Podcasts

Episode 198 – The Seekers

Imagine the following scenarios and pay attention to how you feel. One: You’ve just returned home famished after a difficult but productive day. Your heart is set on eating the rest of the fabulous lasagna your mom made especially for you. You make a beeline for the kitchen and the fridge. Two: You’ve arranged to meet a special friend you haven’t seen for years at a gathering. Your eyes sweep the group in an attempt to locate that person. This podcast is about researcher Jaak Panksepp’s work with emotions and specifically one he calls seeking. Never thought of seeking

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Episode 197 – Downward, Upward, and Onward

This podcast is about one of those activities that we and our animals routinely engage in without giving it any thought. Even though I only describe the basic display, there are variations that I’m sure you’ll notice in yourself as well as  other human and nonhuman members of your family. What’s especially intriguing about this particular display is that, in spite of all its benefits, it ranks among those more scandalous behaviors, the public expression of which  has been stigmatized in “civilized” society. I guess that means that in addition to gaining the physical and mental benefits of doing

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Episode 196 – It’s About Time

For comparison, below are two pictures of the same area taken 24 years apart. Granted the first was taken in August during a drought and the second in May. Nor do I think any seasoned gardener or farmer would doubt that there’s been a change in climate during that interval either. Even so, when I saw that barren slope to the right of the car in the first picture and compared it that same slope now, it was impossible not to recall my plan to cover that area with a carpet of wildflowers. Nor can I ever forget what

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Episode 195 – Giving Up Bum Ideas

I could just as easily have called this podcast Letting It All Hang Out because it’s about some beliefs I’ve maintained over the years about animal behavior and the bond that turned out to be flat out wrong. At least for me.  I’m not sure what relieves me more. That I was able to give up these bum ideas? Or that admitting I got it wrong isn’t that big a deal? I like to say I did this as soon as I discovered that the belief wasn’t working. But that wasn’t the case. Granted once I let it go,

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Episode 194 – Thinning the Herd

When I record and edit these podcasts, I often find myself fantasizing about what will happen in the future regarding this particular subject. When I thought about the changes being made, albeit sometimes grudgingly, in UK show rules to ensure the health of purebred dogs compared to what’s going on in the US, the following scenario popped into my head. In this fantasy, the AKC waits until the UK Kennel Club makes all the difficult choices such as eliminating physical features from show standards that may create problems for the animals and  permitting breeders to breed animals from different

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Episode 193 – When On Isn’t Really On

Near the top of my ever growing list of advantages of getting older is how much easier it is to admit I’m wrong. For those of you who have yet to see this quality in me, this podcast should convince you. Granted I probably don’t like being wrong any more than anyone else, but in a field like behavior it happens a lot for multiple reasons. One is because, while our knowledge of training has bubbled along nicely, our knowledge of domestic animal behavior has lagged. My guess is that this results from a semantic mix-up. In this country

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Episode 192 – Minding My Pees and Qs

Some people can go on and on about wine or cheese whereas I find cat pee an fascinating subject. No kidding. I returned home after a seminar on various urinary tract conditions in cats (and a few dogs) and was so wound up with new thoughts and ideas that they kept me awake that night. As far as I’m concerned, urine is the most energy-efficient calling card an animal possesses. Because of that, it doesn’t surprise me that animals, and especially more solitary animals like cats, experience urinary tract problems when they feel physically or mentally insecure in their

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Episode 191 – Parental Discretion Advised

This podcast reflects some thoughts about parents, kids, and animals that have been wandering around in my brain in one form or another for years. In a way, that makes sense because so many companion animals belong to folks who have kids. What intrigued me though was the usual: how changes in ourselves and our society affect our perception of the role of companion animals play or should play in our own or our children’s lives.

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Episode 190 – When Seeing Isn’t Believing

Fortunately, this second of the outdoor recordings lacks the worst of the snaps, crackles and pops that showed up in the first one. Perhaps the wildlife figured out what I was doing and decided to cut this poor human some slack. 🙂 Relative to animals, we humans typically have taken the “If it looks like a duck” approach to animal identification. As we’ve become ever more remote from nature, for more of us it’s become a case of if looks like how we think a duck should look, that’s reason enough to call it a duck. A good example

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Episode 189 – Little Changes, Big Rewards

Because the weather was so unseasonably hot and beautiful, I decided to record this podcast outdoors. The good news is that technically the result is a good example of habituation. The not so good news is that during part of this you’ll hear the drone of a small plane heading for the airport about 35 miles north of me, a sound so familiar to me that I didn’t hear it at all when I recorded this. You also might notice more Rice Krispies effects, those audio snaps, crackles, and pops caused by shifts in position or whatever. Like the drone

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