Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 


123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789


You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.




Blog posts on the Why Animals Do the Thing Tumblr are written with lots of field-specific vocabulary - here's a short glossary of some of the frequently used terms.

Want to suggest a term be added to this page? Contact WADTT here.

Behavioral Science Terms:


The belief (often inherent and subconscious) that humans are the most significant species on earth; that humans and human experience is best, more important, of higher value, and more moral than that of animals; assessment of reality through a human-centric lens.


The act of attributing human experience (e.g., mental state, emotions, conscious choice, logical thought) to non-human animals.


The inherent human tendency to want to connect in an empathetic manner with non-human living things.


“The ability of a living thing to feel, perceive, and experience subjectively.” (Source) This can include but is not limited to nor does not necessarily contain: emotions, self-awareness, logical and procedural reasoning, conscious thought.


In humans, often defined as “wisdom, or the ability (…) to act with appropriate judgement, (…) may be considered an additional faculty, apart from intelligence, with its own properties.” (Source).

In animals, the conference of ‘personhood’ to a nonhuman; accompanied by the implicit assumption of anthropocentric worldview; experiences of the non-human animal assumed to be analogous to those of humans under the same stimuli.

Training / Behavior Modification Terms:

CLASSICAL CONDITIONING = Developing an association between initially neutral stimuli and biologically important stimuli (google Pavlov’s dogs). E.g. Dogs salivating in anticipation of food.

OPERANT CONDITIONING = An animal’s behavior operates on the environment to produce a good, bad, or neutral result. Animal learns from successes and failures. E.g. Positive and negative reinforcement.

HABITUATION = Getting used to a stimulus that once elicited a greater response by the animal.E.g. A horse becoming less fearful of traffic noises after it has been turned out in a field next to a road.

SENSITIZATION = Becoming more responsive to a once neutral stimulus. E.g. A horse becoming fearful of traffic after a negative experience with it.

POSITIVE (X): Adding something to increase or decrease a behavior.

NEGATIVE (X): Removing something to increase or decrease a behavior. 

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT = A stimulus is added to reward a desired behavior. Encourages that behavior to happen more frequently. This is the basis of clicker training. E.g. dog sits on command, receives a treat.  

NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT = A stimulus is removed to reward a desired behavior. Encourages that behavior to happen more frequently. Often used in terms of  scary thing going way or an unpleasant stimulus stopping.  E.g. squeezing a horse forward, stop squeezing once it is moving OR backing away from an animal that is allowing you to be close even though it is uncomfortable.

POSITIVE PUNISHMENT = A stimulus is added as a consequence for a behavior. Encourages the behavior to happen less frequently. Often used to “discipline” animals for “doing something wrong.” E.g. using the whip on a horse as a punishment for bucking.

NEGATIVE PUNISHMENT = A stimulus is removed as a consequence for a behavior. Encourages the behavior to happen less frequently. Is not necessarily “bad” - often represents “natural consequences”. E.g. removing yourself from play when a dog is being too rough. 

Read More from Why Animals Do The Thing:


Rachel is an educator and animal science writer. With prior professional experience in zookeeping, visitor education, shelter behavior management, and more, she works to translate pertinent field-specific knowledge into comprehensive explanations about current animal related topics.