Training your dog with a prong collar (or shock collar, shake can, alpha roll) is not positive

If you have to use a prong collar to have a "special relationship" with your dog ... that's not a relationship either you or dog want.

I was coming out of our local natural food store yesterday when I saw this poster hanging on the community bulletin board. Something didn't seem right about the picture so I stood for a moment looking at it - and then I saw it. Look closely. The dog is wearing a prong collar. Newsflash: if the trainer could actually "talk" dog or had a relationship with his dog, it wouldn't need to be on a prong collar. I'm an amateur student of dog behavior and communication - and when I say amateur, … [Read more...]

Can dogs be introverted or extroverted?

Scout, Bandit and Bailey - can you tell by looking at them which is the introvert and which is the extrovert? Can a dog even be an introvert or extrovert?

Not long ago, I did a post reflecting on Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking," musing on how I'm an introvert and what that means in my life. I got a lot of feedback from other introverts who were happy to have someone speak up on their behalf. Then my editor asked me an interesting question: can animals be introverted or extroverted? Cain addresses that issue very briefly in the book, citing research done on guppies in an attempt to … [Read more...]

Scientists use MRI to see what Fido is thinking

What do you think Bandit is thinking right now?

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at my quirky Border collie, Bandit, and say, “I wish I knew what you were thinking right now.” My guess is that, if you have dogs, you often think the same thing. Well, researchers at Emory University have found a way to study what’s going on in Fido’s brain with what is likely the first functional MRI performed on a dog. In this kind of brain scan, dogs were studied while they were awake and unrestrained – no sedation, no … [Read more...]

Animal testing and a little Monday morning crankiness

(source: Wikipedia Commons; Janet Stephens, photographer)

It's Monday, and to be quite frank, I'm feeling a little cranky, animal-wise. It's 10:30 AM and I've already been out to clean and feed the chickens, who are raising such a ruckus the neighbors must think I've been plucking them bald. The dogs are engaged in their daily in and out and in and out, and considering that Bailey and Bandit still can't be in the same room, it's a little exhausting. So when I read this article at GlobalAnimal.com, my initial response is probably more sarcastic than … [Read more...]

Honey bees, pesticides and why you should care about them both

When the news came out this week that researchers now believe that pesticides are causing what is commonly referred to at Colony Collapse Disorder, my guess is that most people scanned the headline and moved on. But I read the story with interest, because ever since I watched two documentaries on bees I've been more and more intrigued with how our food supply - and the overall health of the nation - is tied to those buzzing little insects we take for granted. Both films - "Colony" and … [Read more...]

Bear cubs born before internet audience (video)

On Sunday, January 22, a bear named Jewel gave birth to cubs while an internet audience watched it happen live. The birth took place at the Wildlife Research Institute, home to the North American Bear Center, in Ely, Minnesota. And you can watch it happen - and hear the little cub squeals! - in this video! I'm personally a technophobe - I use the barest technology necessary in order to do my job. But thank God - literally! - for technology like the Den Cams and the folks who used it to … [Read more...]


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