Hot off the Presses: Decoding Your Dog

January 14th, 2014  |  Published in Announcements

Decoding Your Dog CoverThe new book Decoding Your Dog from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists will help owners better understand their dogs and  overcome common behavior problems. Each chapter is written by a veterinarian who specializes in treating behaviors problems.

Dr Katherine Houpt contributed chapter 3, “Creating a Mensa Dog, What Learning Really Is, and how Dogs Learn,” which covers how to extinguish (get rid of) bad behaviors, how to entertain a convalescent Doberman, and why wolves aren’t as smart as they think.

“A must buy for the caring dog owner. Two paws up!” – Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman

Soul of All Living Creatures

August 2nd, 2013  |  Published in Announcements

bookjacketThe Soul of All Living Creatures by Vint Virga DVM (Random House) is a very sweet book. Dr Virga is a behavior specialist, like me, and he describes the animals and their owners who he has helped. His kindness and empathy for all animals from a leopard to a mouse shine through.  If you love animals you will love this book.

Veterinary Behavior Symposium in Chicago

May 31st, 2013  |  Published in Announcements

Please join the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior for The Veterinary Behavior Symposium; an all day research based paper session on applied animal behavior. The meeting is on July 19, 2013 prior to the AVMA Annual Convention in Chicago Illinois.  Registration information can be found at www.dacvb.org

Dog Stories

November 4th, 2012  |  Published in Uncategorized

If you would like to read stories about the intellectual accomplishments of dogs, these letters from owners to the British magazine Spectator are wonderful. Dogs that can trick other dogs, dogs that understand the Pythagorean theory, and dogs that know the value of money, etc. etc. are featured. Below is an example:

Topsy had a favourite resting-place in an easy-chair, and was very often deprived of it by a dog which came as visitor to the house. Topsy did not approve of this and her attempts to regain her seat were met with growls and bites. This justified an act of eviction, and the busy little brain decided on a plan. The next day, as usual, the intruder established himself in the chair, which was close to the open door. Topsy looked on for a moment, and then flew savagely out of doors, barking at a supposed enemy. Out ran the other dog to see what was up, and back came Topsy to take possession of her coveted seat. The other dog came slowly back, and curled himself up in a far-off corner.

Want to Help a Donkey in Need?

August 19th, 2012  |  Published in Announcements

Here is an adventure for the sake of donkeys in Africa. SPANA (Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) operates charity hospitals for sick or injured donkeys and I was fortunate enough to visit one in Moracco. Dr Caroline Hahn, a veterinarian and former student of mine writes:

Starting with a send-off by the incredible explorer Ranulph Fiennes at Buckingham palace I am joining two other bikers and two support vehicles for 18 days to negotiate over 4500km through 9 countries to Morocco, giving 78 talks for charity!

The group we are supporting is SPANA, which provides veterinary care for equids in the third world, and were it not that I really believe that this charity deserves my support I would not be embarking on this crazy trip. I would be very grateful if you could see fit to give us a small donation , it all adds up.

Details for making a donation (by text if you prefer) are on the horsepower site are on www.horsepower2012.com, and as of Thursday you ‘should’ be able to follow us live on ‘The Route’ tab – do have a look, it would be nice to know that somewhere in the ether I have friends who are watching! FYI, the Scotsman newspaper did a short blurb on me last week and for those of you living in Scotland, on Wednesday at 6 pm STV will broadcast and interview with me and show a sequence of us leaving the palace for the Chunnel.

Patient at SPANA in Marrakesh Morocco

 

Gaylord Herald Times Interview

October 24th, 2010  |  Published in What's New in Behavior

Dr. Katherine Houpt was interviewed by Lorene Parshall of the Gaylord Herald Times in the article “Animal behaviorist doesn’t horse around“.

One correction: although Dr. Houpt worked at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine for decades, she received her veterinary degree and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Announcing Behavior Consultations at Cherry Bend Animal Hospital

August 20th, 2010  |  Published in Announcements

Starting in  August  2010, Dr. Houpt will be seeing behavior cases at the Cherry Bend Animal Hospital, 10387 Cherry Bend Road, Traverse City.

Do big cats like catnip?

August 3rd, 2010  |  Published in What's New in Behavior

You catch more Horses with Honey

June 19th, 2010  |  Published in What's New in Behavior  |  1 Comment

Most horse training is negative reinforcement. You kick the horse until it moves forward. You pull on the reins until it stops. Once the horse has learned that the kicking will stop when he moves forward much more subtle cues such as a Walk On’ or just a squeeze of the legs can be substitutes. Positive reinforcement-giving a treat when the animal performs a task is very popular among dog trainers, but not horse trainers. A recent paper found that yearling horses given grain after they stood still learned to stay more quickly, remembered longer and were more friendly to humans than ones taught with no reward.

Positive interactions lead to lasting positive memories in horses,Equus caballus. Carol Sankey, Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, Hélène Leroya, Séverine Henry, Martine Hausberger Animal Behaviour 79 (2010) 869–875

Handedness in Dogs

March 25th, 2010  |  Published in What's New in Behavior  |  1 Comment

Dogs-like people-are handed, that is they prefer to use one paw or the other. You can test your dog to see if he or she is right pawed or left pawed. Observe the paw used to overturn a can under which a treat has been hidden or which paw he uses to hold a toy. Also see which paw is used when the dog is told to “Shake“ or “Give paw”.

Female dogs usually have a greater preference for using their right paw on all tasks. Males dogs are more apt to use their left paw. Ambidextrous dogs sometimes have behavior problems. Let me know which paw your dog prefers to use.