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Jane Barber


                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 broken. 

                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.


Kimberly Barry


As 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 necessary.


Peter L. Borchelt


                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.


Dan Estep


Recently 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)

I am open to having this done as a panel discussion with others who may want to present their own approaches and ideas. 


 Suzanne Hetts, Jan Driscoll


Aggression 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.


Debra Horwitz


When 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.


Wayne Hunthausen


Interfeline 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 participants.


Ellen Lindell


Aggressive 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.

What 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 the household

                3. Discuss rehoming if applicable

                4. Discuss euthanasia if applicable

                5. Refer to mental health care professional


Steven R. Lindsay


The 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.


Randall Lockwood


The 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.

The 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 guarding.

This 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:

1. 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).

2. To what extent are these demands restricted to specific breeds?  To what extent are they heritable?

3. 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?

4. What is the impact of housing and socialization on working ability?

5. What are the limitations of puppy testing or other preselection in predicting adult temperament and performance?

6. What timing and pacing of training is optimal? How much periodic testing is necessary to insure accuracy and attention to task?

Review 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.


Karen B. London


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 inappropriate contexts.


Patricia B. McConnell


Agonistic 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.


Melanie Pokluda McLeroy


Abstract:  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.

Format:  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.


Alice Moon-Fanelli


At 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!)


Pam Reid


The 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.


Counterconditioning 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.


Melissa Shyan


Several 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 household.



Pia Silvani


Living 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 will be shown.


Randy Wolfe


Domestic 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.  


John C. Wright


                 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.   

                The development of an assessment tool for shelter personnel to use for a different purpose - selection of dogs and puppies for adoption based on their behavior - is the purpose of my presentation for IFAAB 2000.  I was given the opportunity to help the Austin, TX animal shelter develop a tool in the summer of 1999.   I spent 5 days with their personnel and facility trying to figure out a program that would be effective and efficient.  The program we came up with together, is what I would like to present (about 30 mins).       

Stephen Zawistowski


During 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. 

I 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:
-How can animals behavior consultants work with other animal care professionals to provide better public education on animal behavior

-Can these data be used in developing and marketing services by animal behavior consultants for pet owners and the pet care industry.                                

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