August Newsletter 3: Hold your Horses!

Animal Welfare 100 Hour Certificate Course

There are a number of measures employed in Animal Welfare Science, although there is disagreement as to which one of these give researchers into the subject, the best information. The measures used include:

  • Behavior
  • Disease
  • Immuno-suppression
  • Longevity
  • ​Physiology
  • Reproduction

The premise on which animal welfare is based, will often be that animals are self-aware and that therefore their well-being or suffering should be taken into consideration, particularly if they are being looked after by humans. Therefore how animals are slaughtered for food, used in scientific research, or kept as pets, in zoos, on farms and in circuses, etc. will always be of interest to those concerned with their welfare, along with the effects on animals of the world, due to the activities of Mankind. This course is ideal for anyone interested in learning more about animal welfare and there are many job opportunities available, including working with domestic animals, wildlife, captive animals or farm animals. It will be an invaluable addition to your skills set if you are working as, (or would like to work as) a:

  • Wildlife Rehabilitator
  • Animal Hospital Carer
  • Community Educator
  • Trainer in Caring for Wildlife
  • Animal Shelter Attendant
  • Animal Rescue Organisation Office Staff Member
  • Wildlife Researcher
  • Fundraiser
  • Animal Hospital Ambulance Driver
  • Volunteer

There are 9 lessons in this course:

1  Scope and Nature of Animal Welfare

  • Introduction
  • History
  • and more!

2  Psychology and Sentience

  • The science and philosophy of psychology and sentience
  • Sentience
  • and more!

3  Managing Animal Welfare

  • Introduction
  • Managing Animal welfare

4  Animal Protection Services

  • Introduction
  • Understanding and inspecting health issues
  • and more!

5  Animal Rescue Services

  • Introduction
  • Health and welfare
  • and more!

6  Animal Health Services

  • Introduction
  • Animal health services
  • and more!

7  Animal Welfare for Pets, Work Animals and Animals in Sport

  • Introduction
  • Welfare for companion animals
  • and more!

8  Animal Welfare for Farm Animals

  • Introduction
  • Welfare for farm animals
  • and more!

9  Animal Welfare for Wildlife: Free and Captive

  • Introduction
  • Welfare for captive wild animals
  • and more!

…and if you’d like to specialise in horses, we’ve got just the course for you here!

Why does a Dog Wag its Tail

It is commonly believed that dogs wag their tails to convey that they are happy and friendly, but this is not exactly true. Dogs do use their tails to communicate, though a wagging tail may not necessarily mean, “Come over here and stroke me!” It has been observed that dogs have a kind of language based on their tails’ position and motions. You can also understand your own dogs and others by learning how they communicate their emotional state through their tail movements.

Dogs wag their tails for other dogs, humans, and other animals like cats. Research has confirmed that they do not wag their tails when alone because there is no need. Just as humans use lots of body language in social situations, our dogs do the same. Tail movements are communication devices, and with some careful observation, these movements may be able to tell you how your dog is feeling.

The tail serves many purposes, such as acting as a rudder in the water when the dog is swimming and acting for balance when running. For example, if you watch a running dog turns to catch a ball, you will most likely see him use his tail to keep his balance.

Experts believe a wagging tail may best be seen as a sign of willingness to interact, but not necessarily in the way that the observer may want to believe. The dog is, nevertheless, mentally aroused and engaged with what is going on in his environment.

Many clues can help detect how the dog may be feeling. For example, if the tail is held straight up or curled over at the tip and moving quickly from side to side in small rapid movements, it shows great interest and mental arousal.

Other tail signals include:

• relaxed tail – dog is relaxed and comfortable

• light wagging – welcoming

• broad circle wagging – dog is interested

• slow wagging – doesn’t quite understand what you are trying to teach him (e.g. in training)

• fast wagging – excited

• hanging horizontal but relaxed – the dog is interested in something, attentive

• hanging horizontal but stiff – confrontational (such as confronting an intruder)

• tail between legs – submission or fear

• tail raised and slowly moving – dog is on guard

• upright tail – sign of dominance

• upright tail curled over at end – demonstrates trust and self-confidence.

If you are interested in dog behaviour and psychologydog care, or caring for animals generally, the Academy for Distance Learning provides many courses that may be helpful and interesting to you and a huge stepping stone to a career in animal care.

Four Working Animals We Love

Working animals have played a hugely important role in human society for millennia. Animals such as donkeys, oxen, camels and horses still provide substance from their work for around 600 million people in the world today! Even in industrialised countries where machinery covers labour heavy functions, service animals are still extensively used. From police dogs that sniff out drugs to monkeys that aid people with disabilities, we rely on our working animals for a number of tasks.

Working Dogs

Our important and unique bond with dogs has meant that dogs have fulfilled many roles for humans throughout millennia. From herding dogs in farming to dogs that sniff out cadavers in the aftermath of a disaster, dogs are versatile enough to train into many different roles.

woman in white outfit and hat herding geese with the help of a border collie

Working Monkeys

In some countries, monkeys are used to gather coconuts from high up in tree branches. Though controversial, monkeys have been trained to gather coconuts for centuries in Asian countries. Monkeys are also trained to help people with disabilities lead more independent lives.

unripe coconuts hanging from a coconut tree

Horses, Donkeys and Camels

Horses, donkeys and camels have been used by people to help on farms, travel terrain and transport goods for many centuries. Those 600 million people mentioned above rely mostly on these animals for their livelihoods. There are several charities dedicated to helping working animals in countries where lack of education, poor animal handling and sheer abject poverty can make animals’ lives difficult.

donkey with items on back in the desert. Two men are in the background by a well.

Homing Pigeons

Though technically not within the working animal definitions which states that a working animal is one that is trained to perform a task it would not otherwise do naturally, such as a cat can’t be trained to catch mice, it just does out of its instinctive behaviour, homing pigeons as messenger birds have been used for centuries. In remote places where communications were difficult, messenger pigeons relayed important information regarding disasters, and big news etc. Now, there is one final post for messenger pigeons used in a Northern State in India. The messenger pigeons are used by the police force for ceremonial purposes only now, but before, they used to pass messages all over the remote, mountainous region with great efficiency. Back in 2009, a company in South Africa used a homing pigeon to carry a USB stick with 4GB of memory and sent a transfer of the same amount of data via Telkom, South Africa’s biggest internet provider at the time, to the same location. The homing pigeon beat the internet service provider by quite a margin!

pigeon focused against a blurry background

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