The Posts of the Year 2020: Dogs, Cats, Science, and Training

The most popular posts of 2020 on Companion Animal Psychology. 

The most popular posts of 2020 on Companion Animal Psychology. A calico cat looks out the window at a snowy scene.
Photo: David Pastyka/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd, PhD

This has been a tough year for everyone, and one in which our relationship with pets has often been in the news. I hope that you are ending the year safe and sound, and wish you all the best for 2021. While we continue to wear masks, keep our distance, and stay home as much as possible, hopefully 2021 will be better.

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Against the backdrop of everything else, 2020 was the year my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy was published. Mid-March was not the best time to publish a book, but somehow Wag became a BC bestseller. I am grateful for the interviews and Zoom chats that took the place of various cancelled events. In particular, I’d like to thank everyone who was part of the Wag Team for their cheer-leading and encouragement. It was really fun to share the process with you!

Two cute dogs pose on a settee with copies of Wag: The Science of Making Your  Dog Happy
Aldo and Aela with Wag. Photo: Emily Tronetti.

For me, the highlight was seeing photos of people’s dogs with their copy of Wag (you can see collections of those photos in part 1 and part 2). And here we are now, with Wag a finalist in two categories in the Dog Writer’s Association of America awards. I feel very honoured and am grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way!

This year I’ve been lucky to interview some more very talented people:

A traditional doll-faced Persian cat was the most commented-on photo on Companion Animal Psychology in 2020
The most commented-on photo of 2020 was this doll face Persion cat.
Photo: chrisdorney/Shutterstock.

As well, I’ve published some fantastic guest posts, some of which feature in my top 10 of the year (see below). Nickala Squire wrote about why you should never train a dog to come when called using a shock collar. Sienna Taylor and John Binks wrote about beating the boredom blues by providing sniffing opportunities for dogs. Veterinarian Dr. Gurpal Chahal wrote about canine cognitive dysfunction. Dr. Christy Hoffman wrote about covid-19's impacts on the human-dog relationship. And Kristi Benson wrote about the first citizen scientists: Dinjii Zhuh knowledge and the advantage of uncertainty.  

Companion Animal Psychology's posts of the year. Photo shows puppy toe beans.
Photo: Smit/Shutterstock

In the autumn, I started The Writer’s Pet, a new series about contemporary writers and how their pets influence their writing process. Check out these interviews with Aislinn Hunter, Grant Hayter-Menzies, Eva Holland, Jen Gilroy, Philippa East, Roz Watkins, Nicole Blades, Jenni Keer, and Maureen Fergus

This year the book club read 9 books. There are some new merch designs, and the Companion Animal Psychology logo tee remains very popular. A portion of all proceeds goes to the BC SPCA Maple Ridge. You can get 10% off with promo code SNOWYOWL10 until midnight Pacific time on 30th December. 

Reward-based dog trainer tee from Companion Animal Psychology
Get 10% off all merch with promo code SNOWYOWL10 until midnight PT Dec 30th

I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has bought me a coffee on Ko-fi. Thank you so much for your support! 

Ko-fi supporters get a special discount on merch. Check out my Ko-fi page for your promo code.

The top dog & cat posts of 2020. Photo shows a happy little white dog sitting in front of a rhododendron bush with purple flowers.
Photo: Lenkadan/Shutterstock

Of course, the hardest thing this year was losing my beautiful Bodger, who I still miss very much. He would have been very happy to have had a year in which we hardly left the house! Our cats, Harley and Melina, have certainly enjoyed the extra company from us.

Photo of Zazie Todd's late dog Bodger, looking thoughtful. A white, black, and tan Australian Shepherd.
Lovely Bodger, very much missed. Photo: Bad Monkey Photography.

Thanks to all of you for your support, encouragement, likes, comments, and shares this year. I hope that 2021 brings you good health and happiness. Stay safe!

The posts of the year

This year, my top post on Psychology Today was why dogs’ happiness, not obedience, is what counts.  

There were the top 10 posts here on Companion Animal Psychology. 

10. Dog dementia: What is canine cognitive dysfunction, by Dr. Gurpal Chahal. 

9. The pet people to follow in 2020.

8. Covid-19's impacts on the human-dog relationship, by Dr. Christy Hoffman.

7. Why you should never train a dog to come when called using a shock collar, by Nickala Squire.

6. Survey shows which treatments are effective for fireworks fears in dogs

5. The factors involved in dogs' fear of strangers and unfamiliar dogs

4. Dog training methods affect attachment to the owner

3. Flat collars risk damage to dogs' necks if they pull or you jerk the leash

2. If your dog is afraid, avoid these two mistakes.

1. Positive reinforcement is more effective at training dogs than an electronic collar, study shows

Wishing you all the best for 2021,


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