Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and there is much to be grateful for.I am thankful for such a wonderful community of people who want to learn more about companion animals. I am thankful to have met so many amazing people as a result of writing this blog. And I am thankful for every one of you who, in your own way, does something to make the world a better place for pets…

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Fellow Creatures: Another New Post

I have a new post at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures, about a pilot study that upturns some conventional wisdom on dogs.Should you pet your dog before an absence? looks at a study that compared signs of stress when the dog is petted or ignored before an absence. (It's important to note the study is with dogs that do not have any separation-related issues).Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

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Five Fun Things to Do to Make Your Dog Happy Today

Five enjoyable activities to provide enrichment for your dog (and fun for you).Enrichment means giving your dog opportunities to engage in species-specific behaviours and to use their brain and all the senses. Environmental enrichment means making your dog’s living spaces fun and interesting so your dog does not get bored.There are lots of ways to provide enrichment for your dog. It can involve play with toys, spending time in social activities with people or other dogs, making…

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Fellow Creatures: A New Post

I have a new post at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures on how we can help overweight dogs.Typically when dogs are overweight, changes are made to the diet, but perhaps the owner is an important part of the equation too. For overweight dogs, owner behavior matters looks at a review of the literature on interventions designed to change owner behavior. The results show they can be an effective way to improve the body condition of pet…

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Survey Shows Changes as Dogs Age (and How You Can Help Your Dog)

A study of dogs across the adult lifespan has important lessons for owners of dogs of any age. They range from tooth-brushing, training, and helping dogs cope with traumatic events.Photo: Bad Monkey PhotographyAs dogs get older, they undergo changes similar to those that happen to humans as they age. This means dogs may be a good model for human aging, but also that those of us with older dogs could use more information about how…

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Companion Animal Psychology News September 2018

Newborn kittens, a puppy searching for owls, and clever raccoons - the latest news from Companion Animal Psychology.Some of my favourites from around the web this month “in a last-ditch conservation effort, a crack team of Canberra researchers plan to harness Zorro's superior canine nose to help find and monitor Tasmania's masked owl.” Scientists want to train this puppy to save endangered owls.Meanwhile, sniffing out error in detection dog data looks at the issues that can…

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Shock collars, Regulation, and Education on the Alternatives

Shock collars should be banned, according to a survey of the use of electronic collars to train dogs in France.Photo: SebiTian/ShutterstockRecently, I reported on a study by veterinary behaviourists in Europe that concluded by calling for a ban on all three types of electronic collar across Europe (remote-controlled, boundary, and bark-activated collars). Another paper by Dr. Sylvia Masson et al, published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour, investigates the use of shock collars in France, and…

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Can an "Ease of Care" Labeling Scheme Help Exotic Pets?

Could a standardized grading scheme that rates pets from “easy” to “extreme” improve the welfare of exotic pets?A leopard gecko. Photo: Gaschwald / ShutterstockExotic pets face many welfare issues, according to a new paper in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior by Clifford Warwick et al. The paper suggests a standardized scheme for rating the difficulty of caring for exotic pets that it is hoped will make people think twice about keeping pets with hard-to-meet environmental needs.What…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club September 2018

"The controversial story of one infamous breed of dog."The Companion Animal Psychology Book Club choice for September 2018 is Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey.From the back cover,"When Bronwen Dickey brought her new dog home, she saw no traces of the infamous viciousness in her affectionate pit bull. Which made her wonder: How had the breed—beloved by Teddy Roosevelt and Helen Keller—come to be known as a brutal fighter? Dickey’s…

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Summer Reading

Books about animals and some fiction too – the books on my to-read list this summer.Photo: geertweggen / ShutterstockIt’s a tradition here at Companion Animal Psychology to publish a summer reading list. Typically the list includes links to some favourite articles by other bloggers, as with last year’s list concentrating on sound advice on dogs and cats or 2015’s play edition.But now each month’s newsletter highlights favourite posts (see August's newsletter here), I decided to…

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