Animal Behavior Essential Reads

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 the Loss of 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?

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.

The Emotional Lives of Chimeras: Challenges to Anthrozoology

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 12, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Plans to lift the ban on animal-human chimera research by the National Institutes of Health is a bad idea that raises numerous ethical issues that challenge anthrozoology.

Dog People Are Popular While Cat People Are Single

Data based on 160,000 Facebook users shows interesting differences in lifestyle, personality and personal preferences between dog people and cat people.

Labeling Non-Native Animals: The Psychology of Name Calling

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 08, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The ways we refer to other animals influence how we treat them. Recent assaults on non-natives, often called invasive, can have dire consequences for the animals and ecosystems.

Are the Results of Animal Therapy Studies Unreliable?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 04, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most studies of oxytocin ("the love hormone") do not have enough subjects to produce valid results. Unfortunately, this is also true of animal-assisted therapy research.

Stop the Presses! Dog Owners Are Happier

A new study reveals the impact dog and cat ownership has on the mental well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction of people.

When Are Puppies at Their Cutest?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 26, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most dogs on Earth die before they are three months old. New research shows how being cute can save a puppy from an early death.

No Horsing Around About the Human-Equine Bond

For millennia, horses have worked hard for humans, and today they serve as the ultimate therapists. Here's a look at the important roles horses play in the human experience.

How People Perceive Dogs With Docked Tails and Cropped Ears

New data shows that seeing a dog with a docked tail and cropped ears may cause people to believe that the dog is aggressive and its owner might be aggressive as well.

How a Cultural Meme Was Born

New insights into the origin of language as a mandrill in an English zoo invents a gesture for "leave me alone," and it spreads through the community