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Showing posts from January, 2020

Interview with Lauren Finka about The Cat Personality Test

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"There probably are a lot of cats that are living with us in our homes as pets that might prefer us to treat them more as an expensive lodger than a very attractive companion."


An interview with Dr. Lauren Finka about her great new book, The Cat Personality Test: How well do you really know your cat?, which is a lot of fun and packed with useful information for cat owners.

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Zazie: Why did you decide to write The Cat Personality Test?

Lauren: I was actually approached by Penguin Random House mid last year, and they had the idea that they wanted to basically create a book that was similar to The Cat IQ test, which came out a couple of years ago now. That did very well, so the idea was to create something in a similar format that would focus on personality. They found me, I think, because I’d written some popular articles about cat personality on the internet. I think they basically googled. They wanted a science basis so they thought it would be…

Three Long Term Plans to Make for Your Pet

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Every pet owner needs to think about these three things in advance.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

We love our pets, but sometimes it’s hard to think about the potential risks they might face. Here are three things it’s a good idea to think about and plan for, just in case.

1. Financial planning for vet treatment Everyone knows that vet costs come with owning a pet. There are vaccinations, flea treatments, de-wormers, the costs of spay/neuter, and any necessary dental treatment. But we also have to be prepared for the costs of treatment should our pet become unwell. Unfortunately, this is sometimes very expensive.

One recent study asked people how much they would be willing to pay for a vaccine that would stop their dog from dying from canine influenza (Carlson et al 2019). The conclusion was that the statistical value of a dog’s life is around $10,000 (US – approximately C$13k or £7.6k). In another survey, 52% of dog owners and 42% of cat owners said they would spend “whatever it takes” to keep t…

Companion Animal Psychology News January 2020

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Parrots helping their peers, wolf puppies playing fetch, and getting a best friend late in life... this month's news from Companion Animal Psychology.



My favourites this month Puzzle feeders “help meals last longer, increase physical exertion needed to obtain food, and provide a fun ‘brain-teaser’ for your cat!” International Cat Care on food puzzles for cats.

 “African grey parrots help their peers complete tasks despite no immediate benefit to themselves, researchers have found, in the first study to show that birds display such apparently “selfless” behaviour.” Feathered friends: study shows ‘selfless’ parrots helping peers by Nicola Davis.

“Left alone, a human corpse will soon be feasted upon by maggots. Also, depending on the circumstances, by a cat.” New compelling evidence that your cat might eat your corpse by Karin Brulliard. For once – at least at time of writing – the comments are worth a read too.

“Learning how to better recognize the signs of fear, anxiety, stress and…

Interview with Clive Wynne About Dog Is Love

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"The dog is a highly social living being that needs to have company or else it’s going to be in psychological distress."



An interview with Prof. Clive Wynne about his wonderful new book, Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You, about how he came to realize that what’s special about dogs is not their intelligence, but their capacity for love. Dog Is Love was the Animal Book Club’s  for October 2019 and was also on my winter reading list.

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Zazie: Your own dog, Xephos, is mentioned in the book. How has she influenced your research?

Clive: I tell people that she’s the book’s spirit animal. She really changed my views on what makes dogs special, what makes dogs so unique. For the first so many years that I was studying dog behaviour and dog psychology, I didn’t have a dog of my own. There were a variety of personal reasons: we’d recently moved internationally, we had a new baby, blah blah blah. But I also had a feeling that I shouldn’t need to …

Why You Should Never Train a Dog to Come When Called Using a Shock Collar

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How to get a super reliable recall with positive reinforcement, and why you should avoid using shock collars for such an important behaviour.



By Nickala Squire

Getting your dog to come when called may be a breeze in the home, but how do you get them to listen when out in the real world? Maybe you’ve heard that there are risks and fallout from using shock avoidance to train dogs, or maybe you’re simply put off by the price of shock collars. Here’s how you should begin your recall training journey!

1.Ensure your dog is not suffering from pain, fear or anxiety preventing them from listening- aka caring about anything else. The dog’s physical or emotional well-being needs to be addressed first, for the dog’s welfare as well as public safety. Does this mean painful or fearful dogs can’t be taught recall? Absolutely not. But intentionally challenging them by putting them in stressful or pain causing situations is cruel and unreasonable.

2.Never make coming when called unpleasant, such as scold…