Why electric shock is not behavior modification. Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2007) 2, 1-4
In doing the Web research for my earlier survey of nonveterinary programs for those who work with troubled dogs (Editorial: How do we obtain and disseminate accurate information? Vol. 1, Issue 3:89 -93), I encountered a number of Web sites that either supported or reviled training using electric shock. This is a perennial issue, and although I loathe starting the new year with yet another revisit, perhaps the time has come to ask-not what people think about shock-but whether it “works,” what we mean by “works,” and what would be necessary to evaluate this or any other technique using the scientific method. If we can start the new year by promoting a rational, scientific approach to this issue, we will have set a tone for discussion that is much needed. . .
I am going to review some of the ground I covered in previous letters, and add information from data relatively recently published in hopes of allowing anyone who is interested to understand that:
the use of shock is not treatment for pets with behavioral concerns;
the use of shock is not a way forward;
the use of shock does not bring dogs back from the brink of euthanasia; instead, it may send them there; and
such adversarial techniques have negative consequences that those promoting these techniques either dismiss or ignore.
Download the full article in PDF format
Why Won’t Dominance Die? by David Ryan (APBC.org) – Many leading animal behaviourists are concerned that the “dominance” model of pet dog behaviour continues to survive, despite the accumulating evidence that it is at best unhelpful and at worst highly detrimental.
It is easy to see why trainers and owners alike are fond of the concepts of “pack” and “dominance” in relation to pet dogs. A pack means we’re all part of the same gang. “Dominance” explains our respective positions in that pack. We live in a pack with our pet dogs and they either dominate us or we dominate them. To be at the top of the pack with total dominance would make you the “alpha”, with all the esteem that entails, therefore dogs will strive for dominance unless you beat them to it. It’s a neat explanation.
Except that none of it actually bears scientific scrutiny. Read more
AVSAB Position Statement on Puppy Socialization – The primary and mostostost important time for puppy socialization is the first three months of life.1, 2 During this time puppies should be exposed to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as can be achieved safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated. Download the full article.
Veterinary Behaviorists Take a Stand Against Cesar Millan from Janet’s Veterinary Medicine Blog by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Guide to Veterinary Medicine
In recent weeks, there has been a lot of talk on Twitter about Cesar Millan, otherwise known as The Dog Whisperer, and his dominance-based training methods for dogs.
In February 2009, the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) issued a “position statement” about the use of punishment for behavior modification in animals, detailing 9 possible adverse effects of negative reinforcement (punishment) training. While not naming any trainers by name, the statement was written to counter Millan’s techniques featured on his National Geographic channel show, The Dog Whisperer. Read the full blog at About.com
AVSAB Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
“AVSAB is concerned with the recent re-emergence of dominance theory and forcing dogs and other animals into submission as a means of preventing and correcting behavior problems. For decades, some traditional animal training has relied on dominance theory and has assumed that animals misbehave primarily because they are striving for higher rank. This idea often leads trainers to believe that force or coercion must be used to modify these undesirable behaviors. In the last several decades, our understanding of dominance theory and of the behavior of domesticated animals and their wild counterparts has grown considerably, leading to updated views. To understand how and whether to apply dominance theory to behavior in animals, it’s imperative that one first has a basic understanding of the principles…”
Read the full Position Paper from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. This is important!
General Tick Info + Anaplasmosis
If you have a smooth coated dog, right after your walk, “brush” him down with one of those big sticky lint rollers. The sticky paper will capture any ticks that haven’t burrowed yet.
To rid your yard of ticks, get out your garden hose, attach one of those bottle sprayer things, fill it with 1/2 Ivory liquid dish soap (no other brand, must be ivory) and 1/2 water. Spray your yard a few times per week for about 2 weeks. No more ticks! Be sure to spray any fencing as well. This will not hurt any foliage. Or you can get FOOD grade Diatomaceous Earth (otherwise known as DE) and sprinkle it around your house and yard – great for killing fleas too.
New (or not so new) tick borne disease – Anaplasmosis. My dog Emma had been very lethargic, refused to eat or play, was very depressed and has been diagnosed with Anaplasmosis. So be sure that if you see any of these symptoms, you have your vet check for lyme, Ehrlichia and Anaplasmosis. From a site on Google:
Question. What is canine anaplasmosis?
Answer. Canine anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, formerly known as Ehrlichia equi) is transmitted by the deer tick and the Western black-legged tick—the same ticks that transmit Lyme disease. Canine anaplasmosis symptoms are often arthritis-like with multiple painful joints. Some canine anaplasmosis-infected dogs run a high fever, accompanied by lethargy, inappetence, vomiting and diarrhea. Neurological signs, while infrequent, may result in seizures and neck pain. Although minimal geographic data is currently available about the disease, its common host, the deer tick, can be found throughout the United States, primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic and north-central states, as well as California.
Car Sickness in Dogs
Ginger Trips by Soloray (1 or two wafers)
Cocculus Indicus (for nausea – great for humans too) (use 3-4 pellets)
Rescue Remedy (a few drops)
For each car trip, use two of the remedys listed above. They can be purchased at most health food stores (real ones – NOT CVS type)
Skunk Odor Info
Recipe to get the skunk odor OUT:
teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap
1/4 cup baking soda
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
mix and rub into dogs fur
Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then rinse well. Feel free to repeat a second time
DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT, try to keep this once you are done using it. Throw it out as soon as you are done. It WILL explode.
X Back Sledding Harness – 320-485-4825 – Go to their website and look for the instructions on how to measure for a harness. Measure TWICE, order once.
BridgePortEquipment.com Has the best leashes. For the 33 foot long lines (leather and nylon) go to the tracking section. I use the 3/8″ or the 1/2″ wide. When buying a long line, don’t get cotton – they rot and break at the worst possible moment!
These are the space blankets that I recommend in hot weather at CleanRun.com. Be sure to get either the clips or the magnets to hold them in place. Be sure to get at least 2 or 3, depending on the size of your vehicle. Of course, you will also need to make sure your dog is crated in your vehicle – that way you can leave all of the windows and doors open and the space blankets up and your vehicle will stay nice and cool. For The R.E.W.A.R.D. Zone seminars and for the Sunday morning Growl Class, they are required.
Read the Introduction to Bringing Light to Shadow: A Dog Trainer’s Diary
This book collects my daily journal entries chronicling my training sessions with Shadow, a human aggressive Border Collie. My book starts with Shadow’s less than wonderful homecoming and ends with Shadow being confident, trusting and calm enough to attain his Canine Good Citizen title. Click here to read more!
Update to Shadow’s story – January 19, 2009
I just thought I would update everyone on Shadow’s progress since 11/21/01 (the day he got his CGC). He now has his CD (3 runs, 3 legs, 3 placements – two 2nd places and one 3rd place), NA, NAJ (all 1st places), ARCHX, RL3 and TSW (Team Swim Certificate – Shadow (and my other BCs, Beau and Emma were the first of their breed to earn this title), Novice Head Submersion and Novice Single Retrieve and he has only 2 more QQs to get his ARCHEX. Shads is continuing to do well and still surprises me with his good behavior. He is starting to go blind (black film on his eyes), so I decided not to go on with his competition obedience career or agility (although I do still train for it). He is 9-1/2 years old now and still going strong. and I am doing quite a bit of trick and freestyle training with him, although I refuse to dress up so will never compete. I did it once (with Cody) and I will never again appear in public in a poodle skirt! He is almost ready to get his TD (Tracking Dog Title) and I plan on doing that and then onto TDX and VST. He is an amazing tracker and it’s really cool to see him work.