Dr. Patrica McConnell and Dr. Stanley Coren are distinguished dog experts and award winning writers who share their lifelong love of and knowledge about canines in their many published works. I first ran across Dr. McConnell in the late 1990s while channel surfing; a program on Animal Planet called “PetLine” grabbed my attention. McConnell was co-hosting the show, which dealt with animal behavior. Some of you may be familiar with her from a radio show she co-hosted for fourteen years called “Calling All Pets.” Dr. Coren is someone I came across online several years ago while researching aggressive dog behavior.
Dr. Patricia McConnell is an expert on human/animal relationships. She earned a PhD in zoology in 1988 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and has been teaching a popular course since 1991 called “The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships” at her alma mater as an adjunct professor. McConnell is a certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB). She gives lectures and conducts seminars throughout the world, has been a dog trainer since 1988 working with canines that have serious behavioral issues, is an expert on canine and feline behavior, and author of fourteen books about animal behavior (ethology).
Her first published book in 2002, “The Other End of the Leash,” is read worldwide and published in 14 different languages. She also finds time to appear regularly on several radio shows and an occasional TV appearance. She writes articles for major magazines and participates in fundraisers to benefit animal shelters – most recently in the Midwest and Texas.
The other day I ran across a research article that I completely disagree with and I want to get your opinion. The topic was emotions, and it explored the differences between what scientists consider primary and secondary emotions in animals. Feelings like anger, disgust, fear, joy and surprise are often called primary emotions. These are emotions that are collectively experienced; they’re universal. Feelings like envy, guilt, jealousy and shame are considered secondary emotions and reserved for those with higher cognitive abilities.
Secondary emotions are believed to involve a more intricate reasoning process. In terms of jealously, for example, the subject has to display complex rational thinking in order to experience it; he has to recognize and understand what the other subject is receiving and measure it against what he is receiving.
According to this article, secondary emotions are experienced by some animals, namely primates, but these emotions are not experienced by dogs. The rationale for that conclusion is that some behavioral scientists don’t think dogs possess a developed level of cognition or self-awareness. Therefore, they conclude that dogs cannot experience secondary emotions.
What?! I beg to differ. As someone who has spent her entire adult life in a multiple dog household, I can tell you that dogs get jealous. Granted, some dogs display their secondary emotions more animatedly than others, but I honestly believe that dogs feel secondary emotions.
Playtime is an important part of caring for and loving your canine family member. Dogs are pack animals, and they enjoy time spent with us and other dogs. Playtime provides benefits for your dog’s physical and mental health as well. Here are 5 ways that playtime will enrich your dog’s life.
One of the benefits of play is that it provides individualized bonding time with your dog. Some dogs enjoy playtime so much that they will bring a favorite toy to their human companion when they want to play, or stand by the place where you store their favorite toys to drop a not-so-subtle hint that they want to play. It is their way of communicating and saying, “Please come play with me now!” Playtime can become a favorite part of a dog’s day. If you have more than one dog in your home, playtime is a good way for them to bond with each other as well.
Every dog needs exercise, whether it is walking, running, or even specific types of playtime activities such as chasing balls or bubbles, playing tug of war, digging for hidden toys or enjoying a rousing game of hide and seek. Exercise is good for physical well-being and maintaining musculature and healthy joints. Your dog burns off calories as well with all the physical activity. Good playtime gives them a healthy appetite for their favorite CANIDAE grain free PURE dog food when meal time arrives.
The sniffing ability of the average canine is 1000 times more powerful than humans, and they can locate their owner in a sea of other people. Some smells we encounter can cause an emotional reaction by stirring up past memories. Many everyday odors are registered unconsciously in the mind and we barely notice them. Dog owners may scoff, but one study showed that the smell of your dog is imprinted in your mind and that you do have the ability to recognize your pet by scent alone!
Different odors surround us every day in the home and workplace, but most of them are so familiar we don’t even think about them. We are more likely to notice an unfamiliar scent that catches our attention. There have been a handful of studies done on humans to determine if we have the ability to recognize people close to us based on smell alone. It turns out that mothers can accurately recognize the smell of their babies. Both mothers and fathers can identify the scent of their children, and women can accurately categorize strangers into different age groups based only on the individual’s scent.
In a study done by psychologists at Queens University in Ireland, 26 dog owners were recruited to participate in research to see if they would be able to identify their own dogs by scent alone. Each owner was given a flannel blanket and instructed to remove all other bedding in their dog’s bed and use only the flannel blanket for three consecutive nights. Owners were also instructed to have their dog sleep in a different room from theirs.
Because dogs are social animals, it’s not surprising how connected they are with the people they love. Most dogs are more than willing to protect us from any foe, and we rely on their extraordinary sense of smell and hearing in many ways. However, there are some amazing things dogs can sense about us. Just by paying attention, our dogs can figure out what’s on our mind.
Dogs Can Sense Sadness
Research on how dogs interpret our moods suggests that our canine friends may be capable of feeling empathy in their own unique way when it comes to knowing when you’re feeling sad. In a recent study, scientists found that dogs are more apt to approach someone crying in an effort to comfort them regardless of whether it was someone they knew or a stranger. Humming and talking didn’t garner the same behavior from the dogs in the study. They would try to console the crying person by licking their hands or face, and some took toys to the person to try and cheer them up.
Dogs Can Sense Anger
The “guilty look” on a dog’s face when he’s caught misbehaving isn’t what it seems. He’s just reacting to your angry words and body language. To help defuse a situation and calm you down, the guilty look is his way of saying “I don’t know why you’re upset, but I’m being submissive to help you feel better.” Dogs aren’t capable of feeling guilt, which is why it’s wrong to punish them for doing something they see as natural behavior.
One of our rescue dogs is skittish and fearful. We are always on the lookout for ways to help this dog relax and take it easy. We’ve done all kinds of behavioral work and tried multiple training techniques. The good news is that he seems to making progress. Even so, there is plenty of work that still needs to be done.
The other evening after he finished eating his favorite grain free dog food – CANIDAE PURE Elements with Lamb – he was lying on the sofa next to me and I began rubbing his ears. He snuggled closer and I began to feel all of the tension slowly leaving his body; it was if someone had stuck a tiny pin in a ball and the air was seeping out gradually. I know all the tricks for putting our cat into this state of relaxed euphoria, but I’d never been able to get this dog to fully let go until that moment. With a big grin on his goofy, loveable face, he fell into a happy trance.
It turns out that rubbing a dog’s ears is a natural sedative, almost like a tranquilizer.
The ears of a dog are one of three nerve centers on his body. The other nerve centers are between his toes and the center of his belly; all of these places are extremely sensitive to the touch. The benefit of knowing where these nerve centers are is that you know where to rub your dog to instigate relaxation. And it’s more than simple relaxation. When you stroke your dog’s ears, the sensation he feels goes further than just the ears themselves. The intense pleasure he feels extends deep into his body.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.