Essential Reads

Is an Unnamed Cow Less Sentient Than a Named Cow?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 07, 2016 in Animal Emotions
An essay called "Is a Cow a ‘Who’ or a ‘Which?’" raises issues about the language we use to refer to nonhumans. Here I argue all animals are a "who" and words really matter.

Ravens Know They're Being Watched: Bird Brain Theory of Mind

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 05, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new carefully conducted study shows ravens most likely understand what's going on in another raven's head and that they possess a theory mind.

Do Our Dogs Really Love Us More Than Our Cats Do?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 03, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Has it really been proven that dogs love humans five times more than cats? Not quite, but there are some interesting trends that support this predictable suggestion.

Of Mice and Women: A Dark Side of Oxytocin and Conservation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 27, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Studies of sex differences in responses to stress now focus on females. Usually data from animal studies are used for humans, but this information is important for the animals.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 7)

By Michael Jawer on September 10, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Sentient creatures share a profound connectedness, with one another and with nature. The concept of soul can be understood in context of this innately felt connection with creation.

Animals Don't Experience Emotions, Claims Texas Journalist

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 06, 2015 Animal Emotions
To justify killing and eating other animals as part of the "eat-what-you-kill" movement, a journalist claims, "There is no definitive scientific evidence that animals experience emotions as we do," ignoring reams of hard scientific evidence to the contrary. It's not asking too much for those who write about animals to know about the scientific research that has been done.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 6)

By Michael Jawer on September 05, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Animals that express gratitude, that play, that contemplate nature, that mourn, or that save a fellow creature are all demonstrating aspects of connectedness. This connectedness – underpinned by the ability to feel and emote – is the core of spirituality. It really is a matter of “fellow feeling.”

Charlie: The Feral Dog Who Came in From the Wild

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 03, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new book about a feral dog called "Charlie: The Dog Who Came in From the Wild" by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma shows the importance of shared trust, love, and deep commitment when one chooses to live with a "difficult dog" who came to the author with very special needs that could only be satisfied by a very special human being. This is a most important book for humans and dogs.

The Nature and Consequences of Noise Sensitivity in Dogs

Recent data suggests that noise sensitivity in dogs may be based upon genetic and physiological factors and may also predict separation anxiety, fearfulness in novel situations, and even some age-related changes in stress responses.

What Happens When the Dogs Strike Back

By Mark Derr on September 03, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
In "White God," mutts strike back against oppressive humans. Bodie is one of two canine brothers who portray Hagen.

New Book Re-examines Lives of Captive and Confined Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 Animal Emotions
In his new book called "The End of Captivity?" Dr. Tripp York discusses zoos, pets, conservation, Christian ethics, and much more centering on the lives of captive and otherwise confined animals. It would be a perfect choice for undergraduate and graduate courses in biology and religious studies, and I'm sure high school students would get a lot out of reading it as well.

Excessive Barking Part I: Why Does My Dog Bark?

Does your dog bark excessively? Do you have any idea why? Before you try to stop the barking, you need to know how to address the reasons it's happening. Any other plan just puts a Band-Aid over the problem and never really corrects it.

Dog-Gone It!

I went from being a dog-fearing man all my life, to a "higher level" of being.

Now that Yellowstone Killed Blaze Bear What About Her Cubs?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 Animal Emotions
Killing Blaze, a mother grizzly bear, really was a decision that "killed" three bears. Now her two surviving cubs are supposed to go to the Toldeo Zoo, however, there is huge resistance to this move. Zoo administrators like to note that captive bears live long and cushy lives in cages, but that is not what it is like to be a grizzly. They should be returned to the wild.

Who's More Rational, Human Animals or NON-human Animals?

Discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion, and about human cognition, are challenging our views of which species on the Tree of Life are more rational.

Why Are We So Prone to Feeling Crazy?

How our nature nurtures feelings of insanity. If we’re not stressed out and feeling crazy right at this moment, we’ve probably paid a recent visit to that neighborhood – and are likely to return in the very near future. Our own thinking may twist us – but it can also uncrumple us again.

Vegetarianism and Money: Surprising Results from a New Study

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 Animals and Us
What the results of a new survey of the diets of Americans reveal about the connection between vegetarianism and household income.

For the Love of Dogs: Three Ways Companion Animals Help

According to a Gallop Poll, sixty percent of Americans have a pet. Most of those who have a companion animal have a dog.

How Dogs Show Us What Is Happening in the World

Dogs have developed a behavioral technique that involves directing the attention of humans to objects in the world that may be of interest.

Behavioral "Red Flags" in the Dog

Dogs show many different signs that they are stressed or scared. Understanding their body language can help an owner or caregiver understand the dog's mindset, avoiding being bit, and make events more pleasant for their dogs.

Why do we owe sex and romance to viruses?

By Eyal Winter on August 14, 2015 Feeling Smart
Why we owe sex and romance to viruses?

Yellowstone Kills Blaze, a Bear Who Attacked Off-Trail Hiker

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 Animal Emotions
Blaze, a grizzly bear who tragically killed an off-trail hiker in Yellowstone National Park, was slaughtered today and plans are being made to place her two surviving cubs in a zoo. Following the killing of Cecil the lion, these sorts of human-animal interactions bring to light our complex and challenging relations with other animals and with spending time "out in nature."

Grief: Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Personal Views

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 Animal Emotions
A recent BBC Forum called "Grief" offers a very thoughtful and easy to understand discussion of cross-cultural, cross-species, and personal perspectives in which three women consider a wide array of different forms of grief and loss. I highly recommend it as it surely will encourage listeners to pay more attention to these topics.

Pets As Ambassadors?

Affection for animals may be expressed in many, possibly interlocking, ways. New research suggests that pet-keeping is linked to positive attitudes towards the natural world, indicating that conservationists may need to rethink their antipathy towards cat owners.

Do You Prefer You Pets to Your Friends?

Pets are like a combination between court jesters and strict Freudian therapists: They can make you feel better about the world while never saying a word.

Who Gets the Dog?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 12, 2015 So Sue Me
When can your vengeful ex successfully take your precious pet away from you? It is more complicated than you think. Learn how to protect yourself and your furry best friend.

Do Dogs Understand Play Signals Given by Humans?

Some of the most frequently used human signals inviting dogs to play simply don't work. However there are certain signals people can give to their dogs which get them to play 100% of the time.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 5)

By Michael Jawer on August 11, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Strange but true occurrences suggest that what family members (including our pets) feel for one another bonds us in unusual ways. Such experiences could only be chalked up to sheer one-in-a-million chance were it not for their conjunction with deep emotion.

Do Dog Owners REALLY Make Better Lovers?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 Animals and Us
A recent Psychology Today post asked whether dog owners are better lovers. Let's look at what the new science of human-animal relationships actually reveals about the connection between love, sex, and pet-ownership.

Can the Mystery of the Dog Be Solved?

By Mark Derr on August 10, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
Dogs did not domesticate themselves in early human garbage dumps, despite what many believe.

Compassionate Conservation Meets Cecil the Slain Lion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2015 Animal Emotions
A recent meeting on the growing field of compassionate conservation helped to define the field, and much discussion centered on the challenging question if killing "in the name of conservation" is acceptable. Diverse opinions were presented and while some argued that killing animals in the "most humane" way was necessary and acceptable, others argued the killing must stop.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 4)

By Michael Jawer on August 08, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Some animals have truly distinctive personalities. The passing of one such pet created an enduring mystery while also hinting at the spiritual nature of emotion-laden family ties.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 3)

By Michael Jawer on August 06, 2015 Feeling Too Much
Examples abound of non-human animals (dogs, pigs, bears, seals, gorillas, dolphins, whales) showing not only empathy but sympathy. In other words, these creatures not only possess an awareness of what someone else is feeling but they seek to alleviate the other’s plight.

Eating Cats

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 06, 2015 Animals and Us
It is widely known that in some cultures dog-meat is a delicacy. But at least a million cats a year also find their way into the stew pot. Here's what we can learn about human-animal relationships from people who dine on feline flesh.