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    APDT Ireland News and Events

    Professor John Bradshaw is coming to Ireland!

    On Sunday 7th October 2018,

    To present two lectures:

    “The Dog’s Mind: They’re Not Dumb, They’re Different”

    and

    “How Dogs Changed the Course of Human Evolution”

    Registration from 10am, seminar ends approx 16:30

    Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise (formerly the Heritage Hotel)

    Early-bird available until July 31st:

    Non-APDT Ireland members €80

    APDT Ireland members €70

    Fee includes a hot buffet lunch, tea/coffee, and parking at the hotel.

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    Please Click Here to Secure Your Place!
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    About the Lectures:

    Lecture 1: The Dog’s Mind: They’re Not Dumb, They’re Different

    Dogs’ Emotions, Separation Distress and How to Deal With It

    Dogs live in a different world to our own. Their impressions of their surroundings overlap with our own, certainly, otherwise we’d find it impossible to relate to them, but there are important differences. Everyone knows that dogs have an excellent sense of smell, but the differences in the way their minds work that are less well appreciated. Dogs lack our massive cerebral cortices, the “thinking” part of our brain, and as a result live much more in the here-and-now than we do, neither ruminating on the past nor speculating about the future. They probably do not even realise that we are capable of thinking about them, despite giving the strong impression that they can (probably stemming from their exquisite sensitivity to human body-language).  Similarly, their emotional lives are probably much more straightforward than our own, focused on “gut-feelings” such as joy, affection, fear and anxiety.  Their lack of abstract thought means that they are probably untroubled by feelings of guilt, grief and embarrassment.

    The bond between dog and owner is like no other, based firmly on mutual affection. Dogs are emotionally primed to desire to be close to us, and this is what makes them so trainable. Yet it is only recently that scientists have come to realise that dogs also miss us when we’re gone. We now know that “separation anxiety”, once thought to be a mental disorder confined to a small minority of “hyper-attached” dogs, is in fact normal behaviour, experienced by the majority of pets. Also, contrary to dog lore, the company of other canines is no substitute: dogs need people. Most dogs seem incapable of understanding that their owner will eventually come home: it’s the parting that disturbs them and leaves them feeling unsettled. However, this problem can be fixed: many dogs can be trained to accept their owner’s departure and to relax until they are reunited.

    Lecture 2: How dogs changed the course of human evolution

    A Fascinating Anthrozoological Investigation of the Unique Relationship Between Humans and Dogs

    Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated, possibly as long ago as 30,000 BC. At that time, the human brain was still evolving: the change that made our relationship with dogs possible seems to have been a new ability to comprehend animals’ minds, the realisation that they are thinking beings too.  Then as dogs became more domesticated, so they became more trainable, culminating in the hunting partnership between man and dog, one that led to the sudden extinction of many of the species they preyed upon, and changed the ecology of the inhabited world for ever.  Hunting then became more difficult, and so less productive, paving the way for the beginnings of arable farming and the domestication of crops. At about the same time, our ancestors’ affinity for dogs gave them a head start in domesticating other animals, including pigs, cattle, sheep and goats, paving the way for the agricultural revolution that still dominates much of the planet today.  Our affection for dogs can thus be seen as an intrinsic part of human nature, one that not only served our forefathers well but also enables us to enjoy the company of dogs today.

    About John Bradshaw BA, PhD:

    John Bradshaw has become well-known to pet owners through his books “In Defence of Dogs” and “Cat Sense” (Penguin), both of which were bestsellers in the UK and also in the USA, and have been translated into more than a dozen other languages.  His many TV appearances have included six BBC Horizons, including “Woof: A Horizon Guide to Dogs”, “The Secret Life of the Cat” and “Catwatch 2014”.  Other recent contributions to TV have included “The Wonder of Dogs”, “Dogs: Their Secret Lives” and “The Dog Factory”.  His most recent book, “The Animals Among Us” (Allen Lane) explores why we love our dogs so dearly.

    He is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Bristol, where he was formerly Reader in Companion Animal Behaviour and Director of the Anthrozoology Institute.  His main academic interests are in the behaviour and welfare of domestic dogs and cats, and their relationships with people; he has published over 100 research papers and book chapters on these topics.  He is a Trustee of the charity The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) and served for six years on the Council of Cats Protection.  Among the honours he has received is the 2014 RSPCA/BSAS award for Innovative Developments in Animal Welfare “in recognition of his long standing contribution and commitment to improving the understanding of companion animal behaviour, particularly dogs and cats, through scientific research, teaching and writing.”