Ecology, Ethology and Evolution of Dogs
Dr. Ray Coppinger comes to Wolf Park for a fascinating seminar
Nov 19-21, 2010
$395 per person
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Dogs exist in amazing numbers around the world. Most of them are classified by the World Health Organization as Neighborhood Dogs. These are dogs that are loosely attached to people and are in continuous contact within the greater population of dogs. Exploring the behavior of these village dogs gives us not only the dynamics of how dogs earn a living, but also suggests how they evolved and adapted to civilization. It also provides an insight into dog behavior.
Behavioral ecologists look at the results of an animal’s motions. The animal hunts for food. Hunting for food has a cost, which can be measured in many ways, including the expenditures of time and energy.
The big question for the behavioral ecologist is, how do animals capture enough energy to accomplish all of their biological requirements? Natural selection favors those with the most efficiently shaped motor patterns for feeding or for avoiding hazards, or the ones that can successfully attract a mate and provide for offspring. Yet behavioral ecologists don’t really care whether these behaviors are genetic or learned. They just ask the question: ‘How does the animal earn a living, how does it forage, reproduce and stay out of trouble while going about its survival business?’
Dr. Coppinger will review and expand on these concepts (and much more) to help us understand how our dogs came into being and how they operate in their environment. He will concentrate on his recent studies of village dogs typified by the dogs in the Mexico City dump and try to compare them with the rest of the dog world. This population gave Dr. Coppinger new insights into the natural history of dogs, into their behavioral ecology, and the continuing evolution of dogs and their people friends.
A weekend with Dr. Coppinger will certainly be full of great stories, fascinating observations, and ideas that may challenge how you look at dogs in the world. Dr. Coppinger is a retired professor from Hampshire College and author of DOGS: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution.
This seminar is accredited by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers for 19.5 CPDT Continuing Education Units.