Habituation of the threatening response in cats and kittens

Short Synopsis: Researchers put kittens and cats in cages and then walked a docile dog past them. They did this several times and measured how the kittens/cats responded over time to see if their responses got more or less dramatic (ie, did they get used to the dog or did they get more scared?) From the abstract: “Six out of 7 …

Let me sniff! Nosework induces positive judgment bias in pet dogs

Short Synopsis: The researchers compared how dog reacted to a new object after practicing nosework versus heelwork for two weeks. If the dogs were quicker to approach the new object, they were deemed “optimistic.” The dogs who practiced nosework were quicker to approach the new object than before the two-week nosework training period. Practicing heelwork didn’t get these results, so there’s …

Let Me Sniff! Nosework induces positive judgement bias in pet dogs

Short Synopsis: The study examines whether giving dogs regular time for “nosework” leads to an improved response when presented with a novel object. The regular nosework resulted in dogs having a more positive outlook; essentially the dogs became more optimistic. The dogs that had regularly practiced nosework had reduced hesitation when approaching an unfamiliar or new object. These results provide …

Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research

Short Synopsis: “Animal trainers often assume clicker training is a “science-based” way to train animals. But, the few studies that have compared clicker training to a control have not provided evidence that adding a clicker is beneficial to training. This may be because research on clicker training has studied only one of several potential functions of the clicker stimulus that have …

The effects of using aversive training methods in dogs—A review

Short Synopsis: “The results show that using aversive training methods (e.g., positive punishment and negative reinforcement) can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs. In addition, although positive punishment can be effective, there is no evidence that it is more effective than positive reinforcement–based training. In fact, there is some evidence that the opposite is true.” – quote from …

Do aversive-based training methods actually compromise dog welfare?: A literature review

Short Synopsis: Aversive-based methods are correlated with indicators of compromised welfare in dogs. The reviewed studies have a number of limitations. Further studies are needed to draw strong conclusions on the topic. Authors: Joana Guilherme Fernandes, Anna S.Olsson, Ana Catarina Vieira de Castro Publication: Applied Animal Behaviour Science Volume 196, Pages 1-12 Publication Date: November 2017 Applies To: training methodology Sample Size: literature …

Barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods

Short Synopsis: Lack of knowledge of the welfare risks, the poor quality of much information available to dog owners (should they seek it out), lack of regulation of dog trainers, and theoretical and practical knowledge of dog training will all affect people’s choice of method. Authors: Zazie Todd Publication: Journal of Veterinary Behavior Volume 25, Pages 28-34 Publication Date: June 2018 Applies To: …

Can clicker training facilitate conditioning in dogs?

Short Synopsis: Clicker training and vocal markers were no more effective than food alone in teaching dogs to life a bread box handle Authors:Cinzia Chiandetti, Silvia Avellaa, Erica Fongaroa, Francesco Cerri Publication:  Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 184, Pages 109-116 Publication Date: November 2016 Applies To: Clicker training, vocal markers Sample Size: 51 dogs Limitations/Drawbacks: Studied a single, relatively simple behavior – wonder if results …

The relationship between number of training sessions per week and learning in dogs

Short Synopsis:Dogs trained 5x/week needed MORE training sessions to learn a skill than dogs trained 1x/week. Authors: Iben Meyer, Jan Ladewig Publication: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 111, Issues 3–4, Pages 311-320 Publication Date: June 2008 Applies To: Training sessions Sample Size: 18 dogs Limitations/Drawbacks: Only 9 dogs per group, lab dogs. Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0168159107001943

Effects of 2 training methods on stress-related behaviors of the dog (Canis familiaris) and on the dog–owner relationship

Short Synopsis: Dogs trained with positive reinforcement were more attentive to owners, while dogs trained with negative reinforcement displayed lowered body postures and stress signals. The study compared dogs trained at two different obedience schools in a novel environment. Authors: Stéphanie Deldalle and Florence Gaunet Publication: Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Volume 9, Issue 2, March–April 2014, Pages 58-65 Publication Date: March/April 2014 …