Posts

Showing posts from May, 2012

Why Do Some Owners Not Walk Their Dogs?

Image
There are two factors that explain why some people don't walk their dog. By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. In an  earlier post , I looked at whether people could be encouraged to take more physical exercise by focusing on the benefits to their dog of going for a walk. It seems they can. But it surprises me that some people don’t walk their dog every day. To me, taking a dog for a walk is one of the lovely things about having a dog, but apparently not everyone feels that way. A study by Hayley Cutt looks at the reasons why. Public health officials are always looking for ways of encouraging people to exercise, and as Cutt puts it, “one such under-used resource lies patiently, wagging its tail in eagerness to be physically active.” Participants in this study were a subset of people taking part in a longitudinal survey of a neighbourhood in Perth, Australia. The dog-owners w

Preventing Dog Bites in Children

Image
This is  National Dog Bite Prevention Week in the US, so I thought I’d look at two recent studies that investigate dog bite prevention in children. Both studies are based on interviews with parents and children, after the children had been admitted to a hospital emergency department. By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. A study by Ilana Reisner et al asked children who had been bitten by dogs about the circumstances of the bite. They wanted to know things like whether it happened inside or outside, and what the dog and child were doing immediately prior to the bite. Most indoor dog bites happened in the dog’s home (whether or not it was also the child’s home), and most outdoor dog bites happened near to the dog’s home. They identified two main circumstances for dog bites; younger children tended to be bitten inside the home, often by a dog that they lived with, whereas older chil

Walking a Dog: Good for You and the Dog

A dog-walking intervention helpfully led to increased dog walking behaviour, this study shows. By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. We all know that owning pets is said to be good for you. One of the benefits of owning a dog is taking it for walks. And walking – like any other form of exercise – is good for your health. It surprises me that some people don’t walk their dogs , because having to go out in all weathers is one of the things I like about having dogs. However wet and windy it is outside, it’s (usually) not so bad once you actually get out there. And walking helps prevent canine obesity as well as human obesity. Dogs that are left on their own in a yard to exercise are more likely to be obese than dogs that have an exercise regime, according to a study by I.M. Bland et al in 2009. When dogs are left in a yard, even if that yard is more than an acre in size, they just don’t

The Cat at the Window

Image
Why do cats like to look out of the window?  Photo: Diane N. Ennis / Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. I think all cats like windows. Even outdoors cats will still spend time sitting on a window ledge, watching the world outside. For indoor cats, windows become even more important. Since cats that live exclusively indoors can easily become bored or frustrated, it is important to provide environmental enrichment for them. The five pillars of a healthy feline environment include providing safe spaces for cats, and a safe space with a view outdoors is a great place for cats to spend their time. Windows as enrichment for cats In a review of enrichment practices, Sarah Ellis (2009) says that windows with an interesting view provide important visual enrichment for cats . Of course, it’s what the cat finds interesting that

What's Your Favourite Command in Dog Training?

Image
On favourite commands in dog training, and the behaviours you should teach your dog to do. Photo: Dora Zett/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. There are certain commands that many people think all dogs are supposed to learn, like 'sit' and 'heel'. If you go to a basic obedience class, these are the ones that will be taught. I like to teach my dogs hand signals as well as the verbal command, and in some cases they seem to respond more to the hand signal than the spoken word. Even within these basic commands, it's not like there is a specific set that every dog knows, and one person's exact command will be different  than another ('down' vs 'lie down', for example). Then there are commands that are more specialist. For example, a sheepdog will learn basic commands like 'come bye' and 'away'. As far as I know, co

How Often Should I Train My Dog?

Image
Is it best to train your dog daily or once or twice a week? Scientists investigated and found that once or twice a week is the best frequency for dog training sessions, but dogs trained daily learned the commands too. Photo: dezi / Shutterstock.com By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. If you want a well-behaved dog, you have to teach it how to behave. It's often advised to train the dog frequently, for example to have three short training sessions a day. On the other hand, if you go to training classes, they are usually once a week (though of course you can practise at home). But how often is it advisable to train a dog? Is it better to train frequently or less often, and should the sessions be short or long? This is the question posed by Demant et al (2011). For the study, they used 44 dogs that lived at a laboratory, so that they could control extraneous factors. The dogs

Support Companion Animal Psychology with a monthly or one-off donation via debit, credit, or Paypal