A study published this month demonstrates that dopamine is involved in learning under both positive and negative reinforcement contingencies. A summary of this research, conducted at the University of Pennsylvania, is provided here: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-02/uops-bsn022916.php U of Penn’s original release of the study is here: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2016/02/dani/ And the original paper...
In this blog from Psychology Today’s Decoding your Pet series, Dr. Emily Levine discusses the relationship between pain and behavior. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/decoding-your-pet/201602/your-dog-can-t-be-in-pain-he-runs-and-plays-think-again
A recent study by E. Garde, G.E. Pérez, R Vanderstichel, P.F. Dalla Villa, and J.A. Serpell and published in November 2015 in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, furthers our understanding of the behavioral effects of sterilization. The study's abstract is presented here. Population management of free-roaming domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) is of interest due to the threat these animals pose to people, other animals and the environment. Current sterilization procedures for male dogs include surgical and chemical methods. However, little is known about how these procedures affect their behavior. The primary objective of this study was to investigate changes in selected behaviors following chemical and surgical sterilization in a male free-roaming dog (FRD) population in southern Chile. We also examined the association between serum testosterone levels and behaviors thought to be influenced by circulating androgens. A total of 174 dogs were randomly assigned to either a surgical or chemical sterilization group, or a control group. At the onset of the intervention period, 119 dogs remained and 102 dogs successfully completed the study. Each dog was monitored pre- and post-intervention using video recordings, GPS collars, and blood samples for the measurement of testosterone. Analysis of behavior revealed that surgically castrated dogs showed no reduction of sexual activity or aggression when compared to their pre-intervention behavior. Chemically sterilized dogs showed a statistically significant increase in dog-directed aggression, but no change in sexual activity. There was no change in home range size in any groups between the pre- and post-intervention measurement. We found no consistent association between levels of serum testosterone concentration and behavioral changes in any of the groups. This study presents the first detailed behavioral observations following surgical and chemical sterilization in male FRDs. The information generated is highly relevant to communities struggling with the control of FRDs. Complementary studies to further our understanding of the effects of male sterilization on the behavioral and reproductive dynamics of FRD populations are needed.
In this excerpt from her pet behavior advice column, Dr. Megan Maxwell encourages pet owners to find opportunities to reward desirable behavior in their pets using natural reinforcers in daily routines. New Beginnings With the dawn of a new year often comes the embrace of new personal or professional...
This video provides an excellent history of the work of Keller and Marion Breland, early behavioral psychologists who pioneered the field of applied animal behavior and training. Complete with original video footage and narrated by Bob Bailey, this video takes viewers through the processes of operant and respondent conditioning...
Dr. Melissa Bain provides a quick overview of environmental factors that can influence an owner’s risk assessment of their pet’s problem behavior, in this excerpt from Psychology Today’s Decoding your Pet series. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/decoding-your-pet/201510/risk-analysis-behavior-problems-environmental-factors-3
Incorporation of behavior into veterinary practice is part of the standard of care, but it can be challenging to know where to begin. This webinar gives learners a taste of things that veterinary practitioners and their staff can begin to incorporate into their everyday practice. http://ucdavisvetmed.wcea.education/searchOnlineTraining/#/training/160854
Dr. Melissa Bain continues her discussion of risk factors for behavior problems in this post from Psychology Today’s Decoding your Pet series. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/decoding-your-pet/201510/risk-analysis-behavior-problems-animal-factors-2
For many new learners, negative reinforcement is one of the more confusing introductory concepts in the field of behavior analysis and applied animal behavior. Yet it’s a process at work in all of our behavior and one that is essentially involved in so much pet behavior as well. Negative...
In this post from Psychology Today’s Decoding your Pet series, Dr. Melissa Bain introduces a series she will be sharing on assessing risk in pet behavior problems. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/decoding-your-pet/201509/risk-analysis-behavior-problems-overview-part-1
Dr. Megan Maxwell summarizes a recent paper in The Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, in which authors present a taxonomy of assistance animals to clarify a currently murky area of label confusion and misuse. Parenti, L.P., Foreman, A., Meade, J. & Wirth, O. (2013). A revised taxonomy of...
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