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

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Your Amygdala May House Both Positive and Negative Memories

By Christopher Bergland on October 17, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
Positive and negative memories may be housed in specific regions of the amygdala, according to a new mice study. These findings offer many clues for overcoming negativity and fear.

Why We Fear

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on October 17, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
Researchers have found that it is easier to train humans and other primates to fear snakes than other dangers, indicating a genetic predisposition for the fear of snakes.

What's Your Dog’s IQ?

By David Ludden Ph.D. on October 14, 2016 in Talking Apes
My dog’s smarter than your dog—and there’s a doggie IQ test to prove it!

"Whispers From the Wild" Asks Us to Imagine the Unimaginable

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 13, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Renowned animal communicator Amelia Kinkade poignantly reminds us we're immersed in a fascinating world of nonhuman animals who depend on us and on whom we depend for our survival.

Wild Chimpanzee Moms Teach Youngsters to Use Tools: A First

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 13, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Videos show mothers transferring termite-fishing probes to youngsters to teach them to use these tools to gather food. All criteria for calling it "teaching" are fulfilled.

Think Twice Before Giving Medical Marijuana to Your Pet

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on October 12, 2016 in Animals and Us
It would be nice to think medical marijuana could cure epilepsy in dogs and anxiety in cats. But there are problems with the use of cannabis in veterinary medicine.

How to Keep a Dog From Jumping Up on People

You can keep a dog from jumping on people by considering the dog's behavior, and how people usually respond to the behavior.

Theory of Mind and Play: Ape Exceptionalism Is Too Narrow

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 09, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A narrow focus on great apes exclusively or nearly exclusively having a ToM excludes possibilities in other animals. Here I offer that social play is a good place to look for ToM.

A Dog Is More Likely to Ignore Bad Advice Than a Child

Both dogs and children imitate the behaviors that they see, however dogs are less likely to imitate behaviors that are not relevant to completing a task.

Hunting for Fun on National Refuges is Just Fine, Says USFWS

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 04, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has redefined the word "refuge." Hunting and fishing will now be allowed on 13 refuges where animals are supposed to feel safe.

Canine Sports

Is your dog looking for something new to do? Try out one of these fun canine sports. He'll get some mental and physical exercise and you'll get out of the house, too!

Research Shows How Animals Decide to Escape From Predators

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 04, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A recent book summarizes much of what we know from comparative empirical research about the decisions a wide variety of animals make to avoid becoming a meal for predators.

World Animal Day 2016: Let's Celebrate Animals Every Day

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Growing interest in World Animal Day is wonderful news for other animals but there’s still a lot of work to be done. If you can do something for other animals you must.

I Have a Mouse Problem...Maybe a Rat Problem

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on September 30, 2016 in How To Do Life
Musings on the practicalities and the ethics of killing rodents.

Why Your Dog Thinks You Are The Best Thing Ever

The reason why your dog thinks you are so awesome may be related to genetics. (And the fact that you are awesome.)

Murderous Humans Are Not "Acting Like Animals"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 28, 2016 in Animal Emotions
An essay called "The phylogenetic roots of human lethal violence" has attracted a lot of global media attention. But, we shouldn't blame our murderous tendencies on other animals.

How to Keep Calm, Carry On, and Still Get Your Way

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on September 26, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
Diffusing negative energy before it goes rodeo. How behavioral psychology can help you get what you want even when tempers begin to flare.

Matthieu Ricard's "A Plea for the Animals" Is a Must Read

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 26, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Matthieu Ricard's new book is one of the best in asking us to respect other animals and treat them with compassion. It is a game changer. It is indeed too late to be pessimistic.

Did Dogs Help Hunters Succeed?

By Mark Derr on September 25, 2016 in Dog's Best Friend
Dogs helped early Japanese hunters and foragers negotiate climate change.

The Animal Welfare Act Claims Rats and Mice Are Not Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 25, 2016 in Animal Emotions
As the 50th anniversary of the Animal Welfare Act is celebrated let's restore rodents to the animal kingdom. Studies also show bad welfare is bad for animals and bad for science.

Can a Dog Really Suffer From Depression?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 21, 2016 in Canine Corner
One of the breakthroughs in veterinary medicine has been the recognition that dogs and humans may have similar psychological problems and can be treated the same way.

The Psychology of Killing Wolves, Cats, and other Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 16, 2016 in Animal Emotions
There are many unrelenting wars on a wide variety of animals. Often people who go out and kill animals say they actually love them. We need more psychological studies in this area.

Can Confiding in Your Dog Improve Your Mental Health?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 14, 2016 in Canine Corner
New data shows that people confide in their dog during times of adversity, but only about certain specific emotions

Bonobo Females Form Tight Alliances and Use French Ticklers

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows bonobo females form tight cross-generational groups. In addition to practicing all forms of sex and dominating males, bonobo sisterhood is a hot research topic.
The Kong Company

Food Toys and Dispensers for Dogs and Cats

Do your dogs and cats eat out of bowls? Let's change that! Meal time, play time, and training can be much more rewarding with the right food toys and dispensers.

Cats and Humans: There's No Need For War

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 07, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Alley Cat Allies president Becky Robinson discusses why removing all free-ranging cats "by any means necessary," as suggested in "Cat Wars," is neither necessary nor humane.

Just Looking at a Dog Can Make You Smile

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 07, 2016 in Canine Corner
A simple set of data demonstrates that merely seeing a dog can make people feel good.

“Lexical Processing” – by Dogs?

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on September 05, 2016 in Pets and Their People
Do dogs understand human language, or do they simply react to familiar sounds?

Skinner's Fundamental Insight and Fundamental Error

By Gregg Henriques Ph.D. on September 02, 2016 in Theory of Knowledge
Skinner's fundamental insight is the idea that animal behavior evolves via behavioral selection. His fundamental error was his radical behavioral philosophy.

"Cat Wars" Calls For Killing Free-Ranging Cats

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 31, 2016 in Animal Emotions
In a new book called "Cat Wars" the authors conclude, "the most desirable solution seems clear -- remove all free-ranging cats from the landscape by any means necessary."