Companion Animal Psychology News March 2021

Family portraits with pets, tips for caring for kittens, wool dogs in BC, and more... This month's Companion Animal Psychology News.

Companion Animal Psychology News March 2021

By Zazie Todd, PhD

My favourites this month

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“We're in an age where a plethora of knowledge is available at our fingertips and immediate gratification abounds for everything, and we often want firm answers for our questions.” Dog training: blending science with individual personalities by Dr. Marc Bekoff and Mary Angilly  

“I also was astounded to learn how popular bioRxiv has come to be.” A great explainer on preprints from Dr. Marc Bekoff.  

“Puppies have a short window in their early lives in which they are impressionable - they soak up different situations and experiences at a faster, more sponge-like rate than if they are exposed to these later in life.” The social imperative of socialization by Dr. Maria Karunungan. 

“A systematic national approach is needed to reduce the numbers of people who have to give up their pets to secure housing – especially as we return to post-COVID “normal”.” Can I have a pet and be housed too? It all depends by Drs. Wendy Stone, Amity James, Caitlin Buckle, Darren C Fisher, Debbie Faulkner, Emma Power, Selina Tually, and Zoe Goodall. 

“There was a time when the Indigenous women of the Pacific Northwest’s coastal regions paddled their canoes to small, rocky islands once a day or so to care for packs of small white-furred dogs.” The dogs that grew wool and the people who love them by Virginia Morell.  

“The cats and dogs lie as if asleep, in individual graves.” Graves of dogs and cats in ancient Egypt may be world’s oldest pet cemetery by David Grimm.  

“Behavioral economics and the law offer different perspectives on the monetary value of the unmeasurable – love for our pets.” How much money is your pet worth by Dr. Hal Herzog. 

“If your new cat could talk, there’s a good chance these are the kind of tips he’d try to give you about his needs.” 20 things your new kitten wants you to know by Pam Johnson-Bennett. 

“They’re loud, unpredictable, they smell weird, they scream out suddenly – they’re not trusted, predictable, familiar adults.” Kate LaSala of Rescued by Training has been running a series on dogs and babies. Don’t punish the growl is the fourth part, and all of the blog posts in the series are well worth a read.  

Genetics unzipped takes a look at dog genetics with host Dr. Kat Arney and guests Dr. Elinor Karlsson, Dr. Jessica Hekman, and Dr. Jeff Schoenebeck (podcast) 

Happy family – portraits of people with their animals by Tasha Hall.  

Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King.  It’s a fascinating account of grief in the animal kingdown, and how if there is grief, there was first love.  

Cover of the book How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King

All of the books (and more) are available in the Companion Animal Psychology Amazon store.


We now have Companion Animal Psychology water bottles in our merch store. Check them out here

Our logo tees are also now available in two fabulous new styles from AS Colour's flawless basics collection. The AS women's hoodie is 100% French cotton terry and the AS women's tee is 100% combed cotton (heather colours are 15% viscose). 

A portion of all proceeds goes to the BC SPCA Maple Ridge. 

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Companion Animal Psychology is free for everyone, and supported by readers like you.

This month, I’d like to say a very special thank you to Amy Baker Schultz, AshleyOslundAltamirano, Renee Dunaway, It’s Training Cats and Dogs LLC, Sarah, and Jill Bradshaw for your support. You are amazing and I really, really appreciate your support.

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Recently I was thrilled to chat with Anna Webb on her podcast A Dog’s Life. Listen here on Spotify or wherever you like to get your podcasts.

I’m quoted in this article for MEL magazine on how to teach your dog to skateboard. And I’m also quoted in an article by Sassafras Lowrey for Dogster magazine on how to socialize your dog. The print issue is on store shelves now.

March 10th marked the first anniversary of the publication of my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. You can read all about the first year of Wag here.  

This month I was delighted to publish another article by Kristi Benson CTC PCBC-A, Special Correspondent to Companion Animal Psychology. Enjoy the beautiful writing in Peeling carrots like Grandma: Lessons in efficiency for dog training. Lots of people have commented on how much they enjoyed this evocative piece.

And I wrote about why play is an essential part of puppy class for a well-rounded dog

I interviewed photographer Jesse Freidin and co-author Dr. Robert Garofalo about their book, When Dogs Heal: Powerful Stories of People Living with HIV and the Dogs That Saved Them. Jesse told me, “The unique message that ‘When Dogs Heal’ has made clear is that dogs can not only be a true antidote for the loneliness and hardship created by stigma, they often act as a way back to ourselves when we are emotionally lost. I think that was the most profound theme that came about through this project - that by loving our dogs we are in turn learning to love ourselves.” 

And two wonderful writers have been featured in The Writer’s Pet. Jen Sookfong Lee has not one but two books coming out this Spring: Finding Home: The Journey of Immigrants and Refugees, her new children’s book, and her first collection of poetry, The Shadow List. Find out about both books and her adorable dog here. 

And Jen Hirt, author of Hear Me Ohio, told me all about doing agility with her rescue dog. Hear Me Ohio is a beautiful collection of essays and is a finalist at the Foreword INDIE Awards.

The covers of four books featured in Companion Animal Psychology over the last month

Meet Pepper

And speaking of dogs… meet the new addition to my family. Pepper is a 10 year old Shih Tzu who we adopted from the BC SPCA a few days ago. He is absolutely adorable and he is settling in well to his retirement home. He is great with cats, and we’ve been doing gradual introductions to give the cats time to adjust. They seem to like him too.

Portrait of a white and silver Shih Tzu resting on a red and white sofa
Pepper. Photo: Zazie Todd

Thank you to the BC SPCA for the amazing care they gave to Pepper and for helping us find our new best friend. 

Take care and stay safe,


Zazie Todd, PhD, is the award-winning author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy and Purr: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy. She is the creator of the popular blog, Companion Animal Psychology and also has a column at Psychology Today. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats. 

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