How What I’ve Learned in 33 Years Has Changed My Approach to Canine Behavior, Training, and Ethics

How What I’ve Learned in 33 Years Has Changed My Approach to Canine Behavior, Training, and Ethics.

A presentation for the Eastern Area Agency on Aging

By Don Hanson, PCBC-A, BFRAP

< Version – 2024-03-18 >

< Updated 2024-03-22 >

Links and Other References

Our Early Years with Gus



FACT: Dogs Are Emotional Sentient Beings

  • Pets, Emotions, & Anthropomorphism
  • Books
    • The Expression of Emotion in Man & Animals, Charles Darwin
    • For the Love of A Dog, Patricia McConnel, Ph.D.
    • The Emotional Lives of Animals, Marc Bekoff, Ph.D.
    • Descartes’s Error, Antonio Damasio

MYTH: I must be dominant or Alpha


 FACT: Aversive Tools must NEVER be used to train a dog


FACT: A Behavior That is Rewarded Will Be Repeated


  • Books
    • Don’t Shoot the Dog, Karen Pryor
    • What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers, Amy Sutherland
    • Best Friends for Life, Don Hanson, PCBC-A
    • Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog, Linda P. Case.


FACT: Dogs Communicate Silently with Their Body

  • Books
  • On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals, by Turid Rugaas
  • A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge
  • The Other End of the Leash, Patricia McConnell, PhD

FACT: Your Dog Can Detect Your Mood Based On Your Facial Expressions

FACT: Your Dog Can Detect Your Emotions Based On The Way You Smell

FACT: As Humans, We Need to Pay More Attention to How We Interact with Dogs


MYTH: Without Daily Physical Exercise, My Dog Will Get Fat

FACT: Some Pet Care Professionals Are Trying to Improve Things


FACT: What You Feed Your Pet Matters


    • The Forever Dog by Rodney Habib and Karen Shaw Becker
    • Feeding Dogs. Dry or Raw? The Science Behind The Debate, Conor Brady, PhD
    • Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition, Richard Patton, PhD

FACT: ALWAYS Be Patient with, and Kind to Your Dog

Green Acres Kennel Shop


Force Free Pets

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Don Hanson lives in Bangor, Maine, where he is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( and the founder of, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. He is a Professional Canine Behavior Consultant (PCBC-A) accredited by the Pet Professional Accreditation Board (PPAB) and a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP). Don is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), serving on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee and chairing the Advocacy Division. He is also a founding director of Pet Advocacy International (PIAI). In addition, Don produces and co-hosts The Woof Meow Show podcast, available at, the Apple Podcast app, and this blog. The opinions in this article are those of Don Hanson.

© Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved

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