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Tag: rewards

Out with the mess in Inverness

poopscoopRewards will be offered to pet owners who pick up and properly dispose of their dogs’ waste in Inverness, Scotland.

For the next three months Highland Council enforcement officers will hand out vouchers to “responsible owners,” the BBC reports.

The vouchers, appropriately enough, can be exchanged at a local veterinarian’s office de-worming tablets, aimed at cutting dog roundworm infections.

Most parklands in the city are thought to be contaminated with dog roundworm, which poses a risk to human health, particularly among children, according to the BBC report.

 ”Dog feces are a known risk for the development of disease in people, particularly children,” said Sonia Howell, manager of Crown Vets which is a partner in the project. “But fortunately this is easy to prevent by removing dog waste from public areas and by regular treatment of dogs with an effective wormer.”

Officials pointed out that, though officers will be looking to reward considerate pet owners, they’ll also be prepared to issue citations to the less than considerate ones.

In May, joint police and environmental health patrols were launched in an effort to combat dog fouling and littering in part of Inverness.

Study blasts training methods like Millan’s

The debate raging here on ohmidog! – and in the rest of the world, too — just had a little more fuel thrown on it: A new British study says dominance-based dog training techniques such as those espoused by Cesar Millan are a waste of time and may make dogs more aggressive.

Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, after studying dogs for six months, conclude that, contrary to popular belief, dogs are not trying to assert their dominance over their canine or human “pack” and aren’t motivated by maintaining their place in the pecking order.

One of the scientists behind the study, Dr. Rachel Casey, in an interview with ABC News, said the blanket assumption that every dog is motivated by some innate desire to control people or other dogs is “frankly ridiculous.”

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Does mimicking Cesar lead to dog bites?

Is “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan contributing to the number of dog bites?

That question is posed in an interesting piece by Sophia Yin in the Huffington Post, and it brings a long-simmering debate between two schools of animal trainers into the spotlight — right in the middle of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Yin, a veterinarian and applied animal behaviorist, cites experts as saying that “Dog Whisperer” watchers trying to mimic the dominance-based techniques Millan uses may be — as the phrase goes — asking for it.

The article includes an anecdote from Dr. Kathy Meyer, president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), which is on record as opposing such techniques.

“Last year I consulted with an owner who was having trouble with his Shar-Pei becoming aggressive toward the dog-walker when on walks. The owner had no trouble with his dog on-lead outdoors, but the walker complained of escalating aggression. Upon further discussion, it was discovered that the walker claimed he was utilizing some methods demonstrated by Cesar Millan on the Dog Whisperer. Instead of walking the dog on a loose lead, he would place a choke collar high up on the dog’s neck, where it is the most painful and can shut off the airway…

“When the dog didn’t respond to a command, he would punish the dog by tightening the collar, even lifting the dog’s front feet off of the ground. As the punishment escalated, the dog began to growl, snarl, and snap at the walker. The walker even began to take a tennis racket on walks to try to subdue the dog when he became aggressive, a technique he saw on Millan’s televised show. My advice was simple. Find another dog-walker who knew how to calmly walk the dog on a loose lead and did not try to intimidate him. A new walker was introduced and the dog continues to do well, with no aggression on walks.”

The article also cites a recent study published in The Journal of Applied Animal Behavior (2009) that suggests those who take an aggressive approach with their dogs might find their dogs being aggressive too.

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Can you hear me now?

(Behave! is a monthly column on dog training and behavior, written for ohmidog! by Lauren Bond and Carolyn Stromer of B-More Charming School for Dogs. To see all of the columns, click on the Behave! tab on the rightside rail.)

While dogs bring lots of wonderful things to our lives, they can also bring muddy paws, dog breath and, sometimes, enough noise to drive you ,or worse yet your neighbors, crazy.

Incessantly barking dogs can, and have, led to full-fledged war between neighbors. But as with much bad behavior — not just canine — the key to stopping it is understanding why it’s taking place.

First, let’s debunk some myths: Barking is not the dog version of conversation. Dogs don’t communicate that way, they use body language for most of their “discussion” with us, and with other animals. Dogs don’t have a barked vocabulary. Nor do dogs speak English, so you can’t reason with your dog to be quiet.

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Dogs like to be treated fairly (and often)

Dogs know when they’re not getting a fair shake, and react accordingly, according to a new study out of the University of Vienna.

In a series of “reward” experiments reported in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dogs that understood the command “paw” sat side-by-side with an experimenter in front of them.

In front of the experimenter was a divided food bowl with pieces of sausage on one side and brown bread on the other. The dogs were asked to shake hands and each could see what reward the other received.

When one dog got a reward and the other didn’t, the unrewarded animal stopped playing, showing that dogs, like people and monkeys, seem to have a sense of fairness, the Associated Press reports.

“Animals react to inequity,” said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna in Austria, who led a team of researchers testing animals at the school’s Clever Dog Lab. “To avoid stress, we should try to avoid treating them differently.”

The results won’t surprise any dog owner — or anyone who knows anything about wolves, who are known to cooperate with one another and appear to be sensitive to each other.

One thing that did surprise the researchers was that — unlike primates (and unlike my dog) — the dogs didn’t seem to care whether the reward was sausage or bread.

(Photo from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)