Month: January 2017

K9 Drug Detection: A Manual for Training and Operations

K9 Drug Detection: A Manual for Training and Operations by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc., ISBN: 978-1-55059-681-6, $44.95, 296 pgs.

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This is another great book by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak that consists of 8 chapters with four appendices, a bibliography, notes and an index. The Appendices list the laws concerning drugs in Canada and the USA.

Chapter:

  1. Selecting the Drug-Detector Dog and Handler
  2. Basics of Drug-Detection Training
  3. Accidental Drug Uptake: First Aide for Your Dog
  4. Reading Your Dog
  5. Influence of Air Currents in Search Work
  6. Planning a Search Action
  7. General Information on Drugs, Drug Laws and Penalties
  8. The Different Drugs
  9. Conclusion

There are a lot of training tips covered in the book that apply to other disciplines. For example, the authors point out that yelling at your dog sounds like punishment to the dog.

They cover handler requirements as well as dogs. For example, they explain that the handler must learn to trust their dog since they depend on the dog to find the scent. This is true for all working dog situations. They explain that the drug dog must be able to work independently yet also be obedient. Again, this is true for all working dog situations. It is called intelligent disobedience since the dog must alert or lead the handler to the scent source even if the handler does not think the source is located where the dog indicates.

The authors give an excellent description of how the wind and buildings affect scent by explaining outdoor wind currents and indoor air currents. They give extensive details about how to search a building and where to look. They also cover other types of searches such as vehicles, RV’s, packages, luggage, airplanes, boats, and the list goes on. All of this applies to SAR work as well.

They cover training methods and explain the pros and cons of controlled searches and blind searches. They also cover situations where there are multiple scents involved. Like any good scent book they explain how the dog’s nose detects scent.

The dog training part of the book is excellent as well as their description of innate, acquired and learned behaviors. They explain how the handler must recognize each and use them in training.

Over all this is an excellent book that can help anyone who wants to do any type of scent work with their dog. It is also a good refresher for those who already use drug dogs.

Alaska, The First State to Treat Pets Like Children in Divorce Situations

Divorce is traumatic in of itself. Settling who gets what, custody of the children and the financial aspect is difficult and often causes a lot of stress for people. In the past, pets were considered property and not given much thought.

In a first ever, Alaska has passed a law that now considers pets more like children. The law allows judges to take into consideration the well-being of the pet and even to rule that couples can have joint custody of the pet.

While this is a good law, and long overdue, it will pose some difficult problems when determining what is best for the pet. It will have to take into account the pet’s physical and mental health as well as the affect it will have on the family who is getting the divorce. It remains to be seen how this will all play out. But there is no question that it is a step in the right direction.

http://wapo.st/2jNXrka

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How Smart Are Birds? Pretty Smart!

While the structure of a bird’s brain is different from that of a mammal, some birds appear to be as smart as apes. So far research has shown that some birds have diverse cognitive skills, are capable of thinking logically, recognize themselves in a mirror and can show empathy. Some birds have also used objects as tools.

Many bird owners have made this claim for years, but now research conducted by Onur Güntürkün from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Prof Dr. Thomas Bugnyar at the University of Vienna have illustrated that birds are much smarter than previous theories.

I experienced this with my Parrotlet when I taught him to pick up paper clips and put them in a box. When he learned that he would get a treat for putting the clip in the box, he would pick up a clip from the box and slam it down into the box, instead of getting one outside of the box, then look at me as if to say, “You didn’t say which clip I had to put in the box.” Birds are such fun!

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www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160303084615.htm

 

 

A New Study Shows that People “Baby Talk” To Their Dogs

 

Dr. Nicolas Mathevon from Hunter College (CUNY) conducted an international study showing that people talk to their dogs, both puppies and adult dogs, the same way they talk to human babies. They use higher tones and speak slower. Interestingly people tend to talk this way to elderly people and people who do not speak their native language.

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What the team noted is that puppies do respond to this type of speech whereas adult dogs do not. It seems as though people talk this way when they think the animal or person they are talking to does not understand or has difficulty understanding what is being said.

It would be interesting to research this further to see if people talk this way to other animals such as birds and cats. It could be fun for my readers to watch people and see if you notice that they do this or even if you do it yourself.

Read the full article at: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170111151828.htm

Are Chickens Really “Dumb Clucks?” New research says No.

Recent tests have shown that chickens have individual personalities, can function in a group, can reason by deduction and understand their place in the flock.  Not only that, but chickens have a sense of numbers and self-awareness.

It turns out that chicken communication is also much more complex than previously thought, including visual and auditory forms of communication. They are able to make decisions based on what they determine is best for themselves.

The study also showed that chickens experience both negative and positive emotions. Mother hens display maternal feelings for their chicks and influence how the chick behaves.

How interesting chickens are. Many people keep chickens for pets so this study should be of special interest to them. Chickens have been used for years to hone clicker skills for dog trainers and potential dog trainers.

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My son Tom and my araucana chickens (many years ago)

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170103091955.htm