Posts tagged behaviour.
Wolves are better imitators of conspecifics than dogs
When wolves observe another canine take hold of a treat in a clever way, wolves imitate this behavior more often than domesticated dogs. Wolves probably are more used to watch conspecifics, because they live in groups. Swiss and Austrian researchers came to this conclusion in the scientific magazine PLOS One.
Picture: The test apparatus and the two kinds of demonstrations
The researchers let 14 wolves and 15 domesticated dogs watch how a trained dog gained access to food by opening a wooden box by it’s paw or mouth. All 14 wolves succeeded to imitate this trick, and used the exact same method as the trained dog. Only four of all the domesticated dogs succeeded to imitate the trained dog’s trick.
This however doesn’t mean that wolves are better in solving puzzles where food needs to be obtained. When the animals did not get a demonstration before, most of the time the wolves neither didn’t get the food out of the wooden box. The wolves probably succeeded better because wolves are better than dogs in imitate the tricks of their conspecifics.
Lead researcher Friederike Range explains on news website ScienceDaily:
"The wolves watched the trained dog very closely and were able to apply their fresly gained knowledge and solve the problem. Their ability to imitate is probably related to the fact that wolves in the wild are more dependant on collaboration with conspecifics."
A male Magnificent Rifflebird mesmerizes a female by whipping his iridescent blue neck and wings back and forth.
Oh my god, my brother told me that crows/ravens are very good at immitating human speech and he showed me this video and… it’s so cool… yet so unsettling
Quoth the raven… wakka wakka…
this bird sounds like microsoft sam it’s unsettling
I want 2
This is all I could think of:
Crow solves an 8 step process.
Crows are amazing, I’ve been photographing them here in Seattle for a couple of years. They have distinct personalities and remember our faces. They actually started flying in and waiting for me when I would get home in hopes of a free unsalted peanut. I think of them as friends.
I had no idea they could do THIS.
An 8 step problem solving process. They’ve trained on each separate task, though not all together. This was the first time.
(Crows will survive the zombies and restart society, no doubt.)
Affection: Did you know if your kitty “head-butts” or licks you, it means she really likes you? Rubbing on nearby objects is called “redirected affection.” If her tail pops straight up as she’s walking toward you, she’s happy to see you. If she’s grooming in short, rapid strokes, and looking at you, she’s saying, “all is well.” Bright eyes, perked up ears, and forward-facing whiskers mean she’s ready for some interaction.
Aggression: Aggression can be defensive or offensive. A defensive cat is fearful, and reacting to a threat. She might be curled up in a ball, rolled to one side, tail tucked in close. Her ears will be flattened, pupils dilated, and she may be hissing. If the threat continues, she may launch an attack. If you see your cat in this position, don’t approach; stay several feet away and speak softly until she calms down — and let her come to you for reassurance afterward. Offensive aggression is the “Halloween Cat” — hair standing up, back and tail arched, pupils huge, tongue curled, hissing or yowling…a cat in this pose is ready to (but may or may not) attack. Nevertheless, get out of the way.
Boredom: If your kitty is bored, she may groom constantly, with long, intense strokes. Her tail might be low, at “half-mast,” or swishing slowly back and forth, telling you, “I’m not happy.” She may pace back and forth, sigh, or talk to you as if to say, “I need something to do.”
Illness: A crouched body and tucked tail may mean your kitty is in pain or ill. Look for half-closed eyes, downcast ears, or a blank expression. Obviously a kitty lying on her side but unresponsive or breathing funny needs immediate medical attention.
Overstimulation: Many owners end up bewildered (and bleeding) by a “sudden” attack during a play, petting, or brushing session. Overstimulated cats sometimes respond with a burst of energy directed at the nearest object — maybe you. But there are warning signs: Her tail will begin to swish back and forth, ears will twitch forward and back, she may vocalize, or turn her head toward your hand. When you see these signs, stop the activity and give her a time-out until her adrenaline calms down. She may still strike out, however, so be prepared.
Relaxation: Cat owners have all seen (and envied) the postures of a relaxed cat. They just seem to melt into whatever surface they’re on. They roll onto their backs, or pose like a “J” with their head sideways and upturned, the rest of their body lengthened and still. Eyes can convey relaxation too, in slow blinks, normal-sized pupils, and soft gazes.
Learning to interpret and respond to cat-talk can truly enhance your relationship with your feline. She’ll teach you — so be ready to learn.
Asked by Anonymous
I would definitely never ever ever say that dogs are emotionless or thoughtless! They’re extremely capable of emotion and thought! We’re only just starting to delve into the depths of canine cognition and we’ve even found that dogs are cognitively on par with a 2 year old child! But we’ve barely even scratched the surface!
However, we do need to be careful about anthropomorphising our dogs:
1. “The Guilty Look”
Dogs are incredibly capable of reading human body language - they’ve pretty much evolved to pick up the most subtlest of signals we give out - That’s why, when an owner stumbles upon their puppy’s mess on the floor and goes over to scold it, the dog will shrink back and throw out appeasement signals. It’s not “guilt” it’s just them responding by trying to avoid conflict and responding to the aggressive or confrontational body language/voice tone.
During the study, owners were asked to leave the room after ordering their dogs not to eat a tasty treat. While the owner was away, Horowitz gave some of the dogs this forbidden treat before asking the owners back into the room. In some trials the owners were told that their dog had eaten the forbidden treat; in others, they were told their dog had behaved properly and left the treat alone. What the owners were told, however, often did not correlate with reality.
Whether the dogs’ demeanour included elements of the “guilty look” had little to do with whether the dogs had actually eaten the forbidden treat or not. Dogs looked most “guilty” if they were admonished by their owners for eating the treat. In fact, dogs that had been obedient and had not eaten the treat, but were scolded by their (misinformed) owners, looked more “guilty” than those that had, in fact, eaten the treat. Thus the dog’s guilty look is a response to the owner’s behavior, and not necessarily indicative of any appreciation of its own misdeeds.
Obviously, more research needs to be done here, but at the moment we’ve concluded that the “guilty look” is a result of human error and anthropomorphism, rather than what the dog is really feeling. Which is why I hate “dog shaming” and those “guilty dog” videos - those owners are towering over their dogs demanding “DID YOU DO THIS? OH BAD DOG!” and the dog is cowering away from this angry person. It’s horrible :(
2. “The Smile”
Yes! Dogs do smile! But not like this:
This dog is not happy - ears pressed down and back, squinty eyes, tight lips - this is a fear grimace!
This dog is also not smiling - eyes wide, ears back, mouth pulled back, short panting - looking at the context, most dogs don’t like baths - so no surprises here - fear grimace.
I made a post about this a while back on fyeahanimaltraining
Fear Grimace: (Often called fear grimace, but also seen in excited dogs) Tense jaw muscles. Mouth pulled at corners back exposing molars or all teeth. Visible creases at corners of mouth, forehead - fear, tension, excitement. Looks like an exaggerated or forced smile.
Smile: Relaxed jaw muscles, tongue exposed. No visible creases on face, forehead.(x)
This is a smile - tongue lolling, relaxed mouth, soft eyes, natural ear carriage - This my dog after racing around fetching her ball and playing so she was very happy (note: I do not use that martingale collar on her anymore) :D
Dogs can definitely smile, but, again, not the way humans do!
I hope that clears up a few things!
There is still so much more research to be done, which is why I’m so excited to get involved in this field!
But dogs are amazing! And we’re only just discovering just how emotionally and mentally complex and wonderful they really are!
Cooperative Hunting Between Giant Morays and Coral Groupers
Cooperative hunting, the successful capture of prey with two or more participating individuals, has been observed in many species. Oftentimes, each individual is attempting to maximise its own probability of capturing prey for itself.
Coordinated hunting, when individuals adopt different roles such as ‘chaser’ and ‘blocker’ is an uncommon phenomenon which has only been observed in a handful of species. Even rarer, is coordination between two completely different species, such as the giant moray eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) and roving coralgrouper (Plectropomus pessuliferus).
Both species of fish inhabit the coral reefs of the Red Sea, but have completely complementary hunting methods. Moray eels are nocturnal predators that usually rest in burrows during the day. When hunting, their long and thin bodies allow them to chase fish through coral crevices and corner them in holes. A prey fish would therefore be safest from moral eels in the open water.
On the other hand, groupers patrol open waters during the day. To avoid groupers, prey fish take shelter amongst corals and rock cracks, where the bulky grouper can not reach them. Therefore, if a grouper and an eel were to hunt together, the prey will not be able to hide as both the open water and coral rock is unsuitable as refuge.
The grouper is always responsible for initiating a cooperative hunt. To signal that it wants to partner with a moray, it approaches the eel’s resting place and shakes its head 3-6 times per second. If the moral wants to join, it will leave its crevice and swim with the grouper through the reef.
A grouper may signify to the moray where food is by performing a headstand and shaking its head over the area. The moray will enter the rock crevices in search for the prey that are hiding from the grouper, and flush out some fish in the process. Once in the open water, the grouper comes and eats the prey.
When cooperating, the groupers are roughly 5 times more successful in capturing prey than if hunting by themselves. The hunting success of the moray is also increased. Aggression between the two species was never observed.
The success of this cooperative method may be because both the roles adopted by the species are advantageous to the individuals. Both species are hunting as they would alone (with the exception of the eel’s nocturnal behaviour), but with an increased chance of prey encounters. The grouper and eel are attempting to maximise their individual capture rate, with mutual benefits arising from the complementary nature of the hunting method. Both predator’s role in the hunt does not disadvantage the individual.
Information from "Interspecific communicative and coordinated hunting between groupers and giant moray eels in the Red Sea" - Research Paper
Amazing, beautiful, and SO CUTE. I love it when people train not-usually-trained-animals, and show how amazing they are!
I’m literally making inhumane noises right now. I can’t handle the cute.
"The Importance Of Choice In Animal Training"
& the power of the Premack Principle! :)
Long before pet birds and parrots learn human words, they communicate to us with body language. Like vocalizations, this comes naturally to parrots. Not only do they show moods, emotions and forthcoming behavior with the way they use their bodies — especially their feathers — parrots also learn to read human intentions by observing human postures. It’s not unusual for pet birds to know more about what their people say with their bodies than their people know about what the birds are saying with theirs.
1) Parrots Know About People
Many parrots know that humans have a dominant hand — a hand we use more and are more adept with — before people notice that the bird has a dominant foot. For example, if the bird refuses to step onto a human’s hand or shows insecurity in doing so, sometimes the bird is exhibiting a preference to step up only onto a dominant hand.
This may be because a pet bird that steps up only to a right hand knows that a right-handed human’s left hand is less stable, and it will prefer to step up only onto a right hand because that hand doesn’t wobble as the bird is lifted. Or maybe the bird knows that a right-handed human will try to pet it with the right hand, and it doesn’t want to be pet.
In most of the cases I’ve seen in which a bird exhibits a preference for stepping up onto a particular hand, it is balking consistently at a left hand and stepping up dependably to a right hand. In more than eight out of 10 of these cases, the human reporting the bird’s behavior is right-hand dominant.
2) What A Parrot’s Posture Tells Us
Parrots show us how they are feeling and what they are going to do by using their bodies in different ways. Generally, a parrot with an upright stance and smooth feathers is wary or frightened. Loose, ruffly feathers generally indicate happiness. A bird sitting on one foot with feathers puffed out might not feel well or might just be sleeping in a cool room. A bird that has all feathers sticking as far out as possible, tail flared, with shoulders or wings held out from the body may be courting or getting ready to fight.
3) Your Parrot Will Warn You
Most parrots give at least three clues if they intend to bite (lories are the exception here). First, the bird will look at what it is going to bite; it will open its beak; and it will either spread its legs apart for a firmer grip on the perch (in the case of a larger bird) or it will charge that which it is going to bite (in the case of a smaller bird).
It’s up to the human(s) interacting with the bird to prevent the bite when these signs appear. This might involve not putting a hand or body part within range of the bird’s bite, putting the bird down or making sure something else, such as a wooden toy, is between the bird’s beak and what it intends to bite.
4) Happy Parrot Behaviors
A parrot that feels good will signal its health and happiness with its body. That might mean stretching as though it were doing Tai Chi, where the bird slowly extends one wing and one leg on the same side of the body, returns it to position, and then extends the other wing and leg on the other side of the body. It might stretch its wings up or out, maybe even returning them to their place against its back in a ritualistic, dance-like motion.
A bird that is happily greeting a friend — human or bird — might wag its tail or puff out all its feathers momentarily. A tail wag might also be the equivalent of a human “giggle.”
The parrot behavior of rapidly wagging the tail back and forth may be a remnant of something it felt when shaking water off its tail. The bird might be using it to express the sentiment that a happy occurrence has just passed and that it’s ready for another adventure.
If a bird has been meeting new people and there is concern that the people have been too forceful in their handling (this includes early Step-up training for a new or previously unhandled bird), then returning the bird to its perch and counting tail wags can give a good idea of whether or not the bird enjoyed the interactions.
If the bird wags its tail almost immediately after being put back on its perch, the new interactions were probably not too forceful. But if the bird does not wag its tail for several minutes or doesn’t wag its tail at all, nor puffs out its feathers or displays any happiness behaviors after being put down, then it is telling us that it should be handled in more passive ways in the future.
Some happy birds, especially cockatoos, wiggle their tongues or move their beaks up and down when they see someone or something they like. A happy, contented cockatoo might signal a desire to be petted by fanning the facial feathers over the beak and lowering its head to request petting. A happy, healthy Amazon parrot or macaw might signal an invitation to pet by turning the head upside down, exposing the jaw.
No matter which happiness behaviors we see — solicitations to be petted, beak chattering, tongue wiggling, stretches, tail wags or puff outs — if we are generally seeing more of them every day, then we can be assured that the bird’s training and adjustment are on a positive path.
5) Signs Of Stimulation
Eye movement wherein the iris (colored part of the eye) grows larger and the pupil (the black center of the eye) is quickly made smaller is called “pinpointing” or “flashing.” This is a sign of motivation and might be a sign of motivation to talk, to court or to bite.
Likewise, strutting around with feathers flared, combined with pinpoint, sometimes with wing flipping (quickly twitching the wing tightly against the body), solicitation (body flattened, wings slightly out, trembling, or shifting the weight from one foot to the other) are clearly signs of breeding-related stimulation. A parrot strutting around in courtship mode is more likely to be aggressive than peaceful if it encounters human hands or other intrusive body parts.
6) Trick Birds Will Play On You
Some parrots, especially mature cockatoos, Amazon parrots and African grey parrots, might learn to amuse themselves by playing tricks on humans with their body language. Such birds might give outward signs of friendliness and solicitation, then bite when they are approached with fingers. This can be very uncomfortable to the humans who got a big welcome and then are slashed and bleeding. If a person who knows that a bird does this warns you, take their word for it — some cockatoos can lie with their body language as adeptly as a faithless lover can lie with words.
Macaws, even very friendly ones, may enjoy fake “stabbing” when they meet new people even though they have no intention to bite. They do this apparently because they like to test people and see whether they will jump away.
7) A Content Parrot
A bird settling in for the night or for a nap, will stand on one foot, with the other foot pulled up inside its feathers, may fluff facial feathers over the beak (if it is a cockatoo), close or slightly close the eyes and grind its beak. This is a sign of contentment and, since birds are better behaved in all areas if they have enough rest, humans are best advised to allow their birds to rest — leave a resting bird in peace.
Dog Language: Warning Signs
As a general rule of thumb, dogs don’t attack unless provoked. A lot of incidents can be avoided by recognizing when a dog is uncomfortable with the situation, many “unprovoked” attacks actually result from not understanding the dogs body language.
Knowing what to look for + responding accordingly is a good way to save yourself, the dog, and their owners a lot of unecessary grief. I’ve italicized the signs to be especially careful of, as they often signal an imminent bite.
- Averting gaze, avoiding eye contact
- Barking, whining
- Bellying up
- Blinking, eyes half closed
- Closed mouth, tense jaw muscles
- Creases at corner of mouth and forehead
- Ears back
- Front legs splayed, head low, staring
- Hackles raised
- Hiding, retreating, leaving room
- Licking Lips
- Paw lift (weight towards rear of boy)
- Showing teeth
- Slow wag, only end of tail wagging
- Sniffing the ground/an object
- Tail low, down, and/or between legs
- Turning head
- Visible sclera
Displacement Behaviors are behaviors a dog usually exhibits, but may signal discomfort when displayed out of context.
- Biting at self
- Licking lips
- Scratching self
- Sniffing the ground/an object
- 'Wet dog' shaking
Chimpanzees mostly eat fruit but occasionally supplement their diet with meat. A common prey is other primates and chimps have developed some fairly complex tactics for taking them down, often flanking around to force their prey into a trap where another chimp is waiting to ambush them. However one group have chimps have taken things a step further and started using spears in their hunt.
The Savannah chimps (so called because they live near the edge of the forest) hunt bush babies; a prosimian widely regarded as “cute”. Bush babies are nocturnal and hide in tree hollows during the day. They’re adept climbers so if a chimp were to try and reach in and grab them they could easily escape. To counter this the Savannah chimps have started breaking off tree branches, stripping off the bark and then sharpening the end with their teeth.
They then stabbed their spear into the bush baby “nests”; after which they would break open the tree and pull out their prey. Although the researchers couldn’t see if the bush baby was killed by the spear, they did note that “it made no attempts to escape, nor did it utter any vocalization.” The chimp then ate their victim (interestingly, they did not share it with other chimps as is the norm).
This makes them the only known animal (other than humans) l to use tools to hunt vertebrates.
The primatologists were also impressed with the complexity of the spear, requiring more steps to create than most other chimp tools. Not only do they sharpen the tip and strip the bark, but they also typically trim the tips of the tool first. This helps remove any damage caused by them snapping the branch off the tree; creating a more durable tool. This indicates a high level of planning, intelligence and murderous intent.
Next they’re going to figure out fire, then we’re fucked.
Pruetz, J. D., & Bertolani, P. (2007). Savanna Chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus, Hunt with Tools. Current Biology, 17(5), 412-417.
I’d also like to point out that it was mainly adult female chimpanzees and some juveniles that were seen using this behavior. Spear hunting is a feminine thing!
Why Not Cesar’s Way?
Cesar’s Way (A review of Cesar’s book)
Alphas + Dominance Theory
The idea of an “Alpha” pair originates from the 1947 “Expressions Studies on Wolves" by Schenkel and was further popularized by L. David Mech’s "The Wolf: Ecology and Behavior of an Endangered Species" written in1968 and published in 1970.
We now know this is not how wolves behave in nature, the aformentioned studies based on the observation of captive packs of unrelated wolves. Even Mech revoked his promotion of the “Alpha theory” as early as 1999 (alt. source).
The term ‘alpha’ suggests the winning of power through contest or battle, however the lead wolves in most wolf packs achieve their status by breeding, then their pups become part of their pack. More accurate descriptors for this lead, breeding pair are “breeding male/female,” “male/female parent,” or even “adult male/female.”
Dogs Aren’t Wolves
Dogs have diverged significantly from wolves in the last 15,000 years. Ancestral wolves evolved as hunters and now generally live in packs consisting most often of family members (Mech 2000). Pack members cooperate to hunt and to take care of offspring. In a given year, generally only the alpha male and alpha female mate, so that the resources of the entire pack can be focused on their one litter. Dogs, on the other hand, evolved as scavengers rather than hunters (Coppinger and Coppinger 2002). Those who were the least fearful, compared to their human-shy counterparts, were best able to survive off the trash and waste of humans and reproduce in this environment. Currently, free-roaming dogs live in small groups rather than cohesive packs, and in some cases spend much of their time alone (MacDonald and Carr 1995). They do not generally cooperate to hunt or to raise their offspring, and virtually all males and females have the opportunity to mate (Boitani et al. 1995)
Honestly, how can anyone think these two need to be treated the same?
Well, the logic was “dogs are descended from wolves, wolves live in packs with a hierarchy that’s kept in check by an aggressive alpha, therefore humans need to dominate their dogs if they want them to behave.”
Obviously, we know better now.
Dogs don’t want to fight with us for ‘dominance,’ they want to get along. The one causing adversity in the relationship would be the owner trying to push ‘dominance’ on their dog, would you enjoy a relationship that involved being bullied near constantly?
Neither would your dog.
To reiterate, dominance theory is the idea that humans need to force their dog into submission with the use of aggression in order to get them to behave.
Dominant-submissive relationships form to determine who has priority access to particular resources, these sort of relationships usually exist only when the dominant party is around to guard the desired resources.
Availability of resources isn’t something we have to worry about when raising a dog, at least not in the sense that we need to compete with our canine companions for them.
Why It Doesn’t Work
A huge flaw with dominance theory is that it fails to address the reasons for the problem behavior(s). Dominance training punishes the behavior without questioning why the dog is acting out in the first place.
Aggression, for example, is often a result of fear, anxiety, or insecurity. In situations like this in particular dominance training would be counterproductive, if your dog is fearful and you react with confrontational behavior (“alpha rolls,” hitting, staring down, etc) chances are you will only worsen the dogs fear and cause him/her to respond with defensive aggression.
Dangers of Dominance Theory
Dominance training can increase aggression, resulting in painful injury for you and an unhappy dog. Unsurprisingly, if you’re aggressive towards your dog your dog will be aggressive to you (“Treat people how you want to be treated.” not exactly the same, but still - kindergarten concept, people!).
It’s common knowledge among professionals that dominance theory is outdated and harmful.
But The Dog Whisperer said-
- Alpha Status, Dominance, and Division of Labor in Wolf Packs
- Comments on “Alpha” Dominance Theory
- De-Bunking the “Alpha Dog” Theory
- Forget About Being Alpha in Your Pack
- Misconceptions of the Mythical Alpha Do
- New Study Finds Popular “Alpha Dog” Training Techniques Can Cause More Harm than Good
- Position Statement on the Use of Dominance Theory in Behavior Modification of Animals
- Whatever Happened to the Term ALPHA Wolf?