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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club April 2020

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“Zazie Todd does dogs the immeasurably good favor of taking their happiness seriously.”--Alexandra Horowitz, author of Our Dogs, Ourselves.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

Over the last three and a half years, the Animal Book Club has read 34 wonderful books about animals by many incredible authors, with a range of new books and classics. So I'm absolutely thrilled that this month, book club members have chosen to read my own book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy.

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From the back cover,

"Dogs and humans share a special bond, but that doesn't mean we always understand what our pets are thinking and feeling. Zazie Todd distills current science to demystify the inner lives of dogs, and shares practical recommendations from leading veterinarians, researchers, and trainers. Clearly written and filled with personal anecdotes, Wag offers tips on how we can make the world better for dogs.- from properly socializing puppies to reducing stress at the ve…

COVID-19’s Impacts on the Human-Dog Relationship

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All the time we are spending at home due to COVID-19 impacts the nature of the human-dog relationship. Both humans and dogs have the potential to benefit from this arrangement.
Guest post by Christy Hoffman, PhD.


The nature of the human-dog relationship has changed in recent weeks due to COVID-19 and all the restrictions placed on human movement. Most dogs in the United States have years of experience spending their days alone while the adults in the household work and the children attend school. Now, in many cases, the entire family is under the same roof 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Below, Dr. Christy Hoffman, animal behaviorist and director of the Anthrozoology Master’s program at Canisius College (Buffalo, NY), describes ways in which this new arrangement may be beneficial to human-dog relationships. In addition, she identifies reasons why this new situation requires thoughtful consideration.


Generations of dog enthusiasts have bred dogs who show great affinity toward humans, and…

The PPG Virtual Summit - and a Wag Giveaway

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There will be 8 speakers (including me) at the Pet Professional Guild's Virtual Summit April 2nd-3rd.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

The Pet Professional Guild's Virtual Summit takes place April 2nd - 3rd and there is still time to register.

There will be 8 speakers: Dr. Kathy Murphy, Dr. Karolina Westlund, Dr. Nick Thompson, Dr. Morag Heirs, Malena DeMartini, Dr. Robert Hewings, Dr. Juliane Kaminski, and myself. You can choose to attend live or watch the recordings later.

My talk is on implementing science-based training in shelter and rescue. At the end of my talk, I will be giving away 5 copies of my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy.

The Virtual Summit celebrates a new program from the PPG called The Pet Rescue Resource, which has been designed specifically to help pet rescue and shelter organizations. The Pet Rescue Resource launches on 2nd April, but you can get a sneak preview of what to expect in this blog from the Academy for Dog Trainers.

The Virtual Summit is open …

Companion Animal Psychology Turns Eight

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Some photos for those who need a distraction from the news cycle, as Companion Animal Psychology reaches 8 years of blogging.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

Today is exactly 8 years since I started Companion Animal Psychology blog. It's something I'm very proud of, especially my book, Wag: The  Science of Making Your Dog Happy. But this feels like a strange time to be celebrating, when we are all so anxious and the world is upside down. So here are some photos of dogs and cats to help provide some respite from the breaking news cycle.







Symbols of an 8th anniversary include bronze, pottery, lilac, clematis, and lace, so they loosely form the basis of the cat and dog photos I've chosen.













Thank you for your support over the years, and a special thank you to my Ko-fi supporters who help to keep this blog going.

I hope that you and yours are staying safe and well in these troubling times.

Most pet dogs are fearful or anxious, study shows

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A Finnish study finds that 72.5% of pet dogs show at least one form of canine anxiety, and better breeding practices could help.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

Fear and anxiety in pet dogs is a serious welfare issue, according to new research published in Scientific Reports by Milla Salonen (University of Helsinki) and colleagues. The results suggest that those who breed dogs should pay more attention to breeding from non-fearful animals.

The study is a survey of the owners of 13,700 pet dogs in Finland. Given the large sample size, the scientists were able to get data from over 200 dogs of each of 14 breeds plus mixed-breed dogs, allowing comparisons between breeds.

The most common form of canine anxiety is noise sensitivity (32%). Of these, the most common is fear of fireworks, reported as affecting 26% of dogs. This is similar to other research, although it’s worth noting that in one study, once the question was changed to reflect specific behavioural signs such as trembling and shaking, twice …

Companion Animal Psychology News March 2020

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Resources on COVID-19 and your pet, dogs in gilded cages, playing with your cat, plus other animal news this month.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

COVID-19 is an unprecedented emergency, and this month’s newsletter includes several related posts. Bear in the mind that the situation changes often, and is different in different places, so always check local advice. But our pets still need us, so there are some non-COVID-19 stories in my favourites list too. Wherever you are, I hope you and yours are staying safe and keeping well, and send my gratitude to all the health professionals, key workers, grocery store staff, and everyone else on the front-line in this pandemic.

My favourites this month The WSAVA has a set of resources for both veterinarians and pet owners which they are updating regularly.

Dr. Sam Gaines of the RSPCA has some guidelines on how to care for your pet when social distancing or staying at home due to coronavirus.

PDSA has a Q&A with vets’ advice on how to care for your dog or …

Spending More Time with Your Pet due to COVID-19? Strategies to Cope

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If you’re staying home as much as possible, your pet is probably pleased – but here are some ways to cope with any issues that may arise.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation. As people are increasingly needing to spend more time at home, that means spending more time with pets. Your pets are probably very happy about this, but as we all know, extra time in a small space can always lead to issues. Here are some tips to help.

Stick to your routine Dogs, cats, and other pets like routine. If possible, stick to your routine with them and do the things that you normally do at the normal times: feed them at the same time of day, take your dog for bathroom breaks and walks at the usual time, and anything else that is part of your normal routine with them.

Let pets have safe spaces While it’s true that your pet is probably very happy to have you at home, sometimes even they can have too much of a good thing. Make sure your pet has a safe space where they can …