Companion Animal Psychology News October 2019

Ways to volunteer at an animal shelter, the importance of play for cats, some beautiful budgies, and more…

The latest news about dogs and cats from Companion Animal Psychology

By Zazie Todd, PhD

My favourites this month

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“Studying great ape gestures has the potential to provide insight into the evolution of human language, but it is also fascinating in its own right, figuring out how another species communicates and what is meaningful to them.“ Reading the signs by Kirsty E Graham.

“A successful volunteer is someone who loves animals and appreciates the fact that no matter what they do, how small their role might seem, it has a huge impact on the pets here at the shelter,” Reading to cats, walking dogs: 5 ways to help at a shelter by Michelle A Monroe.

“We thought we would find that there has been an increase in people’s emotional investment in pets in recent times, but what we’ve actually found is that people in the early 19th century were also very emotionally invested in their animals.” A fascinating article on how the Victorians turned mere beasts into man’s best friends by Donna Ferguson.

“What we see from research is that the more similar to realistic prey the toy is, the more of a response the cat shows.” Dr. Mikel Delgado quoted in a great piece on what current science tells us about cat play by Linda Lombardi at Fear Free Pets.

"It is not that I am saying that wolves are like us. What I have learned from watching and studying wild wolves for over 40 years is that we are like each other." Dr. Marc Bekoff interviews Rick McIntyre about his new book, The Rise of Wolf 8.

“For starters, after fraudulent service dogs misbehave in businesses, staff, owners, and other patrons can grow leery of legitimate ones.“ Why fake service dogs do more harm than you might think by Jen Reeder at Fear Free Happy Homes

“Van Haaften explains that underlying pain is responsible for a huge number of aggression cases and is quite easy to overlook.” 6 common medical problems that can masquerade as bad behaviour in your dog or cat by Danielle Hodges.

In the trouble with designer dogs, host Claire Murphy speaks with special guest Dr. Jessica Hekman.

Pictured against a plain backdrop, you can really see the beauty of these budgies photographed by Leila Jeffreys

Joel Sartore’s photos capture animals that might be extinct in the wild. By Susan Goldberg.

And don't miss the winners of the wildlife photographer of the year 2019.

Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading Clive Wynne’s book, Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You. It’s a compelling take on dogs’ capacity to love their people.

Dog is Love book cover

You can find this and many great animal books in my Amazon store:

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This month, I would like to say a big thank you to the anonymous person who bought me a coffee. Companion Animal Psychology is a real labour of love and your support makes a difference!

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

You all know my dog Bodger from my logo. Sadly he has been rather ill lately. Following surgery, his biopsy results are not good (cancer). But for now, he is doing well and getting his energy back after the surgery. Every day with him in it is to be treasured. We are grateful to the veterinarians and vet techs involved in his care.

Bodger recovering from his surgery; Companion Animal Psychology news
Bodger recovering from his surgery last week. Fortunately he no longer needs his cone now.

In other news, I’m very happy to be quoted in this AP news article about using food to train dogs. And I enjoyed chatting about my forthcoming book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, on the Arlene Bynon show.

On the blog this month I was thrilled to publish a beautiful guest post by Kristi Benson about what she has learned about animals from her work with the Gwich’in people in the North West Territories. The post is accompanied by beautiful photos of the northern landscape.

I looked at some research that found dogs who attended training classes are less likely to have fears of loud noises and another study that confirmed many dog trainers’ anecdotal experiences, that small dogs are less likely to be fully housetrained than large dogs.

As well, there are some interesting findings from a study of the effects of neutering dogs, and of feeding treats (whether for training purposes or general “hygge”) on heaviness and obesity in dogs. These results are good news for dog trainers too.

Pets in Art

This month’s pets in art is a cosmetic dish in the shape of a dog. Isn’t it amazing? It is carved out of bone and is Egyptian, from between 1550 and 1295 BC.

An Egyptian cosmetic holder in the shape of a dog; pets in art

It’s in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and if you look at its page, you can also see a similar cosmetic dish in the shape of a mouse. The spoon itself is actually on display at The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 117.

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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