Happy New Year!!
A while ago, I read a book by Temple Grandin.
Consider what follows a brief bullet-point, Cliff’s notes that I took for my own easy recollection.
This is less than the tip of the iceberg of, not the whole book, just the first two chapters which are for Animals in general and dogs specifically. Cat, horse and domestic livestock lovers, are considered in later chapters.
If some things seem out of context; they are all out of context. One paragraph is more than a few pages out of context. It just fit better in this brief recap. And there are typically pages of support information for each of the salient points.
I have only copied text.
I don’t necessarily completely agree with or even fully understand all that is being considered. But, to me, it feels as if it has some authenticity to it. At least it’s worthy of some healthy consideration.
If you are at all interested, please buy the book.
I hope you enjoy.... Here's a teaser quote from the text below: "Dogs Need Parents, Not Pack Leaders"
Happy New Year....
Animals Make Us More Human: Creating The Best Life For Animals
By Temple Grandin
Chapter 1: What Do Animals Need?
In 1965, the UK government commissioned an investigation - led by Professor Roger Brambell - into the welfare of intensively farmed animals, partly in response to concerns raised in Ruth Harrison's 1964 book, Animal Machines. On the basis of Professor Brambell's report, the UK government set up the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee in 1967, which became the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1979. The committee's first guidelines recommended that animals require the freedoms to "stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs".
The guidelines have since been elaborated to become known as the Five Freedoms:
- Freedom from thirst and hunger - by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigor.
- Freedom from discomfort - by providing an appropriate environment including shelter and a comfortable resting area.
- Freedom from pain, injury, and disease - by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
- Freedom to express normal behavior - by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal's own kind.
- Freedom from fear and distress - by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.
The Blue-Ribbon Emotions
All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain. Most pet owners probably already believe this, but I find a lot of executives, plant managers and even some veterinarians and researchers still don’t believe that animals have emotions. The first thing I tell them is that the same psychiatric mediations, such as Prozac, that work for humans also work for animals. Unless you are an expert, when you dissect a pig’s brain it’s difficult to tell the difference between the lower-down parts of the animal’s brain and the lower-down parts of the human brain. Human beings have a much bigger neocortex, but the core emotions aren’t located in the neocortex. They’re in the lower-down part of the brain.
When people are suffering mentally, they want to feel better – they want to stop having bad emotions and start having good emotions. That’s the right goal with animals, too.
Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at WSU wrote Affective Neuroscience.
He identified “blue-ribbon” emotions” because they “generate well-organized behavior sequences that can be evoked by localized electrical stimulation of the brain. This means that when you stimulate the anger system, the animal snarls and bites. If you stimulate the fear system, the animal freezes or runs away. Electrodes in the social attachment system cause the animal to make separation calls and electrodes in the SEEKING system make the animal start moving forward, sniffing and exploring its environment. When you stimulate these parts of the brain in people, they don’t snarl and bite but they do report the same emotions animals show.
People and animals are born with these emotions.
The Four Blue-ribbon emotions, which Dr. Panksepp always writes in ALL-CAPS.
SEEKING: the basic impulse to search, investigate and make sense of the environment. Also, wanting something really good, looking forward to getting something really good and curiosity.
Gives you the energy to go after your goals. The “Christmas” emotion. The anticipations felt when all the presents are seen under the tree.
Curiosity is related to novelty. The orienting response is the first stage of SEEKING because it is attracted to novelty. SEEKING is always about something you don’t have yet. SEEKING is very pleasurable. If you implant electrodes into the SEEKING system of an animal’s brain, it will press a lever to turn the current on. It is the pleasure of looking forward to something good, not the pleasure of having something good.
SEEKING might be a kind of master emotion. SEEKING means the positive emotions of wanting, looking forward to, or being curious about something.
RAGE: evolved from the experience of being captured and held immobile by a predator. Stimulation of subcortical brain areas causes an animal to go into a rage. RAGE gives the captured animal the explosive energy It needs to struggle violently.
Frustration is a mild form of RAGE that is sparked by mental restraint when you can’t do something you’re trying to do. Can’t unscrew a tight lid or can’t solve a math problem – that mild anger you feel is RAGE. Many captive animals try to escape as soon as they have opportunity.
FEAR: Animals and humans feel FEAR when their survival is threatened in any way, from the physical to the mental and social. FEAR circuits in the subcortex of the brain have been fully mapped. Destruction of the amygdala turns off fear.
PANIC: The social attachment system. All baby animals and humans cry when their mothers leave. When you stimulate the part of an animal’s brain that regulates physical pain, the animal makes separation cries. This is probably why people say it “hurts” to lose someone they love.
There are three other positive emotion systems about which not as much is known. These don’t necessarily run through an animal’s entire life. These are more sophisticated special-purpose socioemotional systems that are engaged at appropriate times in the lives of all mammals.
LUST: Sex and sexual desire
CARE: Maternal love and caretaking
PLAY: PLAY is the brain system that produces the kind of roughhousing play all young animals and humans do at the same state in their developments. The parts of the brain that motivate PLAY are in the subcortex. Not well known yet, we do know that play behavior is a sign of good welfare because an animal that’s depressed, frightened or angry doesn’t play. The PLAY system produces feelings of joy.
Taken together, these seven emotions – especially the first four – explain why some environments are good for animals (including people) and others are bad.
Everyone who is responsible for animals – farmers, ranchers, zookeepers, pet owners – needs a set of simple, reliable guidelines for creating good mental welfare that can be applied to any animal in any situation and the best guidelines we have are the core emotion systems in the brain.
The rule is simple: Don’t stimulate RAGE, FEAR and PANIC if you can help it. Do stimulate SEEKING and PLAYING. Provide environments that will keep the animal occupied.
Chapter 2: A Dog’s Life
Dogs are so tuned into people that they are the only animals that can follow a person’s gaze or pointing finger. Wolves can’t do it, and neither can chimpanzees.
Dogs are genetic wolves that evolved to live and communicate with humans.
The reason dogs can learn so quickly and sometimes train themselves to perform a lot of behaviors is that our social reactions are reinforcing to dogs. A dog is happy when you are happy.
Mr. L. David Mech’s 13 year study of the wolves on Ellesmere Island of Canada finds that, in the wild, wolves don’t live in wolf packs and they don’t have an alpha male who fights the other wolves to maintain his dominance. Instead, wolves live the way people do: in families made up of a mom, a dad and their children. Sometimes an unrelated wolf can be adopted.
A fifty-year-old CEO running a major corporation is not the boss of his mom. Wolf families are the same way. The parents are always the parents.
Do Dogs Need Alphas?
If dogs are wolves and wolves don’t have pack leaders, why do dogs need a pack-leader?
Dogs evolved to live with humans, but what does that mean? Did dogs evolve to live with human families? And, if they did, does that mean that dogs living with human families need a mom and a dad, not an alpha? Or are dogs living with human families more like a forced wolf pack than a family, in which case somebody has to be the alpha?
The reason I think the most natural existence for a dog is a fence-free, mostly outdoor life with a human owners is that this is probably the way dogs lived with people a hundred thousand years ago when wolves first evolved into dogs.
My theory is that Cesar Millan is right about the dogs at his Dog Psychology Center. Those dogs have to form a pack to keep from ripping each other apart and Cesar has done a brilliant job of making himself the pack leader instead of letting the dogs fight it out for the top spot.
Dogs Need Parents, Not Pack Leaders
What dogs probably need isn’t a substitute pack leader but a substitute parent.
During evolution dogs went through a process called pedomorphosis, which means that dog puppies stop developing earlier than wolf cubs do.
Thanks to some really interesting research done in England, we know that dog facial features and dog behavior generally go together. Dr. Deborah Goodwin found that the more wolfy a breed looks, the more grown wolf behaviors it has.
Dr. Goodwin chose the fifteen most important aggressive and submissive behaviors wolves use to communicate with each other during a conflict and then observed ten dog breeds to see which breeds expressed which behaviors.
Aggressive behaviors included things like growling, teeth baring, standing over and standing erect/taller. Submissive behaviors were things like muzzle licks, looking away, crouching and lying.
It was found that the Siberian huskies, which of the ten breeds look most like wolves, had all 15 behaviors, whereas Cavalier King Charles spaniels, which look nothing like wolves, had only two. The correlation between looking like a wolf and acting like a wolf was pretty strong across all breeds.
.. although looks and behavior go together genetically, they can also be separated genetically. But once a breed has lost a behavior you can’t bring the behavior back just by changing the appearance.
- Cavalier King Charles spaniel: 2 wolf behaviors out of 15
- Norfolk terrier 3 of 15
- French bulldog 4 of 15
- Shetland sheepdog 4
- Cocker spaniel 6
- Munsterlander 7
- Labrador retriever 9
- German shepherd 11
- Golden retriever 12
- Siberian husky 15
Dr. Feddersen-Petersen’s study seems to have found a difference between the more wolfy breeds and the less wolfy ones. The wolfy breeds such as malamutes, huskies and Samoyeds did much better living in forced packs than breed that are less wolfy, like the toy poodle and Jack Russell terrier.
..when you think about which wolf behaviors the less wolf like breeds have lost. What they have mostly lost, out of the fifteen most important aggressive and submissive behaviors wolves use to communicate during a conflict, are the submissive behaviors. The less wolfy the dog, the fewer submissive behaviors it has.
When you think about dogs being wolves that haven’t finished growing up, people who treat their dogs as if they’re children might have the right idea after all – although that doesn’t necessarily make them “good dog parents”.
Dog owners need to be the leader the same way parents do. Good parents set limits and teach their kids how to behave nicely, and that’s exactly what dogs need, too. When dogs don’t have good human parents, they get crazy and out of control and take over the house. It probably doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as the alpha or as the mom or dad as long as you raise your dog right.
And, because a dog never does grow up mentally, you have to keep on being a good parent and setting limits even after your dog is grown up physically.
One way or another, the human has to be in charge.
How Many Dogs Are Too Many?
I think research gives us possible biological reason why it’s a very good idea not to own any more than two dogs unless you know what you are doing. The dog behaviorist Patricia McConnell says, “People who have more than one dog are in a special club.. you know that two dogs are more than twice as much work as one, and that three dogs are as much work as you expected seven to be.”
Using the Blue-Ribbon Emotions to Create a Good Environment for Your Dog – Are Two Dogs Better Than One?
For animals to be happy, their social needs have to be met.
We know dogs need people because they evolved to live with people – but do dogs need other dogs, too? It’s obvious dogs like other dogs.
I worry about the fenced-in lives of dogs today. Family dogs aren’t free to come and go the way they used to. Dogs aren’t free anymore. I don’t think anyone knows what the effect of that has been. Human-directed aggression has increased: dog bites increased by 36 % between 1986 and 1994.
My question is: Are we seeing an unintended consequence of leash laws? By passing laws to make life safer for dogs, did we make it more dangerous for people?
That brings up the question of how much time a dog can be left alone and still have good emotional welfare. It seems likely to me that one dog can live happily never or almost never seeing or interacting with other dogs if its owner is around all the time. But dogs are too social to be happy staying alone for hours on end. Furniture chewing happens because of separation anxiety.
This is another bad effect of today’s leash laws and fenced yards. It’s almost as if dogs have become captive animals instead of companion animals, and the house or fenced yard has become like a really fancy zoo enclosure.
I think that if you have to leave the house all day long to go to a job, either you shouldn’t get a dog, or maybe you should get two dogs, preferably two dogs that know each other.
So, I strongly suggest that if you’re going to be away a lot, or can’t pay an hour’s worth of attention to your dog every day, you should consider getting two dogs or doggie daycare. A lot of people think having two dogs is more fun than having just one anyway.
Dog Socialization – Not Just For Puppies
The other big issue with the PANIC system is a dog’s ability to get along with people and other dogs. Patricia McConnell makes an excellent point on dog emotions: Socialization is not the same as enrichment. You need both.
Puppies need to be socialized between the ages of five and thirteen weeks to other dogs, cats, children and adults. That’s the sensitive period and if you wait until puppies are older, they’ll never be as well socialized as they could have been.
The one thing I do want to add, which the books don’t seem to cover, is that teenage dogs must have a second round of socialization. Dr. Karen Overall says dogs become sexually mature between six and nine months, but don’t mature socially until eighteen to thirty-six months. I think it’s a good idea to have your dog spend time with some adult dog role models during those months, especially if you dog is a male.
How To Train Your Dog To Tolerate Frustration
Dr. McConnell says the two best ways to train puppies to tolerate frustration are to teach them the “stay” and the “wait” commands. It’s especially good to teach dogs to “wait” for a couple of seconds before letting them go out the door. The important thing about the door wait is waiting. Once your dog has waited quietly for a second, it doesn’t matter who goes out the door first, you or your dog. The dog has been reinforced for showing impulse control and emotional restraint, and that’s all that matters.
It’s also a good idea to train puppies not to mind when you take food away. If you train a puppy to let you take food away, you’ve built in very high frustration tolerance.
Deep Pressure Is Calming
I’m interested in a new physical treatment, called an anxiety wrap, that was developed by a dog trainer named Susan Sharpe after reading about the squeeze machine I made. Using the same idea, Susan Sharpe created a kind of T-shirt for dogs that applies snug pressure across the dog’s body. She says it can help with all kinds of problem behaviors, including phobias, fear and aggression.
Another dog behavior specialist, Nancy Williams, has had good success wrapping the midsection of the dog with the wide elastic bandages that are used to wrap a horse’s legs.
Until we learn more, I think dog owners should assume that a lot of unexplained aggression in dogs has a basis in fear or anxiety, and they should take steps to relieve that painful emotion. Instead of focusing on dominance behaviors, which are not emotions, they should focus on two things:
- Identifying and treating the aggressive dog’s fear and/or anxiety
- Training the aggressive dog for emotional restraint and good manners
A Pushy Dog Isn’t A Bad Dog
The important thing to realize is that dominance isn’t the same thing as dominance aggression.
You have to go by the individual dog’s personality. A happy-go-lucky pushy dog isn’t a threat. A somber, growling pushy dog is. It’s the emotion motivating the behavior that counts.
Example: books telling people never to play tug of war with their dogs because playing tug of war encourages the dogs to think it’s OK for them to challenge you. That’s completely wrong. In Animals in Translation, I wrote about a study. The experimenter played tug of war with fourteen dogs, letting one group win almost all the games while the other group lost most of the games. ALL of the dogs were more obedient after playing tug-of-war, regardless of whether they won or lost. Beating a person at tug-of-war didn’t make the dogs more dominate.
What Dogs Need: PLAY And SEEKING
Dog fears and aggression can be hard to figure out sometimes, but dog joy isn’t.
In terms of the core emotions, dogs need:
- Social contact so their PANIC system doesn’t get activated
- Games and play with their owners to activate the SEEKING system
- Interesting things to do – especially long walks – that arouse their SEEKING system
Dogs especially need the PLAY system to be stimulated because they never grow up all the way. So, if you can afford it, you should buy plenty of toys for your dog, and you should rotate the toys the same way people rotate toys for their kids. Old toys are boring; new toys are fun.
You should also play with your dog every day.
Dogs probably have a high SEEKING need because they are descended from wolves. There is nothing dogs like more than a long walk, unless it’s getting loose outside the yard and taking off for a day on their own.
Since dogs don’t have many opportunities to roam free these days, it’s up to you to give your dog enough mental stimulation to keep his mind busy.
Patricia McConnell says dogs need at least an hour a day of attention from their owners and that’s just the average.
Teaching dogs new tricks is especially important for exercising their minds and activating the SEEKING emotion.
Dogs need people, play and lots of opportunities to explore and learn and they can’t provide these things for themselves.
That’s your job.