Companion Animal Psychology News October 2017

Make sure you  haven't missed a thing with the latest newsletter from Companion Animal Psychology.

A dog and cat read the latest newsletter from Companion Animal Psychology

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Some of my favourites from around the web this month

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Kate Mornement PhD has written a great series about enrichment, starting with Wild at Heart: Why enrichment is essential for your pets’ well-being and with lots of ideas for enrichment for dogs  and for cats.

"Laterality is an ancient inherited characteristic and is widespread in the animal kingdom, in both vertebrates and invertebrates." I’ve always wondered: can animals be left- and right-pawed? Janice Lloyd and Richard Squires at The Conversation.

"If a cat is on an elevated surface and there are small objects on there as well, he often can’t resist the urge to use his paw to push something over the edge." Something many cat owners want to know: Why does my cat like to knock things off the table? By Pam Johnson-Bennett

How can you tell if your cat is happy and likes you? Susan Hazel PhD answers a Curious Kids question for the Conversation.

"Cats are trainable and can be quite easy to medicate. It is all about finding something that motivates them to make it worth their while." Food rewards for training and medicating cats by Ingrid Johnson at Fundamentally Feline

"These aren’t quick fix tips. This is a training challenge for all of us for the next six-months ahead." The Hurricane dog training challenge by Michael Baugh. How to prepare your dog for emergencies.

Do you have a counter-surfing dog? Then this post by Kristi Benson is for you. The case of the disappearing doughnut: What to do with a counter-surfing dog.

"The results suggest that people with favorable attitudes towards pets are also more likely to be influenced by news reports touting the idea that animals make good therapists." Hal Herzog PhD on Why do people think animals make good therapists? 

"Go slowly and go at his pace. You never know, your dog might surprise you by how well he knows the game." Tips on travel with dogs, including anxious ones, from Julie Naismith.

The Domestic Dog is the book we've been waiting for since 1995. Julie Hecht reviews the second edition of The Domestic Dog, edited by James Serpell.


Restricted activity for dogs. Webinar by Sian Ryan for Pet Professional Guild. 9th November 2017 2-3pm EST.

Photos, videos and podcasts

Britain’s pub dogs – in pictures.

Photographer Marcel Heijnen captures the secret lives of Hong Kong’s market cats in captivating series at Creative Boom: “the series is as much about the concept as it is about the beautiful animal.”

"Inside a new exhibit that gives dogs, cats, and chickens the full-on natural history museum treatment." See the world’s most ordinary animals as you never have before at Atlas Obscura. Photos by UCL Grant Museum of Zoology/Oliver Siddons, Text by Sarah Laskow.

Cute photos of dogs trying their best to look like people from William Wegman’s latest book.

8 photos of cute dogs in chic homes.

Undercats by Andreas Burba. Cats photographed from under a glass table.

The sorrow and grace of abandoned cats. Photos by Sabrina Boem, text by Ellyn Kail.

10 art installations for dogs and cats at an art exhibition for pets in Singapore.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

This month’s book for the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club is Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace by Kathy Sdao. "What if the secret to great dog training is to be an expert 'feeder' rather than a strong leader?"

The animals at my local shelter are getting worried because staff and volunteers will be shut in kennels with a furry friend today and only let out once they’ve raised bail. Lock-In for Love raises funds for the BC SPCA Maple Ridge and you can donate here.

My Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures looks at some new research that finds dog ownership is not linked to health benefits – but walking the dog is, and people walk their dog more if there is a stronger human-animal bond.

I wrote a guest post for Dr. Jo Righetti about my 5 favourite Companion Animal Psychology articles. Are you surprised at the ones I chose?

Here on Companion Animal Psychology, my post about Clare Browne et al’s research on dog training books has been very popular. While the results may not be a surprise to people reading this blog, the dog owning public is still buying books that may not give them the best advice.

Two posts about shelter cats have also been very popular. It turns out that even old and shy shelter cats can learn tricks such as spin or nose-touch a target. While research on which enrichment item shelter cats prefer suggests that a hiding place may actually be a basic necessity, rather than enrichment. Luckily a cardboard box can make a suitable hiding place!

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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