Reward or Reinforce? vs Punish or Inhibit?

It is common these days to hear different terms in animal training, especially in canine training, which (supposedly) have the same applicability in practice.

Over the years I have realized that many terms are used because of their own social conditioning in using certain terms because they sound better in our ears. Many professionals use and teach these terms of future generations in the name of science itself.

Something that has identified me a lot with the Ethology Institute was the taste for dictionaries and to follow precise scientific standards when we talk about something, after all we all apply science in practice and before doing we need to know what we are talking about.

I think it is important for professionals first to know the definitions of the terms they use and then decide on their conscience if they consider it appropriate to use them even if they do not follow the scientific standard. Everyone is free to choose what kind of professional they want to be and what kind of professionals they want to train.

Words like “reinforcement” and “punishment”, are always spoken with certain connotations, something out of phase of science as I wrote in this article.

We need to reflect on certain terms and decide for ourselves if we want to follow scientific terms or socially accepted terms.

One of the most common is the word “reward”.

A reward is a retribution, compensation for meritorious action; Act or effect of reward; Premium; Award.

Reinforcement is a process where a certain response becomes strengthened as a result of learning.
Or
Is anything that increases the frequency, intensity, and/or duration of a particular behaviour when displayed—Positive Reinforcement (+)—or removed-Negative Reinforcement (-)—simultaneously or immediately after the behaviour is presented.

Occasionally the use of the word “reward” and the poor explanation of what the word means by those who use it misleads many families with pets, and not infrequently transmits the information we are “bribing” by creating labels to the work of that professional and disqualifying an entire group if something does not work.

Skinner himself in 1987 contested the use of this term by writing that “The strengthening effect is lost when reinforcements are called rewards (…)People are rewarded, but behaviour is reinforced.”

The same goes for “Punishment”

These words translated directly from English have very negative connotations when translated and even religious connotation in many countries.

It is also commonly said to be automatically connotated as something bad.

A punishment is an act or effect of punishment; A punishment imposed on someone.

An inhibitor is something that produces an inhibition; That or which has the ability to diminish or suppress the activity of an organic substance.

Thus, resulting from all his linguistic experience throughout the world, Dr. Roger Abrantes began to use the word inhibitor in the operant concept by scientifically better fitting the definition.

In this way, an inhibitor is anything that decreases the frequency, intensity and/or duration of a particular behaviour when presented—positive inhibitor (+)—or removed—negative inhibitor (-)—simultaneously or immediately after the behaviour is presented.

All the connotations given in terms of being socially accepted do nothing to help in the transmission of knowledge both to pet owners and to future professionals who directly apprehend these terms and place them in denial as to the practical use of these terms, nor in respect that science itself deserves. Science is neither good nor bad, science is what it is.

I defend the clarification and the actual scientific knowledge of certain terms, the extremisms and conditioning of the society itself will not help the existing professionals or future ones to have a critical thought in what they do, something that I consider essential when we are dealing with other living beings and we must respect them as such.

Without judgments, I leave to our reflection and decision:
– Scientifically, are we rewarding/punishing the dog or reinforcing/inhibiting its behaviour?
– Will we really be precise with us when we are working with other species to the point that we have the notion that applying a standard reinforce/inhibitor does not always work?
– Is it correct to put labels on our work as a form of marketing or social currents, when in fact we scientifically apply reinforcements and inhibitors in interspecific interactions and doesn’t mean that we are either “good” or “bad”?
– Is it better to use: Easy socially saturated words or simply explain the scientific definition and terms correctly?

Always be in doubt of what you read and hear, always look for more and always think for yourself. Carpe Diem!

References 

ABRANTES, R. 2011. Unveiling the Myth of Reinforcers and Punishers.

ABRANTES, R. 2013. So you want to be a good dog trainer!

ABRANTES, R. (2013). The 20 Principles All Animal Trainers Must Know. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

BARATA, R. (2017). Scientific or Moralistic Training? Etologia.pt

GADBOIS, S. (2015). 51 Shades of Grey: Misuse, Misunderstanding and Misinformation of the Concepts of “Dominance” and “Punishment”.

GROSS, R. (2010). Psychology, the Science of Mind and Behaviour, Sixth Edition. Holder Education.

JOYCE, R. (2006). The Evolution of Morality. MIT Press books.

MCFARLAND, D. (2006). A Dictionary of Animal Behaviour. Oxford University Press.

MORRIS, D. (1969). The Human Zoo. Kodansha America, Inc.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic

A Professional or A Pirate?— An Anthrozoological View

This is a compressed text to an article. The complete text will be available in “Teach without Speech” Book.

In animal training world, we back to the primitive man essence in creating groups within his tribe.

The fact that there is no worldwide professionalization of this activity, leads us to long discussions, mostly of them are ideological or moralistic.

In the anthrozoological context, which also encompasses the philosophical component, I reason a lot on this question, without judgments or dogmatic thinking, I use critical thinking. My greatest reflection, it is why this activity is not professionalized since non-human animals have been living on our whims for thousands of years and why the little recognition that exists is still tied to animal use for purposes of Governmental organization interests.

It is not my job to affirm what is right or wrong, but rather a duty to write how I view this situation through deductive reasoning, leaving for your analysis the various differences of argumentative discourse vs. rhetorical discourse, between opinions and assertions, and Between facts and fallacies.

I also do not question the care and dedication of all groups with nonhuman animals, my role will never be a judge, after all agreement and respecting people are two different concepts and individual characteristics of each individual.

I always like to make the distinctions in these terms so that we all follow the same line of reasoning, because it is not uncommon to use these terms without the knowledge of their true meaning.

Thinking is the activity of the mind that tries to make sense of the events of life, we can think about what we want without any effort, which makes us desire or want something.

Reasoning is a process that helps us to accept or reject statements made by ourselves or others.

Dogmatic Thinking is characterized by a firm and blind adherence to a certain set of instructions.

Critical Thinking recognizes and appreciates contextual differences and their complexity, rejecting previous conclusions and accepting more appropriate conclusions.

A premise is a declarative sentence that serves as the basis for a reason, which will lead to a conclusion.

An argument is a set of assumptions or justifications that lead to a conclusion. This process can be good or bad, but never true or false. Arguments can be explicit (when assumptions leading to the conclusion are all stated) or implicit (when assumptions leading to the conclusion are under-understood). The latter is widely used at the advertising level. They can also be classified as valid or invalid, strong or weak, convincing or not.

A fallacy is the error in the formulation of an argument.

An opinion is the expression of a subjective belief or a position on a particular subject, not always based on true premises, and most of the time based on emotional motives or social pressures.

Rhetoric is the art of speaking and convincing others without regard to the truth of the premises.

My analogy with the “pirate” follows in his definition of the adjective not to be original and/or in the informal definition of an artful. Both professionals and pirates exist in the groups below as you will confirm.

When we work with living beings, we should always have science as the basis of everything and not dogmatic thinking, rhetoric or fallacies of generalization and exception.

It is of extreme interest to reflect the group battles within the modern tribes on this subject and to try with direct questions to arrive at several possible answers of immediate implementation.

For the moment, I classify three types of groups with their sub-groups:

– Groups that recognize their glory through demonstrations of power (trophies, medals, diplomas) mostly with animals previously selected and trained continuously for this purpose, sometimes with the need for rapid learning due to temporal conditioning, diverging Reality of social need. These groups are subdivided into individuals who are only dedicated to the specific activity that are accredited or recognized by the appropriate sports clubs or possible governmental entities, in both cases, and I repeat, only for the specific activity; In individuals who use the demonstrations of power to generalize the activity to other areas of activity as if it were all one truth; In individuals who join the two subgroups above and use them as a form of persuasion, intimidation or simply demotion of the next; And in individuals who use their glory only for playful and / or personal purposes.

– Groups that recognize their glory through training, readings, social services and similar activities. These groups are subdivided into individuals who need permanent updating in their specific area of ​​activity; In individuals who are largely governed by theory and the practice it is limited to this theory, having as a demonstration animals previously selected and preferably already with a good learning of what will be demonstrated; In individuals who through their experience in a certain activity involving non-human animals begin to work with them without previous scientific knowledge but by theoretical/practical imitation; In individuals who balance theory with practice, with their own self-imposed limits on specific activity, who seek constant improvement even if they start in other areas of activity; And in individuals who, by their constant presence in events, workshops or other theoretical activities, begin their activity. Within this latter sub-group, we subdivided into individuals who always seek to update with the knowledge of their limits and in individuals who create dogmatic thoughts, not leaving the theory. Within this group it is also common to see demonstrations of power or the temporal factors of the learning of the group above (mainly in companies) and some characteristics of the following group.

– Groups that recognize their glory by personal experience and/or pseudo knowledge through social readings on the subject (google research and basic imitation of existing professionals). These groups are subdivided into individuals who have as example only dogs of their own and create a universal knowledge; In individuals who initiate the activity without any scientific knowledge and purely with economic thought (they use rhetoric and implicit arguments), creating absolute truths, the need for people, guarantees of results, the cover-up of their work or the properly selected practice, Preferably that can bring protagonism or create social empathy, most related to social projects. This subgroup is adept at having various decorations on clothing (patches, medals, etc…) as a means of persuasion or credibility and has direct interconnections with the groups above.

I have an article on scientific or moralistic training that I strongly recommend reading for a better comprehension of all the concepts present. Click here to access the article.

There are also specific qualifications that are misrepresented or generalized that are only obtained at university level. It would not be very different from an ophthalmologist doing dental work because his “area of ​​action” is close to one another.

Morality and ethics must be above all the reasoning about our limits.

It is a question of balance, not too long with theory alone and not much time with practice alone, that is how extremism and incoherence born in all groups. It is not our fault, it is our cultural and social essence. But we can change that.

Will the Professionals and Pirates presence in all groups create a discussion of the commonalities between the groups that can be the starting point to reflect on the disagreements and making all to row to the same side: The Animal Welfare “Thing”?

Now it’s up to you to analyze and decide: A Professional or a Pirate?

REFERENCES
ABRANTES, R. 2013. So you want to be a good dog trainer! Ethology Institute Cambridge.

BARATA, R. 2017. Scientific or Moralistic Training?. Etologia.pt.

DEMELLO, M. (2012). Animals and Society: An introduction to human-animal studies. Columbia University Press.

GREENE, J. (2013). Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. New York: Penguin books.

GROSS, R. (2010). Psychology, the Science of Mind and Behaviour, Sixth Edition. Holder Education.

HENRICH, N. (2007). Why humans cooperate. New York: Oxford University Press.

JOYCE, R. (2006). The Evolution of Morality. MIT Press books.

MORRIS, D. (1967). The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal. Delta(1999).

MORRIS, D. (1969). The Human Zoo. Kodansha America, Inc.

MORRIS, D. (2002). PeopleWatching. Vintage Books.

SCOTT, J. P. (1976). Violence and social Disaggregation. Aggressive Behavior, 1, 235-260.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic.

To stay, or not to stay- that is the question

In interspecific communications, we should always keep in mind that we do not have the same language. Só, we need to communicate clearly and precisely.

In dog training, we have varied standard checklist that all dogs have to meet and, in that way, will allow us to have an “obedient” dog. For some years, I used them until I began to question all the signals I transmitted to other species and felt the need to adapt them individually, respecting the progress and limits of the individual.

Before continuing, let me reaffirm that it is not me that will evaluate or judge the working methods of other professionals. We are free to use the methods that best resemble our characteristics and personality, and it will not be what makes us better or worse than others, just different. Respecting does not mean agreeing.

When we take some professional activity seriously, we need constant updates both in theory and mainly in practice, not making everything as absolute at all and having the will to change when necessary.

When we are communicating with other species and teaching our way of communicating, we need to be as clear and precise as possible, explaining each step we take. And it all starts with the terms and signals we use.

So, we need to scientifically define some terms that I will refer in this article and retain some points:

– Signal: A Signal is everything that intentionally causes a change in the behavior of the receiver.

– All signs have a meaning and a way of being given.

– We classify the signals in a scale from Good to Bad, depending on its efficiency, clarity, intensity, form and unequivocal understanding of the receiver, regardless of the environment.

– A signal will cause a behavior, so:
A signal => A behavior.

– All behavior has a consequence, so:
A signal => A behavior => A consequence

– The consequences will define the frequency, intensity and/or duration of a behavior. Reinforcements and inhibitors are used for.

– Reinforcement: A reinforcement is anything that increases the frequency, intensity, and/or duration of a particular behavior, when presented (+) or removed (-) simultaneously or immediately after a behavior takes place.

– Inhibitor: An inhibitor is anything that decreases the frequency, intensity, and / or duration of a particular behavior, when presented (+) or removed (-) simultaneously or immediately after a behavior takes place.

– Any signal that will be transmitted to another species, needs to be properly discriminated and explained in the plan of action, as well as the principles of scientific knowledge that each professional must have.

In Ethology Institute Cambridge, we use the precise scientific language SMAF (Signals, Meaning And Form), created by Dr. Roger Abrantes. Although, on a more professional level, it may seem complex, this scientific language shows ​​simplicity and, above all, precision.

Below, I will illustrate the most common signs we use in dog training with their meaning and form.

To simplify, I will write a single line with:
The technique to teach => The meaning of the signal => The form of the signal.

– Name(Skill) => Look at me(Meaning) => Name,sound(Form)

– Sit(Skill) => Put your bottom on the ground AND keep it there until you receive another signal(Meaning) => Sit,sound + Sit,hand(Form)

– Down(Skill) => Put your belly on the ground AND keep it there until you receive another signal(Meaning) => Down,sound + Down,hand(Form)

– Yes(Skill) => Continue(Meaning) => Yes,sound(Form)

– No(Skill) => Stop(Meaning) => No,sound(Form)

In the following video, I demonstrate all the techniques described above.

Here you can see more videos with the families working themselves with their dogs and using various signals.

Following the training program, with the necessary adjustments to the progress and limit of each dog, it is possible to increase the intensity, frequency and/or duration of a certain behavior, both in distance and with the increase of the environmental stimuli.

With this precision and clarity in signal definition, we do not need additional and sometimes redundant signals for the same behavior. The repetition of the signal during the technique can create anticipations of several types, if we notice that the own tone that we use varies.

I notice this situation daily with the families and their dogs, all the nervousness and uncertainty seems that they use the repetition of these signals as their own confidence. And when I ask them about the meaning of what they are asking for the dog, they cannot explain. Always ask the meaning of everything.

If the systematic repetition of the signal during the technique is simply replaced by the semi-conditioned reinforcement used in the training (ex: Good dog), we have a better efficiency to teaching the techniques. All this naturally mixed with the progress in training itself and the alternatives to be applied if the programmed plan does not work.

I leave the healthy reflection of this article so you may (or not) in the future challenge your simplicity, precision and critical thinking in practice.

REFERENCES
ABRANTES, R. (1997). Dog Language. Wakan Tanka

Abrantes, Roger. 2011. Unveiling the Myth of Reinforcers and Punishers.

Abrantes, R. 2013. So you want to be a good dog trainer!

Abrantes, R. 2011. Commands or Signals, Corrections or Punishers, Praise or Reinforcers.

BARATA, R. (2016). ABCD System. Etologia.pt

BARATA, R. (2016). Lead Respect. Etologia.pt

BARATA, R. (2016). Signals precision in animal Training.

CHANCE, P. (2008) Learning and Behavior. Wadsworth-Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA, 6th, ed.

DARWIN, C. (1899). The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals. New York D. Appleton and Company.

EKMAN, P. (1976). Nonverbal Communiction: Movements with Precise Meanings. Journal of Communication, 26(3),14-26.

HOROWITZ, Alexandra. (2014). Domestic Dog, cognition and Behavior—The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris. Springer.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic
LORENZ, Konrad. (1981). The foundations of ethology.
Based on a translation of Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, with revisions. Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Certified Dog Owner Courses

In Denmark, me and Tilde Detz Jensen, GAT-EIC, from etologi.dk, give all weekends the Certified Dog Owner and Advanced Certified Dog Owner Courses—from ethology.eu—by Dr. Roger Abrantes. This is the course that all families with dogs obtain with the institute, an innovative theoretical / practical teaching model, allowing continuous and updated follow-up to all pet owners.

The course give all the basics that the families need to create and enjoy a good relationship with their dogs in society, independently of the age and breed.

Our techniques doesn’t involve the use of violence, but the updated scientific knowledge and the natural human-animal synchrony, with the differentiation of individual teaching of each dog and owner, adapting the course program whenever necessary. Our goal is to create mutual understanding, respect and the perfect bond between the dog and the family.

This course is intended for dogs without previous education or with a very basic teaching. Dogs and owners with previously training often choose our professional courses or individual coaching service.

We implement a theoretical part, where they have access to a lifetime online course and a handbook (Animal Training, My Way. By Roger Abrantes) with all necessary knowledge about dog behavior, communication and the most relevant techniques learned in the practical part: Correct use of the leash, Sit, Down, Come, not to jump on people, accept separation, socialization in several real environments with varied stimuli and activities, cognitive stimulation and problem solving skills.

This new updated course is the result of a 70 years experience between those involved in the program, already running successfully in Denmark and soon in USA, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France and Australia, by Ethology Institute AREP’s (Approved Regional Education Providers).

Know more about Dogs in Denmark.

Are the animals intelligent? – A scientific view introduction

It’s very common we listen an affirmative answer to this question from pet owners, animal trainers and/or behavioral specialists. But, can we consider an animal intelligent? And how, where and when can we consider that?

Firstly, we should know the correct definition of Behavior, Intelligence, Intelligence (Biology), Cognition, Anthropomorphism, Declarative knowledge and Procedural knowledge.
Then, we must make a clear analysis of the matrices of this complex subject.

Intelligence is not an useful term in science for describing animal behavior. Intelligence is often used to describe general abilities in people.

Humans use that word to others species judged by a similar human intelligent behavior. This is not a good scientific practice, labeling behavior as intelligent is anthropomorphic and anthropocentric. By other side, we are not consider the individual intelligent, but a specific behavior displayed in a specific situation, with a possible past conditioning.

In a scientific view, are the cognitive abilities of animals responses in specific events that are study, not “clever” behaviors. Cognitive is often reserved for the manipulation of declarative rather than procedural knowledge (e.g., Dickinson 2008).

On this view, biological intelligence should be defined in terms of fitness (Evolution, Natural Selection and Fitness).

In the study of navigation, problem solving, social interactions, deceit, language, and thinking in animals, scientists have found it necessary to postulate cognitive processes.

But, such suggestions have proved to be controversial, and the question of whether animals can think remains an open question, that’s why it is important not labeling or defining behaviors or events if we really want critical and precise in our definitions.

I recommend the following reading below for a complete understanding of this subject and the possibility of you increase your critical reasoning.

References

ABRANTES, R. (2014). Evolution, an introduction. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

CHANCE, P. (2008) Learning and Behavior. Wadsworth-Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA, 6th, ed.

DARWIN, C. (1859) On the origin of species 1st Edition. John Murray, Albemarle Street.

DEMELLO, M. (2012). Animals and Society: An introduction to human-animal studies. Columbia University Press.

HICKMAN, Cleveland P. (2008). Integrated Principles of Zoology, 14 Edition. McGraw-Hill.

LORENZ, Konrad. (1981). The foundations of ethology.
Based on a translation of Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, with revisions. Springer Science+Business Media New York.

MARTIN, P., Bateson, P. (2007). Measuring Behavior, An introductory guide. Cambridge University Press.

MCFARLAND, D. (1998). Animal Behaviour. Benjamin Cummings. 3rd ed.

MCFARLAND, D. (2006). Dictionary of Animal Behavior. Oxford University Press.

SHETTLEWORTH, S. (2010). Cognition, Evolution, and Behavior—Second Edition. Oxford University Press.

Scientific or Moralistic Training?

We are constantly changing. The necessity makes us adapt to situations and only those that adapt are the ones that continue. It is the essence of nature.

Even more, societies adapt to new situations or the species create new and complex evolutionary strategies, through groups and/or demonstrations of power.

My background in Human-Animal Studies have expanded my critical thinking, forced me to ask more questions than can be Right x Wrong within cultures, how they are constantly changing and how we create an absolute truth that nothing is absolute.

Logical thinking must go beyond books or authors, it must be present within us, outside of moralistic currents, argumentum ad verecundiam or Ad hominen fallacies. Worse than ignorance, is misrepresenting the knowledge gained for personal opinions.

How animal training is included in this thinking? By the formation of groups, by labeling the work or work of others, the use of euphemisms for the justification of certain materials, the use of concepts that do not fit the meaning of the same and the total misrepresentation of science in other situations.

The first error begins with the thought that science is an absolute truth. The scientific process itself does not prove anything, science can at best “be right” about something, and can be altered at any moment depending on the results of new studies. The studies do not prove, the studies demonstrate statistical results of certain observation. What today is A, tomorrow can be B. Right or Wrong does not exist and can’t exist in science. Science is what it is, based on the study of the evidences hitherto presented, does not follow currents, cultures or personal opinions.

The second error follows in the continuation of the first error, the use of science to say what is right or wrong. In ethology we speak in cost x benefit. The operant conditioning speaks of reinforcement x inhibitor. A reinforcement is anything that increases the frequency, intensity, and/or duration of a particular behavior, when presented (+) or removed (-) simultaneously or immediately after a behavior takes place. An inhibitor is anything that decreases the frequency, intensity, and / or duration of a particular behavior, when presented (+) or removed (-) simultaneously or immediately after a behavior takes place. The “+” does not mean good or bad nor “-” does not means bad or good. Reinforce does not mean being good or bad, or an inhibitor means being bad or good. The incorrect interpretation of these concepts creates social labels where most users of these concepts are completely unaware of them and make them A => Right and B => Wrong.

The third error continues in this sequence, the incorrect interpretation of concepts, from behaviors to the use of other concepts / words that do not conform to reality, but which are socially accepted. “Dominance” is one of the forbidden or trivialized words that most deals with, simply because it is misinterpreted and put into practice in interspecific communication through our primitive essence. Simple concepts are misrepresented, introduced in training as an excuse for limiting knowledge. The problem is not the words or concepts, but the individual applicability that the human gives them.

The fourth and final error is the extremism and fanaticism. I realize that there are currently two worlds in animal training, the positive and the negative. Who questions about the positive way can be labeled as negative and who questions about the negative way can be labeled as positive. Anyone who does not use the proper phrase of an author or use it in a certain context, is automatically labeled. Who can ask the use of the clicker is not positive, who can ask the use of shock collars is the “person who fills the dogs with food”. Fundamentalists only pay attention to people who think like them, and see all others as an enemy. We enter into ideological and egocentric discussions that we forget that we are talking about living beings that deserve to be respected. I consider it ironic from the point of view that both sides claim for communication, assertiveness, positive energy and an open mind.

Where am I? Nowhere. It is up to you to decide how you want your relationship and communication with the other species. Ask => Study => Reasoning => Practice => Ask. What is right for me may be wrong for you and vice versa. Nothing is absolute, and if we want to be updated, we must study and ask daily without fear of assuming that we are wrong. Do not camouflage, generalize or ignore concepts, understand them, explain them correctly, practice and demonstrate them in several individuals of the species and not just on individuals previously selected. Do not forget that we are in times of change, and the practice will be what will overthrow theorists who copy texts from other theorists and pass an absolute truth as a dogma. Knowledge is the new model of change, and such a change can’t be conditioned to A or B thoughts, never forget that it has an alphabet to explore. And if you don’t adapt to the knowledge, the natural selection will make his work.. Carpe Diem. – “To change something, build a new model that makes the existing one obsolete.” – R. Buckminster Fuller.

References
ABRANTES, R. (1997). Dog Language. Wakan Tanka

Abrantes, R. (2011). Abrantes or Dunbar—Who’s the Best?

Abrantes, R. (2011). Unveiling the Myth of Reinforcers and Punishers.

Abrantes, R. (2013). So you want to be a good dog trainer!

Abrantes, R. (2011). Commands or Signals, Corrections or Punishers, Praise or Reinforcers.

Barata, R. (2017). The Social Human Animal

Barata, R. (2017). Dominance — A Scientific View.

Gadbois, S. (2015). 51 Shades of Grey: Misuse, Misunderstanding and Misinformation of the Concepts of “Dominance” and “Punishment”.

HOROWITZ, Alexandra. (2014). Domestic Dog, cognition and Behavior—The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris. Springer.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic.

Why do I train animals?

It’s the question I was asked before, but now I’m the one doing it myself. What would be the reason to do what I do daily?

To be rich? Certainly my concept of “rich” is different from yours, so there is no concrete measurement of this concept. For me, “rich” is being alive, healthy, with our basic needs supported and with unique memories that will always arouse a smile of momentary longing.

To be famous? Who wants to train animals to become famous can give up. The human animal likes, in his essence, demonstrations of power, mostly with the ostentation of symbols or trophies. Animal Training goes beyond tricks, “obedience” or demonstrations properly controlled and well-selected dogs. Training should be clear communication and a perfect understanding of the other species without bringing it to our social mindset.

The healthy union and discussion of trainers as a way for everyone to improve themselves? Certainly you would be impressed with the answer, an irony when we speak so much about understanding, assertiveness, and understanding, right?

Have free time? No doubt that in this aspect you can completely give up. For many years I don’t know what vacations are, many months I don’t know what is not thinking about work and many weeks without any kind of breaks. When it is not working, it is studying, researching, projects, and the rest time remember that I also exist.

Then, what makes me train animals? Perhaps the interspecific complicity that the right moments gives us and there’s no explanation when happen; The inner smile when seeing the happiness of the families next to their dogs to want to learn more and more; The daily demand for professional upgrade and be amazed at what we still have to learn; Passing the knowledge obtained with a bright in the eyes of the subject we are talking about, as if ourselves were amazed with what we are hearing…

In short: I don’t know why I train animals, but I love it. And you know what? There is no need for reasons, it suffices to feel filled with what we do without apparent reason. Do what fills you, and just feel without trying to respond. Follow your intuition and passion. Carpe Diem.

Dominance – A Scientific View

I wrote a chapter in my “Teach without Speech” book about the The Social Human Animal, where, among other subjects, I mentioned the fact that, as social animals, we created groups (inside groups and outside groups).

At present, the virtual environment has a world of knowledge to explore, but as human animals we are, we sometimes prefer to join the groups without consulting the factual reality of some subjects. This snowball effect is dangerous and promotes ignorance, nothing benevolent when we want to change the world and even more dangerous when we teach people who will teach others.

Wanting to do animal behavior an armored conclusion is a criminal act that elevates you to a dogmatic field, which I am sure is the opposite of the purpose of these groups.

Personally, I don’t follow chains or morally accepted texts. I follow the science and its facts that are daily questioned and studied. I further argue that it is not to camouflage or ignore concepts that they will not be followed, by the contrary, they will originate more confusion, fundamentalisms and incoherence.
We need to study them and actually explain them with an open mind and separate these concepts from the uses that humans make (more precisely in animal training) because they are two completely different subjects, different species communicate differently.

“To change something, build a new model that makes the existing one obsolete.” – R. Buckminster Fuller. This change is the real transmission of knowledge without moralisms, only then we will make the change.

I have compiled a set of subjects and researches from animal behavior cientists. In virtual world, this subject has already reached the point of mixing of behaviors with states of mind, adulterations of authors and the absurd of argumentum ad verecundiam.

I hope these factual topics can raise your critual reasoning and logical thinking about the issues, only then we can make the change.

Although it does for topics, this article will be a little long as it complements reading the provided links and bibliographic references. For the sake of your knowledge, waste a little time reading and be able to have a well-grounded and well-proven argument when talking about a particular subject.

Click on topics to access them.
Dominance, submission, hierarchies, ethograms and all scientific definitions on the subject. Article by Dr. Roger Abrantes.

Dominance and aggressiveness – Critical reasoning. Article by Dr. Roger Abrantes.

Dr. Simon Gadbois’s article on dominance and punishment.

Canine Etogram-Social and Agonistic Behavior. Article by Dr. Roger Abrantes.

Article by Dr. Marc Bekoff with the testimony of Dr. David Mech stating that he never rejected the notion of dominance.

Dominance and Pseudo-science. Article by Dr. Marc Bekoff.

Dogs display dominance. Dr. Marc Bekoff’s article with several studies and other articles on the subject.

Study on dominance relations in groups of Canis lupus arctos.

Study with quantitative analysis of dominance in domestic dogs.

Another study about dominance in domestic dogs.

Study about Age-graded dominance hierarchies and social tolerance in packs of free-ranging dogs.

Various articles and studies about Social Hierarchies.

Use of erroneous wolf generation time in assessments of domestic dog and human evolution.

Recommended bibliographic references
ABRANTES, R. (1997). The Evolution of Canine Social Behavior. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

ABRANTES, R. (1997). Dog Language. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

ABRANTES, R. (2011). Dominance—Making Sense of the Nonsense.

ABRANTES, R. (2012). Canine Ethogram—Social and Agonistic Behavior.

ALCOCK, J. (2001). Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach (7 ed.) Sinauef-Associates Inc., Massachusetts.

ANDERSON, C. & Kilduff, G. (2009). Why dominant personalities attain influence in face-to-face gourds? The competence-signaling effects of trait dominance. Journal of Personality and Social Phychology, 96(2):491-503.

BAUMEISTER, R. (2005). The cultural animal. London: Oxford University Press.

BEKOFF, M. (2010). Encyclopedia of animal rights and animal welfare / edited by Marc Bekoff ; foreword by Jane Goodall.—2nd ed. ABC-Clio, LLC.

BLANK, R. & HINES, S. (2001). Biology and Political Science. New York: Routledge.

BUSS, D. (2001). Human nature and culture: An evolutionary psychological perspective. Journal of Personality, 69,955-978.

CHASE, I.D. (2001) et al. PNAS 2002;99:5744-5749

COPPINGER, R. and Coppinger, L. (2001). Dogs: a Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior and Evolution. Scribner.

DEMELLO, M. (2012). Animals and Society: An introduction to human-animal studies. Columbia University Press.

DONALSON, S., Kymlicka, W. (2011). Zoopolis—A Political Theory of Animal Rights. Oxford University Press.

GREENE, J. (2013). Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. New York: Penguin books.

HENRICH, N. (2007). Why humans cooperate. New York: Oxford University Press.

HICKMAN, Cleveland P. (2008). Integrated Principles of Zoology, 14 Edition. McGraw-Hill.

HOROWITZ, Alexandra. (2014). Domestic Dog, cognition and Behavior—The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris. Springer.

KAMINSKI, J., Marshall-Pescini, S. (2014). The Social Dog — Behaviour and Cognition. Elsevier.

MCFARLAND, D. (1998). Animal Behaviour. Benjamin Cummings. 3rd ed.

MCFARLAND, D. (2006). A Dictionary of Animal Behaviour. Oxford University Press.

MECH, L.D. (1999). Alpha status, dominance and division of labor in wolf packs. Can. J. Zool.

MIKLÓSI, Ádám. (2007). Dog Behaviour, Evolution, and Cognition. Oxford University Press.

MORRIS, D. (1967). The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal. Delta(1999).

MORRIS, D. (1969). The Human Zoo. Kodansha America, Inc.

SCOTT, J. P. (1976). Violence and social Disaggregation. Aggressive Behavior, 1, 235-260.

SKINNER, B. F. (1966). The phylogeny and ontology of behavior, Science, 153,1205-1213

STRICKLIN, W.R. (2000). ANSC 455 Applied Animal Behavior. Department of Animal and Avian Sciences.

SZÉKELY, T. (2010). Social Behaviour, Genes, Ecology and Evolution. Cambridge University Press.

VAN DER BORG, J. (2015) Dominance in Domestic Dogs: A Quantitative Analysis of Its Behavioural Measures. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133978.

WATSON, J.C., Arp, Robert. (2015). Critical Thinking—an introduction to reasoning well. Bloomsbury Academic.

Step by Step

Article publish in Barks Digital Magazine at March/April 2015 edition, page 38.

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Dogs in Denmark

I have been asked about the dogs in Denmark. It’s not my right to say what is right and wrong, I just based on legislation and what I see/saw. I’ll leave some cultural and legislative topics:

-There are about 550,000 dogs in a population of 5,600,000,000 people;
-All dogs must be registered and have chip or tattoo, the registration has a value of approximately EUR 17.
-All dogs must have in the collar a plate with the name and address;
-All owners must have a insurance for the dog and are responsible for any damage that they do;
-The dogs can’t bark or howling excessively in public;
-Dogs must be on leash or loose in large fields;
-There are 13 prohibited breeds (Yes, prohibited): Pitt Bull Terrier, Tosa Inu, American Staffordshire Terrier, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, American Bulldog, Boerboel, Kangal, Central Asian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), Caucasian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), South Russian Shepherd Dog (ovcharka), Tornjak, Sarplaninac;
-Shock Collars are banned (also in Sweden, Norway and Switzerland);
-The same for prong collars;
-There is an excellent mentality of people walking with the waste collection bag, otherwise some gardens have specific places that provide them for free (some even gloves);
-There is a big number of dog parks. However, there are gardens where dogs are forbidden;
– I don’t see too many stores that allow dog’s entrance;
-People feel the need to seek advice for training their dogs, I see a constant concern for their well-being;
-The number of shelter dogs is very low (I never seen one) and those who may be in the Kennel for adoption do not wait more than 15 days (in general) until they have a new home. The policy for adoption is demanding and requires approval. The new owner pays about 350 euros for the adoption. If a owner goes deliver his own dog, pays a tax too. There’s about nine shelters in Denmark.

And it’s how it works, I leave a few links if you have curiosity to find more:
– http://www.danskhunderegister.dk
– https://www.foedevarestyrelsen.dk/english/Pages/default.aspx – http://www.dyrevaernet.dk
– http://www.gipote.dk/hunde-artikler/59-Hunde-i-Danmark
– http://www.dkk.dk