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IFAAB 2008 Abstracts   Program Schedule

Change and repeat: Demonstrating control over variable and repetitive behaviors in dog training
by Carmen Buitrago

Learning, problem solving and novelty are expressions of behavior long attributed to complex cognitive processes. However, studies on the constructs of problem solving and novelty show these behavior patterns to be correlated with behavioral variability, and behavioral variability has been shown to be influenced by reinforcement . This poster depicts operant control of three domestic dogs’ repetitive and variable or novel responding when the two classes of behavior were differentially reinforced in the presence of discriminated verbal stimuli. In an alternating treatments design that included five phases of training, experimental control was demonstrated over the expression of response variation and repetition in rapid alternation. All dogs met the minimum criterion of 80% correct, except for one repetition segment of one dog. This study replicates the work of S. Page and A. Neuringer (1985) in a practical context and extends it to Canis familiaris. The ability to cue a dog to vary its behavior within some confines, and then home in on a desired target behavior on cue and repeat that, could prove useful in applied settings. Potential practical applications will be discussed.
 

Defining Dominance Relationships
John Ciribassi

The topic of how to describe canine dominance relationships, and how they apply to domestic settings, has been hotly debated in the behavior community for years. The determination of which individual in a dyad is considered to be higher ranking has been based on possession of a valued resource. In this presentation I will present a quote from E.O. Wilson's book, "Sociobiology. The New Synthesis" which gives a slightly different take on determining rank in canids and focuses more on the acquisition of a resource as opposed to the mere possession of the resource.
 

Pre-pet Counseling: Everyone doesn’t need a pet  
Diane Mollaghan

 The existence of problem behaviors in our companion animals contributes to the  breakdown in the human-companion animal bond, and has been considered to be the  single biggest killer of companion animals in our society. As applied animal  behaviorists, we provide services to mediate the relationship between people  and their pets, and provide pet owners with tools to modify and improve their  pet’s behavior. One of the major problems that applied animal behaviorists  face, is that their services are often called in too late. By the time the pet  is obtained, the emotional bond has been formed and the substrate for problem  behavior already exists, our attempts to improve the relationship between  people and their companion animals is somewhat challenged.  
 Timing of the intervention to prevent the breakdown of the human-companion  animal bond, appears to be of paramount importance, and pre-pet counseling  offers applied animal behaviorists an opportunity to be proactive, instead of  reactive. Once the individual has already decided to obtain a pet, any  semblance of pre-pet counseling (often used in animal shelters and rescue  groups used to screen potential adopters) is often perceived as an inconvenient  hurdle, not as an educational opportunity.    

 This presentation will attempt to address a number of challenges involved in the  marketing of pre-pet counseling. While we may all agree that not everyone  should own a pet, launching anti-pet owning campaign offers several marketing  challenges. In addition, identifying the target population (individuals  thinking about obtaining a pet), will pose another challenge, as we cannot rely  on veterinarians and other pet service industries, that cater to individuals who  already own pets. During this brainstorming session we will be introducing  models used in other fields (e.g., human relationships) to generate some ideas  for new approaches for marketing the concept of pre-pet counseling.

 

The Serious Work of Military and Law Enforcement K-9 Teams
Mark Hines

 The world of law enforcement and military K-9 Teams is unique. The men, women, and dogs that make up these K-9 teams have one of the most stressful and dangerous jobs in world. Therefore, K-9 teams utilize real-life scenario training that can be carried over into their tactical deployments. This type of repetitive training is critical for the K-9 teams as their day to day tasks, can at times, either save lives or result in injury or loss of life. Each year in the United States, more than 140 officers lose their lives in the line of duty and over 56,000 officers are assaulted by criminals. Those numbers would be much higher without the aid of professional K-9 teams.

Because of cost restraints, most K-9 teams are dual purpose. At times the dogs are used as street dogs to apprehend criminals. Other times, they are used for crowd control and a variety of other street duties. Although street duties are important, the true value of a K-9 team is scent detection. The majority of all K-9 work involves scent detection, which can include article searches, narcotics detection, explosive detection or human detection.

The objective of my talk is to shed light on the complexities K-9 teams face working in stressful and intense situations. Furthermore, to explore the challenges K-9 handlers’ encounter when partnered with very powerful, sometimes dangerous, high energy dogs. And lastly, I will share the methods and tools currently employed by K-9 handlers to reduce stress in their dogs and more importantly, keep their K-9 partners motivated. Hopefully, this short talk will open a window of discussion that will be beneficial to K-9 teams around the world, to all of us, and our neighbors.
 

Reconcile(tm) Efficacy and Safety Studies
Wayne Hunthausen

This presentation will provide information regarding the studies undertaken by Eli Lilly in the development of Reconcile(tm) for the treatment of canine separation anxiety.
 

To BeMod or not to BeMod, that is the Question
Jenn Barg, Pia Silvani, and Sharon Wirant

Animal shelters that have behavior programs are becoming more common. The
behavior program label itself, however, applies to a wide-range of program
types; the gold standard of these types go beyond merely applying behavior
evaluations to decision-making and actually have hands-on, behavior
modification (BeMod) programs for the animals in their care. Our panel
discussion will question the role of behavior modification programs in
shelters from many angles and viewpoints. Items addressed will include:
how to decide which animals enter a BeMod program; what qualifications
should staff have to implement BeMod programs; how should progress be
monitored, including when to start and stop such a program with an
individual animal; how is an animal that comes through such a program
appropriately matched with a potential adopter; how is post-adoption support
offered to the adopting families of these animals; and finally, how do we
evaluate success of the program?
 

Would You Look At That? The Art of Observation
 By Karen B. London, Daniel Q. Estep, and Suzanne Hetts
 
 In this talk, we will show a few illustrative videos and lead a   discussion about the value of simply observing dogs. Observation is   the foundation of everything we do as applied animal behaviorists, but   we rarely talk about it. It takes training, practice, and a commitment   to its value to make it as useful as it can be. The study of animals   in their natural habitat is getting less and less attention in the   field of canine behavior, and this is more true of the observational   aspect of ethology than the experimental side. We think it's   critically important to promote and teach the observation of dogs?   natural behavior, because there is no substitute for knowing your   animal. We hope to build interest in observation as a tool for   successfully interacting with dogs, for formulating testable   hypotheses, and for the discovery of new behavior patterns. Knowing   how to observe can help children avoid dog bites, help owners   recognize problems and better care for their animals and help pet   professionals properly interpret behavior so that they can provide the best services available.
 

The Serious Work of Military and Law Enforcement K-9 Teams
Mark Hines

The world of law enforcement and military K-9 Teams is unique. The men, women, and dogs that make up these K-9 teams have one of the most stressful and dangerous jobs in world. Therefore, K-9 teams utilize real-life scenario training that can be carried over into their tactical deployments. This type of repetitive training is critical for the K-9 teams as their day to day tasks, can at times, either save lives or result in injury or loss of life. Each year in the United States, more than 140 officers lose their lives in the line of duty and over 56,000 officers are assaulted by criminals. Those numbers would be much higher without the aid of professional K-9 teams.

Because of cost restraints, most K-9 teams are dual purpose. At times the dogs are used as street dogs to apprehend criminals. Other times, they are used for crowd control and a variety of other street duties. Although street duties are important, the true value of a K-9 team is scent detection. The majority of all K-9 work involves scent detection, which can include article searches, narcotics detection, explosive detection or human detection.

The objective of my talk is to shed light on the complexities K-9 teams face working in stressful and intense situations. Furthermore, to explore the challenges K-9 handlers’ encounter when partnered with very powerful, sometimes dangerous, high energy dogs. And lastly, I will share the methods and tools currently employed by K-9 handlers to reduce stress in their dogs and more importantly, keep their K-9 partners motivated. Hopefully, this short talk will open a window of discussion that will be beneficial to K-9 teams around the world, to all of us, and our neighbors.
 
Defining the “Ideal Human/Dog Relationship” – Practical Applications
Glenn Martyn

How can we draw on science (including the “soft sciences”) to help us better determine “the ideal” human/dog relationship? Can recent research in such disciplines as sociology, psychology, neurobiology, and behavioral genetics help shed light on ways to define and facilitate development and maintenance of this dyad? What tools are available for initial owner/family and dog “personality assessment” to facilitate a good match? Are there tools to determine existing owner “dog skills”? What kinds of environmental/behavioral programs will best develop and maintain a harmonious interactive relationship? Can we develop better tools to determine when and how to compensate for emerging relational deficits? A fundamental understanding of various human-dog relationships that begins with defining the “ideal” will help determine effective and efficient behavioral interventions in a family/home setting. A framework for delineating the ideal dyad will be provided and discussed.
 
READING MICRO-EXPRESSIONS ACROSS SPECIES
Patricia McConnell

Decades of research, primarily by Psychologist Paul Ekman, have documented that human facial expressions of the primary emotions, like fear and anger, are universally produced and perceived across all cultures. He has also found that “micro-expressions,” or extremely brief and subtle changes in expression, are honest, involuntary and usually unconscious indicators of the true emotional state of a person. In this presentation I will compare this work with the expressions of dogs, and argue that one of the reasons that dogs and humans are such ‘best friends’ is that we share similar expressions of emotions like fear, anger and happiness. The presentation will include voluntary (and anonymous!) participation in a brief research project that asks viewers to evaluate fleeting and subtle changes of expressions on human faces, helping to answer the question: are professionals who work with aggressive dogs better than the general population at reading subtle expressions of emotion on either species?
 
Humane and effective restraint in the veterinary hospital
Nancy Williams

The veterinarian is the first contact and most important source of information for a client concerning their pet’s welfare. Critical to animal welfare in a veterinary hospital are techniques that minimize the stress of handling for a frightened or ill animal. Preparation for handling at the veterinary hospital requires that clients receive information to train and prepare pets to calmly accept restraint and handling for routine procedures.

We will demonstrate novel techniques that have been developed and used in veterinary hospitals, to reduce stress in animal handling. Case studies and video analysis in an animal hospital will illustrate the use of the equipment and techniques. We will also discuss protocols to train a pet to allow handling with a minimum of stress, and rehabilitate dogs that are difficult to handle or restrain.
 
Kitty Teaser and Snoot Loop as behavior modification tools
Peter Borchelt

Abstract: I will demonstrate and discuss the use of these tools in my practice and discuss the concept of counter conditioning using competing response classes (behavior systems) rather than a "target" and "competing" response
 

Assessing behavior and training methods using physiological measurements
Nancy Williams, Pete Borchelt, Alice Moon-Fanelli and Megan Bulloch

Recent advances in technology have facilitated research into the field of animal behavior. It is now feasible to measure the physiological changes that accompany the emotional state of dogs undergoing behavior modification or a veterinary procedure. The most practical and reliable assessment of underlying mental or physical stress in a dog is reflected in changes in the animal’s heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV). While conjecture and myths concerning dog behavior abound, research using HR and HRV has started to provide scientific information to refute the misinformation to improve animal welfare.

We will explain how to measure the HR and HRV of dogs and other animals using readily available and monitoring devices. Case studies and video analysis will illustrate the use of these devices during the assessment, and behavior modification of puppies and dogs. Assessing HR and HRV during behavioral assessment or veterinary procedures provides objective evidence, rather than subjective opinions, the predictive validity of behavioral assessments, training, and overall animal welfare.
 
What's Play Got To Do With It?
Pia Silvani, Patricia McConnell and Karen B. London

Play can obviously be a wonderful part of our dogs? lives, but lately  it has become the cure du jour for everything - loneliness, destructive  chewing, social awkwardness, people whose work hours are excessive,  and every other imperfection. Should we be recommending play as a way  to help dogs, and if so, when, why, and for which behavior problems?  The increasing popularity of play as the perfect solution for  preventing or fixing problems is alarming because of the underlying  assumption that play is always a positive force in dogs? lives. The  inadvertent message that any and all play is good, regardless of  context or playmates, is damaging to our dogs. The drawbacks of play  as many dogs experience it in the modern world signify that the time  has arrived for us to step back and evaluate what we as a community  are encouraging and allowing in regards to canine play. We plan to  discuss both the good and bad aspects of play as it relates to dogs?  lives these days, and the ubiquitous and indiscriminate use of play to  enhance and change their lives. We hope our discussion will include  what we as professionals see as the role of play in causing,  exacerbating, and ameliorating behavioral problems.
 
Competitive Foraging in Dogs
Pam Reid

The dog is a highly social species that, when given the opportunity, lives in stable groups or loose aggregates of familiar individuals. Feral and free-roaming dogs typically forage together, scavenging in refuse dumps and on village streets. Given the social nature of the dog and its reliance on competitive opportunistic feeding, it makes evolutionary sense for dogs to possess the ability to exploit others’ knowledge of food sources. We investigated the behavior of dogs foraging in pairs in a large room in which food was hidden in one of eight buckets. On certain trials, both dogs lacked knowledge of the location of the food. On other trials, the subordinate dog was first shown the location of the food, but the dominant dog remained ignorant of the food’s location. The objective was to determine if the uninformed dog was able to detect when the other dog was informed and behave differently than it did when the other dog was also uninformed. The ability to modify foraging tactics to exploit the knowledge of others has been demonstrated in various species, including primates, corvids, pigeons and domestic pigs.
 

Differential Reinforcement for Differental Responses to Compound Eliciting Stimuli that Overlap: A Case Study.
Mellissa Shyan

Drake is a 1 yr old exuberant Weimeranner. Kinser is an 8.5 yr old arthritic Cocker Spaniel. Drake jumps on Kinser. This has led to several fights, and an owner was bitten trying to break them up. (Note: neither dog has hurt each other but the owners report that the dogs sound loud and vicious.) This has also led to Kinser now growling whenever Drake approaches. Owners were taught to say “Leave It” when Drake approaches Kinser too energetically or quickly. If he doesn’t leave Kinser, they spray with a remote control citronella collar. If he does, they praise him, pet and reward with treats. From Classical and Operant conditioning, what does this teach Drake? What does it teach Kinser? (note--if Drake is close enough, Kinser gets sprayed, too.) Is this a reasonable approach? (We are also doing systematic desensitization for Kinser, using treat rewards in Drake’s presence.) Videotape will be presented
 
The Association for Behavior Analysis: What Can They Do for Us?
 Jennifer Sobie

In the Spring 2006 issue of the Behavior Analyst, the sponsored publication of the Association for Behavior Analysis (ABA), James Johnston of Auburn University—a past president of ABA—made this statement regarding the increasing popularity of the positive behavior support movement and the relative lack of education accompanying its practice: "The competencies required for practicing…cannot be acquired through nonacademic training experiences because those experiences tend to lack many important features, such as prerequisites for admission, intensive supervised involvement with course material and recipients of behavior-analytic services over a period of months, and systematic measurement of performance." Those of us practicing in applied animal behavior can easily seize upon this statement as descriptive of the state of competencies in our field today. Most of us also recognize that the first step in tackling the problem is the creation of accredited programs dedicated to applied animal behavior. This presentation suggests that the ABA and its membership are in a position to advance the state of education in AAB. The presentation provides an overview of the Association for Behavior Analysis and its goals, support systems, certification processes and existing involvement in applied animal behavior, and posits avenues of mutual benefit between IFAAB members and the ABA, as well as CAABs and ABA academicians.
 
Socialization program for fearful adult cats: You can teach an old cat new tricks
Jill. A. Villarreal

Early socialization, between weeks 2 and 7 inclusively, increases responsiveness of cats to people. If the early sensitive period is missed, not well conducted, or the kittens were resistant to the socialization, as adults cats are likely to become fearful when handled or groomed. What can be done for adult cats that show fear responses to handling and grooming? A socialization program was developed to address this problem. Twenty spayed or neutered cats (17 females: 3 males) between 2 and 16 years of age (M = 9 years) reported to show mild to moderate fear responses to handling and grooming participated in the program. Cattery technicians signed up voluntarily for a “cat buddy” of their choice from the list of reported cats and received training. Technicians initially rated how well they knew and liked their cat buddy and how well their cat buddy’s responds to handling and grooming activities on a 10-point Likert scale. Technicians then visited their cat buddy 4-5 days a week for 5 to 15 minutes a day, slowly acclimating their buddy to handling and grooming activities. Technicians reported their buddy’s progress monthly. Guidance was given to technicians upon request throughout the program. Within a month, technicians reported that they knew and liked their cat buddy more. Increased positive responses of cats to handling and grooming were also reported. These findings indicate that fearful adult cats: (1) are responsive to socialization, (2) can form a cat-caregiver bond that increases caregiver knowledge of and positive feelings towards them, and (3) are capable of changing their response pattern to handling and grooming.
 
"Critiquing a Published Applied Manuscript: Can You Replicate This?"
John Wright
 
Publishing Our Work: Tips and Suggestions from an Animal Behaviour Editor
Jim Ha

An impressive amount of information is being collected, formally or informally, by practitioners of applied animal behavior in the course of their work: this is obvious at every IFAAB gathering. This information,
if properly summarized and presented, would be valuable to both basic and applied animal behaviorists. This would significantly increase the visibility of our discipline, and contribute to the welfare of the animals
with which we work. I will present an overview of the (scientific) publishing process, from manuscript preparation to submission and review. I will discuss possible journals and their differences, alternative avenues for presenting our work, and make some suggestions that might facilitate the process of collecting data and publishing.
 

The Use of Aversives in Training
Chris Brudecki

Radio Systems Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer of electronic training products for pets offering brands like Invisible Fence Brand, PetSafe, SportDOG, and Innotek.  Although the use of aversives in dog training has declined over the utilization of reward-based techniques, as behaviorists, it is important to understand and become familiar with the products that are being utilized by members of the public for containment, bark control, and training.  Products will be presented and demonstrated that utilize sound (sonic and ultrasonic), spray, and static aversives and methods of use will be discussed.  Many have opinions about these products based on old information and primitive early technology.