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Integrated Clinical Animal Behavior

Integrated Clinical Animal Behavior

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In this paper, I outline the drawbacks with the two main behavioral approaches to animal behavior problems and argue that each alone is insufficient to underpin a field of clinical

In this paper, I outline the drawbacks with the two main behavioral approaches to animal behavior problems and argue that each alone is insufficient to underpin a field of clinical animal behavior. Applied ethology offers an interest in an animal’s spontaneous behavior in natural contexts, understood within an ecological and evolutionary context, but lacks an awareness of mechanisms that can be manipulated to modify the behavior of individual animals. Behaviorism in the form of Applied Behavior Analysis offers a toolkit of techniques for modifying the behavior of individual animals, but has seldom been applied to non-human species, and often overlooks phylogenetic aspects of behavior. Notwithstanding the historical animosities between the two fields of animal behavior they are philosophically highly compatible – both being empiricist schools stemming ultimately from Darwin’s insights. Though each individually is incomplete, I argue that an integrated approach that synthesizes the strengths of each holds great promise in helping the many animals who need our assistance to survive and thrive in human-dominated environments.

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  • 2021-02-05