Podcasts

Episode 298 – Seasonal Sound Sensitivity

Another thought struck me when I was editing this is whether the same phenomenon described in this podcast makes it so much easier at this time of year for some people to assume that young of multiple wild and domestic species need human care.

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Episode 297 – Bee Smart, Bee Bright

What can I say? I’m one of those people who consider bees fascinating creatures. Because of this, I took it very personally when multiple factors, some of which were of human origin, resulted in the disappearance of the honey bees from my gardens. But when I read about the research conducted by Aurore Avargues-Weber and Martin Giunfar, the subject of this week’s podcast, I felt much better.

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Episode 296 – A New Dog Quiz

This podcast describes a study, the results of which may strike some of you as so obvious that you wonder why it needed to be done, and hit others (like me) who will be surprised. But regardless what you may think about dogs possessing this particular recognition skill, it seems to me that who or what dogs can recognize in what form depends on what they learn from those around them, just like kids. I suspect that both of my dogs would flunk this particular test because dog breed names usually don’t occur in my conversation with them. It’s

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Episode 295 – Tango for Two

No one needs to worry about me expanding my treatment protocol to include tango lessons. However, I don’t rule out its benefit for those who are intrigued by the dance or any dance requiring the partners to learn to read each other’s body language and appreciate each other’s perspective who can find an instructor as capable as my client’s. But for those who lack patience for this, there’s nothing quite like working with a horse, cow, or other animal big enough to kill you to learn appreciate human-animal interactions from the animal’s perspective. Such creatures have made instant believers

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Episode 294 – The Great Awakening

The brief interludes of humming and chirping soundtrack you’ll hear with this podcast  are the constant sound of of the river in the valley below the house and the seasonal brook flowing across the back yard, all punctuated by birdsong. And below are pictures of the intrepid mini-crocuses. The pale lavender ones were the first to show themselves beneath the snow in their usual location. But the yellow ones came as a complete surprise as few days later. Had I not slipped when I jumped off the stone wall near the woodpile, landed on my behind in a mound

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Episode 293 – Color-Coded Confusion

For supporters of the Yellow Dog Program who think that someone ought to tie a yellow ribbon around my neck to warn other people to stay away from me, alas that could backfire for the same reason it could backfire in dogs. That said, I’m the first to admit that my take on this easily could be biased by my work. I’m not a big fan of the Rub-Their-Noses-In-It approach to training that advocates putting dogs in situations that cause them behavioral pain to teach them to accept it for our own convenience. As a veterinarian, I’m also not

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Episode 292 – Shadows of Past Lives

When I was editing this podcast, I realized it also includes one disservice and a behavioral phenomenon of interest (I hope) that may occur in domestic animals which I failed to mention when I recorded it. The disservice was to my dogs for focusing primarily on the cat’s ancient repertoire when their own “divide and confuse” strategy is pretty ancient too. The behavioral phenomenon I failed to point out is how the dogs’ strategy—moving to opposite sides of the perceived threat—was a display that also occurred in the cat’s behavioral repertoire. In wild canine and feline species living in

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Episode 291 – Do As I Say

Surely every culture has a saying comparable to “Do as I say, not as I do.” And most likely such sayings persist over generations because the desire to tell others what to do while we do as we please remains a common human short-coming. But while we may worry most about our peers or, gasp!, superiors pointing out this inconsistency and thus may be more mindful about displaying such behavior in their presence, somehow we convince ourselves we can fool kids and animals. And sometimes we may succeed. But other times when we think we’re fooling them, they wind

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Episode 290 – The Daily Special

In retrospect I think my parents had a built-in system that prevented them or I thinking that my various talents conferred maturity: siblings. Whatever sense of entitlement my sibs didn’t (sometimes literally) beat out of me, spending 4 years in vet school with others who were as if not more “special” than I took a good chunk out of the remainder. Toss in finding myself looking at the testicles of a thoroughbred stallion rearing in the confined space between me and the locked stall door… Well, let’s just say that in that moment my grades and musical talent meant

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Episode 289 – Guilt-Driven Parental Strategies

Moving on with our overview of crippling parental strategies imposed on kids that may create problems for our animals, this podcast looks at guilt. I’ve never decided to my satisfaction whether owner guilt is the result of its position as the driving force in the marketing of many pet-related products and services or the opposite. That is, is guilt such an obvious motivator in so many human-companion animal relationships that clever marketing types immediately recognized how capitalizing on this emotion could induce us to spend more money on our pets? Whatever the answer, there’s no denying what a potent

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