The Posts of the Year 2016

The most popular posts from Companion Animal Psychology in 2016.

Two Old English Sheepdogs sitting the snow; pretty winter scene
Photo: Olga_i/Shutterstock

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 about those articles for free.

This year saw the start of the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club, and I am thrilled to have the chance to talk about books with like-minded people. The first books were The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat by John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis, and The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn by Melissa Holbrook Pierson.

These were the most popular posts of the year:

1. Losing a pet can lead to different types of grief.
A sad looking dog

2. Enrichment tips for cats (that many people miss)
Enrichment tips for cats that many people miss

3. Seven reasons to use reward-based dog training.
A happy dog waiting for a reward in a dog training session

4. Clicker training vs treat: Equally good in dog training.
A dog being clicker trained

5. Dog bite strength: It's not what you think.
A smiling pit bull dog in front of some flowers

6. Testing an automated and humane way to resolve barking.
A dog looks out of the window looking sad

7. In dog training, balance is off.
A Jack  Russell Terrier balances on a beam outside

8. Why science matters to our dogs and cats.
Four happy dogs running towards the camera

9. Less stress at the vet for dogs and cats.
A dog and cat visiting the vet

10. Why do people choose certain dogs?
Why do people choose certain dogs, animal welfare?

Honourable mention: Although it looks like posts about cats haven't done very well this year, there's an older post that's consistently had readers all through the year: Where do cats like to be stroked?

Thanks to all of you for your support and encouragement throughout the year. One of the best things about my blog is the way it has helped me get to know so many wonderful people.

What would you like to see on Companion Animal Psychology in 2017? Please feel free to send me an email at companimalpsych at gmail dot com with your ideas. I do my best to follow up these suggestions, and there are a couple of reader-inspired posts in the works at the moment.

And if you would like to propose a post, my guest post guidelines are here.

Wishing you a very Happy New Year and all the best for 2017!

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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Photo credit: Olga_i ( For other photo credits, follow the links.

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