Video helps the shelter dog (more than photos)

Adoptable dogs seen in video get more positive ratings than those seen in photos, according to new researchA new study by Chloe Pyzer et al (Hartpury College) compared people’s perceptions of adoptable dogs when they were shown video or still photographs. The results showed that video is the best way to show people adoptable dogs.Dr. Tamara Montrose, one of the study authors, told me in an email,“In our study, we found that viewing dogs in…

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Companion Animal Psychology News March 2017

A goldfish with a wheelchair, trained cats, and a ban on prong and choke collars - the latest news on dogs and cats.Some of my favourites from around the web this month:25 things you probably didn’t know about dogs by Hal Herzog. What the latest canine science teaches us about dogs.Cats getting “eufloric”. Mikel Delgado reviews a new study on how cats respond to catnip, valerian, silvervine and honeysuckle. Do your cats get olfactory enrichment?“She…

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The benefits of pets for children

A review of the literature concludes that pets may have psychological benefits for children – such as better self-esteem – but more research is needed.The review, by Rebecca Purewal (University of Liverpool) et al involved searching the scientific literature from 1960 to 2016 for studies that examine the effects of pets on children’s psychological health. 22 studies were identified and analysed further.The results show benefits in some areas, but not enough evidence to draw conclusions in…

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Happy Dogs: More Photos

More gorgeous photos of happy dogs who are friends of Companion Animal Psychology.Rajah"He is a very happy boy who loves to go for long walks, exploring the woods and trails of Gabriola Island."Photo: Jean Ballard.Milo"As for his favorite treat, I'd say chicken is a big contender, probably his favorite, but he loves just about all food! His favorite trick is between "spin" or his yoga pose (which is really just a play bow) that I've…

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Dearly Departed Dogs

Do online pet obituaries reveal how we truly feel about our pets?Guest post by Jane Gething-Lewis (Hartpury College).“You were such a selfless and giving boy. Dad loves you with all his heart.”A heartfelt online tribute to a dearly departed loved one – but this loved one had four legs, a tail and was called Cosmo. Over the top? Not necessarily. Research suggests that many people feel the loss of a beloved pet as keenly as…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club: March 2017

The book of the month is Being a Dog by Alexandra Horowitz.The book for March 2017 is Being a Dog: Following the Dog Into a World of Smell by Alexandra Horowitz.From the inside cover, "To a dog, there is no such thing as "fresh air." Every breath is full of information. Dogs, when trained, can identify drugs of every type, underwater cadavers, cancer, illicit cell phones in prison, bedbugs, smuggled shark's fins, dry rot, land…

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What kind of scratching post do cats prefer?

It’s important to provide cats with the right kind of scratching post – and reward them for using it.Inappropriate scratching is a fairly common complaint about cats. That’s inappropriate from the owner’s perspective, because from the cat’s point of view they are just doing what comes naturally. Research by Colleen Wilson DVM et al tells us what kind of scratching post to provide in order to keep both cat and owner happy.Cats scratch in order…

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Irresistible: Emotions affect choice of breed despite welfare issues

Knowing a breed of dog may have health problems does not stop people from wanting one, because emotions get in the way. A new Danish study by Peter S Sandøe (University of Copenhagen) et al investigates the reasons why people acquire particular small breeds of dog and how attached the owners feel to their pet. The research helps explain why some breeds are popular despite a high incidence of welfare problems. The study looked at people in…

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The Function of Play Bows in Dog and Wolf Puppies

New research casts doubt on an old explanation for the play bow – and suggests it’s all about more play.The play bow is a glorious signal in dogs. The bum goes up and the elbows go down, leaving the rear end sticking up, usually accompanied by a lovely happy face (as pictured above). Not just reserved for other dogs, our canine friends will play bow to us too.Traditionally, it was believed that the play bow…

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Companion Animal Psychology News February 2017

The latest news on cats and dogs from Companion Animal Psychology, February 2017.Some of my favourite posts from around the web this month"Cats, on the other hand get a raw deal. Especially stray ones." Our cat in Havana by Will Grant.Memory wins when dogs sleep. Julie Hecht on how sleep helps learning in dogs."I will never forget the first time a patient died at the clinic." Compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and burnout in the animal care profession…

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