•  23
    Attachment theory, proposed in the 1950s to understand the development of parent-child relationships, is often applied to human–companion animal relationships. I argue the application of this paradigm to test nonhuman animals’ social bonds with humans infantilizes mature animals and has a detrimental impact on animal welfare. The premise is that Ainsworth’s Strange Situation Test is inappropriate to investigate the emotional ties between domestic animals and humans. Instead, I propose an alterna…Read more
  •  7
    In this paper, I discuss the concept of ‘shared meaning’, and the relationship between a shared understanding of signs within an animal social group and the Umwelten of individuals within the group. I explore the concept of the ‘Total Umwelt’, as described by Tønnesen,, and use examples from the traditional ethology literature to demonstrate how semiotic principles can not only be applied, but underpin the observations made in animal social biology. Traditionally, neo-Darwinian theories of evolu…Read more
  •  7
    Here, I outline the idea of a unified hypothesis of sensory perception, developed from the theoretical vibrational mechanism of olfaction, which can be applied across all sensory modalities. I propose that all sensory perception is based upon the detection of mechanical forces at a cellular level, and the subsequent mechanotransduction of the signal via the nervous system. Thus, I argue that the sensory modalities found in the animal kingdom may all be viewed as being mechanoreceptory, rather th…Read more
  •  3
    In this paper, I present an argument that quantitative behavioural analysis can be used in zoosemiotic studies to advance the field of biosemiotics. The premise is that signs and signals form patterns in space and time, which can be measured and analysed mathematically. Whole organism sign processing is an important component of the semiosphere, with individual organisms in their Umwelten deriving signs from, and contributing to, the semiosphere, and vice versa. Moreover, there is a wealth of da…Read more
  •  3
    In this paper, I examine the way humans interact with domestic companion animals, with a focus on ‘positive reward-based training’ methods, particularly for dogs. From a biosemiotic perspective, I discuss the role of animal training in today’s society and examine what binary reward- based reinforcement schedules communicate, semiotically. I also examine the extent to which reward-based training methods promote better welfare, when compared to the more traditional methods which rely on aversive s…Read more