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ST PAV Pen 2012

Today, it's all about the farm. I had a blog written about the effect of acoustic environments on us and our dogs, some new products available for us to use to calm our dogs, and some new results of "calming" music that Katie and I have seen with our dogs. And then I erased it all with one key stroke. I'm sure that has never happened to you.... So I'll save that topic for later (and promise to catch up in the next month or so on other topics I've promised you, like exercises to calm the sympathetic nervous system, and the methods of the clicker versus no-clicker study ). Right now I have to get home to the dogs and work on the talk that Karen London and I are giving at the Interdisciplinary Forum on Applied Animal Behavior next week in Phoenix. So here's the second half of the blog, Read More

You’ve Got a Friend?

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If you've been following last week's blog and the comments, you know that there's been an active discussion about whether dogs can (or can't) form "true" friendships. This was motivated by an article in Time Magazine by Carl Zimmer that discussed the evidence of friendship in several species of mammals, including dolphins, baboons and horses. In spite of the irony of a cover photo that includes two dogs (and the photographer saying: "I actually had to make sure that the dogs coming in were actually friends."), the article states "... most scientists think they [relationships between dogs] fall well short of true friendship." I'm curious who the 'most' scientists are... I suggested to the author that he might want to talk to scientists who study dogs like Barbara Smuts & Camille Read More

Do Dogs Form “Real” Friendships?

I had an entirely different blog written and about to be posted, but there's a swirl of discussion going on right now about an article that came out in Time Magazine by Carl Zimmer about "friendships" in animals. He has lots of good information from researchers who argue that true friendships are formed in many social species, including horses, dolphins, and baboons. I was a tad irritated at suggestions that "we" (scientists) haven't accepted that friendships can be found in other animals until just recently..." look at the writings of Jane Goodall and Frans de Waal for example for exceptions to that...  but in general it's a truly good article. But imagine my surprise when he writes that evidence of true friendships can not be found in dogs.  He says: ".. most scientists think Read More

Is Silence Golden?

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As many of you know, I did a seminar on new research on canine behavior in Madison last October. (Oh, and by the way, have I mentioned it is now available as a DVD -- hot off the press? Tee Hee, we're pretty excited about it!)  It was a great experience for me, because like all teachers do, I ended up learning even more than I had hoped to learn about the topic myself. One of the findings most interesting to me relates to how we respond to a correct response from our dogs. Two studies suggested we would be wise to be thoughtful about how we do so: First, Lindsay Wood did research at Hunter College comparing 20 dogs who were trained to nose a target using either a clicker as a marker, or the word "good." Not surprisingly, the clicker trained dogs were significantly faster to reach Read More