Roberto Barata’s Channel
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I see some trainers sharing fancy images that say, “Cues are good because it connects to feelings of well-being. Commands are bad because it connects to feelings of the dog needing to obey orders. Therefore, we should use the term “cues,” not commands.”

This is an example that is bound to create more confusion than we need. Please, be critical when you post things like this and research how terms are defined. Our job as animal trainers must be to simplify, not to complicate, to clarify, not to confuse.

I’m afraid you’ll create havoc by redefining terms previously defined and used differently. Also, linking both cues and commands to specific emotional responses is blatantly wrong. Signals, cues, and commands can elicit both pleasant and unpleasant emotions depending on what they imply.

I don’t consider it a case of evolution of the language, but one more obvious example of highjacking widely defined terms in animal communication theory and giving them different meanings and connotations according to training ideologies or agendas.

They are also doing it wrong because if we want to be scientifically correct, the proper term would be signal, not cue.

A signal is everything that intentionally causes a change in the receiver’s behavior.

A cue is everything that unintentionally causes a change in the receiver’s behavior.

A command, or heterospecific call, is a signal that changes the receiver’s behavior in a specific way with no variation or only extremely minor variations.

I wrote about the importance of clear and straightforward language to dog owners, without the poisoned marketing trends in the dog training world and without losing the real meaning in the academic field.
I’m glad to see that the research is starting to worry about the “on-field” experience.

If you follow my work, you know that it has been one of my concerns with the extensive studies on dog training, which mostly become flawed due to the practical part. I dare to say that most of them are obsolete since they follow a biased hypothesis, human methods, and too much “in lab” perspective.
Some trainers create confusing statistics about their "success." It is common to read percentages above 90% of cases solved. However, these results don't detail what they mean by "success" and how they statistically reached those results, the criterion, variation, etc.

In one of my Anthrozoology & Animal Training Series, starting next year, I'll share practical tools and provide the necessary knowledge to animal trainers to do their research professionally, giving sound information to the public rather than vague marketing-oriented numbers.
A picture of a Pug contortionist, a popular stage performer that i found in a rare 1897 Victorian periodical which article is entitled "Side Shows", by William G Fitzgerald. I don’t have further information about this picture.
An interesting paper about the time-activity budget of urban-adapted free-ranging dogs.
At the moment, this subject is one of the very discussed concerns we have in Denmark. Dyrenes Beskyttelse is doing a terrific job of aware the government to make the necessary changes.

Fraser et al. (1997) suggest that “ethical concerns about the quality of life of animals can be better captured by recognizing three classes of problems that may arise when the adaptations possessed by an animal do not fully correspond to the challenges posed by its current environment. (1) If animals possess adaptations that no longer serve a significant function in the new environment, then unpleasant subjective experiences may arise, yet these may not be accompanied by significant disruption to biological functioning. Thus, a bucket-fed calf may experience a strong, frustrated desire to suck, even though it obtains adequate milk. (2) If the environment poses challenges for which the animal has no corresponding adaptation, then functional problems may arise, yet these may not be accompanied by significant effects on subjective feelings. Thus, a pig breathing polluted air may develop lung damage without appearing to notice or mind the problem. (3) Where animals have adaptations corresponding to the kinds of environmental challenges they face, problems may still arise if the adaptations prove inadequate.”

Fraser, D., Weary, D. M., Pajor, E. A., & Milligan, B. N. (1997). A scientific conception of animal welfare that reflects ethical concerns. Animal welfare, 6, 187-205.
I have been developing several practical models in the anthrozoological field for animal trainers for over ten years, six of them out of my country.

My best-ever seminar in Denmark was "A New View About Animal Training: Anthrozoology, Mentoring & Animal Behavior," with audiences formed chiefly by professionals in the area, veterinarians, university students, and my students.

Curiously, in my country, I had only two opportunities to show part of my work in that area when I wasn't living there anymore: one with my fantastic students and friends, and another by invitation of a political party.

Anthrozoology studies the relationship and interaction between human and non-human species, involving different natural and social sciences areas. It's not about the benefits of non-humans to humans as commonly we see.

Applying anthrozoology in animal training is not about fancy studies and inspirational images/sentences. Applying anthrozoology in animal training involves a deep ethological study of the nature of the species involved, a balanced and pragmatic view on interspecies relationship, (real) critical thinking, practical experience in the area, a perspective on plasticity, domestication, the influence of the environment and different cultures, profound research on animal studies, the adaptation of the topics depending on the country/culture, making statistics according to our activity, and inconvenient needed questions in this poisoned animal training world.

I invite you to read this article with seven years and a few updates, which Dr. Hal Herzog once shared and recommended on Twitter. I'm afraid that the first paragraphs are becoming exponentially real. All the other articles will give you the general idea of my view and work on applied anthrozoology in animal training.
In animal behavior modification, one of the important characteristics of behavior that we must be aware of is its high variability that occurs at different levels:

- There is variation in behavior between individuals of the same species, depending on the individual's genes, sex, developmental history, and so on.

- There is variation within individuals over time resulting from the effects of experience, maturation, developmental plasticity, and senescence, among other things.

- There is variation within individuals according to their current context. Behavior varies according to physical variables, such as time of day and ambient temperature, and biological variables, such as hormonal status and social context.

Information about a type of behavior that we obtain from observation and recording may include:

- The presence or absence of the specific activity.

- The frequency of occurrence of each activity during the observation period.

- The duration of each session of each activity.

- The intensity of activity in each occurrence.

- The latency of occurrence of the activity.

- The timing and nature of subsequent activities.

- The timing and nature of behavioral changes concerning physiological changes.


*Abrantes, R. 2015. Measuring Behavior. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

*Bateson, M., Martin, P (2021). Measuring Behavior: An Introductory Guide. Cambridge University Press.

*Cozby, P., Bates, S. (2015). Methods in Behavioral Research, Twelfth Edition. McGraw-Hill Education.

*Mason, G. and Mendl, M. (1993). Why is there no simple way of measuring animal welfare? Animal Welfare, 2: 301–319.
Perhaps "motivation" is also one of the most misunderstandings in animal training following the "reinforcer-inhibitor" discussion.

I'll give you a brief introduction of the topic from an ethological view, so you have some study directions to do your research.

McFarland (2006) defines motivation as "(…) a reversible aspect of the animal's state that plays a causal role in behaviour. Changes in behaviour in an unchanging environment may be due to irreversible processes such as learning, maturation, or injury, or reversible motivational processes. (…) An animal's motivational state changes continually as a result of both external and internal changes. (…) The motivational state of an animal is made up of all those internal and external factors that have a causal effect upon behaviour."

Abrantes (2015) refers to Lorenz's psycho-hydraulic model (Fig. 1) as a classic model of motivation.

Immelmann (1980) refers to the "Motivation Schema" (Fig. 2) from Becker-Carus et al. (1972).

Lorenz ( 1981, p. 250) mentions Hassenstein's Diagram (1976) on how displacement activities affect motivation (Fig. 3 & 4).


*Abrantes, R. (2015). Ethology. The Study of Animal Behavior in the Natural Environment. Wakan Tanka Publishers.

*Becker-Carus, C., et al. (1972). Motivation, Handlungsbereitschaft, Trieb. Z. Tierpsychol. 30 321–326.

*Hassenstein, B. (1976) In: Biologie: Ein Lehrbuch fur Studenten der Biologie. Herausgegeben von G. Czihak, H. Langer, H. Ziegler. Heidelberg & New York: Springer-Verlag.

*Immelmann, K. (1980). Introduction to Ethology. Plenum Press.

*Lorenz, K (1981). The foundations of ethology. Based on a translation of Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, with revisions. Springer Science+Business Media New York.

*McFarland, D. (2006). A Dictionary of Animal Behaviour. Oxford University Press.
The results of this study with Dutch Cell Dogs (DCD) and dog-training programs (DTP) are essential to rethink some subjective human assessment models transferred to other species, in this case, dogs, to measure bond.

The (ab)use of dogs in several areas is becoming trivial. I exhaustively wrote several articles and spoke with institutional boards. The trainers/handlers don’t have the proper education/experience.

A common mistake in all the papers about related dog training is the absence of data about the qualification of the trainers. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the biased studies about it.

About this paper:

“In sum, no overall effects were found for DCD on anti-social behavioral and wellbeing outcomes. A small negative program effect was found on aggression; however, this could have been caused by the subgroup of DCD participants who had a weaker bond with the dog. Overall, age moderated program effectiveness of infractions, suggesting differential effects for younger (< 36 years) participants. Little evidence was found for the other moderators (cultural background, facility type) and predictors (dog bond, implementation process quality) of DTP effectiveness.”
Adventitious reinforcement is common on behavior modification, especially in dog training with their “standard procedures” in modifying behaviors, disregarding the individual perceptual learning, among other essential factors.

I wrote one article regarding my experience on how “redirect behaviors” isn’t as straightforward as we read. Sometimes, we are creating chaining behaviors, reinforcing displacement behaviors, or simply looking to superstitious behaviors.

The indiscriminate use of food is almost a synonym of “reinforcer” for all means. My actual dissertation on “Motivation & Movement in Animal Training and Interspecies Communication” defends a different view on the operational quadrants as a grey conundrum instead of the ideological “black and white” classification, where one is better than the other.

This is one of the reasons I wrote an article about how the language used in dog training is important. You can read it here:
Next year, I'll launch several courses and mini-book series on the topics: Anthrozoology, Animal behavior modification (animal training), and Applied Ethology. It will be part of my "Anthrozoology & Animal Training Project." They will be available initially in English and Portuguese.

If you or your school or institution are interested in hosting an event or being a part of this project, don't hesitate to contact me.

Feel free to share this post on your social media. Thank you.
The "Human-Animal Project" results from two decades of study, research, and on-field experience.

It aims to share with you my empirical knowledge and experience, supplemented with scientific facts, different perspectives, and several practical models and techniques I've developed during these years to face several challenges and paradigms in this area.

This project became necessary to bring scientific clarity and critical thinking to the flooding of misinterpreted and ideological information spread to professionals in the animal field, like animal trainers, veterinarians, and their clients.

The main topics of this project will be:

- Anthrozoology and Animal Training
- Animal Behavior Modification
- Ethology
- Animal Welfare
- Animal Ethics
- Animal Science
- Research & Critical Thinking

The content will be initially available in English and Portuguese through courses, seminars, multimedia, publications, and other material at different levels and audiences.

If you are a professional in the animal field, a school, university, or another institution, and you are interested in being a part of this project through a solid synergy, don't hesitate to contact me.
An interesting paper.
"Urban free-ranging dogs are more mobile and rural free-ranging dogs are more aggressive. Urban free-ranging dogs are more propensity to diseases transmission, while rurals are potentially more involved in accidents."
To attend to the long-term project demands, I will migrate to an environmentally friendly and faster server. Therefore, you may notice some website instability during the weekend, and the new updates can take a couple more days.

I appreciate your understanding. :)