Companion Animal Psychology News August 2020

Capturing cuteness in dogs, cats and their names, and a beautiful textile... this months CAP news. 


Companion Animal Psychology News August 2020


By Zazie Todd, PhD


My favourites this month


“Many respondents, both in our work and others, report that they would rather sleep rough than give up their pet. Yet if pet owners refuse to relinquish their pets, local authorities categorise them as “intentionally homeless”, thereby abrogating their responsibility to house them. “ ‘My dog is my home’ – the need for pet-friendly accommodation for homeless people by Dr. Jenny Stavisky and Dr. Pru Hobson-West. 

“We are all brave at different speeds.” Kids and dogs: scenarios to consider by Tim Steele at Behavior Matters Academy.

“A lot of thought should go into choosing to bring any companion animal into your home.” Pandemic puppy pandemonium requires lots of time and love by Mary Angilly and Dr. Marc Bekoff.

“Do you ever say “I wish my dog would do that more often!” after a particularly cute thing they do?” How “capturing” cute helped Sitka stay safe by Kristi Benson (with video).

“What makes this especially interesting is that the two most highly heritable traits, inhibitory control and communication, are hypothesized to have been altered by domestication.” Dog breeds and genetic traits: How much do genes explain by Dr. Mary Bates

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“Most owners would agree that their cats seem to recognise and respond to their names when they are spoken but until recently, there has been little scientific evidence to support this claim.” Can cats discriminate their names from other words? International Cat Care’s Spotlight on Science by Atsuko Saito, Kazutaka Shinozuka, Yuki Ito and Toshikazu Hasegawa. 

“Sure, they’re fun to jump in and out of, but they also serve multiple valuable social and emotional functions.” Why your cat loves cardboard boxes by Pam Johnson-Bennett.  

“Puppy prices have leapt higher than an excited collie.” Hot dogs: what soaring puppy thefts tell us about Britain today by Simon Usborne. 

“Clow hurries to me, leans in for a look, and lights up like Christmas morning. I have picked up an adult female blacklegged tick, with a black hood on a handsome dark-red scutum.” Invasion of the ticks by Stephanie Nolan. 

“This was a vastly different experience than what I was expecting from a community that is known for their traditions. “ Being a BAME woman in the gundog community by Cecilia Erhabor.  

“It’s being able to cooperate with others that allowed us as a species to thrive and advance while other human species vanished.” An interview with Dr. Brian Hare about his new book, co-authored with Vanessa Woods, Survival of the Friendliest. 


Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading The Eye of the Trainer by Ken Ramirez. It’s a collection of essays on training (not just dogs!) including stories of the animals he has trained over the years.

Cover of The Eye of the Trainer, choice of the Animal Book Club

While the book club is currently closed to new members, everyone is welcome to join the Animal Books Facebook group for general chit-chat about books about animals. (N.B. Please ask to join as your personal FB account, not as a page).


Happy dogs make me smile t shirt from Companion Animal Psychology
Happy dogs make me smile t shirt


New tees and promo code

You may have noticed that Companion Animal Psychology merch includes some great new designs… and the arrival of zip hoodies, pet hoodies, and fanny packs.

You can get 10% off until 11.59pm PT tonight (Sunday) with promo code FLASH. Check out the CAP merch store

Companion Animal Psychology hoodie
The Companion Animal Psychology zip hoodie has a front and back print

A portion of the proceeds goes to help the animals at the BC SPCA Maple Ridge.

Support me on Ko-fi

Ko-fi supporters help keep Companion Animal Psychology going! Without your support I would not be able to keep bringing you posts about how to care for dogs and cats. You can support me with a one-off or monthly donation on my Ko-fi page.


A big thank you to Dr. Jill Bradshaw, Sandy Cooley, DonH and Sl Winkler for your support this month. You are amazing! Thank you.

There is still time to take part in my survey of Ko-fi supporters. Your answers will help me and it only takes a minute to complete the survey. The link is on my Ko-fi page: https://ko-fi.com/zazie 


Here at Companion Animal Psychology

I was thrilled that Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy was included in the summer reading list from The Academy for Dog Trainers.

I appeared on the Darren Adam Show on LBC radio to talk about how often people should walk their dogs.

On my Psychology Today blog, I wrote Should you walk your dog twice a day? I also wrote a piece about dog training, You aren’t a dog, and other surprises of dog ownership, which has been very popular.  

Here, I published a wonderful, thoughtful guest post by Kristi Benson on The first citizen scientists: Dinjii Zhuh knowledge and the advantage of uncertainty.  

I was very honoured to interview Dr. Patricia McConnell about her incredible book The Education of Will. The book, and the interview, are inspiring. Don’t miss what she had to say! 

One of my cats, Harley, was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year. So I wrote a post about some research that caring for a cat with diabetes gets easier with time. Caring for Harley is really quite easy and I’m pleased to say he is doing well. 

I shared 4 diversity initiatives in animal behaviour, dog training and veterinary medicine. While those events or deadlines have passed, if you have other initiatives aimed at diversity and inclusion that you would like me to share, please let me know. 

I also shared my summer reading list of the books I’ve been enjoying this summer. There are some great books on this list!  

Whew! That seems like a lot. And I’ll be honest, I’m tired. This is a tiring year for everyone, and finding time to keep researching posts, writing them, and running the blog is always hard. So I’m taking a short break from the blog to catch up on other things. See you soon!


Animals in art

This embroidered piece is from eastern Central Asia and dates from the 12th – 14th centuries. It has a floral background and various birds, including a parrot. In the N – E – S – W positions there is a plain deer, a spotted deer, a rabbit, and a spotted horse. Isn't it gorgeous? 

A beautiful tapestry with animals and flowers from the 12-14 century


It’s in the collection of the Met Museum in New York, and you can see it’s catalog entry here. This textile is also featured in a book from the Met, When Silk Was Gold: Central Asian and Chinese Textiles, which you can read on their website for free if you're interested. 


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.

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