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ABSTRACTS FOR THE IFAAB 2002 MEETINGMarch 1-3, 2002

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R.K. Anderson  
Emotions Associated With Interdog Aggression
 
Using selected portions of several case histories, selected video clips and photo slides, this presenter will give his own views of the body language and behaviors of the dogs, the range of opinions of the handlers and families of the dogs, and written or oral statements of behaviorists, trainers and other professionals.

This will provide a base for discussion by participants of this FORUM about the motivation, behavior and emotions of the dogs involved in interdog aggression as well as the emotions and interpretations of the handlers, the families, and the public as dog owners and non dog owners.
Jane Barber
Integrating Behavioral Wellness into Comprehensive Preventative Medicine Programs

Despite resource abundance and ready accessibility, behavioral services are under-offered by general practitioning veterinarians. And yet, the veterinary practitioner is often the first person to whom pet owners turn for help regarding the behavior of their pet. Proactive preventative behavioral medicine might be more readily offered if a specific protocol can be set up. To ensure veterinary compliance, the protocol must meet the following criteria:
1) It must be cost effective.
2) It must be able to be readily incorporated into a routine office visit.
3) It must not add significantly to doctor/technician time expended.
4) It must be "user friendly." 
A protocol for preventative behavioral medicine will be presented for discussion.
Daniel Q. Estep
Things To Take To A Behavioral Consult

Behavior consulting can be done in a variety of different ways - by telephone, in a clinic or in the client’s home. When we meet the client in person, are there certain things that we should always have with us? Certainly we need a way to get a history (pencil and paper or laptop computer) and a way to make recommendations (more paper or a computer printer). What other things are essential or at least a convenience at consults? Are there safety devices (muzzles), educational materials (hand-outs), or products you sell, rent or give to the client (anti-bark collars)? Come see what’s in my bag of tricks and tell us what you can’t live without at your consults.
Suzanne Hetts 
A Canine Version of Bullying

Fighting between dogs in the same family is a common problem seen by most behaviorists. Traditionally, these problems were thought to arise from an instability in the dominance hierarchy or social relationship between the dogs. However many cases are presented in which one dog has clearly assumed the dominant role and is not being challenged for position by the dog who is being attacked. The ‘dominant dog’ continues attacking and/or harassing the subordinate animal despite clear signals of deference or submission from the latter. Why is the attacking dog continuing in his/her behavior? The attacking dog seems, anthropomorphically to be acting like a ‘bully’. Three cases of ‘bully dogs’ will be presented and their similarities and differences examined in an attempt to determine an etiology for these problems. Slightly different behavior interventions were used in each case, and the rationale for these will be discussed, as will the outcomes in each case. 

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Wayne Hunthausen
Strategies for Treating Aggression Between Family Dogs
 

Aggression problems between family dogs can be dangerous, frustrating situations to correct.  This presentation will include a review of various treatment protocols described in the literature, a discussion of pertinent considerations in the treatment of these types of problems, an overview of the presenter's current approach to treatment and a group discussion.

Martha Lindsay and Michelle Posage 
Predicting Client Follow-up After Initial Pet Behavior Consultation 
A serious pet behavior problem usually requires ongoing communication between the pet owner and behaviorist. Despite the opportunity of weekly consultation at no extra charge for six months following the initial visit, many of the clients at our practice do not follow-up. There are many factors in a particular case situation which might influence the client to communicate again. The factors we chose to examine were grouped into categories concerning client lifestyle, home environment, human interactions with the pets, medications prescribed, pet characteristics, what behavioral problem(s) existed and duration of the problem(s). This retrospective case-control study was designed to discover if any of these factors could be used to predict client compliance.
We will be speaking on different aspects of the same topic and data analysis.  
Karen B. London
Assessments of Dogs and Their Owners:  Getting Information Any Way I Can

As Applied Animal Behaviorists, we need to get a lot of information about the animals we work with and we need to get it without going to live with our clients and their pets for a week. There are specific things I do with almost all dogs in an attempt to learn about them. What I can learn includes how they react to greeting strangers, being handling, getting frustrated, getting aroused, and how willing they are to interact socially. Additionally, I observe specific behavioral patterns of dogs during my first appointment with them to get even more information about them. By presenting these assessment tools and specific observations and explaining what I can learn from them, I would like to initiate a discussion about how to assess the dogs who present with behavioral problems. Time permitting, I would also like to discuss some of the observations I make about clients to assess them for the purposes of tailoring treatment plans to the individual people involved in order to create plans that will result in better client compliance.
Amy Marder
Abstract
Making a good living by only practicing applied animal behavior can be challenging. Forming and nurturing relationships with a varied referral base is essential for the continued growth of a practice. New England Veterinary Behavior Associates has been in business for 4 years and has experienced exceptional growth. Started in 1985 as a part-time housecall practice with a staff of one, NEVBA has grown into a practice with a staff of 5 and a large office in a posh Boston suburb. Ways to develop and maintain ongoing referrals from veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, schools and training groups will be discussed. 

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Patricia B. McConnell 
Interesting, Informative and Random Videos of Dogs and People Behaving Badly or Amusingly

This video presentation will include "highlights" from hundreds of hours of video tape, including examples of how humans mis-communicate with dogs (some funny, some tragic) and how dogs communicate to each other and humans. The goals of this session are to deconstruct how humans use signals typical of primates to communicate with dogs (often to the confusion of our dogs), to examine the intricacies of intra-specific visual signals between dogs and finally, and perhaps, most importantly, to entertain us all with engaging videos of what it is that bonds us all together --- our love and fascination of animal behavior.

Catherine McClelland
Dealing with Senior Moments in Your Canine Patients ? The Role of Clinical Nutrition

Background
Companion animals are probably living longer today than ever before, with an estimated 18-million pet dogs in the United States over 7 years of age. Cognitive function decreases with age, putting a large number of older dogs at risk for developing behavioral changes related to cognitive decline. These behavioral alterations are often manifested as disorientation (D), altered interactions with family members (I), disruptions in sleep (S), loss of house training (H), and altered activity levels (A) (DISHA).

Oxidative stress is a leading contributor to the aging process. Oxidative stress can damage brain cells resulting in mutation, neoplastic transformation, loss of cellular function, cellular aging, and ultimately, cellular death. Beta amyloid deposition in brain tissue also accumulates with oxidative stress and age. Natural antioxidant defenses in the body neutralize free radicals, minimize further formation of free radicals, and facilitate repair of free radical damage, but these antioxidant defenses decline with age.

Providing enhanced levels of antioxidants and nutritional biofactors in the diet can boost sagging natural defenses and protect against further damage. Antioxidants such as vitamin E and C help neutralize free radicals, preventing extensive cellular damage. Lipoic acid and L-carnitine help promote mitochondrial health by increasing the efficiency of energy conversion while decreasing production of free radicals. The fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are found in high concentrations in the brain, where they contribute to neuronal cell membrane plasticity and health. Hill's® Prescription Diet® Canine b/dTM is replete with antioxidants, lipoic acid, L-carnitine, DHA, and EPA to help counter the cellular alterations resulting from oxidative stress and the neuropathology associated with aging. Studies now indicate that feeding Canine b/d helps improve cognitive function and clinical signs in dogs with age related cognitive decline.

Studies
Cognitive testing was assessed using neuropsychological tests to determine if dietary intervention with a patent-pending antioxidant formula (Canine b/d) was effective in addressing cognitive decline in older dogs.

24 aged dogs (8 to 12 years of age) and 16 young dogs (2 to 4 years old) were equally divided into 2 groups based on their cognitive scores in baseline testing. The test group was maintained on Canine b/d, while the control group was maintained on a food formulated for senior dogs. All dogs were given environmental enrichment through regular exercise, a series of toys, social interaction and cognitive stimulation. After 6 months of feeding, dogs performed a series of 4 oddity discrimination tests in order of ascending difficulty.

In addition to the cognitive testing, the effect of Canine b/d on age-related behavioral changes in dogs was assessed in a 60-day prospective, double-masked, randomized, multi-center clinical trial. 125 client-owned dogs completed a 60-day feeding trial. Owners assessed individual attributes or behaviors at the beginning and end of the feeding period using a standardized questionnaire. Only dogs 7 years of age or older (any breed or weight) with clinical signs in at least 2 of the 5 DISHA categories of age-related behavioral changes were eligible for the study. Dogs were excluded from the study if they had confounding disease conditions or were currently being treated for conditions that would preclude monitoring of response criteria. Half of the dogs were assigned to treatment (Canine b/d) and half to a control food in a random block design. All dogs were fed to maintain their initial body weight and housed in their accustomed home environments.  Pet owners for both groups were instructed to refrain from offering other foods, supplements, or more cognitive stimulation than normal during the study.

Results

Cognitive testing
Young dogs made significantly fewer mistakes than older dogs fed a control food when learning a novel task (P0.01). Older dogs fed Canine b/d made significantly fewer mistakes than the older dogs eating the control food on oddity tasks 3 and 4 (P0.01). Older dogs fed Canine b/d showed up to 58% improvement in cognitive function vs. older dogs fed the control food. Older dogs eating Canine b/d performed more like the younger dogs when learning a novel task than those eating the control food.

Clinical trial
Individual attributes were pooled into their respective 5 DISHA categories and analyzed. During the 60-day feeding period, significant improvements occurred in all 5 DISHA categories for the Canine b/d group and in disorientation and sleep patterns for the control group (P0.05).

During the 60-day feeding period, significant improvements occurred in 13 of 15 individual behaviors for the Canine b/d group and 4 of 15 for the control group (P0.05). Significantly more behaviors were improved for the Canine b/d group when compared to the control group using chi-square analysis (P0.05).

Conclusions
The positive benefits of feeding of Canine b/d on cognitive function and clinical parameters indicate that an antioxidant-supplemented food can help combat the signs of brain aging and related behavioral changes in dogs.

Results of both cognitive testing and clinical studies demonstrate that dogs have improved function when eating Canine b/d. Canine b/d significantly improved age-related behavioral changes as assessed by owners and cognitive function in the neuropsychological testing compared to control foods. Duration of these studies ranged from 60 days to 2 years and indicates that Canine b/d is safe and effective during long-term use.

Additional Reading
1.   American Veterinary Medical Association Center for Information Management: U.S. Pet Ownership and Pet Population. U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook. Schaumburg, IL: American Veterinary Medical Association, 1997; pp 1-30.
2.   Landsberg, G.M. et al.: Geriatric behavioral problems. Vet. Clin. N. Amer. Sm. Anim. Prac. 27(6) :1537-1559; 1997.
3.   Mayes, P.A.: Structure and function of lipid-soluble vitamins. Harper's Biochemistry, 25th ed. (R.K. Murray, et al, eds.). Appleton & Lange, Stamford, CT, 2000; pp 642-652.
4.   Colle M-A, et.al.:Vascular and parenchymal Aß deposition in the aging dog: correlation with behavior. Neurobiology of Aging. 21:695-704; 2000.
5.   Gutteridge, J.M.C. et al: Oxidative stress. Antioxidants in Nutrition, aHealth, and Disease. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 1994; pp 91-110. 6.   Beckman, K.B. et al: Mitochondrial aging: open questions. Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. 854 :118-127; 1998.
7.   Hagen, T.M. et al: (R)-alpha-lipoic acid-supplemented old rats have improved mitochondrial function, decreased oxidative damage, and increased metabolic rate. FASEB J 13 :411-418; 1999.
8.   Youdim, K.A. et al: Essential fatty acids and the brain: possible health implications. Intl. J. Devlop. Neurosci. 18 :383-399; 2000.
9.   Milgram, N.W. et al: Age-dependent cognitive dysfunction in canines: dietary intervention. Proc. Third Intl. Cong. Vet. Behavior.Med. Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, Wheathampstead, UK, 2001; pp 53-57.
10.  Dodd C.E. et.al: In Press: Suppl. To Vet. Med. Feb. 2002:17-20.

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Peter Neville  
Diagnosis and Treatment of Separation Related Disorders in the Dog - refining the approach

Behavioural incompetence in dogs when isolated has long been globally labelled as ‘separation anxiety’ although the problem is really one of failure to learn and apply effective coping strategies in response to social isolation. The emotional problem for the dog, as an innately social species, is essentially one of destroyed social bonding when his owners leave him at home alone, and the psychological pain of isolation both in the young and in susceptible older animals. (Walker 1999). Susceptibility, as with general fearfulness, may be heritable (Scott and Fuller 1965), but it is quite likely that adult dogs present with separation related disorders (SRDs) as a direct consequence of never having been isolated while their emotional response would still be muted, ie at 3-5 weeks of age. This is the age when they could start to learn how to apply appropriate coping strategies to relieve their natural emotional responses at finding themselves alone. 

Emotional responses to isolation from owners in the dog range from indifference in the experienced, to varying degrees of disappointment, frustration, distress, anxiety, fear, depression or panic according to the temperament of the individual, experience of isolation and capacity to develop coping strategies that bring emotional relief. Some dogs may also even become angry and aggressive towards their owners as they attempt to leave the house in an attempt to maintain the bond and to prevent themselves from being isolated. As well often leading to a misdiagnosis of ‘competitive’, or worse, ‘dominance aggression’ in such dogs, this behaviour can obviously add extra problems in the treatment of the underlying cause, an SRD. (COAPE, 2000).

‘Extensive research and comparison across species has shown that attachment and intense drives for social contact involve the opioid chemistry of the brain. Experimentally morphine and its derivatives reliably alleviate separation or isolation distress and specific serotonin re-uptake inhibitors may similarly reduce the discomfort and block the panic in some cases’ (Walker 1999). Clomicalm was the first medication to be granted a veterinary prescription licence for the treatment of a behavioural problem in dogs, that of the then labeled ‘separation anxiety’ (Novartis 1998). 

In order to ascertain the effects of administration of Clomicalm to a number of dogs with SRD referred by veterinary surgeons in practice, a sound and/or movement activated video camera was installed in the owners’ homes in order to obtain footage of the dogs’ emotional states and behavioural responses when left at home alone. 6 video case history reviews from this study and elsewhere identify the variation in the emotional response to isolation by adult dogs. This enabled an accurate emotional diagnosis to be made in each case with an analysis of the relevant reinforcement contingencies needing to be addressed, so allowing the application of a refined treatment approach to be designed for the individual dog/owner relationship. 

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Mary Lee Nitschke and Pia Silvani
Update on the APDT trainer certification program.

A report on the current status of the CPDT (Certified Pet Dog Trainer) national certification program. A brief description of the process, the qualificaitons necessary for Level 1 certification, the results of the first national certification examination and plans for future levels of certification and speciality certification levels. A brief discussion of professional limits will be included in seeking input from the IFAAB participants on certification levels. 
Nathan Penny
Examining Stress in Dogs During Training Classes 
The processes of learning and memory are critical for enabling animals to display adaptive and flexible behaviour in response to a changing environment. Expression of adaptive behaviour is a function of many complex influences, including physiological and emotive states. Numerous studies have demonstrated that stress can have a detrimental effect upon learning and memory. Predictability and controllability of a stressor may also be factors that modify the impact of stress. Companion dogs may encounter stress during the acquisition of operant responses, such as sit, stay, come, or heel. Although most dogs acquire these responses in the context of structured obedience classes, the classes often differ in the operant conditioning procedures employed by the instructors. The objective of this study is to identify if differences exist in the behaviour of dogs between different training classes. Subjects will be privately owned companion animals attending one of three very different dog obedience-training schools. The primary measure for comparison in this study is observable behaviour. The behaviours to be compared between classes and schools are: mobility, vocalization, play, escape from the gentle leader, escape from owner, aggression toward owner, aggression toward another person, aggression toward another dog, and submissive behaviour such as lowered head, lowered body, tucked tail, and yawning. These findings will provide information concerning the physiological and behavioural reaction of dogs to specific obedience training practices. Ideally this information will be utilized to help improve the welfare of dogs during basic obedience training.

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Pam Reid
Punishment: Its Use in Applied Animal Behavior

 

Alison Seward
The HPA Axis: Sympathetic Nervous System and Beyond.  
There has recently been an interest in measuring cortisol in animals in an attempt to identify training methods or environments they find stressful. This may prove to be more informative than observational conclusions, which differ among observers. One challenge is to devise methods of testing which will not themselves produce altered cortisol levels.

An understanding of the effects of chronic of acute upregulation of the HPA axis can be helpful when evaluating a pet's ability to learn, and intervening in training difficulties. There are implications for the animal's general health as well, with some areas of investigation being chronic gastrointestinal problems and allergy. Further, explaining this mechanism to clients can help them understand problem behaviors, especially aggression, and can better equip them to manage behaviors and maintain pets and family in greater safety. A look at the current state of knowledge of this system and practical applications to cases will be the focus.

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Melissa Shyan
"Comparing Communication Signals in Dogs, Cats, and Humans." 

Mention is often made that cats, dogs, and humans "speak a different language." That is, that communication signals are different and often lead to misinterpretations. However, there is evidence for a great deal of overlap in these communication signals. In fact, it may be that many mammals "share" communication signals to a significant extent. This presentation will present a literature review of animal communication signals and compare them to human communication signals. These will include facial expressions, body postures, tail and ear postures, vocalizations, and other signals presented. Discussion will include common perceptions and correct misperceptions made by each species towards each other.
Pia Silvani
Kindergarten Puppy Training Gone Wrong!
Do the risks outweigh the benefits of puppy training and socialization classes? A well-run puppy kindergarten class can definitely get puppies off to a good start. Understanding dogs’ social behavior is a crucial part of conducting a successful class. But, who is teaching these classes and what advice is being given? Are trainers interpreting the behaviors and interactions correctly? Do they truly know the definition of socialization? Have trainers gotten cold feet about using the word punishment in their repertoire? Are puppies leaving class ill-mannered, fearful or even worse, an accident waiting to happen as a result? We’ve seen a massive increase in dog-dog aggression. Where have we gone wrong?

Nancy G. Williams and Peter L. Borchelt
Full Body Restraint as a Treatment for Dogs with Defensive Aggressive Behavior
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the efficacy of full body restraint and forced/rapid stimulus exposure on two dogs that exhibited severe defensive aggression towards strangers and one dog that exhibited severe defensive aggression to other dogs. Three aggressive Great Danes were each placed into a restraint box, and the dog was completely immobilized by pouring grain in the box up to the level of its neck. The dogs were subjected to increasing levels of eliciting stimulus (from the approach or movement of an adult, child or dog) until they no longer responded with aggressive behavior. The results demonstrated that the dog's level of aggression diminished rapidly to each increasing level of stimulus and overall, the dogs demonstrated a substantial reduction in their aggressive behavior both during and after treatment sessions.

We will also present data from a case in which similar methodology was used to treat a dog displaying predatory like behavior to cats, and will have preliminary data on several dogs with cardio-vascular monitoring during full body restraint. Evidence from studies in humans indicates that low heart rate variability has been associated with increased anxiety and is thought to reflect autonomic dysregulation. The assessment of underlying autonomic activity provided by heart rate variability analysis will provide a unique opportunity for understanding the cardiovascular response of behaving dogs.

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John C. Wright
Panic-Elicited Voiding Associated with Fear of Defecating in an Adult Female Cat: A Case Report 

Client “M” was referred to me by her veterinarian for consultation with an inappropriate elimination problem in a young adult female cat, “K”. The presenting problem consisted of defecation outside the litter box once every day or two for the past month, but the problem became unacceptable when K defecated on M shortly after she retired one evening. According to M, she had just stayed up an extra hour with the cat because “she knew” K had to defecate and she wanted to direct K to use the litter box in the adjoining bathroom (which K refused to do). For the prior month, she commonly awakened to trails of stool stretching from the bathroom across the bedroom floor and most recently, down the hallway. M didn’t mind cleaning up the defecations in the bathroom or in the bedroom, but she feared that K was now spreading the problem defecation to include her (M’s) head, the hallway, the steps leading downstairs, and the living room. 
The case is unusual due to K’s pre-defecation behaviors (she behaved as if she feared defecating, as if she was trying to escape from the feelings associated with the urge to defecate, during which she became extremely agitated); the defecation bout itself (e.g., once she started to defecate, she either ran through the bedroom, or jumped up on the bathroom window sill or toilet where she finished the bout); and the onset of novel post-defecation behaviors -- which she acquired a few weeks into the treatment program – appearing as panic-elicited running downstairs to the kitchen, jumping up on the kitchen counter and voiding herself of urine, which she sat in, “looking terrified,” according to M.

In the 20 minute case study (followed by discussion?!!) I’ll describe the initial diagnosis and treatment program, followed by changes in K’s behavior that led to different hypotheses regarding precipitating factors that in turn, resulted in changes in the treatment protocol. 

Stephen Zawistowski
All Revved With No Place to Go
Schachter and Singer first presented their “two factor” theory of emotion in the early 1960s. It provided an important stage in the development of a theory that combined physiological response with cognitive evaluation. When Charles Darwin published “Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals” in 1872 he built on a theory of evolution that provided for common underlying mechanisms in human and non-human animals. By the 1960s, Behaviorism was the dominant influence in American psychology and it had largely stripped animals, and humans of cognitive function. As a result, when theories of emotion that included cognition continued to develop after Schachter and Singer, they largely omitted animals from their analysis. The publication of Donald Giffin’s “The Question of Animal Awareness” in 1981 reawakened interest and study cognition in animals.

How can we use an understanding of physiological arousal with cognitive state to manage and treat behavior problems in animals? Research and observations based on observations and research in animal shelters will be used to develop an approach that would combine conditioned emotional states with cognitive management to care for companion animals.

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