Dr. Jennifer Messer

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Jennifer completed her Bachelor's Degree at McGill University in 1993, graduating with first class honors in Psychology. She then went on to study Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario, and graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. During her years as a veterinary student, she established and operated Montessaurus Puppy School – the first puppy school in Guelph - where she now serves as the curriculum consultant.

Jennifer has given numerous lectures and workshops to veterinarians, dog trainers, veterinary students, government agencies, and the general public on a variety of canine behaviour topics, including aggression and early training and socialization. She has been featured on television, written extensively on canine behaviour for the popular media, and has been a longstanding columnist for Modern Dog magazine.

Jennifer is well recognized as a leader in curriculum development for young puppies. Puppy class instructors worldwide use her comprehensive puppy class program, The Kinderpuppy Course - A Curriculum Manual for Instructors, published by PavSki Canine Educational Resources. She has also designed and implemented a highly successful in-clinic puppy-parenting program to educate dog-owning clients about puppy behaviour and training. This program will soon be made available to veterinary clinics across North America. Jennifer is currently the Director of the City of Ottawa Spay Neuter Clinic in Ottawa, Ontario and is owned by her pit bull terrier, Charlotte, her hound, Mr. F. Bender, and her 27 year old turtle, Simon.

Blog posts by Dr. Jennifer Messer

Practicing Pit-Etiquette in Puppyhood

Whether you are living under breed bans or not, there are a few special considerations in raising a pit bull puppy that will help you contribute to good Pit PR when your pup matures.

1) Teach a sit stay with eye contact when dogs pass by:

Why: many pit bulls will inevitably become aggressive towards dogs when they reach social maturity. While socialization of pit bulls is very effective at enabling acquired bite inhibition, is much less effective at overriding the breed's typically strong inclination towards conspecific aggression. It is much easier to manage dog-dog aggression at social maturity if obedience routines are learned in puppyhood for potentially troublesome situations.

Example: My pit bull, Charlotte, has been taught to sit and watch me while other dogs pass by at a distance she can tolerate. Charlotte gets cookies for sitting. In doing this Charlotte appears to be well behaved, and well trained - making her a good diplomat for her breed.


Dominance Position Statement from AVSAB should win Gutsiest Veterinary Document of the year!

That’s my vote!  This is the latest in a series of long overdue, spectacularly well written and sure to be influential position statements from AVSAB (The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior). 

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Puppy Training: Tips from the Trenches

This article originally appeared in the newsletter for the APDT Australia. G’day Australian dog trainers.  I bet it comes as a surprise to hear that I owe the start of my dog training career to your fine country! Let me explain. Back in the summer of ‘89 I fell in love with a handsome young Aussie, Simon, who I met overseas, in London, England.  Come fall, when he was due to return home, I did what seemed the obvious choice at the time… followed him back to Australia like a lost puppy.  Of course, I had NO idea that surfers almost always love their surfboards more than their girlfriends.  So after a summer of being abandoned on your beaches in favor of good waves, I headed home with a bruised heart, but a newfound love – the Staffie.


Times, They are a Changing!

I’ve never blogged before… but what better place to make my debut that the Dog Star Daily.  Despite its little foibles, the web sure is a great way to spread important news quickly. And today I believe that I have something important to announce – so perk up your ears!

For decades now, puppy trainers have been witness to the lifesaving positive impact of puppy classes.  The bummer has always been that the veterinary community, albeit with good intentions, scared the bejebes out of dog trainers and guardians over the potential infectious disease risks of letting pups mingle with each other before they were adequately vaccinated.  

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