THERAPY FOR ANIMALS
Exploration of magnetism in the past few centuries is a colorful story,
complete with eccentric characters. Therapy
with permanent magnets in human medicine is where acupuncture was thirty years
ago. What was considered
frivolous then is even being paid for today by the seriously profit-oriented
health insurance companies. Beneficial
effects of magnetic therapy in pain management are well documented.
The list of maladies ameliorated by magnetics includes arthritis,
headaches, fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal injury (including repetitive motion
disorders), and post-operative pain and healing.
More recently magnetic therapy has been utilized in human medicine to
relieve anxiety, stress, clinical
depression, and ADD and ADHD in children.
Good double blind studies have been conducted in many foreign countries
including Germany, England, France, Spain, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Because few have been translated into English, the work is unfamiliar
to clinicians in North America. But
this doesn’t mean that the work is not valid.
Encouraged by promising results in clinical trials, researchers
proclaim that magnetic stimulation will be “a neuropsychiatric tool for the
21st Century” (George MS, Wassermann EM, Post RM. Transcranial magnetic
stimulation: a neuropsychiatric tool for the 21st century. J
Neuropsychiatry 1996, 8(4):373-382).
How does magnetic therapy work? No
one knows for sure. Although the
mechanism of action is not clear, studies show that one type of transcranial
stimulation boosts serotonin levels, much like Prozac and other anxietiolytics.
When magnets are applied to acupuncture stress points, sensory impulses
synapse in the thalamic region and are relayed to the limbic system of the
brain, the primary area in which autonomic responses evolve.
With this relay message, the chain of anxious thoughts (in humans) is
Could magnetic therapy work in animals?
While I am not aware of any research done in the use of magnetic
therapy in the treatment of behavioral problems in dogs and cats, great
potential exists for its use as a noninvasive complementary modality in the
treatment of anxiety-based disorders.
we have all experienced, clients bring their own views and issues to a
behavioral consultation. I'd like to explore client issues that affect the
history we get and our treatment options.
Some examples: People who: have
trouble disciplining, who like having the dog as leader, who feel loyal to an
aggressive dog because it protects them, who feel guilt about the problem. We
are also faced with people who use the dog as a pawn in family conflicts, and
people who have trouble making changes required for the treatment plan (like
the separation anxiety owner who likes it that the dog is always in her lap).
Obviously we are not therapists, but we can benefit from insight on how to
address some of these situations and to make the appropriate referrals if
PREVENTION AND POSTURAL FACILITATION
Response prevention/blocking is a technique used to extinguish escape
and avoidance behaviors, for example, in a shuttle box. Postural facilitation
is a less well-known term describing the effect on a behavioral sequence of
inducing a posture that is a component of that sequence to facilitate the
occurrence of the entire sequence. For example, a sequence of grooming
behavior can be facilitated by placing an animal in a specific posture,
particularly one that is an appetitive component of grooming.
I will discuss these two terms/concepts with respect to conditioning
dog behavior in the defensive and aggressive behavior systems, with particular
reference to the use of halters and whole-body restraint.
BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: FLOW-CHARTS
FOR CLIENTS AND CONSULTANTS
we were asked to develop handouts to help animal control ordinance violators
to identify the cause of their pet's problem so that they could take
appropriate action and get the right help to resolve the problem.
To this end, we developed some "flow-charts" to help owners
try to identify what kind of problem they were dealing with.
The question we pose is : Could similar "flow-charts" be
useful as diagnostic tools for behavior consultants?
We will present some of these flow-charts and open discussion for their
use. The larger question
underlying such tools is: How objective are our criteria for diagnosing
behavior problems? Can we make
diagnosis a science or is there too much "art" in the process?
We hope the group will address these questions as well.
(Presentation 10 minutes, discussion 20 - 30 minutes)
am open to having this done as a panel discussion with others who may want to
present their own approaches and ideas.
INTRASPECIFIC AGGRESSION PROBLEMS WITHIN HOUSEHOLDS
problems between dogs in the same household are a common problem seen by
behavior consultants. The
traditional explanation for these problems has been an instability in the
social hierarchy or “dominance relationship” among the dogs.
However, this model does not seem to adequately explain the behavioral
patterns seen in many clinical cases. This
panel will explore the literature on other species relevant to this problem,
will offer alternative hypotheses to explain these problems, present
descriptive statistics on a compilation of case histories, and provide details
on case examples.
THE PET-OWNER INTERACTION: THE FIRST STEP IN BEHAVIOR THERAPY
an owner is having problems with their pet, there are both owner driven
factors and pet driven factors that are contributory.
Some animals with problem behaviors are normal but have learned that
certain behaviors are tolerated and beneficial for them.
Other animals may be abnormal and respond to owner interaction in a
different manner than expected. In
some situations the owner is interacting with the pet in an inappropriate
manner that although unintended may prolong, worsen, or facilitate the problem
behavior. The pet on the other
hand, is often unaware of what the owner considers proper behavior and
therefore is choosing behaviors that it feels are the most appropriate
responses. What commonly occurs
is miscommunication between the owner and their pet.
The owner is using a human form of communication, reasoning and
language, something most pets do not understand in the same manner as intended
by their owners. The pet however,
is communicating in the manner most appropriate for its species, and therefore
often misunderstood by the human. The
first step in behavior therapy is changing the pet-owner relationship and
creating clear rules and expectations. This
must be done in a manner that is understood by the pet.
The goal of changing how owners and their pets communicate is to create
an environment where it is easier for the owner to control the pet and thus
elicit good behavior. This step is most useful in treating behavior problems
in companion dogs.
STRATEGIES FOR INTERFELINE AGGRESSION PROBLEMS
aggression problems are not uncommon in multicat households.
Territorial, play and redirected behaviors are frequently involved.
This session will include
a ten minute introduction and 20 to 30 minutes of discussion by forum
CONSULTANT'S ROLE IN DOG AGGRESSION PROBLEMS
dogs pose particular risks to household infants and children. Although it may
be difficult to implement the environmental changes that would be needed to
keep a child or baby safe, clients may not be prepared to euthanize or rehome
a beloved pet. The bond between the parent and the newborn baby may not be as
strong as the parent’s bond with the dog. The dog’s 12 year history of
aggression may be discounted.
is our role in this scenario?
1. Assess and candidly discuss the specific risks for the household
2. Clearly define safety measures and responsibilities of the adults in
3. Discuss rehoming if applicable
4. Discuss euthanasia if applicable
5. Refer to mental health care professional
WITH THE DIFICULT PUPPY
behavioral counselor is frequently called upon for advice regarding the
difficult puppy. Such puppies are
often overly active, socially intrusive, or competitive towards family
members. The majority of
these problems stem from social excesses and an absence of appropriate
training and socialization. Most
importantly, the puppy owner may neglect to set consistent social boundaries
and limits. Although serious
aggression problems are less common in puppies than in adult dogs, many
puppy's do exhibit precocious aggressive tendencies.
It is of great importance to identify such puppies and to provide them
with appropriate training. Establishing
and maintaining relative social harmony between the puppy and family members
is a basic imperative of early training and socialization efforts.
A variety of techniques
are available to control and manage such adjustment problems and to encourage
more desirable behavior in the puppy.
DETECTION FROM THE DOG’S EYE VIEW: WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM OTHER WORKING DOGS
value of dogs in demining is well-established.
If the use of dogs in this capacity is to be increased to meet the
potential demand, current assumptions and practices in the selection and
training of dogs for mine detection need
to be reexamined. Techniques used in the training of
all working dogs is often based on habit, custom, folklore and very
little science. Traditionally, there has been a lack of coordination between
those involved with hands-on search work involving dogs, and other
professionals with expertise in animal behavior and training. As a result,
there are many untested assumptions that might unnecessarily prevent the
expansion of use of dogs in mine detection.
Humane Society of the United States, in conjunction with the Marshall Legacy
Institute, has consulted with a wide array of working dog experts to review
this potential problem. In addition to site visits and interviews, we convened
a working group in Washington, DC that brought together experts experienced in
the selection, training and evaluation of dogs used in many rigorous working
environments including drug and agricultural contraband detection, search and
rescue, human assistance (guide dogs, hearing dogs, etc.), and livestock
presentation will review some of the major considerations that we feel need to
be addressed as part of a long-term plan to increase the use of
locally-obtained dogs and indigenous trainers in order to meet the need for a
greatly enhanced canine demining corps. Our approach is to look upon the task
of mine detection from the dog’s point of view and identify similarities to
and differences from similar tasks already being performed by dogs worldwide.
We will review and invite discussion of several key issues:
What are the specific requirements of the task of mine detection? (i.e. what
is detected, what other qualities are essential (e.g. agility, endurance),
what qualities may be unnecessary (e.g. aggression).
To what extent are these demands restricted to specific breeds?
To what extent are they heritable?
How can we objectively define and enhance communication in a man/dog team? To
what extent is this a function of “bonding” vs. training for clearly
defined responses? What is the effect of individual and cultural attitudes
towards dogs on the effectiveness of the team?
What is the impact of housing and socialization on working ability?
What are the limitations of puppy testing or other preselection in predicting
adult temperament and performance?
What timing and pacing of training is optimal? How much periodic testing is
necessary to insure accuracy and attention to task?
of these issues from the perspective of dogs currently employed in other
working environments strongly suggests that a wide variety of dogs, from a
variety of sources may be suitable for mine detection work. Greater effort
will be needed to clarify the specific characteristics of dog, trainer,
handler, training experience and socialization history that can optimize the
prospects for success in forging effective human/dog mine detection teams.
ETHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON AGGRESSION
is a complicated, fascinating and ubiquitous behavior that has been researched
by generations of ethologists studying animals in the wild. Years of
observation and experimentation have yielded a wealth of insights into its
causes, patterns of expression, and both generalities and differences across
species. I will discuss what we
know about aggression in species as varied as fish, birds, insects and
mammals, and how a basic ethological understanding of this behavior can inform
our efforts to diagnose and treat domestic animals exhibiting aggression in
SIGNALS AS A TOOL TO ASSESS AND TREAT CANINE AGGRESSION
communication in canids is primarily visual, and therefore an interpretation
of visual signals is critical in evaluating, diagnosing and treating
"aggression" in companion dogs.
The information contained in visual signals provides a means to assess
both internal states and the probability that an animal will exhibit a
relevant behavior in the future. Using video analysis to distinguish nuances
in visual signals, this talk will initiate a discussion of subtle signals,
ambivalent signals and signals to multiple receivers.
OF DOGGY DAY CARE PROGRAMS IN THE TREATMENT OF BEHAVIORAL ISSUES
Doggy day cares are popping up all over the country, and they have uses
outside of alleviating owner guilt and pampering Fido.
Particularly when run by experienced trainers, day care programs can
assist in the treatment of separation anxiety, interdog aggression, and many
socialization issues, such as treating fear of strangers, the veterinarian, or
the groomer. We all experience
the difficulty with client compliance with many desensitization
programs—doggy day care can facilitate these protocols immensely.
An introduction to how our day care operates independently of and
meshes with our training programs in an outline of how we help treat the above
behavior issues, including case histories.
OF FELINE HYPERESTHESIA: A SERIES OF CASES FROM TUSVM BEHAVIOR CLINIC
the 1999 IFAAB meeting, I presented a summary of the clinical presentation
of 9 feline hyperesthesia patients seen at the TUVSM behavior clinic.
This year I propose to
summarize the response to pharmacological treatment of
these 9 cats and any additional cases seen. Pharmacological treatment
has been varied and includes
phenobarbital, fluoxetine, clomipramine, buspirone
and Gabapentin. (Sorry, results and conclusions are not available at
this time, but a deadline would
be a strong motivator!)
CANINE TEMPERAMENT: CONGRUENCE BETWEEN BEHAVIOR IN THE HOME AND EARLY
ASSESSMENTS BY BREEDER AND BY THE PUPPY APTITUDE TEST.
goal of this project is to measure behavioural characteristics in young
puppies and evaluate the stability of these traits over time. I measured
responses to various social and environmental stimuli in 279 pure-bred
puppies. Concurrently, breeders completed a questionnaire on the temperament
of each of their puppies. Approximately six months after each puppy was
installed in its permanent home, we conducted telephone interviews with owners
to determine puppies’ responses to a variety of experiences. These data are
revealing the extent to which we can predict, through a standardized test, how
a puppy will respond to new experiences after placement in a permanent home
and whether breeders are adept at assessing these traits. The eventual goal is
to conduct additional interviews with the owners when the dog is one year and
two years of age. The objective is to obtain an indication of long-term
stability of the behavioural traits we measured in the young puppies.
THEORY AND APPLICATIONS
is a procedure designed to alter an animal’s response to a specific stimulus
through classical conditioning. The term has a very specific definition in the
learning theory literature yet clinical animal behaviourists use it to include
operant conditioning processes as well. This misunderstanding unnecessarily
limits the effectiveness of the procedure. In this talk, I will delve into the
basic research on counterconditioning (also known as cross-motivational
transfer), focusing on features that impact on effectiveness. Following the
theoretical discussion, I will introduce the group to the applications of
counterconditioning and desensitization in human behaviour therapy and make
suggestions on how the procedure can better be implemented when dealing with
behaviour problems in animals.
OF TIME-OUT PROCEDURES DURING MULTI-CAT INTRODUCTIONS TO REDUCE AGGRESSION.
cases have arisen in which consultations were requested for problem
introduction of a new cat into an established multi-cat household.
The dominant cat in the household generally attacks the new introductee
(sometimes to the point of injury), It may also show displacement aggression
toward other cats in the household. In
all cases, using a combination of time-out for any form of aggression or
threat behavior and food and treat reward sessions for companionable behavior
produced successful introductions and integration of the new animal into the
FIDOS - REINTEGRATING THEM INTO THE CANINE SOCIETY
with a dog who exhibits an emotional response, such as aggression, toward
other dogs is most disturbing for pet owners as well as a difficult one to
resolve. When the joys of owning
a dog exceed the pains of living with it, then you have a real problem.
Over the past few decades, we have seen an increase in dog to dog
aggression. Why the increase?
Can they be re-integrated into the canine community?
Is this really what the owner wants, or just to be able to take the dog
into public? This talk will give
you insight as to what is occurring in our training classes today and how they
may be part of the problem. Growl
classes are being conducted by only a handful of trainers.
How are they beneficial to the dog as well as the owner?
A review of exercises will be described with an emphasis on integration
into a group class format. Brief
video clips of these classes
AS AN ACTIVITY MODULATOR OF DOMESTIC CATS.
cats have been thought to be crepuscular. Once reason for this is that
researchers have typically observed cats
during the summer when the coolest part of the day is dawn and
dusk. The activity of 20 cats was observed for 20 weeks over a
six month span. Each week the animals were focaled for 15 minute
segments in each of 4 different daily time periods. Results and
implications will be discussed.
THE BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT OF DOGS
The idea for how to go
about designing a behavioral assessment program (temperament test) for use in
the animal shelter environment actually began for me in 1986.
Then, Dr. Randall Lockwood and I developed a procedure for assessing
dog aggression in conjunction with a bite fatality cases in
Dekalb County, GA (Atlanta). In
that case, a 4-year old boy was attacked and killed by 3 mixed pit bulls, and
the owner was charge with negligent homicide.
The county prosecutor’s office called Dr. Randall Lockwood (HSUS) to
assess the dogs for their “propensity” for aggression, as the dogs’
owner maintained they were not aggressive animals.
Together, Dr. Lockwood and I developed an 8-item assessment procedure
which we used to evaluate the three pit bulls, and three non-aggressive
“comparison dogs.” Specifically,
the purpose of the evaluation was to determine 1). The degree of socialization
of each dog to people and to each other, 2). The extent of any preparedness to
behave in an aggressive fashion in different motivational contexts, and 3).
The ability of these animals to restrain aggressive behavior in the presence
of people. The procedure was
designed to be a “fair” assessment of each dog’s behavior, not to
“prove” that any dog was aggressive.
Dr. Lockwood’s court testimony of the results of our video-taped
assessment helped the jury to convict the dogs’ owner of negligent homicide,
for which he served 5 years in prison.
A complete description of the evaluation tool and the outcome of the
evaluations was presented at the Animal Behavior Society meeting (see Wright,
J. C. & Lockwood, R. [June, 1987]. Behavioral
testing of dogs implicated in a fatal attack on a young child.
Animal Behavior Society meeting, Williamburg, MA.).
In the several years following the Atlanta case the procedure was used
for assessing aggressive behavior in additional
severe dog bite cases. For example, in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. David Tuber and I
used the procedure to assess the behavior of two pit bulls implicated in a
fatal attack of an older man; and
Dr. Peter Borchelt and I conducted an assessment in Raleigh, North Carolina,
for a case involving a pit bull that attacked a police officer. For the latter
assessment Dr. Borchelt and I decreased the number of assessment items from 8
to 5, recommended the use of a blind procedure (where we were unaware of which
of the assessed dogs was the
‘target’ dog) and attempted to provide a more detailed procedure for
others, should they desire to adopt it for use at their own facility.
In the early 1990's, NACA and TACA sponsored a 2-day behavioral
assessment workshop offered by Dr. Borchelt and myself, which resulted in the
production of a training tape for Texas ACO’s to use at their discretion, in
their facilities. The workshop was repeated the following year in Florida
(sponsored by NACA and FACA), and the behavioral assessment procedure
continues to be a useful tool in various Texas and Florida counties today.
The training tape
emphasized the importance of recognizing the communicative behaviors and
features that dogs display prior to and during aggression, the different forms
of aggression dogs exhibit (offensive and defensive) and the importance of
using a method that is “fair” to each dog (resulting in more
“objective” than “subjective” behavioral ratings).
We noticed that some dogs responded to a test stimulus by changing from
behaviorally neutral (exhibiting non-emotional signals, neither ‘fearful’
nor ‘angry’) to exhibiting
“overly assertive” behaviors during the assessment.
We also observed that other dogs’ behavior changed from neutral to
more inhibited (but not fearful) or more submissive.
Aggressive dogs (biters) seemed to differ from other dogs in the
following ways: They were
more likely to exhibit “stimulus reactivity” -- to react emotionally to
the presentation of different kinds of stimuli (i.e., auditory, visual) during
the assessment; they were more likely to display intense reactions during the
stimulus presentations; and the
slope of decrease in emotional reactivity between the 30- second trials was
more gradual for the aggressive dogs --
they maintained an aroused state, longer, sometimes for the entire procedure,
despite periods in which they were not exposed to any additional stimulation,
and they were waiting alone.
BEHAVIOR AND OWNER BEHAVIOR: THE
REASONS FOR RELINQUISHMENT TO ANIMAL SHELTERS
the past 5-7 years the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy has
conducted a number of research projects related to pet owner behavior and the
reasons for relinquishment of
pets to animal shelters. These
studies have shown that as a group, behavior problems are the most frequent
reason for the relinquishment of otherwise healthy dogs and cats.
Questions regarding pet husbandry reveal that pet owners are often
ignorant of basic animal behavior and physiology.
will review these data, and those from several related publications, as well
as data collected at the ASPCA. Discussion
will be directed to some key issues:
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