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. Fish make sounds just like the morning chorus of birds. LINK
Just in case you missed it - a selection of some of the LAA Facebook posts since
the last Newsletter
1. I am currently preparing my talk for the UFAW-RSPCA Small rodent and rabbit conference
taking place in Edinburgh at the end of October. It describes a series of three workshops
I ran privately on rabbit behaviour and welfare. I ran them in slightly different
ways and monitored changes made as a result - perhaps not surprisingly the group
who had a more interactive workshop and more organised peer support made, and maintained,
changes that benefited their rabbits. I intend to do more HBC-workshops in 2017 -
putting what we know about how to drive human behaviour change into action.
2. I would argue that many adults do not understand or recognise frightened dogs
either! Nevertheless another study doing its bit in bite prevention. Dr Rose said:
"Young children are relatively good at accurately identifying the emotion that a
dog is displaying. However, children's understanding of safety around dogs is lacking
as they only demonstrated caution about approaching angry dogs. They appeared to
be unaware that there might be problems approaching frightened dogs. This finding
should help inform dog bite prevention campaigns."
3. Interesting paper - it is kind of inferred that if dogs are having undesirable
behaviour it should be addressed for the owner's sake regarding the relationship
with their dog. However, not addressing behavioural issues is of great concern for
the well-being of the dog.
4. My knee-jerk response to this paper entitled “No evidence of long-term welfare
problems with electronic containment of cats” was 'Did they look hard enough?' but
it is good news that cats at least seem to be largely OK with electric boundary fences
if used properly (I.e. not moving them around a lot so the cat just has to learn
where it is once).
Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare
The First International Conference on Human Behaviour Change for Animal Welfare took
place 19-21 September 2016. To be kept up-to-date with workshops, resources and more
on this theme join the mailing list at the HBCAW website -LINK
This blog explores the different elements of human behaviour change and why many
of us working in animal welfare believe that we can benefit from learning about human,
as well as animal, behaviour. LINK
All the talks were filmed and are (or will be soon) available on the conference You
Tube channel. All are worth watching and range from 5 minutes in length to an hour
but some highlights are listed below.
1. Manoj Gautam’s keynote talk (Lessons from the field) received outstanding praise
(and a standing ovation) - worth a watch to see how mountains can be moved. LINK
2. Risë VanFleet’s keynote about communication skills will be of interest to the
majority of the newsletter mailing list. LINK
3. Anne McBride’s talk about why people still use positive punishment will also be
of interest to trainers and behaviourists. Anne describes the work of one of her
students in analysing what elements of Cesar Milan’s behaviour (using videos of his
work) gain him such a following. The researchers do not approve or condone the methods
used but the study provides valuable insight as to how we can use the same interpersonal
skills to promote ethical compassionate training methods. LINK
4. Three talks of particular relevance for those of us who consult with pet owners
are Julie Palais’ 5 minute talk on the key Principles of Persuasion (LINK), Catherine
Bell’s talk exploring persuasion in more detail (LINK), and Debbie Busby’s talk on
applying transactional analysis to consultations (LINK).
The next HBCAW event will be in Nepal in Novmber 2017 partnering with the Asia For
Animals conference. However,there will be a series of HBC workshops (run separately
to Learning About Animals) on topics such as HBC and ethics, Frameworks and Theories
of HBC, and Interpersonal skills for HBC. Do join the HBCAW mailing list mentioned
above for more information.
SUNDAY 30th OCTOBER Exploring self-control in dogs with Sian Ryan. DETAILS
SATURDAY 5th NOVEMBER Why you can’t just train good behaviour - with Helen Zulch.
THURSDAY 24th NOVEMBER Home-checking for rescues. DETAILS
SATURDAY 21st JANUARY 2017 Consultation skills workshop. DETAILS
More events coming soon including with speakers Amber Batson, Ben Hart and more.
Suggestions for talks?
Any suggestions for speakers you’d like to see in 2017? Want to run a workshop yourself?
Do get in touch.
The Good News Box
1. Innovative programme for community dogs in Nepal starting to work LINK
2. The eleven orcas in captivity in California will be the last LINK
3. Rare story of a species in the wild making a great recovery LINK
4. Trip Advisor to stop selling tickets to cruel attractions. LINK
To do list
1. See something in a magazine or on TV that portrayed animals in a good way or an
article you liked? Remember to respond to the good as well as the bad to influence
the media to increase responsible reporting on animals and training. Give some friendly
feedback today! 2. If you have a pet, get up, right now, and offer them some form
of enrichment - something to chew/eat/smell, some company, 5 minutes reward-based
training, somewhere to hide...
I am IAABC certified - a ‘Certified Horse Behaviour Consultant’ or CHBC.
I run behaviour consultations to help people with concerns about their horse’s behaviour.
I also run behaviour lessons for people who are just interested in learning more
in a practical way - like a riding instructor but learning about the practical application
of behaviour knowledge, tailored to you and your horse. Please get in touch to find
out more - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure you’ve ‘liked’ us on Facebook and to keep seeing the posts you need to
tick ‘get notifications’ and regularly ‘like’ or share posts LINK
“One thing bothered me as a student. In the 1960s, human behavior was totally off
limits for the biologist. There was animal behavior, then there was a long time nothing,
after which came human behavior as a totally separate category best left to a different
group of scientists.”