Companion Animal Psychology News September 2019

Tiger cubs in captivity, just how smart crows are, and dogs that commit stufficide... the latest Companion Animal Psychology news.

Don't miss the latest Companion Animal Psychology News September 2019

Wag publication date

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Exciting news! My book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy now has a publication date: 10th March 2020.

I met with my publisher’s marketing team last week at their offices in Railtown, Vancouver. It was great to meet them and talk about marketing and publicity for the book. I saw an advance reader copy which looks *gorgeous* as they designed a beautiful cover, but I wasn't allowed to bring one home. I am going to be very busy over the next six months working to tell people about Wag. I can’t wait to share my book with you!

If you're a media person and would like to receive an ARC, you can find details here.

My favourites this month

“Our search for medieval guide dogs leads us to a Book of Hours (a popular type of medieval prayer book)” A fascinating account (complete with pictures of mediaeval art) of guide dogs in mediaeval times by Dr. Krista A. Murchison.

“The commercial life of a tiger cub is 100 days,” said Bill Nimmo, the network’s founder. “The problem is uncontrolled, no-limit breeding.” The trouble with tigers in America by Karin Brulliard.

They can solve complex puzzles, they can hold a grudge, and they remember people who have been nice to them… 13 strange reasons why crows and ravens are definitely the smartest birds, hands down by Michelle Star.

"They're very explorative, very interested in everything, quite destructive, and I can totally see that they like the different textures, and the noise that it makes and just ripping things out." Cockatiels raiding garbage bins in Sydney by Ann Jones.

“Cats in shelters, especially adults and seniors, are often overlooked by people seeking pets.” How 2 veterinarians helped save 2 million cats by Kim Campbell Thornton for Fear Free Pets.

“There is a subset of behaviours… that dogs do even without our reinforcement.” This just in from dogs: It’s not all about us by Kristi Benson.

“As a new dog owner, I was worried. I was living with a dog who enjoyed committing stufficide. What if his behavior escalated to something worse?“ Living with a stufficidal enthusiast by Joan Forry.

“Cats are very stoic and it’s easy for human family members to miss signs of pain or discomfort.” 10 signs that your cat may be in pain by Pam Johnson Bennett.

“The simple answer to the question of whether play in wild wolves resembles that of our canine companions is, "Yes, it does."“ The wolves of Yellowstone love to play – just like dogs by Dr. Marc Bekoff on Rick McIntyre’s new book, The Rise of Wolf 8.

And don't miss these photos: The Year of the Dogs. Photos by Vincent J Musi, Intro by MaryAnn Golon

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club

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This month the Animal Book Club is reading Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz. It’s a delightful look at our relationship with dogs.

Our Dogs, Ourselves - the book of the month for September 2019

You can find all the books in my Amazon store:

Support Companion Animal Psychology

Companion Animal Psychology is open to everyone and supported by animal lovers like you. If you would like to show your support, you can do so with a monthly or one-off donation via Ko-fi at

This month, I would like to say a big thank you to Lisa, Sandy Cooley, and an anonymous person for their support. It is very much appreciated and you are awesome!

Companion Animal Psychology News September 2019; daisies in a heart

Companion Animal Psychology T-Shirt

Tomorrow is the official start of autumn, and it seems the weather turned early here this year. Luckily the Companion Animal Psychlogy t-shirt also comes in long sleeves, as a slouchy sweatshirt, and as a hoodie.

The Companion Animal Psychology slouchy sweatshirt

A portion of all proceeds will go to help the animals at the BC SPCA Maple Ridge.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

First of all, the owl question: Why does a barred owl keep flying near me and my dog? It’s happened three times in the last week in exactly the same spot. It is beautiful to see but results in a lot of barking from Bodger, and it’s a bit of a surprise when an owl swooshes over your head. It’s possible the owl has a late brood and is protecting a nest, but I found an old article in the Washington Post that said September owl encounters like this are typically due to a teenage owl being rambunctious. What do you think?

A barred owl encounter in Companion Animal Psychology's September news
A barred owl. Photo: Diane Olivier/Pixabay

As you all know, I’m a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers and one of the wonderful things about the Academy is how supportive it is. I’m very grateful to them for supporting my writing, and if you take a look at their blog, Good Words: Blogging for Dogs in 2019 you will find some of my blog posts included amongst some really great posts from other dog trainers that have all been entered into the Dog Writer’s Association of America awards. Take a look and find some new blogs to follow!

And in other news, I’m delighted that Companion Animal Psychology is included in this list of the top thirty pet blogs from CyberPet.

As for this month’s writing, I was thrilled to publish Scent and Scent-ability, a guest post by Luisa Dormer and Sienna Taylor. If you want to know why scent work is good for all kinds of dogs (even “naughty” ones), or are looking for some tips on your first scent work class, this article is for you.

I wrote about the new shelter program from Fear Free which aims to reduce stress and anxiety for cats and dogs in shelters (and is free for staff and volunteers!). I covered research that found dogs who attended puppy class are rated more trainable than young adult dogs than those who didn’t.

And I even wrote about cat poop! In a rather fascinating finding, the odours in cat poop that cats use to mark territory and identify each other come not from the cat, but from microbes in the cat’s anal sacs. It will make you reflect on the role of microbes in our lives too.

Over at my Psychology Today blog, I looked at how changes in how we think about animals and sentience are now being used by the courts when assessing the role of emotional suffering in animal cruelty

If there are particular topics you would like to see covered on Companion Animal Psychology in future, do let me know.

Animals in Art

Isn’t this rhyton beautiful? If you’re wondering what a rhyton is (yes I had to look it up), it’s a type of horn-shaped drinking vessel with part in the form of an animal or an animal’s head. This one dates from the 1st century BC and ends in the form of a panther. There is a hole at the top as you can see, and also a hole in the panther’s chest to allow drinking or pouring of the liquid.

Animals in Art - this rhyton is part of Companion Animal Psychology's latest newsletter

The ivy wreath at the top and the vines around the panther are symbols of Dionysius, god of wine.

The rhyton is made of silver with mercury gilt, and is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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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