Reward-Based Dog Training Isn’t Just for Sunny Days

Answering common questions about dog training methods.Photo: Dora Zett/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDBack when I had two dogs, Ghost and Bodger, I had a lot of questions about the information I saw about dogs and especially on how to train them. It just didn’t fit with the kind of pet owner I wanted to be, or with what I knew from my background in Psychology. Learning more about dogs and cats, and sharing that information with…

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Animal Book Club November 2019

"This is an excellent book about comparative cognition, how minds and brains evolve, and how to think about the minds of animals."―Nicola S. Clayton, University of Cambridge.By Zazie Todd, PhDThis page contains affiliate links.This month, the Animal Book Club is reading Beyond the Brain: How Body and Environment Shape Animal and Human Minds by Louise Barrett.From the cover,"When a chimpanzee stockpiles rocks as weapons or when a frog sends out mating calls, we might easily…

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Dogs Don’t Have to be Afraid of Fireworks

Preventive exercises and training are good for dogs’ fear of fireworks, study shows.Photo: NachoChaves/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDUp to half of dogs are afraid of fireworks, but a survey of 1225 dog owners shows there is hope, both in terms of preventing such fears in the first place and helping dogs who are already afflicted. The research, by Dr. Stefanie Riemer (HundeUniBern) is published in PLoS One, and has important implications for dog owners and dog…

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An Interview with Alexandra Horowitz about Our Dogs, Ourselves

“A fuller understanding of the needs of dogs is integral to good living with dogs,” says Alexandra Horowitz.Alexandra Horowitz photographed by Vegar AbelsnesAn interview with New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, about her wonderful new book, Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond, the importance of dogs' sense of smell, the dignity of dogs, and what happens at the dog cognition lab. Our Dogs Ourselves was the animal book club’s choice for…

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Companion Animal Psychology News October 2019

Ways to volunteer at an animal shelter, the importance of play for cats, some beautiful budgies, and more…By Zazie Todd, PhDMy favourites this month“Studying great ape gestures has the potential to provide insight into the evolution of human language, but it is also fascinating in its own right, figuring out how another species communicates and what is meaningful to them.“ Reading the signs by Kirsty E Graham.“A successful volunteer is someone who loves animals and…

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Training Classes and Dogs’ Fear of Loud Noises

Attendance at dog training classes is associated with reduced levels of canine anxiety in response to storms and fireworks, study shows.Photo: Ondre83/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDThis page contains affiliate links.Sensitivity to loud noises such as thunder, fireworks, and gunshots is a problem that affects up to 49% of pet dogs (Blackwell et al 2013). The signs of fear in response to a loud noise can include trembling and shaking, barking, hiding, and seeking out people. A…

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Happy Thanksgiving

Monday is Thanksgiving in Canada.Photo: K Hanley CHDPhoto/ShutterstockI am thankful to have so many readers like you who are dedicated to good welfare for dogs and cats, and to helping people with their pets. I am grateful for your readership and all the messages of support and encouragement throughout the year, as well as the interesting questions and articles you send my way.This year I am especially thankful to the veterinarians and vet techs for…

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Small Dogs Are Less Likely to be House Trained than Big Dogs

But small dogs are more likely to be fully house trained if they have attended training, study shows.Photo: Jakkrit Orrasri/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDThis page contains affiliate links.It has often been suggested that small dogs are more likely to have accidents in the house than large dogs. New research in press in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior finds that small dogs are significantly more likely than big dogs to have house-training mistakes. The research was conducted…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club October 2019

“Lively and fascinating... The reader comes away cheered, better informed, and with a new and deeper appreciation for our amazing canine companions and their enormous capacity for love.”—Cat Warren.This page contains affiliate links.The Animal Book Club's choice for October 2019 is Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You by Clive Wynne.From the book's description,"Does your dog love you? Every dog lover knows the feeling. The nuzzle of a dog’s nose, the warmth of…

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Making a Living in The World: Anthropology, the Evolution of Behaviour, and Training Dogs

An anthropologist learns from Dinjii Zhuh Elders in the Northwest Territories about the economics of animal behaviour, and why this matters to dogs.Dogs by the east branch of the Nagwichoonjik (Mackenzie River) in Ehdiitat (Mackenzie Delta). Photo:Kristi BensonBy Kristi BensonAs an anthropologist, I have been given the gift of working with the Dinjii Zhuh (Gwich’in peoples) in Aklavik, Fort McPherson, Inuvik, and Tsiigehtchic for about fifteen years. These four communities form a ring around the…

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