Oh no, I just erased (as spam) two lovely comments.... SO sorry! If your comment isn't here, please send again.  Running off to dinner with IFAAB group, will report on day's talks soon... Read More

Dog Fighting Culture, Midwest Vet Med Conference

I'm between speaking at Midwest Vet Med Conference in Ohio and speaking at the Interdisciplinary Forum on Applied Animal Behavior in Tucson. I only had time to fly in and out at the Vet Conference, wish I would have had more time to go to some of the other behavior talks. Happily, in Tucson I get two full days of listening to others, with only an hour to speak on my own. I can't wait... I'll fill you as I can. There are talks scheduled on genetics and behavior, the use of aversives in training, operant treatment of aggression, predicting separation anxiety in shelter dogs, screaming in parrots and urine marking n the domestic dog. And that's not the full list. I am more than ready to get a break from the cold, looking forward to the intellectual stimulation, not to mention some great Read More

Speaking for Spot; On the Road Again

I  just received a book from veterinarian Nancy Kay, titled Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life.  I haven't read it yet, but it looks very  interesting. Anyone read it? I find the whole issue of medical advocacy fascinating and compelling and terrifying when I'm in the midst of oh, deciding, for example, whether to have Luke's foreleg amputated or have him undergo radiation therapy for his cancerous tumor. It's such a good thing that so many of us are informing ourselves about medicine in so many ways, but it's a double edged sword. Some days I yearn for the old days, in which life was simpler (tell me what should I do, Doctor?). I don't think it was better (neither for health care professionals or for patients) but lordy it was Read More

Karen Pryor’s New Book; Valentine’s Day

I just finished reading a review copy of Karen Pryor's new book, Reaching the  Animal Mind (Scribner). I don't know when it's coming out, I'll let you know as soon as I hear (but you can pre-order it on Amazon now). It's an inspiring book, especially for those that haven't yet used clicker training on any of their animals. I don't use clickers for everything I have to admit, I tend to use them most for tricks, or any behavior that is not in a dog's normal repertoire. One of the interesting parts of her book is a report of research by Lindsay Wood that found clicker training significantly faster than a verbal marker at training new behaviors. This makes a lot of sense, given what we know about sound and the way it is received. I did my dissertation work on sound, and learned that sounds Read More

Darwin, Emotions and early Adventurers

I mentioned earlier that I gave a talk at the University of Wisconsin last Saturday during their celebration of Darwin Day (it was his 200th birthday on 2/12, the same day as Lincoln's 200th birthday). My talk centered on one of his less well-known books, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.  This book came out only a few months after the publication of The Descent of Man, and was designed to provide further support to his contention that humans evolved from common ancestors as other animals. He knew how profoundly controversial this would be (he delayed writing his first book, The Origin of Species, for twenty years, because he was so concerned about its reception.) As we know, his concerns were well founded.  The contention that humans are related to other animals was a Read More