animal performers

minjoon moment….ft. hobi^^

wolpasaurus  asked:

I was wondering if you knew anything about the situation with Billy the Asian Elephant at the LA Zoo? I just received an email from the Zoo that a city council motion was filed to remove Billy from the zoo, and they're still trying to fight to keep him. A lot of people claim he appears stressed which is why there's been a big fight to get him moved. I don't really know a lot about elephants so I don't really know what side is best to take or what sources to take seriously (other than the Zoo).

I’ve been following the story of Billy pretty closely. I’m glad you asked - it’s the sort of thing I think is really important to talk about, because people need to understand what’s going on behind the nicely framed stories about animal activism you hear in the media, but I’m never sure how much of that sort of animal industry politics followers are interested in reading. 

The reason this specific instance is so important is because it’s a hell of a lot more complicated than ‘sanctuary vs zoo, which is better for the animals’. The decision to go after Billy - and only Billy, and only right now - looks to me like a really strategic political decision from the animal rights movement, and it falls in line with what I’ve been researching the history, evolution, and MO of the animal rights movement. As I’ve been learning more and more about how animal rights organizations and their partnered sanctuaries conquer and divide to achieve the change they want to see, a very specific pattern of action has started cropping up and this situation exemplifies how they’ve learned to use legislation, the legal system, and the good intentions of the general public to remove animals from zoos. This explanation is going to seem a little bit like jumping at shadows, but this method of petitioning cities to seize zoo animals as assets - and the really conveniently timed fallout that would result from their success - is textbook animal rights organization planning. 

So here’s what you need to know - if Billy is sent to a sanctuary, the LA Zoo would lose their AZA accreditation. They’d likely then be subject to the new wild animal performance law that’s got major support in LA right now, because only AZA institutions would likely have an automatic exemption. The combination of loss of accreditation, potential inability to do public education and outreach, and the ability of the AR groups to spin the situation as ‘AZA kicked them out for being abusive to their elephants’ would massively damage the viability of the zoo as an institution for the foreseeable future… at which point AR groups could easily petition the city to seize more animals from the collection and send them off to sanctuaries, because it’s now “well known” what a horrible institution the LA Zoo is. That would normalize the idea that animal rights organizations and city officials with no professional animal experience know more about animal welfare than the best zoological institutions in the country, and would set a scary precedent regarding what sorts of institutions the public will accept the animal rights organizations condemning and removing animals from. With that sort of potential fallout - and all of the pieces of the puzzle having been successful, individually, within the last decade or so in regards to other animal rights campaigns - this really is not about a single elephant at all. 

AZA has this one really important rule in their accreditation standards, and it boils down to: any zoo they accredit must be considered the experts and have final say over the care of their animals. If anyone external to a AZA accredited zoo overrules that zoo’s choice of care for their animals in any way, that zoo loses their AZA accreditation because they are no longer viewed as having ultimate control over the welfare of their charges. This is really important when it comes to elephants, as the Toronto Zoo lost their AZA accreditation over exactly this situation: animal rights activists caught wind of TZ’s plan to transfer their elephants to a facility in Florida where they’d live in a bigger herd, and petitioned the city council to send the elephants a the Performing Animals Welfare Sanctuary (the same one they want Billy to go to, which has a known history of uncontrolled tuberculosis infections on the property to this day). The Toronto Zoo is a municipal zoo - which means its animals were city property - and the city council chose to claim the elephants as assets, ignore the evidence of animals with active TB already living at the chosen facility, and then overruled the Toronto Zoo staff’s due diligence about what choice would provide the best welfare for their elephants and sent them away to PAWS. Having been overruled by the city council and having lost control of animals in their collection, the Toronto Zoo lost their AZA accreditation. (They later reapplied and were re-accredited). 

So, if the animal rights activists can convince the city council to claim Billy as an asset and remove him to PAWS, it would really damage the LA Zoo as an institution. Their credibility in the eyes of the public would be destroyed, they’d lose exemptions from federal legislation due to losing their AZA status; they’d be forced to pull out of multiple major SSPs (because only AZA institutions are allowed to house animals in the Green level programs, of which LA zoo has number); they’d likely lose grant funding. What’s more, the zoo would then be subject to the recent law banning the use of any exotic animal in “entertainment”in LA, because if has the same structure as similar legislation we’ve seen in other states, only AZA facilities get an exemption. If true, that would mean the zoo would no longer be able to do education and outreach programs with their animals (and this law was backed by PAWS, the organization that runs sanctuary they’re trying to send Billy to). 

There’s a very specific reason that this whole campaign centers on Billy, not all three elephants, which is part of what makes it so clear this is a campaign with an end goal of damaging the LA Zoo’s AZA accreditation. Billy’s two elderly companions, Jewel and Tina, would be far better candidates to be sent to a sanctuary if welfare is really the concern driving the advocacy. They’re rescues from a private owner who were massively underweight and had chronic medical conditions, and it’s not as important for them to stay within AZA’s management as other elephants because they’re too old to contribute to the Asian Elephant SSP. The LA zoo has previously been willing to send older elephants to the PAWS sanctuary without needing intervention from the city council (that story is discussed below), so why is this newer campaign ignoring the elderly females and bypassing the zoo entirely by going to the city council when their welfare would likely be more improved by that sort of move? Jewel and Tina don’t belong to the LA Zoo - they’re officially part of the San Diego Zoo collection and on loan to LA - which means the city council can’t claim them as assets and forcibly remove them. The only elephant at the LA zoo that the LA city council has the ability to control is Billy, and so it’s pretty clear this is about getting the city council to overrule the zoo’s choices in caring for their collection and not about which elephants would benefit most from leaving the zoo environment. 

This is an attempt by the animal rights industry to undermine the LA Zoo as an organization - that much is clear. Billy is just a convenient figurehead and an animal that the public will empathize with while being completely unaware of the the ulterior motives behind the advocacy effort. It comes at a delicate time, too, as the LA Zoo is currently in the process of developing a new master plan for the future of the facility. That’s a future that would be massively impacted by a loss of accreditation and all the potential fallout that would go along with it. 

So that’s the context to the Billy situation, and why people are fighting so hard on both sides of the issue. But what the public really cares about here isn’t the politics, it’s the animal welfare, so here’s a look at history and the welfare of the elephant at the center of all this furor. 

Billy at the LA Zoo. (Photo Credit: San Diego Blogs)

Billy is one of three elephants at the LA Zoo - he’s the youngest, at 32, and the only male. Billy is kept separated from his two elderly female companions, Jewel and Tina, because he’s young enough to still want to reproduce and would injure the elderly ladies if he tried to mount them. However, while the elephants are always separated by a barrier, the exhibit was designed with heavy-duty wire fences that meant the elephants could always be able to see, hear, and touch each other through it. The LA Zoo Asian elephant exhibit is one of the biggest elephant habitats in the United States at 6.5 acres (with almost four acres of yard space), and was opened in 2010 - the construction of a state-of-the-art habitat was part of the resolution from the first time animal rights activists demanded the elephants move to a PAWS sanctuary. 

In 2006, an elderly Asian elephant named Gita died at the LA Zoo. It’s not clear what led to her ending up in position she did, but she was found laying on her back legs with her front legs stretched in front of her. Nothing they did could entice her to stand back up, and she eventually died as her body weight crushed her own tissue and the toxins released during that process overloaded her kidneys. (While this sounds brutal, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is likely how many elderly large animals die if they lay down for the last time in a position that puts their weight on their own body). Animal rights activists had already been agitating for the LA Zoo’s elephants to be sent to a sanctuary, and they used Gita’s death as momentum to push for Billy and the other female housed there at the time, an african elephat named Ruby, to be transported to a sanctuary where it was claimed her welfare would be much higher than at the zoo. The LA Zoo eventually caved to public pressure and chose to send Ruby to PAWS (keeping their AZA accreditation by doing so voluntarily) where she was immediately housed with other animals without a proper quarantine period, exposed to animals who were TB positive and were not diagnosed until after death, and eventually died herself in 2011 from an unknown disease that looked suspiciously like TB (PAWS declined to send out samples for testing, despite what appeared to be physical symptoms observed during the necropsy). 

Gita at the LA zoo in 1999 in the old exhibit. ( Photo Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Billy remained at the LA Zoo after Ruby left, and the organization undertook a 42-million-dollar elephant exhibit renovation with the intention of bringing in another breeding male and a number of females as part of the Asian Elephant SSP. In 2007, local activists sued to halt construction of the exhibit with the goal of removing elephants from the LA zoo permanently and forcing Billy into a sanctuary - after a case that was drawn out for a number of years and repeatedly stalled exhibit construction, the judge assigned instead that the LA Zoo was allowed to continue exhibiting elephants but was required to exercise them frequently, make regular exhibit improvements such as tilling the soil, and banned the use of tools such as bullhooks and guides at the facility. When the new elephant exhibit opened in 2010, the LA zoo decided to put breeding plans for Billy on hold in order to house a pair of bonded female Asian elephants - Jewel and Tina - who had recently been removed from a private owner who had neglected their medical care. 

The three elephants share access to the large, heated elephant barn and have 24/7 access to five unique outdoor yards. Each yard has a substrate of soft sand that is tilled regularly to keep it from becoming compacted and hard - the shifting motion of the sand helps keeps the elephants in shape as they walk over it - and each yard has unique features like puzzle feeders, bathing pools and waterfalls. 

Browse and treats are placed at unique locations around all the yards each day, encouraging the elephants to explore their environment anew each morning. In addition, a comprehensive environmental enrichment program makes sure the elephants always have novel objects and stimuli to interact with and a daily training session (which the public is able to watch as a demonstration most days a week) keeps them mentally engaged by practicing foot care, grooming, practice for any veterinary behaviors that might be needed, as well as strength- and balance-focused exercises.

The AZA accreditation standards - which cover general animal policy in 34 pages, and use another 12 to cover animal interactions with the public or use in education programs - have dedicated 32 pages specifically to the regulations regarding elephant husbandry, training, nutrition, body condition, enrichment, and welfare assessments. As a large AZA-accredited zoo that frequently falls under the celebrity-studded, critical eye of the local populace, it’s inconceivable that Billy’s care (and that of Tina and Jewel) is not in accordance with these highly detailed requirements. 

Photos of the new LA Zoo elephant exhibit. (Photo credits: The Portico Group).

The LA Zoo’s elephant exhibit, finished in 2010, was designed by The Portico Group, a design firm founded in Seattle, WA in 1990. The Portico Group’s exhibit designs consistently awards every year within the industry for their incorporation of the newest animal welfare science and management technologies as well as educational and interpretive options. Their design for the LA Zoo is on par with the quality of the rest of their designs, and features a similar amount of yard space for the elephants as the design they created for the widely-praised Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Africa expansion that opened in 2013. 

Billy in his habitat at the LA Zoo. (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

One of the biggest reasons people express a concern for Billy is a head-bobbing behavior he’s been known to perform his entire tenure at the LA Zoo. The public is aware that repetitive behaviors (called stereotypies) can be signs of low quality welfare, and often worry that means that Billy isn’t being well taken care of at the zoo. However, one thing that isn’t commonly known about sterotypical behaviors is that once developed, they rarely go away once the animal is in a better welfare situation - which leads guests to often misunderstand an animal’s behavior as it relates to their current care. 

The LA Zoo has studied Billy’s head bobbing behavior over the years, and concluded that it appears to be an anticipatory behavior rather than one brought on by stress, as it mainly occurs when the elephant is awaiting the arrival of food, expecting a keeper interaction, or getting ready for movement into another area of his habitat. They also found that Billy had been noted to be displaying the head bobbing behavior when he came to the zoo at age 4 and that it was not something not something he developed during his life at the facility. 

Just because the behavior doesn’t mean that Billy has low welfare in his situation at the LA Zoo doesn’t mean the staff just want to leave him to bob and sway: to help decrease the amount of head-bobbing Billy does and engage him in a range of other behaviors, the keeper staff change their husbandry routine slightly each day and provide enrichment at different times in order to keep him investigating his environment instead of standing and waiting for regular occurrences. 

At the end of the day, Billy’s welfare does not appear to be the impetus pushing this current furor around “rescuing him” - he’s a convenient figurehead for what appears to be a well-coordinated attempt to undercut the LA Zoo’s credibility and accreditation status. 

But even though the actual welfare of the elephant is irrelevant to the organizations pushing this agenda, the general public is now very invested in understanding Billy’s welfare in regards to the outcome of this situation. 

The sanctuary animal rights activists are recommending Billy be sent to has multiple issues with basic elephant husbandry and medical treatment. PAWS was unable to evacuate their elephants in when threatened by a massive wildfire in 2015, due to their policy against doing even the most basic husbandry training with their animals that would have allowed them to be walked into a trailer or crated for transport. Instead, the animals were sheltered on site as the fire came within a few miles of the facility, putting them through massive amounts of stress and resulting in probable smoke inhalation. PAWS frequently take in animals that are reported as healthy upon transport, only to report having to euthanize them within a few years due to crippling chronic conditions. Most concerning is that PAWS appears to be plagued by frequent tuberculosis outbreaks among their elephants, potentially with multiple strains of the disease, despite their stated adherence to biosafety protocols -and that they have had at least one animal die while sick with active, contagious TB infections that were only discovered post-mortem. 

Billy is currently housed in a modern elephant habitat that was created in accordance with best practices for elephant management by outstanding architects - a remodel that was done specifically in response to the original welfare concerns about LA Zoo’s elephants in the late 2000′s. He has access to state-of-the-art veterinary medicine and is cared for by a dedicated team keepers who practice medical treatment behaviors, like foot care, with him daily to ensure that he can quickly receive treatment in a stress-free setting if it becomes necessary in the future. LA Zoo’s elephant keepers work hard to keep Billy active, mentally stimulated, and make sure he has plenty of positive social interactions with both the human and elephant members of his herd. 

If the goal of the general public is Billy’s welfare, he is far better off in a habitat designed for him to inhabit with the staff he has known for a better part of two decades than being sent across the country to a facility with massive red flags in their elephant management program just to fulfill a political movement’s agenda of damaging the facility that holds him. 

Citations under the cut. 

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“Ritual of Oak & Mistletoe”, another painting for my recent show at Gallery Nucleus. This one was inspired by the actual druid ceremony of cutting mistletoe from a sacred oak and performing animal sacrifice to produce an elixir with healing powers. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant that sometimes grows in strange spherical formations (known as “witches brooms”) in the boughs of trees – it’s really incredible looking and not hard to understand why it would be thought to have magical properties. In my work for this show, I replaced livestock and other commonly-sacrificed animals with animals that we consider to be pests in urban areas; animals whose lives are often viewed as unimportant relative to our human comfort and desires. Goodnight, sweet pidge 🐦💖

Emotional Support Animal:

  • -are allowed on airplanes.
  • -are allowed in housing where a homeowner/association doesnt normally allow animals.
  • -there is NO certification and websites advertising these are fake. You need a note from your doctor for housing and transportation.
  • -there is NO vest or outfit and creating one in an attempt to seem official is illegal.
  • -there is NO reason for this animal to be out and about in public (besides dogs at parks etc taking a walk).

Service Animal:

  • -are legally trained to perform a specific task in assistance of their companion.
  • -are legally allowed in most public and private spaces (excluding places like kitchens of restaurants, operation rooms, and anywhere they pose a threat to others or health/safety).
  • -sometimes wear a vest/outfit stating “service animal” or “do not interact”
  • -must be on a leash or tether unless a persons disability doesn’t allow control of the animal that way.
  • -owners of an establishment are allowed to ask you to remove the animal IF it is not housebroken or is out of the owners control.

Questions you CAN ask:

You’re only allowed to ask this if it isn’t obvious why the animal is needed. You’re not allowed to ask the persons disability.

“Is this animal required because of a disability?”

“What work or task is this animal trained to perform?”

If you bring an ESA into a public/private establishment wearing a fake vest and claiming to be a service animal, that is ILLEGAL!

Not only does this behavior make others with ESAs look bad, it makes it hard for people with ACTUAL Service Animals because people are constantly expecting a rowdy and untrained companion animal.

*disclaimer: both are “service animals”. I have an ESA. She is a rat. She does not go in public. She lives with me at home and in the case that I’d need to fly somewhere or move, she’d be able to come with. That’s it.

There is no argument on whether or not you “need” an ESA. If your doctor has approved an ESA, that’s great. Do not bring it in public. Do not abuse the rights given to SERVICE ANIMALS and not your pet.

Things Not to Do to People with Service Dogs, Please, I’m Begging You
  • Immediately assume they are pets without looking
  • Pet them, ESPECIALLY without asking
  • Ask their owners to leave without checking to see if the dog is a service animal
  • Roll your eyes when the dog is a service animal
  • Ask whether the dog is a service animal when they are clearly wearing a service coat
  • stop????????????? questioning my wife’s fucking service dog
  • It doesn’t matter if “other people have tried to bring pets inside,” that doesn’t give you the right to ask illegal questions??
  • That’s like saying, “Someone hit me with a stick once, so no one can use a walking cane in my establishment because they might hit me with it.”
  • if you see a dog wearing all of these:

Helpful Facts About Service Dogs

  • They can be any breed.
  • They may even be other species, such as miniature horses.
  • They are allowed anywhere the human public is allowed, such as restaurants, stores, markets, hotels, bathrooms, etc.
  • You do not need to ask if a dog is a service dog, as long as the dog is wearing a clearly-visible jacket.
  • As an owner/employee of an establishment that someone brings a dog to, you are only entitled to ask two questions. You don’t NEED to ask any. You are allowed to ask two.
  • The first question: “Is the animal required because of a disability?” NOTE: If it is obvious what the dog does and why it is required, you ARE NOT allowed to ask this question (for example, if the handler is in a wheelchair or also using a red-tipped white cane).
  • The second question: “What task does this animal perform?” ALSO not required if it’s obvious.
  • That’s it.
  • Any more and you are violating the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), opening yourself and your business up for a hefty lawsuit.
  • There are two times you are allowed to ask a service animal to leave. You are NEVER allowed to ask the dog’s handler to leave, no matter what the animal is doing.
  • The first time you are allowed to ask the animal to step outside: if it is not housebroken, and poses a sanitary risk.
  • The second time you are allowed to ask the animal to step outside: if it is acting aggressive towards or endangering other patrons.
  • That’s it.
  • You are only allowed to charge a cleaning fee if you would normally charge a human for the same fee. In other words, if the dog leaves hair on the floor and you wouldn’t charge a human for shedding on the floor, you can’t charge. If it’s a hotel and you wouldn’t charge a human for peeing in the tub, you cannot legally charge the dog for the same.
  • You are never allowed to ask for documentation that an animal is a legitimate service animal. This is in part to protect many people who don’t have access to medically-provided dogs, who have trained their own service dogs (perfectly legal and fine), or who can’t carry papers around with them at all times.
  • You may not ask that the animal perform their task for you. What the fuck, don’t do this. Think of allergy alert dogs–are you really going to wave an allergen in front of someone that might have a deadly allergy just to prove that the dog is “real?” congratulations, your ass is sued.

If you want more helpful facts please hit me up, I’m just really sick and tired of going places with my wife and her service dog only to get the message loud and clear that everyone is nervous and we’re unwelcome, when her dog is the most polite, well-trained, well-MARKED animal you’ve ever seen.

A typical conversation entering 2/3 businesses we went into today:

Person: Ma’am, you can’t have a pet in here. You have to leave.
Wife: She’s a service dog. She’s wearing her coat.
Person: Oh, sorry. We have to ask. People bring their pets in here sometimes, and we have to ask them to leave, because they’re not allowed.
Wife: She’s not a pet, she’s a service animal.

Please spread this. Some people just don’t know. Others think that if they can’t see a disability, it doesn’t exist or need treatment.


We made an acoustic guitar duet of “Go K.K. Rider” from Animal Crossing :) 

americannightjar-deactivated201  asked:

What do you think of debarking? I feel like it's unnecessary i understand barking dogs are annoying but it seems very unnecessary

I would agree with you. I feel that debarking removes the ability of the animal to perform a totally natural behavior and impairs the dog’s ability to communicate. Debarking surgery literally removes some or all of the dog’s vocal cords, and from my research on the procedure it sounds like dogs generally have to be sedated afterwards in order to keep them from damaging the sutures by trying to vocalize.

Debarking surgeries exist because people are uninterested in or unwilling to put in the time to figure out why their dog is barking and then address the root cause. Frequent barking can occur for all sorts of reasons, many of which can be addressed with a little bit of training or changes in management, but instead dogs end up suffering simply because their owners value convenience over the animal’s long-term welfare.

The great thing about dogs is that if they didn’t exist, nobody would believe you if you described them.

They’d think you just invented some kind of mary sue animal that can perform any job from drug detection to fire rescue to hunting to leading the blind to therapy to sniffing out fucking diabetes, keep up with human endurance, and is so loyal that it’s sometimes hazardous to their health.

I was telling my boyfriend about this and I decided that I had to make a post to introduce tumblr to Pedals the bear.

Pedals is a very special black bear because he always walks on his two hind legs and doesn’t like to use his front paws (bipedal, hence Pedals). A few years ago people started seeing him in and around my town and for a while no one was sure what the heck he was. Some people claimed that he was a man in a bear suit until people started capturing footage of him doing his thing. He became a local celebrity and NJ news networks started covering his appearances. 

People started worrying that he might be injured or a lost performing animal that wouldn’t be able to survive in the wilderness, so they called for an investigation from the local wildlife service to see if he needed to be taken into captivity. After monitoring him though, it became clear that Pedals taught himself how to do this due to an injury to his front paws when he was young, and continued to walk out of habit. He’s perfectly healthy and able to forage and be social with no problem, so he’s still free and wandering around my town. He has fans who follow his appearances and seeing him is a great surprise :]

It Takes a Big Person To Train Positively

Animals need motivation to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t. In the case of dogs, this could mean sitting when greeting a group of children, recalling from a fleeing rabbit, or ignoring another dog on a walk. You can motivate your dog to perform these low-probability behaviors with things that they find reinforcing (food, toys, cool opportunities), or you can motivate them with the threat of punishment.

Carrying a treat pouch in order to reinforce your dog does not de-value your existence any more than a corrective collar would. Either way, you are utilizing something in order to help improve your dog’s behavior. It’s up owner’s to decide whether they would like to create a dog who listens out of anticipation of good things, or one who listens out of fear of punishment.

It’s unfortunate that many choose the latter, but it is also understandable. Owners of dogs who consistently misbehave are enormously frustrated for obvious reasons. Poorly behaved dogs cause their owner’s tremendous amounts of stress, and stressed out humans are not known for their excessive compassion. And I think that’s where the divide in training methods start.

Some people can be big. They can ignore or avoid the aggressive driver (knowing that getting into a car accident with some jerk isn’t worth what they’d gain by getting ahead on the road). They can smile and assist the rude customer (knowing that telling them off isn’t worth losing their job). And they can take a deep breath and ignore misbehavior from their dog long enough to come up with a plan (knowing that whatever pissed-off reaction they were about to have is probably not the most appropriate course of action long-term).

They understand that every behavior an animal displays leads to reinforcement – and that sometimes, the way to come out on top with that animal involves being nice (even when you rather wouldn’t be). They understand that sometimes, in order to get ahead, it is best to disregard perceived slights and keep your eyes on a goal.

This is the group that people who choose positive reinforcement training fall into.


They can ignore the jumping dog, rather than yelling “No! Off!”, because they understand that the jumping dog wants attention, and negative attention is better than none.

They can swiftly leap into happy / jolly-mode to re-direct their dog if it growls at another, because they understand that the next step will be a full-blown reaction of lunging and barking.

They can walk away from the dog who has declined to drop their toy on request, because they understand that the dog would like to continue the game rather than posess the toy.

It takes a big person to do those things. Other people will succumb to their impulses.

They will yell at a jumping dog, because they want it off right now.

They will yell at or collar-correct a growling dog, because they want politeness right now.

They will physically intervene and wrestle the toy away from their dog, because they feel entitled to it right now.

The big people will pause. They will think:

“If I yell at this dog now, it will seek attention from me the same way later.”

“If I punish this dog for growling now, I will increase the insecure behaviors that cause it to growl (or worse) later.”

“If I wrestle this toy from my dog’s mouth now, I will increase the chances of them guarding resources later.”

Essentially, dog owners and trainers are left in two camps: those who consider various scenarios and train for them (humanely and) proactively, and those who wait for issues to arise before responding to them (negatively and) reactively. When you do the former, there is no need for the latter. But only big people find it possible to remember this.

It is easy to want dogs to listen because ‘we are the boss’ – but big people understand that dominance theory has been de-bunked, no matter what we’d prefer to believe.  They know that dogs, like any animal, are driven to perform whatever behavior has the strongest reinforcement history. They will create training protocols based upon proven science, with confidence, knowing that what they are implementing is endorsed by decades-worth of ethological and behavioral research. 

Sometimes, change doesn’t happen immediately. And the big people know that. They do not get so concerned with what they want now as to forget their goals for later; which, for progressive trainers, is a dog who listens happily and without being frightened or hurt – not one who listens out of fear of being popped, zapped, kicked, choked, smacked, yelled at, or held on their side until they stop fighting.

Achieving the former may require the use of treats, which is what so many people will claim to oppose – but it requires far more than that. It requires the ability to be ‘big’ by setting aside our feelings of frustration and desires to act upon them long enough to observe the big picture. That, not treats, is ultimately what some people find impossible to 'carry around all the time’.
Why the cheetah is a champion sprinter
New research reveals why bigger is not always better in the animal world when it comes to speed.

They’re the sprinters of the animal world - cheetahs on land, falcons in the air and marlins in the sea.

But, why are they so fast when bigger, more muscular animals might be expected to outpace them?

Now, scientists have come up with a new theory to explain the gold medal-winning performance of animal athletes.

It appears it is all down to the energy required to get off the starting blocks.

“Scientists have long struggled with the fact that the largest animals are not the fastest,” said Prof Walter Jetz, from the US’s Yale University.

“In our work, we explain this with the simple fact that animals run out of readily mobilised energy before they are able to get their bodies to the maximum possible speed.

"So, while the largest animals in theory could be the fastest, the energy and time required to accelerate their larger bodies keep them from ever attaining it. ”

Continue Reading.

anonymous asked:

I just spent like half an hour on your training talk tag, and seeing how much you dislike CA. I don't worship the dude, but his shit really does work. If it's expedited PROPERLY. But so many people do it poorly and in my opinion that's where most of these "abuse" slanders stem from. I don't follow his shit 💯 but I do some of his ground work and my horses attitudes and respect towards me is incredible. And I don't abuse my horses at all, before you say I do.

k so I was half asleep and pulled out my laptop just for you, congratulations

1. ‘respect’ and ‘attitude’ are meaningless in the context of training animals. Literally any animal behaviorist, anyone who trains animals with any kind of basis in animal psychology, anyone with basic knowledge of animal cognition, will tell you so. Don’t believe me? Idc, go read some books. If you feel like reading some more of my tags, try out /respect or /dominance, The Horse has a few good articles. If your animal performs some behavior it has nothing to do with ‘respect’ or ‘attitude’ it has to do with ‘I’m especially itchy because of flies today and I’m grumpy’ or ‘I know if I stand too close I’ll get smacked with the rope’. Horses do what they’re trained to do, they don’t perform specific behaviors because oh gee they have so much love and respect for that person. That’s a pipe dream.

2. @clintonandersonbeatinghorses here are about a thousand reasons why allegations of ‘abuse’ aren’t fucking slander. Do his methods work? Like I give a fuck. There are a shitton of trainers whose methods work who don’t hit a blind horse on the damn face, or yank on a tight rope halter with like four goddamn knots on it, or flip a horse over backwards, or who don’t lope two year olds with their noses to their chest. His methods working is not the point. That he’s a giant ASSHOLE who’s making truckloads of money advocating and training abusive methods is the point.

3. RE: his methods work. THEY AREN’T HIS METHODS. As much as he likes to preach about his specific steps, and specific equipment, literally everything is ripped off because guess what, horses have been trained for thousands of years, and so horse trainers have pretty much got it down by now. Yield the hindquarters so you don’t get kicked. Obviously. Back the horse up out of your space so you don’t accidentally get trampled. Duh. Escalate pressure until you get a reaction, then release the pressure as the reward/to reinforce the behavior. Not rocket science. Don’t take away a scary stimuli if the horse moves away, because then you are reinforcing moving away. These are the freaking ABCs. I use these methods. You know who else uses these methods? Literally any other trainer I can think of (that isn’t a big clicker buff). Warwick Schiller, Will Faerber, that riding success chick, Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts, trainers at the spanish riding school, Carl Hester, my aunt’s sister’s boyfriend’s cousin who trains horses, probably every equine vet that needs to not be trampled. Literally every horse trainer applies aversive pressure, escalates the pressure until they get a reaction they want, and then removes the pressure. It’s just fucking Clinton Anderson who tries to put his patent on the ABCs of basic horsemanship and does so in the flashiest, most dramatic, harshest way possible. Nothing about his method is new. The only thing he brings to the table is his brutality and marketing ability. Oh yeah, and the total absence of any regard for the horse’s soundness and longterm biomechanical health. Guess what Clint? IT’S NOT HEALTHY TO RIDE TWO YEAR OLDS IN HYPERFLEXION. Guess what Clint? IT’S NOT HEALTHY FOR YOUR ‘LUNGING’ TO CONSIST OF A HORSE CIRCLING YOU AT AN UNBALANCED SPRINT OFF A ROPE HALTER.

4. If you don’t follow his methods and you don’t abuse your horses then what’s your deal? Why are you even sending this message? You just can’t stand to see me shitting on a poor, sad, adult man who’s making money faster than he can spend it on stupid hats by marketing animal abuse to poor misinformed hobby riders who just want a bond with their horse? Poor him. Poor Clinton Anderson. It’s so sad that a few people on the internet see him smacking around terrified horses and say ‘hey not cool’. That must really hurt his feelings. God I hope it hurts his sales, even a little.