Shortlisted for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog

Companion  Animal Psychology is shortlisted for the People's Choice Award: Canada's Favourite Science Blog. Vote for your favourites!I am thrilled to have been short-listed for the People's Choice Award: Canada's Favourite Science Blog.You can see the shortlist and vote here on the Science Borealis website. Voters can select their three favourite blogs and three favourite science websites (so you have six votes in total). It's a great way to show support for your favourite science sites…

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Do Dogs Use Body Language to Calm Us Down?

Are lip licking and looking away signals of discomfort and expressions of peace in the domestic dog?Guest post by Georgina (Gina) Bishopp (Hartpury College, UK)Photo: StudioCAXAPA study by Dr. Angelika Firnkes (Ludwig Maximilians University Munich) et al., 2017 has found that the domestic dog uses appeasement gestures both when feeling threatened and during greetings with humans. For the first time it has now been shown that dogs will use at least two of these signals,…

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Do Dogs Use Body Language to Calm Us Down?

Are lip licking and looking away signals of discomfort and expressions of peace in the domestic dog?Guest post by Georgina (Gina) Bishopp (Hartpury College, UK)Photo: StudioCAXAPA study by Dr. Angelika Firnkes (Ludwig Maximilians University Munich) et al., 2017 has found that the domestic dog uses appeasement gestures both when feeling threatened and during greetings with humans. For the first time it has now been shown that dogs will use at least two of these signals,…

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The Best Way to Train Cats is With Food

Using food alone is the quickest way to train cats to touch a target, according to this pilot study.Photo: Esin Deniz (Shutterstock)You can train cats to go up to a target and touch it with their nose. This in itself will be news to many people, but researchers at Massey University have investigated the best way to train cats to do this. It involves food.There’s a lot of interest in training cats at the moment,…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club September 2017

The book of the month is Pets on the Couch by Nicholas Dodman.The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for September 2017 is Pets on the Couch: Neurotic Dogs, Compulsive Cats, Anxious Birds, and the New Science of Animal Psychiatry by Nicholas Dodman.From the cover:"Racehorses with Tourette's syndrome, spinning dogs with epilepsy, cats with compulsive disorders, feather-plucking parrots with anxiety, and a diffident bull terrier with autism - these astonishing and difficult cases were all…

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Companion Animal Psychology News August 2017

The latest news on dogs and cats from Companion Animal Psychology.Some of my favourites from around the web this monthAdding a younger pet to a geriatric household. American Veterinarian speaks to Dr. Marsha Reiss.On-leash etiquette, management and reactivity. Great tips from Allison Wells for the Academy for Dog Trainers.“So. I did say most dogs play just fine. As any dog trainer will tell you, some dogs who enjoy play also seem to be...well, kind of…

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Summer Reading: Sound Advice

A summer reading list for dog and cat people.This year’s theme is sound advice on dogs and cats. In a world where good information is hard to come by and persistent myths about animals continue to lead people astray, sound advice is well worth sharing. And sharing again.Read on for some of my favourite posts that help us to understand – and train – dogs and cats better.“Some dogs do not appreciate being rudely awoken”…

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Paying Attention to Our Dogs

We can all learn when we decide to observe dogs in interaction with people.I think most people who use reward-based training methods do so for ethical reasons: they believe it’s the right way to train a dog. They also know it works.Science is on their side. A recent review of the literature on how people train pet dogs concluded that reward-based training is best for welfare reasons (and it works). Training dogs with aversive methods…

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Laboratory Beagles Do Well in New Homes

Researchers follow lab beagles as they go to live with a family – and find they adjust very well.Photo: Sigma_S (Shutterstock)Laboratory beagles are used for a variety of experiments. A new study by Dorothea Döring (LMU Munich) et al investigates how they behave in normal life once they are rehomed with a family.As they explain at the start of the paper, “As rehoming practice in Germany shows that appropriate new owners can be found and…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club August 2017

The book of the month is How to Tame a Fox by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut.The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club book for August 2017 is How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution.From the inside cover,"Most accounts of the natural evolution of wolves place it over a span of about 15,000 years, but within a decade, Belyaev and Trut's fox breeding experiments…

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