Cat and Dog Adopters are Satisfied with their New Pet

A new study shows most people who adopt a dog or cat from a shelter are happy with their choice, and provides information on the most common behaviour problems.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Wherever you are, there are many dogs and cats in shelters or rescues waiting for new homes. One of the reasons some people give for not wanting to adopt a pet from a shelter is that they are concerned about behaviour problems. A new study by Sophie Scott et al (University of Adelaide) looks at the behaviour problems people report in their newly-adopted dog or cat, and finds out how they feel about their new pet.

The results are very positive and show most people are happy with their new dog or cat.

Sophie Scott told me in an email,
“It's incredibly important we understand the nature of adopter satisfaction after the adoption of a cat or dog. Issues such as problem behaviours and/or conflict with other pets or children can affect adopter satisfaction and are often attributed to adoption failure, so the ab…

Invitation to the Train for Rewards Blog Party 2018

Join the pet blogging community in supporting reward-based training of dogs, cats, and other companion animals. #Train4Rewards

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Are you a blogger? Do you support reward-based training for dogs and other animals? Would you like to take part in the #Train4Rewards blog party?

You are invited to write a blog post about reward-based training of dogs or other companion animals, post it on your own blog on the set date, then come and share a link to it here. Bloggers from anywhere in the world are invited to take part.

In the past, posts have covered the training of dogs, cats, horses and pigs. Posts on the training of rats, mice, ferrets, rabbits, and fish are all welcome too. Read on to find out more.

If you are not a blogger but still want to take part, you can do so by reading and sharing the posts, and sharing a photo of your own pet on social media on 16th June with the hashtag #Train4Rewards.

Here is how bloggers can take part.

On Thursday 14th or Friday 15th June:

What is Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training?

A user-friendly guide to understanding negative reinforcement in dog training – and the three alternatives you should know about.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

If you are new to dog training, or want to understand some of the language of dog training, this article is for you. It covers the technical definition of negative reinforcement in dog training, examples of how it is used, what research tells us about negative reinforcement, and alternatives that you can use instead (along with some common mistakes people make, so you know how to get it right).

This article is part of a series of guides that also covers positive reinforcement and positive punishment in dog training.

Let’s start with the technical definition.

What is negative reinforcement?
Negative reinforcement is one way to train dogs (and other animals).

Negative reinforcement means taking something away that increases or maintains the frequency of a behaviour.

The ‘negative’ part refers to something being removed, and ‘reinforcement’ m…

Let Dogs Be Dogs and Cats' Environmental Necessities

The latest in the 'better world' series on dogs and cats.

For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Updates to Companion Animal Psychology's Privacy Policy

The Companion Animal Psychology privacy policy has been updated effective from 16 May 2018.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Specifically, we would like you to know that:

Email subscribers can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ link that you will find at the bottom of every email from Companion Animal PsychologyThe only way to subscribe to the email subscription list is to specifically opt in. We will never add you, even if you email us about the blog.Anyone who has added a link (blog post url and/or photo) to a link-up can delete their link/photo at any timeEmail addresses provided for the purpose of link-ups will not be used for any other purpose. That is, we may communicate with you about the link-up if necessary, but will not add you to the email subscribers list.Google/Blogger have made changes to the way comments are handled, and in particular OpenID is no longer supported. Any comments previously left under OpenID will be anonymized. Comments can still be posted from a Googl…

What type of cat do people prefer?

Research investigates people's preferences for cats with normal, squashed or long head shapes.

By Zazie Todd, PhD

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about brachycephalic dogs and the health issues they can have as a result of having a squashed face, which include breathing difficulties and eye issues (read about why people choose brachycephalic dogs).

But what about cats? Some breeds of cat also have squashed faces. A new study by Dr. Mark Farnworth (Nottingham Trent University) et al set out to investigate people’s preferences by asking them to rate photos of different types of cat.

Dr. Farnworth told me in an email,
“There has been quite a change in the companion animal population with more and more consumer desire for extreme conformations. Although these extremes are not yet mainstream (shown by the reduced desirability of cats with skulls that deviate from ‘normal’), people who own the extremes (e.g. Persians or Siamese) show increased preference for cats with similar skull shape…

Sensory enrichment and evolutionary history

The latest in the 'better world' series about dogs and cats.

For more information, you can read how to make the world better for dogs and how to make the world better for cats.

By Zazie Todd, PhD