Dr. Mark Teaches for HSU at Memphis Animal Shelter

Dr. Mark Demonstrating Scruff

Last week I had the pleasure and honor to teach a dog handling course for Memphis Animal Services at the Memphis Animal Shelter as an instructor for Humane Society University (HSU).  The course was titled: “Humane  Handle of Fearful Dogs for Shelter Staff and ACOs”.   Administrator James Rogers arranged for me to teach the 1-day workshop twice so all shelter staff and ACOs could attend.  This course was offered through Humane Society University.

I was extremely impressed with how receptive all MAS personnel were throughout the course and at how much fun we all had exploring humane ways of handling dogs!  To honor their expertise, I invited several people to demonstrate either new techniques or variations of techniques I was teaching.  We are all each other’s teacher and I learned as well as trained. Continue reading

Social Dominance in Canids is Not a Myth

There is so much confusion when dominance in canids is discussed.   It actually is not that confusing.  Much of the confusion arises when “experts” attempt to re-state the findings of canid experts such as Dave Mech and Marc Beckoff – even suggesting that dominance is not part of the social structure in wolves or other wild canids.

I stole the title of this post from a post written by Marc Beckoff at the Psychology Today Blog and relating to a subsequent and sincere apology from Lee Charles Kelley.  If the subject of dominance in canids is important to you, it is important for you to read these posts.

I do not write about dominance in canids to explain canid behaviors or to guide people for how to train dogs.  I discuss and explore dominance in canids because dominance can be a valuable AND COMPASSIONATE  tool for capturing and handling feral or fearful dogs, which is the theme of this blog.

Thank you Dr. Beckoff and Dr. Mech for your persistence in clarifying your behavior observations.

Respectfully, Dr. Mark


Bridger Mountains, Bozeman MT

I am excited to announce that we have recently scheduled a non-chemical capture and handling course here in my home town of Bozeman, MT near Yellowstone Park.  The course will be Oct. 15-16, 2011 at the Western Heritage Inn in Bozeman.

My apologies for this late notice but it became a relatively informal gathering of people who expressed a serious interest in our training courses.  Now other people & organizations have decided to join us as well.

The Y Pole - an essential tool for shelters

This is a dog non-chemical capture and handling course that is essential training for animal control officers, shelter staff, disaster responders, rescue workers responding to hoarding cases/puppy mills, spay/neuter programs, and those rescuing dogs in general.  “Compassionate Dog Handling” is not taught anywhere else in the world. Throughout the course we explore how to work in a calm manner and without fighting the dogRegister through our GWR website.

Dog Non-Chemical Capture and Handling Workshop

Learning How to Not Fight the Animal

Humane Physical Restraint, Leash Work And Leash Muzzle Wrap

Netting, Proper Technique with Catch Poles

The Y Pole – an Essential Tool for Shelters

Boxtraps and Capture Pens – Bringing the Dogs To Us

Catching Dogs in Large Enclosures

GWR courses promote care, honor, and respect

  for each animal that is handled;

and are often profound experiences for course participants.

The course includes a course notebook and Certificate of Training.  No live dogs are used in this course.  The course is vibrant with videos, slides, visual aids, and lively discussion. The class is limited to 40 people, so register early! The 2-day course fee is $375. Places in the course are reserved once payment is received.  Class begins at 9am each morning.

 Register On-line through our GWR website!


Print registration from website course listing and mail to:

Global Wildlife Resources, Inc.

P.O. Box 10248, Bozeman MT 59719-0248

 Special Lodging Offer

Western Heritage Inn will provide a reduced room rate for attending the course.

Simply mention the humane dog handling course when you register.

For more information and registration form

visit our website Course Schedule.

Watch New YouTube Videos on Compassionate Physical Restraint

Dear friends and colleagues,

I have just posted three new YouTube Videos on compassionate dog physical restraint.  Visit our YouTube Channel: GWRFeralDog.

All dog handlers should be comfortable and confident with physical restraint of fearful dogs, although handlers must learn the size and attitude of dogs they can safely handle.  Skilled physical restraint strengthens the dog handler’s ability to work with all aspects of dog handling, because it strengthens their confidence and skills in general.  It also allows the handler to attempt softer and quieter techniques if the dog appears willing or receptive. Continue reading


Koror State Animal Shelter

I have just returned from teaching a very successful compassionate dog handling course in Palau.  I am very grateful to the  Koror State animal control officers and shelter staff who attended the training with an openness and willingness to learn new and soft approaches.  And thank you to Palau Animal Welfare Society who invited me and to the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) who generously provided funding.

The Republic of Palau is a island nation in the Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines and south of Japan.  Koror is the only state in Palau with an animal shelter, animal control officers, and state animal welfare legislation requiring licensing of dogs. Continue reading

Dr. Mark’s View of the Master Dog Handling Classes in India

Banner for Master Dog Handling Courses

What an incredible experience teaching three 5-day courses to dog handlers from all across India and to receive support for these classes from the Animal Welfare Board of India, Vets Beyond Borders, Jeevashram, the Municipal Corporation of Gurgoan, and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.  I am honored to be a part of this and I believe this government supported program will have excellent influence on the culture of dog handling in India.

For Phase 1, I taught about 50 students over the three courses.  These “train-the-trainer” courses included classroom time with PowerPoint and Video, afternoon hands-on labs,  sunrise

Dr. Mark teaching netting techniques

captures, and student presentations to strengthen their ability to teach.  All of the dogs gathered for this course were sterilized by Jeevashram veterinarians, vaccinated, and returned to where they were captured.  The course was held at Jeevashram in Village Rajokri near Delhi and I am extremely grateful to Dr. Sharma and his colleagues and staff for working so hard in hosting the course. Continue reading

Teaching Master Dog Handling Courses in India

I am writing from India.  Today I started teaching my third Master Dog Handling Class which is being presented by the Animal Welfare Board of India, Vets Beyond Borders, Global Wildlife Resources, Jeevashram,  the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the Municipal Corporation of Gurgoan.  Through this program, the humane and compassionate principles taught by Global Wildlife Resources will become a national standard for the country of India.

This is my fourth trip to India and I am honored to be teaching my unique form of compassionate dog handling to over 50 dog handlers from across India as part of Phase 1. For Phase 2, each student has promised to teach 20 more handlers over the next year so 1,000 dog handlers will be taught this compassionate form of dog handling which teaches not to fight the dog, to look at yourself first to calm the dog, and to use the Y pole.  To help them teach in Phase 2, Global Wildlife Resources and Vets Beyond Borders will be producing a training video with DVDs for each day.  The foundation language will be in English, but the students will be able to choose several languages of India.  Eventually this training video will also be available in Chinese and Spanish.   I will keep you posted.

Some dog handlers in my India courses, especially those of municipal corporations, arrive without knowing any compassion for the dogs.  They have been told to catch as many dogs as possible and are often paid by the dog.  Some have used metal tongs to grab the dogs or the loop and pole method without being aware that dogs have feelings and feel pain just as we do.

Here they are meeting fellow students who are skilled at catching and handling dogs in a compassionate way and they are learning about nets and the sack method.  They are also understanding how compassion makes their work easier and safer and by the fifth day I see them caring for the dog and petting the dog as they handle it.  It is quite remarkable.

Other dog handlers in my India courses have been catching dogs for years, but have never touched a dog.  They have used nets or loop and pole and have transported them in the nets or quickly dumped them in the truck.  Here they are learning how to scruff to control the dog in a humane way. They are learning about the leash wrap and how to use hobbles.  By learning confidence in touching and handling the dog, they also learn confidence in the net.  But most important, they learn how to calm the dog by being calm and how to make the dog easier to handle by being kind to it.

I must prepare for tomorrow’s class, but I will share about these classes later.

To see photos of my teaching here in India, visit our Global Wildlife Resources Flickr site at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/global_wildlife_resources/

Dr. Mark