Essential Reads

Why You Were Born to Gossip

According to one theory, everything we say takes the form of gossip.

Is Sadomasochism a Uniquely Human Form of Sexuality?

Kinky sex is common in animals, but do they ever find pleasure in pain?

Are Humans Unique?

Are there criteria that distinguish humans from other species?

Can Dogs Recognize Emotions Just by Looking at a Human Face?

Dogs understand that smile or scowl on your face.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Into the Virtual Wild

Lions, rhinos, giraffes--all the big mammals of the African savanna mesmerize the imagination, even as humans drive them into extinction. But technology might help children connect virtually, while teaching about animal conservation and habitat protection. A "wild animal app" tries to do just that.

Do Dogs Grieve Over a Lost Loved One?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 18, 2014 in Canine Corner
Images of dogs mourning over the death of someone dear to them are common in fine art and in photos on the Internet. Although behavioral scientists agree that these dogs are showing great sorrow and sadness they debate as to whether the emotion the dogs are feeling is really grief.

Lucky Thirteen (For Cats, Anyhow)

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in Pets and Their People
The sequencing of the feline genome continues to shed light on the domestication of the cat, which may now be attributed to changes in as few as 13 genes.

Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Really Work?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in Animals and Us
Can interacting with dogs or horses help treat mental and physical illnesses? I recently reviewed the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of animal assisted therapies. The good news is that the vast majority of studies have reported that animal therapy works. The bad news is that...

The Last Great Wild Places: Rewilding Through Photographs

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 16, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book by world renowned photographer Thomas Mangelsen called "The Last Great Wild Places" is a most welcomed volume of awe-inspiring photographs and a reminder of just how influential we have been in destroying landscapes globally. It surely will serve to rewild ourselves and also can be a valuable lesson in anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships.

The Dominance Down

You don’t have to dominate your dog to train him.

How to Communicate Effectively with Older Adults

Higher standards of living and medical advancements are extending life expectancies in many countries to well above the age of eighty. Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often requires unique communication skills and strategies. Here are five keys for successful communication with seniors...

Women With Male Friends Have More Sex (But Not With Them)

By David J Ley Ph.D. on November 15, 2014 in Women Who Stray
Recent research finds that men who have more attractive female partners, who have more male friends (the female that is), have more sex. This might reflect sperm competition, and men trying to fight off the chances that the women could cheat. But, this might also reflect some unique aspects of the woman herself.

Animal Farm

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on November 14, 2014 in The Political Animal
Almost a century after the Bolshevik Revolution ousted tsar Nicholas II, and close to 70 years after George Orwell finished his fiction about Josef Stalin, the forces of democracy, and opposing forces, are being played out in the former Soviet Union.

Age Appropriate Chores for Children

By Rebecca Jackson on November 13, 2014 in School of Thought
Learning habits take firm root in children by 3rd grade, so it’s helpful for parents to know what chores are age appropriate.

Smart Collars Monitor Your Dog's Activity and Health

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 12, 2014 in Canine Corner
Devices already on the market allow you to remotely talk to your dog, while tracking his location, activity and wellness

Wolves: Hunting Affects Stress, Reproduction, and Sociality

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Hunted wolves show elevated levels of stress and reproductive hormones that influence reproduction (more multiple litters in a pack) and social organization. Wolf expert Paul Paquet notes the "resulting harm can be acute, chronic, and permanent, sometimes spanning generations.” Merely counting wolves and then deciding how to manage them is a shoddy unscientific practice.

Dog TV: A Pet Antidepressant

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Time Out
Americans spend a great deal on their pets. Much of it doesn't make a difference to the animal. Dog TV may sound frivolous, but it turns out to be sound.

Is Going to a Zoo Like Shopping for a Car? Musical Semen

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 11, 2014 in Animal Emotions
At a recent meeting of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) many different issues were discussed, including the effects on animals being shipped around as breeding machines (musical semen), the formation of captive groups and the removal of animals for various reasons, and what zoos really do in terms of education and conservation.

Can Pets Help Us From Beyond the Grave?

Grieving the death of a pet can be a lonely process. Is loving a pet inherently a short-lived joy?

26 Mysteries of Life Explored and Explained

Why do brides buy their wedding gowns (which, one would imagine, that would wear only once) but grooms rent their tuxedos (which, one would imagine, they would have other occasions to wear--if only as a joke?

Picky Eaters: Emotional or Physical Problem?

Children may refuse to eat for physical reasons (constipation, abdominal pain) which can be addressed with supplements. But when they lose their appetite because of stress or grief, natural medicines can help.

Robin Williams' Painful Suicide

I have stayed away from speculations about Robin William’s suicide. I don’t know what pushed him over and neither do you. It is important however, to take note that he was taking two antidepressants. And he began taking Seroquel a week before he committed suicide.

Holly Bites Cesar: When You Hit a Dog There's a Price to Pay

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 07, 2014 in Animal Emotions
I recently received a video of Holly, a dog, being hit -- cuffed in the neck -- by, and later biting, Cesar Millan, as he moves closer to her. It's rare to see such confrontations and I highly recommend those who want to see what happened to study this video closely. There are many lessons here in dog body language -- canid ethology -- and for respecting what a dog needs.

Understanding Gender Differences in Religiosity (Part II)

By Gregg Henriques on November 07, 2014 in Theory of Knowledge
In Part I of this series, I reviewed the current literature on gender differences in religiosity. Here I examine how to understand these findings from a unified approach.

Animal Heroes: "Daisy to the Rescue" Celebrates Compassion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 06, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book about animal heroes called Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes contains numerous stories of compassion and caring in a wide variety of animals. It is a very inspiring read and can be used to generate further studies into the study of animal consciousness and animal minds in the field of cognitive ethology.

SeaWorld Exposed: Behavioral Profiles of Captive Orcas

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 05, 2014 in Animal Emotions
The information in this file of behavior profiles of captive orcas released by SeaWorld needs to be analyzed and is perfect for theses. I want to inform a wide public about these data as they are a goldmine for studying the behavioral profiles of captive orcas, many of whom are extremely aggressive and understandably go crazy in captivity. It's a study in "orcazoology."

Is the Next Step in Canine Evolution Cyber-Enhanced Dogs?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 05, 2014 in Canine Corner
A smart phone app may allow you to control and communicate with your computer enhanced dog.

Take a Walk on the Rewild Side

By Lybi Ma on November 05, 2014 in Brainstorm
Animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., wants to start a meme that will save the animals, as well as the world.

The Emotional Lives of Cows: Ears Tell Us They're Feeling OK

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 03, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new study of the emotional lives of dairy cows shows that relaxed ear position is an indicator of positive emotions and can be used to assess an individual's well-being. We owe it to these and other animals to give them the very best lives we can. And, often, it's easy to assess what they're feeling and we must use this information on their behalf.

Killing Barred Owls to Save Spotted Owls? Problems From Hell

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 01, 2014 in Animal Emotions
"There Will Be Blood" is a very important read. Its author notes, "The pressure to reach for a gun to help save one animal from another is stronger than ever. And it has triggered a conservation problem from hell." Does there really have to be blood? Some experts say "No," whereas others say "Yes." Historically conservation has been a bloody affair. But times are changing.

Do Your Dog’s Rights Begin Where My Child’s Rights End?

Teaching a dog to be safe with children can’t endanger the child.

Are same-sex marriages good for the economy?

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on October 31, 2014 in Without Prejudice
With noticeable declines in the numbers of heterosexual marriages, marriages between gay couples can boost the economy among businesses linked to the wedding industry. By similarly tuning self-interests toward economic strategies that cut carbon emissions, can psychology help save the planet?

Ethical Taxidermy?

Doing your taxidermy work yourself is the best way to ensure that the animals have been “ethically sourced.”

Mind Over Meat

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on October 31, 2014 in In Love and War
How do we reconcile our love for animals with our desire to eat them?