Tired Dogs Make Dumb Choices

Self control often means trading the instant gratification of an immediate objective for a secondary long term desire. It’s a way of managing competing self interests (eat cake/lose weight), a coping mechanism with adaptive advantages. But self control doesn’t come free,Studies have demonstrated that self control depletion results in impaired inhibition and results in people …

Continue reading Tired Dogs Make Dumb Choices

The Human – Dog Bond ~ a matter of selective love and despise

“According to traditional Judaeo-Christian philosophy, an absolute moral and conceptual barrier exists between our species and the rest of animal creation” (Serpell, 1995). Dogs enjoy a unique relationship with humans unlike any other domesticated species capable of serving our many whimsical and utilitarian needs and according to Serpell (1995), “[d]omestic dogs are unusual or exceptional in so many different respects,” pointing out they were the first domesticated species creating a “revolutionary change in human affairs.”

Anthropomorphism, Double-Edged Sword

Why understanding this is useful in applications of companion behavior modification and training! The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. We have seen that the senses and intuitions, the various emotions and faculties, such as love, memory, attention, curiosity, imitation, reason, etc., of which man boasts, may be found in an incipient, or even sometimes in a well-developed condition, in the lower animals.

The Role of Integrated Compliance and Obedience Training – In preventing and treating behavior problems

The Role of Integrated Compliance and Obedience Training - In preventing and treating behavior problems The role of incorporating obedience training or “nonconfrontational compliance training” is commonly suggested in conjunction with treating dog aggression problems. One of the benefits, according to Tortora (1983) is dogs learn cooperative behavior provides safety. In addition, Clark and Boyer (1993), argue “…obedience training promotes a ‘feeling of security’ because “clear lines of communication and social boundaries” using reinforcement and deterrents effectively help establish better behavior. According to Blackshaw (1991), the use of obedience training produced a “…high success rate involving dominance and territorial aggression” using “proper restraint techniques” coupled with obedience training. Even researchers (Cameron, 1997:271) who “discount the preventative value” seem to agree, “…obedience training provides tools for owners to use in modifying pet behavior.” In addition, incorporating simple obedience skills such as sit and stay provide avenues for positive reinforcement facilitating “secondary control” over aggressive behavior (Voith, 1980 a; Uchida et al., 1997). In spite of the overwhelming support and apparent success, the incorporation of obedience and noncompliance training remains controversial. Even though literature suggests the “preventative value” of obedience training is unclear, many authors still insist obedience training does offer a preventative value (Lindsay, 2001). Scientists like Overall (1997) says, “…dogs require rules and need a rule-based social structure” allowing communication and cooperation between parties. Overall advocates a type of “compliance training” similar to Voith’s “nothing in life is free” and says her program “…provides a means for ‘preventing such problems and in treating all forms of behavior problems’ (Lindsay, 2001).

Is studying animal behavior marginalized when used indiscriminately in marketing?

I found a website yesterday, specializing in dog boarding. What alarmed me was they stated, “our camp counselors” are, “certified in dog behavior.” When I inquired, which I did, I was told they go through an in-house training program lasting a couple of weeks or less! The problem I see with using the designation “certified in dog behavior” is, it makes the study of animal behavior, appear to be no more than friendly dog advice obtained from anyone, while marginalizing the very individuals who can and are educated to help the most. This is a disservice to the dog owner and the industry. This should be a concern for the public, as well as those who are degreed individuals, specializing in animal behavior. Aside from the obvious differences, between those who actually studied behavior at universities, there are some of us who have spent a great deal of time studying on our own, taking courses on-line and/or using qualified mentors, that may include veterinarians who themselves specialize in behavior. What I’m wondering, is will the careless and continued use, eventually inculcate the public, into thinking that understanding and treating behavior related problems, can be accomplished by anyone referring to themselves as a “behavior expert.” I can see it now; these “camp counselors” will be delivering advice on how to solve anxiety problems and aggression. This marginalizes those of us who are qualified, and it most definitely affects the welfare of dogs. The alternative is referring owners to qualified individuals who really can help Given the fact that most dogs end up in shelters because of behavior problems I view this as a serious problem for the public. If unqualified individuals continue providing uneducated advice, rather than referring dog owners to someone, who is qualified, through appropriate and acceptable training, we will continue to see more and more dogs in shelters. The alternative is our communities and dog related businesses, need to seek out qualified individuals and refer pet owners to them. In turn, these professional behavior consultants will utilize dog day cares, dog walkers, and other dog trainers if they fit into the behavior modification program, designed by the behavior consultant, and fitting that individual dogs needs. The needs of the family and dog must be addressed first; this means the behavior consultant identifies the underlying problem/conflict as defined by the family. This means bringing the family together in agreement how best to solve the problem, then putting together a plan that works for the entire family, to solve the problem and/or conflict, as well as making sure the dogs needs are met as well. A good place to find qualified behavior experts are these organizations, the International Association of Behavior Consultants http://www.iaabc.org , the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists http://www.veterinarybehaviorists.org/ , the Animal Behavior Society http://www.animalbehavior.org. When your business uses the right individuals, it creates a win-win situation for everyone, most of all you are ensuring the pet gets the best care possible. Much of the problem is there are no regulations in the dog training, or dog behavior industry, so businesses are not required to seek out professional behavior consultants. So those of us who specialize in the behavior industry need to educate businesses about these differences, otherwise, the continuing result will be, more and more dogs, will either be given up to shelters or euthanized out of frustration, and potential dog owners , will be less likely to purchase and/or adopt dogs in the future.

How selective dog breeding is impacting their welfare

How selective breeding is impacting the welfare of dogs According to a recent report done in the UK selective breeding practices are associated with “exaggerated anatomical features and inherited disease.” Breed standards contribute to the problem by focusing more on physical attributes rather than “health, temperament, welfare and functionality.” These standards trickle down to the average pet population. Most significantly reported are anatomical features that directly result in disability, behavior problems or pain, resulting in unnecessary suffering, high rates of disease with hereditary causes.