Essential Reads

Guinea Pigs Have a Positive Effect on Autistic Children

These cute and cuddly rodents make kids more interactive and less anxious

Want to Make More Friends? Get a Dog

A new study finds powerful social benefits for dog owners.

Encounters with Dead Pets: A Study of the Evolution of Grief

False recognitions of dead dogs and cats are common among grieving pet owners.

How to Tell a Dog What to Do Next

First a dog has to understand that you are actually giving it an instruction.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Read This Before Having an Affair

Read This Before Having an Affair. We can get easily lost in the “Bermuda Triangle of Love.” By David Braucher, L.C.S.W., Ph.D.

The Truth About Positive Reinforcement

There are so many choices in techniques when training dogs. Here Dr. Haug explores a few of the myths and the facts about dog training methods.

Beware the Beachmasters

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on September 01, 2014 in The Political Animal
Happy Labor Day; have fun on the beach. But remember that Charles Atlases--human and otherwise--do best where 97 pound weaklings are unable to run away.

Does Media Violence Breed Real Life Killing?

Terrorism from abroad scares us, and yet the larger danger may be the terrorists we inadvertently are breeding within our own families and communities. Over 1000 research studies have clarified a frightening reality. Fortunately, there's lots you can do about it.

Sick and Tired of Your Messy Place?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 25, 2014 in How To Do Life
If your home would give Martha Stewart the shivers.

Dogs: Do They Really "Play Dumb" For Us?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 24, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Do dogs really dumb down to please us? Despite claims that they do, this sweeping conclusion is premature given existing data. Furthermore, given that there is incredible variability among different breeds and among individuals of the same breed, talking about "the dog" (or "the wolf") could surely be terribly misleading. Maybe individual dogs do, but we really don't know.


By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on August 22, 2014 in How To Do Life
17 antidotes to apathy.

Should We Get a Dog?

By Jann Gumbiner Ph.D. on August 20, 2014 in The Teenage Mind
Children can learn responsibility, nurturance, and a sense of being needed from a pet. Dogs are playful, warm, and fun. Dogs are non-judgmental and children learn from them. They make loving and accepting friends.

Puppy Pitfalls: Are Pets and Chronic Illness a Good Match?

In early June, my husband and I brought 12 week-old puppy into our house to join us and our 9 1/2 year-old hound dog, Rusty. I’ll be honest. Given the effect it’s had on my health, I’ve questioned at times whether we made a wise decision.

How Motherhood Changed the Way I See Domestic Violence

By Sherry Hamby Ph.D. on August 14, 2014 in The Web of Violence
Becoming a mother made me realize that women, even victimized women, are stronger than you know. Here's what I learned (or some of it anyway). Safety planning for domestic violence needs to consider the big picture, not just recommend easy answers.

Do Dogs Respond to the “Human” Qualities of Spoken Commands?

Even without the explicit training, dogs are sensitive to the “human” qualities of the verbal commands that we give to them.

Sense of Self in Autism

By Michael Jawer on August 07, 2014 in Feeling Too Much
The way we process environmental and emotional stimuli has a direct bearing on our sense of self.

Baseball Ethology: The Behavior of Relief Pitchers

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 06, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Relief pitchers and "closers" have very high stress jobs. My foray into baseball ethology and my experience studying them, seen on a program called "Closer Kingdom", will air on Fox Sports 1 (FOXS1) on August 9 at 11:30AM and 7PM and on Tuesday August 12 at 10AM. There are many similarities between these very talented athletes and nonhumans living in social groups.

Penelope’s Water Walk

A sophisticated cat owner commits to giving his aged, incontinent cat swimming therapy in hopes that she can reuse her litter box before her death. Whitby, our aging dog, receives acupuncture to extend his mobility as a herniated disc creates pain. The commitment of these extraordinary pet owners demonstrate the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Do Dogs Really Feel Shame and Guilt?

Despite the rising popularity of dog shaming sites on the internet, research is now suggesting that the "guilty look" on your dog may have nothing to do with the emotions of guilt or shame — but it may be useful for the dog.

The Fragility of Life

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on July 29, 2014 in A Sideways View
Is thinking about how much time we have left on this earth, and how best to use it wisely, being morbid or sensible? More and more people are being encouraged to think about, and not deny, the fragility of life and how to use our time more wisely.

How We've Evolved to Pay It Back and Pay It Forward

Does the concept of "the selfish gene" necessitate that organisms like humans are a bunch of selfish knuckleheads? Is that what evolutionary psychology is all about? Well, not quite! Read on to see how Dawkin's "selfish gene" take on what it means to be human actually sets the stage for us to understand some of the most self-less behaviors on Planet Earth.

Should Pets Be Banished From the Bedroom?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on July 22, 2014 in Animals and Us
New research examines the effect of sleeping with pets on their owner's health and happiness.

Can Work Ethic Be Learned?

Is work ethic always instilled by parents in young children? Can it be learned later on or, in fact, even be inherent?

Aging Sperm

Men, like women, experience a decline in fertility as they age. Most men are able to father children throughout their lifespan, however. We explore the data and give you some tips on talking to your husband about this.

Reimagined Fairy Tale Films Reflect Decreased Love in U.S.

Maleficent makes us want to stand up and cheer—and then sit down stunned. The film distinguishes itself as the third in a trend of major studio releases that seem determined to reverse the damage of the common fairy tale motif: “Wealthy princes save skinny damsels for love ever after.” Yet, as research reveals high U.S. social isolation, the reinvented princess plots porte

The Idiot Factor

By Frances Kuffel on July 15, 2014 in What Fat Women Want
Stories based on “Increased fruit and vegetable intake has no discernable effect on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis" started to flood the Internet.

Can Exercise and Cleaning Save 30 Billion in Eldercare?

Falls are the number one reason for the elderly to have a prolonged hospital stay. Exercise and de-cluttering are inexpensive routes to preventing a 30 billion dollar problem.

How Intelligent Do People Actually Think Dogs Are?

The stronger the emotional bond between a dog owner and his pet, the more intelligent the dog is judged to be.

8 Ways to Teach Compassion to Young People

Children may listen to your words, but more importantly, they learn from observing your actions. When you have a chance to practice a random act of compassion, do so! Remember: opportunities to show compassion do not occur by appointment. Show young people that anytime is the right time to engage in acts of service and compassion for others.

Why A Busy Person Should Adopt a Doggie

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 04, 2014 in How To Do Life
Dogs give you more than many people realize.

Career Lessons I Learned from My Dog, Einstein

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 02, 2014 in How To Do Life
At the risk of losing credibility, my doggie has taught me more I’ve learned in some classes.

How Happy is your Marriage?

Maslow reports that the most crucial skill is knowing how to love and positive psychology research agrees. Take our quick rating scale to determine how many danger points you score in your own relationship.

Are Dog People More Prejudiced Than Cat People?

A new study finds that self-identified dog people are higher in social dominance orientation than cat people, a trait associated with prejudice. However, this seems puzzling as previous research found that dog people are also more agreeable and conscientious. Further research is needed to determine dog people really are more prejudiced than cat people and if so, why.

Life Is Cheap, if It's for Sale

Research suggests that the current system of buying and trading and selling animals “incentivizes” people to devalue animals in exchange for personal gain. This essay explores how markets lead to moral decay in relation to animals.