(Edit: 5:35 pm, MDT: Here's the audio link. Thirty-seven minutes seldom passed quicker.)
I've cribbed the first grafs of the article. This is fascinating stuff. Dogs are NOT wolves. Cats and dogs can "count" to relatively small amounts/numbers.
What's the best advice to give man about respecting man's best friend?
Animal behaviorist John Bradshaw says it's realizing that dogs are neither wolves nor furry humans and that dog owners have certain responsibilities to make sure their dogs are psychologically healthy.
Bradshaw, who has spent much of his career debunking bad advice given to dog owners, is the author of a new behavior guidebook for dog owners, called Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet. The book details what pet owners should expect from their dogs and what their dogs should expect in return from their owners.
How To Reprimand Your Dog
One of the most common problems owners face, says Bradshaw, is knowing what to do when a dog misbehaves. For example, many owners might be inclined to immediately physically reprimand a dog for jumping up on visitors. But Bradshaw says that's the wrong way to teach your pet how to behave because dogs see any form of attention — even negative attention — as a reward. Instead, he says, owners should immediately ignore their pet completely.
"Most dogs require their owners' attention [and] they want their owners' attention," he says. "They want people's attention in general. And withdrawing that is a very powerful signal to the dog."
Bradshaw recommends folding your arms, looking away and pretending your dog isn't in the same room. Your change in body language will be apparent to your pet.
"Then you'll find that quite quickly the dog begins to realize that [their bad behavior] is not working," he says. "You can then use a distraction technique to get the dog to do something else, like sit or lie down and then it will get the idea that this is what it's supposed to do when visitors come to visit."
Bradshaw says that dogs naturally want to please and play with people, especially the people who love them.
"[When a puppy's eye's open they have] a very strong ability to learn about people and ... this behavior persists throughout life," he says. "And surprisingly, most dogs, given the choice, will actually prefer human company to other dog company."
Studies indicate that dogs will naturally gravitate towards humans, though Bradshaw says how that idea gets into a dog's developing brain is still somewhat of a mystery.
"But they have an exaggerated tendency to learn from anything that people do right from the minute they're capable of doing it," he says. "They're particularly sensitive to human body language — the direction we look in, what our whole body language is telling them, pointing gestures. They are much more sensitive to things like that than almost any other species on the planet."
Creating Expectations For Dogs And Owners