Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Inclusion, innovation, and anti-aversives in lifelong lifesaving

    Posted 11-19-2021 02:03 PM
    I would like to see a serious rise in professional inclusiveness by the big decision makers in this industry. It is crucial to work to gain the guidance of those with boots on the ground expertise in their fields, of those who are not merely 'effective' but equally if not more importantly, anti-aversive, and who often have knowledge and skills beyond what is currently being touted as standard. This level of innovation will come not from those typically consulted, but from areas, organizations, and animal behavior professionals (such as CBCC-KAs and CDBCs) not already part of the animal welfare in-crowd, so to speak.  Pets/animals are the losers so long as knowledge sharing is only from within the established echo-chamber. Innovation requires that we seek and welcome experience, ideas, and practices developed outside our own confirmation biases.  Indicators of something innovative in truly humane animal work should include all of these, together:  1) an anti-aversive commitment, 2) lifelong animal safety/feeling safe as the priority, and 3) a long-term, effectiveness that is more than surface level, that results from the animal's emotional/mental as well as physical needs being supported.  
    Too often something is judged effective based on its short term appearance of having provided human-desired results that are often not natural nor lasting but rather are suppressive, or on insider popularity/name recognition of who is claiming it effective, while ignoring other important factors.   Too often something is considered innovative when it is a repackaging of previous, and not always truly humane, assumptions and practices.  Something is only innovative if it is original.  To be truly humane animal welfare professionals, our innovations must support the animal's natural needs and behavioral set-ups including an animal's preferred versus current and lifelong habitat/conditions; this is crucial for captive animals, which in household pet cultures such as ours, pets, especially dogs, generally are.  Effective innovation must include human adaption and criteria-raising of our own overt and covert behavior.
    Effectiveness alone is not enough.  -Dr. Susan G. Friedman  (who also points out that control is a primary reinforcer -- something we should all be thinking more deeply about, regarding not just animal behavior but human behavior as well).
    Rain Jordan, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP Fearful Dogs Specialist

  • 2.  RE: Inclusion, innovation, and anti-aversives in lifelong lifesaving

    Posted 11-19-2021 04:37 PM

    Well said, Rain!!  I love this post ❤️


    Sheila Segurson, DVM
    Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
    Maddie's Fund