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Showing posts from June, 2018

Fellow Creatures: Two new posts

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Two new posts on dog training and pet behavior problems over at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

The first, Does owner personality affect dog training methods?, looks at intriguing findings from a recent study of personality, punishment in dog training, and dog behavior.



Meanwhile, Pet behaviour problems: In the eye of the beholder? looks at the factors that influence whether we consider a pet's behaviour issue to be a problem.


Have a great weekend. And Happy Canada Day!

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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:

Companion Animal Psychology News June 2018

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Make sure you haven't missed a thing with the latest round-up about dogs and cats from Companion Animal Psychology.



By Zazie Todd, PhD Some of my favourites from around the web this month
Homeless people and their pets: ‘She saved me as much as I saved her.’ First-hand accounts in The Guardian of how much pets mean to homeless people in the US. “She wakes up so excited every morning and gets so happy about the littlest thing, like rolling around in the grass or even just the weather being nice. Seeing her like that reminds me to stay happy for simple things too.”

Dogs and humans have similar social and emotional brains. Dr. Carlo Siracusa of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists says dogs struggle in a society they don’t always understand. “They are attached to humans and willing to share their lives, but they want to feel safe in an environment that is almost entirely controlled by humans.”

What’s the deal with vegetarians who hate vegetables?Dr. Hal Herzog on some fascinat…

Study outlines reasons to ban electronic collars for dogs

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A review of the scientific research finds there are risks to using electronic collars in dog training and says it's time for a ban.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

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Last year, a position statement from the European College of Veterinary Clinical Ethology argued against the use of electronic collars in dog training and for a Europe-wide ban on their sale and use.  Now an article in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour by Dr. Sylvia Masson et al explains the reasons behind their position that electronic shock collars should not be used.

When people use electronic shock collars, it is typically as positive punishment to punish a dog for an unwanted behaviour. They are also sometimes used as negative reinforcement by applying the shock until the dog does the behaviour that is wanted. These days many electronic collars have a time limit on the application of shock, making it less likely they are used as negative reinforcement.

The paper considers all three types of e…

The Train for Rewards Blog Party is Now Live!

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The Train for Rewards Blog Party is now live with posts from many talented bloggers exploring the topic of reward-based training. By Zazie Todd, PhD

Check it out here.

Then share your favourite posts on social media.

And share a photo of your pet on social media with the hashtag #TrainforRewards.




The blog party is hosted by Companion Animal Psychology. Thank  you to everyone who is taking part, whether by blogging or sharing your pet's photo on social media.


The Train for Rewards Photo Post

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Do you use rewards to train your dog or cat (or other pet)? Show you support reward-based training by posting a photo of your pet below.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

By popular request, this post is part of the #Train4Rewards blog party hosted here at Companion Animal Psychology.

Add your pet’s photo, then share on social media with the hashtag #Train4Rewards.


An InLinkz Link-up


The photo link-up is open until 8am Pacific time on Saturday 16th June, when the full list of Train for Rewards posts is available.


How to add the photo:
Click the link and follow the instructions. You will have up to 50 characters for your pet’s name.

If you make a mistake, you can delete the entry and start again.

Entries are moderated so at certain times of day there may be a delay before your pet’s photo appears.

You have to give your email address, but it will not be used except if needed to communicate about the photo link-up. You can read the privacy policy here.

You have to sign up separately if you want to subs…

The Best Dog Training Treats

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What are the best treats to use when training your dog? From the right size and nutritional composition to what dogs love best, this is a user-friendly guide to the best dog training treats.



By Zazie Todd, PhD

Whether you’re new to training or a seasoned pro, using the right treats is an important part of dog training because you have to be able to motivate your dog.

Food is a commonly-used reward in dog training for a reason – it works.

We often use food in operant conditioning, when we’re training a dog to do a behaviour. This is positive reinforcement (for more on why food makes a great reward, see the ultimate dog training tip).

The best training treat in one situation is not always right for another dog in another training scenario. This article looks at what to consider and then lists my favourite dog training treats.


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Things to Consider When Choosing Dog Training Treats
There are several things to think about when choosing treats to use in train…

The Train for Rewards Blog Party 2018

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The 2018 Train for Rewards blog party celebrates reward-based training of dogs, cats, and other pets.  Join in the fun, find new bloggers to read, and share a photo of your pet on social media with the hashtag #Train4Rewards.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

The blog party celebrates what we can do with reward-based dog training, encourages people to use rewards in training their pets, and inspires people to improve their technical skills and understanding of how reward-based animal training works.

Take Part in Train for RewardsRead the blog posts, comment on them, and share your favourite posts with the hashtag #Train4RewardsShare a photo of your pet dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, horse, etc... on social media with the hashtag #Train4RewardsAfterwards, reward yourself for participating with a piece of cake, some chocolate, a glass of wine, a walk on the beach, or whatever makes you happy. 

An InLinkz Link-up



See the invitation and rules.

An Interview with Dr. Marty Becker

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"..a recognition that they have emotions and we have an obligation to look at both their physical and emotional well-being."




By Zazie Todd, PhD

An interview with Dr. Marty Becker about the Fear Free™ movement, Fear Free Happy Homes, and his new book, From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias, co-authored by Dr. Lisa Radosta, Dr. Wailani Sung, Mikkel Becker, and edited by Kim Campbell Thornton.

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Zazie: I am absolutely thrilled to speak to you. I love your book, which is the choice for May for the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club and everyone’s been very excited to read it. So I’m going to ask you in a moment why you decided to write this particular book, but I wanted to ask you first of all how did the Fear Free™ movement come about?

Dr. Becker: I’ll give you the unvarnished, stripped down version of stuff that’s authentic. I’m 64 years old, and I’ve traveled to now, we just got back fro…