Companion Animal Psychology News December 2019

Ancient art, ‘aha’ moments in dogs, and caring for indoors-only cats…

Ancient art, 'aha' moments in dogs, and caring for indoors-only cats

By Zazie Todd, PhD

My Favourites This Month

This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

“In the story told in the scene, eight figures approach wild pigs and anoas (dwarf buffaloes native to Sulawesi). For whoever painted these figures, they represented much more than ordinary human hunters.“ Indonesian cave’s mythical beings may be oldest imaginative art by humans, by Becky Ferreira.

“Here are some stories that raise interesting questions about why dogs do what they do and what they're thinking about and feeling.” As dogs have ‘Aha’ moments, what’s happening in their brains? by Dr. Marc Bekoff.

“Shockingly, nearly half of the subjects (41%) did not believe that fish were made of meat.” The vegetarian’s dilemma: Do fish qualify as meat? by Dr. Hal Herzog.

“If only there were some way to really talk to our pets, to know what they really want, and for them to know just how much you love them.“ Can that dog on Instagram really talk? by Jane Hu.

“We know that some cats are more suited to being house cats than others, although we need to be careful not to generalise.“ Keeping cats indoors: How to ensure your pet is happy, according to science by Dr. Mark Farnworth and Dr. Lauren Finka.

Are you a cat whisperer? Carrie Arnold reports on new research on feline expressions – and you can test your own skills by taking the quiz.

“Even when they do recognize fear, children are just as likely to approach a fearful dog as a happy one.” Reduce bite risk by teaching children not to approach fearful dogs by Linda Lombardi at Fear Free Pets.

“They are illegal in some countries, and I’d put cold, hard cash on shock collars being illegal in my own country in my lifetime.” Kristi Benson on shock collars in a list of the things that shock collars are not.

In this Clinicians Brief podcast, Dr. Wailani Sung talks about reducing fear-related aggression and stress at the vet.

And since it’s that time of year, don’t miss Christmas safety for your cat by International Cat Care and tips for dogs over the holidays by Kayla Block of Understanding Dog Training

Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog by Rich McIntyre. It’s the true story of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone, and of Wolf 8, who left his family to join the Rose Creek wolves.

You can find this and many great animal 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 Michael Suttles, Sarah, Gretchen, and the anonymous person who bought me a coffee. You are amazing and your support really makes a difference.

Companion Animal Psychology Tees

The last date for rush shipping for t-shirts to arrive in time for Dec 25th is 19th Dec (US/UK/EU destinations).

You can get 10% off through 19th Dec with this link.

Upcoming Webinar

I’m excited to be presenting a webinar for the Pet Professional Guild on The Science of Making Your Dog Happy on 6th February 2020 at 2pm Eastern Time (11am Pacific). In this fun webinar, I will be sharing practical tips from canine science on how to make your dog happy (or even happier).

The webinar is open to everyone, with a discounted price for members of the Pet Professional Guild and Doggone Safe.

Wag is Available for Pre-order

I am thrilled that my book Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, with a foreword by Dr. Marty Becker, is now available for pre-order at all good bookstores. I can’t wait to share the book with you in March next year! It is full of practical tips you can use with your dog.

One thing I only learned recently is that pre-orders matter a lot to an author. Bookstores use them to decide how many copies of a book they will order. Publishers use them to decide how many copies to print in the first place. So it really helps to get a lot of them.

Preorder Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy

Because of this, it was wonderful to get such an amazing response to my book announcement last week. Thank you!

If you would like to pre-order and be one of the first to get your hands on this book, you can do so via the following links:
From Amazon ; From Indiebound (your local independent bookstore) ; From Indigo ; From Barnes and Noble ; From Black Bond Books;  From Blackwells (UK)

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

Recently I had a photographer come and take some photos of my dog, Bodger. Bad Monkey Photography is a fantastic photographer and she was lovely to Bodger. He had a wonderful time and she’s done a great job of capturing his many faces. This is one of my favourite photos from the shoot.

Bodger in late November 2019. Companion Animal Psychology News
Bodger. Photo: Bad Monkey Photography

This month, I was interviewed by MEL magazine for stories on what animals dream about and what to do if your neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking. MadmoiZelle quoted me on what dogs dream about and Learning English magazine quoted me in an article about how negative dog training methods can cause long-term harm.

On my Fellow Creatures blog at Psychology Today, I wrote about dog and cat owners’ awareness of small animal blood donation. It turns out most people are not aware this is a possibility, but once they know they would be willing for their pet to donate blood. As part of Bodger's veterinary treatment in September, he had a blood transfusion and we are incredibly grateful that was possible.

Here on the blog, I wrote about the best ways to provide hiding places for your cat. I would love to know your cat’s favourite place to hide!

I also wrote about how puppies raised in a home environment are better prepared for life as a pet than those raised in an outside kennel.

The book club celebrated 3 years and animal lovers shared with me their favourite animal book that they read in 2019.  And since a lot of people are looking for gift ideas at this time of year I also put together a Christmas gift guide for dogs, cats, and people who love pets.

Pets in Art

This month’s pets in art is appropriate for the season – a “Winter” needlework picture featuring a dog in front of a house. It was stitched by Hannah Robinson in 1819 in Upper Providence, Pennsylvania.

Winter dog needlework - pets in art in CAP News

It’s in the collection of The Met but not currently on display.

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. 

Useful links:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Etsy affiliate and Marks and Spencer affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Follow me!

Support me