The Future of Canine Understanding is Here!
For far too long, academia ignored our canine companions and humanity was basically encouraged to leave our relationships with animals in the stone age. But in the last 50 years there has been groundbreaking change in the way academia and the world looks at animals, including dogs. Advances in cognition, ethology, animal welfare, and so many more fields, has opened up the world of animal awareness and intelligence to all. But like all science, it is slow to become part of our everyday lives. So today we are going to look at how we can be better informed participant’s in our dogs’ world.
Every few months another book comes out by some obscure author known mostly to the scientific community, but who has little clout in the mundane world of pets. This is because science is slow and rarely sexy. This leaves information to be filtered through social media, pop culture, and journalistic lenses that can at times, bend the truth to make better “click bait”. This means that you can’t always trust what you are hearing. In fact it would probably be best to embrace your inner skeptic on a lot “what you hear” and instead try and follow the information to its source. While a lot of scientific literature is behind a paywall, there are a tremendous number of students, professors, and the authors themselves who would be happy to share the information with you, and hopefully even explain it if it is overly technical. They might even point you in the direction of books and authors who haven’t gotten a huge advertising deal but their information is just as important, if not moreso.
Remember that in many cases it is your tax dollars that go towards research and being informed leads to better understanding and welfare for everyone and everything. So exercise your neurons by following up on the latest science. Sometimes the information can be hard to understand, and even contradictory. Therefore I don’t recommend running off with your literature review findings. Instead continue your education by asking other academics or scientists for more information.
If doing your own research is too daunting, try following other resources (like this one) who will present and distill what is going on in canine science so you can trust the CliffsNotes. A good resource should not be one sided or have an agenda and should be pushing for greater breakthroughs in knowledge. Resources that spell out the same old information with flashy stars is selling you something and that something isn’t accurate information.
You can participate as much or as little as you like, but the more the public participates in pushing animal experience and understanding to the forefront, the further and faster we will get there. Ask questions and demands good research and more funding will go to this important knowledge that we can directly apply to our best friends.
You can get started today by visiting any of these sites for more information:
Animals and Society Institute - https://www.animalsandsociety.org/
The International Society for Anthrozoology - http://www.isaz.net/isaz/
Animal Behavior and Cognition (most recent journal articles are free to access) - http://animalbehaviorandcognition.org/index.php
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