Holding a Mirror Up to Science and Nature: Can Dogs Pass the "Mirror Test?"
Throwing Water on His Enthusiasm
When “The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness” was made on July 12th last year, I refrained from making any critical comments in deference to Marc Bekoff, my (then) colleague at PsychologyToday.com. I didn’t want to throw any water on his enthusiasm by writing a more realistic assessment (such as the one found here).
One evening, many years ago I was at a high school basketball court on the East Side of Manhattan with two dogs: my Dalmatian Freddie and a client’s Jack Russell terrier named Mack. (Someone in the neighborhood was on the city council, owned a dog, and had pulled some strings to allow us to exercise our dogs there in the evenings.)
The dogs were all playing nicely. Everyone was having fun. Then a light rain started, some kids began...
Myth: When a Dog Goes Through the Door First It Means He “Thinks He’s Alpha”
"It's the UPS Guy!"
If your dog gets overly excited when you come home or when guests or the UPS guy comes over—barking, jumping up, spinning around in crazy circles, even accidentally urinating—what is the best way to solve the problem?
Simple. Teach her that every time you or someone else comes through the door, her job is to grab a toy and bring it to them so that person can throw...
In my previous guest post I wrote about how I discovered that Freudian psychology can and should be applied to dog training, a lesson I learned from a Wheaten terrier named Annie who was obsessively licking the doorknob of her owners’ apartment door.
My recommendations to Annie’s owners were that they “re-puppify” her: Take her back to the days before they’d punished her mouthing, and let her do what she’d been longing to do at the...
The behavior commonly known as “resource guarding” is where a dog growls, snaps or bites whenever a human being, another dog, or sometimes another animal (like the family cat) gets too close to something the dog has strong feelings of attraction for. Common objects-of-attraction are food, bones, toys, human attention, and sleeping spots.
In a blog post, written a while back, Dr. Ian Dunbar wrote: “Edward Lee Thorndike showed that behavior is modified by its consequences and in 1905, he published his Law of Effect, basically stating: Any behavior followed by pleasant consequences will increase in frequency and be more likely to occur in the future, whereas any behavior followed by unpleasant consequences will decrease in frequency and be less...
Why Is It Easier for "Submissive" Dogs to Solve "The Detour Test?"
“Everything I ever said about dogs was wrong.”
Deconstructing Myths and Misconceptions
My primary goal for this blog is to deconstruct some of the major myths and misconceptions I think people have about canine behavior in general and dog training in particular. There are a lot of dogs whose liv...
If Dogs Can’t Think, How Do They Know What We’re Thinking?
Dogs are amazing animals. They have an ability to read us like no other species can. Sometimes they know more about us than we know about ourselves. They also score higher on certain so-called “mind-reading” tests than chimpanzees, where the goal is to see which animal can more reliably follow a visual cue given by a human being points at or even looks at an object. Dogs can learn to do this quite ea...