The Posts of the Year 2014

A pretty Chinese Crested Dog with balloons in the background
Photo: Jaromire Chalabala / Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd, PhD

We wish all our readers a happy and healthy 2015!

These are our most-read posts of the year. There's been a lot of competition at the top of this chart! Which stories were your favourites? And which topics would you like to read more about in future? Please let us know by leaving a comment below, or on twitter or facebook.

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1. How Does a Dog's Brain Respond to the Smell of a Familiar Human?

New fMRI research shows that the smell of a familiar person elicits a strong response in the canine brain.

2. Do Dogs get that Eureka! Feeling?

Does successful problem-solving make dogs happy? Research by McGowan et al investigates if dogs prefer their rewards to be earned. This post was our Companion Animal Science News of the Year for the Science Borealis Blog Carnival.

3. Dog Training, Animal Welfare and the Human-Canine Relationship

Observations of dogs at training classes using either positive reinforcement or punishment support the idea that using rewards in training is good for the dog-owner relationship.

4. Do Dogs with Baby Expressions get Adopted Sooner, and What Does it Say about Domestication?

Theories about the domestication of dogs from wolves suggest that baby-like faces are a by-product of humans selecting for other features. But is it possible they were deliberately selected?

5. Is it Important to Attend Puppy Class?

Is a one-off puppy party a good alternative to a 6-week puppy class? Research by Kutsumi et al (2013) finds it doesn't have the same benefits.

6. Do Children Benefit from Animals in the Classroom?

Researchers investigate whether an eight-week program involving a guinea pig in class leads to improved social skills and a reduction in problem behaviours

7. Is Cruelty to Animals in Childhood a Predictor of Later Criminal Behaviour?
A GSD puppy against a yellow background

How many children are cruel to animals? Is it linked to criminal behaviour as an adult, and does it persist through the generations?

8. Do Puppy Tests Predict Adult Dog Behaviour?

A new study tests border collies as neonates, puppies, and adult dogs, to find out if personality tests predict adult dog behaviour.

9. The Adolescent Dog: One Last Chance?

A synthesis of the latest research on social influences on development suggests adolescence is an important time for mammals – including dogs.

10. Are Deaf Dogs and Blind Dogs Just Like Other Dogs?
Pretty black and white dog with big floppy ears

Dogs that are deaf and/or blind can make great pets, according to a survey that found they are rated as less aggressive and less excitable than other dogs. Enrichment is important, such as with toys, training, or flyball classes.

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy. She is the creator of the popular blog, Companion Animal Psychology, writes The Pawsitive Post premium newsletter, and also has a column at Psychology Today. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats. 

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