Companion Animal Psychology News August 2017

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

The latest on dogs and cats from Companion Animal Psychology

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Some of my favourites from around the web this month

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Adding a younger pet to a geriatric household. American Veterinarian speaks to Dr. Marsha Reiss.

On-leash etiquette, management and reactivity. Great tips from Allison Wells for the Academy for Dog Trainers.

“So. I did say most dogs play just fine. As any dog trainer will tell you, some dogs who enjoy play also seem to be...well, kind of bad at it” Eat, play, love by Kristi Benson CTC explains how to fix it if this applies to your dog.

“The classic self-recognition test gets a makeover for dogs, using smell, not sight.” Beautiful explanation by Dog Spies by Julie Hecht of a new study on self-recognition in dogs.

Are dogs getting cuter? John Bradshaw PhD on the rise in popularity of brachycephalic dogs such as pugs.

What do cats do when they pee and poo? By Mikel Delgado, PhD. You know you want to know.

6 things to know before adopting a rat. Guest post by Monica Kucic at Dr. Jo Righetti's Pet Problems Solved.

Photos, Videos and Podcasts

The comedy pet photography awards.

This photographer fights rat phobia with irresistibly cute pictures. They really are! Photos by Diane Özdamar.

If you’ve thought of building a catio and need some ideas, you’ll like these photos of catios in Oregon. For those who are local, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon and the Portland Audubon Society are hosting a catio tour 10am – 2pm on Saturday, 9th September (details in the article).

Get your timing right… Clare Browne PhD interviewed by Animal Training Academy

A beard, a baby and three dogs. The video on this post from All Dogs Go to Kevin demonstrates clearly how to teach sit, down, and stay – three foundation behaviours for all dogs.


“Nearly 1 in 2 German Shepherds is being put down because they are unable to walk.” New research from the UK on the problems afflicting this breed.

The city of Montreal has written to hundreds of people to order them to get rid of their pit bulls within four weeks.


Managing Compassion Fatigue: How to Care for Yourself while caring for animals and people. Webinar by Dr. Vanessa Rohlff for Pet Professional Guild. 28 September 2017 5 – 6.30pm EDT.

Animals in our midst: How did pet-keeping evolve? Free lecture by Dr. John Bradshaw, Southampton, Friday 6th October, 18.00 – 20.00 BST.

Feline Science Symposium at the SF SPCA with Mikel Delgado, Tony Buffington, Monique Udell, Jeannine Berger and Sara Bennett. Saturday 4th November 2017, 9.30 to 4pm.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

The book club is reading How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution by Lee Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut. Don’t miss it.

When dog trainers get into arguments about methods, they tend to focus on the risks associated with aversive techniques. But there’s another side to consider too: since reward-based training is enjoyable for dogs, dogs that are trained with aversive methods are missing out on positive experiences. I write about the science of dog training methods and animal welfare in a guest post for The Academy for Dog Trainers: The double advantage of reward-based training.

At the end of last month, I wrote about the sensitive period for socialization in puppies and kittens. It’s a useful reference for anyone who wants to understand this important time for brain development.

Also on the blog, I wrote about successful outcomes for beagles rehomed after taking part in laboratory research (far better than the alternative!), and the importance of paying attention to our dogs and noticing those subtle signs of stress.

And my annual summer reading list features sound advice on dogs and cats from a range of authors (all of whom are well worth following on social media).

And finally… 

If things have seemed a bit quiet on Companion Animal Psychology this month, it’s because I took a fortnight off to visit family in England. I’m back now, having had a lovely time, but with a rotten cough and cold.

One of the things I love about pubs and cafes in the UK is that so many of them are welcoming to dogs. It’s really nice to go for a dog walk through the beautiful English countryside, followed by a pub lunch with your dog; or to pop out for coffee and cake in a bookstore and take the dog with you. Below are a couple of photos I snapped of signs on the door of two pubs in St Albans.

Dog-friendly pub sign; newsletter says more places should be dog-friendly
Sign outside Ye Olde Fighting Cocks pub in St Albans, one of the oldest pubs in England

It's great when pubs and cafes are dog-friendly; this sign is from a pub in St Albans
Sign on the door of the John Bunyan pub in St Albans

It couldn’t happen here: strict bylaws prohibit dogs from bars, restaurants and cafes – even on the patio. Personally, I think the café or bar owner should be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to allow dogs on the patio or not. It’s nice for dogs to be able to go out and about with their people (and continuing social activities like this are good for them too, assuming the dog is not fearful). Plus, of course, it’s nice for the owner. It’s obvious dogs should not be in the kitchen, but the same rules need not apply to patios.

I wish more establishments were dog-friendly. What’s it like where you live?

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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