Curious about Animal Behavior?

Recently, NEFHS Board Member and Red Rover Field Services and Community Programs Manager, Devon Krusko, had the opportunity to attend the Canine Science Symposium held in San Francisco, California. As a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), she was thrilled to attend! As you may be able to tell by the name, this conference is a unique opportunity to learn about canine (and feline!) science from, you guessed it, scientists!

Devon particularly enjoyed a session about kitties. Why dowe use the phrase “It’s like herding cats”? Well, as the attendees agreed, because cats are often thought of as independent, stubborn, difficult to train, etc. However, the data shows the opposite! Cats can be trained, and they enjoy it! In fact, the kitten training classes at Oregon State University are consistently full. Cats notice when their owner’s leave, actively seek to reunite, and show attachment.

Would you say your dog prefers stuffed toys? If so, you’re in line with the data! In a study done with shelter pups, the dogs spent 25% more of their time on stuffed toys, and preferred them even more so if they were scented with lavender or rabbit – and, spoiler alert, they didn’t prefer one or the other. In fact, if non-preferred toys, like a Nylabone or a rubber ball, were simply scented, the dogs actively engaged with them. This is great info to increase enrichment for dogs that can’t have stuffed toys for a variety of reasons. Makes sense that scents matter!
Ever felt confused about training styles and interactions with your dog? Data shows that doggos with a secure attachment style will outperform even the most highly trained dogs with insecure attachments. The science tells us that it’s important to understand and meet our dog’s needs, and also help them problem solve and offer guidance. This research shows that the human-animal bond with our pups is functionally and emotionally similar to that of a human parent and their child. So, yes, it’s okay if your animals sleep in your bed (if that’s what you want!).

Leave a Reply