dog-human relationship · Health · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Consider the (Caregiver) Placebo Effect

Most people are familiar with the concept of a “placebo effect”, the perception of improved health while unknowingly receiving a sham (placebo) treatment that in reality should have no benefit at all. Growing up, my mother referred to this as “giving someone a sugar pill”. The assumption is that because we believe that we are… Continue reading Consider the (Caregiver) Placebo Effect

Behavior and Training · Clicker Training · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

What the Dog’s Nose Knows

In "Thyroid on Trial" we used an evidence pyramid to examine the various types of scientific studies that have been used to examine the hypothesis that there is a connection between hypothyroidism and aggressive behavior in dogs. We followed this example up through most of the levels of the pyramid, finishing at the penultimate level, the randomized, controlled trial. At the tippy… Continue reading What the Dog’s Nose Knows

Behavior and Training · Health · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Thyroid on Trial

Every day, we are bombarded with new information about dogs that arises from a variety of sources - via the internet, through our smart (or not so smart) phones, from our colleagues, friends and family, and of course from our neighbor Joe next door (who happens to know a lot about dogs). In this day and age of information overload, it should… Continue reading Thyroid on Trial

Behavior and Training · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Your face is gonna freeze like that (Part 4)…….(a.k.a. Why we need multiple Steves)

So, here we are, with three study groups described in Part 3 of this series. Each group consists of 25 young adult dogs, representing a range of breeds and breed-types. This collection of dogs is considered a sample of the population that we are testing. In this example, we identify the population as all young adult dogs living in… Continue reading Your face is gonna freeze like that (Part 4)…….(a.k.a. Why we need multiple Steves)

Behavior and Training · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Your face is gonna freeze like that (Part 3)…….(aka: How many Steves?)

The mental manipulations that we described in Part 1 are actually a form of psychological priming. Priming occurs when the way in which a person responds to an event (stimulus) is influenced by a previous stimulus. Perhaps most intriguing is the fact that much of this influence takes place outside of our conscious awareness. In part 2,  we presented our working hypothesis that priming may… Continue reading Your face is gonna freeze like that (Part 3)…….(aka: How many Steves?)

Behavior and Training · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Your face is gonna freeze like that………(Part 2)

Part 1 of this topic reviewed a bit of research suggesting that emotional states can (rather easily it appears) be manipulated, which in turn influences our perceptions and opinions of unrelated events. In Part 2, we ask how might these results be applicable to dog training. Most trainers are intimately aware of and concerned with the emotional states of our dogs. Our goal… Continue reading Your face is gonna freeze like that………(Part 2)

Behavior and Training · Science · Scientific Method · The Steve Series

Your face is gonna freeze like that…… (Part 1)

This oft used rebuke, uttered by moms everywhere, is typically directed toward crabby toddlers, sullen teens, and the occasional discontented failed-to-launch 29-year-old. We all know that the implied consequence of having one's face freeze like that is to remain perpetually in a bad mood; a mood that will plague us for the rest of our natural lives and that will make ourselves and everyone around us… Continue reading Your face is gonna freeze like that…… (Part 1)