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Your Virtual Summit Presenters and Session Information

Your Virtual Summit Presenters 

Dr. Karolina Westlund

Dr. Nick Thompson

Dr. Morag Heirs

Malena DeMartini & Casey McGee

Dr. Robert Hewings

Dr. Juliane Kaminski

Dr. Zazie Todd 

Dr. Kathy Murphy

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Pet Rescue Resource Sponsor - Jean Donaldson

Presenter: Dr. Karolina Westlund

Presentation Title: Preventing and Reducing Fear in the Shelter Environment"

In this webinar, Karolina discusses how to recognize the subtle signs of fear in cats and dogs. She talks about why it's important to nip fear in the bud, what makes animals fearful and how fear learning may impact the animal's personality, behavior and welfare. Also, how we can prevent and reduce fear through addressing the animals' learning as well as making changes to the environment.

Learning objectives

  • Recognize fearful behaviors in cats and dogs
  • Name common innate fear stimuli
  • What is fear learning and why is it important?
  • What is latent inhibition and how can you use it?
  • What is counterconditioning, how can you use it - and what are the common mistakes that people make?
  • Why systematic desensitization is better than flooding
  • How you can arrange the environment to prevent and reduce fear

Karolina Westlund helps pet lovers and animal professionals get happier animals that thrive in the care of humans. She grew up pining for a kitten for several years and pestering her parents until they gave up. The green-eyed black half-siamese cat that she got for her seventh birthday became a true friend who lived to be 21 years old, but an easily startled cat who often went into hiding when there were visitors.

Karolina had grand ideas about becoming a field biologist, but that never came about – the closest she got was working as a trekking travel guide in France and Madeira. Instead she majored in Ethology and developed a passionate interest in animal welfare seen through a multidisciplinary lens, including Behaviour Analysis and Affective Neuroscience. She is now an Associate Professor of Ethology at the University of Stockholm, mostly teaching how behavior management can be used to improve animal welfare.

She offers live seminars, free online webinars and masterclasses in addition to more extensive online courses, as well as the occasional blog post or scientific publication on the topic of enrichment, animal training and wellbeing. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with her husband, two kids, and, hopefully soon, another cat.

Learn more here https://illis.se/en/blog/


Presenter:  Dr. Zazie Todd

Presentation Title: Implementing Science-Based Training in Shelter and Rescue

Science has a lot to tell us about dog training (and a little about cat training too), but how can we use these ideas effectively in shelter and rescue? This webinar will begin with a user-friendly overview of the scientific research on dog training methods and what it says about the use of reward-based methods to train pet dogs. We will look at how this fits into the Five Freedoms and the Five Domains models of animal welfare, and how positive reinforcement training can be an enrichment activity as well as a solution to behaviour issues. We will also consider ways to deal with difficulties getting buy-in from stakeholders (including volunteers).

There is also some fascinating research on the importance of the timing of rewards, the quality of rewards, and on resource guarding issues. And for time-strapped shelters, we will look at the research on the effects of simply giving dogs a treat as you pass their kennel. For each of these topics we will look at practical tips and strategies that can help with the dogs in your care. Finally, we will consider the research on the potential benefits of training shelter cats, and some tips on incorporating this into staff or volunteer practice.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand important points from the research on dog (and cat) training methods
  • Consider how this fits in with models of animal welfare
  • Appraise reward quality, timing, and how they relate to behaviour for dogs and cats in shelters
  • Apply practical tips in shelter and rescue

Zazie Todd is the creator of Companion Animal Psychology, a blog about how to have happier cats and dogs (according to science). She has a PhD in Psychology, an MFA Creative Writing, and is an honors graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers. The owner of Blue Mountain Animal Behaviour, she has a Psychology Today blog called Fellow Creatures, and has also written about pets for Pacific Standard, The Psychologist, and Reader’s Digest. Her book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, with a foreword by Dr. Marty Becker, has been called “a clear and compassionate guide to bringing out the best in your dog” by NYT-bestselling author Gregory Berns.


Presenters: Malena DeMartini & Casey McGee

Presentation Title: Rethinking Separation Anxiety in the Homeless Dog

Dogs with separation anxiety are often a source of heartbreak for shelter and rescue staff, despite this disorder being one of the primary behavioral reasons cited for owner surrenders. This presentation will draw on our considerable experience interviewing and consulting with shelter and rescue staff wanting to better serve this vulnerable population.

Join separation anxiety trainers Malena DeMartini and Casey McGee to explore some common misconceptions about separation anxiety in the homeless dog.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of accurate diagnoses and the impact they have on the trajectory of dogs in your care
  • Explore ways of better meeting the needs of dogs with separation anxiety within your existing financial, staff and volunteer resources
  • Discuss the ongoing cultural shift around the acceptance of canine emotional and/or behavioral disorders

Malena DeMartini, CTC, is renowned in the dog training world for her work on canine separation anxiety (SA) disorder. Her book, Treating Separation Anxiety in Dogs, has helped countless numbers of dogs and her recent online course for guardians called Mission: POSSIBLE is proving to be an invaluable resource in the industry. In addition to writing and lecturing worldwide, Malena oversees a team of top SA trainers and runs an internationally accessible certification program for accomplished dog professionals looking to hone their skills.Malena is passionate about furthering education in this field through science-based methods.Visit https://malenademartini.com


Casey owns Upward Hound Dog Training in western Wisconsin. She is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers, where she now works as a coach and mentor, and isa member of Malena’s team of Certified Separation Anxiety Trainers. For the last three years, she and Malena have been consulting with shelters and rescues to develop best practices for homeless dogs with separation anxiety. Casey and her partner live in Star Prairie, Wisconsin, with their three dogs and Oscar the Perfect Cat.


Presenter: Dr. Juliane Kaminski

Presentation Title: Code Breaker: How dogs understand us (and we them)

You will hear about the latest research on dogs’ ability to read (and understand) human communication with a particular focus on facial communication. You will also hear about how humans interpret dog faces and facial expressions.

Learning Objectives:

  • Reflect on the scientific approach to dog behavior
  • Acquire knowledge on latest research regarding dog-human communication

Juliane is a Reader in Comparative Psychology in the psychology department of the University of Portsmouth. Before that she was the group leader of the research group “Evolutionary Roots of Human Social Interaction” at the Max Planck Institute for evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig/ Germany where she also completed her PhD in 2005

Juliane received her Ph.D. in biological sciences from Leipzig University and helped to found and lead the Max Planck Institute's Dog Cognition Study Center where she made a number of exciting discoveries about how dogs solve problems. She is now the director of the Dog Cognition Centre Portsmouth (www.port.ac.uk/dogcognition)

Her research interests include social cognition, communication and cooperation in human infants, primates and dogs. Most famously she was the first to show that a dog named Rico learns words in a similar fashion as human infants. She is recognized as a leading expert on dog cognition and has been recognized in National Geographic, Discovery News and the NOVA special documentary film "Dogs Decoded" broadcast on American public television.


Presenter: Dr. Morag Heirs

Presentation Title: Scentwork Solutions for Dogs in Rescues & Shelters 

Scentwork has taken off across the world as a fun activity to share with your dog, and there are a whole range of methods and approaches. While some methods concentrate on competition, there’s increasing interest in the use of scentwork and nose games within behavior modification programs. If we use scentwork carefully, we can lower arousal, defuse frustration and tackle common behavior problems within the rescue environment. 

Learning objectives:

  • Refresh your knowledge of basic scentwork approached
  • Briefly look at effects on the canine brain
  • Using a mixture of case studies and video, explore how scentwork can play a key role in managing (and changing!) challenging behavior in the rescue and shelter world

Morag Heirs PhD, Clinical Animal Behaviourist - Well Connected Canine Ltd   www.wellconnectedcanine.co.uk

Morag builds better relationships between troubled dogs and their humans. She has been working as a canine behaviorist for over 12 years.  Playing scentwork games with her own dogs, as well as with her clients, was life changing. She was fortunate to be an Accredited TD Scentwork Trainer (2014-2017) and has introduced hundreds of dogs to the joy of sniffing.

Rescues that she has worked with include RSPCA York, Harrogate and District Branch, Sheffield RSPCA, Leeds & Bradford RSPCA, Jerry Green Dog Rescue North Yorks, Jerry Green Dog Rescue East Yorks, and many smaller organizations too. Scentwork is one of Morag's favorite tools when it comes to working with dogs in rescue environments, and she can’t wait to share the magic with you!

MA(Hons) SocSci, MSc, PhD Integrated Bodywork and Myofascial Release Therapist, Member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers #01011, Full Member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors, Registered Practitioner ABTC.


Presenter: Dr. Kathy Murphy

Presentation Title: Arousal: when is too little or too much a bad thing, and what can we do to support optimal arousal for shelter and rescue dogs?

The neurobiology of arousal is complex, with many systems and processes contributing to different forms of arousal. In this webinar we review the key components of this complexity and discuss the physiological states that contribute to arousal levels (whether too low or too high), that can hamper rehabilitation and rehoming and ultimately may be detrimental to health and welfare. Arousal will be discussed in the context of the whole body and brain health, including what we currently understand about important factors, such as sleep and gut microbiome. Finally, we will look at some of the things we can do to support optimal arousal and healthy self-regulation of arousal.

Dr. Kathy Murphy is a neuroscientist and veterinarian. She qualified from the Royal Veterinary College London in 1999 and went into mixed general practice, before completing two post graduate veterinary qualifications, a PhD in behavioral neuroscience at the University of Oxford, an Assistant Professorship in Neuroscience and Anesthesiology at the Icahn School of Medicine NYC, plus a residency in Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia. She is now the Director of the Comparative Biology Centre at Newcastle University UK, where her clinical and research work are focused on welfare related neuroscience, anesthesia and analgesia. She is a founding member of EthicsFirst, a collective that campaigns for structured ethical debate and decision making within the veterinary profession. She has a long-standing interest in dog behavior and training, was trustee and veterinary advisor for the Rottweiler Welfare Association for 15 years and has fostered and rehabilitated many dogs. She founded Barking Brains(a neuroscience outreach project) in July 2019 in order to merge her professional expertise with her passion for dogs. She currently has three of her own dogs (Dennis, Minnie and Nancy) - two chihuahua mixes, and a rottweiler mix who she does scent work with.


Presenter: Dr. Robert Hewings

Presentation Title:  Anticipation Ignites Great Emotions

We all need something to look forward to, the excitement of a well wrapped present! The joy of an approaching holiday, and for me, the purchase of a new motorcycle! How can we bring this excitement and emotional well being to our rescue dogs?

The seeking system is essential for the dog's wellbeing, it restores confidence, introduces new surroundings and opens ‘old and exciting pathways’.

Rob Hewings will share a few ideas with you about opening this system, which toys to use, what games to play and simply giving them something to look forward to.

Author of the recently published ‘Introduction to Canine Scent-Work’ and head of learning and development for the UK College of Scent Detection, Dr Robert Hewings is a highly experienced Canine Trainer. He retired from the Metropolitan Police after 30 years’ exemplary service, twenty-five of which was as a Police Dog Handler, and the final nine years as a full-time trainer with the Metropolitan Police Dog Training Establishment. He has enhanced this experience with a BSc (Canine Training and Behaviour), MA (Professional Practice Police Dog Training) and a Doctorate of Professional Practice (PhD) Canine Scent Detection. 

During his time at the prestigious Metropolitan Police Dog Training Establishment (2007-2016) Rob headed the training for SWAT dogs, and was active in the instruction and development of all aspects of Police Dog and Handler Training. He played an active role in the instruction and development of the ‘Canine Training Instructor’, authoring two training manuals, and designing coaching programs that have enhanced the effective performance of operational dog handlers.

Rob is now head of learning and development with the UK College of Scent Detection and has been invited to share his knowledge world-wide, lecturing in USA, Australia and Europe. He is presently engaged in writing two academic papers for enhancing scent detection and emotional learning in our dogs.

Rob truly understands the importance of a positive training schedule with the dogs he trains and the people he coaches. He wishes to share his love and experience of search training with you and your dog. Witnessing the enjoyment, enthusiasm and excitement the dogs get from being engaged in the natural process of ‘nose-work’ has been his guilty pleasure for the last 25 years. Long may this continue!


Presenter: Dr. Nick Thompson    BSc (Vet Sci) Hons, BVM&S, VetMFHom, MRCVS

Presentation Title: Stress? Seven Top Tips to Promote Calm in Rescue and Shelter Dogs

An introduction to modalities to aid in the anxiety management and the promotion of mental equilibrium in Rescue and Shelter Dogs featuring: 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Diet - what foods to feed and what to avoid for calm pets
  • Supplements - what can we add, easily and inexpensively to help our pets? 
  • Herbs - which plants can we use to help reduce the stress of the shelter and rescue environment?
  • Homeopathics - an often-overlooked medicine to help balance the troubled pet mind 
  • Functional Medicine - nutraceuticals can be employed to help change anxiety and new situation nerves
  • Essential Oils - a wealth of safe and helpful essences to calm worry and nervousness
  • Compression - physical tricks to give phenomenal results for panic and distress

Nick Thompson is a vet who passionately advocates for responsible, species-appropriate raw food feeding for pets and has been doing so for the last 25 years. Nick is Founder and President of the international Raw Feeding Veterinary Society (www.rfvs.info) and has co-authored a pioneering worldwide survey of 79 vets and their experiences feeding raw food. He has co-organized international raw food conferences for the RFVS since 2012. 

In 1999, Nick established his specialist practice, Holisticvet (www.holisticvet.co.uk). Now based in Corsham, near Bath, he offers homeopathy, natural nutrition and herbal medicine and a lot of good old-fashioned common sense for dogs and horses.  His pet topics are gastroenterology and the microbiome and the misuse of pharmaceuticals in medicine. He loves researching all aspects of human and animal nutrition. 

Nick also shares his passion for raw feeding with a nutritional consultancy service to the premier raw pet food companies in the UK and Europe. He has lectured and consulted in Raw Food, Nutrition and Medicine throughout the UK, Eire, Northern Ireland, Finland, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Nick is married to Elly and has two children, Arthur and Ophelia, and lives in Wiltshire, UK with chickens a Snowshoe cat called Ziggy and a Whippet-Italian Greyhound cross (mongrel), Bluebell.  When not trying to convert the world to species-appropriate food, Nick barefoot runs, swims and enjoys botching DIY jobs and cutting their incessant lawn of weeds. Website Link: https://holisticvet.co.uk/     

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