Companion Animal Psychology News April 2020

The effects of quarantine on dogs, dog poop in history, the cone of shame, and wasps... this month's Companion Animal Psychology news.

Companion Animal Psychology News April 2020


By Zazie Todd, PhD

My favourites this month

“Our drive to keep animals, dogs in particular, strikes me as similar in nature: Their simple presence, and their willingness to be touched, is viscerally satisfying." Dogs, at least, love home quarantine, by Alexandra Horowitz.

“If we are home all day, it totally disrupts what they would normally be doing with their schedule.” This Guelph Today article by Kenneth Armstrong, Consider how self-quarantine is affecting your pet, includes quotes from Dr. Lee Niel.

“You are not alone if you are having a hard time being at your best with your anxious dog.“ Life in quarantine with an anxious dog – 5 things I am doing by Suzanne Bryner.

“There are plenty of DIY projects waiting to be done and—while you’re stuck at home and if you’re lucky enough to have a dog—why not give DIY dog training a go? “ DIY dog training without disasters. You can do this! by Sylvie Martin.

"Here are a few tips to help you to keep everything going smoothly in your cat’s day-to-day life during a time when nothing seems normal anymore." Tips for preventing cat behaviour problems due to COVID-19 isolation by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

“If we cannot invite every Tom, Dick, and Harry to pet our puppies or new rescues, are we inadvertently creating an entire generation of fearful and unsocialized dogs? Not necessarily.” Puppy or rescue dog socialization during COVID-19 by Dr. Ilana Reisner.

“Some dogs might love getting squeezed in a bear hug or massaged by an adoring child. But others might respond snappishly, even if they accepted such interactions previously.“ How to stop your child from tormenting your pet by Alla Katsnelson.

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“So is the cone of shame a necessary evil? Is it necessary at all? Are there other options?” Is it time to ditch the “cone of shame”? by Dr. Mikel Delgado.

“The object didn’t stick. In fact, it began to dissolve on Zeder’s tongue." The archaeological record is full of dog poop by David Grimm.

“There are some surprising similarities in the dynamics of epidemics caused by germs, computer bots, and contagious cultural preferences. Take the short-lived enthusiasm for Irish Setters in the United States.” Dr. Hal Herzog on a different kind of contagion.

“That’s right: forgive yesterday’s you.” Kristi Benson on how self-help for humans is good for dogs too.

“Many people are "familiar" with wasps, however, they really don't know the nitty-gritty of who these magnificent insects really are.” Dr. Marc Bekoff with some truths about the fascinating lives of wasps.

“Goats produce different sounding vocalizations depending on whether they’re in a, let’s call it a happy or sad state.” The Doobert podcast with Dr. Alan McElligott on his research on fallow deer and goats, and the implications for animal welfare 

Animal Book Club

This month, I’m thrilled to say that the Animal Book Club has chosen to read my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, which has a foreword by Dr. Marty Becker.

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd

This is a tough time for independent bookstores. If you’re in the US, all profits from orders via Transatlantic Agency’s bookstore will be donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation which supports independent booksellers. If you’re in Canada, here is a map of Canadian independent bookstores that are delivering.

And of course, if you prefer, you can order via my Amazon store https://www.amazon.com/shop/animalbookclub from which I earn an affiliate income.

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. CAP News


Support Companion Animal Psychology

If you love Companion Animal Psychology, you can support me with a one-off or monthly donation via Ko-Fi.  Ko-Fi does not charge fees.



This month I want to say a very big thank you to Jane Appleton and two anonymous donors for your support and lovely messages. It really makes a real difference.

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy

It has to be said that a pandemic is not the best time to launch a book. Various talks, book signings, and media appearances were inevitably cancelled. Nonetheless I am incredibly lucky to still have plenty of media coverage of Wag, which I think is because people love their dogs so much.

I spoke to the Sun on Sunday about Wag: Understand how your pet pooch is really feeling with these body language tips.

I was honoured to be on Victoria Stilwell’s podcast to talk about Wag and the upcoming International Dog Behaviour Conference (see below).

I was interviewed by Kristi Benson, who because she knows me came up with some very fun questions.

There are some lovely reviews of Wag from Eileen Anderson, who called it “a revolutionary book”, from Julie Bond at Sweatpants and Coffee, (with some recommended recipes to accompany the book), and by Christina Bunn at Puget Sound Detection Dogs.

Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy, shared a photo of their dog with Wag, and/or written a review! #Wag #WagHappyDogs

Upcoming events

Wag Yappy Hour

I will be hosting a Wag Yappy Hour on my Facebook page on Wednesday 22nd April at 5pm Pacific, and I have TWO books to give away! I will be giving away a copy of Wag, as well as a copy of novelist Victoria Schade’s new book Who Rescued Who. I think I’m allowed to say that there is a happy ever after for the dog in Schade's book so if you want some light reading this book is for you. You will also have the chance to ask me questions about Wag. The event details are here https://www.facebook.com/events/218679909352630/ I hope to see you there!

International Dog Behaviour Conference

The International Dog Behaviour Conference organized by Victoria Stilwell is online this year, and I will be speaking. The conference takes place May 9-10th, and as well as myself, the speakers are Victoria Stilwell, Holly Root-Gutteridge, Sarah Fisher, J. Nicole Smith, Clive Wynne, Sarah Heath, and Kay Laurence. More information and register here.

Merch on sale

You can get 10% off Companion Animal Psychology merch (including the Trust Kindness & Cookies tees) until the end of the month with this link. The discount will be applied automatically when you add items to your cart.

Companion Animal Psychology merch


Here at Companion Animal Psychology

I was quoted in this New York Times article by Sassafras Lowrey on what we can learn from European dog culture. I spoke to Forge about how it’s the best and worst time to get a pet, and also to Slate for an article on the effects of quarantine on America’s pets.

One day I got up very early to appear, via Skype, on Breakfast Television Toronto, and then another day I got up before dawn again to appear, via Skype, on CTV’s Your Morning to talk about how dogs are coping with the lockdown. You can watch that one here.

Over at Fellow Creatures, I wrote about how dogs’ happiness, not obedience, is what counts.

I was thrilled to publish this fabulous guest post by Dr. Christy Hoffman of Canisius College on COVID-19s impact on the human-dog relationship. It is proving very popular!

I wrote about how the economic fallout of COVID-19 will affect pets and about a study that found most pet dogs are fearful or anxious.

And of course, Companion Animal Psychology turned 8. If you didn’t see the collection of photos I put together in celebration, take a look, because it will take your mind off the news for a while.

Pets in Art

This month’s Pets in Art is The Man with the Dog by Édouard Manet. It dates from around 1882 and is pastel on canvas.

The Man with Dog by Manet. Companion Animal Psychology News

It is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Incidentally, these images that I share each month are all in the public domain.


Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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

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