Who am I or who I am?!
Hey hey.. here is Marco! I am a compulsive dogs lover. I spent most of my life among dogs, observing, studying and looking after them. I also love wolves and other canines, which makes things even more interesting. I travel the world and never stop learning, teaching and helping dogs and people every time, everywhere.
I am an Independent Researcher, Dog Behaviour and Wellbeing Consultant, Educator, Animal Advocate and Rescuer, with a significant background in social work, bodywork, human development and team building. I am a Professional Member of the International Society for Anthrozoology - ISAZ, and the Animal Behaviour Society - ABS, among others. Founder of Anthrozoology Education Dogs & Canines, Portugal Focus Animal Help, Integral Neurosoma and other projects.
I have been spending most of my life among dogs, starting in my childhood in Naples, southern Italy, which back in the 70s and 80s was packed with free-ranging dogs. I was that "out of the box" child leaving the soccer field to spend time with the dogs, entering remote areas of the suburb where nobody was accessing due to the presence of dogs. No wonder that later in life, that experience turned out to be a solid background in my research. I've been studying free-ranging dogs in various countries and conducting field research on free-ranging Bali dogs; rescuing animals in the wildfire of Portugal; introducing free-ranging dogs to schools in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia; advising on dog behaviour for the first historical massive spy-neutering campaign of Mexico; supporting the rescue of Orangutang in the wildfire of Sumatra; extensively consulting on dog behaviour and training in one-to-one or group sessions; studying sledge dog in Quebec and Dingoes in Australia.
However, my interest varies from up-to-date science to ancient beliefs and legends. I keep myself very busy by integrating different knowledge in my work and mission, focusing on psychology and behaviour in both human and non-human animals, Human-Animal Interaction (or conflict), and Compassionate Conservation.
Additionally, I study movement-related techniques, bodywork, holistic healthcare, theatre, neurosciences, psychophysiology and visual arts. Actively engaged in a wide range of professional contexts, I have collaborated with universities in Rome, Paris, Novisad, Budapest, Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne, Hobart, Iasi, Cluj-Napoca and others.
Psychology Today / DoYouBelieveInDog? / The Bark / The Chronicle of Dogs / American Dog Writers Associations / The Conversation / Animal & Society / Barks From The Guild / The Pet Professional Guild/ Dog Spies / The Outline / Talking Animals / Holistic Dog Podcast / International School of Canine Psychology ISCP
Anthrozoology is a field of study that focuses on the relationship between humans and animals, particularly in terms of animal behavior, human-animal interaction, and the impact of animals on human society. It is an interdisciplinary field that draws on various fields of study such as psychology, anthropology, biology, and veterinary medicine.
The study of anthrozoology explores the ways in which humans interact with animals, both domesticated and wild, and how animals impact human society in various ways. For example, researchers in this field may study the use of animals in therapy, the impact of animals on human health and well-being, the roles that animals play in cultural practices and religious beliefs, and the ethical considerations surrounding the use of animals for food or research purposes.
Anthrozoology is an important field of study that helps to promote a greater understanding of the complex relationships between humans and animals. By studying these relationships, researchers can identify ways to improve the welfare of animals and to enhance the benefits that animals provide to humans.
Animal consciousness is a topic of much debate among scientists, philosophers, and animal rights advocates. It refers to the idea that animals are capable of experiencing subjective states of consciousness, such as pain, pleasure, and emotions, in much the same way that humans do.
While there is no definitive proof that animals are conscious, many researchers believe that certain animals exhibit behaviors that suggest they are aware of their surroundings and are capable of experiencing various mental states. For example, animals have been observed exhibiting emotional responses, such as fear or happiness, in response to different stimuli. They also display cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving and memory retention.
The question of animal consciousness raises important ethical considerations regarding the treatment of animals. If animals are capable of experiencing pain and suffering, then it is important that we take steps to minimize their pain and ensure that they are treated humanely. It also raises questions about the use of animals in scientific research, as many argue that it is unethical to subject conscious beings to unnecessary pain or discomfort.
The term “domestic” commonly refers to those dogs living in a human family context. The domestic context is one of the main focuses in my research and action.The majority of dogs we usually see, like German Shepard, Doberman, Greyhound or others, are breed dogs, so they are not older than a few hundred years. They have been selected by humans for particular morphologies and behaviors in order to fulfill specific needs. Through this selective breeding, dogs have developed into hundreds of breeds, and display a huge behavioral and morphological variation (by contrast, the genetic variation is reduced). But not only breed dogs live with humans; a high percentage of mongrels also inhabit human homes. Moreover, a certain number of hybrid dogs (breeds with a high wolf-like genetic percentage) or wild canines are also adopted and live in human homes as pets.Regardless if the dog is a breed, a mongrel, a hybrid or a wild canid, the moment the canine enters the domestic context represents an important shift in term of environment, psychology, emotions and behaviour. Being in contact with humans, canines activate behavioural and emotional dynamics based on attachment, adjusting their behaviour to humans behaviour and lifestyle.I observe and and work on the different behaviours displayed by canines living in the domestic context.
When I was a child, I lived in a suburb of Naples, in southern Italy, spending a lot of time in the street watching stray dogs. I learned a lot in that time. Nowadays, I dedicate a lot of time to the study and understanding free-ranging dogs’ behaviour, patterns, ecology and interactions with people.
Free-roaming dogs provide a glimpse of dogs-humans co-evolution. They represent the majority of dogs in the world. However, the situation regarding free-roaming dogs is very controversial. While in certain areas, these dogs prosper, in other areas, they are subject to a dramatic reduction. Political and cultural conditioning, lack of knowledge, and poor understanding do not allow the flourishing of the benefits that could emerge for humans and dogs through their interaction. In contrast, the behaviour of dogs, as a species and of humans, is barely understood and dogs are, in many cases, persecuted and massively killed.
My background in Southern Italy, a few years spent in South East Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia, and trips to other areas of the globe, including Mexico, allowed me to observe the behaviour of free-roaming and village dogs extensively. I’ve learned so much from them regarding dogs’ behaviour and sociability. I will keep dedicating my effort to studying and supporting free-ranging dogs. I want to set up field research in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Moscow, and Bulgaria, among others, as soon as possible.
I have always been attracted by both wild canids and the “wild side” of dogs. That probably started when I was a child. At that time, I was spending a lot of time among free-ranging dogs, and I loved to watch documentaries on wolves, canids and other animals. One day, I was probably nine years old and I watched a documentary on Dingoes. That had a critical impact on me. Working with dogs later in my life, I’ve continued cultivating a vital interest in wild canids and wildlife. That made me search for contexts where I could meet and study canids such as wolves, jackals, foxes and dingoes.
I have spent time in the UK studying wolves with the help of Shaun Ellis, a very inspired man. I’ve been observing the mating process of wolves, and I’ve been watching the high-breed wolf-dog.
I have been in Australia exploring dingoes shelters, associations with dingoes in captivity or as “pets”, and home contexts where people have dingoes as “pets” living together with dogs.
I have also spent some time in Quebec, Canada, watching the daily life and behaviour of sledge dogs such as Huskies (Siberian and Alaskan), Malamutes, Canadian Eskimo, Samoiedo, Chinook and Greenland Dog. They are “wolf dogs”, and all have high wolf-like genetics.
In the future, I wish to have direct experience with Mongolian Dogs, New Guinea Singing Dogs, African Hunting dogs, and Ethiopian Wolf, among others.
This is a never-ending process of learning and discovering. Provided conditions and resources, I’m always up to jump on new situations and contexts and learn more.
“Human-Animal Studies (HAS) is a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field that examines the complex and multidimensional relationships between humans and other animals. HAS comprises work in several disciplines in the social sciences (sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science), the humanities (history, literary criticism, philosophy, geography), and the natural sciences (ethology, veterinary medicine, animal welfare science, and comparative psychology).”
How can humans improve the well-being of other animals, and how can different animals support humans? There are many ways. There is a growing body of research targeting those aspects. That is part of my interest and my practice.
Human-wildlife conflict refers to those interactions between wild animals and people that negatively impact wild animals and their habitat and people’s lifestyle and resources. The conflict gets typically triggered due to the growing human populations overlapping with established wildlife territory. In other words, there is a reduction of resources and consequent competition between humans and wild animals at the core of the conflict.
Many conflict “management” strategies have been based on lethal control, translocation, regulation of population size and preservation of endangered species. Recent management approaches use scientific research for better management outcomes, such as behaviour modification and reducing interaction.
An essential aspect of being aware of while interacting with nonhuman animals is a domestic dog, a wild cat, or a bird.
I align with the concept and practices promoted by Compassionate Conservation, and I support this cause.
Which are the principles at the core of Compassionate Conservation’s approach?
– First of all, “do no harm”. Don’t make any animal suffer. And here, we are not talking just about an animal that may be killed for conservational purposes but also about the family members of that animal, the community of which that animal is part and the social ecosystem to which that animal belongs.
– Every individual’s life matters. Every animal, every individual, has the right to be left in peace and has the right to choose for her/himself or his animal family or for the animal community of which she-he is part.
– Compassionate Conservation also highlights that humans have taken a right to choose “who lives and who dies”. We do not have this right, and yet we are so convinced to have it, ultimately based upon our limited understanding of other animals, based upon believing to be more intelligent, skilful, and emotional than other animals… (We’ll talk about this particular aspect in a minute…)
Therefore, through those and other concepts, compassionate conservation targets a Peaceful coexistence between human animals and other-than-human animals. It is a matter of time, but I’m optimistic that this is how we must go.
AEDC Anthrozoology Education Dogs Canines - Academy
Shaping the life of people and animals.