Is going to the vet a nightmare? Is your parrot driving you insane with incessant noises? Are you afraid that your dog is going to bite someone? How do you design the best zoo primate enclosure?
My vocation is improving captive animal welfare, and ‘m an associate professor of Ethology who lectures, consults and writes, mostly scientific articles, about behaviour management. Due to copyright rules, I’m not allowed to post new articles here. Not to worry, just look here and select the one you’re interested in – I’ll email it to you.
I have a solid background in ethology, but find that the best approach to behaviour management is interdisciplinary. It is when you mix different perspectives that the true magic happens…
The field of applied ethology’s main contribution is how to provide great enrichment. An example may be reducing stereotypic behaviour in farm animals, optimizing zoo animals’ use of their enclosures, and keeping them busy and out of mischief…
Animal training is about teaching animals to be active participants in their own care. For instance, improving relationships between humans and their beloved pets, and giving our furry, feathered and scaled friends the ability to control important events. How do you communicate what you want the animal to do, and motivate him to want the same thing?
Sometimes we’re baffled by persistent behaviour that annoys us. Using behaviour analysis, you can solve problem behaviours such as excessive barking in dogs, biting in horses or cats peeing outside the litter box.
The issue of animal feelings is controversial, to say the least. For me, the study of affective neuroscience has brought my understanding of animal behaviour to a new level. This branch of science helped me prioritize – which behaviours are important? Practically speaking, it might have to do with reducing or eliminating fear or the risk of defensive aggression, or encouraging play opportunities – vital for brain development!
In this hearty mix I find my own take on behaviour management, based on scientific principles but with a solid practical perspective. I teach animal professionals as well as engaged pet owners, and discuss pets, zoo animals, farm animals, and laboratory animals.
My focus is improving welfare, striving to help animals achieve higher net happiness.