A really neat writeup summarizing a talk by Ken Ramirez about teaching dogs to think conceptually.
Concept training takes the dog and trainer a step beyond normal training. Rather than a simple relation between a cue, a behavior, and a consequence (such as going around a certain sign on a certain street corner), the dog learns a broader rule or set of rules that can be applied to new situations.
One of Ken Ramirez’s most recent projects has focused on teaching a dog to count. Or, more specifically, teaching the dog to distinguish how many objects were presented. This project is still ongoing and the dog can currently count accurately up to ten objects.
A great reminder that you need to look at the big picture when training your dog. Dogs do have emotional states, and it’s important to take them under consideration during training.
If you don’t take the time to understand the underlying emotions that might be causing your dog’s undesirable behaviors, then you’ll also struggle to find effective training solutions.
Back in the 1970s, Golden Retrievers routinely lived until 16 and 17 years old, they are now living until 9 or 10 years old. Golden Retrievers die mostly of bone cancer, lymphoma and a cancer of the blood vessels more than any other breed in the country. Scientists from the Colorado-based Morris Animal Foundation picked up on this observation and are studying the popular Golden Retriever dog breed to find out why their lifespan has gotten shorter over the years and why cancer is so prevalent within this specific breed.
Very interesting, and I’m very curious about what the results of this study end up being!