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An Interview with Dr. Marty Becker

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"..a recognition that they have emotions and we have an obligation to look at both their physical and emotional well-being."




By Zazie Todd, PhD

An interview with Dr. Marty Becker about the Fear Free™ movement, Fear Free Happy Homes, and his new book, From Fearful to Fear Free: A Positive Program to Free Your Dog from Anxiety, Fears, and Phobias, co-authored by Dr. Lisa Radosta, Dr. Wailani Sung, Mikkel Becker, and edited by Kim Campbell Thornton.

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Zazie: I am absolutely thrilled to speak to you. I love your book, which is the choice for May for the Companion Animal Psychology Book Club and everyone’s been very excited to read it. So I’m going to ask you in a moment why you decided to write this particular book, but I wanted to ask you first of all how did the Fear Free™ movement come about?

Dr. Becker: I’ll give you the unvarnished, stripped down version of stuff that’s authentic. I’m 64 years old, and I’ve traveled to now, we just got back fro…

Companion Animal Psychology Book Club June 2018

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"...an illuminating exploration of the fierce moral conundrums we face every day regarding the creatures with whom we share our world."



By Zazie Todd, PhD

The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for June 2018 is Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals (P.S.) by Hal Herzog.

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From the back cover,
"Does living with a pet really make people happier and healthier? What can we learn from biomedical research with mice? Who enjoys a better quality of life—–the chicken destined for your dinner plate or the rooster in a Saturday night cockfight? Why is it wrong to eat the family dog?  Drawing on more than two decades of research into the emerging field of anthrozoology, the science of human–animal relations, Hal Herzog offers an illuminating exploration of the fierce moral conundrums we face every day regarding the creatures with whom we share our world. Alternately poignant, challengi…

Cat and Dog Adopters are Satisfied with their New Pet

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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

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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:
1.…

What is Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training?

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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

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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

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband, one dog, and two cats.

Useful links:
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Updates to Companion Animal Psychology's Privacy Policy

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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…