It was a mild, sunny Tuesday in early September. I was in my studio apartment on Second Avenue, near 70th Street, eating breakfast and watching the morning news. My Dalmatian, Freddie, was in the bedroom, asleep in his crate, with the door open. Suddenly a loud explosion came from behind him.
Contributors 2 April 51 Shades of Grey: Finishing High School, starting University, the best and the worst music of the past 50 years. Speaking of the things we are not missing: We started the Decade of the Brain the new fixation and obsession with neurosciencestarted to focus on dogs as genuine research subjects, and indulged in pretty radical re-thinking of everything having to do with dogs and wolves.
But a lot of myths were also created. It was also the start of a new appreciation for science in general. Popularization of science and knowledge translation became the focus of some scientists. Some did it well. First, science does NOT prove anything.
It does not matter if you used null hypothesis significance testing, Bayesian statistics, or any other method. Unfortunately some scientists and non-scientists want to be convincing, and use very strong language to make their points.
Many would defend that strategy by arguing that they have to convince trainers that they are doing it wrong. It seems that there is a new movement now going to rectify some of those created myths and misunderstandings. Some of us engaged in some of these comments e. Interestingly, from a scientific perspective, we are with the current.
I will expand on this below. One thing that plagues the knowledge translation process in canine science is the fact that the public has access mostly to books albeit written by scientists.
Because many, if not most, are not interested in sharing with the public what they do. They do not have the time to write books, because, after all, peer-reviewed papers, not books, will get you tenure, other promotions, and scientific funding.
The result is interesting: Most non-scientists in the dog world have a very biased perspective of who is actually well-known in the canid science world. It always baffles me that individuals interested in wolves do not know CarbynFentressFrank, GinsburgHarringtonMoranMurie, PaquetPetersonPimlottZimenand so many others that are unavoidable contributors of the field in number of publications as much as scientific contributions and reputation.
So what are examples of confusions that arose from some popularized canine science? Here is a short list of myths. Let me just comment right away that anybody I know that a actually worked with wolves or studied animal learning, and, b actually read the scientific papers, would not make the statements below: Punishment does not work and is always cruel.
Dominance does not exist in wolves. Dog evolution has nothing to do with wolves. There is quite a bit to say on each of these items.
Note also that, on purpose, the statements are very black or white. In fact, especially with the corrections, clarifications, and even retractions of the past few years from some individuals, many of you will think I am unfairly dramatic. You see, science is about shades of grey. Science seeks a consensus.
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