On My Way to LA for Guinea Pig Camp

Guinea pigs.
Guinea pigs are intelligent and curious animals, very social and showing excellent learning abilities.

 

I’m on my way to LA for the Guinea Pig Camp hosted by Michael McManus of Ready-Sit-Go. I’m looking forward to spending some time with these wonderful creatures (the Guinea pigs, that is) which have earned my respect and my heart. I have trained so many of them, and it’s never the same. They are all different with their own personality and charm.

I know Michael. He was the trainer of Nam Peum, the Guinea pig from Florida; I wrote about her last year.

 


 

น้ำผึ้ง (nám-pêung), the little Guinea Pig, was born, destined to be snake food. She did not. The first morning, she was clearly disturbed and was could not deal with the obstacles. We gave her a long break and contact, so she felt safe. At three in the afternoon, she was running the course following our fingers.

Lesson learned: don’t make it more difficult than necessary. A bad experience does not result inevitably in trauma. When you face a strong emotional response, resolve it first. Then, return to your plan of action. There was nothing wrong with her learning ability or our plan of action. We just had a temporarily inhibiting emotional response to sort out. Natural selection favors those which cope with adversity. In the evening, we put น้ำผึ้ง in her cage to rest. The next morning, to our surprise, she wasn’t there. Where was she? That’s a story for another time.

I said I was looking forward to seeing the Guinea pigs, and I am. Of course, I’m also looking forward to seeing Michael. He’s a great animal trainer with the right attitude and patience, and always cool. In the evening, we’re gonna drink some beers and play pool at my favorite sports bar and pool hall in Burbank.

By the way, before I forget it, there are still a couple of spots,  should you be interested in participating in the camp. Mail Michael right away at readysitgo@gmail.com.

“My daily blog” has run uninterruptedly for 44 days. I’ll try to write tomorrow, but I can’t promise. It all depends on where I am and whether I have an Internet connection. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, I’ll be back after tomorrow. Be well.

Off to the airport—I have an ocean to cross, a long journey ahead.

 

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The biggest difference between humans and dogs

Dog and owners.

The biggest difference between us and them is not that we reason and they don’t.

 

The biggest difference between them and us is not that we can reason, and they can’t. If you want to see rational behavior, look at the dog. If you want to see emotional behavior, look at the owner.

Of course, some animals, other than humans, do reason. They have well-developed brains, are goal-seeking, and they acquire, store, retrieve, and process information. Research shows that other animals than humans also understand rules, i.e., that a series of events must happen in a particular sequence to produce a specific effect.

Animals of many species are capable of solving a wide range of problems that involve abstract reasoning. The problem is that most of our research projects into animal cognition have either been dominated by behaviorism—its conditioning methods almost turning animals into automatons—or have focused on particular human characteristics like speaking and counting.

The common depiction of the ladder of nature, on which the various species occupy successively higher levels, places humans at the top. However, animals have distinct kinds of cognitive processes depending on how they have adapted to their different ecological niches.

Which brings us back to Darwin—the difference between humans and other animals is “one of degree and not of kind.” (1871 in “The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex.”)

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