Feature

What Dog Behavior Doesn’t Teach You About Sheep

Pat Tagg, M.Sc, CABC

Anna and I were standing at the back of a queue of woolly bottoms. Anna is my German shepherd dog, and the woolly bottoms belong to my 200 Poll Dorset sheep. We all work together on a small farm in Dorset, U.K., where we study traditional herding techniques, management, and its impact on the environment.

Cat Division

Using Rotation to Reduce Stress in Multi-Cat Situations

Kathryn Weil

Multi-cat homes where all the cats live indoors are growing more and more common in today's feline world, as shelters, breeders, and behavior consultants recognize the benefits of bringing more than one cat home. In fact, most people who have cats have two or more.

Dog Division

Manging Canine Osteoarthritis

Rebecca Barr, BVMS MRCVS MSc

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease commonly seen in pet dogs. It has been found that 80% of dogs over the age of 8, and 20% of dogs over the age of 1 have osteoarthritis to some degree, with complications of arthritis being one of the leading causes of euthanasia in older pets. Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are many things we can do to help keep them as comfortable as possible and ensure they maintain a good quality of life.

Horse Division

Reflections on Pain in Equine Behavior

Catherine Bell, CHBC

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard (or seen on social media) someone say "I've had all the physical checks so it must be behavioural" when referring to a behavioural problem. What exactly are "all the physical checks"? A quick once-over from the vet? A 5 star vetting? Checks from vet, saddler and dentist? Checks from vet, saddler and dentist plus additional checks from two osteopaths, a chiropractor, 3 complementary therapists, and a physiotherapist? I'm not being facetious in my last suggestion. Sometimes this is what it takes to find a physical problem that is the underlying cause of something apparently behavioural. I'd go as far as saying that we can never say we have "done all the checks" — until the problem has been solved, there is always a chance there could be a physical cause.

Parrot Division

Shelter Division

Communication and Documentation in an Animal Shelter

Heather Gibbs, SBA

It is the responsibility of the Behavior and Training Department at our animal shelter, the Humane Society of Pinellas (HSP), to create, communicate, and implement behavior modification and training plans for the animals in our shelter’s care. Staff and volunteers are trained in animal behavior and the implementation of these plans.

Working Animals

An Interview with Michele Pouliot

Sarah Dixon, CDBC

Michele Pouliot is widely credited with introducing positive reinforcement-based training to the guide dog world and promoting the expansion of Clicker Training internationally within the guide dog field. Before she started working with guide dogs in 1974, Michele was a professional in the field of horse training, mentoring under Linda Tellington-Jones and Wentworth Tellington. Michele retired from Guide Dogs for the Blind after 42 years of service. During her last 16 years, she held the position of Director of Research and Development for programs at Guide Dogs. That position focused on developing and researching new techniques to improve all areas of client instruction, dog training and puppy development. In this interview, we asked Michele about her career, her life, and her thoughts about service dog training today.

Reptile Division

Puzzle Feeding for Snakes

Peter Amelia

Environmental enrichment and focus on animal welfare are now common practice for many pets. Some companies have started producing toys specifically designed for foraging. It’s even becoming standard in zoological facilities to provide such opportunities for many of the animals. Some taxa have been largely left out. Where have reptiles, fish, and invertebrates been in these conversations? This is not to say that absolutely nobody has been working on this. I’ve seen interesting things being done, such as Komodo dragons playing tug of war with food hung high in enclosures, or hissing cockroaches being presented with scent trails to follow with a feast at the end. Progress is certainly being made. The next step, as I see it, is to get more examples out there. Let’s make it mainstream!

General Subjects

Getting Over That Paywall: Accessing Research When You’re Not An Academic

Jesse Miller, PhD

As animal behavior professionals, we should all be committed to keeping up with the scientific basis for our practices, and we want to know when new discoveries about how animals think, perceive, and learn are made so we can critically appraise them and decide how to weave them into how we work. We also know that even well-meaning popular science sites can often distort the truth in favor of a simpler or more surprising message. Trying to access the latest research without the backing of an academic institution can be incredibly frustrating. This quick guide will suggest ways to (legally!) get around some of the barriers to knowledge.

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