Posts

Showing posts from December, 2015

The Posts of the Year 2015

Image
Happy New Year! Good health and happiness to all our readers in 2016.

These were the top posts of 2015. Which were your favourite? And what would you like to see covered here in 2016?


1. Different dog breeds, different sensitive period?

A study of three breeds finds differences in the sensitive period, and shows socialization should begin before you even take your puppy home. - See more at: http://www.companionanimalpsychology.com/2015/04/different-dog-breeds-different.html#sthash.yaKUk2kL.dpuf A study of three breeds finds differences in the sensitive period, and shows socialization should begin before you even take your puppy home.














2. Re-arranging metaphors for dogs

The problems with the wolf pack metaphor go deeper than you think.















3. What do young children learn from pets?

Is a better understanding of biology something that young children learn from dogs and cats?















4. Where do cats like to be stroked?

People expect cats to enjoy affection, but what's the cat's opinion?






















Season's Greetings!

Image
Happy Holidays and a very Happy New Year to all our readers from Companion Animal Psychology.

Make Your Dog Happy: Puppy Class!

Image
Going to puppy class could be the best investment you make in your dog. Here's why you should go and what to look for in a class.



Puppy classes provide important socialization opportunities and early learning experiences for puppies up to 5 months old. Puppy class is not just about training, it’s also (even mostly) about socialization.



Puppy Class and  Socialization
Socialization matters because dogs go through a developmental stage when happy, positive experiences with new people, dogs and things are important, and help to set them up to be happy, calm adult dogs. We know this because studies that kept puppies in isolation (e.g. Freedman, King and Elliot 1961) found they became very fearful.

Many dog trainers have socialization checklists, like this one from the late Dr. Sophia Yin that includes unfamiliar people and dogs, body handling, surfaces and sounds to which puppies should be socialized. 




We don’t know exactly when the sensitive period for socialization ends, and it may be dif…

Illustrating Companion Animal Psychology: Favourite Photos

Image
A selection of favourite photos from the blog.

One of the things I enjoy about writing Companion Animal Psychology is picking out the photo for each week’s post. I wait until I’ve finished the first draft, and choose the photo before I go back to edit. It feels like a treat to browse through the images.
Most of the time I’m looking for a photo in which the animal is happy and relaxed. Although there are some gorgeous studio shots, I tend to prefer more realistic settings. There are some stories for which any puppy or kitten would do, but other posts need something specific. Sometimes it’s not obvious what kind of photo is best to illustrate a story, and then I’m looking for some kind of connection, a metaphorical thread that links the visual to the prose. 


This photo of the mouse scampering away from the sleeping cat makes me smile. I used it to illustrate a story about the role of animals in everyday life, based on research from the Mass Observation Project (Animals, Pets and Vermin). 


Enrichment for Goldfish

Image
What keeps goldfish happy in their tank – and how do we know?



You’ve heard about the importance of enrichment for companion animals (like dogs) and for zoo animals, but what about goldfish? Fish are the third most popular pet - kept by 12.3 million households in the US - so it’s an important topic for animal welfare. Different types of fish might have different preferences. A new study by Miriam Sullivan (University of Western Australia) et al investigates.
Enrichment “is particularly important for goldfish and other pet fish for two main reasons,” Miriam Sullivan told me. “One, people tend to underestimate how smart fish are, which probably means they spend less time and effort on enrichment for their fish compared to other pets like cats and dogs.”
“And two, fish health is really closely connected to their environment. If fish are stressed out due to a poor environment (e.g. if they lack shelter or you didn’t clean out the tank!) then they become more susceptible to bacterial infection…