Recent Articles

Click and Cluck: Lesson on Animal Training from Chickens

March 27, 2009

Jan30PhoebeChickens I went through the picture in my head. Chicken number one climbs up the ladder onto a one-foot-wide platform, makes a 180-degree turn and tightropes across a narrow bridge to a second platform, where it pecks a tethered ping-pong ball, sending the ball in an arc around its post. The chicken then turns 180 degrees and negotiates a second ladder back down to ground level, where it encounters a yellow bowling pin and a blue bowling pin in random arrangement. It knocks the yellow one down first and then the blue one. Chicken number two grasps a loop tied

A Day in the Life of Show Business Elephants

March 25, 2009

Have you ever wondered how show biz elephants are trained and housed, and how they spend a typical day? Last week I found out when I visited an American Zoos and Aquariums certified elephant training and conservation facility called Have Trunk Will Travel.

Book Review: For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend

March 18, 2009

Patricia McConnell has once again presented us with a book that is not only informative but heartwarming as well. Dr. McConnell uses sound research on the subject of neuroscience and emotions to help us better understand emotions in our dogs, and she does it in a way that can be easily understood by anyone interested in this subject. The book begins by addressing the subject of emotions and why the subject is so controversial in animals. It proceeds to describe the emotional expressions in our dogs and how anyone can learn to interpret them with observation and practice. Her chapter

Does Your Humping Dog Make Your Face Turn Red?

March 16, 2009

Question: Dr. Yin, I was wondering if you could offer some advice about dogs mounting other dogs. I have a 10 yr. old fixed Standard Poodle who gets very excited when he greets another dog and he ends up mounting the other dog. Male, female, big dog, small dog – it doesn’t matter. I would just like to know why he does this, and how can I stop it. Thanks for your time. Pennie Answer: Pennie, you’re not alone. Many neutered dogs perform this embarrassing social faux-“paw”, not because they’re being amorous or trying to dominate, but because they are

How to Stop It When The Neighbor Dog Poops in Yard

March 12, 2009

Question: The neighborhood feline has made our yard his personal litter box. We have to remove kitty poop almost every day and have unsuccessfully tried spraying the affected areas with a mixture of water and bleach to deter the fellow. Do you have any suggestions ? H. Wong of Contra Costa Answer: Whether it’s neighborhood dogs leaving landmines for your walking pleasure or cats graffittiing your house with their pungent yellow perfume, other people’s pets-and their owners who fail to manage them responsibly-can be annoying. Often it starts as a minor irritation—an occasional cleanup in your rose garden or a

New Study Finds Popular “Alpha Dog” Training Techniques Can Cause More Harm than Good

March 9, 2009

“The client, an elderly couple, had a 6-year-old male, neutered Rhodesian Ridgeback that was aggressive to dogs” describes Dr. Jennie Jamtgaard, an applied animal behavior consultant and behavior instructor at Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “They had watched Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan and seen Millan place aggressive dogs in with his group of dogs and then hold them down on their sides or back if they were aggressive. So they brought their dog to the dog park and basically flooded him [immersed him in the aggression-inducing situation].” Not surprisingly, they didn’t get far. “The female owner was trying

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