New Directions in Canine Behavior: Open Access til Feb 6, 2015

Pet Pals Dogs 1-2015

One of the challenges for those interested in dog behavior is keeping up with current research. Access to journal articles can require prohibitively expensive subscriptions or membership in a research institution with an extensive library system. That's why open access journals, like Plos One are so valuable, and why I'm grateful to Monique Udell, the editor of a special issue of Behavioural Processes, New Directions in Canine Behavior, (Vol 110, Pages 1-132.) for providing open access to the issue until February 6th, 2015. By clicking on the link above, you can read articles as varied J. Hecht's and E. Spice Rice's discussion on the benefits and challenges of citizen science as it relates to canine behavior, to what personality dimensions "puppy tests" actually measure, to whether Read More

Making the Medicine Go Down: Giving a Dog a Pill

Tootsie nose close 2015

Can you give your dog a pill? More to the point, can you give your dog a pill three times a day without any stress on you or your pooch? A recent online discussion reminded me how difficult it can be to get some dogs to take their medicine, and I thought it might be helpful to go through some strategies that make medicating your dog relatively easy and stress-free. I'll list techniques in order of easiest to most involved: 1. Mix it in with the food. This is a no-brainer, and it works great for some dogs and some pills. It helps to add some soft and gooey food like canned or cooked meat if you usually just feed kibble. Caution: If you use this method and have more than one dog, you have to ensure that Dog A gets the medicine while Dog B does not. However, lots of dogs are picky about Read More

The Animals of Belize

Queen Angle Fish- Jim

Who said a honeymoon had to be taken immediately after the wedding? Jim and I just took ours, two and a half years after the fact, and it could not have been sweeter. We stayed at the Hamanasi Resort in Belize and loved it. Yes, it's expensive and not all that easy to get to (three planes, the last so small I thought it might be easier to carry it to our destination), but hey: It was our honeymoon, so it was worth it. Hamanasi is committed to eco-tourism and sustainable practices, and that was clear from, for example, the extensive composting (which brought in great birds, including tons of warblers), careful snorkeling guidelines ("Please do not touch the coral or feed the fish.") and wooden, multiple-use containers for shampoo and conditioner. The staff is sincerely friendly and Read More

2015 New Year’s Resolutions?

tundra & maggie play

Ah yes, it's that time of year. Out with the old, in with the new--with all the dreams and hopes and resolutions that come along with the annual ritual of taking down the old wall calendar and putting up a new one. I learned long ago that casually made New Year's resolutions are quickly broken, and, more often than not, lead to feeling badly about yet another thing that we haven't accomplished. You can read more about this in the New Year's blog that I wrote in 2010, explaining that effective resolutions should be thought of as commitments that are best kept if 1) they are focused and specific, 2) they are attainable (just like dog training, right?: set yourself up for success) and 3) they are made public. I do love going back and reading what I've written in year's past. For Read More

Free Ranging Cats, Wildlife & New Studies About Management

Polly on Swing

I miss the birds. For most of my adult life I have fed wild birds, and watching them has added immeasurably to my life. In some places, like here at the farm, there have been 8 or 10 feeders up, overflowing with creamy, white suet and shiny, black sunflower seeds. They attracted a multitude of species, adding color and life to the grey and brown blahs of winter. In other places, all I could manage was one tubular seed feeder hanging isolated and alone outside of an apartment window. But still, it brought me scarlet red Cardinals and Military Blue Blue Jays.  So beautiful! But Jim and I have taken down the feeders at the farm, because farm cats Nellie and Polly were killing the birds they attracted. It seemed profoundly unethical and environmentally wrong to create a situation in which Read More