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Debunk, Support Science, or Tell a Story? Presented by Zazie Todd PhD

  • Wednesday, July 17, 2019
  • 7:00 PM
  • Monday, July 17, 2023
  • 8:00 PM
  • Recorded Webinar


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For dog lovers – and dog trainers in particular – communicating about reward-based dog training, the importance of enrichment, and management strategies for behaviour problems is an essential part of promoting good animal welfare. But sometimes it feels like we are mired in a sea of misinformation (and not just about dogs!). Drawing on research in psychology and science communication, this webinar will look at evidence-based ways to communicate more effectively. We will use the example of reward-based dog training in particular, but the strategies and techniques apply to any time we want to get an important message across.

Psychological science gives us several reasons why debunking false information can backfire, including the fact that repetition can make false ideas seem true, and correcting wrong information can be a threat to people’s identity, serving instead to reinforce those ideas. But while arguing may not be beneficial, just a few dissenting voices can make a big difference to perceptions of consensus. Luckily, there are plenty of tips from science communication that apply to talking about dog training, and this webinar will look at what we can do to make a positive difference.

Learning objectives:

  • Understand why debunking misinformation can backfire
  • Know the best approach to take when debunking ideas
  • Develop ways to teach people how to evaluate information about dog training
  • Create messages that will engage, inspire and inform.


About The Presenter

 Zazie Todd PhD

Zazie Todd is the creator of Companion Animal Psychology, a blog about how to have happier cats and dogs (according to science). She has a PhD in Psychology, an MFA Creative Writing, and is an honours graduate of the prestigious Academy for Dog Trainers. She takes dogs and cats as clients through her business Blue Mountain Animal Behaviour. She has a Psychology Today blog called Fellow Creatures, and has also written about pets for Pacific Standard, The Psychologist, and Reader’s Digest. Her book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, will be published by Greystone Books in February 2020.


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