Companion Animal Psychology News February 2019

Dog training standards, the puppy brain, and the crow that called for food… the latest Companion Animal Psychology news.

The latest science news about dogs and other animals from Companion Animal Psychology


Favourites from around the web this month


These are my favourite articles, photos and podcasts about animals this month. As usual, I've included links to people's Twitter accounts so you can easily follow them.

"A new training program from Canada's BC SPCA is a model for all to follow.” At Psychology TodayDr. Marc Bekoff interviews Dr. Karen van Haaften and Dr. Sara Dubois of the BC SPCA about their new AnimalKind accreditation scheme for dog trainers in BC.

In very cold temperatures, does dog urine do what boiling water does? Find out in, What happens when it’s 30 below and the dog’s gotta go? By Karin Brulliard at The Washington Post.

“The puppy brain still has a lot of developing to do after birth, and understanding that process is important to raising confident, well-adjusted dogs.” Fear, stress, and puppy brain development: what to know by Linda Lombardi at Fear Free Happy Homes.

“Like many breakthroughs in science, Dmitri Belyaev’s silver fox domestication experiment began with a thunderbolt: one simple, powerful, new idea.” The foxes that came in from the cold by Dr. Lee Dugatkin at Undark.

“In discussing breed-associated disorders, veterinarians may appear to be critical of the very features that clients find most endearing about their companion animals” Vets can do more to reduce the suffering of flat-faced dog breeds by Prof. Paul McGreevy and Dr. Anne Fawcett at The Conversation.

 “For many scientists, the resonant mystery is no longer which animals are conscious, but which are not.” Scientists are totally re-thinking animal cognition by Ross Andersen looks at the conscious experience of crows, fish, and wasps for The Atlantic.

“Now that cannabis has been legalized, Canadians don’t have to hide their stash. But dog owners need to be aware of the dangers that cannabis can pose to their pooches.” Cannabis is not a dog’s best friend by Dr. Ainslie Butler at Science Borealis.

“They have the right to go be themselves and piss around town and sniff ass where they please.  People saying their pets are their family but keeping them in a yard is somewhat funny to me.” The rez dogs are alright by Abby Hartman.

“So if both the “getting cheese” and the “getting shocked” type of consequences work to change behaviour, and both are sadly still legal, how is a dog owner (or a dog rescue) to tell if a dog trainer uses one style or the other, or both?” Philosophy matters in dog training by Kristi Benson.

Cat ladders: a creative solution for felines in flats [apartments]. The Guardian has photos of some of the cat ladders in Bern, Switzerland.

Inside the mind of a dog. In this podcast, Aspen Ideas to Go speaks to Dr. Alexandra Horowitz and Dr. Brian Hare about what dogs know, understand, and believe.


Animal Book Club


This month, the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club is reading Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.

The Animal Book Club is reading Inside of a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz in February 2019


This book, “causes one’s dog-loving heart to flutter with astonishment and gratitude,” according to a review in the New York Times.

You can find a list of all the books we've read on the book club page or in my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/animalbookclub


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Companion Animal Psychology brings you science news and evidence-based information about dogs and cats, since 2012.

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I’d like to say a special thank you to the anonymous donors who have supported me this month. You are awesome!


Here at Companion Animal Psychology


So far it has been a cold and snowy month for this part of the world. Here is Bodger enjoying the first of what turned out to be many snowy days.

Companion Animal Psychology News 2019, the latest science news about dogs and other animals. Photo shows my Australian Shepherd in the snow
Photo copyright Zazie Todd


This month. Renée Erdman interviewed me about my article on barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods for her Bravo Dog Knowledge podcast.

I was interviewed for this piece on should you ignore your dog when leaving the house? by  Linda Lombardi at Fear Free Happy Homes.

My post on the best cat scratching posts (from a cat’s point of view) is quoted by Allison Hunter-Frederick in Lincoln Pet Culture’s how to keep your cat from destructive scratching.

Over at Psychology Today, I wrote about Dr. Taryn Graham’s research on the important of dogs for millennials who rent (and the corresponding challenges), in millennials pet dogs: an anchor to an adult world. This post was included in the latest Science Borealis newsletter.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology, a post about the benefits of nosework for dogs, finding hidden food in nosework increases dogs’ optimism, has proved very popular. Dr. Marc Bekoff also wrote about this research (and linked back to my post) in allowing dogs to sniff helps them think positively.

New study identifies our different ethical beliefs about animals looks at some research that finds four main ways that people think about how it is ethical to use animals, and some surprising ways they link to our behaviour. And if you want to follow up on this, Dr. Marc Bekoff interviewed the scientists who did the research.

America’s changing relationship with the pet dog looks at how dogs have moved from being allowed to roam the streets to sleeping in their owners beds, with corresponding changes in the proportion of dogs that are re-homed or euthanized at animal shelters.

And I took part in the 2019 pet blogger challenge which is a chance for pet bloggers to reflect on their blog and where it is going.


Pets in Art


In last month’s newsletter I shared with you a drawing of a cat by Isoda Koryusai. So I thought this month you would like to see this drawing of a dog by the same artist.

Black Dog by Isoda Koryusai, this month's pet in art in the Companion Animal Psychology newsletter, with the latest science news about dogs, cats and other animals
Black Dog by Isoda Koryusai. Part of the Art Institute of Chicago collection.


It is called Black Dog and dates from 1767-1785.

It is from the Art Institute of Chicago collection and in the public domain.

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