Essential Reads

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Both dogs and people produce stress hormones when they hear a baby cry.

Makings of a Child

Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) expand the basis of a baby.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Research shows that older dogs appear to be less emotionally secure.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Dogs and humans seem to respond in the same way when they hear the crying sounds of the distressed baby.

Your Dog and You: A New Book About Forming Close Friendships

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 05, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book by Gill Garratt, a psychologist and specialist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) called "Your dog and you...: Understanding the canine psyche," is a very useful guide for forming close relationships between dogs and humans. The combination of scientific data, numerous case studies, and exceptional photographs make this book a most valuable read.

Makings of a Child

What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?

What Your Dog Wants

Living with a pet provides humans with many physical and psychological benefits. Research shows that the health and well-being of pet owners is greater than that of non-pet-owners. But what about our pets? Sure, we buy them treats and care for them. But do they get deeper, more important rewards from their human relationships? And how might this come about?

The Beneficial Effects of Animals on Children With Autism

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in Animals and Us
Temple Grandin told me that some (but not all) people with autism have a special way with animals. This new study examined the biological mechanisms behind the soothing effects Guinea pigs can have on children with autism spectrum disorders.

Mama Bliss

Mama Bliss, a stellar Portuguese water dog, provides mothering in the most surprising way.

Why Do Women Have Orgasms?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on April 30, 2015 in All About Sex
Controversy surrounds the issue of why women evolved to have orgasms.

The Bark Park

Should you bring your dog to a dog park?

William Shakespeare Hated Dogs

Shakespeare put thousands of words into the mouths of hundreds of people—but not one of them ever finds a good thing to say about dogs.

The Sky Isn’t Falling

This spring, our national public health authorities announced that nearly 400 cases of salmonella bacterial intestinal infection had been identified. They were due to a single, shared cause.

Getting to the Goal

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on April 29, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How focusing on the positive helps us overcome obstacles. What we want is often more powerful than what we fear. But if we’re not careful in how we frame our goals, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment—and inadvertently turn our fears into reality.

Does Training Make Your Dog Smarter?

Dogs that have been trained to high levels of performance in any of a number of skills (e.g., agility, schutzhund, search and rescue, retrieving, musical freestyle, etc.) become better problem solvers on totally unrelated tasks.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives. The researchers show that "62 to 81 percent of wild female killer whales live at least 15 years. In contrast, only 27 percent of the now-dead females in the captive study survived that long. Roughly half of the still-living captive female whales are at least 15 years old."

Dogs and Underdogs: Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Elizabeth Abbott's "Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash" and Toni Shelbourne's "Among the Wolves" are excellent reads. Both books are filled with personal stories about these amazing beings and show how we can rescue and help them and they can in turn rescue and help us. Both also raise numerous questions about human-animal relationships.

Kids and Animals Helping One Another at Green Chimneys

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 26, 2015 in Animal Emotions
I just returned home from a most inspiring conference called "Growing Together: Kids, Animals and Sowing the Seeds of Resiliency" held at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York. This interdisciplinary gathering on human-animal interaction shows how much can be done for the kids and the animals who in many ways rescue, help, and heal one another. Green Chimneys rocks!

Sex with Animals

Is zoophilia, or sexual attraction to animals, a sexual orientation? Or is it a perversion? And is it possible to engage in zoo-sex without causing harm?

Is Your Dog Lonely?

Is Your Dog Lonely? It can be difficult to decide whether to adopt a second dog

What Does the Dog's Gaze Do?

By Mark Derr on April 22, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
Japanese researchers make a lofty claim for what staring into your dog's eyes does to you and your dog.

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons: A First

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Animal Emotions
According to the Nonhuman Rights Project, "For the first time in history a judge has granted an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a nonhuman animal…in a case brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project … Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe issued an order to show cause and writ of habeas corpus on behalf of two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo.

Congress Should Declare That Mice Are Animals - Now!

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on April 20, 2015 in Animals and Us
In 2002, Congress declared that mice and rats and birds are not animals. A new study by PETA shows why it's time to change Federal animal protection statutes.

All Psychology Is Evolutionary Psychology

‘Evolutionary psychology’ is a redundancy, in that all psychology is evolutionary psychology. I mean this in the same sense that all anatomy is ‘evolutionary anatomy'.

Ivan Denisovich vs Ants

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn admitted that Russians were occasionally like insects. But he didn't like it.

The Gold Standard for Healing the World...

Remember an incident when someone listened deeply to you and then talked with you when you were in a bad place. Would you want to honor that person if you could? If so, they would just want you to do onto someone else what they did onto you. Isn't that so?

Did Dogs Hack the Oxytocin Love Circuit?

A paper published today in the journal Science challenges us to consider whether every study that compares wolves and dogs can shed light on domestication.

Dogs, Humans, and the Oxytocin-Mediated Strong Social Bond

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study has shown that mutual gazing by dogs but not wolves increases oxytocin levels in humans. To demonstrate there was a causal relationship, when oxytocin was administered to a new group of dogs before they interacted with their owners, the researchers saw an increase in the extent of mutual gaze between owners and dogs and an increase in oxytocin in the humans.

Why Writing for Psychology Today Is a Good Idea

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A recent essay called "Prof, no one is read you" shows why writing for popular audiences is more effective than publishing in professional journals. It turns out that "82 per cent of articles published in humanities are not even cited once. No one ever refers to 32 per cent of the peer-reviewed articles in the social and 27 per cent in the natural sciences."

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Wildlife Services, more appropriately called Murder Inc., wages a horrific war on all types of wildlife using inhumane and indiscriminate methods. In 2014 they killed 2,713,570 animals. Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money and there is enormous collateral damage and what they call "unintentional killing." Fortunately, their killing ways are being scrutinized.