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Description: What we call something actually matters a lot, because it is our first exposure to how we are going to think about any issue. Being aware of the influence of labels is essential, because we are then far more likely to investigate the meaning behind the label. However, most people who want help for their dogs are busy, worried, scared and bothered by what they cannot do, do not know or may not understand. For them, an in-depth analysis of a label is a luxury. And, if they do not know that they really need to ask what the label means, their dog may be at risk. This is the history of the labels that have been attached to dog training, especially that involving aversive practices and punishment. And this is the current situation with the latest trendy label: “balanced training,” a label that is the response from the community committed to aversive interventions to change behavior to “positive training.” It is a clever label because not only does it distract from the methods, it contains a value judgment implying that those who disagree or use other methods are “unbalanced.” Only by measuring the effects of the intervention at the behavioral, physiological and neurochemical levels can we honestly compare methods, limitations and concerns. There are now data on pain, anxiety and effects for mental health for a number of species. This presentation will focus on how we use these data and approaches to develop a culture that uses only techniques that support – and not imbalance – a dog’s mental health. Learning Objectives: A review of the types of outcome data that have been collected for different training techniques. A review of the regions of the brain involved in different types of learning. A review of how we learn at the molecular level. A comparison of regional brain activity, systemic physiology and effects on molecular learning of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and pain compared to that which occurs when these are absent and information is provided that allows goals to be accomplished.
Speaker(s):Dr. Karen Overall