Trish King


Trish King is the Director of the Animal Behavior & Training Department at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, and the author of a critically acclaimed book for dog owners, Parenting Your Dog.

Besides running the B & T department, Trish teaches workshops and seminars on behavior, canine management, temperament assessment, and handling difficult dogs.

She established the Canine Behavior Academy at the Marin Humane Society for new or interested trainers, which covers training theory and techniques, handling dogs and teaching people.

She is a popular speaker and has presented at several well-known venues, including Association of Pet Dog Trainer Conferences, the Animal Care Conference, Humane Society of the United States and American Humane Association.

Trish shares her home with s a formerly stray German Shepherd, a formerly aggressive Cairn Terrier, and two Australian Shepherds.

Blog posts by Trish King

On Shocking Our Dogs

Just because we can….doesn’t mean we should


I want to eat.  Actually, I need to eat in order to survive.  However, eating has become a battleground between my need for sustenance and my desire to avoid pain.  At each mouthful, I could taste food, or an electric shock could hit the side of my face like a hot, burning, lightning bolt, causing me to gasp and pull back.  But, often it doesn’t, in which case, I can take the next bite.   But do I want to take the next bite?  Need and pain fight each other.  The end result is that I eat very carefully, one bite of soft food gently following another.   I don’t snack and, while I can’t say I don’t enjoy my food (it still tastes good!) it comes at a price that is difficult to pay.   This, by the way, is what happens when you have Trigeminal Neuralgia, a fairly rare condition that was once called “the suicide disease.”



Passing Judgment

There must be something about this field that makes people super judgmental. I think it has to be the passion animal welfare engenders in us – the animals cannot take care of themselves, so they’re like children. And we’re like animal moms – fiercely protective of our young. Or maybe animal lovers have burned out on people, and thus are overwhelmingly attached to animals of one sort or another. Whatever the reason, it does seem that we have a tendency to leap to the worst conclusions about our fellows humans.

This is constantly happening in a shelter environment, where both staff members and volunteers become quite cynical about those bringing animals in. Everyone who works in a shelter has heard people say they’re leaving their animals behind because they’re “moving,” or they have developed “allergies.” After awhile, you distrust everyone who gives one of those reasons – or many others – for surrenders.


The choice is ours - picking the wrong dog

I work for a shelter. Most of the time, it's a fine place to work. We are lucky in that we have a very high adoption rate, especially of dogs (unfortunately, the same does not always hold true of cats and small companion animals). We have such a demand in our area that we travel almost weekly to other areas of California to find adoptable dogs in overcrowded shelters, where the animals would most likely be euthanised.


Be Careful What You Wish For

"If only my dog lived longer..." We hear it all the time, especially from people whose dogs are nearing the end of their years, whether it's seven or 14.   Some people swear they'll never get another dog, because their best friend is gone.  I certainly agree that it's very sad, often much sadder than the loss of a friend or even a family member.   This is probably because we don't hold back on our love for our dogs, and they don't hold back on us - like small children, dogs aren't ambivalent about their loves, their fears, or even their hates (one of my dogs hates the dog in the office next door, and has for years and years).  

But I'm not sure I want my dogs to live as long as me...or even double their alloted time.  Just think, if dogs lived to be 30....


Off Leash Dogs

Not too long ago, I was asked to be a guest speaker on dogs for a horse riders' organization.  I was peppered with questions about dog behavior and dog body language.   It was amazing to me how little some of the horse lovers knew about dogs, even though many of them had dogs.  I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, as many dog lovers don't know much about their animals.  At any rate, one of the questions was why do dog owners want to have their dogs off leash?  When you think about it, that's a very interesting question.  I know I love to walk my off leash dogs, but why? 


Musings on Cesar and A Few Other Things

Just read yet another article about the Cesar Milan phenomenon. It seems that wherever he goes, he attracts hundreds if not thousands of people, many of whom believe he can do no wrong. He appears to be the canine messiah to his followers.

I wonder why he strikes such a chord with so many people. Is it because he is the epitome of control? He certainly appears to exude confidence and knowledge, which is probably very heartening to people who’ve been living with a problem dog for some time. Maybe it’s because his mantra is so simple – exercise and pack leadership. He doesn’t spend a lot of time (at least on the programs) discussing the individual dog, just what the dog should learn to do, and what the people should do to teach him or her.

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