Why does any human or animal avoid pain or discomfort? It’s to escape things which might be harmful. So, imagine we apply some kind of pain or discomfort to a dog who growls at a child (or is reactive to anything else for that matter). What would happen in the dog’s mind? Could it … Continue reading Does punishment work?
I have two puppy books in my possession. Both are modern and against the use of traditional, punitive, measures. But when it comes to the subject of crates, they could not be more opposite. I’m not going to name the books or authors because, running the largest dog group on Facebook, I already have my … Continue reading The Great Crate Debate
I began school aged 5. One of my earliest memories is of being told off for not copying from the board. The teacher couldn’t understand why I wasn’t doing it. She thought I must have poor eyesight and sat me closer, but still I produced nothing. She repeatedly asked why I wasn’t doing my work … Continue reading Learning isn’t over until you say it’s over.
In recent years harnesses have become increasingly popular. I’ve written, many times, on the risks of applying pressure to the dog’s neck, see my blog here, but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested the use of a harness (or seen others do so) without some people voicing concerns that a harness will teach/encourage the dog … Continue reading Do harnesses encourage dogs to pull?
It can be very easy to get the impression that enrichment is all about food. Don't get me wrong, food can be an amazingly good tool for enrichment. This is because dogs obviously need to eat, dogs usually find food enjoyable and reinforcing, and dogs usually don't get to go hunting or scavenging their own … Continue reading Enrichment: It’s not all about food
Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement occurs whenever an appetitive stimulus makes a behaviour more likely to be repeated (Mongillo et al., 2014); for example, giving the animal food each time they enter a particular area may positively reinforce the behaviour of entering that area. The internal mechanism of positive reinforcement involves complex interactions of neurotransmitters (dopamine, … Continue reading When is a reinforcer not a reinforcer?
It has traditionally been believed that the cognitive abilities of humans differentiates them and makes them superior to other animals. Charles Darwin is often credited with reducing the notion of human superiority by identifying the mechanisms of biological evolution (Erdos, 2020). However, this is somewhat overstated; for example, although Darwin believed that humans had evolved … Continue reading Is human intelligence superior to animal intelligence?
The notion that, when used correctly, choke chains, prong collars and shock collars are good options, is common. We only need to take a look around social media to see these arguments raging on a daily basis. Aren’t we all just animal lovers trying to do the best for our pets? On the whole, yes, … Continue reading Are shock, choke or prong collars ever a good option?
Putting yourself out there is difficult. No matter how well-meaning or uncontroversial you think it is, if you post on social media, you open yourself to the possibility of being vilified. Can you think of a single successful person who isn’t ridiculed or insulted by someone? Politicians, actors, musicians, scientists. You just need to spend … Continue reading The other end of the comment
In the bigger sense we could conjure up several different answers. Perhaps the point of life is to pass on genetic material to the next generation; perhaps some might think there are religious reasons, or maybe we’ve been looking for reasons for 6 million years where there are none. But what about at a smaller … Continue reading What’s the point of a dog’s life?