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  1. 33 votes
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      1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert » Canine Cognition  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) supported this idea  · 
      AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

      This question has been answered by Dr. Brian Hare. Enjoy!

      http://youtu.be/A-VeIq8YDJ4

    • 31 votes
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        0 comments  ·  Ask An Expert  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
        AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) shared this idea  · 
      • 33 votes
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          0 comments  ·  Ask An Expert » Adoption  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

          Answered by Betsy Saul- Founder of the Petfinder Foundation

          You’ve adopted a shelter dog and that makes you awesome in my book. You may have also made the eternal solemn promise to your shelter dog. “You will never be abandoned again.”
          I have a ritual on the car ride home that’s always pretty much the same.

          “I’m Betsy. We’re going to take some time to figure out what your name is. This may seem strange now, but we’re going to love each other. And I promise you, you’re never gonna be (lonely, hungry, etc) again and you are part of this family forever.”

          Most of the time, things go without a hitch, because dogs, like kids, are amazingly resilient and tough and forgiving. But every once in a while an adopter will find themselves with a pet that either ended up in the shelter because of some unattractive personality trait,…

        • 39 votes
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            1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

            Answer from Victoria Stilwell:

            Dogs attack other dogs for a number of reasons but the root of most reactive and aggressive behavior is insecurity and fear. Keenu might be reacting negatively because he feels threatened by social interaction or has had a traumatic experience around other dogs. He could also be protecting you or the space around him which is important for his safety. Whatever the cause, dog to dog aggression is a serious problem.

            In a perfect world our dogs would be social and comfortable around all dogs they meet, but this is an unrealistic expectation. Although the behavior is frustrating, try not to punish Keenu if he reacts badly and quickly remove him from the situation by walking him in the opposite direction until he calms down. Punishment will only make him more insecure and shut him down, making learning impossible.

            Keenu needs to feel more in control.…

            AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

            Answer from Victoria Stilwell:

            Dogs attack other dogs for a number of reasons but the root of most reactive and aggressive behavior is insecurity and fear. Keenu might be reacting negatively because he feels threatened by social interaction or has had a traumatic experience around other dogs. He could also be protecting you or the space around him which is important for his safety. Whatever the cause, dog to dog aggression is a serious problem.

            In a perfect world our dogs would be social and comfortable around all dogs they meet, but this is an unrealistic expectation. Although the behavior is frustrating, try not to punish Keenu if he reacts badly and quickly remove him from the situation by walking him in the opposite direction until he calms down. Punishment will only make him more insecure and shut him down, making learning impossible.

            Keenu needs to feel more in control. When nervous dogs are given choices they tend to cope better in different situations. A leash is a canine life preserver and important for safety but a leash also stops a dog’s ability to act naturally. Most dogs would rather put distance between themselves and a perceived threat, but the leash stops them from doing so, causing a defensive reaction. Some dogs that react towards other dogs on leash are much more comfortable when they are in an off leash environment.

            From now on all good things should happen to Keenu when he sees another dog approaching. Before introducing another dog, teach Keenu a variety of alternative behaviors and/or games he can play. When he is proficient at these behaviors or games it is time to introduce a calm leashed dog at a distance where he feels comfortable. As the dog walks past, interact with Keenu and allow him to choose the game or behavior he likes. If he reacts negatively at any time, walk him away from the dog to a distance where he feels comfortable and start the process again. The secret to this training is to keep him comfortable and under his stress threshold level. After a time Keenu will become more confident as the approaching dog now signals a game or something fun rather than a threat.

            Once Keenu feels more comfortable walking past other dogs, gentle introductions can be made. This is best done with a very calm dog that is good at giving pacification signals that demonstrate low threat. Face-to-face greetings aren’t recommended immediately, but simply experiencing positive things in the other dog’s presence, including walking or activities at a comfortable distance can help build a positive association. Parallel walking, following the calm dog and sniffing the behind before a facial greeting can be beneficial, but this is better done under the supervision of a qualified positive trainer to guide initial interactions. You can find a humane force-free trainer at: www.positively.com

            Dog parks are not recommended for dog aggressive dogs or dogs that play too roughly, as they tend to be overwhelming and cause a bad reaction. Dogs, like people, can be overwhelmed being in a crowd and solitary walks or walking with a small group contributes to a much happier dog and safer interactions.

            Keep an eye on Keenu’s body language and allow him to choose the dogs he wants to socialize with and the ones he wants to avoid. Some dogs are happier with their own company or the company of just one or two other dogs. Avoid times of high traffic and off leash areas until he is more confident.

          • 26 votes
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              1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

              Victoria Stilwell has answered this question:

              There is an epidemic sweeping across the nation and it’s having a devastating effect on our dogs’ wellbeing. It’s a disease called boredom and many of our domestic dogs are at risk.
              Boredom and inactivity contributes to destructive behaviors such as chewing, house soiling, excessive barking and other anxiety-based behaviors. Dogs that are left alone for long hours on a regular basis cannot be blamed for taking out their boredom and loneliness on the couch. Chewing relieves stress and having nothing to do all day can be very stressful particularly for those breeds that were originally bred to work. Because the domestic dogs’ role has changed to that of family member and companion, trainers like me see too many bored dogs with behavioral issues that are easily solved with a daily schedule of walks and other activities.
              Think of it like this. Your dog…

              AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

              Victoria Stilwell has answered this question:

              There is an epidemic sweeping across the nation and it’s having a devastating effect on our dogs’ wellbeing. It’s a disease called boredom and many of our domestic dogs are at risk.
              Boredom and inactivity contributes to destructive behaviors such as chewing, house soiling, excessive barking and other anxiety-based behaviors. Dogs that are left alone for long hours on a regular basis cannot be blamed for taking out their boredom and loneliness on the couch. Chewing relieves stress and having nothing to do all day can be very stressful particularly for those breeds that were originally bred to work. Because the domestic dogs’ role has changed to that of family member and companion, trainers like me see too many bored dogs with behavioral issues that are easily solved with a daily schedule of walks and other activities.
              Think of it like this. Your dog is a car with a full tank of gas in the morning and it’s your responsibility to make sure that by the end of the day the gas tank is empty. Each dog’s needs are unique but all dogs need daily physical and mental stimulation with plenty of walks, great toys and fun games to play.
              A walk not only exercises your dog physically but provides a different environment that challenges and stimulates his senses. Unlike their wild cousins, the domestic dog lives in a sensory deprived environment and walking is the best way to provide the exercise and stimulation he needs by allowing him to experience the world around him while breaking up the monotony of the day. I’m still astounded however, by the number of people I meet who seldom walk their dogs, if at all. Leaving a dog in the back yard all day is not exercise and can become just as boring as an indoor room.
              If you stimulate your dog’s senses by allowing her to experience different environments each day and introducing her to new smells, sights, sounds around the neighborhood or at your local park, you’ll be repaid many times with a happy, healthy dog. Walking also relieves human stress and is great way to exercise and socialize with other like-minded people.

              If the weather is too hot or cold to be outside you can still play games inside your home such as hide and seek, fetch or tug-of-war. Hide treats around the house and send your dog on a treasure hunt. Vary your dog’s toys by rotating them each day so they remain unique and exciting and get toys that challenge your dog such as treat balls and puzzles.

              Find a training or agility class in your area and get together with other people and their dogs. Cater to your dog’s energy requirements and allow her breed or mix of breeds to dictate what she needs. Is she more predisposed to tracking, hunting, luring or herding? There are many organizations all over the country that allow you and your dog to practice different canine sports and activities in controlled circumstances which encourage team work and bonding.

              Dogs are social animals and isolation from humans or animals for long periods can have devastating behavioral consequences such as severe distress on separation or aggression. Play dates and socializing with other dogs in off-leash areas will help your dog develop important canine social skills and become more confident with positive experiences. Training classes are a good way to help you communicate with your dog and force free training is the most effective training philosophy to encourage your dog to learn and be successful. To find a Victoria Stilwell licensed trainer in your area go to: www.positively.co/trainers.

              If you have a busy work schedule and your dog spends long hours at home by himself during the day, consider hiring a dog walker or take him to a reputable doggy day care. This will help ensure your dog is getting the outlet he needs but make sure he is the kind of dog that enjoys a day care environment first. If he is not confident around other dogs, hiring a daily dog walker is a must.

              Dogs do get bored but enriching their lives doesn’t need to take a lot of time. It just means a different approach and an awareness of your dog’s needs. Sharing the responsibility with the whole family ensures your dog never becomes bored and receives the attention and time she deserves.

            • 69 votes
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                1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-

                Barking is one of the reasons humans adopted dogs for the long haul. For our ancestors, barking would have been an invaluable early warning system against intruders. However, excessive barking in the modern world can be annoying, leading to frustration in sleepless neighbors and helpless owners.
                Researchers have assessed several different methods for controlling barking, some of which were more effective than others.

                Citronella spray collar
                These collars work by releasing a cloud of citronella spray whenever the dog barks. Research has shown that this method was most effective when the collar was worn intermittently (e.g. every other day for 30 minutes), rather than continuously. This is surprising, since most would think it would have worked best if it sprayed the dog every time it barked.
                However, the study also showed that collar did not stop dogs from…

                AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

                Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-

                Barking is one of the reasons humans adopted dogs for the long haul. For our ancestors, barking would have been an invaluable early warning system against intruders. However, excessive barking in the modern world can be annoying, leading to frustration in sleepless neighbors and helpless owners.
                Researchers have assessed several different methods for controlling barking, some of which were more effective than others.

                Citronella spray collar
                These collars work by releasing a cloud of citronella spray whenever the dog barks. Research has shown that this method was most effective when the collar was worn intermittently (e.g. every other day for 30 minutes), rather than continuously. This is surprising, since most would think it would have worked best if it sprayed the dog every time it barked.
                However, the study also showed that collar did not stop dogs from barking all together. The dogs in the study slowly habituated to the collar, with barking levels increasing over time. Furthermore, the week after the dogs stopped wearing the collar the barking rate increased back to levels slightly below the original amount.

                Training
                Another, more effective technique is to train dogs not to bark by addressing the context in which barking occurs. Contexts can vary among being home alone, or seeing another dog or person outside, or even seeing another dog on TV. One of the most commonly reported contexts is when a guest rings the doorbell or knocks on the door. Positively reinforcing the dog to go to their bed, or a rug, or another spot away from the door and lie there for one minute on command, was shown to reduce barking by up to 90%!

                Although barking may have been beneficial when dogs and humans first began living together, things have changed in the past 10,000 years. Whatever the context, a good trainer can help you decrease the amount of barking in a positive and effective manner. Less barking can mean a more peaceful and happy house, as well as more peaceful and happy neighbors!

              • 35 votes
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                  1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert » Canine Cognition  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                  Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-

                  Your dog’s stare can be so hypnotic, it might seem as though she is trying “jedi mind tricks”. But probably more likely is that she is getting a fix of oxytocin.

                  Oxytocin is a peculiar little molecule. It is known as the ‘hug hormone’ because it is what makes you feel good when you are touched by a loved one, get a massage, or enjoy a good meal. Oxytocin has pain relieving properties and can also decrease stress and blood pressure.

                  We humans experience oxytocin in many of our social relationships, including bonding with our children or partners. What is surprising is that we would also experience a change in this hormone when bonding with a completely different species.

                  In a study with 55 dogs from Azabu University in Japan, people whose dogs gazed at them for longer…

                  AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

                  Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-

                  Your dog’s stare can be so hypnotic, it might seem as though she is trying “jedi mind tricks”. But probably more likely is that she is getting a fix of oxytocin.

                  Oxytocin is a peculiar little molecule. It is known as the ‘hug hormone’ because it is what makes you feel good when you are touched by a loved one, get a massage, or enjoy a good meal. Oxytocin has pain relieving properties and can also decrease stress and blood pressure.

                  We humans experience oxytocin in many of our social relationships, including bonding with our children or partners. What is surprising is that we would also experience a change in this hormone when bonding with a completely different species.

                  In a study with 55 dogs from Azabu University in Japan, people whose dogs gazed at them for longer showed a higher increase in oxytocin than people whose dogs gazed at them for a short amount of time. A ‘long gaze’ was defined by the 23% of dogs who stared at their owner for around two minutes or longer. Not only that, but people with dogs with a ‘long gaze’ reported being happier with their dogs than those whose dogs gaze was only around a minute long.

                  Recent research also suggests that this peak in oxytocin levels may be happening on both ends of the stare. When oxytocin levels were monitored dogs they too experienced a rise in the “hug hormone”. So while your dog may not be using hypnotic suggestion, she may be suggesting that if she could, she would hug you.

                • 35 votes
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                    1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                    Answer from Dr. Richard Hawkins:

                    This is a very common behavior which many dog owners will experience at some point. There are many potential causes as mental, physical, and training based issues can all contribute to this sort of behavior. Unfortunately, there is not much research on the cognitive reasons behind this behavior as it can be very challenging to recreate in a laboratory setting.

                    In my experience, your dog may be sitting down and holding fast for a number of reasons: She may be distracted by something else in the environment, uninterested or even afraid of proceeding in the direction you were walking, or there even may be a health issue causing her some discomfort.

                    There are several health issues that come to mind when I hear of this in my patients. Just like humans, dogs can get gastrointestinal discomfort, or a stomach ache, from many causes such as…

                    AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

                    Answer from Dr. Richard Hawkins:

                    This is a very common behavior which many dog owners will experience at some point. There are many potential causes as mental, physical, and training based issues can all contribute to this sort of behavior. Unfortunately, there is not much research on the cognitive reasons behind this behavior as it can be very challenging to recreate in a laboratory setting.

                    In my experience, your dog may be sitting down and holding fast for a number of reasons: She may be distracted by something else in the environment, uninterested or even afraid of proceeding in the direction you were walking, or there even may be a health issue causing her some discomfort.

                    There are several health issues that come to mind when I hear of this in my patients. Just like humans, dogs can get gastrointestinal discomfort, or a stomach ache, from many causes such as a change in diet, stress, excess gas, or even medication, just to name a few. When we humans have stomach aches we’re just as unlikely to want to go on with our normal day.

                    Osteoarthritis, can also affect a significant number of the joints involved in walking, and in many cases make walking a painful experience. As dogs age, this pain can grow and lead to a planted rear end during a walk.

                    If it happens again, keep an eye on your dog’s breathing, any sounds she makes, and her mental alertness. If anything seems out of the ordinary, it might be a good reason to visit your friendly veterinarian.

                    In most cases, however, you probably have a completely healthy dog! Even though it may not look like it, she may very well just be tired out and ready to go home. You could give her a break for a few minutes and try again, encouraging her with a tasty morsel to continue. But, if she's had enough, I’d would encourage you to respect her wishes in this instance, and head home.

                  • 28 votes
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                      1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert » Canine Cognition  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
                      AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

                      Dr. Brian Hare has filmed a video response to this question. Find the answer here:
                      http://vimeo.com/dognitionvideos/temperament

                    • 24 votes
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                        1 comment  ·  Ask An Expert » Canine Cognition  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

                        An answer from Dr. Josep Call:

                        Dear Olivia,
                        Thank very much for your inquiry, which touches on a crucial topic in the area of Animal Cognition.

                        There is no question that dogs remember several aspects of their daily lives including things like the places where they go (e.g., the park) and the routes that they take to get there (e.g., by the lake rather than across the woods), the activities that they engage in (e.g., playing catch), the objects that they use for those activities (e.g., Frisbee) as well as the people that share those activities with them. Without memory not only those activities would be vastly impaired, but even some more basic things like recognizing familiar smells and people or learning new things would be impossible for dogs.

                        Memory plays such a crucial role in our mental lives as well as those of our furry best friends that it…

                        AdminDognition (Admin, Dognition.com Home) commented  · 

                        An answer from Dr. Josep Call:

                        Dear Olivia,
                        Thank very much for your inquiry, which touches on a crucial topic in the area of Animal Cognition.
                        There is no question that dogs remember several aspects of their daily lives including things like the places where they go (e.g., the park) and the routes that they take to get there (e.g., by the lake rather than across the woods), the activities that they engage in (e.g., playing catch), the objects that they use for those activities (e.g., Frisbee) as well as the people that share those activities with them. Without memory not only those activities would be vastly impaired, but even some more basic things like recognizing familiar smells and people or learning new things would be impossible for dogs.
                        Memory plays such a crucial role in our mental lives as well as those of our furry best friends that it should not come as a surprise that memory was one of the first aspects of animal cognition that was investigated by scientists at the beginning of the 20th century. One hundred years of research have taught us much about animal memory including what types of memory exist, how long they last, where they are stored, and what can enhance them or impair them. However, there is still much that we do not know about animal memories, and for some species such as dogs, we know very, very little since they are extremely under-studied from a scientific point of view. Although a bit disappointing from my perspective because I would like to know much more about dog memory, this state of affairs presents dog owners with a terrific opportunity to potentially contribute to advancing our scientific knowledge in this area by reporting their dogs’ performance in controlled tests.
                        Indeed, a controlled test is precisely what Olivia would need to do if you wanted to know what triggers your dog’s responses when you return home after a long period away. You have already taken an important step in solving this mystery because you have already proposed two hypotheses that could explain your dog’s reaction: 1) your mere presence 2) your family reaction to your presence. Now one would need to test which one explains your dog’s reaction better. One of the simplest ways of doing this would be to compare your dog’s reaction in two different situations: 1) You appear without any of your family members around 2) You appear in the presence of your family. You would then measure several behaviours including the appearance of tail-wagging, approach/avoidance, growling/barking, and any other behaviours that you deem appropriate. Additionally, you could compare the responses in those two situations with the situation in which a stranger appears.
                        Although in scientific circles it is undisputed that animals possess memories, currently, there is an intense debate in the field of comparative cognition about which types of memories are present in animals. Some scientists argue that some animals, just like humans, possess so-called episodic or autobiographical memories – a type of memory that serves us to recall specific events of our personal history, e.g., the day that you got your first bicycle. If you think about it, you can probably recall, who was there, where the event took place and when it happened – all this information comes bundled together so that you are capable of re-experiencing the whole episode. Other scientists argue that the memories that have been reported in nonhuman animals lack some of these aspects and more importantly, they are not tied together – they are not autobiographical in nature. If you want to know more about dog memory, or more generally about animal memory, the current debates in the field, and the new research directions please check the following sources:

                        Dog memory
                        -Hare, B. & Woods, V. (2013). The Genius of Dogs. New York: Dutton.

                        -Kaminski, J., Fischer, J. & Call, J. (2008). Prospective object search in dogs: Mixed evidence for knowledge of What and Where. Animal Cognition, 11, 367-371.

                        -Fugazza, C., Miklósi, Á. (in press). Deferred imitation and declarative memory in domestic dogs. Animal Cognition. doi:10.1007/s10071-013-0656-5.

                        Animal memory

                        -General knowledge: Roberts, W.A. (1998). Principles of Animal Cognition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

                        -Current debates: Clayton, N.S., Bussey, T.J., and Dickinson, A. (2003a). Can animals recall the past and plan for the future? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 4, 685-691.

                        -New directions: Martin-Ordas G and Call J (2013) Episodic memory: a comparative approach. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 63. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00063. (Open access).

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