Essential Reads

Giving a Blind or Sight-Impaired Dog the Best Life Possible

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 19, 2017 in Animal Emotions
A book called "My dog is blind - but lives life to the full!" is a wonderful practical guide for people who want to give a dog with limited sight a full and enriched life.

Do Nervous Dog Owners Have Nervous Dogs?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 16, 2017 in Canine Corner
Dog owners who have more neurotic personalities tend to have dogs who are nervous and cope with stress less efficiently, a new study finds.

St. Valentine’s Day and the Biology of Romantic Kissing

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on February 14, 2017 in How We Do It
For Westerners, kisses and Valentine’s Day are inseparable. But new cross-cultural evidence challenges evolutionary inferences regarding possible biological functions of kissing.

Pet Loss, Veterinary Wellness, and the Human-Animal Bond

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 12, 2017 in Animal Emotions
An interview with the founder of the Pet Loss Education Project, Adam Clark, who specializes in coping with the grief of losing a companion animal.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

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 on Everyone

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

By The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists on October 04, 2016 in Decoding Your Pet
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

By The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists on September 09, 2016 in Decoding Your Pet
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."

Conflict Resolution: Dancing Your Way to Cooperation?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 30, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
How to avoid a clash of wills in the face of stubbornness. Making the right moves when it counts can head off flared tempers and open conflict.

Dogs and Humans Process Sounds Similarly

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 30, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new study using fMRI shows dogs and humans process sounds similarly. However, it's still not clear why dogs have evolved the ability to differentiate praise and neutral words.

Commandeering Cuteness for Commercialism

By Douglas Van Praet on August 27, 2016 in Unconscious Branding
There is a good reason why cute and cuddly baby animals are tugging at your heart and pulling on your purse strings.

Road Rage: A Second "Free-Range" Intervention

What is real power? It is acting like the biggest dog on the road.