A series of conversations with academics, friends, pioneers and generally interesting people, hosted by veterinary behaviourist Daniel Mills
#27 Pilley and Chaser
Pilley Bianchi, also known as Debbie Pilley, is the daughter of the late John Pilley, the Psychology Professor who owned Chaser, the dog with the largest vocabulary of any dog ever recorded. In this episode, we catch up to chat about her life with both of these characters and her thoughts about their legacy, alongside her own own insights into how animals learn.
We discuss both of our experiences about what helps dogs understand language better and what does not, as well as some of the wider philosophical points extending from this concerning dog cognition, consciousness and their welfare as a result; as well the wider legacy of Chaser and her father's philosophy on life.
If you have read her father's book "Chaser", you might just find this episode answers some of the questions you asked yourself as your read it. They were certainly some of the questions I had and so the episode is a great addition to it. If you haven't read it (why haven't you?), I would recommend it as a fascinating and uplifting read - ideal for the holiday!
Pilley Bianchi is also a very accomplished and multi-talented artist in her own right (see: https://www.pilleybianchi.com/about) and has a light hearted Christmas song out that you can listen to here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUPaUvpn_N8, (no it does not feature my tuneless singing you will be pleased to hear). Anyway I hope you enjoy this Christmas special and wish you all a great 2022. Thanks for watching and listening to the podcasts.
PS you can of course listen to this at any time of year! :-)
#26 David Applebly
In this episode I chat with pioneering behaviourist and advocate for professional standards in clinical animal behaviour David Appleby. We talk about his early experience with the RAF and Guide Dogs for the Blind before he moved into managing problem behaviour, his work on effect of early experience on later behaviour and separation related problems. Needless to say, given his role in leading the professionalisation of the field in the UK, we also discuss the issue of regulation and standards in the field. This is something he is passionate about and led him to return to education to get the qualifications he feels are necessary for competence in this field.
#25 Alexandra Horowitz
In this episode, I get to catch up with best selling author and canine psychologist Alexandra Horowitz. Famous for her research on the guilty look and olfactory mirror test in dogs amongst other things, we discuss this work further and her new book.
Alexandra has long been interested in understanding the umwelt (the personal perspective) of other animals, and like her book, she tries to discover what it is like to be a dog. She is a professor at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches seminars in canine cognition, where she also heads up the Dog Cognition Lab.
#24 Hal Herzog.
In this episode I get to chat to someone I have always considered a deep thinker on human animal relationships and anthrozoology. I have often described him as "healthy sceptic" of the reported claims concerning the impact of pets on people., but he is also a leading figure in highlighting are moral ambiguities towards animals. Some may find the content of this podcast challenging, but as we conclude, although there are no simple solutions, if we stop and think, we can still act in a good way.
Hal Herzog has been investigating the complex psychology of our interactions with other species for a long time. He is particularly interested in how people negotiate real-world ethical dilemmas, and this forms the basis of much our discussion. He has studied animal activists, cockfighters, animal researchers, and circus animal trainers.
An award-winning teacher and researcher, he has written more than 100 articles and book chapters. He is also author of the brilliant thought provoking book "Some we love, Some we hate and some we eat" In 2013, he was given the Distinguished Scholar Award by the International Society for Anthrozoology.
#23 Sandra McCune
In this episode I get to chat with pioneer in HAI and visiting professor at Lincoln, Dr Sandra McCune.
Sandra qualified as a registered veterinary nurse (Royal College of Veterinary Nursing) in Dublin before completing a degree in zoology from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She has a PhD in animal behaviour and welfare from the University of Cambridge, U.K. She has studied a range of companion animal topics including aspects of temperament, behaviour, cognition and welfare, and Human-Animal Interaction (HAI).
Until 2019, Sandra was a scientific leader for Mars Petcare, based at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute. For 12 years, she led the HAI area in research and then HAI science communications, and established Mars as the industry’s thought leader in this field. She has extensive experience studying HAI from both animal and human perspectives in collaborations with HAI researchers from the USA, U.K., Austria, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, Russia, Japan and China and regularly presents internationally on companion animals and their relationship with people.
Sandra was instrumental in the establishment of the public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health and Mars/WALTHAM focused on child development and HAI resulting in a multi-million dollar programme of high-quality HAI research, workshops and several edited volumes, journal series and book chapters.
She is the founding director of Animal Matters Consultancy Ltd, providing expert input on a wide range of animal issues. She is a SCAS trustee and a Fellow of the Annenberg PetSpace Leadership Institute. She shares her home with her family including two cats and a lurcher.
Researchgate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sandra_Mccune/publications.
Twitter: @sandra_mccune LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sandra-mccune/
#22 Patrick Pageat
In this chat I catch up with French veterinarian and behaviour scientist Patrick Pageat. Patrick is the father of pheromonatherapy, being the person who developed the first commercial pheromone products for companion animals (Feliway and Adaptil). He is also the originator of what has become known as the "French" approach to clinical animal behaviour and in this chat discusses how it came about and how his views of this approach have changed over time - to the point that he is concerned how it is currently being applied. He is also a passionate horseman and so we chat about that too. A really interesting and candid insight into both the man and his work.