Showing posts from 2018

Fellow Creatures: A New Post

By Zazie Todd, PhD

A new post over at my Fellow Creatures blog looks at the responsible use of pets in advertising, and some new guidelines from the British Veterinary Association on what advertisers should (and shouldn't) do. The report calls for advertisers to consider the five welfare needs in what they are depicting.

My post is called, Using pets to sell: Responsible use of animals in adverts.

(Photo: Daniel Frank/Stocksnap).

The Posts of the Year 2018

The posts about dogs and cats you liked best in 2018.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

It’s been another busy year here at Companion Animal Psychology. Highlights including being featured in the Washington Post ('Your dog and cat wish they could tell you this'), being interviewed by Radio New Zealand, and speaking at the BC SPCA’s Animal Behaviour Science Symposium (where it was lovely to meet some readers of this blog).

I had the pleasure of interviewing some amazing people:

Dr. Marc Bekoff about his book Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They DoDr. Marty Becker about the Fear Free movement and his co-authored book, From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and PhobiasProf. Hal Herzog about his book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals;Lori Nanan about teaching dogs to love nail trims; and dog trainer Jane Sigsworth about helping people with fearful dogs.
The Train for Rewards blog par…

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings from Companion Animal Psychology

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Thank you for your support throughout the year. It's great to have such a wonderful community of people who care about their pets.

Happy Holidays! And wishing you and yours the very best for a happy and healthy 2019!


Animal Lovers Pick Their Favourite Books of 2018

Animal lovers and readers of Companion Animal Psychology share their favourite book about animals that they read in 2018.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

I asked people about their favourite book about animals that they read in the last year. Here are their choices, and what they love about the book they picked. You can find copies of all the books at my Amazon store,

Kristi Benson, CTC, Dog trainer and owner of Kristi Benson Dog Training; on staff at Academy for Dog Trainers.

Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle, by Doublas J. Emlen. Illustrated by David J. Tuss.

Have you ever gazed in wonder at your dog’s pearly whites when they show them off in a particularly robust yawn? Or pondered what’s up with elk’s antlers, or perhaps laughed (less than charitably) at a picture of the single hilariously large claw on a fiddler crab? Antlers, club-like tails, teeth, jaws, and claws come in all shapes and sizes, and are all a form animal weaponry. Used for protec…

Animal Books

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Members of the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club will recognize the photo above. It's a stock photo, but it's one of my favourites that I've used since I began blogging.

Companion Animal Psychology News December 2018

The mirror test, what we know about dogs, and some Christmas videos... the latest newsletter from Companion Animal Psychology.

By Zazie Todd, PhD
Some of my favourites from around the web this month
"“There are researchers who, it seems, do not want fish to be included in this secret club,” he said. “Because then that means that the [primates] are not so special anymore.”" A ‘self-aware’ fish raises doubts about a cognitive test by Elizabeth Preston

“A while ago I saw a dog training guide that recommended that someone put a shock collar on their puppy and then hold down the shock button…” Yes, I’m angry about that training advice by Kristi Benson CTC

“It may start as nothing but a temporary relief or a distraction, but it may also grow into a newfound appetite for life.” How to get your anxious dog to play by Sylvie Martin CTC at Crosspaws Dogs (don’t miss the lovely video). 

"The main point is that there aren't any definite answers to many questions about dog…

Don't Punish Your Dog for Peeing in the House

Why punishment is the wrong approach for house training mistakes, and how you should house train your dog or puppy instead.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Suppose your dog suddenly starts to pee in the house. You clean it up the first time but it happens again…. And then again.

Or your new puppy keeps having accidents indoors even though you take her outside often.

In this situation, some people will yell at their dog. Some might even try physical punishment like hitting the dog or an alpha roll. And we’ve all come across the advice that you should rub their nose in it.

Don’t do it.

Whether you're toilet training an adult dog or house training a puppy, here’s why that’s the wrong approach, and what you should do instead.

Punishment can make things worse
First of all, let’s think about it from the dog’s perspective.

Suppose they pee in the house and you yell at them. What do they learn from this?

It’s unlikely the dog will understand why you are yelling. This is especially the case if there is …

Fellow Creatures: A New Post

I have a new post at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures about a study that looked at whether a dog walking program has benefits for people with intellectual disabilities who live in supported housing.

The results of this exploratory study found there were more friendly interactions with other people when a dog was present. Read more here.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Dogs, Cats and Humans: The Best Sleep Partner...?

Women whose dog sleeps on the bed report better sleep than those with a human or feline sleeping partner.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Whether or not pets should be allowed to sleep on the bed is an age-old question. Some worry it will lead to a disturbed night’s sleep, while some old-fashioned dog trainers still claim it will spoil the dog. The latter argument is based on out-dated ideas about dominance and dog training and can be easily dismissed, but the issue of sleep quality is starting to get researchers attention.

A new study by Dr. Christy Hoffman (Canisius College) et al and published in Anthrozoƶs asked women about who sleeps in/on the bed with them and how good they thought their sleep was over the previous month.

The results show dogs are a less disruptive sleep partner than another human, while cats are just as disruptive as humans. Dogs are perceived as providing more comfort and security than another human, while cats provide even less.

Not only that, but women with a dog (or a do…

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club December 2018

“A masterful account of the way science is revealing just how smart dogs can be."

By Zazie Todd, PhD

“A masterful account of the way science is revealing just how smart dogs can be. Fascinating and highly readable.”--John Bradshaw.

The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for December 2018 is The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods.

From the inside cover,
""My dog can do that."  So said a young Brian Hare to his professor who was studying animal behavior - and a revolution in our scientific understanding of dog intelligence began. Specifically, Brian Hare's dog, Oreo, could read human gestures that monkeys were blind to. The years of research that followed took Hare around the world and changed forever what we know of how dogs think and what they understand. This book is the masterfully told story of t his revolution and the new riches it brings to our relationship with dogs.  We have learned more about how…

Fellow Creatures: A New Post

I  have a new post at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures on a wonderful initiative to interest girls in science, via canine science.

All this month, the bloggers behind Do You Believe in Dog?, Mia Cobb and Julie Hecht, are sharing inspiring quotes from female canine scientists to encourage girls to get into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. They are using a girl's best friend to encourage girls to be scientists.

What Are the Five Freedoms (and What do they Mean to You?)

The five freedoms of animal welfare, the one most people miss, and what it means for pet owners.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

When you get a new puppy or kitten, no one tells you your new pet has five main welfare needs that need to be met. But maybe they should, because they provide a framework for how we should care for dogs, cats, and other pets. Read on to find out what they are, how many pet owners know them, and why they matter to you.

The Five Freedoms
The Five Freedoms were originally defined by the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Council in the 1960s, and subsequently updated. They are now understood to apply to the welfare of all animals, not just livestock.

The Five Freedoms are:

Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigour. Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment. Freedom from pain, injury and disease, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. Freedom to express normal behaviour, by providing sufficient space…