An overview of the dog–human dyad and ethograms within it

Journal of Veterinary Behavior Clinical Applications and Research (Impact Factor: 1.22). 03/2012; 2012(7):103-117. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2011.06.001

ABSTRACT This article reviews the literature on the complex and variable nature of the dog–human dyad and describes the influence of terms such as ''dominance'' on attitudes that humans have toward dogs. It highlights a legacy of tension between ethology and psychology and notes that some practitioners have skills with dogs that elude the best learning theorists. Despite the widespread appeal of being able to communicate with dogs as dogs do with one another, attempting to apply the intraspecific dog etho-gram to human–dog and dog–human interactions may have limited scope. The balance of learning the-ory and ethology on our interactions with dogs is sometimes elusive but should spur the scientific community to examine skills deployed by the most effective humane practitioners. This process will demystify the so-called whispering techniques and permit discourse on the reasons some training and handling techniques are more effective, relevant, and humane than others. This article explores the mismatch between the use of nonverbal communication of 2 species and offers a framework for future studies in this domain. Technologies emerging from equitation science may help to disclose con-fusing interventions through the collar and lead and thus define effective and humane use of negative reinforcement. The case for a validated intraspecific and interspecific canid ethogram is also made.

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May 16, 2014