Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

4th June
2009
written by Tony
I think therefor I... squirrel! Squirrel squirrel!

I think therefore I... squirrel! Squirrel squirrel!

The title pretty much sums up what this book is all about. This is really a book more for someone who wants to deal with the roots of canine behavior as they apply to various research endeavors and some very limited physiology. I’m not sure that this book will make you into a master trainer or give you insight into how to finally get that damn dog to play dead somewhere other than on the bed. I have done quite a bit of studying into the topic of how to make a dog behave the way you want it to and had seen or heard pretty much every approach. This book served to confirm what I had already learned: dogs learn best through positive reinforcement. Punishment, trial and error, training by chance, training by denial, all these methods can work, but are far from the most effective. This also reinforced some other basic points about dogs, among which is the fact that they are social, and want to be near us. This topic did contain some nice insight, mainly that when a dog gets old, and its mobility is compromised, either because of its joints or because it has lost one or more of its senses, it is important to strive to make sure the dog still feels like part of the group to stave off depression. Apart from the above tidbits, there was mostly a litany of evidence pointing to the idea that dogs are probably a lot more cognizant of their surroundings and themselves than we give them credit for. While Coren tiptoes around really coming down for the idea of a self-aware dog,  he certainly presents a string of anecdotes, studies and confirmatory evidence that suggests he wouldn’t be too troubled to say that our dogs are closer mentally to ourselves than many would imagine. Oh, and apparently Descartes was a total bastard who liked to kick pregnant dogs because he believed they didn’t feel pain and any show of distress was a reaction programmed into the clockwork of their brain. Falling short of being truly helpful, this book still managed to be a pretty interesting read, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to figure out what might be going on inside that little nut between their buddy’s ears. Rating: 3 out of 5
13th February
2009
written by Steph
More like "Year of the Crazy Lady"

More like "Year of the Crazy Lady"

It should come as no surprise that Tony & I are huge dog people (in that we love dogs, not that we are part dog.  See this Demetri Martin clip for clarification.).  Because of this love, we tend to watch a lot of movies that feature dogs, and coo along adoringly when those adorable little canine scamps turn up onscreen.  Through this movie-watching exercise, I’ve come to believe that movie makers exploit our love of dogs, namely by making some truly horrendous films that ostensibly revolve around dogs or the love of same.  I mean, for every My Dog Skip, you have a Must Love Dogs, or a Beverley Hills Chihuahua, or even a, you guessed it, Year of the Dog.  [For the record, Tony & I have not seen Beverley Hills Chihuahua, nor do we have any plans to do so]  These are some bad movies, people, so be forewarned and avoid them if you either: a) love dogs; b) love movies; or c) love yourself. (more…)
7th February
2009
written by Steph
Aren't we cute?

Aren't we cute?

Earlier this week I celebrated my 26th birthday.  I’ve been so busy with work stuff lately that I have to admit this birthday kind of snuck up on me.  It felt like pretty much any other day (maybe this is what happens when your birthday happens mid-week?), which might having something to do with the fact that for the past year or so, Tony & I have tried to mark each birthday with a nice little vacation get-away.  Last year we went to the Smokey Mountains and rented a really nice cabin for a long weekend, which was really lovely and relaxing.  This year, however, we decided to forgo that option since we were just up in the mountains over Christmas.  Instead, we decided to stay in Nashville and Tony did all that he could to make sure my birthday was in fact a special day.  I’m happy to report that it was! (more…)
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