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Clearing the fog on dog dominance

21 Nov

Whole Dog Journal did a great job providing resources on this topic in Dec 2011 issue.  Link is here and text is copied below in case their link changes:

“Alpha” Dominance Theory

There is a growing body of information available to anyone who wants to learn more about why dominance theory is so outdated and incorrect. Here are 10 resources to get you started:

1) The American Society of Veterinary Animal Behaviorists Position Statement on Dominance: “The AVSAB recommends that veterinarians not refer clients to trainers or behavior consultants who coach and advocate dominance hierarchy theory, and the subsequent confrontational training that follows from it. (tinyurl.com/avsabdominance )

2) The Association of Pet Dog Trainers Position Statement on Dominance:
“The APDT’s position is that physical or psychological intimidation hinders effective training and damages the relationship between humans and dogs. Dogs thrive in an environment that provides them with clear structure and communication regarding appropriate behaviors, and one in which their need for mental and physical stimulation is addressed. The APDT advocates training dogs with an emphasis on rewarding desired behaviors and discouraging undesirable behaviors using clear and consistent instructions and avoiding psychological and physical intimidation. Techniques that create a confrontational relationship between dogs and humans are outdated.” (apdt.com/about/ps/dominance.aspx)

3) Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist Kathy Sdao: “. . . Even if dogs did form linear packs, there’s no evidence to suggest that they perceive humans as part of their species-specific ranking. In general, humans lack the capability to even recognize, let alone replicate, the elegant subtleties of canine body language. So it’s hard to imagine that dogs could perceive us as pack members at all.” (tinyurl.com/kathysdaodominance)

4) Dr. Patricia McConnell, PhD, ethologist: “People who argue that ethology supports ‘getting dominance over your dog’ are not only focused on an issue more relevant 50 years ago than today, they are misrepresenting the findings of early researchers on social hierarchy. Social hierarchies are complicated things that allow animals to live together and resolve conflicts without having to use force every time a conflict comes up.” (4pawsu.com/pmdominance.htm)

5) Dr. Meghan Herron, DVM: “Our study demonstrated that many confrontational training methods, whether staring down dogs, striking them, or intimidating them with physical manipulation such as alpha rolls [holding dogs on their back], do little to correct improper behavior and can elicit aggressive responses.” (tinyurl.com/meghanherrondominance)

6) Low Stress Handling, Restraint, and Behavior Modification of Dogs and Cats, by Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM: “. . . dogs jumping on people are not vying for higher rank; they are simply jumping because they want attention and they often get it by doing so. When dogs jump on counters to steal food . . . despite having been punished previously when you are present, they are using an alternate strategy for obtaining food and getting the chance to investigate . . . These unruly behaviors occur not because the animals are vying for rank but because the behaviors have been rewarded in the past.”

7) Study – University of Bristol: “Far from being helpful, the academics say, training approaches aimed at ‘dominance reduction’ vary from being worthless in treatment to being actually dangerous and likely to make behaviours worse.” (tinyurl.com/univbristoldominance)

8) The Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson (1996, 2005, James and Kenneth Publishing): “The dominance panacea is so out of proportion that entire schools of training are based on the premise that if you can just exert adequate dominance over the dog, everything else will fall into place. Not only does it mean that incredible amounts of abuse are going to be perpetrated against any given dog, probably exacerbating problems like unreliable recalls and biting, but the real issues, like well-executed conditioning and the provision of an adequate environment, are going to go unaddressed, resulting in a still-untrained dog, perpetuating the pointless dominance program.”

9) Dominance in Dogs: Fact or Fiction, by Barry Eaton (2011, Dogwise Publishing): “…The alpha wolf is not the dictator of a pack, but a benevolent leader, and domestic dogs are not dictatorial and are unlikely to try to raise their status to rule over other dogs in a pack environment.”

“I believe it’s time to open our minds and consider the concept of pack rules as a thing of the past and recognize that dogs are not constantly trying to dominate their owners.”

10) Dominance Theory and Dogs, by James O’Heare (2008, 2nd edition, Dogwise Publishing): “…while the notion of social dominance holds potential for value in a social psychology and ethology context, it is an insidious idea with regards to explaining and changing behavior between companion dogs or dogs and people… it should be abandoned completely in that context in favor of a more efficient, effective and scientifically defensible behavioral approach.”

From an interview: “The most significant problem with viewing dog-human relationships in the context of social dominance is that it implies and promotes an adversarial relationship between the two. It sets up a win-lose scenario, that actually ends up in a lose-lose scenario (as most win-lose scenarios do). It is incompatible with cooperation by its very nature, cooperation being something you need to promote an effective bond and training environment.”

Aging a dog or cat by teeth

21 Nov

The Humane Society of the United States has a great guide for shelter and other professional to age an animal roughly, by their teeth. http://www.animalsheltering.org

PDF of teeth

On-line dog food

18 Jul

I live in a small town (8,000 people) and there used to be 2 pet stores. Now that one closed down the only place to get food is the Feed and Seed place. They carry some good foods but often do not have the kind I want or the right size bag.  Just found this website in Bark magazine called PetFlow. http://petflow.com

I have not bought food on-line before as the shipping is insane.  But this site has free shipping over a certain price, they offer special codes for free shipping, and even if you end up paying for shipping it is only $6.

I just bought a big bag of food so I won’t need any for a month, but when I do I am going to give them a try. The right food and th right size bag, always, and right to my door.  It is worth a shot anyway. Anyone heard of them or tried them already?

“Dog Sense” (US version) and “In Defence of Dogs” (UK version)

17 Jul

I have a new book on it’s way to my house and I think everyone  involved with dogs should read this article at least and consider buying his book. Professor John Bradshaw gathers all the recent research and repackaged it in  the hands of the public.  I love translators like this.  I hope to mostly get validation but hope to learn at least a few new pieces of information.  At the very least want it to recommend to my clients. This could change lives. The quotes I have pulled out below are not new to those of us in the field of animal behavior, but I am so excited that it will be readily in the hands of everyone.

A few quotes from the article below:

“He does not peddle opinions. His style is tolerant, clear and benign and he is interested only in what science can support. His book is a revelation”

“dogs do not set up wolf-type packs. They don’t organise themselves in the way wolves do”.

“They don’t want to control people, they want to control their own lives. It is what we are all aiming for – to keep control of our own lives. It is a fundamental biological urge.”

“Monks of New Skete in the United States who “sound as if they ought to be the gentlest people in the world” but base their bogus, punitive methods on wolf  biology…”

“Bradshaw’s most incredible – and gratifying – assertion is that dogs are more interested in people than in other dogs… We forget that the play between species, enjoyed by dogs and humans, is very rare. “

“… tug-of-war research: “Dogs were allowed to win tug-of-war games over and over again; this made the dog more keen to play with people, than when they were forced to lose every time, but there were no signs indicating that any dog became ‘dominant’ as a result.”

“I ask about his title: do dogs really need defending? “…he replied, “They need defending from people who persist in the old methods and don’t take any notice of science.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jul/17/dog-training-john-bradshaw-animal-behaviour

 

I hope someday I can meet him and shake his hand. Thank you D. Bradshaw 🙂

Stress in animals with ESL

24 Apr

This website has a list is of great signs of stress in animals.  In case that website goes away, here is the info in list form:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Signs of Stress in Companion Animals

Long term care (LTC) settings can be stressful places for animals as well as people at times. It is important for staff and residents to learn to recognize the signs of stress which may be exhibited by animals living in their facility. Failure to recognize stress signals can affect the long-term physical and mental well being of both the animals and humans in this environment. Please note that some of the signs listed below may also be caused by health-related problems. Consultation with a veterinarian may be advised.

Signs of Stress in Dogs
  • Panting and salivating
  • Pacing
  • Shedding
  • Diarrhea/ bowel movements
  • Inappropriate urination
  • Licking the lips
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Trembling
  • Shaking (as if the animal were shaking off water)
  • Yawning
  • Whining, excessive vocalizing
  • Nipping
  • Growling when approached to be handled
  • Sweaty paws(leaving sweaty paw prints on the floor)
  • Increased or decreased activity
  • Excessive scratching or licking repeatedly
  • ‘Spacing out’ by turning away or avoiding eye contact
  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding behind the handler
  • Hiding under furniture or behind nursing station; refusing to interact with residents/staff or voyage beyond nursing station area
Signs of Stress in Birds
  • Depression
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Excessive activity
  • Feather picking
  • Increased pecking
  • Increased elimination
  • Inactivity or sluggishness
  • Lack of desire to socialize
  • Abnormal vocalization
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage, listlessness
Signs of Stress in Cats
  • Restlessness, distraction, agitation
  • Listlessness, unusual passivity
  • Defensive vocalizations
  • Excessive shedding
  • Dilated pupils
  • Biting
  • Inappropriate urination/defecation
  • Clinging
  • Hiding and refusing to interact with humans or other animals
Signs of Stress in Rabbits
  • Eyes enlarge and show whites
  • Body tenses with tail up
  • Ears laid back tightly
  • Growling or squeaking
  • Rabbit pushes hand away
  • Lack of vitality or interest
  • Flinches when touched
  • Breathing becomes rapid
  • Biting animals
Causes of Stress in Animals
  • Unusual noises
  • Unknown places
  • Confusing or inconsistent training or handling
  • People exhibiting strange or unusual behavior
  • Unpredictable or rough handling
  • Unusual odors
  • Being crowded by people or other animals
  • A resident or staff member being nervous or acting in a strange way from the animals perspective
  • Extreme indoor and outdoor temperatures
  • Housing or resting area in an inappropriate place, not able to get adequate rest as a result
  • Requiring the animal to be up and active 24 hours a day to match the staff shifts of facility
  • Too many animals (whether the same or a different species) within the same general area causing crowded territory issues (How many is too many? The animals will tell you!)
  • Inadequate exercise or mental stimulation
  • Inadequate diet for species
  • Humans ‘anthropomorphizing’ animal behavior thus causing behavior problems
  • Inappropriate or excessive feeding of animals
  • Visiting animals from outside the facility coming into their territory
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