Companion Animal Psychology News July 2019

A lesson for the human classroom that comes from dog training, music at the vet's for cats, and a dancing parrot... this month's Companion Animal Psychology News.

Companion Animal Psychology News July 2019

By Zazie Todd, PhD 

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My favourites this month 

"“Learning shouldn’t hurt” is an adage among progressive dog training and animal behavior communities, and it’s the main idea I took from training dogs that informs my approach to pedagogy." Learning shouldn’t hurt, or how my dog made me a better teacher by Ryan Donovan.

“Adding music might help, but also take the opportunity to think more broadly..” Promising results from a study of music for cats in the vet clinic, in Can special music for cats reduce their stress at the clinic by Linda Lombardi at Fear Free Pets.

"Dogs aren't the only ones who can do science. The era of cat science is now." Do you play with your cat? This online study is for you! by Julie Hecht. You can take part in the study at

“Puppies will give us a clear “yes” “not yet” or “no” with their body language and willingness to participate.” Three take-home tips on puppies that Meghan D’Arcy learned from Ocean Park Dog Training’s workshop with Chirag Patel.

"His initial headbangs and foot-lifts are movements that parrots naturally make while walking or courting. But his newer set aren’t based on any standard, innate behaviors. He came up with them himself" What Snowball the dancing parrot tells us about dance by Ed Yong.

Ancient dogs’ spines and modern dogs’ puppy eyes tell us a lot about the human-animal bond. Two new studies shed light on our early relationship with dogs by David Grimm.

"But there’s a sadder story, too, one that gets less publicity, because each person thinks it’s happening only to him or her." 'I am my dog's emotional support animal' by Beth Teitell.

Can dogs heal hearts and minds? Recording of a discussion at LaTrobe University on how psychological assistance dogs can help people with and the need for scientific research in this area. Features Mia Cobb, Prof. Pauleen Bennett, Dr. Tiffani Howell, and others.

Puppies from a breeder’s perspective. Your Family Dog podcast from Julie Fudge Smith and Colleen Pelar speaks to Flat-Coated Retriever breeder Judy Gladson about being a breeder and very early puppy development.

Wonderful goat photos by Kevin Horan at The Guardian.

Animal Book Club

The Animal Book Club takes July off, but you find a list of all the books in my Amazon store.

If you want to get an early start on next month’s book, it's What's a Dog For?: The Surprising History, Science, Philosophy, and Politics of Man’s Best Friend By Jon Homans.

Support Companion Animal Psychology on Ko-Fi

Companion Animal Psychology is open to everyone and supported by animal lovers like you. If you like what you see, you can buy me a coffee on Ko-fi, or even make it a monthly thing.

This month I’d like to say a big thank you to J Hawn and several anonymous people for their support and kind words. You help me keep this blog going and I really appreciate it!

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

I had the incredible honour of interviewing veterinarian Dr. Mark Goldstein about his book, Lions and Tigers and Hamsters. As you can tell from the interview, he’s an amazing story teller and there are some great stories in the book. For each story, he shares a lesson he learned about the human-animal bond and the work of a veterinarian. Check out the interview to learn more.

Also on the subject of books, I published a second instalment of the animal books that changed people’s lives. People who work with animals (or love having animals in their life) share the one book that made a difference to them.

An important study of dog bites in Calgary finds that most dog bites happen at home. As well, no particular breed group can be blamed, as the data shows bites from all kinds of dogs.

I wrote about the inspiring class about art and animals that Dr. Marc Bekoff teaches to the inmates at Boulder County Jail and also shared a guest post from one of the former students in the class. Don’t miss the piece or the beautiful artwork that accompanies it.

And finally, the five pillars of a healthy environment for cats tells you what you need to know to get your house set up to keep your feline friend happy.

Pets in Art

This month's pets in art is titled Kaufman (dog) and dates from 1905-1909. The portrait is by C.M. Bell, photographer, and is in the Library of Congress collection.

Companion Animal Psychology News July 2019. Pets in Art shows a dog portrait

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy. She is the creator of the popular blog, Companion Animal Psychology, writes The Pawsitive Post premium newsletter, and also has a column at Psychology Today. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats. 

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