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Showing posts from April, 2018

Motivated by Consequences and Education on Cat Behaviour

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The latest in the 'better world' series about dogs and cats.



For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.



Why Don't More People Use Positive Reinforcement to Train Dogs?

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Everyone who has a dog needs to teach them how to behave. But why do many people still use methods that have risks for animal welfare?



A new paper by myself (Zazie Todd) looks at the barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods by ordinary people. To understand how people make decisions about dog training, we need to understand people’s attitudes to different methods and what influences them, as well as people’s knowledge and technical ability in using those methods.

Humane dog training methods use positive reinforcement and negative punishment. They are also known as reward-based methods, positive reinforcement, or force free methods, and they basically involve giving or withholding rewards contingent on the dog’s behaviour.


There are many reasons to use humane methods rather than aversive ones (which, technically speaking, are positive punishment and negative reinforcement). The use of reward-based dog training methods is associated with better welfare, and there are some in…

The BC SPCA Animal Behaviour Science Symposium

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Two upcoming events in the BC lower mainland, featuring Chirag Patel.



The BC SPCA Animal Behaviour Science Symposium will take place in Burnaby, BC, on 2nd and 3rd June 2018, featuring Chirag Patel, world-renowned behaviour and training consultant, and star of the UK TV show Nightmare Pets SOS.

As well, there will be talks from Karen van Haaften DVM, Kim Monteith, Claudia Richter DVM, Rebecca Ledger PhD - and myself.

I'm really looking forward to it!


And before that, on 31st May, the BC SPCA Pet Behaviour Speaker Series is hosting 10 Things Your Dog Wishes You Knew, featuring Chirag Patel, Dr. Karen van Haaften, and Kim Monteith. This event at The Historic Theatre in Vancouver will include live dog demonstrations.


Is Scent Enriching for Shelter Dogs?

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Research investigates the effects of enrichment using the scent of coconut, vanilla, ginger and valerian.


Animal shelters are stressful environments for dogs, and so anything that helps them to be less stressed is beneficial. Scientists from Hartpury University Centre tested the effects of presenting scent-infused cloths to shelter dogs. The results are promising and suggest scent enrichment may work well for shelter dogs.

Study authors, John Binks and Dr Tamara Montrose, say
“In our study we found that shelter dogs showed reduced vocalisations and movement when exposed to cloths scented with ginger, coconut, vanilla and valerian. In addition, we found that dogs exposed to coconut and ginger slept more. Since excessive vocalisations and activity may indicate stress in kennelled dogs, as well as being behaviours that can be found undesirable by potential adopters, our study suggests that these odours may have application in rescue shelters to reduce stress and enhance adoption.”
Enrichment…

Interview with Dr. Marc Bekoff on Canine Confidential

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Dr. Marc Bekoff on dogs, emotions, citizen science and his new book, Canine Confidential.



Dr. Marc Bekoff’s new book, Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do is out on 13th April. I was thrilled to interview him over email about why he wrote the book and the importance of observing dogs.


Zazie: Why did you decide to write Canine Confidential?

Marc: There are many reasons, and in reality, I've been writing this book for many, many years. I bring a unique perspective to the study of dogs in that I was trained in ethology and have done long-term field work on free-ranging dogs, wild coyotes, and various birds including Adélie penguins in Antarctica.


Among the most important reasons are: to emphasize how important it is to watch dogs and to learn as much as one can about different aspects of behavior; to emphasize that there is a good deal of individual variability among dogs so speaking about "the dog" is misleading; to stress that dogs display multiple intelligences and …

Standards in Dog Training and Realistic Expectations

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The latest in the 'better world' series about dogs and cats.



For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.


Companion Animal Psychology Book Club April 2018

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"How Dogs Love Us answers the age-old question of dog lovers everywhere..."



The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for April 2018  is How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain by Gregory Berns.

From the back cover,

"The powerful bond between humans and dogs is one that’s uniquely cherished. Loyal, obedient, and affectionate, they are truly “man’s best friend.” But do dogs love us the way we love them? Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns had spent decades using MRI imaging technology to study how the human brain works, but a different question still nagged at him: What is my dog thinking?

After his family adopted Callie, a shy, skinny terrier mix, Berns decided that there was only one way to answer that question—use an MRI machine to scan the dog’s brain. His colleagues dismissed the idea. Everyone knew that dogs needed to be restrained or sedated for MRI scans. But if the military could train dogs to operate calmly in…