesday January 14th at 6 pm Eastern Time, 5 Central and 4 Mountain. (Alert: I posted the wrong times initially! Sorry!) This is the first in a series of free webinars that present several Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists discussing a specific issue related to behavior and training. Dr. Hetts brainstormed the idea (yeah!!!), and here’s what she’s written by way of introduction:

Ever wished you could be a fly on the wall when behaviorists get together and talk shop? Wonder what they think of the latest research, the most current behavior modification or training protocol, or how they educate clients who’ve been exposed to too much behavior nonsense on the web and on TV?
Have you been frustrated by hearing conflicting information about the “why’s” of pet behavior or the best protocols for problem resolution, and put off by rigid “dos” and “don’ts” that sometimes seem illogical?
Would you like to hear interpretations of the latest research so you can be aware of any design or statistical flaws, so you know what the findings might mean for you and what you do daily?
Do you enjoy well moderated panel discussions at conferences where you are treated to hearing different points of views expressed rationally, with participants being polite and respecting each other’s view points?
Your “wish list” now exists!

We’re aiming for a free webinar (free if one listens live, a small fee if you want a recorded version) about every month or so. Each month will have a different group of experts to talk about a different issues. On Tuesday January 14th our discussion is titled: Questions, Controversies and Considerations in Canine Visual Communication.

I hope you can join us, I think it will be great fun!


  1. Sherron says

    Hi Trisha,

    I just registered for this and the time in the confirmation is different than what’s listed above. The confirmation says 6 p.m. EST, 5 p.m. CST, 4 p.m. MST, 3 p.m. PST.

    Hope that’s right, otherwise, I have a conflict!

  2. Emma Davenport says

    Sherron, mind sharing how you registered? Are you already a member on the CAAB chats website? I very much hope I’ll be able to join you all!

  3. Frances says

    Can I ask how long the session is likely to last? That’s an 11pm start in the UK, which is fine, but I may need to think about investing in the recording if it continues past 1am!

  4. diane says

    Very interested, and thank you so much for sharing. I can’t make the time due to my work schedule – so please update regarding fee and availability for any recorded versions.

  5. Nic1 says

    Looks fascinating! Particularly interested in the discussion on ‘calming signals’, which has always been controversial as there is very little, if any, science to back these observations up. I prefer to regard them as ‘stress signals’!

    Hope it goes well and will invest in the recording.

  6. says

    For all of you inquiring about length of chat, cost of recording, etc. We plan on the chats lasting about one hour, but part of that depends on how wound up Trisha and Michele get! :-). Seriously, we’ll end them at no longer than 75 minutes.

    Regarding recordings – we’d encourage you to pre-purchase the recording. Not only to ensure you won’t miss the chat – we all know things happen last minute – but also to use as reference. You know you’ll be asking yourself in a few days “Now what EXACTLY was it Trisha/Michele said about calming signals. You know how information changes the more it’s repeated – so be sure you can go to the source.

    Pre-chat cost of the recording is only $9 – a no brainer. The day AFTER the chat, the price is $18 so be rewarded for being proactive! You have about 24 hours to take advantage of the low pre-purchase price.

    Pop over to now!

  7. Kat says

    I enjoyed the chat very much and gained some food for thought. You would have laughed if you’d been able to see me, laptop balanced precariously on one arm of my chair, 50+ lb Finna stretched out on the other arm and one of my legs, The Great Catsby stretched out along the back of my chair and 90lb Ranger asleep at my feet. Meowzart would have joined us except he refuses to be anywhere near Finna–his fear of her diminishes as her social skills improve but he’s not a cat that is ever going to enjoy the company of dogs.

    In an interesting coincidence of timing just as you were discussing freezing as a calming signal I shifted around and Finna objected doing the things I’ve learned to recognize as a prelude to a snap–stiffening body, wrinkled muzzle, hardening expression–and as I do often when I’ve done something she didn’t predict and she’s upset about it I froze, or more accurately I became immobile, ceasing all movement until she had a second to process what was happening and realize it wasn’t a threat. She relaxed, I finished getting comfortable and all was well. I gave her the calming signal of freezing, if you will, and it defused the situation. It seems to me that there’s a difference between a stiff freeze preparatory to an action and an immobile freeze to indicate a lack of threat.

    Sadly, Finna, lacking any socialization, finds human behavior unpredictable and while she’s making slow but steady progress learning all the different things people do she still regards unexpected things as potential threats and will snap at me for startling her if I don’t freeze for a second while she assesses what’s going on.

    Thanks again for the webinar. It was great!

  8. Robin Jackson says

    Regarding freezing as a calming signal…I think both dogs and people, when they see another dog/person who is very tense, on a hair trigger as it were, naturally slow our own movements and even hold still to help defuse the situation. Our slowing down is, I think, an intentional signal to the other that we ourselves are not in attack mode.

    Indeed, I think this is one of the few where there is very obvious intentional communication.

    I think where the confusion comes in is that if “freeze” implies “go rigid,” as it does for some people, then most likely the one doing the freezing is anxious or fearful.

    But if “freeze” just means “stop moving forward,” it can be pretty relaxed, and certainly be an intentional attempt not to frighten the other creature even more.

    Imagine the classic police drama setup where there is a bank robbery in progress with hostages.

    A police detective comes into the room, trying to talk the robber into putting down his gun.

    Don’t we expect the detective to move slowly, or even stop? Don’t we expect the robber to get MORE nervous if the detective continues walking towards him?

    Freezing here is a definite intentional calming signal because in the mind of the anxious one, the closer the other comes, the greater the potential threat.

    So I think you see “freezing” on lists of calming signals to cover that kind of situation. Happy relaxed dog enters the space of anxious dog. Happy dog with good social skills stops moving forward so that anxious dog will not become even more anxious. (Happy dog who is socially inept continues moving forward, oblivious to the other’s anxiety. )

    Maybe “freezing” isn’t the best word for it, but I think it’s easy to see this one happen in real life, whatever you call it.

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