What’s Shocking about Shock?

By Don Hanson The Shock-Free Coalition did not come to its conclusion that using shock for the training, care, and management of pets was unnecessary and harmful out of the blue. Its position is based on the careful review of the growing number of peer reviewed, scientific studies that demonstrate that shock is not only unnecessary, but is harmful, both […]

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A Better Awareness of Overarousal

By Anna Bradley When mentioning “arousal” or “overarousal,” dog owners may have some idea as to their definition, but in my experience the consensus seems to be that the terms generally refer to negative trigger events. This is inaccurate, however. Arousal triggers include positive as well as negative events. Examples of positive arousal triggers may include greeting a familiar person, getting […]

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April 15, 2019: Study Finds Emotional Mirror Neurons in the Rat

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience have tested the theory of empathy in rats and found the presence of mirror-like neurons in the rat’s anterior cingulate cortex that are responsive when other rats are observed undergoing a painful or unpleasant experience. The finding suggests that observing rats shared the emotion of the other rats and, according to Prof. Christian Keysers, […]

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March 27, 2019: Newly Published Review Debates Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs

The new paper, What is the Evidence for Reliability and Validity of Behavior Evaluations for Shelter Dogs? A prequel to “No Better than Flipping a Coin,” presents the following highlights:  Colloquial usage of scientific terms such as “validated” can be misleading. No shelter canine behavior evaluation meets accepted standards as being validated. Published error rates are too high to justify routine […]

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Putting the Social in Socialization

By Anna Bradley The goal of puppy socialization is to “convince the amygdala, that part of the puppy’s brain that reacts emotionally to his world that, in general, the best/most appropriate emotional responses are calm, relaxed and happy.” (Miller, 2014). Scott and Fuller (1965, cited by Overall (2013)) identified four main stages in a puppy’s development: • Neonatal • Transitional […]

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Lessons from Bogie

By Shannon Finch Later, my client told me what had happened that weekend. They had had guests, and Bogie had been whining and crying in his crate, so her husband used a shock collar to keep him quiet. Things suddenly became very clear. I now understood why Bogie’s progress was so sporadic. My client used positive reinforcement, but her husband was […]

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Februrary 22, 2019: BC SPCA Urges Dog Owners Not to Use Shock Collars

The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) in Canada is urging dog owners to refrain from using electric shock collars as a training tool for their pets, stating that pet owners are often unaware of the harm the devices can cause. Says Dr. Karen van Haaften of the BCSPCA: “[Shock collars] cause pain and signs of fear in […]

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The Many Faces of Behavior Myopia: Recognizing the Subtle Signs

By Eileen Anderson and Angelica Steinker The fundamental goal of any behavior modification program should be to improve the dog’s1 and owner’s emotional states, both during and after the process. If emotional, genetic or medical information is omitted from the functional assessment process however, the ensuing behavior modification plan will be incomplete, which not only runs the risk of recommended interventions […]

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