Microbes Make the Messages in Cat Poop

Bacteria in the anal glands of a cat are responsible for chemical signalling via poop, study shows.A Bengal cat. Photo: Shvaygert Ekaterina/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhDMany species of carnivore use chemical signals in faeces as a way of communicating. Stinky secretions from the anal sacs, on each side of the anus, provide odours in poop that are used for chemical signals and scent marking.Wolves and spotted hyenas use these to mark territory; it is believed domestic…

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Dogs Who Attended Puppy Class are More Trainable

Going to puppy class has benefits for later dog behaviour, study shows.Photo: Asiya Yunossova/ShutterstockBy Zazie Todd, PhD.Puppies have a sensitive period for socialization from 3 until about 12-14 weeks, during which it is especially important to have a wide range of positive experiences. Many people take their puppy to puppy class during this time, but some people wonder, “Is puppy class worth it?” A new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviour finds several…

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Scent and Scent-ability

The benefits of nose work for ‘naughty’ and ‘reactive’ dogsGuest post by Luisa Dormer and Sienna Taylor.Photo: Luminosity-images.com/ShutterstockFor many people, taking their dog to training classes is an enjoyable experience that helps to make the bond between them even stronger. For a number of dog owners, however, the thought of taking part in such activities can fill them with dread due to their dog’s ‘naughty’ behaviour. Examples of behaviours that are considered problematic include being…

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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club September 2019

" a treat for dog lovers, but also essential reading for anyone interested in our relationship with nature, and what that says about us.” - Ed Yong.This month's choice for the Animal Book Club is Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond by Alexandra Horowitz.From the book description,"From Alexandra Horowitz, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Inside of a Dog, an eye-opening, informative, and wholly entertaining examination and celebration of the human-canine relationship for the…

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The Fear Free Shelter Program Reduces Stress in Shelters

Fear Free has released free training for staff and volunteers in animal shelters.Photo: Emily on Time/ShutterstockFear Free, known for its revolutionary approach to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress for pets at the veterinarian, has just launched the Fear Free Shelter Program. The program provides free online training for anyone who works or volunteers at an animal shelter that will teach them how to reduce stress for the animals and provide them with enrichment.The program covers…

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Fellow Creatures: New Post on Animal Cruelty

A recent court case in Nova Scotia considered the role of emotional suffering in an animal cruelty case. It's a first for Nova Scotia, but not the first time courts in Canada have considered emotional  harm as part of an animal cruelty case.Read more about the science behind this in the role of emotional harm in animal cruelty at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures.Photo: Lynette C/Pixabay

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Companion Animal Psychology News August 2019

The importance of play, chickens as domesticated animals, and beautiful cat photos – this month’s news.My favourites this month“It took two weeks for her to start greeting friends normally (people she knows and loves). Before that, when they would come, she would run up to my bed and hide.” An important post from Eileen Anderson with a story from a dog owner about what happened when a trainer used a shock collar on her dog,…

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Fellow Creatures: New Post on Animal Hoarding

Over at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures, I have a new post on animal hoarding.Photo: amandanunetzejera/PixabayIt looks at a study of a new, integrated approach taken in Wake County, North Carolina, where multiple agencies now work together on animal hoarding cases. Animal hoarding is a mental health issue recognized in the DSM-5, and many hoarders simply start again once their animals are taken away.The new approach includes guidelines on how many animals they can keep…

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Summer Reading: Books about Animals, Fiction, and Nonfiction 2019

My pick of the books to read this summer, from books about animals to the latest fiction and nonfiction from Canada and elsewhere.Two of the books I've enjoyed reading this summer. The pins are by Lili Chin.By Zazie Todd, PhDIt’s beautiful weather here, and time for pottering about in the garden and sitting with a book. These are the books I’ve read or am reading this summer.You can find them all in my Amazon store:…

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Fellow Creatures – New Post

At my Fellow Creatures blog on Psychology today, a new post looks at some research on how the owners of Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs, perceive the health of their dog.By Zazie Todd, PhDPhoto: eduardops93/PixabayThe study shows they have a very close bond with their dog, but the concern is some health issues are missed or as seen as 'normal' for the breed. Read more in health issues in brachycephalic dogs are often missed.The study…

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