The Cat at the Window

Why do cats like to look out of the window--and what can you do to ensure it is enriching, not frustrating, for them?  Photo: Diane N. Ennis / Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. Get Companion Animal Psychology in your inbox. I think all cats like windows. Even outdoors cats will still spend time sitting on a window ledge, watching the world outside. For indoor cats, windows become even more important. Since cats that live exclusively indoors can easily become bored or frustrated, it is important to provide environmental enrichment for them. The five pillars of a healthy feline environment include providing safe spaces for cats, and a safe space with a view outdoors is a great place for cats to spend their time. Windows as enrichment for cats In a review of enrichment practices, Sarah Ellis (2009) says that windows with an interesting view provide important visual

What's Your Favourite Command in Dog Training?

On favourite commands in dog training, and the behaviours you should teach your dog to do. Photo: Dora Zett/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. There are certain commands that many people think all dogs are supposed to learn, like 'sit' and 'heel'. If you go to a basic obedience class, these are the ones that will be taught. I like to teach my dogs hand signals as well as the verbal command, and in some cases they seem to respond more to the hand signal than the spoken word. Even within these basic commands, it's not like there is a specific set that every dog knows, and one person's exact command will be different  than another ('down' vs 'lie down', for example). Then there are commands that are more specialist. For example, a sheepdog will learn basic commands like 'come bye' and 'away'. As far as I know, co

How Often Should I Train My Dog?

Is it best to train your dog daily or once or twice a week? Scientists investigated and found that once or twice a week is the best frequency for dog training sessions, but dogs trained daily learned the commands too. Photo: dezi / By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. If you want a well-behaved dog, you have to teach it how to behave. It's often advised to train the dog frequently, for example to have three short training sessions a day. On the other hand, if you go to training classes, they are usually once a week (though of course you can practise at home). But how often is it advisable to train a dog? Is it better to train frequently or less often, and should the sessions be short or long? This is the question posed by Demant et al (2011). For the study, they used 44 dogs that lived at a laboratory, so that they could control extraneous factors. The dogs

The Effect of Recession on Companion Animals

Two studies show the effects of economic hardship on companion animals. Photo: Miroslava Levina/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD This page contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission on qualifying purchases at no cost to you. With the news yesterday that the UK is in a double-dip recession, and other world economies still struggling, the effect is likely to be felt by animals too. Over the last few years, there have been many reports in the media about animal rescue charities being inundated with cats and dogs due to the recession. These reports are illustrated with heart-breaking examples such as the sixteen year-old border collie surrendered to a rescue because her owner could no longer afford to look after her. Although many rescues are bursting at the seams, actual data is hard to come by. Two recent studies address this by looking at the effect of the recession on animal relinquishment and adoption in the US. A paper by Gregory Morris and Jennifer

The Dog Dominance Myth

This page is being used for test purposes. Please choose another page from the sidebar. Thank you. This is another test of the photo link up. One of the things I often hear about dogs is that they are always trying to be dominant. It comes up in advice that is sometimes given about dog training. For example, that you should always eat before your dog, otherwise it will think that it is dominant; that you shouldn't let your dog walk in front of you, or go through a door ahead of you, or win a game of tug of war. It makes people's relationships with their dogs sound like a constant battle. Fortunately it's not true. This idea of dominance comes from what I'll loosely call 'pack theory', and is based on studies of captive wolves. In a captive wolf pack, it seems that there are battles between wolves fairly frequently, and at the top is the 'alpha wolf', the one that is in control. Since dogs are evolved f

First Post

I am fascinated by the behaviour of my cats and dogs. Through this blog, I am going to find out more about canine and feline psychology, and the relationship between people and their pets. What is companion animal psychology? Well, I chose the name because the blog won't be limited to dogs or cats , so neither canine psychology or feline psychology fit the bill. I'll try and include all kinds of pets, although I'm sure that cats and dogs will be featured more than rabbits and parrots. I could have called it 'pet psychology', but I'm interested in the behaviour of the owners as well as the pets. Hence, companion animal psychology, because it includes the psychology of the companion animals, as well as of their companion (the owner). I want to look at questions such as: why is pack theory/dominance outdated when talking about dogs? how did dogs evolve from wolves? is it possible to train a cat not to jump on the table? how does someone decide whether to get a

Follow me!

Support me