Tonawanda News

Features

January 16, 2014

Critter Companions: Behavioral Momentum

Tonawanda News — Sometimes we just need things to get started in order for them to come to fruition.  Like a single snowflake hitting the ground and rolling into a giant snowball, behaviors, both human and animal, need a momentum behind them. If you have never exercised in your life and all of a sudden for your New Year’s resolution you had planned on exercising an hour a day, you are most likely to fail. You may be able to do the task for the first week or so, but you will quickly grow tired, and maybe even give up.

What would have been more successful would have been a resolution of being active or exercising for five minutes a day for the first week and incrementally adding time or actives as the year progresses.  You may look at five minutes a day and think it isn’t worth the energy to invest into something so minute but to someone that has never worked out before, moving a little bit a day is a big change. The end goal could remain the same, moving an hour a day. With starting the smaller units that are reachable and end in contentment the probability of finishing the goal becomes more achievable. 

When training animals new behaviors confusion can occur. If I am training a dog to turn in a circle and they are more than half way into knowing the behavior, but get confused, I use to give them a time out. Now I have a better alternative.

When I say they know more than half the behavior what I mean is I do not have to show them food to follow my point. I can give the animal a cue (request) and they kind of move in the direction I want (turning around) but not completely, or the turnaround is a not a pretty circle. What I use to do was to not give the dog a treat for an incomplete behavior and I may have even walked away from the situation or ignored the dog for a few seconds. What I thought I was doing was giving the dog a time out. It works for humans so why not our critter companions. When humans do something erroneous we sometimes get a time out, unpaid leave or become grounded.

Text Only
Features
  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Gardening with chickens

    There is no need to get mad as a wet hen if you want to juggle flourishing flower beds, viable vegetable gardens and free-range chickens.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Let's unlabel our pets

    Several weeks ago, I mentioned how we should not use labels. I said that labels are circular, meaning that if we use them we just will end up where we started. An example of a label is saying that “all scarlet macaws are vindictive” or “all pit bulls are aggressive.”

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014