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Friday, May 27, 2011

Animal Behaviorists: Do They Know More About Dogs Than Lay People?

We happened to be listening to NPR yesterday and heard part of Fresh Air's interview with John Bradshaw, "an anthrozoologist and noted scholar of animal-human interactions", who's just published a book called Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet. You can listen to the full 33 minute interview and/or read six pages of of interview summary and an excerpt from the book here: www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136497064/the-new-science-of-understanding-dog-behavior. As we know, NPR is thorough-no 250 word blurbs do they!

After listening to Mr. Bradshaw and reading the excerpt from his book, we think he certainly makes some excellent points, particularly when he asserts that dog owners have a responsibility to ensure both the physical and psychological health of their canine companions and why. From our limited reading, we also
agree with his statements that point out the perils of "over breeding" purebred dogs to achieve breed standards, without regard to the physical health of the dog.

But we remain undecided about the answer to our initial question, or even whether there is a single answer.
Do those reputable scientists who study animals employing true scientific methods understand more about their behavior than those who spend years gathering knowledge from intuitive observation and directly working with them?
We'd love to hear what you think!

Meanwhile, I'll study up on the issue...
Photo of me by John Clark


Asta said...

That is a lot to study and think about. I think Mommi has leawned a twemendoos amount by loving and obsewving all hew fuwwy kids ovew the last 27 yeaws. She knew so little in the beginning, but now weally feels like she gets me and othew doggies and undewstand ouw needs bof physical and psychological
smoochie kisses

FANCY the Red Standard Poodle said...

Hi Y'all,

My but you do appear scholarly! Each one of us is so different, can any behavorist know us and all our idiosyncrasies? Let me ask you, did Dr Spock know more about raising children than our grand and great grandparents? Probably not. Some points are well taken and others may not apply in a particular situation with a certain personality.

Y'all come by now,
Hawk aka BrownDog

The Daily Pip said...

I think you can learn a lot by observation. We have never consulted a behaviorist before, but mama did read a great book written by a cat behaviorist that was very good. I think it was called "Is My Cat Crazy". It was both funny and informative.

Your pal, Pip

Vicky said...

I agree with much of what has been written. Much of what I know about pets in general has come from time spent being around them in both personal and professional settings and the ginourmous number of books about pets and pet behavior, health, etc. When it comes to my own pets, I have found that you can learn an awful lot by sitting still and just be with them. Your cat or dog is happy to share with you what they like, dislike, fear and embrace if you just give them the opportunity to show you.

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