Essential Reads

Are Dogs Getting Cuter?

Dogs that fit Lorenz's 'Kindchenschema' are becoming ever more popular, but at great cost to their welfare.

Heading in The Right Direction: The Brain's Internal Compass

New research reveals how neurons make a sense of direction.

Ravens Plan for the Future; Rats Know When They've Forgotten

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 27, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Research on animal cognition is yielding very interesting results. New studies show ravens show flexibility in planning for the future and rats know when they've forgotten stuff.

The Charter for Animal Compassion for Non-Humans and Humans

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on July 26, 2017 in Animal Emotions
The soon-to-be-launched Charter for Animal Compassion champions the science of animal sentience and envisions "a world in which human and non-human animals flourish."

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 2

By Michael Jawer on May 27, 2017 in Feeling Too Much
When elephants encounter their dead, they become quiet and tense.They also become agitated at the imminent death of a fellow. These behaviors are suggestive of mourning and grief.

Unimagined Sensitivities, Part 1

By Michael Jawer on May 27, 2017 in Feeling Too Much
While it would seem to be the end of sensitivity, death actually conjures up an amazing range of accounts that are highly relevant to sensitivity, in humans and many other animals.

A Grieving Gorilla: A Picture That's Worth Entire Courses

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 27, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A photo of a sad orphaned gorilla and a comforting human raises numerous questions about what other animals think and feel and the emotions shared in human-animal relationships.

Can You Understand the Different Types of Dog Growls?

Not all dog growls are equivalent. Particular sound components determine how we interpret any growl.
Witthaya Phonsawat/123RF

Can Dogs Help Solve Our Childhood Obesity Problem?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on May 23, 2017 in Animals and Us
What should we make of claims about the impact of dogs on obesity in children and teenagers?

Goofing Off: Psychological & Physical Benefits of Having Fun

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 19, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Playing for the hell of it, simply because it's fun, is very important to do. Nonhuman animals do it with great vigor and joy, and so too should human animals. It's good for all.

Dominance in Free-Ranging Dogs: Age and Social Tolerance

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 18, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A detailed study of five packs of unowned free-ranging mixed-breed dogs in different areas of Italy shows they form age-graded linear dominance hierarchies with little fighting.

Freedom

By Jennifer Verdolin Ph.D. on May 18, 2017 in Wild Connections
What does freedom really mean?

How Important Is Your Dog in Your Family and Social Life?

New data shows just how significant a part of our social and family lives our dogs have become.

Dogs Growl Honestly and Women Understand Better Than Men

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 17, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows humans can classify dog growls and women do it better than men. Dogs honestly communicate their size and emotions in serious contests but less so during play.

Even Vegans Die: Leaving a Legacy of Caring and Compassion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 17, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A new book called "Even Vegans Die" is a valuable guide for animal advocates. It empowers people to make the best decisions regarding their own health and advocacy for animals.

Grief in Prairie Dogs: Mourning a Death in the Family

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 16, 2017 in Animal Emotions
I saw a unique interaction between an adult prairie dog and road-killed youngster. She pulled the corpse off the road, touched it lightly, and vocalized, perhaps saying good-bye.

If We Could Talk With the Prairie Dogs, Just Imagine it ...

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 14, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Renowned Northern Arizona University researcher Dr. Con Slobodchikoff argues we can talk with these linguistic rodents and learn a lot about the evolution of language from them.

Seven Successful Strategies from Safari

The benefits of copycat behavior

Veterinary Ethics: Life & Death Decisions in the Real World

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 10, 2017 in Animal Emotions
Making decisions about animal suffering in a wide variety of venues isn't easy, and doing the "right" thing can be extremely trying. Veterinarians need to be trained in ethics.

It's Still Not Happening at the Zoo: Sharp Divisions Remain

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 09, 2017 in Animal Emotions
An international meeting about zoo reform brought together an eclectic group of people. Yet, the question if animals should be held captive was dismissed by some as irrelevant.

Calming Music Specifically Composed for Dogs

Composer and singer gnash created a musical composition to calm his stressed-out dog Daisy and it seems to work for other dogs as well.

When One Partner Wants Pets and The Other Doesn't

By Dianne Grande Ph.D. on May 01, 2017 in In It Together
Who do you love more? Me or the dog?

Why Play Is Important

Of course we enjoy having fun, but does play have important biological benefits?

Dogs Want and Need Much More Than They Usually Get From Us

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 30, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A video called Downward Dog and an essay about stress show when we say, "It's a dog's life" to suggest things are wonderful, this isn't necessarily so for numerous companion dogs.

Rats!

By Mark Derr on April 29, 2017 in Dog's Best Friend
Rats bred for tameness confound predictions of several popular theories of animal domestication.

Pissing Matches in Dogs: Territorial, Lots of Fun, or Both?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 29, 2017 in Animal Emotions
We really don't know what dogs are talking about when they over-mark or counter-mark as it becomes a game of peeing to their heart's content. Surely, they can and do piss us off.

Bullies Beware: Rule Breaking Required

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on April 28, 2017 in The Dolphin Divide
It is easy to be intimidated by bullies, but breaking a few social rules can turn would-be enemies into fast friends.

Dogs Prefer Advice From People Who Actually Have the Answers

Data shows that dogs try to "read your mind" to see if you have reliable information before responding to your instructions.

Did Szenja the Polar Bear Die of a Broken Heart?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 19, 2017 in Animal Emotions
It's highly likely that Szenja, a polar bear at SeaWorld, died of a heartache after her best friend of 20 years, Snowflake, was shipped to the Pittsburgh Zoo to make more bears.

Train Too Much and a Dog Won't Remember

Back to back training sessions involving different tasks impairs a dog's long-term memory of what he has learned

How Men Attract Women

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on April 18, 2017 in The Human Beast
How men attract women is a much more difficult question than vice-versa because women are both more selective, and also more individualistic in what they want.

When Elephants Are Blessed

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on April 14, 2017 in Bear in Mind
A Thai Elephant sanctuary walks the trans-species ethical path of compassion and kindness.

The "Guilty Dog" Look and Other Borrowed Signals

The guilty dog look and the human handshake have similar roots in the evolution of animal communication.

The Nature of a Dog's Eye Can Make Problem-Solving Difficult

Dogs have limited visual abilities when compared to humans, and this may make solving certain problems difficult.