Posts

Animal Book Club March 2020

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"...an engaging, insightful consideration of how anthropomorphism, cruelty, egocentrism, empathy, realism and sentimentality have blended and blurred across centuries -- teaching us a vast amount about animals, and even more about ourselves." -- The Irish Times. By Zazie Todd, PhD This month, the Animal Book Club is reading The Animal's Companion: People & Their Pets, a 26,000-Year Love Story by Jacky Coliss Harvey About the book: “A unique and compelling exploration of why humans need animal companions -- from dogs and cats to horses, birds, and reptiles -- through the eyes of a New York Times bestselling historical detective author.  In The Animal's Companion, the acclaimed social anthropologist and author of Red: A History of the Redhead turns her keen eye for cultural investigation toward uncovering why humans have such a strong desire to share everyday life with pets. It's a history that can be traced back to a cave in France where anthrop

Fellow Creatures: Is My Dog Happy?

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The number 1 question dog owners want to ask. By Zazie Todd, PhD I have a new post at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures , Is my dog happy? How dogs' body language is a guide . According to Dogs Trust, this is the top question people would like to ask their dog if the dog could talk. The post looks at how scientists have developed ways to study dogs' body language, and what they have found when looking at dogs in two different contexts - at the dog park and at the veterinarian. This includes some of the subtle signs of stress that dog owners may miss. 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 he

Companion Animal Psychology News February 2020

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Shetland Sheepdogs on Shetland, dressing up pets, and ant farms... this month's Companion Animal Psychology News My favourites this month “It is farming – they are milking the animals, moving them from high to low pastures and building shelters for them when there’s not enough protection.” Ants run secret farms on English oak trees by Patrick Barkham . “I can’t outrun Fame, and so the only way I can actually tell her where to go is to have skills trained to a higher level" The queens of agility by Bryan Armen Graham  Don’t miss the video!  “Take, for instance, the situation Paula G. found herself in when her silver shaded Persian cat, Truffle, was recovering from bladder stone surgery. When the vet tech brought Truffle out from the back room, the cat was decked out in a onesie.” Dressing up your pet may be surprisingly useful by Janiss Garza at Fear Free Happy Homes . “No simple, one-size-fits all approach is likely to be optimal for everyone, whether it is tr

Bodger

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Bodger 13 Jan 2009 – 14 Feb 2020 On Friday we had to say goodbye to our beautiful Bodger. He was diagnosed with cancer last September. He came into our lives aged two and a half, a whirlwind of excitement, anxiety, and affection. He was a delightful dog, so playful and full of happiness, and we are heartbroken. These photos are from his shoot with Bad Monkey Photography late last year. 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 month Get Companion Animal Psychology merch    Support me o

Study Shows Value of Behavioural Services in Veterinary Medicine

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Interesting findings from a study of Irish vets’ and vet nurses’ understanding of behaviour problems. Photo: MAD_Production/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD Canine science has grown enormously as a discipline, and we know more about canine behaviour than ever before (even if there’s still a lot to learn). One of the biggest changes has been in approaches to dog training. A study published last year by Emma Shalvey (University College Dublin) et al. looks at how vets and vet nurses in Ireland have kept up with the changes. It is now recognized that reward-based methods are the best way to train dog s, and dog training methods based on ideas of dominance  and balance   are out-dated and influence people to use positive punishment . Research shows there are risks to animal welfare when aversive methods are used . The results of the study show that both veterinarians and veterinary nurses [vet techs] would welcome continued professional development on behaviour issues. It also

Invitation to Join The Wag Team

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Your invitation to join The Wag Team with behind-the-scenes access to my book launch info. By Zazie Todd, PhD I am only a few weeks away from the launch of my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy ( more info here ). It’s getting very exciting! Thank you but no more applications are being accepted. If you signed up, check your email for the confirmation (if you don't see it, don't forget to look in  your spam folder). Would you like to be one of the special people who is part of the book launch? I am recruiting people to help support me launch my book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy . If you want to join The Wag Team, you must: Be a fan of my blog, Companion Animal Psychology Preorder a copy of the book (or reserve a copy from your local library) to have by the launch date (10th March in Canada and the US, 12th March in the UK) Post a photo of the book with your dog (or a friend’s dog, with their permission) on your social m

Dog Training Methods Affect Attachment to the Owner

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Dogs trained with aversive methods are less likely to show a ‘secure base’ effect, study shows. Photo: Happy Monkey/Shutterstock By Zazie Todd, PhD When people use aversive methods to train dogs , it is associated with risks to the dog’s welfare ,  including fear, stress, and aggression (Ziv 2017; Guilherme-Fernandes et al 2017). Research published last year in Applied Animal Behaviour Science by Dr. Ana Vieira de Castro (Universidade do Porto) suggests it also affects the dog’s relationship with their owner. Aversive dog training methods are those based on positive punishment and negative reinforcement .  The schools in this study that were classed as using aversive methods often used jerks on the leash, yelling at the dog, hitting the dog (all examples of positive punishment), or pulling the dog’s leash to choke their collar until they sat down (negative reinforcement). This page contains affiliate links Reward-based methods ( positive reinforcement