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Reader Survey: Please Take Part!

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Would you like to help with some research on who reads science blogs like this one? ***Edit: The survey is now closed. Thank you to everyone who took part!***

I’ve teamed up with Science Borealis, Dr. Paige Jarreau (Louisiana State University) and 20 other Canadian science bloggers to conduct a broad survey of the readers of Canadian blogs. Together we are trying to find out who reads Canadian science blogs, where they come from, whether or not Canadian-specific content is important to them, and where they go for trustworthy, accurate science news and information.

Your feedback will also help me learn more about who reads Companion Animal Psychology. People from anywhere in the world can take part, whether you’re a regular reader or you’ve only read one or two posts.
It will take around 5 minutes, and the survey is here.
Participants will be entered to win one of 11 prizes (a $50 Chapters gift card, a $20 surprise gift card, 3 Science Borealis T-shirts and 6 surprise gifts). In addition,…

Education about Cats may Reduce Feline Behaviour Problems

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Behavioural advice for people with a new kitten is linked to a better-behaved pet at 1 year old.




A new pet can be hard work, and if people don’t fully understand the needs of their animals, behaviour problems can result. A new study investigates whether education for owners at their first vet appointment is the answer. 
People with a new kitten (3 months old) were given 25 minutes of standardized advice on caring for cats. The study, by Angelo Gazzano et al (University of Pisa)compared the behaviour of these cats at just over 1 year old with that of a control group where no behavioural advice was given.
The authors say, “providing simple, relatively short advice at the very beginning of a kitten-owner relationship is not only important in pleasing the owners, protecting cat welfare, and [the] cat-owner relationship but also in offering a complete service to the owners.” 
The education was given by a vet behaviourist and took 25 minutes. It included advice on cat behaviour, such as the nee…

Large Study Finds No Evidence for "Black Dog Syndrome"

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A study of over 16,000 adoptable dogs finds black dogs don’t take longer to be adopted after all.


Understanding what people look for in adoptable dogs can make a big difference to animal shelters. It makes sense to target promotions in order to stop dogs having lengthy stays. But you can only do this if you know what people want. 
The idea that black dogs wait longer for a new home than dogs of other colours has been around for a while. New research by Heather Svoboda and Christy Hoffman (Canisius College) suggests it does not exist, at least at the two shelters they surveyed.
Christy Hoffman told me, “We did not find evidence of Black Dog Syndrome, but we did find that shelter outcomes tended to be worse for brindle dogs and, not surprisingly, bully breeds. A relatively recent paper by Brown et al. (2013) also concluded black dogs do not have worse than average shelter outcomes. I wonder if, perhaps, Black Dog Syndrome was never a problem, or if all the marketing efforts to promote blac…

Make Your Dog Happy: Reader's Photos

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Recently readers were invited to send in photos of their happy dogs with the #makeyourdoghappy hashtag. These are my favourites. It was very hard to choose - thank you to everyone who sent photos and gave me permission to share them.