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Companion Animal Psychology News January 2020

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Parrots helping their peers, wolf puppies playing fetch, and getting a best friend late in life... this month's news from Companion Animal Psychology.



My favourites this month Puzzle feeders “help meals last longer, increase physical exertion needed to obtain food, and provide a fun ‘brain-teaser’ for your cat!” International Cat Care on food puzzles for cats.

 “African grey parrots help their peers complete tasks despite no immediate benefit to themselves, researchers have found, in the first study to show that birds display such apparently “selfless” behaviour.” Feathered friends: study shows ‘selfless’ parrots helping peers by Nicola Davis.

“Left alone, a human corpse will soon be feasted upon by maggots. Also, depending on the circumstances, by a cat.” New compelling evidence that your cat might eat your corpse by Karin Brulliard. For once – at least at time of writing – the comments are worth a read too.

“Learning how to better recognize the signs of fear, anxiety, stress and…

Interview with Clive Wynne About Dog Is Love

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"The dog is a highly social living being that needs to have company or else it’s going to be in psychological distress."



An interview with Prof. Clive Wynne about his wonderful new book, Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You, about how he came to realize that what’s special about dogs is not their intelligence, but their capacity for love. Dog Is Love was the Animal Book Club’s  for October 2019 and was also on my winter reading list.

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Zazie: Your own dog, Xephos, is mentioned in the book. How has she influenced your research?

Clive: I tell people that she’s the book’s spirit animal. She really changed my views on what makes dogs special, what makes dogs so unique. For the first so many years that I was studying dog behaviour and dog psychology, I didn’t have a dog of my own. There were a variety of personal reasons: we’d recently moved internationally, we had a new baby, blah blah blah. But I also had a feeling that I shouldn’t need to …

Why You Should Never Train a Dog to Come When Called Using a Shock Collar

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How to get a super reliable recall with positive reinforcement, and why you should avoid using shock collars for such an important behaviour.



By Nickala Squire

Getting your dog to come when called may be a breeze in the home, but how do you get them to listen when out in the real world? Maybe you’ve heard that there are risks and fallout from using shock avoidance to train dogs, or maybe you’re simply put off by the price of shock collars. Here’s how you should begin your recall training journey!

1.Ensure your dog is not suffering from pain, fear or anxiety preventing them from listening- aka caring about anything else. The dog’s physical or emotional well-being needs to be addressed first, for the dog’s welfare as well as public safety. Does this mean painful or fearful dogs can’t be taught recall? Absolutely not. But intentionally challenging them by putting them in stressful or pain causing situations is cruel and unreasonable.

2.Never make coming when called unpleasant, such as scold…

Fellow Creatures: The Meowing 20s

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Looking forward to a new decade.


By Zazie Todd, PhD
On my Fellow Creatures blog, I'm looking forward to things we might wish for our pet dogs and cats in the next decade in my post The Meowing 20s.

Take a look, and let me know what you are hoping for.
Happy New Year!

Photo: rawpixel.com/lifeofpix
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 and two cats.

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Check out what the Animal Book Club is reading this monthGet Companion Animal Psychology merchSupport me on Ko-fiVisit my Amazon store
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As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As an Etsy affiliate, I ea…

The Posts of the Year 2019

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The most popular posts about dogs and cats this year.


By Zazie Todd, PhD

It’s time to look back on what happened on the blog this year. Companion Animal Psychology has been going for over 7 and a half years now, with more than 500 posts. I love the community of like-minded people that has grown around this page!

This year, I was honoured to interview several authors about their wonderful books:
Dr. Alexandra Horowitz about her new book, Our Dogs, Ourselves (this was especially popular with email subscribers, being read by almost everyone)Dr. Mark Goldstein, about his book Lions and Tigers and Hamsters  Cat Warren, about her book What the Dog Knows (which now has a Young Reader’s Edition)   I was lucky to publish some amazing guest posts this year. There were two beautifully-written guest posts from Kristi Benson: making a living in the world: anthropology, the evolution of behaviour, and training dogs and into the middle of things: dog training lessons from the best fiction. Both posts …

Season's Greetings

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Season's Greetings from Companion Animal Psychology.


Thank you for your support throughout the year, for reading and sharing my blog posts, and all your emails and messages. And to those of you in the book club, thank you for reading all the books with me!

Happy Holidays! And wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful, and healthy 2020.

Zazie




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 and two cats.

Useful links:
Check out what the Animal Book Club is reading this monthGet Companion Animal Psychology merchSupport me on Ko-fiVisit my Amazon store

Winter Reading: Animal Books

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The animal books I’m reading this Fall and Winter (non-fiction and fiction).



By Zazie Todd, PhD

If you're looking for something to read, or a last-minute gift idea for an animal lover, check out these books about dogs, cats, wolves, and animals in general that I've been reading lately.

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What the Dog Knows Young Readers Edition: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren
Like the NYT-bestselling original version, this book tells the story of Cat Warren’s dog Solo, how she trained him to be a cadaver dog, and the searches they went on together to find the bodies of the missing. Along the way we learn how cadaver dogs are trained, the importance of accuracy, and the many kinds of searches working dogs can do – for missing people, in criminal cases, to find lost military personnel, and even to find historical graves. The book is suitable for young readers but does not shy away from difficult topics. The narrative is e…