Animal Behavior Essential Reads

Do Dogs Really Bite Someone for "No Reason at All"? Take Two

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 05, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A comment on an essay made me think about why dogs do what they they do. The writer claimed a dog bit her humans and perhaps Cesar Millan for "no reason at all." I disagree.

Pet Therapy for Your Love Life

By Susan McQuillan M.S., RDN on November 28, 2016 in Cravings
Can your relationship with your dog, cat, or betta fish predict the success of your romantic relationships?

Why Do Dogs Have Tails?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 24, 2016 in Canine Corner
The dog's tail is not simply a signal flag conveying his mood. It has some other important purposes.

Prehistoric Languages… and Prehistoric Minds? Part II

The linguistic mind of our great, great [...] great grandparents

Do We Interpret Dog and Human Emotions in the Same Way?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 17, 2016 in Canine Corner
Recent data answers the question of whether the brain processes emotional expressions of humans and dogs in the same way.

Think Like a Cat

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on November 17, 2016 in Pets and Their People
Since cats' brains are evidently not like our own, the way they think could be very different from the way we do.

Choosing Life over Survival

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on November 13, 2016 in Bear in Mind
There are chance encounters when fences fall and "fitful influences from beyond" reveal our common connections.

Humans Are Not the Only Mind-Reading Species

A study published in Science suggests that the great apes can attribute false beliefs to others. But an even more important lesson can be drawn from the study.

Narcissism and Exotic Pets: Is There a Connection?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 31, 2016 in Animals and Us
New research examines how narcissism and "dark personality traits" affect our attachments to pets and why some people are drawn to companion rats, snakes, and tarantulas.

Why You're Going to Watch The Walking Dead on Sunday

By Steven Schlozman M.D. on October 22, 2016 in Grand Rounds
What to Think About As You Turn On The Walking Dead Tomorrow

Voracious Science: A Journey from Animal User to Advocate

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 21, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dr. John Gluck's new book called "Voracious Science" details his courageous and deeply personal ethical transformation from animal researcher to animal protector.

Animal Altruism?

Why do humpback whales go out of their way to save the lives of seals? In this post, we discuss what could motivate such incredible behavior.

Please Keep Your Emotional Support Iguana Off My Couch

By David J Ley Ph.D. on October 15, 2016 in Women Who Stray
Emotional support animals offer valuable assistance. But sometimes, therapists need to focus on helping people develop alternative strategies of soothing and anxiety-reduction.

Can Dogs Teach Other Dogs to Speak?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 28, 2016 in Canine Corner
A dog can learn how to make and use specific sounds for communication simply by observing other dogs

Why Do We Wince When We're in Pain?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
The recent discovery that all mammals make the same pain-face begs the question, why? One reason could be that wincing is a facial expression intended to communicate danger.

Play, Newness, and You

By Wilma Koutstaal Ph.D. on September 04, 2016 in Our Innovating Minds
What leads us to try new things?

Equine Tourette’s Syndrome

By Nicholas Dodman on September 04, 2016 in Dog Days
Can horses have Tourette's Sydrome? This author belives they can.

Are Pet Owners Really at Greater Risk of Cancer?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on September 01, 2016 in Animals and Us
A new study used "big data" to examine the associations between pet-ownership and cancer rates and physical activity in older women. The results are surprising.

Can a Dog's Size Predict Its Intelligence?

New data shows that very large or very small dog breeds rank lower in intelligence.

Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 29, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dr. Nathan Emery's new book "Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence" is a gold mine of information and surprises about the latest research on bird smarts.

Psychological and Environmental Aspects of Who We Eat

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 26, 2016 in Animal Emotions
"Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming" highlights the incredible damage agricultural practices do to our planet and psyches and offers viable solutions.

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.

Why Losing a Pet Hurts So Much

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.

Are Animals Conscious?

Are animals conscious? The implications are important.
Count Tolstoy, wife, son and dog. From Wikimedia commons. Public domain

Should Shelters Bother Assessing Their Dogs?

By Clive D. L. Wynne Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in Dogs and Their People
A recent paper argues that testing shelter dogs for aggression is a waste of time. In a world where people are bitten by dogs every day, can less assessment really be the solution?

What Kinds Of People Believe Animals Go To Heaven?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 19, 2016 in Animals and Us
Two recent studies have found many people agree that animals from dogs to snakes and insects experience life after death.

Pets on the Couch: Do Animals Need Freud and Pfizer?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Animal psychiatry is a rapidly growing field and Dr. Nicholas Dodman's new book called Pets on the Couch is a must read for all who choose to share their home with another animal.

Hugs and Warm Touches Benefit Health and Well-Being

By Allen R McConnell Ph.D. on August 16, 2016 in The Social Self
Need a hug? Research shows positive interpersonal touching fights illness, increases happiness and well-being, and supports social connectedness with others.