Episode 67: Mood Matters with Karin Pienaar

Marissa MartinoPaws & Reward Podcast

dog with enrichment item

In episode 67, Marissa Martino interviews Karin Pienaar, of the The Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE). During the episode, Marissa asks Karin about her new book, Mood Matters: MHERA: An Innovative Assessment Approach to Animal Emotionality in the Treatment of Behaviour Problems. Karin defines emotions and the 7 emotional systems. Karin shares her framework, MHERA, which is an acronym that stands for: Mood State, Hedonic Budget, Emotional, and Reinforcement Assessments.  

Karin has been working in the field of animal behavior therapy since 1997 and completed her Diploma in Animal Behaviour in the UK with The Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE). After more than 20 years of consulting with dog and cat owners, Karin now focuses mainly on managing  The Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) International, presenting the COAPE Diplomas and MHERATM Practitioners course, as well as lecturing and mentoring students. 

She heads the Enrichment Partnership Program between COAPE International and several captive wildlife facilities, where she and her team develop enrichment programs to promote the behavioral and emotional health of animals, as well as implement consent-based training to facilitate stress-free husbandry and medical procedures in captive wildlife. 

dog with enrichment item

What are emotions?

Simplistically speaking, emotions drive our behavior. They tell us what we want more of and what we want less of. Emotions start our behavior. We move towards something if we find it appetitive and away from something if we find it aversive. They help increase, maintain, or decrease out behavior.

Can you tell us about Panksepp’s work and the 7 emotional systems?

  • SEEKING SYSTEM – This is the system that motivates us to find resources for survival, it governs how we acquire resources.
  • FEAR SYSTEM – This is the system that creates aversive feelings and motivates you to get away from something or a threat.
  • RAGE SYSTEM – This is the system that is ready to fight in order to stay safe.
  • LUST SYSTEM – This is the system designed to reproduce.
  • CARE SYSTEM – This is the system that governs social bonds and connects mothers to infants for their survival.  
  • PANIC/GRIEF SYSTEM – This is the system indicating heartbreak and sadness.
  • PLAY SYSTEM – This system might be considered the most important since it impacts our emotional and physical well-being.

For more detailed descriptions of each system, you can check out Karin’s book!

Where to find Karin Pienaar:

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