Companion Animal Psychology News Autumn 2021

Fear of predators, aging dogs, and blood transfusions for cats... the latest Companion Animal Psychology news.

Companion Animal Psychology News Autumn 2021

By Zazie Todd PhD

My favourite pet posts from around the web

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When snowshoe hares are surrounded by predators, what effect does chronic stress have on them—and what does it tells us about fear and trauma in people and other animals? Do wild animals get PTSD? Scientists probe its evolutionary roots by Sharon Levy (Knowable Magazine).

How did the field of dog cognition research come about, and how can it help dogs? A thoughtful piece with comments from Alexandra Horowitz PhD and Brian Hare PhD. Thinking about how dogs think by Kim Kavin (Washington Post). 

"One of the researchers' most important messages is that the way in which caregivers perceived the bond they had with their free-ranging dogs did not predict the dog's movements." Dog-human relationships from the dog's point of view by Marc Bekoff PhD (Psychology Today). 

It’s hard watching a dog grow older, especially when they can no longer do the things they used to love. But there are ways you can help them. Living with and loving senior dogs is a beautiful post by Kate LaSala (Rescued by Training). 

The ways in which we are alike can tell us something about how to care for our feline friends. Eight similarities we share with cats by Pam Johnson-Bennett (Cat Behavior Associates).

“I thought I was happy and handling my stress well, but I wasn’t.” We know that stress is a big issue for those in the veterinary and related professions, and this personal piece by vet tech Alyson Evans is one that many will be able to relate to. Veterinary profession burnout: A first-person account (Fear Free).  

“We all have beliefs and ideas that we hold on to about how our world works.” It’s okay to change your mind about dog training techniques. Science says so by Kristi Benson. 

“Bird toys can be pricey. So, buyer, be aware—birds destroy their toys. That’s the point of giving birds toys in the first place.” Tips on toys for birds in Purposeful playtime: pet birds need toys for mental and physical health by Kathleen Samuelson at Fear Free Happy Homes. 

“This series of guides offer practical advice and guidance on areas relevant to feline health and welfare to help cat owners and caregivers play their important role in improving the care that cats receive.” Transfusion of blood and blood products in cats is the first in a series from International Cat Care.  

“It’s probably not because you taste like their favourite meal, or that they think you’re particularly unclean.” Why does my cat lick me? by Cats Protection.  

"A hundred years ago Wain was a household name, his instantly recognisable drawings of anthropomorphic cats appearing in books, magazines and postcards." Louis Wain's anthropomorphic cats to go on display at Bethlem museum by Nadia Khomami (The Guardian). 

Animal Book Club

This month, the Animal Book Club is reading Dogopolis: How Dogs and Humans Made Modern New York, London, and Paris (Animal Lives) by Chris Pearson.  

It asks the question, what if cities were actually shaped in response to dogs more than we ever realized? I'm only part way in but so far, it’s fascinating.

The cover of the book, Dogopolis

Dogopolis is available from all good bookstores and my Amazon store. 


Support me on Ko-Fi

Writing Companion Animal Psychology takes many hours of research, writing, and editing time each week, and makes a difference to many people and their pets. But I couldn’t do it without your support. 

Thank you to CheshireBumpkin, SeniorTailWaggers, Jennifer, Dr. Jill Bradshaw, Jackie, AshleyOslundAltamirano, Kazukami, Sarah, Deborah McIntosh, Viviane Arzoumanian, SherylGamble, Patty Aguirre, Sarah, Doug Harris CPDT-KA, Lesly Taylor, Nan Arthur, Graham, Ko-Fi Supporter, Bones, Hugs and Harmony Pet Care, Sara Hughley, and 9 anonymous people for your support over the last few months. You are amazing!!  

An Australian Shepherd with a pink bandana sits next to some heather; text says thank you

If you’d like to support Companion Animal Psychology, you can buy me a one-off or monthly coffee on Ko-Fi at 

The Pawsitive Post

My twice-monthly newsletter, The Pawsitive Post, launched in late May. Issue 10 will go out on Wednesday and includes the wonders of canine and feline noses and food rewards for cats, as well as links to the recordings of two recent webinars: Beth Sautins on How to have productive behaviour consults: Perspectives from trainer and guardians; and Kristi Benson on Calm, cool, and collected: Helping dogs go from crazy and wild to mannered and mild. 

I’m thrilled at the feedback I’m getting so far. Here’s what people are saying:

“I am always learning and this is a wonderful source of content about dog and cat behaviour."

"I look forward to reading this and having the information and links... I really like the geeky science aspect." 

Flyer for The Pawsitive Post says Great writing, exclusive events, and the Happy Pet Challenge

Each issue is packed with evidence-based info on dog and cat behaviour including summaries of recent scientific studies on dogs and cats, Kristi Benson’s dog training column, my personal pet column, a writing prompt or book review, and more. Every month there is an online event/webinar or recording. Learn more about The Pawsitive Post and sign up here.  

Discount on merch

Get 10% off all Companion Animal Psychology merch with promo code AUTUMN10 valid until midnight PT on October 20th. 

Time for Walkies hoodie from Companion Animal Psychology

Upcoming events

I’ve got a few talks coming up that you might be interested in, and some of them are free.

How to Make Your Dog Happy (According to Science). A talk for Make a Dog’s Day, organized by Berkeley Humane and Subaru. Thursday October 21st, 8am (Pacific). Free, but registration required. Details: 

Chat with Dr. Zazie Todd organized by PACTA-BC. Sit around the virtual campfire with me to learn what compelled me to write the award-winning book Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy, listen to me read excerpts, and chat about dogs and writing. October 24th, 4.30pm (Pacific). Free, but registration required. Details:

Pet Professional Guild Geek Week. I’m giving two talks at the Pet Professional Guild’s Geek Week event which runs from 13-17 November. This event has academic, behaviour, and consulting tracks with 74 presenters. Details: 

Here at Companion Animal Psychology

It’s been a while since I last wrote a proper newsletter like this, so here are some highlights of what I’ve been up to, along with my most popular posts in case you missed them.

I was quoted in two Newsweek articles, 8 tips to keep cats off counters and 7 mistakes to avoid when introducing cats and dogs. I was also quoted in MEL magazine’s how to get a dog to like you and had a great discussion with Daniel Mills on his podcast, What Makes You Click?  

The Pawsitive Post got a mention in The Week in Newsletters. This is well worth subscribing to if you have a newsletter of your own; it’s full of tips to help you grow your newsletter. 

Over the summer, there were several posts that were especially well received. Because we’re still in a pandemic, I wrote about finding happiness in the small moments of joy with your pet and also about managing caregiver burden when you have a sick or challenging pet. In that case, 8 tips for dealing with a pet with behavioural issues might be helpful. 

I always like to share tips, and I wrote three ways that management can help you with your pet and a stellar team of dog trainers shared their top tips on puppy raising with me.

Over at Psychology Today, my most popular recent posts are 3 things everyone should understand about puppies and why petting can make some cats aggressive

Kristi Benson, Special Correspondent, wrote about the stress of trying something new in overcoming the fear of looking like a graceless noob. She also covered those special, happy moments (including the joy of finding a hot dog under the couch, and something I’ll let you discover for yourself in the piece) in salience, motivation and good fortune in dog training.  

And many people commented on the compassionate take in Beth Sautin’s guest blog on reactive dogs: compassion and the power of animal learning are at the heart of training.  

And finally, are you feeling curious?

A curious tabby kitten sits on the sofa with a toy
A curious kitten. Photo: Toyakisphoto/Shutterstock

Here's something very exciting: I’ve been working hard on my second book. Soon I’ll have some news to share with you about it, and I can't wait. Stay tuned! 

Animals in Art

This painting is two cats, blue and yellow (1912) by Franz Marc.

Painting of two cats, blue and yellow, by artist Franz Marc.

I do believe I’ve seen this painting in person, a long, long time ago. It’s in the collection of the Kunstmuseum Basel. 

Wishing you and yours all the best,


P.S. If you're not yet a subscriber to my free Companion Animal Psychology newsletter, join over 4,500 animal lovers and sign up here. Plus you'll get my free guides, Seven Secrets to a Happy Dog and Seven Secrets to a Happy Cat. 

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