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  • February 15, 2017
  • 01:00 PM
  • 487 views

"Dominance" Training Deprives Dogs of Positive Experiences

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Dominance is an outdated approach to dog training – and it also means dogs miss out on fun.Approaches to dog training based on dominance rely on the idea that you have to be the ‘alpha’ or pack leader. Unfortunately, this type of dog training is not just out-of-date and potentially risky, but modern approaches to dog training are also a lot more fun – for you and the dog.What is dominance in dog training?We sometimes hear the phrase ‘my dog is being dominant.’ ‘Your dog is being do........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2017
  • 11:30 AM
  • 463 views

Timing and Attention Matter in Dog Training, New Study Shows

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Analysis of videos of dog training sessions show that getting the dog’s attention and good timing of rewards are linked to better results.A new study looks at the interactions between people and dogs whilst teaching ‘lie down’. The results show the importance of the timing of rewards and of getting the dog’s attention in order to be successful in dog training.The study is part of a wider research project at the University of Sydney into what they call “dogmanship.” I asked first auth........ Read more »

Payne, E., Bennett, P., & McGreevy, P. (2017) DogTube: An examination of dogmanship online. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 50-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2016.10.006  

  • November 30, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 584 views

Playtime After Training Improves a Dog's Memory

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Making time for play immediately after a dog training session improves the dog’s memory.New research by Nadja Affenzeller (University of Lincoln) et al investigates whether play following learning leads to better performance the next day. The scientists wanted to know whether this effect, previously found in humans, would also apply to dogs.In people, it is thought that the hormonal response during positive arousal acts on parts of the brain called the hippocampus and amygdala and leads to........ Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 729 views

Clicker Training vs Treat: Equally Good in Dog Training

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Scientists find unanticipated results in a study that compares the clicker to a verbal reward-marker and the use of food alone in dog training.The study, by Cinzia Chiandetti (University of Trieste) et al  took 51 pet dogs and trained them on a novel task. 17 dogs were trained using a clicker, 17 using a verbal reward marker (“Bravo”), and 17 with only a reward. Then they tested the dogs to see how well they performed when asked to generalize the training to something similar and someth........ Read more »

Chiandetti, C., Avella, S., Fongaro, E., & Cerri, F. (2016) Can clicker training facilitate conditioning in dogs?. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. DOI: http://dx.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2016.08.006  

  • August 17, 2016
  • 12:45 PM
  • 650 views

In Dog Training, Balance Is Off

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

It’s not a good thing when dog trainers describe themselves as ‘balanced’. Here’s why.When you think about balancing dogs, your first thoughts might be of a dog walking along a beam, all nicely balanced and not falling off. Or maybe of a dog posing for a photo with a pile of cookies balanced on their muzzle, to show off how good their balancing skills are.But, unfortunately, this is not what people mean when they refer to ‘balanced’ dog training.Balance is one of those weasel words i........ Read more »

  • June 16, 2016
  • 09:30 AM
  • 798 views

Seven Reasons to Use Reward-Based Dog Training

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

It’s amazing what we can do when we use rewards to train our companion animals. Here are some reasons to give it a try.Positive reinforcement is recommended by professional organizationsMany professional organizations have spoken out against the use of punishment in dog training because the scientific evidence shows that it carries risks.For example, Dogs Trust recommend the use of rewards in dog training. “In order to be effective and to gain the best results, all training should be based a........ Read more »

Hiby, E.F., Rooney, N.J., & Bradshaw, J.W.S. (2004) Dog training methods: Their use, effectiveness and interaction with behaviour and welfare. Animal Welfare, 63-69. info:/

  • June 8, 2016
  • 11:00 AM
  • 862 views

Canine Science is Better than Common Sense

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We need canine science because common sense can lead us astray.Recently I wrote about why science matters to our dogs and cats, based on findings from Dr. Paige Jarreau’s research that suggests science blogs (like this one) may contribute to readers having a better knowledge of science.I thought of this again recently because a comment I often see from readers – on any kind of science story on the internet – is "don’t we know this already? Isn’t it just common sense?"I understand the c........ Read more »

  • September 23, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,261 views

Cluck Click! Training Chickens Reveals Their Intelligence

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Teaching a trick to a chicken increases beliefs that chickens are intelligent and can feel emotions.Learning how to train chickens changes student’s attitudes towards them, according to a new study by Susan Hazel, Lisel O’Dwyer (both University of Adelaide) and Terry Ryan (Legacy Canine). The chickens were trained to do a specific task (such as pecking on a red but not green circle) in order to get food. Survey responses before and after the class show more positive attitudes after the ........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,288 views

Make your dog happy. Train force free.

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We can promote animal welfare by making learning a rewarding experience.By now, many people are familiar with the idea that using aversives to train dogs can have side effects. Studies show a correlation between aversive techniques (such as hitting, pinning, leash jerks and shock) and behaviour problems like aggression (Herron et al 2009; Casey et al 2014). One study found dogs in a training class that used aversives showed signs of stress and were less likely to look at their owners than in a s........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,133 views

Re-Arranging Metaphors for Dogs

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The problems with the wolf pack metaphor go deeper than you think.One of the metaphors many dog trainers despair of is that of the wolf pack. According to this, you are supposed to be ‘leader of the pack’ to your dog, who is trying all the time to be ‘dominant’. The way you stop this is to be ‘dominant’ yourself which involves awful things like ‘alpha rolls’. It’s surprisingly pervasive. It is not really based on science but on a kind of folk science, of how wolf packs are........ Read more »

  • May 27, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,463 views

Where Do People Get Information About Dog Training?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Can people be blamed for dog training mistakes when there is so much erroneous information out there?Recently I saw a man walking a German Shepherd. Even from a distance it was clear the dog was nervous: his posture was low to the ground and the way he was walking made me wonder what kind of equipment he was on. As I waited at the traffic lights, I got a chance to see: a prong collar, tight, positioned high on his neck.There are easy alternatives, the simplest being a no-pull harness. I began to........ Read more »

Branson, N., Cobb, M., & McGreevy, P. (2009) Australian Working Dog Survey Report. Australian Animal Welfare Strategy. info:/

Deldalle, S., & Gaunet, F. (2014) Effects of two training methods on stress-related behaviors of the dog. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9(2), 58-65. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2013.11.004

  • May 13, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,142 views

6 Reasons to Love Canine Science

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Recent years have seen a blossoming of the field of canine science. Here are some reasons to love it.Because dogs are amazing, and science proves it!We love our dogs, and fMRI studies show how important people are to dogs (their caudate lights up on smelling a familiar human, Berns et al 2014). Dogs can learn to follow pointing gestures,  will try to comfort a crying stranger and respond to the sound of a baby crying. Chaser the border collie knows 1000 words. And we mustn’t forget how am........ Read more »

Freedman, D., King, J., & Elliot, O. (1961) Critical Period in the Social Development of Dogs. Science, 133(3457), 1016-1017. DOI: 10.1126/science.133.3457.1016  

Hall, N.J., Lord, K., Arnold, A-M.K., Wynne, C.D.L., & Udell, M. (2015) Assessment of attachment behaviours to human caregivers in wolf pups (Canis lupus lupus). Behavioural Processes, 15-21. info:/

Morrow, M., Ottobre, J., Ottobre, A., Neville, P., St-Pierre, N., Dreschel, N., & Pate, J. (2015) Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.03.002  

O'Haire, M., McKenzie, S., McCune, S., & Slaughter, V. (2013) Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities with Guinea Pigs in the Primary School Classroom. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 26(3), 445-458. DOI: 10.2752/175303713X13697429463835  

  • April 29, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,738 views

Different Dog Breeds, Different Sensitive Period?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A study of three breeds finds differences in the sensitive period, and shows socialization should begin before you even take your puppy home.Puppies have a sensitive period between 3 and 12-14 weeks old in which they must be socialized. This means positive introductions to new people, dogs, places, etc. If not, they will be fearful as adult dogs. A fascinating new study by Mary Morrow (Ohio State University) et al investigates whether this period is the same for three breeds of dog: Cavalier Kin........ Read more »

Morrow, M., Ottobre, J., Ottobre, A., Neville, P., St-Pierre, N., Dreschel, N., & Pate, J. (2015) Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.03.002  

  • January 28, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,140 views

How Can We Improve Working Dog Programs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new paper suggests ways to develop the welfare and performance of working canines.A search-and-rescue dog takes part in a training exerciseHave you ever stopped to think about the amazing variety of jobs that dogs do: herding sheep, chasing criminals, sniffing out cancer, assisting people with disabilities, supporting the military in the field, detecting explosives or narcotics, visiting sick people in hospital, pulling sleds, search and rescue, and so on. They bring a wide variety of ski........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,574 views

Do Dogs Prefer Petting or Praise?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study asks dogs to make the choice. Photo: Felix Rohan / Shutterstock Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Fukuzawa, M., & Hayashi, N. (2013) Comparison of 3 different reinforcements of learning in dogs (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4), 221-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.067  

OKAMOTO, Y., OHTANI, N., UCHIYAMA, H., & OHTA, M. (2009) The Feeding Behavior of Dogs Correlates with their Responses to Commands. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 71(12), 1617-1621. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.001617  

  • January 7, 2015
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,908 views

Does It Matter What Age You Neuter Your Kitten?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates whether age of neutering affects feline behaviour – and looks at punishment and other variables too.Photo: NCAimages / ShutterstockThere are so many cats without homes that some shelters neuter kittens early, at 8 – 12 weeks old, so they are neutered prior to adoption. This is the only way they can guarantee that a kitten will be neutered. Normally, cats are neutered at 6 – 8 months old. Kittens, like puppies, have a sensitive period that is an important soci........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2014
  • 09:30 AM
  • 2,169 views

The Effects of Owner Experience and Housing on Argentine Dogos

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Photo: Lakatos Sandor / ShutterstockWhat are the effects of an owner’s prior dog experience and the dog’s housing on behaviour problems? A survey of people with Argentine Dogos investigates.Some previous research has suggested people who are first-time dog owners are more likely to have a dog with behaviour problems, perhaps because they don’t have enough experience. Also, sometimes people say breed experience is helpful. The aim of this study was to investigate this by looking at only one........ Read more »

Diverio, S., & Tami, G. (2014) Effect of owner experience, living environment, and dog characteristics on owner reports of behavior of Argentine Dogos in Italy . Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9(4), 151-157. info:/

  • August 6, 2014
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,557 views

Is it Important to Attend Puppy Class?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Is a one-off puppy party a suitable alternative to a six-week puppy class? Research says you can’t skip the socialization if you want a well-rounded adult dog.Photo: Zuzule / ShutterstockA study by Ai Kutsumi et al (2013) of the Azabu University Graduate School of Veterinary Science compares four groups of dogs: those who attended a six-week puppy class, those who went to a one-hour puppy party, those who attended a six-week adult dog training class, and those who didn’t attend any pup........ Read more »

KUTSUMI, A., NAGASAWA, M., OHTA, M., & OHTANI, N. (2013) Importance of Puppy Training for Future Behavior of the Dog. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 75(2), 141-149. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.12-0008  

  • July 30, 2014
  • 09:30 AM
  • 1,942 views

The Attentive Look of a Dog in Training

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Researchers investigate the body language of a dog that is performing well in training.Photo: Markus Balint / ShutterstockA new study puts dogs through the first stage of a basic training task and analyzes eye contact and posture in the most successful dogs. The research by Masashi Hasegawa et al (Azabu University School of Veterinary Medicine) is motivated by a desire to improve people’s training abilities by helping them recognize the posture associated with successful learning. O........ Read more »

  • June 11, 2014
  • 12:47 PM
  • 1,531 views

Do Dogs Get that Eureka! Feeling?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Does successful problem solving make dogs happy?Photo: Mackland / ShutterstockNew research by Ragen McGowan et al (University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden) investigates whether dogs enjoy the experience of solving a problem in order to obtain a reward, or if it is just the reward itself that makes them happy.Rather unusually, the idea came from a study that found cattle who completed a task to earn a reward seemed to be happier than those who just received the reward. The design of McG........ Read more »

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