The Top Companion Animal Psychology Posts Over 10 Years

The most popular posts about dog and cat behaviour from ten years of Companion Animal Psychology. #CAP10

A Border Collie in front of cherry blossoms; the top ten posts from ten years of Companion Animal Psychology
Photo: xkunclova/Shutterstock

By Zazie Todd PhD

A number of people have asked me which posts have been the most popular on Companion Animal Psychology over the years. So I decided to put together a list.

In a way though, it’s not an easy question. Sometimes a post that was very popular when it was first published subsequently gets few additional reads—and other times one of those posts just keeps on going and going…

So I’ve put together two lists of Companion Animal Psychology posts. The first looks at which post was the most popular in a particular year of the blog. The other looks at the posts that have been the most popular overall, in terms of total page views since the post was published. There is some overlap between these lists, but not that much.

This makes sense because a post that is topical when it's published is not necessarily going to stay so as time goes by. Meanwhile some topics are perennial ones that may not get so many reads in the first week but will keep picking up new readers all the time. 

I’ve also got a separate list of the most popular posts on my Psychology Today blog. Again, this one is in terms of overall page views since publication.

There are many reasons why a post might be popular, and it’s not just if it’s interesting or helpful. Social media algorithms and the way they have changed over the years make a difference, as do changes in google search algorithms. As well there is just so much content out there that sometimes it seems like a slog to get a post noticed.

I find it hard to predict which posts will be popular. I’m sure some of it is just luck. 

I hope that Companion Animal Psychology makes a difference by providing information that is evidence-based, and by always aiming for kindness towards both pets and their people.

I’d like to give a shout out to the scientists whose work is featured in some of these lists. Posts about research by Dr. Sarah Ellis et al., Lucy China et al., Dr. Yasemin Salgirli Demirbas et al., Dr. Sandra Barnard-Nguyen et al., Mary Morrow et al., Dr. Gregory Berns et al., Dr. Vanessa LoBue et al., Dr. Isabella Merola et al., and Dr. Mikel Delgado et al. all made it to one of these lists.

And a special shout out and thank you to Dr. Katie Cronin, the author of the post about Dr. Delgado’s research that is—so far—the most popular of the 2022 posts. 

Anyway, time for those lists.

The top posts of each year of Companion Animal Psychology

2022 so far, one post is just in the lead: Scientists surprised to learn that cats are freeloaders (guest post by Dr. Katie Cronin)  

2021: How to prioritize training for a new rescue dog: A guide  

2020: Positive reinforcement is more effective at training dogs than an electronic collar, study shows  

2019: The pet people to follow in 2019  

2018: Don’t punish your dog for peeing in the house  

2017: People mistakenly think anxious dogs are relaxed around baby  

2016: Losing a pet can lead to different types of grief  

2015: Different dog breeds, different sensitive period?  

2014: How does a dog’s brain respond to the smell of a familiar human?  

2013: Are young children more interested in animals than toys?  

2012: Social referencing in dogs  

The top posts of all time on Companion Animal Psychology

1. Don’t punish your dog for peeing in the house  

2. People mistakenly think anxious dogs are relaxed around baby  

3. The danger hidden in plain sight in photos of dogs and children  

4. The ultimate dog training tip  

5. Eight tips to help fearful dogs feel safe  

The top post on cats: Where do cats like to be stroked?  

The top posts on Fellow Creatures at Psych Today

1. Why dogs’ happiness, not obedience, is what counts  

2. How to find a missing cat  

3. COVID-19 and planning for your pet (originally posted on the day the WHO declared a pandemic, this post is no longer relevant, but for six weeks I kept it updated as information came in)  

4. You aren’t a dog, and other surprises of dog ownership  

5. Cat owners, personality, and pet parenting style  

I hope you find some enjoyable reading on these lists!

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