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Showing posts from January, 2019

Fellow Creatures: New Post on Millennials and Pet Dogs

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I have a new post at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures that looks at some new research on dog ownership amongst millennials.

The research shows pet dogs bring routine and stability at this time of emerging adulthood, but there are some challenges, especially when it comes to finding pet-friendly rental housing. Take a look: Millennials' pet dogs: an anchor to an adult world.


America’s Changing Relationship with the Pet Dog

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How pet dogs moved from the streets to their owner’s beds, adoptions from shelters went up, and euthanasia rates went down.


From large numbers of free-ranging dogs in the 70s, fast forward to today where many pet dogs sleep in their owner’s bed, and you can see how much Americans love their dogs.

A review of the dog and shelter dog population from the early 1970s to today by Dr. Andrew Rowan (Humane Society of the United States) and Tamara Kartal (Humane Society International) charts some encouraging trends.


Shelter Euthanasia Rates
In the 70s, an estimated 25% of dogs in the US were allowed to run free in the streets. In 1973, The HSUS estimated that 20% of America’s dogs and cats were euthanized in animal shelters.

That’s 35 million dogs and cats in one year.

Animals arriving at shelters were typically looked after for 3-7 days (in case they were claimed by the owner) and then euthanized.

In 2010, the proportion of pet dogs euthanized by shelters each year is estimated at just below…

The 2019 Pet Blogger Challenge

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What is Companion Animal Psychology? What's my favourite post? My answers in the 2019 Pet Blogger Challenge.



This year, thanks to some encouragement from Eileen Anderson of the wonderful Eileenanddogs blog, I’m taking part in the Pet Blogger Challenge organized by Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly.com. It’s a chance to reflect on where my blog is at and where I’d like it to go from here. Please feel free to add your comments at the end.


For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic? 

I started blogging in 2012. At the time, I had two dogs and two cats (one of the dogs has since passed). I thought it would be fun to find out what science has to say about how to have happy dogs and cats. It turns out this is a rapidly-developing field that is very relevant to ordinary people and how they care for their pets.

I have a new post every Wednesday and a newsletter every month. Once a year – in June – I host the Train for …

Companion Animal Psychology News January 2019

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Where guide dogs come from, why cats aren’t antisocial, and what pet obesity says about us…




Some of my favourites from around the web this month
“At the risk of sounding evil, Labrador puppies aren't at their cutest as newborns. They look like wrinkly hamsters.” Guide dogs: Where do they really come from? By Rebecca Seales. And despite the quote, the photos are adorable.

“When it comes to age-related illnesses, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are some of the most notorious and least understood human afflictions. But did you know that man’s best friend can suffer from very similar ailments?” Senior dogs can suffer from dementia too by Saryn Chorney

“What do I want, and how do I reinforce it? In other words, you’re not going to “lose weight,” you’re going to lose 5 pounds by the end of the month and reinforce it by buying more sheepdog training videos.”  Patricia McConnell takes a look at what dog training teaches us about resolutions.

“Your dear dog sniffs the same fire hydrant…

The Pet People to Follow in 2019

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The canine and feline scientists, pet professionals, bloggers, and organizations to follow on social media in 2019.



Are you looking for some new pet-related accounts to follow in 2019? I’ve updated my list of some of the best people and organizations to follow on Twitter and Facebook if you’re interested in companion animals, science, and the human-animal bond.

These are people or groups who produce great content of their own AND also have a varied feed that shares news, research and interesting snippets from around the web.

I’ve given links to Twitter and Facebook accounts so you can follow however you choose (some are more active on one than the other). The first link is always to Twitter so this is like a giant #FF. The second link is to Facebook if they are on there too, but I admit this list is somewhat biased towards Twitter.

The list is in no particular order, so read through and see who you would like to follow.

And if you love dogs, cats and science, please follow me too (Twi…

Despite all the media fuzz, goats are not the new dogs

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Why people should not keep goats in a dog environment, and what to do instead.
Guest post by Christian Nawroth, PhD.



Media coverage of recent goat cognition research gives the impression that goats might be the new dogs when it comes to communicating with humans, and so can make good pets. But can you keep a goat in a dog environment? Short answer: You shouldn’t, if you care about their welfare.

Recentmediacoverage on research on the cognitive skills of goats might have falsely given the impression that goats are horned dog-equivalents. Indeed, goats show surprisingly dog-like skills: They gaze at humansin the same way as dogs do when asking for a treat that is out of reach. Similarly to dogs, goats are also skilful readers of the human pointing gesture when it comes to using this information to find a hidden reward. They also understand that people who have turned their back on them are unable to see them. Recently it was discovered that goats, much like humans, prefer happy human face…