Revision Dictionary A-F

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Law of Correlation – The ability of an organism to adapt and evolve. The correlation of an organism with its environment. For example animals living in a non-supportive environment and without sufficient food will either a) adapt, or b) become extinct. Unfortunately it also means that humans (usually those of lower socio-economic groups) will suffer the most as a result of famine, wars, earthquakes, flooding etc……………………

life – Perhaps the most obvious criterion for life is being able to reproduce. If something is alive, then it must be able to produce copies of itself, which may or may not be identical. But this criterion is not sufficient on its own because crystals are able to grow and produce identical copies of themselves if placed in a salt solution. And no one would argue as to whether or not crystals are alive.

To the ability to to reproduce we need to add the ability to evolve. For something to be alive, the copies it produces of itself need to be able to change gradually across the generations in response to environmental factors. Evolution in the domesticated dog world can happen quickly, after only a few generations by selective breeding. If left to nature, the same changes would take millennia to occur through the process of natural selection.

Some questions to ask if an organism is alive: 1. Is it made up of at least one cell? 2. Does it metabolise – does it use and release energy? 3. Does it grow and change over time? 4. Does it respond to any physical, chemical or environmental stimuli? 5. Does it reproduce either sexually or asexually, and evolve? If the answer is NO to any of these questions, then what you’re looking at is actually NOT alive!

At its most basic level life must contain organic molecules of carbon and hydrogen.

The three domains of life are: bacteria, eukaryota, archaea

evolution – Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On The Origin of Species by Natural Selection espoused the theory that species evolve, contrary to the belief at the time; that of the Creation. The thrust of this theory is fourfold: 1. More individuals are produced than can survive – 2. There has to be a struggle for existence – 3. Individuals within a species show variations – 4. Offspring tend to inherit their parents’ characteristics.

population explosion – A sudden, large increase in a population. In human terms this could be caused by economic growth coupled with the global oversupply of food, increased birth rate, reduction in infant mortality, increase in life expectancy and better healthcare generally, poor education and awareness of birth control, religious reasons and more. Population growth really took off at about the same time as the industrial revolution started. However, since World War II the global population has seen an exponential growth from an estimated 2.3 billion to a now estimated 7.2 billion and expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. This growth comes mainly from developing continents and countries such as Africa and, until recently, India. The governments of China and Russia, as examples, are actively encouraging population growth to help support the growing older population as well as for political reasons as the tensions between these two super powers ebb and flow!

The planet cannot sustain this exponential growth indefinitely. It is argued that we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction (Holocene extinction) on the planet with only the fittest and richest surviving. Indeed it is estimated that the planet now loses three species every hour! That’s a staggering 26,000 every year. Even taking into account NEW species being discovered there is still an estimated net loss of some 2,000 every year. Modern humans have to take responsibility since their arrival at the top of the food chain. The Law of Correlation tends to iron out peaks and troughs and the population may well, therefore, be self leveling in the short term. However, life on Earth, as we know it, will ultimately come to an end.

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ABC – Referred to as the ABC of Dog Training. Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence. As related to dog training we may offer the cue or a lure (the antecedent – what has happened BEFORE the behaviour), the desired behaviour ensues, the consequence will be to offer the lure as a reward. After some repetitions, the dog will repeat the behaviour usually without the need for a lure or reward but a voice cue and verbal praise alone. See also: proofing, CART.

aberrant – Unusual behaviour, not sociably acceptable.

abstractification n – The perceptual fog that humans tend to live in. Living in one’s own thoughts surrounded by one’s own ideas, avoiding reality. Overly thoughtful or contemplative. Abstractifier n – A person who lives in his/her own thoughts, one who suffers abstractification n. Abstractify v – to over complicate or over analyse something or to deny its existence, unable to ‘see the wood for the trees’. See also:  analysis paralysis.

ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder. See ADHD.

ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A condition where people, especially children or animals are extremely active and unable to concentrate on anything for very long, with the result that they find it difficult to learn and often behave in inappropriate ways. There are varying degrees and adults may find in later life that this has affected them but remained undiagnosed. Signs may include, for example, the inability to concentrate for any period of time, reading passages of dialogue repeatedly, boredom, claustrophobia coupled with the need to escape routine and repetition. Those with the disorder may well thrive in an outdoor, practical type of environment. See also: serotonin.

adrenaline – The stress hormone. A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that increases rates of blood circulation, breathing, and carbohydrate metabolism and prepares muscles for exertion. The adrenal glands are situated above the kidneys. Adrenaline and cortisol normally are secreted in response to a perceived threat in the environment. The effects of stress hormones on blood glucose, heart rate and respiration increase oxygen and nutrient supplies to muscles and temporarily shut down the maintenance of the body’s other systems. This so-called fight-or-flight response to perceived environmental threats gives organisms an evolutionary advantage in making them better able to survive by increasing their chances of either destroying the threat or escaping.

allee effect – A phenomenon in biology characterized by a correlation between population size or density and the mean individual fitness of a population or species. Warder Clyde Allee, in the 1930s, conducted experiments on goldfish in a tank. Contrary to popular belief that individuals will suffer in a crowded environment, he discovered that the goldfish grew more rapidly and the survival rate was higher. Sardines, for example, will form huge shoals as the chances of survival are higher than for an individual; in other words, safety in numbers. Take wolves as another example; they will thrive in greater numbers as they are able to hunt more effectively. Conversely, fewer numbers will lead to a weaker group and even fewer numbers until extinction occurs. This is thought to be one reason for the decline of the Sumatran rhinoceros and others. Some species, therefore, will suffer from ‘undercrowding’.

allelomatic n1. Behaviour under stress, 2. Contagion, as in contagious yawning.

allelomimetic (US: allomimetic) behaviour adj – behaviour that is copied or mimicked.

allospecific – Antonym of conspecific. See also: heterospecific.

alpha/beta/omega (ABO) – A hierarchical system within a family in the animal kingdom with the alpha at the top, descending to the beta whilst the omega shows deference to all others in the group. In the case of a pack of wolves an alpha pair will bond and mate, though the female may sometimes be considered the beta member – deferring to the male. A nursing female may become the alpha with other pack members, including the male, serving her. Puppies and lower ranking wolves will in turn become omega members. Packs tend to form naturally and depends on the respective temperaments of its members. Beta and omega members wishing to dominate will either have to overthrow the alpha pair or form their own packs.

amino acids – (awaiting citation). See also: protein.

amoral – Without morals, standards, principles, scruples. Not to be confused with immoral – wicked, bad, wrong. Example sentence: I love Almódovar’s movies. They are unashamedly amoral.

analysis paralysis – The over analysis of an action or string of actions, for example in sports, that could lead to paralysation and non-action or incorrect action. See also: absractification.

anthelmintic, anthelminthic – An agent used to destroy and expel parasitic worms for example in sheep or cattle. To vermifuge.

anthropoid – Resembling apes. Apelike. Belonging to the superfamily Hominoidea which includes the hominoids: manlike.

anthropology – (abbreviation: anthrop.) 1. The scientific study of people, society and culture. The science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, biological characteristics, and social customs and beliefs of humankind. 2. The study of human beings’ similarity to, and divergence from, other animals. 3. The science of humans and their works. 4. Also: philosophical anthropology – the study of the nature and essence of humankind. 

anthropomorphize – (pronounced: an-throp-o-mor-fize) To humanise, attribute or ascribe human form or behaviour (to an animal, object etc.)​ – anthropomorphism – the attribution of human form or behaviour (to an animal, object etc.)

antisynurbAn animal that may be described as antisynurbic, living in synurbia. Happy to live in an urban environment alongside humans whilst remaining undomesticated. An example is the rabbit which, having escaped captivity in the C13th, is happy to live near humans. Sometimes domesticated cats will leave home and are happy to live in a feral state scavenging food from nearby houses. See also: synurb, synurbic, synurbism, antisynurbism.

antisynurbic – (pronounced: anti-syn-urb-ic) Species that has move away from domestication or semi-domestication to live in a wild or feral state in synurbia. Rabbits may be said to be antisynurbic having been, it is thought, introduced by the Romans, in a captive state, and later escaping into the wild. See also: antisynurbism, synurb, synurbic, synurbism.

antisynurbism –  (pronounced: anti-syn-urb-ism) The process or transition of moving from a domesticated or semi-domesticated state through to a feral, semi wild or wild state. To act in an antisynurbic way. Cats, dogs, rabbits ect. returning to a feral or semi-wild state but happy to remain in an urban environment living alongside and scavenging from humans (as this is less time and energy consuming) may be said to be antisynurbic or displaying antisynurbism. See also: synurbsynurbism, synurbic.

arboreal – Pertaining to trees. 1. To live in or amongst trees. 2. To resemble a tree.

arboretum – A place where trees and shrubs are grown and cultivated for their scientific and educational interest.

ASSCON Association, Consequence. Acronym describing the way dogs learn. Firstly by association (classical conditioning), secondly by consequence (operant conditioning).

Aurora Energy Research – Intelligence for global energy transformation.

autoecology – The ecological study of an individual organism or species. See also: synecology.

AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association.  

balanced training – Training that combines purely positive reinforcement and the more old fashioned (some say traditional) approach of physical correction and punishment. A well balanced dog must surely be one that is happy and confident, has learnt by making his own choices through guidance and reward from the trainer without physical intervention. Richard The Dog Trainer believes in a long term holistic and force free approach to training. Yes, it may take longer to get there but once a habit is reinforced it will be with the dog for the rest of his life and not forgotten as with a short term verbal reprimand or physical correction.

BAT (behaviour adjustment training) – Behaviour modification comes from an individual changing how it thinks and feels about a stimulus that generates a problematic behaviour. For example, using an e-collar to suppress chase is just that, suppressing a desired behaviour. It is forcing obedience or compliance and does not change any underlying factors. So it’s just training. However BAT methods used can be convoluted and controversial……………..more……………..(citation needed). See also CAT, LAT.

beeswax – A yellowish or dark brown wax secreted by bees in the form of flakes from the abdomen as a result of the nectar they consume, for constructing honeycomb. The flakes are masticated and, when mixed with saliva, produce a malleable wax which is formed into hexagonal cells forming the honeycomb.

behaviour adjustment training (BAT)  Citation needed.

bifurcate – Having two branches, forking in two different directions.

biodiversity – The number of all living species of plants and animals that are living in any given area.

Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)An internationally recognized program addressing threatened species and habitats and is designed to protect and restore biological systems. The original impetus for these plans derives from the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). As of 2009 this consisted of 192 counties including the UK.

biodiversity hotspot – A biological region that is both a significant reservoir of biodiversity and is threatened with destruction. Specifically refers to 25 biologically rich areas around the world that have lost at least 70% of their original habitat. The remaining habitat amounts to just 1.4% of the land surface of the planet, yet supports nearly 60% of the world’s plant, bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian species.

biofeedbackphysiology, psychology – 1. A technique for teaching the control of autonomic functions, such as the rate of heartbeat or breathing, by recording the activity and presenting it (usually visually) so that a person can know the state of the autonomic function he or she is learning to control. 2. A technique of seeking to control certain emotional states such as anxiety or depression, by training oneself, with the aid of electronic devices, to modify autonomic body functions, such as blood pressure or heartbeat. 3. Clinical studies demonstrate that a wolf described as the alpha male also happens to be the one with most testosterone. Furthermore, there is a phenomenon at work called biofeedback, whereby the alpha wolf, on achieving this status, begins to produce more testosterone, in order to maintain this status once it has been acquired. However, this theory becomes extinct when examining packs where a female appears to be the alpha. It is clearly not linked directly to testosterone, so perhaps other hormones and pheromones play a part.

biological hierarchy – (bottom up) atom – molecule – cell – tissue – organ – system – organism – population – community – ecosystem – biosphere.

biome – A major ecological community spread over a large area and dominated by a particular vegetation. Any life zone consisting of interrelated plants and animals determined by the climate, for example desserts and deciduous forests.

boreal – 1: North, north wind 2: Pertaining to coniferous forest areas of the northern hemisphere, including the taiga and tundra 3: Designating a dry climatic period from about 750 – 550 BC with cold winters, hot summers and flora dominated by pines and hazels.

brain – The brain is comprised of three main parts:-

1)  The forebrain consisting of the cerebrum, thalamus and hypothalamus (a gland forming part of the hormone producing endocrine system). The cerebrum or cortex is the largest part of the brain and is associated with higher brain functions such as thought, action, decision making and behaviour. It is divided into two hemispheres, left and right, looking almost symmetrical but thought to control different functions. It is further divided into four ‘lobes’ for different tasks. Buried within the cerebrum are the thalamus, hypothalamus, amygdala and hippocampus combining to form the limbic system (thinking or emotional brain).

2)  The midbrain forming the brain stem connecting to the spinal cord responsible for transferring information to and from the body via neurons.

3)  The hindbrain containing the cerebellum or ‘little brain’ – older in evolutionary terms controlling basic functions such as muscle movement, coordination, balance and posture.

broiler – 1. Part of a stove that produces strong heat and cooks food if placed underneath it. Grill. 2. A young tender chicken suitable for roasting. 3. A pan, grate etc for broiling food. 4. A very hot day.

bush – 1: A large plant with many branches; smaller than a tree 2: A semi-arid or arid region in a hot country with little vegetation and of not much use to man. Wild and uncultivated.

calcareous – Pertaining to high acidity containing or resembling calcium carbonate, calcium, chalk and lime. See also: grassland.

canidae – (pronounced: can-e-day) Generic term for the dog family including the domesticated dog, wolf, coyote, jackal, fox, wild African dog, pariah, bush dog, maned wolf and dingo. Of the order carnivora (meat eaters).

canis –  Genus of the canidae (dog) family. We are concerned here with canis lupus (wolf) of which there are some 40 species and a further two sub species: canis lupus dingo (Australian wild dog) and canis lupus familiaris (domesticated dog). Worldwide there are over 400 breeds of domesticated dogs (Wilcox & Walkowitz, 1995) and the UK’s Kennel Club recognises 209 breeds. This is the largest morphology of any mammal in history!

carbon – A chemical element that coal and diamonds are made up of. At its most basic level life must contain organic molecules of carbon and hydrogen. From Latin carbo = coal.

carbonate – To treat with carbon dioxide or carbonic acid as in the production of soft drinks. To form or turn into a carbonate.

carbon dioxide – An incombustible gas present in the atmosphere produced by people and animals breathing out – respiration* and in organic materials released by combustion. Also in the reaction of acids with carbonates: used in carbonated drinks, fire extinguishers and as dry ice for refrigeration. The major gas contributing to climate change (caused by the greenhouse effect) along with methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapour (clouds). Forula: CO2.
* Plants ‘breath IN’ carbon dioxide and ‘breath OUT’ oxygen.

CART – Cue, action, reinforcer, treat. See also: ABC.

castoreum – the oil secreted by the beaver which is used as bait by trappers.

CAT – Constructional Aggression Treatment…………more……….(citation needed). See also: BAT, LAT.

CDS – Cognitive dysfunction syndrome  Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a condition related to the aging of a dog’s brain, which ultimately leads to changes in awareness, deficits in learning and memory, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli. Although the initial symptoms of the disorder are mild, they gradually worsen over time, also known as “cognitive decline.” In fact, clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome are found in 50 percent of dogs over the age of 11, and by the age of 15, 68 percent of dogs display at least one sign. See also: cognition.

cerebellum – Part of the hindbrain situated at the anterior base of the main brain (cerebrum). Also known as the ‘little brain’, it is older in evolutionary terms controlling basic functions such as muscle movement, coordination, balance and posture.

chernozem – A black soil rich in humus and carbonates found in temperate, semi-arid grassland regions of Russia known as steppe. (From Russian a contraction of: chernaya zemla or black earth). Highly prized and suitable for crop growing.

chimp paradox, the – The Chimp Model (designed by Prof Steven Peters) suggests we have two brains; the rational human brain and irrational chimp brain often in conflict with each other. One brain says you want to do something but the other says you can’t. What’s YOUR excuse?

choke chain – An aversive type chain lead which, when set to the live ring, will tighten around the dog’s neck and throat causing discomfort and choking whenever the dog pulls. The theory is this will cause the dog to stop pulling and walk ‘to heel’ (known as negative reinforcement), in other words the dogs stops pulling to remove the pain. In reality this has little effect as the dog learns to cope with this!

chromosome – Part of a cell that carries the genes which determine the characteristics of an animal or plant. 

classical conditioning (reflexive, respondent or Pavlovian conditioning) – Learning by association. A psychological process whereby an involuntary and automatic reflex occurs in response to an unrelated trigger. Psychologist Ivan Pavlov conducted experiments on dogs in 1927 and discovered, after repeated conditioning, that they would salivate at the sound of a bell. In other words, two stimuli are paired; food and the bell resulting in salivation. The dog’s salivation is involuntary as he has no control, and automatic in the sense that whilst he may reflect momentarily on what has just happened (the trigger) and is about to happen (the reflex), he does not need to, himself, initiate a prompt or action. An example would be a ringing doorbell and someone walks through. Once the dog is conditioned, he assumes that whenever the doorbell rings there is someone at the door – which in turn may trigger barking. It may be argued that the resultant barking, unlike salivation, is NOT involuntary and the dog may choose to bark or not. However, in the dog’s mind, he cannot stop himself; only with further training can this behaviour be modified. See also: differential classical conditioningoperant conditioning, ASSCONcounter conditioning.

clicker – A small hand held mechanical animal training device, made of plastic, held in the palm and operated by the thumb to produce a cricket like ‘click’. Used during operant conditioning (systematic training) it is used to ‘mark’ the desired or correct action in response to a cue given by the trainer followed by a reinforcer (reward). It may be thought of as a ‘bridge’ between the action and reward if, for example, too great a distance exists between the trainer and animal for instantaneous reward. The clicker was first used to train sea mammals and was invented by Marian Breland Bailey a graduate student working with the renowned psychologist B F Skinner.

cognition – 1. The mental act or process by which knowledge is acquired, including schooling, perception, intuition and reasoning. 2. The knowledge that results from such an act or process.

community – The mix of species within an area at a given time. This may consist of many populations such as in a typical British back garden of birds, foxes, badgers, moles, insects, domestic cats and dogs and homo scientificus! See also: ecosystem.

confrere – Colleague, a fellow member of a fraternity, profession etc. Example sentence: There’s grass as far as the eye can see; it would be an ineffective strategy to expend energy guarding your daily acres from your confrere.

coniferous – Pertaining to conifer trees; evergreen with needle like leaves and usually bearing cones. These include fir, pine, spruce, larch, juniper, cypress, yew and sequoias. See also: deciduous.

conserve – To save. Reducing, stopping or reversing any undesirable action or effect that causes damage, or potential damage, to the environment or natural world at large. The cultural force that encourages societies to reflect upon and regulate their relationship with the non-human and plant world with a view to leaving the planet in a better condition for future generations.

conspecific – (of animals or plants) belonging to the same species. (Wolves) will only form pack with their own kind – though this has been disproved by Shaun Ellis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaun_Ellis_(wolf_researcher). See also antonyms: allospecificheterospecific.

coprophagia, coprophagy: noun – coprophagic, coprophagous: adjective – involving the eating of excrement. This can be common amongst dogs possibly caused by the need to double digest food, for example, because of a shortage of nutrients in the diet. Other theories are a maternal instinct to ‘clean the nest’ after the bitches licking puppies ano-genital area to stimulate defecation and urination.

correlation – A link between two things – example sentence: “there is a correlation between smoking and lung disease.” See also: correlation coefficient, Law of Correlation.

correlation coefficient – the measure of similarity or dissimilarity between two things. A statistical relationship between two variables where +1 has the strongest possible relationship and -1 has the least possible relationship. A zero coefficient is random. See also: correlation, Law of Correlation.

corticosterone – A hormone of the corticosteroid group. 1. a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex that affects carbohydrate, protein and electrolyte metabolism, gonad function and immune response. 2. Any similar synthetic substance used in treating inflammatory and allergic disease.

cortisol – ACUTE (short term) stress can be invigorating. However, CHRONIC (long term) stress can tip over and cause severe heath side effects. Cortisol is a steroidal hormone responsible for metabolism, blood sugar regulation and immune functions. It is also an anti-inflammatory and anti allergenic also helping to regulate blood pressure. It is released by the adrenal gland situated above the kidneys. See also: adrenalinefight-or-flight.

counter conditioning – psychology – the conditioning of a response that is opposite to a previously learned response; for example, in psychotherapy an anxious person or animal might be taught relaxation, which is incompatible with, or opposite to, anxiety. See also: operant conditioning, DCC, desensitisation, flooding, saturation exposure.

cynologycynologist – The study of dogs. One who studies dogs.

cynophobia – An irrational fear of dogs.

DCC – desensitisation & counter conditioning. See also: desensitisation, counter conditioning, flooding, saturation exposure.

deciduous – Trees that lose their leaves at the end of the growing season, usually found in temperate zones throughout the world. The UK is a great example with its native oaks, ashes, elms and many more. Coniferous trees, although found here, are not native and have been introduced at some time.

desertification – The formation of a desert due to, for example, deforestation, over grazing by animals, land being left fallow and infertile after over-extraction.

desensitisation – psychology – to decrease the abnormal fear in a person or animal of a situation, stimulus or object, by exposing him/her to that object gradually either in reality or in his imagination. See also: DCC.

diet – A balanced diet consists of:- (top down) carbohydratesfruit & vegetablesmeat, fish, dairytreats (sugary drinks, cakes). Carbohydrates & fats for energy – protein for growth & repair – vitamins & minerals in small amounts for general wellbeing – fibre for gut function – water used for transportation and body functions.

Differential Classical Conditioning – Classical and operant conditioning are not exclusive from each other; you must give rewards or some form of feedback (to the dog) no matter the behavior, in order for classical conditioning to occur – ‘association’ rather than ‘consequence’. Consider these rewards or feedback as being GRADUATED. Differential classical conditioning means giving the dog rewards or feedback no matter what the behaviour but to a lesser or greater extent. For example giving the dog high value treats for desired behaviors (no barking, sitting, staying, coming etc). Conversely verbal interaction and reassurance (rather than reprimand) when the dog shows an unwanted reaction such as growling. More aggressive forms of reaction (for example lunging and/or biting) may, of course, require reprimand and/or correction though should immediately be followed by positive feedback to (a) reassure the dog that he has behaved well for ceasing unwanted behaviour (b) to maintain relationship. Here is the breakdown in the event of UNWANTED behaviour:

  • No trigger – No rewards.
  • Trigger present, small reaction – Give verbal reassurance. Increase distance in the future.
  • Trigger present, over reaction – Verbal reprimand, possibly physical correction followed immediately by praise for cessation and the subsequent wanted behaviour.
  • Trigger present, no reaction – Jackpot with rewards.

This process allows the trainer to reward DESIRED behaviors more strongly while maintaining classical conditioning during all exposures to the trigger. See also: ASSCON.

discriminative learning – One of three paradigms of machine learning: generativediscriminative and imitative. Rather than learning by rote (generative) or copying (imitative), a student (or dog) will learn that if one response is incorrect there is a greater chance that another is correct, in other words – discrimination.

discriminative stimulusStimulus that provides information about what to do; cue. 

dog – A domesticated canine mammal (canis familiaris) belonging to the canidae (dog family) descended from the wolf with 98.8% of its genes. Other family members including the wolf are coyotes, jackals, dingoes, India dhole, African wild dog and some foxes. They have been domesticated by man over millennia and are opportunistic scavengers. Dogs are carnivores but can tolerate vegetable matter in moderation. Strictly speaking dogs are the male of the species whilst bitches are the female.

dopamine – The pleasure or addiction hormone released by the hypothalamus – a chemical found in the brain that acts as a neurotransmitter and is an intermediate compound in the synthesis of noradrenaline. It acts as a chemical messenger to affect movement, emotions and the ability to experience both pleasure and pain. Additionally, dopamine plays a large role in addiction.

DRA – Differential Reinforcement of an Alternative Behaviour –

drag hunting – the laying of a scent of an animal – sometimes aniseed – for a dog to follow as if hunting.

DRIDifferential Reinforcement of an Incompatible behavior (DRI): Reinforcing a desirable behavior which is incompatible with the undesirable behavior. For example, using a piece of chicken to reinforce sitting and making eye contact with you instead of barking at another dog. See also DRA – Differential Reinforcement of an Alternative Behaviour and DRO – Differential Reinforcement of Another Behaviour.

DRO – Differential Reinforcement of Another Behaviour –

ecology – The study of the relationships between living organisms and their environment. See also: ethology.

ecosystem – An area able to independently support life and life cycles of both animals and plants, and its interaction with the environment. See also: population, community.

ecotourism – A form of ‘low impact’ tourism to market and promote the less well known areas of natural beauty or, conversely, depressed but aspiring areas of the world with the potential to conserve nature. The aim must be to inform both the local and wider populations of the plight of the indigenous flora and fauna. Side effects of ecotourism are many but most importantly will educate and raise awareness of the need to conserve nature. Furthermore it will bring employment, money and enhance the economy of the area. The downside is that large corporations will inevitably syphon off profits. Visitor numbers may potentially act detrimentally and erode the very thing to be conserved by traipsing over the terrain and disturbing the wildlife. Local customs may be put at risk and the indigenous people and animals driven away.

egregious – Outstandingly bad, flagrant. (Historically) distinguished, eminent. Example sentences: 1.There are few more egregious insults than to call someone stupid. 2. His Lordship is most egregious.

endorphin – The word endorphin is a contraction of endogenous morphine meaning morphine produced in the body. Not in itself a hormone, rather any of a group of hormones having a number of physiological as well as psychological effects. Endorphins are naturally occurring opiate compounds manufactured by the brain and nervous system enhancing the threshold to pain having an analgesic effect, at the same time making us (or dogs) feel happy and producing a ‘high’ effect. This can occur, for example, after exercise, play and mutual physical contact.

environment 1. Ecology: the influence of external factors affecting the behaviour, development and habitat of animals and plants – 2. The external conditions, factors or surroundings in which people, animals and plants live – 3. A computing environment consisting of systems and programs.

enzyme – A chemical substance that is found in living creatures which produces changes in other substances without being changed itself. alt: A substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

epiphany – 1. A moment of sudden insight or understanding. 2. Epiphany –  A Christian festival on the 6th of January which celebrates the arrival of the wise men who came to see Jesus Christ soon after he was born.

ethology The study of the behaviour of animals in their normal environment. See also: ecology.

evolution – Charles Darwin in his 1859 book On The Origin of Species by Natural Selection espoused the theory that species evolve, contrary to the belief at the time; that of the Creation. The thrust of this theory is fourfold: 1. More individuals are produced than can survive – 2. There has to be a struggle for existence – 3. Individuals within a species show variations – 4. Offspring tend to inherit their parents’ characteristics. See also: life, population explosion, gaia hypothesis

excursive – to exclude, digress or ramble, opp to inclusive.

exposure – to uncover, to be affected by. See also: saturation exposure.

extraterrestrial marsupialism – 1. The ability of an out of earth being to nurture one’s young with utmost care immediately after birth esp. if born prematurely. 2. The ability of same, to grow an appendage or organ through, for example, cell reproduction or evolution.

fauna – Pertaining to animals, especially animals in a certain area. Example sentence: “The fauna of the India Ocean is abundant.” See also: flora.

federal – (n) 1: A federal country is one in which the different states or provinces have powers to make their own laws and decisions. 2: (adj) A Fed or Federal is someone who belongs to or relates to a national government of a federal country rather than one state. 3: (adj) Used to describe a system of government of which some people disapprove. See also: unitary.

feral – noun: Animal (or plant) existing in a wild or semi wild state especially having been domestic or held in captivity. Usually happy to live alongside and scavenge from humans. adjective: one that is described as feral. See also: synurb, antisynurb.

fight-or-flight (hyperarousal or accute stress response) – psychology – One of two possible reactions to a dangerous, potentially dangerous or frightening situation. If, for example, a dog is being attacked by, or is in any way frightened of, another dog he/she has the option of either running away or counter attacking. Dogs on a lead MAY be particularly nervous of an unknown approaching dog and, being unable to run away, may decide to attack. Careful desensitisation and counterconditioning over a period of time will be needed in this scenario. See also: DCC, desensitisation, counter conditioning, cortisol

Five ‘Fs’ – Fight, flight, freeze, fiddle about, flock.

flehmen – One important distinction between humans and dogs – and indeed many other mammals, reptiles and amphibians – is the vomeronasal organ (VNO [pertaining to the bone separating the nostrils]) or Jacobson’s organ. The presence of this vital organ was confirmed in 1813 by Ludwig Jacobson. This consists of a pair of fluid filled sacs above the roof of the mouth and the upper incisors. It captures heavy moisture-borne odours enabling the animal to ‘taste’ as well as smell scent and pheromone molecules within the nasal cavity. Cats, horses and others will often grimace by curling the upper lip upon capturing such an odour! This phenomenon is known as ‘flehmen’. I have not observed dogs doing this but they do open their mouths and drool, presumably having the same effect!

floodingpsychology – Exposing a person or animal to a certain situation or stimulus of which that person or animal is fearful; the theory being that the fear will be overcome. For example, a dog fearful of other dogs is subjected (exposed) to others en masse. However the success rate is low and may actually have the opposite effect and make the dog dangerously more fearful or even shut down in the hope the situation or stimulus will go away. A better approach would be gradual desensitisation until saturation exposure is achieved. See also: DCC, counterconditioning.

flora – Pertaining to plants, especially plants grown in a certain area. Example sentence: “The flora of the Amazonian rainforest is abundant.” See also: fauna.

folivore – noun: folivorous – adjective: Foliage eating animal.

FSC – Forestry Stewardship Council. Their mark lets you know the wood is from a sustainable source.

frugivore – noun: frugivorous – adjective: Fruit eating animal.

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gaia (gaea) – From Greek mythology; the personification of all Earth. The ancestral mother of all life. The primal Mother Earth goddess. Roman equivalent Terra. See also: gaia hypotheses, life, evolution.

gaia hypothesis or gaia theory – From the relatively new branch of science known as ‘geophysiology’ or ‘Earth system science’. The theory, suggested by the scientist James Lovelock, hypothesises that all living things on Earth somehow act together to influence the whole environment, and that influence helps maintain homeostasis and conditions which suit them. More emphatically; the Earth is alive. Everything on it forms part of a single self-regulatory living entity. Symbiosis is the relationship between two organisms which mutually benefit both, but here, Lovelock assumes the high ground! By some this is considered an extension (even contrary) to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection and that life will continue regardless. Lovelock suggests that we should give up trying to save the earth but rather concentrate on living in mega air conditioned cities! See also: gaia, life, evolution, population explosion.

gamete – A mature germ cell, such as the male spermatazoon or female ovum. These, or other germ cells, fuse together during fertilisation. Gametes will be found in plant pollen which will attach itself to foraging insects and be transferred to another plant, thereby creating fertility.

genotype – The particular type and arrangement of genes that an organism has. Genetic constitution. Intangible characteristics of an organism. Compare phenotype.

Gigantopithecus – (pronounced: Ji-gant-o-pith-e-cus) A genus of extinct ape of southern Asia existing during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs (some 9m YBP to 100k YBP). Believed to be the biggest hominid that ever lived standing up to 3m (10ft) and weighing 540 kg (85st). Belonging to the superfamily Hominidae along with Stiganopithecus.

gland – A cell or organ in mammals that synthesizes chemical substances and secretes them for the body to use or eliminate, either through a duct or directly into the bloodstream.

global warming – See: greenhouse effect.

grassland – There are considered three types of grassland throughout the world:  steppe, temperate and tropical (savanna). The largest area of temperate calcareous grassland in the UK and indeed, north west Europe, is Salisbury Plain where the soil is thin and chalky able to sustain only a few trees and little farming.

By contrast huge swathes of Africa are considered tropical grassland or savanna. Savannas generally flourish in areas between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, that is central Africa, South and Central America, India, south west Asia and northern Australia. The areas are flat with only a few widely spaced deciduous trees, shrubs and herbs. The climate will vary throughout the world but on average the temperature range is 20 – 25 degrees with low humidity in the seven months of winter and 25 – 30 degrees in the summer with much higher humidity. Due to the poor soil and arid conditions throughout the dry winter season little vegetation grows here, most plants will shrivel and disappear and rivers will dry up. The wet summer season will replenish the rivers and lakes and plant life will re-emerge.

Depending on location, there are many large herbivores including elephants, gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes and buffaloes. Some will not survive the dry season. These attract carnivores such as lions, cheetahs and serval cats which prey upon these and other animals.

The main threats to conservation and the environment include tourism where humans and their all terrain vehicles will cause stress to the animal and plant life; over grazing will exacerbate plant life and will often leave desert like conditions; farmers encroaching on grasslands with drought resistant strains of wheat, corn and soy beans; encroaching urban development and, of course, the never far away effects of global warming. See also: greenhouse effect.

greenhouse effect – An effect occurring in greenhouses whereby radiant heat from the sun passes through the glass warming the contents, the heat inside being trapped by the glass. This theory applies to the Earth’s atmosphere when carbon dioxide and other gasses absorb infrared radiation (heat) bounced back from the planet’s surface. The gasses thus act as an insulator increasing Earth’s mean temperature. This in known as ‘global warming’. This leads to melting of the ice caps and consequent rising of sea levels, desertification and other side effects. As mentioned, carbon dioxide is the main constituent gas, others being methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and water vapour in the form of clouds. Much carbon dioxide and methane is formed by man’s activities, for example, the combustion of carbon-based fuels, principally coal, oil, natural gas, along with deforestation, soil erosion and animal agriculture. Some global warming is essential to life for without it Earth would be 14⁰C cooler than now – too cool for humans to survive. See also: the hamburger connection.

hamburger connection (the) – The deforestation of tropical rain forests in favour of beef production. At first sight it’s not easy to relate hamburgers and steaks to the deforestation of the Tropics. In Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and other countries of Central and Latin America, tropical forests are burnt down to make space for cattle breeding. In 1980, it was calculated that 72% of the Amazonian region of Brazil was deforested to obtain cattle pastures. The United States import 33% of all the beef of the world’s market and therefore almost all the meat produced by Tropical pastures; Europe also imports meat from Tropical America and Africa. To produce the meat for just two hamburgers in a tropical forest involves an area of approximately 24 square metres, which is as much as the surface of your living room. This area, that produces 100g of minced meat, accommodates on average over 500 kg of living matter, plants, flowers, butterflies, birds, monkeys. It has been calculated that a primary tropical forest takes 600 to 1,000 years to re-form. In addition, burning or destroying a tropical forest to use the land as pasture or farmland makes the soil sterile in a few years because of the rains washing away the few nutrients contained in the tropical soil. See also: greenhouse effect.

heterospecific – Antonym of conspecific. See also: allospecific.

hippocampus – an area of the cerebral cortex that forms a ridge in the floor of the lateral ventricle of the brain, which in cross section has the shape of a sea horse (hence the name). It functions as part of the limbic system and is responsible for long term memory.

hoi polloi – derogatory reference to ‘ordinary’ people as opposed to those of ‘well to do’ means, rich, well educated or upper class.

homeostasis – 1. Maintenance of balance within the body. The maintenance of metabolic equilibrium within an animal by a tendency to compensate for disrupting changes. The  tendency of a system, especially the physiological system of higher animals, to maintain internal stability, owing to the coordinated responses of its parts.

2. Psychology: a state of psychological equilibrium obtained when tension or a drive has been reduced or eliminated. 

3. Entomology: the ability of members of a colony of social insects to behave cooperatively to produce a desired result, as when bees co-ordinate the fanning of their wings to cool the hive. See also: cortisol, adrenaline.

hominid – Any primate of the Hominidae family which includes modern man (homo sapiens), apes AND the extinct precursors of man and ape. Not to be confused with hominoid.

hominoid – Pertaining to man, manlike. Belonging to the superfamily Hominidae which includes the anthropoids: apelike, but NOT including extinct species. Not to be confused with hominid.

homo – L. man. A genus of hominid including extinct species such as homo habilis and homo erectus along with modern man, homo sapiens and homo scientificus or ‘space ape‘. See also: Stiganopithecus.

honey – A sweet viscous substance made by bees from nectar by the mixing of enzymes in a special body pouch and stored in the honeycomb as food.

honeycomb – A wax structure, constructed by bees in a nest, that consists of adjacent hexagonal cells (six sided plane) in which honey is stored, eggs are laid and larvae develop. See also: beeswax.

hormone – A chemical substance produced by a gland and transported in the blood to a certain tissue, on which it exerts a certain change or effect.

Human Development Index (HDI) – A statistical composite index of life expectancy, education and per capita income. The highest possible and ideal index would be 1. In practice the highest measure would typically be > 0.900 (including most countries of Europe, North America and most of Australasia) and the lowest < 0.399.

humanoid – Having the appearance of man but NOT human; pertaining to science fiction – a robot or creature.  Not to be confused with hominoid or hominid.

humus – The part of the soil that contains dead plants that have begun to decay. A dark brown or black colloidal mass of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil. It improves the fertility and water retention of the soil and is therefore important for plant growth. See also: chernozem.

hydrogen – A flammable, colourless, odourless gaseous chemical element, the lightest of all known substances. The word is derived from ‘hydro & gen’, referring to the generation of water from the combustion of the gas. Chemical symbol H. Two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen come together to form water. Symbol H2O.  At its most basic level life must contain organic molecules of carbon and hydrogen.

hypoglycaemic – Having unusually small amounts of sugar in the bloodstream.

hypothalamus – A region contained within the forebrain and part of the limbic system, controlling the autonomic nervous system via the hormone producing pituitary gland, which in turn is part of the endocrine system. In other words it links the nervous system with the endocrine system. It controls basic needs such as hunger, thirst, body temperature and homestatic systems including sleep and emotion. See also: homeostasis, limbic systemcortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, oxytocin.

hypothyroidism

idiosyncrasies – unusual characteristics or habits of a person, animal or thing. Example sentence: “You never know where you stand with John; he has his little idiosyncrasies.”

ideopathic aggression – Relates to a medical problem, disease or condition of no known cause. Spontaneous for no apparent reason, the cause of which is unknown.

immutable – Unchanging through time, unalterable, ageless. Example sentence: It is a common fallacy that behaviour with a strong genetic basis is immutable.

inattenional blindness – Also known as perceptual blindness – noun: The term was coined by Arien Mack and Irvin Rock in 1992. A psychological lack of attention in which a person will only see what they want to see or expect to see; not as the result of any visual defects or deficits. Temple Grandin writes in her book ‘Animals In Translation’ “…..people’s perceptual systems are built to see what they are used to seeing. If they’re used to seeing gorillas in the middle of basketball games, they see gorillas. If they’re not used to seeing gorillas in the middle of a basket ball game, they don’t.”

infrared – Type of light that feels warm but cannot be seen with the naked eye. Specialised equipment is needed (e.g. cameras, night vision goggles) to see infrared light.

in utero – Within the womb.

ipso facto – If something is ipso facto true, it must be true, by virtue of the fact that it has been mentioned. By the very fact or act.

IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature.

knack attack – To feel the need for sleep particularly after a heavy meal.

LAT – (citation needed). See also: BAT, CAT.

Law of Correlation – The ability of an organism to adapt and evolve. The correlation of an organism with its environment. For example animals living in a non-supportive environment and without sufficient food will either a) adapt, or b) become extinct. Unfortunately it also means that humans (usually those of lower socio-economic groups) will suffer the most as a result of famine, wars, earthquakes, flooding etc……………………  See also: correlation, correlation coefficient.

life – Perhaps the most obvious criterion for life is being able to reproduce. If something is alive, then it must be able to produce copies of itself, which may or may not be identical. But this criterion is not sufficient on its own because crystals are able to grow and produce identical copies of themselves if placed in a salt solution. And no one would argue as to whether or not crystals are alive.

To the ability to to reproduce we need to add the ability to evolve. For something to be alive, the copies it produces of itself need to be able to change gradually across the generations in response to environmental factors. Evolution in the domesticated dog world can happen quickly, after only a few generations by selective breeding. If left to nature, the same changes would take millennia to occur through the process of natural selection.

Some questions to ask if an organism is alive: 1. Is it made up of at least one cell? 2. Does it metabolise – does it use and release energy? 3. Does it grow and change over time? 4. Does it respond to any physical, chemical or environmental stimuli? 5. Does it reproduce either sexually or asexually, and evolve? If the answer is NO to any of these questions, then what you’re looking at is actually NOT alive!

At its most basic level life must contain organic molecules of carbon and hydrogen. See also: evolution, Law of Correlation, population explosion, gaia hypothesis

LIMA – Least intrusive minimal aversive.

limbic system – Often referred to as ‘the thinking brain’, bridging the gap between the autonomic nervous system – controlled by the hypothalamus – and the body. 

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mammal – A warm blooded vertebrate (pertaining to a bony or cartilaginous skeleton and a well-developed brain) characterised by the possession of hair or fur (but not necessarily as in the case of sea mammals), a four chambered heart and a thoracic (chest) diaphragm. The female has mammary glands for the secretion of milk to nourish her young and (typically) gives birth to live offspring. The class includes whales, dolphins, carnivores, primates, rodents, bats etc. as opposed to fishes, amphibians, reptiles, invertebrates and birds.

marsupial – A rodent like mammal in which the young are born in an immature state and continue development in the marsupiam (external pouch). The order occurs mainly in Australia and South and Central America and includes the opossums, bandicoots, koala, wombats and kangaroos.

marsupialism – 1. The ability to nurture one’s young with utmost care immediately after birth esp. if born prematurely. 2. An animals ability to grow an appendage or organ through, for example, cell reproduction or evolution.

machine learning

Mech, L David (pronounced MEECH) –  Wolf researcher. Go to:- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._David_Mech. See also: Schenkel, R.

metaphysics – (usually treated as singular) – 1.The branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time and space. 2. Abstract theory with no basis in reality.

MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging.

NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration. An American government independent agency concerned with space travel and space craft.

nectar – A sugary fluid produced in the nectaries of plants to encourage insects, birds and other animals thus aiding pollination as pollen from the plant is attached to and carried by the animal. Bees collect nectar to make honey.

neurotransmitter

NRM – Non reward marker for example a click given by a training clicker or jingle from training discs.

OCD – Obsessive-compulsive disorder. An anxiety disorder in which a person or animal will repeat the same action over and over. This may be a human repeatedly washing hands, a cat constantly grooming or a dog chasing its tail. Caged animals will pace back and forth – this may be classified as OCD but compounded by boredom.

OECD – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

olfaction – The act or process of smelling.

ontogeny – biology – The entire sequence of events involved in the development (rather than evolution) of an individual organism. See also: phylogeny.

operant – One who operates. Having influence or producing an effect. See also: operant conditioning.

oxytocin – Often referred to as the love hormone. Oxytocin is released naturally from the pituitary gland when the neurons in the brain’s hypothalamus region are stimulated. It is present in both females and males affecting sperm movement and testosterone production. Now known to be present in dogs – hence a strong attachment to their human keeper. Non-pregnant rats and sheep that are given oxytocin show rapid behavioural changes that are maternal in nature. Synthetic oxytocin is manufactured to help speed up labour for women who aren’t having strong enough contractions.

operant conditioning (structured conditioning – controlled conditioning – instrumental conditioning) – 1. Learning by consequence 2. The strengthening or weakening of a behaviour  through postcedent reinforcement or punishment. 3. Conditioning in which a controlled response is initiated by offering a reward. Controlled by the operator / environment. 4. Behaviour defined by the result rather than the stimulus which caused it. 5. Operant conditioning occurs once classical conditioning is in place. For example a dog learns to associate a marker (click or verbal praise) with a reward once the desired response has occurred.
Quote from Stan Rawlinson – Positive reinforcement is excellent but not in isolation. It must be coupled with consistent actions, encouraging good behaviour but actively ensuring we don’t reward or ignore the unacceptable behaviour. If right or wrong is clearly indicated then it’s far easier to understand and follow. Your dog will be calmer more settled and your relationship will be stronger and deeper, both owner and pet will benefit. See also: operantcounter conditioning, classical conditioning, training quadrant, ASSCON.

panacea – A remedy for all diseases or ills. Example sentence: The [now outdated] dominance panacea [in dog training] is the pack theory whereby we (the human) must become the alpha dog in order to suppress unwanted behaviour and thence to train successfully.

paradigm – A typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model. A framework containing the basic assumptions, ways of thinking and methodology that are commonly accepted by members of a scientific community. See also discriminative learning.

parsimony – Meanness, extreme care or reluctance to spend, penny-pinching, frugal. Example sentences: 1. The government has been parsimonius in its spending on the arts. 2. Strolling down Regent’s Street I fancied something to eat but parsimony got the better of me!

pathological – Describes a person or animal when they behave in an extreme and unacceptable way, and have very powerful feelings which they cannot control.

Pavlov, Ivan

perceptual blindness – also known as inattentional blindness – The term was coined by Arien Mack and Irvin Rock in 1992. A psychological lack of attention in which a person will only see what they want to see or expect to see; not as the result of any visual defects or deficits. Temple Grandin writes in her book ‘Animals In Translation’ “…..people’s perceptual systems are built to see what they are used to seeing. If they’re used to seeing gorillas in the middle of basketball games, they see gorillas. If they’re not used to seeing gorillas in the middle of a basket ball game, they don’t.”

peritonitis – a disease in which the inside wall of the abdomen becomes swollen and painful.

permafrost – Land that is permanently frozen to a great depth – typically found in the tundra regions of North America and Eurasia.

pharmacopoeia – An authoritative book containing a list and description of drugs and medicines together with the standards established under law for their production, dispensation, use, etc.

phenotype – The physical characteristics of an organism as determined by the interaction of its genetic constitution and the environment. Tangible or visible characteristics. Compare genotype.

pheromone – Biological significant odour molecules. From the Greek phero (to bear) and hormone (to excite). A physiological or chemical response secreting or excreting a hormone into the environment via the skin, sweat glands, saliva or urine after a certain arousal orchestrated by a being of the same species. This can be detected as a strong (or not so strong) musk. Many types of arousal can cause this hormone release including territorial, as in the laying of urine marks by dogs, sexual, aggressive and others. Also useful for insects when laying a trail (as with ants) or to attract a mate (as with butterflies)! Humans too produce pheromones though, hopefully, a little more subtle than urine odour!

phylogeny – biology – The sequence of events involved in the evolution (rather than development) of a species, genus, etc. See also: ontogeny

physick, physic (archaic) – A medicine or remedy of the cathartic, laxative or purgative type. One who administers such.

piloerection – Raised hackles along back and shoulders.

pituitary gland – Contained within the forebrain and considered the ‘master gland’ regulating hormone release from other glands within the endocrine system. It is in turn regulated by the hypothalamus.

pleiotropy – noun: pleiotropism – noun: Genetics: the condition in which a single gene exerts simultaneous effects on more than one character in an offspring. For example, a tortioseshell cat may be said to be feisty in temperament. Scientific study of this phenomenon is ongoing. If the sample or breed is too small a male cat may father many offspring, so of course that particular trait remains manifest.

polled – (of animals esp cattle) having their horns cut off or naturally hornless. 2. Shorn of hair; bald.

pollen – A fine powdery substance produced by the anthers of seed bearing plants, consisting of many fine grains containing the male gametes.

population – The number of individual inhabitants of a given area at a given time. In ecological terms this means the number of a given species. For example the elephant population in Sudan has already been driven to extinction by the illegal trade in ivory. In contrast the red kite population of the UK is increasing throughout many areas thanks to the efforts of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and avid enthusiasts. See also: ecosystem, community.

population explosion – A sudden, large increase in a population. In human terms this could be caused by economic growth coupled with the global oversupply of food, increased birth rate, reduction in infant mortality, increase in life expectancy and better healthcare generally, poor education and awareness of birth control, religious reasons and more. Population growth really took off at about the same time as the industrial revolution started. However, since World War II the global population has seen an exponential growth from an estimated 2.3 billion to a now estimated 7.2 billion and expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. This growth comes mainly from developing continents and countries such as Africa and, until recently, India. The governments of China and Russia, as examples, were until recently, actively encouraging population growth to help support the growing older population as well as for political reasons as the tensions between these two super powers ebb and flow!

The planet cannot sustain this exponential growth indefinitely. It is argued that we are currently experiencing the sixth mass extinction (Holocene extinction) on the planet with only the fittest and richest surviving. Indeed it is estimated that the planet now loses three species every hour! That’s a staggering 26,000 every year. Even taking into account NEW species being discovered there is still an estimated net loss of some 2,000 every year. Modern humans have to take responsibility since their arrival at the top of the food chain. The Law of Correlation tends to iron out peaks and troughs and the population may well, therefore, be self leveling in the short term. However, life on Earth, as we know it, will ultimately come to an end.

prebiotics

Premack principle – A theory devised by David Premack (1925 – 2015) is that a more probable (primary) behaviour will reinforce a less probable (secondary) behaviour. An individual will be more motivated to perform a particular unwanted activity if they know that they will be able to partake of a more desirable activity as a consequence – in other words if they are given an incentive. Examples: 1. A mother tells her child he can have his pudding (primary behaviour – desirable) if he eats his meat (secondary behaviour – undesirable). 2. When training a dog to ‘recall’, he is set up by the handler and a second person, the stooge, who is some distance away. The stooge has valuable treats (desirable) but the handler has none – the dog knows this! To reach the treats the dog must return to the handler (secondary behaviour – undesirable) first. The stooge then passes the treats to the handler who offers them to the dog. The more probable primary behaviour – reaching the treats – has reinforced the less probable secondary behaviour. See also: response deprivation theory

proofing – Process whereby a dog is taught to listen and respond under a variety of different conditions. proof – noun: evidence that the dog has learnt what is required, for example has a reliable recall in spite of many distractions. proof – verb: 1. To make tight, waterproof, infallible. 2. To protect against something, guarantee. 3. A dog can be successfully trained to comply using operant conditioning. This is a direct-access means of modifying behaviour. To say that a dog doesn’t want to recall, when, in fact, he has not been conditioned, nor had the correct behaviour proofed, is actually an excuse. In other words, a desired behaviour needs to be trained then proofed.

probiotics

protein –  A substance found in food and drink such as meat, eggs and milk. It is needed in order to grow, build and repair body structure, and be healthy. The cornerstone of life comprising some 20 amino acids.

progesterone

rage syndrome – Also known as sudden onset aggression (SOA). A genetic disorder that manifests itself in the form of sudden aggression towards humans, animals and inaniminate objects. This can be likened to epilepsy and can only be treated medically. It is mostly found in Springer Spaniels.

RBST – Rare Breed Survival Trust.

reinforcer – A primary reinforcer is a reinforcer that an animal is born needing such as food, water, shelter. Secondary, or conditioned reinforcers are stimuli, objects (e.g. a clicker), or events that become reinforcing based on their association with a primary reinforcer. A dog isn’t born wanting to play with a clicker or squeaky toy, but when paired with a primary reinforcer such as food, fun or social interaction, it becomes a conditioned or secondary reinforcer. The toy, then, can be used to reinforce behaviors the dog likes, much as one would use a food treat.

response deprivation theory

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saturation exposure – The complete exposure of a person or animal to a situation or stimulus. For example a dog fearing a certain stimulus (say fireworks) may be flooded 100% to that stimulus. In reality this may exacerbate the situation so flooding, or desensitisation may need to be graduated in stages of, for example 10%, until saturation exposure (100%) is reached. See also: DCC, counter conditioning.

savanna – Huge swathes of Africa are considered tropical grassland or savanna. Savannas generally flourish in areas between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, that is central Africa, South and Central America, India, south west Asia and northern Australia. The areas are flat with only a few widely spaced deciduous trees, shrubs and herbs. The climate will vary throughout the world but on average the temperature range is 20 – 25 degrees with low humidity in the seven months of winter and 25 – 30 degrees in the summer with much higher humidity. Due to the poor soil and arid conditions throughout the dry winter season little vegetation grows here, most plants will shrivel and disappear and rivers will dry up. The wet summer season will replenish the rivers and lakes and plant life will re-emerge.

Depending on location, there are many large herbivores including elephants, gazelles, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes and buffaloes. Some will not survive the dry season. These attract carnivores such as lions, cheetahs and serval cats which prey upon these and other animals.

sensitise – 1: To become sensitive or susceptible to. 2: To make (an individual, dog, horse etc) sensitive to noise, a drug, allergen etc. 3: To make aware of a situation or problem. 4: To sensitise means to make or become sensitive or to make susceptible.  If a dog is fearful of noises or loud bangs it is sensitive to them – the dog is sensitised,  in fact “over sensitive” to them.  Being sensitive to something doesn’t necessarily mean being fearful of it, but being fearful of something can mean being sensitive or sensitised to that thing. Being fearful of spiders means being highly sensitised to them – one can almost sense their presence being aware of movement or shape. Though not specifically sensitised to them, the nature of being fearful of them may make one extra sensitive to them – even things that look like them, like a bit of balled up cotton on the floor! Opposite to desensitise – to remove the sensitivity or fear.

If we want to sensitise we also want to increase responsiveness – but being over responsive to something can be unhealthy.  Horses are a very good example – we want a horse to be sensitised to the leg and so be sensitive when pressure is applied so that it moves forwards.  Therefore we reward the slightest try so that the horse becomes more and more sensitive to this stimulus.  However, if we kick and nag, the horse will either a) run away in fear, or b) adapt. However, horses that are “over sensitive” to the leg and run away from it (riders often claim the horse is forward going but usually the horse is scared and running way form the leg) need to go through some desensitisation in order to balance out the response.

sentient – Person, animal or being that possesses consciousness, having the power of sense, perception, sensation or emotion. – noun: A sentient person, animal or being. (NB – it is possible to be unconscious but nevertheless possess consciousness).

sequester – To separate or remove, to retire into seclusion, to requisition or appropriate, to remove from ownership. Example sentence: The artist sequestered himself in his studio all day long.

serotonin –  1: Serotonin is a chemical manufactured in the brain and the intestines. The majority of the body’s serotonin, between 80-90%, can be found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can also be found in the blood platelets and the central nervous system (CNS). Thought to affect mood, for example making you feel happier, calmer or less hungry. 2: A neurotransmitter, (some say a hormone) synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid, that is involved in sleep, memory, depression, anxiety and other neurological processes. 3: A chemical messenger that is believed to act as a mood stabilizer. It is said to produce healthy sleeping patterns as well as boost good mood.

Tryptophan is found in foods but serotonin isn’t. Supplements can increase serotonin levels via this amino acid. Although purified tryptophan increases brain serotonin, foods containing tryptophan do not. This is because tryptophan is transported into the brain by a transport system that favours the large neutral amino acids (LNAA) and tryptophan is the least abundant amino acid in protein. However, for a natural approach to increasing this ratio try eating foods that contain tryptophan such as eggs, cheese, milk, pineapple, salmon, fish, tofu, turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, red meat, oats, beans and lentils. These foods along with iron, riboflavin and vitamin B6 all tend to contain large amounts of this amino acid. While high tryptophan foods won’t boost serotonin on there own, there’s one possible cheat to this system; carbohydrates:

Carbs cause the body to release more insulin, which promotes amino acid absorption and leaves tryptophan in the blood. Mixing high tryptophan foods with carbs, might boost serotonin levels. High carb foods include brown rice, peas, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, potatoes, carrots, pizza, and more. However, tryptophan found in food has to compete with other amino acids (LNAAs) (as discussed above) to be absorbed into the brain, so it’s unlikely to have much effect on serotonin levels. This differs from tryptophan supplements containing the purified form. Supplements (including brewer’s yeast) can be taken on there own but medical advice should be sought. Alternatively, eat the above foods regularly. To recap: eggs, cheese, milk, pineapple, salmon, fish, red meat, beans, lentils, tofu, turkey, chicken, nuts, seeds, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, potatoes, pizza, peas, carrots along with a generally high fibre diet. Supplemental probiotics may also be of value. Other ways to boost serotonin levels are exercise, sunshine (light therapy) and a positive attitude to life (friends, laughter, interests and an outdoor lifestyle). See also: ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

Skinner, B F (1904-1990) – Renowned American behaviourist, psychologist, philosopher and author. Whilst at Harvard University he described the science of operant conditioning, his mentors being both Pavlov and Watson. He described clickers as conditioned reinforcers. Although Thorndike is often credited with being the first to outline operant conditioning concepts in 1911, Skinner was the first to widely publicise this new idea.

SOR: sudden onset aggression. see also: rage syndrome.

space ape – The hominid homo scientificus, the successor to homo sapiens.

steppe – Large areas of flat grassland plains south of the taiga especially in the region stretching from eastern Europe to southern Russia into Siberia. The climate is too dry for forests to grow but the soil, known as chernozem, is fertile and good for agriculture. See also: tundra.

steriod – biochemistry – any of a large group of fat soluble organic compounds containing a characteristic chemical ring system. The majority, including the sterols, bile acids, many hormones and the D vitamins, have important physiological action. 

Stiganopithecus – (pronounced: Stig-ano-pith-e-cus) An ancient humanoid / ape / mole genus standing about 3m high belonging to the superfamily Hominidae and the gigantopithecus sub-family. It is thought to date back some nine million years originally from an area around modern day China but now living throughout northern Europe. It lives deep underground near landfill sites and appears at night to scavenge; hence there are very few sightings. Typically a community consists of a matron, buck, workers, doctors, animal doctors, opticians and dentists. It is red listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and as such is an endangered species. See also: space ape.

stimulus – Act to arouse action, input, stimulation. See also: discriminative stimulus.

stymy or stymie – 1.To mystify. 2. To hinder or thwart. 3. To impede. Example sentence: Many dogs will chase with gusto and either fail to pick up, pick up and drop or lose interest, or else pick up and hoard rather than bring the object back to the trainer. Improving presentation stymies many people but the principles are the same.

sudden onset aggression (SOR) – See also: rage syndrome.

symbiosis – The close relationship between two organism which mutually benefit both. For example, a bee gathering nectar will benefit both the bee and plant.

symbiotic – opp. antibiotic.

syn-  – prefix: With or together, fusion. E.g. synecology – the ecological study of animals or plants and how they fuse with their communities. 

synecology – The ecological study of communities of animals or plants. See also: autoecology.

synergy – also called synergism – the potential ability of individuals, organisations or groups to be more successful or productive as the result of a merger. Energy as a result of coming together or fusion thereof.

syntax – Pertaining to language in which the way that words are put together. An orderly arrangement or system.

synurb – An animal that may be described as synurbic, living in synurbia. Happy to live in an urban environment alongside humans whilst remaining undomesticated. Examples are red foxes, pigeons, grey squirrels, rabbits, the striped field mouse, the stone marten, badgers, the brown bear, rats, certain bat species and feral dogs and cats. See also: synurbism, antisynurbic, antisynurbism.

synurbia – An area or ecosystem inhabited by synurbs. See also: synurbism, synurbic, antisynurbic, antisynurbism.

synurbic – Used to describe animals that thrive in urban habitats and will actively move into towns and cities. Happy to live alongside humans but undomesticated. See also: synurb, synurbia, synurbismantisynurbic, antisynurism.

synurbism – The process or transition of moving from a wild, semi wild or feral state through to a semi domesticated or domesticated state. To act in a synurbic way. Domesticated dogs and cats, previously wild, moved to human settlements to scavenge food and eventually live harmoniously in our homes. They may have been described as displaying synurbism. See also: synurb, synurbiasynurbic, antisynurbic, antisynurbism.

taiga – A coniferous forest (pine, spruce, fir etc) contained within sub-arctic regions of North America and Eurasia, bordered by tundra to the north and steppe to the south. See also: boreal.

TARR – Trigger – Action – Result – Response, as will occur in classical conditioning.

Thorndike, Edward Lee

thyroid – A gland (organ) in the throat that is involved in controlling how the body develops and works. With dogs, therefore, it is important that any neck collar and lead is not pulled too tightly causing damage to the gland (or a broken neck or strangulation). In humans the ‘adam’s apple’ is formed (more noticeable in men) by the angle of the thyroid.

training discs

training quadrant

trigger stacking – (stress accumulation) – The accumulation of a series of events that trigger a reaction in a dog, each trigger being aggravated by the preceding one. The dog will eventually reach saturation exposure until he/she either reacts passively by closing down and withdrawing or reacting aggressively, possibly becoming dangerously out of control. 

Here is a hypothetical example: Fido has had a bad afternoon; he met an aggressive dog whilst out walking on lead with his owner. As Fido was unable to run away he lunged at the dog (a fight-or-flight scenario). His owner jerked the lead and shouted a harsh reprimand. Later that evening some fireworks started outside which startled Fido so he started barking. The owner told him to shut up! The household cat, who was impervious to the noise, jumped up at Fido as if inviting him to play. This was the last straw for Fido who, quite out of character, having reached saturation exposure, attacked the cat then had to be pulled away by the owner. Fortunately Fido did not turn against him but, instead, shot up the stairs to hide, shivering, under the owner’s bed. The moral here is to know your dog, look out for tell tale signs in the form of body language and manage the situation in a clam, sensitive and non-confrontational way.

tryptophan – an essential amino acid; released from proteins by tryptic digestion and a precursor to serotonin. A component of proteins necessary for growth. Part of the process which produces serotonin which is found within the neurons of the nervous systemExample sentence: It contains lashings of tryptophan, which helps to relax the body when you want to go to sleep.

tundra – A vast treeless zone lying between the ice cap and the treeline of North America and Eurasia – permanently frozen (permafrost) beneath a thin layer of topsoil. Temperatures can fall to -50 degrees c in the winter.

unitary – unit, one, whole. A country or organisation consisting of two or more factions that have come together with the same aims and controlled by a central government or authority. See also: federal.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – An international environmental treaty adopted on 9th May 1992 and opened for signature in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. It then entered into force on 21st March 1994, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified it. The UNFCCC objective is stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (caused by people or human activity) interference with the climate system.

The parties to the convention have met annually from 1995 in the Conferences of the Parties (COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change. The latest (2018) was in Katowice, Poland known as COP24 (24th Conference to the Parties). At the conclusion of this two week summit, 196 countries, including the US, approved a landmark pact designed to curb global warming. It established a new ‘rule book’ that will provide a framework for implementing the pledges made as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement. This aims to restrict average temperature rises this century to below 2°C. The rules state how nations should measure greenhouse gas emissions and how they should account for meeting their pledges to curb them. The agreement also sets new financial targets for assisting poor countries. See also:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Framework_Convention_on_Climate_Change

vacuous – (pronounced: vac-u-ous) Empty, mindless, bereft of ideas or intelligence. A vacuous gaze, a vacuous mind. Idle, indulging in no physical or mental activity. Example sentence: ‘In the background I could hear the soundtrack of whatever vacuous soap opera Jenny was watching’.

vomernasal organ (VNO) – One important distinction between humans and dogs – and indeed many other mammals, reptiles and amphibians – is the vomeronasal organ (VNO [pertaining to the bone separating the nostrils]) or Jacobson’s organ. The presence of this vital organ was confirmed in 1813 by Ludwig Jacobson. This consists of a pair of fluid filled sacs above the roof of the mouth and the upper incisors. It captures heavy moisture-borne odours enabling the animal to ‘taste’ as well as smell scent and pheromone molecules within the nasal cavity. Cats, horses and others will often grimace by curling the upper lip upon capturing such an odour! This phenomenon is known as ‘flehmen’. I have not observed dogs doing this but they do open their mouths and drool, presumably having the same effect!

Watson, J B – In spite of much talk about Pavlov, ‘J B Watson was the person who started the movement in psychology that is called behaviourism’. Watson (1878 – 1958) was a psychologist who worked at the University of Chicago. He was of the opinion that to learn about behaviour a scientific approach was needed rather than relying on emotions and feelings. He discovered it was possible to condition a fear response or startle reflex. Watson’s ‘Little Albert’, as he became known, was an 11 month old boy who was encouraged to play with a rat freely. Later a loud noise was introduced each time Albert reached out to the rat. After one week Albert became fearful of the rat without the noise. This was further generalised to include a dog, a rabbit and a Santa Clause mask.

World Bank Group – A unique global partnership of 189 countries fighting poverty worldwide through sustainable solutions. Mission Statement: To end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity in a sustainable way.

When is a sheepdog not a sheepdog? When it’s a Border Collie

Yes, I agree this is a nonsensical statement but even the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) do not have a definition. The nearest I could find on their website is: ‘an ISDS Border Collie has no breed standard’. By implication, therefore, we assume a sheepdog and a Border Collie are the same thing and exclude other breeds! Hypothetically, if I had a Kelpie under two years of age I could NOT register this dog with the ISDS as a sheepdog. My Kelpie could, however, compete in anything up to Open level without the need for registration. Upon attaining the age of two years my dog may seek ‘Registration on Merit’ either via ‘competition success’ or a ‘working test’ in order to compete at National or International level. BUT (and I quote) “only if it looks like a Border Collie”. Does a Kelpie or an Aussie (and all the other herding breeds – the list is endless) look like a BC? It’s all subjective. The aficionados of these breeds would, I’m sure, agree to disagree!