Showing posts from February, 2024

Animal Minds and Our Favourite Fables with Dr. Jo Wimpenny

Zazie and Kristi are joined by zoologist Dr. Jo Wimpenny to talk about her book, Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables . By Zazie Todd PhD Watch episode 15 of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation below or on Youtube , listen below or via your favourite podcast app (including Apple , Spotify ), or scroll down to read the highlights. About this episode This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. In this episode of The Pawsitive Post in Conversation , Zazie and Kristi are joined by zoologist and writer Dr. Jo Wimpenny to talk about her book Aesop’s Animals: The Science Behind the Fables . We talk about the history of Aesop’s fables and the role they still play in society today, before moving on to wonder whether there is a grain of truth in them when it comes to animal behaviour. We consider some of the most popular fables. Are crows really as clever as Aesop suggested? Why are wolves always the villain? Do

Fellow Creatures: Does My Dog Need Behavior Training or a Private Session?

I've got a new post over on my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures. Photo: Blue Bird/Pexels By Zazie Todd PhD The post looks at the different types of dog training classes and consultations that are available, and how to choose between them. For example, puppy class is a valuable way to help meet your pup's needs for socialization. Classes for adult dogs are a great way to continue to work on manners, but a private session is better for behaviour issues. Many online options are available these days which can be a great choice. And of course, training methods must also be taken into account. Read the post on Psychology Today : Does my dog need behavior training or a private session? And if you need more advice, check out my post on how to choose a dog trainer .


Harley Jan 2009—9 Feb 2024 Harley. Photos: Zazie Todd By Zazie Todd PhD On Friday we had to say goodbye to our beloved brown tabby cat, Harley. He was 15 and had lived with us since he was about 2.5 years old. Harley was a very affectionate cat who would start purring as soon as I walked into the room (something that ended up in a story in The Atlantic after a journalist asked me what made my cats purr ). He was also an expert at opening doors, which sometimes led to a few adventures or at least to extra treats.   Although he was an indoor cat, there would be moments when we could not find Harley anywhere. Then, after we hunted through the house, he would suddenly be sitting in the middle of the hall. It was as if he had teleported there from somewhere else. Harley had a number of medical conditions that were well managed with twice-daily insulin injections and pills. He was diagnosed with heart failure at the emergency vet about 16 months ago, but he had been doing well since and his

How Pets Benefit Our Brains with RNZ's Sunday Morning

I spoke with Jim Mora about how pets can benefit people and other new research on dogs and cats. Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd PhD I joined Jim Mora on Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning to talk about some recent news articles that cover research that finds that pets can have benefits for people. Or in one case that we discuss near the end of the interview, potentially have a detrimental effect (but you'll be glad to know more research is needed). Amongst other things, we talk about the way that dogs can encourage adults to get their daily exercise and can encourage girls to do more physical activity. And another study looks at the cognitive benefits of having a pet for seniors who live alone. We also talk about the lifespan of various breeds of dog and the factors that affect it. You can listen to the recording here: How pets benefit our brains .

Having a Reactive Dog is Difficult and Costly, Study Shows

When dogs lunge, bark, and growl at other dogs or people, the dog is having a hard time—and so is their guardian. More awareness is needed. Many people with reactive dogs walk where they won't see anyone else. Photo: Danilo Silveira/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd PhD If you’ve never had a reactive dog, you don’t know what it feels like when someone says “She’s friendly” or "It's okay, he's fine," meaning they are going to let their off-leash dog run right up to you and your dog. You tense up, breathe more quickly, and run through different options of what to do in your mind as you wait for the dreaded moment to unfold. And then your dog goes off, barking and lunging on leash, and you feel stressed, anxious—and fed up because weeks of training is being undone in that instant. The term reactive is often used to describe dogs who bark, lunge, or growl in response to triggers such as strangers, unknown dogs, and loud noises. New research from the Waltham Pet Care Institut

Body Size and Face Shape Predict the Lifespan of Dogs, Study Shows

The study of over 150 breeds and crossbreeds shows that size matters, as little dogs live longer—and so do those with a medium head shape rather than a flat face. The Lancashire Heeler is the longest-lived breed. Photo: hansbenn/Pixabay By Zazie Todd PhD We all wish our pet dogs would live longer. New research out of the UK finds that the average dog lives 12.5 years. Contrary to previous research, dogs in this dataset lived slightly longer if they are a pedigree dog, and less long if they are a mixed breed. The study, published in Scientific Reports , looked at data from over half a million dogs, including over a quarter of a million who were deceased, to investigate the factors that are related to longevity.  The breeds with the shortest average lifespans are large breeds: the Caucasian Shepherd Dog, Presa Canario, Cane Corso, Mastiff, and St. Bernard. However the top 10 for the shortest lifespan also included some smaller dogs with flat faces: the Bulldog and French Bulldog. When d

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club February 2024

"Thought-provoking. . . . A fresh and rigorous inquiry into how humans can best serve their canine companions. Dog lovers will want to take note." ― Publishers Weekly By Zazie Todd PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. This month, the Animal Book Club is reading Who's a Good Dog? And How to Be a Better Human by Jessica Pierce.  From the publisher: " Who’s a Good Dog? is an invitation to nurture more thoughtful and balanced relationships with our canine companions. By deepening our curiosity about what our dogs are experiencing, and by working together with them in a spirit of collaboration, we can become more effective and compassionate caregivers. With sympathy for the challenges met by both dogs and their humans, bioethicist Jessica Pierce explores common practices of caring for dogs, including how we provide exercise, what we feed, how and why we socialize and train, and how we employ

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