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Training and Behaviour

Welcome to the Training and Behaviour Page!

In case you didn't know, during my first Bachelor of Science degree, I minored in Psychology. Part of your training is learning about the history of how the field came about. We learnt about classical conditioning, operant learning and positive reinforcement.

I then applied this knowledge when I was working as a zookeeper. You cannot make a large carnivore do things that it does not want to do. In training tigers and cougars to facilitate shifting from one region to another, so that we could safely go in to clean their enclosures, it was easier when the animal was not afraid of you, and when they had a motivation to shift - like food. Reducing fear and anxiety, as well as habituating the animal to your presence, it was easy for the food motivated individuals to get their attention in a calm fashion. They needed to know that it was not going to be scary, aversive or unsafe for them when they were locked in the secure building.

I now use all this knowledge to help pet owners with tips that they can use when training their pets to cohabitate in the human world. If you are struggling with a particular behaviour, chances are you are not alone! It is always best to inform your veterinarian when it happens early. Hopefully your veterinarian has also picked up on subtle signs during the early days of your pet's life, as we know that window of socialization in a puppy and kitten's life is one of the most important in dictating how they will behave as adolescents and adults.

Most recently, I have started a non-traditional residency in veterinary behaviour. This consists of behaviours cases, logging thousands of hours, as well as education in learning theory, animal welfare, ethology, statistics and psychopharmacology.

If you have questions about training, feel free to drop me a line!

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