Wild About Pets Heard Weekly on TalkZone.com

How To Ensure Animals Have A Good Mental Life.
With Guest: Temple Grandin, author of "Animals Make Us Human:
Creating The Best Life For Animals."

Flying Through Air With The Greatest Of Ease - Dogs?
With Guest: Milt Wilcox, former Detroit Tigers pitcher,
President and Announcer of "Ultimate Air Dogs."

Original Air Date: 11-06-2009

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In today's episode, I talk to Temple Grandin, acclaimed animal scientist and autism advocate about the core emotions that both animals and people share. By minimizing the negative ones and encouraging the postive emotions of farm animals and our pets, we can have greater affect on their good mental welfare. See a video of Dr. Grandin speaking about her new book, "Animals Make Us Human."
(photo courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

In animals, emotions drive behavior. In the case of pet gerbils who spend much of their time digging in the corner of their cages, it is the need to make a safe underground tunnel to hide in that drives the digging activity. For happier, fearless, gerbils make sure there is such a hidden tunnel in the cage or provide safe material for the gerbil to create a hidden nest.

From studying wolves in the wild, we find out that they do not live naturally in large packs, but in small family groups, made up of Mom, Dad and pups. This research indicates that to be a good dog owner, perhaps you want to function more as a substitute parent rather than a substitute 'Alpha" pack leader.

In finding out about the core emotions of dogs, and what we can do to provide a better mental life for them, I learned something interesting about labrador retrievers. There seem to be two types of labs, the big, heavy-boned ones that are content to lie around all day. Temple calls the labs with this personality type, "wheelchair temperament" labradors.

Then there are the labs with alot of energy and are innately cheerful, the "hyper" kind. All dogs must learn to deal with frustration in the course of its everyday life. Paying attention to your dogs personality will help you determine how to go about training it for frustration tolerance.

A number of studies, indicate that there is a relationship between the fur color and the behavior of cats. Black cats seem to be friendlier than other cats, are more inclined to be social, deal better with crowded and urban life and are comfortable living in groups of cats. Male, orange cats, tend to be more aggressive than black male cats. More details about this can be found in the book, "Animals Make Us Human."

Cats of course, are very different than dogs yet cats can be trained and are more social than many people think. Dogs have more expressive faces, and we as humans, naturally, look towards faces to get an idea of what an animal may be feeling.

Cats dont have the same expressive faces that dogs do. As Temple explains, cats dont signal with their faces very much, yet they have more body signals as to how they are feeling, than dogs or wolves. When we look into a cat's face to get a "read" on our pet, we are looking in the wrong place. Look at their body.

Horses are herd animals that survive in the wild by fleeing when in danger. Fear is a dominant emotion in horses. Positive training and being mindful of not creating fear memories in horses is all part of ensuring your horse has good mental welfare.

Horses are very social animals and need the companionship of other horses.

In Temple Grandin's book, "Animals in Translation" she relates how she thinks in pictures, much like animals do. This has afforded her a greater understanding of how animals actually see their surroundings. Temple has used this ability in her career of spearheading reform of the quality of life and humaneness of death for farm animals.

In her work with farm animals, Dr. Grandin, will place herself at the cows level, to observe what the cows see. Take a look at a video about Temple Grandin, "The Woman who thinks like a cow."
(photo courtesy of Angus Bremner, Bremner Photo, 1 Bruntsfield Terrace, Edinburgh. EH10, 4EX)

Temple's favorite animal is cattle. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants.
(photo courtesy of Angus Bremner, Bremner Photo, 1 Bruntsfield Terrace, Edinburgh. EH10, 4EX)

Jack, an Ultimate Air Dog participating in the sport of dock jumping.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

"Flying through the air with the greatest of ease."
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Brewster, launching off of the dock.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Forrest Gumpy, being cheered on.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Long distance jumping, called "Splash," is the main feature of the Ultimate Air dogs events. Dogs run down a dock and fly into a pool with the distance judged from the end of the dock to the base of their tail.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Rajah, participating in a new twist on the Ultimate Distance game, called "Catch It", that was invented by Milt Wilcox. The dog must catch an object thrown for them, for the jump to count.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Gauge, making a good catch.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

Digger, participating in the sport, "Ultimate Vertical or UV." This is a height event as opposed to distance. The dogs must release a bumper from an apparatus hanging 8 feet out over the pool, by grabbing it with their mouth or knocking it off, for the jump to count.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)

It looks like Bazooka is getting a pep talk, "So, you can do this, what you've got to do is......" Any dog can learn dock jumping. For a good step by step description of how to get your dog started in dock jumping, see the Ultimate Air Dogs webpage on how to do this.
(photo courtesy of www.ultimateairdogs.net)


Dr. Temple Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts.  Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at FranklinPierceCollege in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at ArizonaStateUniversity for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at ColoradoStateUniversity. 

She has done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment she has designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with McDonalds, Wendy’s International, Burger King, and other companies on animal welfare. 

Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling plus 45 refereed journal articles in addition to seven books.  She currently is a professor of animal sciences at ColoradoStateUniversity where she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design.  Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a third edition which was published in 2007. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, and Animals Make us Human

Dr. Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at FranklinPierceCollege and received an honorary doctorate from McGillUniversity.  She has also won prestigious industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders. Her work has also been recognized by humane groups and she received several awards. 

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America.  She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC.  Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado. 


Milton Edward Wilcox was a pitcher who had a sixteen year career from 1970–1975, 1977–1986. He played for the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs both of the National League and the Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners all of the American League. He won a World Series title with the Tigers in 1984.

With Detroit, he was a reliable and effective third starter in the rotation for years, consistently giving his team six and more innings each start. This kept the Tigers well into each game for the relief corp and complemented Jack Morris and Dan Petry well who were power pitchers and considered the aces. His 17 wins in 1984 was extremely important in the Tigers run to their World Championship that year. (Morris won 19, Petry 18 that year.) He also pitched two masterful games in that year's ALCS and World Series, winning both. That year he also started his season going 6-0. This was not duplicated by a Tiger pitcher for 23 years until 2007 when Jeremy Bonderman equaled it.

He now trains his dogs to do dock jumping and owns Ultimate Air Dogs, a national dock jumping organization.

Temple Grandin's Website

To Order, "Animals Make Us Human"

Ultimate Air Dogs Website

The Great American Pet Expo Website

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