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

Paul Damien McGreevy, Melissa Starling, N J Branson, Mia Cobb, Debbie Calnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

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 ethogram to human?dog and dog?human interactions may have limited scope. The balance of learning theory 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 confusing 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103 - 117
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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