Companion Animal Psychology News May 2020

Pet stress, dancers and dogs, and why two kittens are better than one... This month's Companion Animal Psychology news.

Companion Animal Psychology News May 2020


By Zazie Todd, PhD

My Favourites This Month

“Why is one piece of advice so easy to follow, and the other so hard? We animal lovers who follow science-based training methods know the answer.” Don’t think about red (or touch your face) by Dr. Patricia McConnell.

"Understanding how we poison other animals and their homes is among the most important projects facing conservation, evolutionary biologists, and environmental scientists." Dr. Marc Bekoff on new research on how pollution affects the personality and cognition of fishes.

Pet stress has increased during COVID-19, bringing behaviour problems. This great piece by Genevieve Rajewski includes advice from VB Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil of Tufts Vet.

“By choosing a breed based on its behaviour and health rather than looks, an owner is more likely to choose a cat suited to their lifestyle and needs.” International Cat Care turns its Spotlight on Science to the heritability of behaviour in cats.

“This is my story as a PhD candidate, dog behavior consultant, and dog carer.” When academic life meets dogs life by Erin Jones at the IAABC journal.

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“Everyone has his or her own bubble. In addition to individual preferences, bubbles vary according to age, gender, and culture. And species.” Space invaders by Eileen Anderson.

“Starting off with two may actually be much easier and more beneficial… for the kittens and for you.” Adopting a kitten? Make it a double! by Pam Johnson-Bennett.

“It’s fun to watch great training in action” I blame my increased screen time on dog training videos by Dr Karen London at The Bark. Be sure to watch the videos!

“I wanted see what would happen if I let the dogs take the driver’s seat, and make the choices about where we went, how fast, and why.“ The essence of a dog: A natural pedagogy from a free choice walk by Kristi Benson.

This lovely video shows the making of the Dancers and Dogs photos with The Supercollies. You can read about the project via The Bark Dancers and dogs.


Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading a classic: Jean Donaldson’s Culture Clash. It's one of those books that every dog guardian should read - but since not everyone gets round to the classics, feel free to join us to read or revisit the book.


You can buy this (and many other great books) via my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/animalbookclub

Wag is a BC Bestseller

I’m thrilled that WAG has debuted at no. 5 on the BC Bestsellers list for 9 May.


If you haven't yet ordered your copy of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, you can do so via my Amazon store or you can find a full list of links (including to your local indie in the US or Canada) here.

I was interviewed by Dana Gee for the Vancouver Sun: Author helps deliver happier times for dogs and their humans. I was also interviewed for an article on dogs'  happiness in the current issue of Happy Paws, available from newsagents near you or via Fear Free.

I had a great chat about Wag with Niki Tudge on the BARKS podcast and I enjoyed talking with Tracie Hotchner on the Radio Pet Lady podcast. There is also a wonderful review of Wag by Janetta Harvey.

Did you know that book reviews really help? If you’ve read Wag, please write a review on Amazon so that other dog guardians can learn more about the book and how it can help their dog. Thank you!

Merch on Sale

Have you seen our gorgeous new t-shirt design? It celebrates the fun to be had when we let dogs sniff.

CAP News: Let's go on a sniffari tee and discount on  merch


The premium tee is made of premium cotton and comes in unisex sizes from XS to 3XL. Get 10% off this (and all Companion Animal Psychology merch) through Monday 18th May with this link.

Support Companion Animal Psychology on Ko-Fi

Writing this blog involves a lot of research, writing, and time on social media. The posts are free to anyone who wants to read them because there are a lot of people who want to learn more about their dog or cat’s behaviour and training. 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 would like to say a very special thank you to Phil and two anonymous people for their donations, which make such a difference. You are awesome. Thank you!

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at Victoria Stilwell's Dog Behaviour Conference. I loved the conference and it was great to hear the other talks and (virtually) meet many dog lovers.

I was interviewed by MEL magazine for an article, Can the coronavirus live on the surface of my pet and also for Help! My dog is going crazy in quarantine. I spoke to the Globe and Mail for an article on fat pets. I did a Skype interview with Cheddar TV, and I also had the pleasure of appearing on LBC Radio’s Darren Adam show along with someone I admire very much, veterinary behaviourist Dr. Wailani Sung.

On the CAP blog, I was excited to interview Dr. Kristof Dhont and Dr. Gordon Hodson about their new edited book, How We Love and Exploit Animals. This fascinating book blends academia and activism, and you can check out the interview here.

I published this wonderful guest post by Sienna Taylor and John Binks which is full of ideas about how to use scent to enrich your dog’s life: Beating the Boredom Blues.

And I wrote about a new study that investigates the pressure applied to a dog’s neck when the dog pulls or the person jerks the leash (don’t worry, they used a model so that no dogs were harmed in the research). The results show that if your dog pulls, you should walk them on a harness while you train them to walk with a loose leash; if they already walk nicely on leash then it’s fine to use a flat collar.

Animals in Art

This decorative blue glass mouse is from 19th century Persia (modern day Iran).

CAP News: Persian blue glass mouse


It is on display in gallery 462 of The Met Fifth Avenue, and although The Met is currently closed, you can browse many of their collections online.


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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