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Showing posts from March, 2018

Companion Animal Psychology Turns 6

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Celebrating six years of writing about the science of our relationship with pets.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

It’s exactly six years since I started Companion Animal Psychology!

The most popular posts of the last year were people mistakenly think anxious dogs are relaxed around baby and the ultimate dog training tip, which won the Captain Haggerty Award from the Dog Writer’s Association of America.

The posts on how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats, in which experts weigh in on what would make a difference, have also been incredibly popular. In the last year I spoke to Dr. Lee Dugatkin about How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog), and to Dr. Christy Hoffman about her research in Anthrozoology. And I was thrilled to publish guest posts from Kristi Benson CTC, Gina Bishopp, and Sienna Taylor MSc.

This is post number 355. Regular readers will have noticed posting frequency is down lately. This is because I am busy finishing the manuscript of my book. Look out…

Tips for Puppies and Puppy Love

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Two recent Psychology Today posts are all about puppies.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

For National Puppy Day, I wrote about the best things you can do for your puppy. The post shares three essential tips for anyone who is getting a puppy.


And in response, Marc Bekoff wrote it's National Puppy Day so give them all the love you can. In it, Bekoff writes,
"I'm a fan of all people who choose to bring a dog into their homes and hearts taking the time to become amateur ethologists and spending time becoming "fluent in dog." When we make this decision, and it should be a serious and informed choice, we become their caregivers and they assume we have their best interests in mind from "cradle to grave," the cradle beginning when we welcome them into our lives"
Why not check them out. Of course, it's really Puppy Day (and Kitten Day) every day!!

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

The Guinea Pigs' Perspective and Humane Dog Training

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A couple of news items: new post at Psychology Today, new article in press at the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

I have a new blog post at Psychology Today called Animal-Assisted Therapy: The Guinea Pigs' Perspective.

It's about a new study by Gut et al that looked at the behavioural response of guinea pigs in animal-assisted therapy sessions with and without the option of retreat. There are implications not just for animal-assisted therapy but also for anyone with pet guinea pigs.


In case you missed it, in February I had a post on Choosing Dogs that can Breathe.

I also have a paper in press at the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods. Temporary free access is available at this link.



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 relation…

Dog Rights and Understanding the Needs of Cats

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The latest in the 'better world' series about dogs and cats.

By Zazie Todd, PhD


For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.



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, one dog, and two cats.

Useful links:
Check out what the Animal Book Club is reading this monthGet Companion Animal Psychology merchSupport me on Ko-fiVisit my Amazon storeThis page contains affiliate links.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Etsy affiliate, I earn from qualifying Etsy purchases.

Puppy Socialization Practices - And How They Are Lacking

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Almost a third of puppies are missing out on important socialization during the sensitive period.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

A survey of puppy owners by Dr. Janet Cutler et al (University of Guelph) finds that a sizeable number of puppies are not receiving enough socialization.

Puppies have a sensitive period for socialization from 3 weeks until about 12-14 weeks. During this time, they should have lots of positive socialization experiences with other people and dogs and habituate to the kinds of environmental stimuli they will encounter as adult dogs. Without these positive experiences, they are less likely to be friendly, confident dogs.

The scientists recruited people with a puppy less than 20 weeks old. Then, when the puppy turned exactly 20 weeks, they sent an email with a link to the survey.

Almost a third of puppies were not receiving many socialization experiences, which in this study was defined as up to 10 people and 5 dogs or less per 2 week period. Lack of socialization can lead to…

Taking Misbehaviours Less Personally and Quality of Life

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The latest in the 'better world' series about dogs and cats.

By Zazie Todd, PhD


For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.





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, one dog, and two cats.

Useful links:
Check out what the Animal Book Club is reading this monthGet Companion Animal Psychology merchSupport me on Ko-fiVisit my Amazon storeThis page contains affiliate links.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Etsy affiliate, I earn from qualifying Etsy purchases.

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club March 2018

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"...award-winning journalist David Grimm explores the rich and surprising history of our favourite companion animals."



By Zazie Todd, PhD

The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for March is Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs by David Grimm.

This page contains affiliate links.

From the inside cover,
"Dogs are getting lawyers. Cats are getting kidney transplants. Could they one day be fellow citizens?  Cats and dogs were once wild animals. Today, they are family members and surrogate children. A little over a century ago, pets didn't warrant the meager legal status of property. Now, they have more rights and protections than any other animal in the country. Some say they're even on the verge of becoming legal persons.  How did we get here—and what happens next?  In this fascinating exploration of the changing status of dogs and cats in society, pet lover and award-winning journalist David Grimm explores the rich and surprising his…