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Finalist for Canada's Favourite Science Blog

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Companion Animal Psychology is a finalist in the People’s Choice Award for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog.



Companion Animal Psychology is one of three finalists in the People’s Choice Award for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog.

It is a real honour and I am thrilled. Thank you very much for your support!

And thank you to Science Borealis and Science Writers and Communicators of Canada for organizing the competition.

The winner will be announced on Thursday November 2nd.

Check out the other two finalists, The Body of Evidence and Art the Science.  You can read about all the finalists in the Science Borealis announcement here, and you can also see the three science website finalists there.

And you follow on twitter with the hashtag #CdnSciFav.



What Is Positive Punishment in Dog Training?

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Everything you need to know about the use of positive punishment in dog training.



If you are a new dog owner, or even if you’ve been around dogs for a while, this article is for you. It covers the technical definition of positive punishment, examples of what it is, what we know about the risks of using it and what professional organizations advise.

Let’s get the technical definition out of the way first.


What is positive punishment in dog training?
You’ll have noticed I said positive punishment instead of just punishment. In everyday language, we often say punishment when what we technically mean is positive punishment. We can also have negative punishment, but that will be the topic of another post.

Punishment means something that reduces the likelihood of a behaviour happening again i.e. the behaviour goes down in frequency. And positive means that something is added.

So positive punishment means adding something after the dog did a behaviour that makes the frequency of that behaviou…

Companion Animal Psychology News October 2017

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Make sure you  haven't missed a thing with the latest newsletter from Companion Animal Psychology.




Some of my favourites from around the web this month
Kate Mornement PhD has written a great series about enrichment, starting with Wild at Heart: Why enrichment is essential for your pets’ well-being and with lots of ideas for enrichment for dogs  and for cats.

"Laterality is an ancient inherited characteristic and is widespread in the animal kingdom, in both vertebrates and invertebrates." I’ve always wondered: can animals be left- and right-pawed? Janice Lloyd and Richard Squires at The Conversation.

"If a cat is on an elevated surface and there are small objects on there as well, he often can’t resist the urge to use his paw to push something over the edge." Something many cat owners want to know: Why does my cat like to knock things off the table? By Pam Johnson-Bennett

How can you tell if your cat is happy and likes you?Susan Hazel PhD answers a Curious Kids q…

Lock-In for Love

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You can help the animals at the BC SPCA Maple Ridge by donating to Lock-In for Love.



The animals are getting worried.

On Sunday, October 22nd, staff, volunteers and local celebrities will be locked into kennels with a furry friend.

They have to raise bail money to get out.

All of the funds raised will help the BC SPCA Maple Ridge.

But what if they don’t raise bail? The animals are worried their dinners may be late…

You can help now by going to the Lock-In for Love webpage, click the name of one of the fundraisers in the scrolling bar on the right, and donate.



Make sure you never miss a post. Subscribe to Companion Animal Psychology.

Two New Posts: Dog Walking and Favourites

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Two posts look at dog walking behaviour and my personal favourite blog posts.



This week I have two new posts for you.

At my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures, I look at some new research on the links between dog ownership, dog walking, physical health, and the human-animal bond.

“What I was excited about were the associations we found between the strength of the bond with the dog and dog-walking behaviour,” said Dr. Jessica Bibbo, one of the authors of the study.

Read the full story here.


And in a guest post for Dr. Jo Righetti’s Pet Problems Solved, I share my five favourite Companion Animal Psychology articles. These are the posts I wish everyone would read about cats, dogs, and how best to care for them.

Find out which ones I chose here.


Photo: atiger/Shutterstock.

Shelter Cats Like a Box to Hide In

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Cats like somewhere to hide - and research shows a cardboard box can be the simple solution.



How do we know what types of enrichment are most important to cats? A new study by Dr. Jacklyn Ellis (University of Prince Edward Island) et al tests shelter cats’ preferences. The results show the importance of a simple cardboard box for kitty cats.

What is environmental enrichment for cats?
Environmental enrichment involves adding something to the cat’s environment that is good for its welfare. Enrichment can be especially important for cats in shelters since the environment is stressful for them, away from their familiar home and with the presence of unknown cats and people, and perhaps with dogs in earshot too. But it's important for our cats at home too.

There are many ways to provide enrichment for cats, including vertical space, olfactory enrichment, food and even cognitive enrichment with clicker training.


How do we know what cats like?
How do we know which types of enrichment cats …

Happy Thanksgiving

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It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.

I am thankful for so many wonderful and kind blog readers, and so many great stories to write about.

Wherever you are, I hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!