Essential Reads


What Can 10,000-Pound Juvenile Delinquents Teach Us?

The elephant gangsters of Pilanesberg.

Why Be Tolerant? Lessons From Bonobos

By Lydia Denworth on November 10, 2017 in Brain Waves
Humans aren't the only species willing to help strangers for no benefit. Bonobos, one of our closest relatives, do it, too.

Why People Sometimes Care More About Dogs Than Humans

By Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC on November 09, 2017 in Canine Corner
People are often more disturbed when a dog is a victim of abuse than when the victim is a human being.

Doping Scandal Imperils Iditarod Sled Dog Race

By Mark Derr on November 07, 2017 in Dog's Best Friend
Dogs have hauled people and their goods around the Arctic for thousands of year. The snowmobile and airplane have nearly rendered them obsolete, except for racing.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The Emergence and Nature of Us

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 02, 2017 in Ambigamy
The biggest gap in psychology finally filled, an explanation for why things matter to you but not to your computer, bed or car.

New Study of Ape Cognition Shows We're Not All That Unique

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 31, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new essay summarizing great ape intelligence and cleverness argues against human exceptionalism and speciesistic claims that humans are all that special, unique, and "smarter."

Dogs Keep Their Owners Happy and Healthy in Symbiotic Ways

By Christopher Bergland on August 31, 2017 in The Athlete's Way
What motivates dog owners to stick with habitual walking routines come rain or shine? According to a new study, happiness (not physical health benefits) is their prime motivation.

Why People Hunt: The Psychology of Killing Other Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 30, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new study identifies achievement as prominent among multiple satisfactions that hunters receive on their outings in which different species are targeted in different regions.

The Cat That Changed America: Giving Urban Wildlife Voice

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 30, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Los Angeles mountain lion P22's story is a perfect model for peaceful coexistence between urban animals and humans. A new film has lots of food for thought for future projects.

Accepting Payment Satisfies Primitive Drives

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 29, 2017 in The Dolphin Divide
How hidden associations manipulate our motivation. Rarely do we work solely for the reasons we think.

Can Dogs Detect Ghosts, Spirits, or Hallucinations?

Whether dogs can sense the presence of ghosts or spirits is ambiguous; however, they can be trained to alert to their owner's hallucinations.

Dog Bites: Comprehensive Data and Interdisciplinary Analyses

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 28, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Dog Bites: A Multidisciplinary Perspective is the most comprehensive book ever assembled on all aspects of dog bites. Thirty-two original essays by 39 authors tell it all.

Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats: Messes We Make With Companions

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 25, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A landmark new film by Hugh Dorigo called "Dogs, Cats and Scapegoats" presents detailed information about the plight of companion animals.

Do Adult Dogs Still Recognize Their Mothers?

Does the emotional link between a canine mother and her puppies carry over into their adulthood?

"How Come People Say They Love Animals and Kill Them?"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 20, 2017 in Animal Emotions
In a discussion with kids about human-animal relationships some difficult topics were raised. Some focused on obvious conflicts, people saying one thing and doing something else.

Dogs: When They Smell Their Pee They Know It's "Me"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A novel study about self-recognition by dog researcher Alexandra Horowitz taps into what's happening in a dog's brain when their nose goes to work sniffing different odors.

Animal Well-Being, Compassionate Conservation, and Rewilding

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 18, 2017 in Animal Emotions
In an interview with the Charter for Animal Compassion's Rob Percival, we discuss the importance of treating other animals with deep respect and the value of personal rewilding.

Crossing the Thin Line to Starvation: Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction has occurred throughout history during war and famine, but restricting caloric intake while maintaining adequate nutrition may increase our "healthspan."

Wolves and Cows: Individual and Organizational Conflicts

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 16, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Killing wolves in Washington causes personal conflicts. Some groups say they're against killing but don't publicly say no, and some individuals who work for them want to but don't.

Does "Tough Love" Produce Better Working Dogs?

Puppies with overly attentive mothers have poorer problem-solving abilities and are less likely to succeed as service dogs.

Zoos Shall Not Kill Healthy Animals: A Moral Imperative

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Zoos kill healthy animals when they don't fit into their breeding program. They call it management euthanasia, but it isn't euthanasia, but rather "zoothanasia," and it should end.

Dogs: Putting Selection for "Tameness" To Sleep

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 08, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Mark Derr offers evidence that dogs and humans were made for each other. He argues that sociability, along with a​ delayed onset of fear, were the keys for wolves to become dogs.

What Makes a Dog Notice a Person

Is it the sight of you, the sounds you make, or your scent that is most likely to make a dog aware that you are nearby?

RIP Self-Taming Dump-Divers

By Mark Derr on August 08, 2017 in Dog's Best Friend
A new research papers argues that hypersociability is tied to domestication of dogs.

Sentience is Everywhere: Indeed, It's an Inconvenient Truth

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 06, 2017 in Animal Emotions
In a piece called Studies in Sentience Tell Us Ours is a World of Many Centres, Arita Joshi rightfully argues that sentience can be found in all sorts of beings. We are not alone.

Captive: A New Book About Zoos Is a Game Changer

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 03, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Renowned photographer Jo-Anne McArthur's new book called "Captive" will touch your heart and soul. The images of zooed animals show just how much needs to be done on their behalf.

Are Dog-Loving Millennials Driving House Prices Up?

More millennials are listing dogs as the biggest factor in their home buying decisions, ahead of marriage and children.

Therapy Dogs for Homesick College Students?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 02, 2017 in Animals and Us
Over 900 colleges and universities now have animal-assisted therapy programs for homesick and stressed-out students. How well do they work?

Violence Toward Animals: "Can You Please Help My Daughter?"

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 31, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Some New Zealand schools encourage kids to kill animals and partake in the "dead possum dress-up." A request for help and an essay with horrific images resulted in this essay.

Who's Really Defending Wildlife As Wolves Are "Removed"?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 31, 2017 in Animal Emotions
The war on wildlife in the United States presents some very surprising twists as wolves are being set up and sold out and various organizations don't speak out on their behalf.

‘Atta-Boy’: Perfecting the Art of Praise

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on July 28, 2017 in The Dolphin Divide
Meaningful feedback takes practice to provide—and occasionally even requires a bit of social risk.

The Whale Sanctuary Project: Saying No Thanks to Tanks

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 27, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Captive cetaceans have highly compromised lives. They need all the help they can get. Dr. Lori Marino tells us about a new project committed to improving individuals' well-being.
"Signage 55 speed limit"/David Lofink/CC BY 2.0

Can We Teach the Rules for Breaking the Rules?

By Barb Cohen on July 27, 2017 in Mom, Am I Disabled?
If I take a box of pens from a store without paying, I commit shoplifting. But suppose I take a box of pens from the office where I work. Will my coworkers judge me a thief?

Have Dogs Specifically Evolved to Eat Bread and Pasta?

Do dogs benefit from a raw meat diet? While wolves are genetically programmed to eat meat, dogs have genes that allow them to digest carbohydrates.