The More We Misrepresent a Dog's Cognitive Abilities the More They Suffer.
Originally published in slightly different form on April 26, 2010 at PsychologyToday.com.
Is Everything Animals Do Based on a Mental Thought Process?
In a new blog here at PsychologyToday.com—The Hidden Lives of Animals: Understanding Animal Behavior—Jonathan Balcombe, Ph. D., writes, “For much of the twentieth century, science didn’t view animals as thinking, feeling beings. Today that...
Originally published on July 28, 2009 by Lee Charles Kelley
Linear vs Cyclical Time
Dogs live totally in the moment. They don’t dwell on the past and they don’t worry about the future. This may be one of the most charming and delightful things about them. But while dogs have no sense of linear time, they do have a very exact sense of cyclical time (probably related to circadian rhythms) , and it’s pretty amazin...
Originally published in slightly different form on January 4, 2010 at PsychologyToday.com.
Do All Animals Learn the Same Way?
In their groundbreaking book—DOGS: A Startling New Understanding...—Raymond and Lorna Coppinger, write, “Animal psychologists and psychiatrists often work on aberrant behavior, which they describe in psychological terms. This dog has separation anxiety; that dog has a compulsive disorder. Since many of...
Are Dogs Fetching the Latest Breakthroughs in Science?
Originally published in slightly different form on August 6, 2010 at PsychologyToday.com.
Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
Have you ever answered the phone and said, “I was just thinking about you!” Have you ever had a gut reaction to someone because of their bad “vibe?” Has anyone you know experienced a sinking sensation that a child of theirs has just been in a terrible accident, which tu...
Originally published in slightly different form on August 12, 2009 at PsychologyToday.com.
Emotions vs Thoughts
In an earlier post—“From Pavlov to Pauli...“—I wrote that, scientifically speaking, all canine behavior can and should be explained from an emotional/energetic point of view rather than a mental framework. I even kind of bragged, perhaps foolishly, that I could do just that.
Originally published in slightly different form on March 15, 2010 at PsychologyToday.com.
Dog Training and Object Relations Theory
I’m a Neo-Freudian dog trainer. It says so in my bio.
I first discovered this fact while working with a Rhodesian ridgeback who had fear issues; she was scared of the construction noises in her lower Manhattan neighborhood. After one of our sessions—where we were able to get her...
Originally published in slightly different form on July 13, 2009 at PsychologyToday.com.
Is Sniffing Really Just a Social Gesture?
It’s said that dogs sniff each other as a kind of canine equivalent to the human handshake; an otherwise meaningless “greeting ceremony”  which reportedly started in medieval times as a way of checking the other guy for weapons. Our canine companions are said to do this for similar reasons; it...
I'm sad to have to report that AOL, MSNBC, and CNN have all proclaimed in their headlines this weekend: “Dogs Smarter than Toddlers, New Study Shows” (AOL), and “Your family dog may be smarter than your toddler!” (CNN). I'm sad because it’s been my experience, as a dog trainer, that the more that “science” tries to prove how “smart” dogs are, the more dogs suffer as...
Originally published in slightly different form on January 11, 2010 at PsychologyToday.com.
Why do dogs “mark“ their territories?
The simplest answer is they don’t.
Misunderstanding a Common Natural Behavior
In his book The Intelligence of Dogs, author Stanley Coren gives us the classical explanation of this myth: “All canids use urine ... to mark the limits of their territories. In males this marking behavior is usually acc...