Learning About Animals was set up to provide information and promote interest in
the welfare and behaviour of animals. The aim is to bridge the gap between professionals
& scientists working with animals and the public.
If you have any suggestions for future events, if you would like to be considered
to be a speaker, or if you would like to get involved in helping at the events, or
projects please get in touch.
1. Interesting study regarding media coverage on animal welfare issues. LINK
2. Experiments showing that if a dog sees you being kind/nasty to someone they will
'judge' you for it - sparking discussions about morality across species. LINK
3. Empathetic people experience dogs' expressions more strongly. LINK
4. CPD for vets could be as simple as owning a cat! LINK
5. Not surprisingly researchers recently concluded that ".... unpleasant experiences
occurring in public spaces while young may predispose puppies to developing aggression
later in life." Read the review of the paper on page 6 of the RSPCA review LINK
6. Responses of horses to wither scratching and patting the neck when under saddle
- "In terms of behavioural response, horses displayed less agitated behaviours and
more relaxed behaviours when being scratched on the withers than when being patted
on the neck or receiving no interaction. These results suggest that scratching the
withers may be a useful method of calming a horse while under saddle, and that patting
the neck was an ineffective method of calming horses." For the review of the paper
see page 4 of LINK
7. A recent paper studied enrichment of shelter cats using clicker training. "The
clicker training treatment improved the baseline emotional state of the Treatment
cats when compared to the Control cats". For the full review of the paper see page
5 of LINK
8. Was about time the cat eating ethogram made it to the pet world. LINK
TED talk recommendations
I don’t tend to watch TV but do have a guilty pleasure - TED talks. Here are some
of the ones I have recently enjoyed.
1. The development of empathy for animals is a key factor in driving human behaviour
change towards them but the development of empathy for humans who are behaving in
ways we don't like is key to being effective in our work with people. See this TED
talk by Dr Reiss about empathy.
2. How to speak so that people will listen. TED LINK
2. ‘Like’ the Aquarium Welfare Association on Facebook LINK
3. Join or set up a Phil-the-bag group in your area to fundraise for your favourite
charity LINK, or donate your towels to your local animal charity.
Human Behaviour Change for Animals
Check out this website - it is changing all the time with updates. Join the mailing
list at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook, for lots of resources
and links on this subject. https://www.facebook.com/HBCAW/
I am IAABC certified - a ‘Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant’ or CHBC.
IAABC behaviourists have now been accepted as Accredited Behaviourists under the
ABTC - so now I am one of them as well as a Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant
with the IAABC (International Association of Animal Behaviour Counsellors). Glad
to see the behaviour world developing some structure.
I joined in with the craze and made a snuffle mat. Cutting an old fleece, old wellie
socks and a bit of old dog blanket into strips to ‘upcycle’ them into the mat was
quite satisfying, tying them onto the mat was a little boring but progress was quick
and scattering treats in the matt for Pebbles-dog to find was worth the effort! Scattering
a handful of food onto grass has the same effect, and we do that too but now we have
an indoor version.
I usually end up going through the rubbish after the event and sorting out all the
recyclable things. If I was more organised, sometimes I am, I provide separate bins
for recyclable and non-recyclable things but let's go one step further - all LAA
events from now on, we are encouraging people to not use plastic at all.
We provide water, tea, coffee so no need to bring your own receptacles to drink out
of, and please try to bring your packed lunch in eco-friendly packaging too and let's
see how little rubbish we can generate...