Browse Our Dictionary Alphabetically
Section B

Back-clip Harness

Harnesses that are designed so that the dog’s leash attaches to a D-ring at the back. They are not generally sold as training harnesses because they are not designed to discourage pulling, however, it is possible to teach a dog to walk politely on a back-clip harness using training techniques.

Backyard Breeder

A hobbyist who breeds and sells dogs that are not registered by their country’s Kennel Club, often without regard for the proper health testing. The dogs can be purebred but unregistered, or they can be mixes.

Backyard breeders (BYBs) are usually distinguishable from puppy mills by their size and their profits – puppy mills are usually the sole source of income for an individual, much larger than a backyard breeding operation, with dogs kept outside with little human contact. Backyard breeder dogs can be pets, and bred as a hobby, not primarily for money.

Balanced Training

A set of techniques that involve the use of both reward and punishment.  Trainers who call themselves balanced could use tools like clickers, e-collars, and time-outs on their clients’ dogs.

Trainers that call themselves balanced do not always adhere to dominance theory, although the word “balance” has come to be associated with dominance and rank-reduction.

BARF diet

BARF stands for Bones and Raw Foods. A kind of raw diet containing bones, meat, and some fruits and vegetables.  It is different from prey model raw, which is made up only of meats and bones.

Bark Collar

An e-collar or citronella spray collar that is activated by sound. The aim is for the collar to deliver a punishment to the dog at the moment he barks, which will be aversive and discourage him from barking again.

Barn Hunt

A dog sport, where competitors locate rats within a maze of hay bales in a barn or outdoor setting.  The rats are securely held in aerated plastic tubes; the aim is not for the dogs to do them any harm, just to find them as quickly as possible.

There are three height classes in Barn Hunt, and the winner is decided by how quickly the dog finds all of the rats.

Basket Muzzle

A type of muzzle made of rubber, or wire mesh that fits entirely over the dog’s muzzle and attaches behind the ears and sometimes also around the neck. When fitted correctly, this type of muzzle allows a dog to take treats, drink, and pant normally, so it is considered a safe option.

Behavior Modification

Also called Applied Behavior Analysis, sometimes abbreviated to b-mod.  Behavior modification is the process of changing the way a dog thinks about the world, which in turn changes what he chooses to do.  The goal is to minimize behaviors the dog’s owners see as undesirable and that are stressful or upsetting for the dog, and to teach the dog new, desirable behaviors he can do instead.

Examples of behavior modification techniques include:

Behaviorism

The behaviorist approach to psychology is concerned with measuring and analyzing the outward expression of behavior, and not emotions, thoughts or perceptions.  Behaviorists interpret what an animal or human does in terms of patterns of stimulus and response.  The stimulus for a behavior always comes from the environment, and the response is  determined by the way the stimulus acts on the subject.

Dog behaviorists use many of the principles of behaviorism, like classical and operant conditioning, to modify the behavior of dogs, although not all dog behaviorists believe that we ought to ignore what the dog is thinking and feeling as a way to explain what he is doing.

Beyond Cesar Millan

A group on Facebook that aims to spread information about reward-based training methods. It is one of the largest dog behavior groups and is sometimes referred to as BCM.

Bite Levels

There are different scales used by dog professionals to evaluate how severe a bite is. The most common are the Dunbar Bite Scale  and Dr Sophia Yin’s Canine Bite Levels, which is a modified version of the Dunbar Scale. Both categorize bites in terms of the level of injury inflicted on the victim and the number of injuries inflicted.

  • Level 1 Bite – A“pre-bite”, where the dog has snapped at the air or otherwise shown *aggression, but not punctured skin.
  • Level 2 Bite – When a dog makes contact with the victim’s skin but does not cause a puncture, or does so only as an accidental side-effect of a lunge.
  • Level 3 Bite (Dunbar Scale) – The dog punctures the skin, but not deeper than half the length of the dog’s canine teeth.
  • Level 3A Bite (Yin’s Bite Levels) the dog bites once and punctures skin, but the puncture is shallower than the whole length of the canine tooth.
  • Level 3B Bite (Yin’s Bite Levels) the dog bites multiple times leaving skin punctures shallower than half of the canine.
  • Level 4 Bite  – The dog bites and clamps down, leaving punctures that are deeper than the length of the canine tooth.
  • Level 5 Bite – Multiple Level 4 bites in a single attack
  • Level 6 Bite – The dog kills the victim.

Board and Train

Dog training that involves the owner sending their dog away for a period of days or weeks, during which time the trainer works with the dog on his issues without the owner being present.  Sometimes the owner comes to the board and train facility during the dog’s stay so that the trainer can update them on their progress and teach them what the dog has learned.  Others provide this information after the board and train period is over.

Board and Train trainers can be employed for puppy housetraining, basic obedience, or more complex issues requiring behavior modification.

Board Certified

Indicates that a professional has passed the exams required to use a given title.  For example, a board certified veterinary behaviorist is a vet in the United States, who has passed the examinations set out by the AVCB.

Body Score

A way to measure the body condition of a dog.  A dog’s body condition score is evaluated by observing and sometimes touching his body, and then comparing him to examples in five categories, labeled 1-5.

  1. Emaciated: Many bones visible from a distance.  No visible body fat and an obvious lack of muscle mass.
  2. Thin: Ribs, pelvis and spine can be easily felt. The tops of the lumbar vetebrae will be visible, as will a waist with an obvious abdominal tuck from both the side angle and the top view.
  3. Moderate: The ribs will be easily felt.  Abdominal tuck able to be seen from the side.  No excess fat.
  4. Stout: Ribs can be felt, but not easily. Noticeable fat deposits over the back and base of the tail. Abdominal tuck may be absent.
  5. Obese: Large amount of fat deposits over most of the body, including the neck and limbs. No waist or abdominal tuck; stomach may appear distended.

Healthy dogs can range between 2 and 4, depending on the breed and level of activity.  1 and 5 are both cause for concern, as they can lead to medical complications.


 

Reference:

University of Ohio Veterinary Medical Center website.

Break Stick

A tool, primarily marketed at pit bull owners, that is inserted behind the dog’s back teeth during a dog fight, when one dog has a grip on the other and will not let go.

Bridge

A sound or other signal that indicates to the dog that a reward is coming.  The sound made by a clicker is a popular type of bridge.

BSL

Breed Specific Legislation.  Some countries and states have placed bans or import restrictions on particular breeds of dogs, usually because those breeds have become associated with excessive aggression.  The most common target of BSL is the pitbull, although other mastiff types like the Fila Brasiliero and Dogo Argentino  have also been covered.

Bully Breeds

A generic term for some Molosser type dogs, with stocky, muscular bodies, short muzzles and large heads with powerful jaws.  Examples include:
  • Boston terrier
  • Bulldogs (French, English and American)
  • Bull terriers (English, Staffordshire and American Staffordshire)
  • Pitbull
  • Boxer
  • Bullmastiff
Bully breeds are known for their hardiness and rambunctious play style.

Bully Stick

A dried bull’s penis, sold as a chewy treat for dogs.

Buspirone

A drug sometimes prescribed by vets for dogs with anxiety and/or aggression issues. It is a long-acting drug that is not meant to have a sedative effect.  Commonly referred to by its brand name, BuSpar.