Showing posts from December, 2016

The Posts of the Year 2016

The most popular posts from Companion Animal Psychology in 2016.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

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Looking back, I'm surprised by how much I wrote this year. During 2016 I published 58 blog posts, including 28 reviews of individual research papers on dogs, cats, ferrets, and the human-animal bond. I feel very lucky to have interviewed both Dr. Sarah Ellis and Jean Donaldson, and thank them both for such interesting and inspiring interviews. I published the first guest post, an important piece by James Oxley and Clare Ellis about how rabbits are missing out on basic pet care practices.

I really enjoyed hosting the Train for Rewards Blog Party, which was a huge lot of fun (look out for it again in 2017!). Thank you to everyone who participated, whether by writing a post or sharing your favourites. I also kept my list of dog training research resources up to date, and there you will find a list of research articles on dog training and places where you can read abou…

Season's Greetings

Happy Holidays!

Thank you for your support, encouragement, comments, likes and shares throughout the year.

Season's Greetings and all best wishes for a joyful and peaceful 2017!

Companion Animal Psychology

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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Companion Animal Psychology News December 2016

The latest news on cats and dogs from Companion  Animal Psychology, December 2016.

By Zazie Todd, PhD
Some of my favourite posts from around the web this month
Realizing the Fear Free dream for pets by Dr. Marty Becker.

Good intentions can go very wrong when you find a lost pet by Maddie’s Fund.

Helping your dog feel safe during the holidays by Maureen Backman.

How to enrich cats’ lives: Food puzzles for cats. Felicity Muth talks to Mikel Delgado.

Why are pets popular with artists?Dr. Anne Fawcett interviews Dr. Sarah Engledow about the Popular Pet  Show at the National Portrait Gallery in Australia.

Pets in the news…
In the UK, the RSPCA’s petition to repeal Breed Specific Legislation now has more than 50,000 signatures. The London Assembly has also called for a review, saying the legislation “has failed to protect the public and dog welfare.” If you want to know more, here is a link to the RSPCA report ‘Breed Specific Legislation – A Dog’s Dinner’ and to the petition

Meanwhile in Montr…

How to Choose a Dog Trainer

How to choose the best dog trainer for you and your dog, including the methods and qualifications to look for.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Whether you want to take part in obedience classes or arrange private sessions to resolve your dog’s behaviour problem, choosing the right dog trainer can be a difficult decision.

Because dog training is unlicensed, anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, regardless of whether or not they have any education.

So what should you look for? This article explains the key things you need to know before you hire a dog trainer.

The most important choice in hiring a dog trainer When choosing a dog trainer, the most important thing is to find a trainer who uses reward-based dog training methods, which they might call positive reinforcement, force-free, or humane training methods.

However, just because you see those words on someone’s website, does not mean they actually use those methods (see below for the questions you should ask).

Reward-based dog training is base…

Losing a Pet Can Lead to Different Types of Grief

New research looks at the factors that influence how we feel after euthanizing a pet.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

The loss of a pet is a difficult process. People’s feelings of grief may be the same as for losing a human family member. New research investigates some of the factors that may affect people’s grief and sorrow after euthanizing a dog or cat.

The study, by Sandra Barnard-Nguyen (University of Sydney) et al, is one of the first to use a survey designed specifically to measure people’s responses to loss of a pet, rather than a human. This takes account of differences in the experience, including the decision to euthanize a pet.

A reaction of grief and sorrow on the loss of a pet can be seen as part of a normal psychological process.  However in some people there may be feelings of guilt and anger that are more problematic. This type of grief is seen as ‘complicated’ and may sometimes develop into depression or other mental health issues.

The study looked at these three types of grief i…

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club: December 2016

The book of the month is The Secret History of Kindness by Melissa Holbrook Pierson.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

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The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club continues with discussion of The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn by Melissa Holbrook Pierson.

From the cover, "Pierson draws surprising connections in her exploration of how kindness works to motivate all animals, including the human one."

Later in the month, I will post my comments about the book, along with some highlights of the book club discussion.

You will be able to leave your thoughts on the book in the comments section.

Through the book club, we will learn more about companion animals and our relationship with them, build up a nice library of books about animals, and of course enjoy talking about the books.

Are you reading too?

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychol…