Essential Reads

Autistics as Undomesticated Humans

To the extent that humans are a self-domesticated species, autistics can be seen as less domesticated than others.

Kids, Chimps, and Cooperation

By Art Markman Ph.D. on August 23, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
People are pretty good at sharing when they are cooperating. When does that ability develop? Is it uniquely human?

Some Dogs Prefer Praise and a Belly Rub Over Treats

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 22, 2016 in Animal Emotions
New neuroimaging and behavioral research show some dogs prefer praise to treats as a reward. Saying "good dog" and rubbing a belly are great ideas for training/teaching dogs.

Pet Loss Grief

Losing a pet can be just as devastating as losing a human member of the family. Validating that grief in yourself and others is a step toward coping with the loss.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Farm Animal Suffering Leaves a Bad Taste In Your Mouth

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Animals and Us
In a series of recent experiments, researchers found that whether we think animals were raised humanely or on a factory farm affects the way their meat tastes.

Frigatebirds Sleep While Flying: Somnambulism Gone Wild

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 24, 2016 in Animal Emotions
No friggin' kidding, frigatebirds can fly for weeks on end by power napping in ten-second bursts with only one side of their brain.

Do Dogs Prefer Food or Praise?

A new study looks at whether dogs prefer food rewards more than social interaction with their owners by monitoring what goes on inside the dogs brain.

Chimpanzees Choose to Cooperate Rather Than to Compete

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 23, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Comparative research continues to show humans aren't unique in displaying cooperative behavior. Nonhuman primates, other mammals, along with birds and fishes, show cooperation.

Valuing Dogs More Than War Victims: Bridging the Empathy Gap

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 21, 2016 in Animal Emotions
In a recent essay Nicholas Kristof writes, "If only, I thought, we valued kids in Aleppo as much as we did our terriers." Why do we offer more empathy to dogs than to some humans?

Sea of Sadness

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on August 20, 2016 in Bear in Mind
For elephants in India, epic social changes are bringing hardships and hope.

Chickens Can Be Therapy Animals

By Temma Ehrenfeld on August 19, 2016 in Open Gently
The chicken as pet.

The New Science of Animal Psychiatry

Nicolas Dodman takes us into a world of dogs with autism and Tourette’s syndrome, horses with OCD, and cats who attack their owners for no apparent reason.

Killer Whales Trained as Performers Suffer Psychologically

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 18, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new essay called "Orca Behavior and Subsequent Aggression Associated with Oceanarium Confinement" shows how being trained to perform results in heightened aggression.

Is Donald Trump an Alpha Male?

Do we need to be more precise in applying terms such as “personality disorder” and “alpha male” to political candidates?

Doomsday for Dogs? Are Declines in Fertility Due to Food?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 12, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Males of five purebred dogs are showing declines in sperm motility. Are dogs "canaries in the coal mine" indicating serious environmental effects on food and reproduction?

The 100 Most Pet-Friendly Cities in the United States

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A recent comprehensive study is a must read for all who choose to share their home with another animal. I'm sure you'll be as surprised as I was about some of the results.

Canine Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

By Nicholas Dodman on August 07, 2016 in Dog Days
Have you ever wondered why some dogs exhibit pointless repetitive behaviors? I'm talking wrist licking, tail chasing, flank sucking, shadow chasing, and so on. If so, read on.
pressmaster/BigStock

Maintaining Self-Control and Sexual Integrity

You can set the tone for most of your relationships. Conducting yourself in an aboveboard manner shows that you respect yourself and others.

The Neurobiology of Musicality in Animals: We're Not Unique

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 04, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Ronan the sea lion can keep the beat better than any other animal, a study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found. Humans are not the only beat-keepers.

Is the English Bulldog a Doomed Breed?

New data suggests that the gene pool for the English bulldog is too small to maintain a healthy population.

Humpback Whales Rescue Animals From Orcas Around the World

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Why do humpback whales rescue other animals from killer whale attacks? It's not clear but these fascinating observations show how much there is to learn about animal behavior.
Ranveig -- creative commons

The Four Evolutionary Roots of Pokémon Go

By Thomas Hills Ph.D. on August 02, 2016 in Statistical Life
Pokémon Go is a craze, but crazes often have reasons that make them so crazy. In the case of Pokemon Go, these reasons are millions of years old.

Rocky, an Orangutan, Mimics Human Vocalizations: A First

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 01, 2016 in Animal Emotions
We're not unique in the ability to match the frequency, pitch, tone, and duration of sounds. Rocky, a female orangutan, was able to match "wookies" with a human.

Why We Don’t Always Play by the Rules

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on July 29, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Can acting out keep us safe? Not playing by the social rules is often a behavioral warning, which we ignore at our own peril.

The Secret Life of Pets: A Worthy Portrayal of Them and Us

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 29, 2016 in Animal Emotions
An essay about a very popular movie and the hundreds of comments it generated raise numerous issues about our choices to share our homes with other animals.

Do You Truly Love Animals?

Do you know how to show your love for animals truly? This article helps illustrate some surprising insights!

Good News in the Fight Against Ocean Noise

A small victory is scored against the forces that fill the oceans with noise.

The Counterintuitive Case for Cougars

Conservationists believe increasing the cougar population will actually save human lives. Will logic trump our ingrained fear of large predators?

Australia to Kill Goats Using Self-Destructing Dingoes

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Australia's plan to kill goats using dingoes implanted with a time-activated poison challenges conservation psychology and anthrozoology as do New Zealand's "management" plans.

A Day in the Life of a Doggie's Daddy

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 22, 2016 in How To Do Life
Details that may help you decide whether to adopt a pooch.

Just Being Near You Is Rewarding for Dogs

A new study suggests that dogs find merely being near humans to be rewarding, even without social interactions.

The Rainbow Link

A new book helps young children process the death of a pet and learn to grieve in healthy ways.

Emotional Support Animals: The Therapist's Dilemma

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 19, 2016 in Animals and Us
Should therapists provide letters that will allow their clients to bring dogs on airplanes and have access to no-pets housing?

Revisiting Harry Harlow’s Legacy: Cruelty Towards Monkeys

Iconic figures in psychology need to be more critically scrutinized when their research violates basic principles of ethics and morality. Harry Harlow is put under the spotlight.