Showing posts from June, 2020

Fellow Creatures: New Post on Avoiding Puppy Mills and Scams

Why it's buyer beware when it comes to puppies.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

I have a new post on my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures. Two recent news stories highlight the need to be careful when getting a puppy in order to avoid puppies from puppy mills and being scammed.

The post considers what to look for in a responsible breeder. As well it mentions some of the warning signs to be careful of if you're getting a puppy. Check it out: Why it's buyer beware when it comes to puppies.

Photo: Chevanon Photography/Pexels

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the best-selling 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.

Useful links:
Check out…

Three Tips for Happier Dogs from Wag

Three tips from my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

When I was writing my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, I wanted to make it as practical as possible. So I included a set of tips at the end of every chapter (except chapter one).

Three of those tips are shown in these graphics.

Tip no. 73 is: If your dog has a behavior problem, don't use punishment. It does not teach your dog what to do instead of the problem behavior, and it interfere's with the dog's feeling of safety.

Tip no 7 is: Give the puppy a choice, encourage (don't force) them, and protect a shy puppy. Remember that socialization means giving your dog happy, positive experiences.

As you can tell from the numbers, there are many such tips in the book!

Tip no 36 is: Understand that you're important to your dog. Your presence can give your dog the confidence to explore new things, and your dog will look to you for information when presented with a new or stress…

Fellow Creatures: Diversity in Animal Behaviour Science

Chronicling the history of diversity within Animal Behaviour Science and the Animal Behavior Society.

By Zazie  Todd, PhD

I have a new post on my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures. It looks at some new historical research by Dr. Danielle N. Lee on the contributions of under-represented minorities to animal behaviour science, and the people who showed leadership in improving diversity and inclusion within the field.

The post includes the amazing contributions of Charles Henry Turner, the first African American to get a PhD from the University of  Chicago, through to the present-day scholars who are making their mark on the field itself and on diversity and inclusion within the discipline.

You can read it here: Pioneers, mentors, and diversity in animal behavior science.

Photo: Tolu Bamwo/Nappy 

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the best-selling 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 everythin…

Companion Animal Psychology News June 2020

Dogs helping with archaeological digs and understanding cats' body language in the latest news from CAP.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

My Favourites This Month “Nonetheless, the archaeologists dug. And dug. They went down nearly three feet — and there they found a human toe bone more than 1,300 years old”. When cadaver dogs pick up a scent, archaeologists know where to dig by Cat Warren.

“Fostering cats is one of the few unambiguously positive things I’ve done in my life.” In 18 months we’ve had 30 cats – and it’s been wonderful by Tom Hawking.

“Dominance "training" causes stress and is a dog's worst nightmare” says Dr. Marc Bekoff in his post, Dominant alpha humans don’t garner dogs’ respect and trust (I am quoted in this one).

“But while losing weight is relatively easy in the short run, keeping it off is difficult and, for many people, it is nearly impossible. Could pets help fight the obesity health crisis?” Dr. Hal Herzog on some new research looking at whether or not there…

Don’t Tether Dogs, and Other Insights into Dog Bite Prevention from Detroit

Despite common belief, owned dogs escaping from yards – not free-roaming dogs – are the main risk for dog bites in Detroit.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Dog bites can have serious consequences and so understanding the circumstances in which they occur is important. New research by Dr. Laura Reese and Dr. Joshua Vertalka (Michigan State University) and published in Animals looks at the factors involved in all of the dog bites reported to police in Detroit from 2007 to 2015.

It’s important to note that Detroit is a special case, as unlike many other cities in the USA, it has a free-roaming (i.e. unowned) dog population, on whom bites are often blamed. At the same time, the effects of poverty and economic malaise in Detroit mean that foreclosures and vacancies have created circumstances in which there are many stray dogs, an environment in which they can survive, and a city that is strapped for cash.

In Detroit, almost 4 times as many people visit the emergency room for dog bites as in other cities…

How Much Do Cats Sleep, and Where Do They Prefer to Sleep?

Does it seem that your cat is always napping? Here’s how much sleep the average cat gets.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

“Cats sleep, anywhere,” by Eleanor Farjeon was a favourite poem when I was a child. We see cats sleeping in so many places. My cat Harley’s favourite places are stretched out in the sunshine by a window, on his back on the heat vent with his paws in the air, up in his favourite cat tree, or on our bed (often cuddled up to my feet). My other cat Melina likes what used to be my dog’s bed (though she avoided it for a few days after he passed), and she has a couple of chairs that she particularly likes to sleep on.

How Much Do Cats Sleep? Cats are said to be naturally crepuscular, meaning they are more active at dawn and dusk. This makes sense because this is the time their prey – especially mice – are most active. But when cats live with people, they can adjust their schedules. In a study of 10 cats that were given activity monitors to wear, cats that were routinely shut out of the…

Animal Book Club June 2020

"This inspirational memoir is, above all, a book about redemption.”—Cat Warren

By Zazie Todd, PhD

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading The Education of Will: Healing a Dog, Facing My Fears, Reclaiming My Life, by Patricia B. McConnell. (This page contains affiliate links).

From the back cover:
“When a troubled and aggressive young border collie named Will enters Dr. Patricia McConnell’s life, she is confronted with a problem that she has never faced in her decades working as a world-renowned animal behaviourist. Her special connection with Will triggers memories of harrowing traumas in Patricia’s own life and unearths a secret she had long repressed. In order to save Will from his dangerous behaviour, Patricia must summon the courage to address her own buried emotional pain. On her journey to healing, with Will as her trusted companion, she transforms fear into compassion, confusion into insight, and isolation into empathy.  Beautifully written  interweaving enlightening ac…

Black Lives Matter

By Zazie Todd, PhD

There seems to be only one thing to say this week: Black Lives Matter.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others are the result of systemic racism that has deep historical roots. It cannot be allowed to continue. We need to see justice for their families and we need changes in society to prevent it from ever happening again.

I’m writing this from Canada, but racism exists in Canada too.

If you want to donate, you can help the family of Regis Korchinski Paquet in Toronto.  The official fundraiser for George Floyd’s family is here.

You can also support the civil rights work being done by the NAACP in the US. And there are many Black organizations and bail funds to which you can donate if you want to support people in your local community. The Georgia Straight has compiled a list of Black organizations and fundraisers in BC. There is also a COVID-19 Protest Relief Fund to help protestors who may contract COVID-19 because all of this is …