Podcasts

Episode 315 – Depression, Healing, and Balance

Another variation on the theme of physical or mental depression in  animals discussed in this podcast is the fear-freeze response. In its most energy-efficient form, the animal goes into a trance-like state during which the animal is literally oblivious to what’s going on. Not only don’t these animals move, mentally they aren’t there. When exhausted fighting game cocks go into this state, so complete is their withdrawal that they may be presumed dead and tossed in a pile with the other dead animals, only to emerge later. Multiple species of animals, including hummingbirds, assume a state called torpor that

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Episode 314 – Catching Flies with Horses

For those of you who would like to take a walk down memory lane or are unfamiliar with the song, “I Know An Old Lady” and want to know more about it,  here’s some background information, complete lyrics, and the much beloved version sung by Burl Ives  with animation supplied supplied thanks to the National Film Board of Canada. The more I thought about how the theme  of creating a bigger problem in an attempt to find the easiest way to solve a smaller one pops up in our relationships with animals, more came to mind. I bet you

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Episode 313 – Ditch the Sits

This picture of Frica (brown) and the most submissive pup in her first litter demonstrates the inherent role of the sit command.   This was taken one the first days I took the puppies outside and allowed them to wander around the yard. Frica was confident enough in her maternal teaching and skills that she assumed the more relaxed down position to monitor the other pups’ behavior. But this more timid one planted himself next to his mother and assumed a high-alert sentinel sit position instead. It was this behavior that caused me to agree with Frica that he

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Episode 312 – Cat and Human Perception

Last week I meandering primarily about canine versus human perception so it seemed only natural to look at this same situation as it relates to cats and us. Unfortunately because cats are so out-of-box behaviorally I found myself meandering into a corner. Why, in this particular area, was feline perception more closely aligned to ours than to our dogs’? After pondering the subject for several days, one conclusion I came to in some ways seems the logical: how their perception evolved may have nothing to do with us at all. As my eyes automatically wander toward Bamboo doing his

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Episode 311 – Fast- and Slo-Mo Perception

In keeping with the variable rate of perception theme of this podcast, it’s a little shorter than usual. I had trouble recording it because I kept trying to mentally envision what it meant to see reality at the faster canine rate as well as take into account all the other differences in canine vision. If you don’t recall what those are, here’s a  video demonstration of an accurate representation of canine visual perception(minus the processing rate difference discussed in this podcast) compared to cats and some other animals. Why the rate difference evolved continues to puzzle me because it

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Episode 310 – Learning to Fly

Here’s how the baby phoebes looked before their eyes opened: Because I had to use the flash to get the picture, once their eyes opened that ended the picture-taking because I didn’t want to startle them. As you listen to this podcast, pretend you’re the mother bird and think about what you would have done in situation described Pay attention to how easy or difficult it was for you to make your choice. If you’re like me and you make the same choice the mother bird did, you’ll realize that it’s not an easy choice to make at all! 

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Episode 309 – Dog-Tired and Cat-Frazzled

When I edited this podcast I realized that I referred to dogs instead of dogs and cats in my examples. In retrospect, that might explain why the cat made it so clear that he wanted out when I was recording this.  In may admittedly lame defense,  probably didn’t mention cats because people more commonly complain about their dogs waking them up. This might  be because cat folks are embarrassed to admit that their cats displayed such behavior, but I doubt it.  In my experience, cat people often seem a lot more willing to disclose their cats’ troublesome behaviors than

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Episode 308 – Firefly Facts

Among my most favorite scientists and engineers are those who explore how animals solve certain problems as valuable sources of information regarding the solution to  similar problems in the human world. That science now looks to the animal kingdom for not only solutions, but also energy-efficient adjustments to improve existing human technology pleases me greatly. This podcast considers one such contribution by the lowly firefly. Another firefly factoid is related to the bioluminescent bacteria that give them their light which caused me to meander a bit about hatching chicks. If similar synchronization occurred in human activity, such as in

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Episode 307 – Too Much of a Good Thing

Imagine you took your dog to the veterinary clinic and the veterinarian used treatments and techniques based on studies conducted in the 1940s and 50s. Preventives and treatments now available weren’t offered to you. Most of us would quickly seek out a new veterinarian! But perhaps because our society always has placed a higher value on physical than mental health, we accept behavioral approaches based on studies conducted in that same era as gospel. Oh sure, we switched the emphasis from punishment to reward and added a few devices and drugs to the process. But other than that, it

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Episode 306 -Mirrors, Windows, and the Human-Animal Bond

I’m the first to admit that how open I or my animals are to recognizing  the full potential of the bond varies from day to day. Relative to capturing that connection photographically, I realized that for me at least that’s difficult for several reasons. One is because my focus on the kind of picture I want to get often interferes with such a connection. My greatest teaching moment occurred quite a while back when I was trying to put together a holiday PowerPoint presentation for my grandkids and others I thought might appreciate it. Like a typical doting grandmother,

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