Essential Reads

Quebec Considering Bill Declaring Animals to Be Sentient

An interview I recently did lays out what this bill likely will and won't mean.

Say Your Dog's Name and He May Form an Image of Your Face

Dogs can associate their owner's voice with a mental picture of his or her face.

How Did Dogs Become Our Best Friends?

Dr. Brian Hare studies dogs' uncanny ability to understand our gestures

Why We Have Dogs

The evolutionary origins of our four-footed friends

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Dog-Gone It!

I went from being a dog-fearing man all my life, to a "higher level" of being.

Now that Yellowstone Killed Blaze Bear What About Her Cubs?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 Animal Emotions
Killing Blaze, a mother grizzly bear, really was a decision that "killed" three bears. Now her two surviving cubs are supposed to go to the Toldeo Zoo, however, there is huge resistance to this move. Zoo administrators like to note that captive bears live long and cushy lives in cages, but that is not what it is like to be a grizzly. They should be returned to the wild.

Who's More Rational, Human Animals or NON-human Animals?

Discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion, and about human cognition, are challenging our views of which species on the Tree of Life are more rational.

Why Are We So Prone to Feeling Crazy?

How our nature nurtures feelings of insanity. If we’re not stressed out and feeling crazy right at this moment, we’ve probably paid a recent visit to that neighborhood – and are likely to return in the very near future. Our own thinking may twist us – but it can also uncrumple us again.

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

New data shows that dogs, like young human children, continually watch the social interactions going on around them and use information from what they observe to decide who to avoid in the future.

Vegetarianism and Money: Surprising Results from a New Study

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 Animals and Us
What the results of a new survey of the diets of Americans reveal about the connection between vegetarianism and household income.

Evolutionary Basis to Differences Between Cats and Dogs

Is the denial of evolved behavioral sex differences in humans similar to the idea of denying that cats and dogs differ from each other by nature? (warning: satire alert!)

For the Love of Dogs: Three Ways Companion Animals Help

According to a Gallop Poll, sixty percent of Americans have a pet. Most of those who have a companion animal have a dog.

Humans Are a "Unique Super-Predator" Claims New Research

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new study shows humans have incredibly broad negative effects as predators that are unsustainable. While a BBC essay and others that summarize this study do not make for especially pleasant reading, I urge everyone to read something about this new groundbreaking study, for its results are important for every single human. No one is spared from our predatory ways.

How Dogs Show Us What Is Happening in the World

Dogs have developed a behavioral technique that involves directing the attention of humans to objects in the world that may be of interest.

Behavioral "Red Flags" in the Dog

Dogs show many different signs that they are stressed or scared. Understanding their body language can help an owner or caregiver understand the dog's mindset, avoiding being bit, and make events more pleasant for their dogs.

A Path of Few Regrets

Decisional regret—the remorse or distress than patients or caregivers experience after making high-stakes health care decisions— is a real risk, especially in high stakes decisions such as euthanasia. Although much discussed in the human health care literature, decisional regret is rarely addressed in the veterinary context.

What's Wrong with Antianxiety Drugs?

Recognition of the multiplicity of the brain systems that contribute to fear and anxiety disorders is the first step towards the development of better treatments.

Why do we owe sex and romance to viruses?

By Eyal Winter on August 14, 2015 Feeling Smart
Why we owe sex and romance to viruses?

Yellowstone Kills Blaze, a Bear Who Attacked Off-Trail Hiker

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 Animal Emotions
Blaze, a grizzly bear who tragically killed an off-trail hiker in Yellowstone National Park, was slaughtered today and plans are being made to place her two surviving cubs in a zoo. Following the killing of Cecil the lion, these sorts of human-animal interactions bring to light our complex and challenging relations with other animals and with spending time "out in nature."

Grief: Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Personal Views

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 Animal Emotions
A recent BBC Forum called "Grief" offers a very thoughtful and easy to understand discussion of cross-cultural, cross-species, and personal perspectives in which three women consider a wide array of different forms of grief and loss. I highly recommend it as it surely will encourage listeners to pay more attention to these topics.

Pets As Ambassadors?

Affection for animals may be expressed in many, possibly interlocking, ways. New research suggests that pet-keeping is linked to positive attitudes towards the natural world, indicating that conservationists may need to rethink their antipathy towards cat owners.

Do You Prefer You Pets to Your Friends?

Pets are like a combination between court jesters and strict Freudian therapists: They can make you feel better about the world while never saying a word.

Who Gets the Dog?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 12, 2015 So Sue Me
When can your vengeful ex successfully take your precious pet away from you? It is more complicated than you think. Learn how to protect yourself and your furry best friend.

Do Dogs Understand Play Signals Given by Humans?

Some of the most frequently used human signals inviting dogs to play simply don't work. However there are certain signals people can give to their dogs which get them to play 100% of the time.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 5)

By Michael Jawer on August 11, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Strange but true occurrences suggest that what family members (including our pets) feel for one another bonds us in unusual ways. Such experiences could only be chalked up to sheer one-in-a-million chance were it not for their conjunction with deep emotion.

Do Dog Owners REALLY Make Better Lovers?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 Animals and Us
A recent Psychology Today post asked whether dog owners are better lovers. Let's look at what the new science of human-animal relationships actually reveals about the connection between love, sex, and pet-ownership.

Can the Mystery of the Dog Be Solved?

By Mark Derr on August 10, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
Dogs did not domesticate themselves in early human garbage dumps, despite what many believe.

Compassionate Conservation Meets Cecil the Slain Lion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2015 Animal Emotions
A recent meeting on the growing field of compassionate conservation helped to define the field, and much discussion centered on the challenging question if killing "in the name of conservation" is acceptable. Diverse opinions were presented and while some argued that killing animals in the "most humane" way was necessary and acceptable, others argued the killing must stop.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 4)

By Michael Jawer on August 08, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Some animals have truly distinctive personalities. The passing of one such pet created an enduring mystery while also hinting at the spiritual nature of emotion-laden family ties.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 3)

By Michael Jawer on August 06, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Examples abound of non-human animals (dogs, pigs, bears, seals, gorillas, dolphins, whales) showing not only empathy but sympathy. In other words, these creatures not only possess an awareness of what someone else is feeling but they seek to alleviate the other’s plight.

Eating Cats

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 06, 2015 Animals and Us
It is widely known that in some cultures dog-meat is a delicacy. But at least a million cats a year also find their way into the stew pot. Here's what we can learn about human-animal relationships from people who dine on feline flesh.

A Punished Dog Is an Aggressive Dog

Physically punishing human children leads to higher levels of aggression and data now shows that the same holds for dogs.

Dogs: The Ultimate Team Players

Creating a You + Me = We connection with your dog.

The Evolutionary Advantage of Being a Rock Star

By Ryan Anderson on August 05, 2015 The Mating Game
How to attract a partner, the peacock way