Essential Reads

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

Dogs don't like people who are unhelpful or uncooperative to their loved ones

Evolutionary Basis to Differences Between Cats and Dogs

An Almost-Serious Scholarly Debate on Evolved Behavioral Differences

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

A new study shows humans have incredibly broad negative effects as predators

A Path of Few Regrets

The risk of decisional regret in animal end-of-life care

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Dogs and humans seem to respond in the same way when they hear the crying sounds of the distressed baby.

Your Dog and You: A New Book About Forming Close Friendships

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 05, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book by Gill Garratt, a psychologist and specialist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) called "Your dog and you...: Understanding the canine psyche," is a very useful guide for forming close relationships between dogs and humans. The combination of scientific data, numerous case studies, and exceptional photographs make this book a most valuable read.

Makings of a Child

What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?

What Your Dog Wants

Living with a pet provides humans with many physical and psychological benefits. Research shows that the health and well-being of pet owners is greater than that of non-pet-owners. But what about our pets? Sure, we buy them treats and care for them. But do they get deeper, more important rewards from their human relationships? And how might this come about?

The Beneficial Effects of Animals on Children With Autism

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on May 04, 2015 in Animals and Us
Temple Grandin told me that some (but not all) people with autism have a special way with animals. This new study examined the biological mechanisms behind the soothing effects Guinea pigs can have on children with autism spectrum disorders.

Mama Bliss

Mama Bliss, a stellar Portuguese water dog, provides mothering in the most surprising way.

Why Do Women Have Orgasms?

By Michael Castleman M.A. on April 30, 2015 in All About Sex
Controversy surrounds the issue of why women evolved to have orgasms.

The Bark Park

Should you bring your dog to a dog park?

William Shakespeare Hated Dogs

Shakespeare put thousands of words into the mouths of hundreds of people—but not one of them ever finds a good thing to say about dogs.

The Sky Isn’t Falling

This spring, our national public health authorities announced that nearly 400 cases of salmonella bacterial intestinal infection had been identified. They were due to a single, shared cause.

Getting to the Goal

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on April 29, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How focusing on the positive helps us overcome obstacles. What we want is often more powerful than what we fear. But if we’re not careful in how we frame our goals, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment—and inadvertently turn our fears into reality.

Does Training Make Your Dog Smarter?

Dogs that have been trained to high levels of performance in any of a number of skills (e.g., agility, schutzhund, search and rescue, retrieving, musical freestyle, etc.) become better problem solvers on totally unrelated tasks.

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives. The researchers show that "62 to 81 percent of wild female killer whales live at least 15 years. In contrast, only 27 percent of the now-dead females in the captive study survived that long. Roughly half of the still-living captive female whales are at least 15 years old."

Dogs and Underdogs: Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Elizabeth Abbott's "Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash" and Toni Shelbourne's "Among the Wolves" are excellent reads. Both books are filled with personal stories about these amazing beings and show how we can rescue and help them and they can in turn rescue and help us. Both also raise numerous questions about human-animal relationships.

Kids and Animals Helping One Another at Green Chimneys

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 26, 2015 in Animal Emotions
I just returned home from a most inspiring conference called "Growing Together: Kids, Animals and Sowing the Seeds of Resiliency" held at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York. This interdisciplinary gathering on human-animal interaction shows how much can be done for the kids and the animals who in many ways rescue, help, and heal one another. Green Chimneys rocks!

Sex with Animals

Is zoophilia, or sexual attraction to animals, a sexual orientation? Or is it a perversion? And is it possible to engage in zoo-sex without causing harm?

Is Your Dog Lonely?

Is Your Dog Lonely? It can be difficult to decide whether to adopt a second dog

Need a Lift? Just Look Into a Dog's Eyes.

By Mark Derr on April 22, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
Japanese researchers make a lofty claim for what staring into your dog's eyes does to you and your dog.

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Wildlife Services, more appropriately called Murder Inc., wages a horrific war on all types of wildlife using inhumane and indiscriminate methods. In 2014 they killed 2,713,570 animals. Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money and there is enormous collateral damage and what they call "unintentional killing." Fortunately, their killing ways are being scrutinized.

Is There an Epidemic of Fake Service Dogs?

In order to gain access to public places such as restaurants and hotels with their pets a number of people are purchasing service dog vests and meaningless assistance dog identification cards and certificates from commercial online service dog registries. These do not require that the dog be trained nor that the person have a disability.

Time to Tidy Up Your Head

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on April 13, 2015 in Shift Happens
When a book about tidying up your home hits the top of the best seller's list, there's got to be something worth reading in it. Or maybe this is just a wake up call for all of us to look at the kind of cleaning up we really need to do. The author asks that you completely empty your drawers and closets. I ask that you completely empty out your head.

"Squash It!”

We tend to focus on ‘squashing’ ‘bad’ behavior, A shift in perspective to examining the motivations behind the behavior may ultimately prove more useful.

Putting Music to the Words

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 in Talking Apes
In animal communication systems, you can have either syntax or semantics. Human language, however, integrates the two. As a result, our range of expression is almost limitless.

Gracing Clients’ Lives

Boomer died suddenly at age 9, leaving a trail of progeny and well wishes for his therapy work with clients.

What's in a Name? A Lot More Than You Think.

What are the little things in your room and your life telling you?

Is Competition Between Men Healthy?

In moderation, competition is a normal, healthy human expression and way to strengthen ourselves. But it is not uncommon for competition to be taken to extremes, and manipulated to feed a man’s ego. If left unaddressed, unhealthy competitiveness can lead to detrimental relationships and other long-term problems for men.