Patricia McConnell

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Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. is an Ethologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who has consulted with cat and dog lovers for over twenty years. She combines a thorough understanding of the science of behavior with years of practical, applied experience.

Her nationally syndicated radio show, Wisconsin Public Radio’s Calling All Pets, plays in over 90 cities nationwide, including Washington DC and Dallas, Texas. She is the behavior columnist for the BARk magazine (“the New Yorker of Dog Magazines”) and a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Comparative Psychology. She is also Adjunct Associate Professor in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaching "The Biology and Philosophy of Human/Animal Relationships."

Dr. McConnell is a much sought after speaker and seminar presenter, speaking to training organizations, veterinary conferences, academic meetings and animal shelters around the world about dog and cat behavior, and on science-based and humane solutions to serious behavioral problems, including aggression.

She is the author of ten books and booklets on training and behavioral problems, as well as the critically acclaimed books The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs and For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend. For more information, please go to www.patriciamcconnell.com.

Blog posts by Patricia McConnell

Are male and female dogs different to train?

This is an honest question . . . I’m truly curious what you think. The editor of the Bark Magazine asked me to write my next column on whether male and female dogs need to be trained differently, and whether they perform differently. I have some thoughts about it, but I am primarily interested in what YOU think! I’d especially love to hear from trainers or people who have had a good number of dogs, so that they have seen a good ’sample size’ to use to compare the sexes.

I must say, I take this on with trepidation! Would it be less potentially controversial to talk about the Iraq war or

 
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Tales of Two Species

It may seem like shameless promotion, but I have to say, it’s a wonderful thing to hold a book you wrote in your hand, long after the writing and the editing and the discussions with the publishers are over… My new book, Tales of Two Species: Loving and Living with Dogs just came from the printers, and I have to admit it feels good to see it. It’s a collection of essays written over the years for Bark magazine, published by Dogwise (who I call the Amazon of dog books). Working with the editors of Bark has been a joy, and collaborating with the folks at Dogwise has been equally delightful (I presume you are not shocked to learn that this is not always the case between author and publisher?

 

Thunder Phobia and Your Dog: Good Sounds, Bad Sounds

5 AM. I wake up to Lassie's nails clicking on the floor (wasn't I going to trim them last night?) as a boom of thunder shakes the farmhouse. Damn. Why is it that Lassie's slight discomfort of storms has become more serious as her hearing degrades? Surely it should go the other way around.

 

The strange animals at the other end of the leash (us!)

Ah, there’s nothing like our love of dogs to motivate us to do strange things. What a shame they’re often not in our dog’s best interests. Two projects fitting that description are getting a lot of press lately, and I thought they deserved some attention.

The first is the work of an artist named James Auger on what he calls “augmented animals.” He has a book by the same name and an exhibit that includes the image of a dog wearing a gas mask. I’m the first to say that if I saw the image at a museum of modern art I’d be wowed… what a compelling statement about dogs, culture and our species. However, Auger is also involved in developing technologies to augment our lives and the lives of domestic animals, and is working (seriously) on gas masks that eliminate unpleasant odors for dogs, along with an “augmented dog hackle” that a dog would wear to scare other dogs away. Where do I start?

 

Wolves, Dogs and Rapture

So… how would you feel going into a pen with a wolf? I just got the opportunity recently, and I don’t mind telling you that thought I’d be nervous. After all, I’ve worked with aggressive dogs for twenty years, and have seen and heard about enough serious injuries to last a life time. And we’re not talking dogs here, we’re talking wolves, who, by the way, have muzzles as big as tree trunks. “Why Grandma, what big teeth you have!”)

 

Dogs and Dog Training in Germany

I just got back from a week and a half in Germany, and from presenting at the International Symposium on Canine Behavior, sponsored by Animal Learn in Aschau, Germany. Three hundred people attended, and it was clear that Germans love their dogs as much as we do. (If not more… as is the case in much of Europe, dogs were allowed everywhere.) It was a joy to see dogs happily off leash in Munich’s equivalent of Manhattan’s Central Park. I asked several dog walkers about the dogs being allowed off leash in a city park, and they said, “Oh yes, of course, the dogs can be off leash.

 
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