Adolescence. We all know what it’s like. Raging hormones, wanting to be the center of attention, rebellion, risk-taking behavior–and those all-important social relationships. I’m talking about humans, but is it really so different in our dogs? Adolescence in dogs starts around six months of age (in females, it begins when they enter their first estrous).… Continue reading Rethinking Adolescence
Thank you to everyone for the wonderful feedback about the first installment in this series! I am thrilled to hear that so many people found it helpful! Of course, finding a paper is only the first step. The next thing you have to do is read it! This can be extremely intimidating, especially if you… Continue reading How to Read Research Articles in Animal Behavior
There has been a huge increase in the number of studies being conducted on applied animal behavior, which is great news for those of us in the field! Keeping up with the research gives us great power to improve the outcomes of the dogs – or other species – that we work with. Scientific literacy… Continue reading The search for gold – finding scientific papers
Why Does Learning About Science Matter? This is an article I wrote awhile back, but I never posted it on my blog and I’d like to give it a little wider audience because I think it’s such an important topic! What if you found out that, as a field, we have only scratched the surface… Continue reading Why Science Matters
Over the years, I have been increasingly interested in adolescent dogs for a number of reasons. First, this is a hugely challenging period of time for dog guardians – and an age when many dogs are given up. It’s also probably a challenging time for the dogs themselves. That would explain why their behavior often… Continue reading The Terrible Teens – Adolescence in Dogs
Stress resilience is the ability to effectively respond to stress. In humans, higher levels of stress resilience are associated with decreased susceptibility to mental health disorders. Poor stress resilience is associated with mental and physical health concerns and decreased quality of life. Basically, stress resilience is key to living a good life. Dogs that have… Continue reading Building resilience: effort, reward, and stress coping
This month we’re going to take a look at fear learning. Fear and anxiety underly many of the behavior issues in dogs. Understanding the subtleties of how fear works can help us prevent and address it more effectively. First, it’s important to understand how fear develops in the first place. Certain things are innately frightening… Continue reading The Development of Fear
Currently, the primary way of addressing fear in dogs is through the use of desensitization and counter conditioning. For this month’s blog post, I am going to spend some time digging into the details of what counter conditioning is, how it functions, and what its limitations are. Counter conditioning refers to the process of… Continue reading Making the most of counter conditioning
Trainers are well-versed in learning theory. This is for good reason because a strong foundation in instrumental conditioning is essential for being able to effectively change behavior in dogs. However, it’s not the only thing that matters. There are many other aspects of behavior that are also important. These include development, stress, species-typical behavior… Continue reading Ethology in Training and Behavior – Why Does it Matter?
Most experienced trainers are fairly well-versed in the basic principles of instrumental learning. Primarily, that means the antecedent-behavior-consequence sequence and the four types of instrumental learning: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment and negative punishment. These concepts are fundamental to our understanding of why animals do what they do and how to change their behavior.… Continue reading Why advanced instrumental learning?