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Tuesday 12 March 2024

A good veterinarian is also a good educator! Here's a look back at an exciting event for 2nd year veterinary students: the visit of Eléonore Buffet, canine educator and behaviorist, for a practical session that was as exciting as it was surprising!

Animal education and veterinary medicine go hand in hand

The educator is one of the players in the veterinarian's team; their skills complement each other. Eléonore Buffet, canine behaviorist and director of Animal University, is our 2nd year veterinary student. Accustomed to working with a wide variety of dogs, she demonstrated with pedagogy and patience how a behaviorist works.

Accompanied by her dog and several of UniLaSalle Rouen's teacher-researchers' dogs, Eléonore Buffet explained the principles of positive and negative reinforcement in animals, and outlined the fundamental tools of dog training. A welcome intervention after numerous courses on the basics of ethology (behavioral sciences)! "The talk helped to give concrete form to theoretical notions by illustrating them with practical examples of animal education and behavior," confirms Arnaud.  

After a brief Q&A session (where our students were also able to ask for advice on the family dog 😊) it was time for the demonstration! While explaining her methods, Eléonore Buffet demonstrated on teacher dogs (Moka the Australian shepherd, Maurice the corgi, Toscane Golden Retriever and Bidule a Jack-Russel) how an educator can teach animals she doesn't yet know. It's a flexible approach, adapted to the animal in question, which quickly proves its effectiveness! The staff dogs are on campus every day and the students are getting to know them, and yet ... Ethan is astonished:

I never expected to see dogs change their behavior so quickly. It really made me realize the potential of dog training!

Learning by Doing, a key UniLaSalle training principle

Learning by Doing is one of the pillars of teaching at UniLaSalle. Learning by doing gives a practical dimension to knowledge and also facilitates memorization. In short, it's the key to becoming better veterinarians (or engineers!).  

As Ethan explains, it's also an opportunity to put a practical spin on the theoretical notions taught in class: "We can better visualize what we're being taught in class, and it helps us learn when we see the theoretical in a concrete way..." More than just a practical exercise, it becomes a real complement to the course, shedding light on the most abstract notions through a wealth of professional experience " [...] The various anecdotes told by the speaker were a big plus in helping us to understand" according to Arnaud; the speaker's experience is that little bit extra that helps us to understand everything!  

So, in the end, what did our students think of the practical course? "It's really exciting! I'd even like to have a course with her on difficult-to-educate dogs and behavioral problems" And luckily for Lou, next semester's program is ethics and animal welfare!

Many thanks to Eléonore Buffet and our teacher Sara Hoummady for organizing this TP. Thanks to Moka, Maurice, Toscane, Poppy and Bidule for their active participation in the practical work 😊.  


Article written by Jules Houplon, engineering student at UniLaSalle Rouen.