Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Enjoy many happy returns when training employs kindness and playtime....

“Training a dog, to me, is on a par with learning to dance with my wife or teaching my son to ski. These are fun things we do together. If anyone even talks about dominating the dog or hurting him or fighting him or punishing him, don't go there.” - Ian Dunbar

It is nice to see a wider presence of the kinder, gentler training methods coming into mainstream awareness and modeled as being of greater value in working and living with and caring for animals (and humans). Best news of all: it isn't hard to learn.

In years past, I hate to admit I tried training techniques that were akin to punishing a pet for actions the pet could not help or would have curtailed if I had simply dismissed the incident and waited for (or triggered) an action I preferred and then reinforced it with a treat or a happy response.

I learned that the "problem" behavior could also have been an indication that another issue required further investigation and more sensitivity and patience to figure out.

When I inadvertently and unknowingly taught my pets to fear me and react in aggressive, protective or submissive behaviors, I stopped. I had to train(un-train and re-train)Me.

Fortunately, that negative response registered a need to seek out teachers who exhibited positive and kind behaviors to help me create a better connection with my pets. In some cases, it took time to rebuild trust. What really cemented was the awareness that, just like us, animals do remember those who cause them pain - no matter what the animal behavior psych of the moment espouses - and pain is not a teaching tool.

In this shortened radio version of the TED talk Animals and Us, we learn about ESL: Listen 7:56

Watch the full presentation on TED --  

Learn more about Ian Dunbar - Dog training for puppies and adults -- Sirius

Dog Star Daily -- Training tips and more. Schedule a crash course: Dunbar Academy

Interview with Ian Dunbar via The Bark - He speaks and dogs listen. Getting their people to listen is a win/win.

Dunbar on the radio: Podcast


Here's one of the training books: Doctor Dunbar's Good Little Dog Book

And a reader review that says it all: "Dr. Dunbar's lure/reward methods are totally positive and upbeat. There is no jerking, kicking or scolding in Dunbar's philosophy. Just good, practical advice that works."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Street Cat Named Bob - plays himself

Just in time for summer, a feel good pick me up. Along comes, A Street Cat Named Bob and his co-pilot, James on the big screen.

Catching up with Bob and James Bowen --  news about the movie being made and recapping the road to fame.

The trailer:

Bob plays himself, of course. About the film.

Don't have the book? Here's the link.

The next best thing to a sure bet you'll like it. 1,643 customer reviews gave it 4.7 out of 5 Stars

Go Bob!

And/or choose another from the Bob library -- Bob has a thing for books. (Smile.)

Connect on Facebook - Bob

Buy Bob stuff. Shop ...  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Lifesaving win/win = Cadaver (Synth) Canine

Fundraising is underway now for a lifesaving game-changer: a Synthetic Canine.

"Help Us Save Lives Through Education! If our funding campaign is successful we will be able to give 20 synthetic canines to every accredited veterinary college in the world. Our pets deserve the best!" - SynDaver Labs Team

Designed to mimic live tissue a synthetic canine could be a life saver on multiple levels. It breathes and bleeds and it has individual muscles, bones and organs.

The real bonus is that it can be operated on over and over again -- eliminating the use of a live animal or animal cadaver in veterinary education. Here's the overview: 

30 sec Promo Case from Judge PR on Vimeo.

And it gets better. SynDaver Vet Tech is already designing cat and other models to eliminate the need for anatomy and physiology dissection labs at the university and high school level.

Find out more about the campaign and the backstory at Indiegogo.

Connect with the team and follow SynDaver Labs on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Located: the zone of purrrfection - Music for Cats

Maybe you saw the Music for Cats Kickstarter campaign and forgot to check back. Good news! The wait is over!

Echoing the Music for Cats accolades, here's a testimonial: "I work at an emergency veterinary hospital. Today we had a patient in incredible pain. He was on as much pain medication as we could give him, but he just couldn't get comfortable. I put on Rusty's Ballad for him on repeat, and he's currently sleeping. Thank you so much for what you've created!" — Karey Harris (Fort Worth, Texas)

Cats and their humans are chiming in on the finished product and it would appear they are unanimous in their praise. David Teie owns catnappers with his perfect recipe of kitty cat bliss vibes.

Facebook has the best Cat Testimonial pic ... check out the face of kitty heavenly bliss ...

No place like home: MusicforCats

PS. Say "thank you" to the 10,165 backers who pledged $241,651 to help bring the project to life. THANK YOU!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Last Pig - a haunting preview repost

Be warned, this film might cause a bit of discomfort. It might challenge your belief system. It may also cause controversy. If so, then it has succeeded.

In the film, The Last Pig, we are introduced to and tag along with a farmer who has had a change of heart. Bob Comis says, "I've taken two thousand pigs to the slaughter house. I've become haunted by the ghosts of those pigs."

When Bob, a farmer and a writer, wrote Happy Pigs Make Happy Meat, his story caught the attention of, among others, an award winning filmmaker, Allison Argo. She recognized in this story the  potential to deliver a powerful message.

We are given a vantage point offering insight into the life of someone who cares very much about the well-being of their animals and how difficult it is to rationalize decisions of who lives and dies or to consider animal lives as less valuable or worthy simply because they are deemed feeder meat. This story deserves a wider audience.

Seeing Bob's life up close and personal and following the interactions he has with his pigs, the bonds they develop, we can understand and empathize with him how hard it is to reconcile his position, knowing the manner in which those relationships are destined to end. 

A gutwrencher.

Clearly this farmer struggled for quite some time before ultimately choosing to step away. Watching that process unfold is powerful and, at least for the filmmaker, life changing. Allison became a vegan after working on this film with the pigs and Bob.

Food for thought. Choices. We have them. Farm animals don't.

A quick note. My stepfather was a farmer and we had pigs on our farm. I raised market barrows as 4-H projects and tried to save the runts when the odds were against them. A tiny runt named Flower went to school with us. He was such a fighter. I cried when he didn't make it.

Our pigs had names and personalities. I hung pig posters that celebrated their intelligence and yet ... there could be only one result. I was learning about farming and pigs are farm animals.

The most difficult moment came when I sold my first market barrow. We went to the 4-H fair together. Pigs don't come home. They are sold at the end of the fair auction. I got a check for my pig and a pit in my stomach. And I blocked it. It was part of the lifestyle, a thing we were supposed to accept. One had to have a strong disconnect. I didn't have it that first time.

Thoughtful and thought provoking, this film is now in post production and raising funds on Indiegogo. Find out more there and follow the progress. Release date is not yet set but completion is  expected in early 2016.

More insight and background on Bob, the pig farmer who quit - in his story about Esther the Wonder Pig.
"All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it."
~ Samuel Butler