Companion Animal Psychology News February 2020

Shetland Sheepdogs on Shetland, dressing up pets, and ant farms... this month's Companion Animal Psychology News

My favourites this month

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“It is farming – they are milking the animals, moving them from high to low pastures and building shelters for them when there’s not enough protection.” Ants run secret farms on English oak trees by Patrick Barkham.

“I can’t outrun Fame, and so the only way I can actually tell her where to go is to have skills trained to a higher level" The queens of agility by Bryan Armen Graham Don’t miss the video!

 “Take, for instance, the situation Paula G. found herself in when her silver shaded Persian cat, Truffle, was recovering from bladder stone surgery. When the vet tech brought Truffle out from the back room, the cat was decked out in a onesie.” Dressing up your pet may be surprisingly useful by Janiss Garza at Fear Free Happy Homes.

“No simple, one-size-fits all approach is likely to be optimal for everyone, whether it is traditional neutering at 6 months of age or alternative approaches.” New evidence about when to neuter your pet by Dr. Brennen McKenzie.

“We are trapped. And so are our dogs.” Sylvie Martin on walking with your dog and loving it: A teamwork approach at Crosspaws Dogs.

 “The fact that figures moving with a women’s structure appear to be moving backward, while males appear to be moving forward, has a lot to say about why dogs are more afraid of men “ Dr. Patricia McConnell with an updated post on dogs’ fear of men.

“A new study suggests there’s an easy way to improve the chances of adopting a puppy from a breeder that is ready for life as a friendly, sociable pet: Choose a puppy that was raised in an indoor kennel with a family rather than one that was raised outdoors in a kennel.” Where should puppies be raised? by Dr. Karen London at The Bark magazine.

“The bottom line is a simple one, namely, if a dog enjoys going to meet his friends, other dogs, and perhaps other humans at a dog park, take them there.” Dr. Marc Bekoff says let your dog tell you if you want to go to a dog park.

“If my cat Tilly eats only three ounces of meat a day, she will consume 70 pounds of flesh over the course of a year.  By comparison, Sam, my son’s boa constrictor ate only one mouse a week.” What should vegetarians and vegans feed their pets? by Dr. Hal Herzog.

“Always approach a deaf cat slowly, and use heavy steps to announce your presence, especially if they are asleep, as they may startle easily.” Your Cat magazine has some tips on how to care for a deaf cat.

Hollywood hounds: Canine film stars in pictures has  photos from Wendy Mitchell's new book, Citizen Canine: Dogs in the Movies, words by Anna Cooper.

“They do the pose, I give them the treat, and everybody’s happy." The Shetland dog models whose photoshoots can stop traffic by Ken Banks

Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. It is a fascinating look at how biology shapes our behaviour.

You can find this (and many other great animal books) in my Amazon store

Upcoming Events

Wag Book Signing

I will be signing copies of my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy , at Bosley’s in Maple Ridge on 14th March 2020 between 2 and 4pm. You can drop by, buy a copy of the book, and I will sign it for you. I would love to see you there! You can find more information on the event page.


I will be giving a webinar on 2nd April on Implementing Science-Based Training in Shelter and Rescue. This is part of the Pet Professional Guild’s Virtual Summit, which takes place online over 2-3 April with 8 webinars in total. More info and register here: It’s open to all, whether or not you are a member of the Pet Professional Guild.

Support me on Ko-Fi

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.

This month I’d like to say a very big thank you to Sarah and the three anonymous people who bought me coffees. Your support really makes a difference.  Thank you!

Merch on Sale

Get 10% off Companion Animal Psychology merch with this link until Wednesday 26th April. The discount will be automatically applied.

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

My book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy has received its first reviews: a starred review from Library Journal and a very nice review in Publisher’s Weekly. Wag publishes on 19th March in the US/Canada, and 12th March in the UK. Preorder links are here.

I was interviewed by MEL magazine for an article on how can I tell my pets that I broke up with my partner, who they absolutely loved? 

I was also interviewed for a magazine called Inside Your Dog’s Mind, which should be on the shelves now (or soon) across north America.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Lauren Finka about her book, The Cat Personality Test.  Finka knows all about cats and I loved her book because it is a lot of fun and packed with practical advice. Check out what she had to say!

My post on three long-term plans to make for your pet  also got a very positive response. I wrote about some research which shows the value of behavioural services in veterinary medicine (and the common scenarios where people make mistakes). I also write about a study which finds a link between the kind of dog training methods people use and the dog’s attachment to their owner.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages on the loss of Bodger. Your sympathy and kind words have meant a lot and are helping us through this difficult time. Bodger brought us such a lot of joy, and this month I am going to end with a few more photos of him.

Photos of Bodger by Bad Monkey Photography

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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