Essential Reads

How People Perceive Dogs With Docked Tails and Cropped Ears

New data shows that seeing a dog with a docked tail and cropped ears may cause people to believe that the dog is aggressive and its owner might be aggressive as well.

How a Cultural Meme Was Born

New insights into the origin of language as a mandrill in an English zoo invents a gesture for "leave me alone," and it spreads through the community

Can Your Dog Help You Get Dates?

Your reaction to your own dog and your date's dog may determine how attractive you appear to a potential partner.

What We Learn From Our Pets

By Dan Mager MSW on June 13, 2016 in Some Assembly Required
Simply having pets can have wonderful therapeutic value.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

The Third Care Commitment

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
If you are the caregiver for an ill animal, watch for signs of burnout. Remember that caring for an animal means also caring for yourself.

Animal Minds are Richer Than Science Once Thought

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 in Animal Emotions
An essay in The Economist provides a good review of research in cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds).

A Rewilding Mandate: A Conversation with Michael Tobias

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 18, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Read an interview with a renowned ecologist about the need to rewild in the Anthropocene. Topics include the incredible loss of species, humane education, and population control.

It's OK to Be Nostalgic. Here's the Science That Proves It.

Feeling nostalgic? Indulge yourself. Those happy memories of the past may make you better able to deal with the present.

Do Dogs Ever Simply Want to Die to End the Pain?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 17, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Here, I briefly consider the claim, "There is no such thing as an animal who is so traumatized that he wants to die." Nonhumans, like humans, want the pain to end right now.

Big Red Flags in the Last Republican Debate

By Eric Haseltine Ph.D. on December 16, 2015 in Long Fuse, Big Bang
Color Psychology says the sub-verbal messages were dangerous

The Second Care Commitment

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 16, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
End-of-life care should seek to protect the integrity of an animal patient, and should allow the animal to live in ways that honor what she finds most meaningful.

A Rewilding Manifesto: Compassion, Biophilia, and Hope

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 15, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Rewilding, reconnecting with other humans, nonhumans, and their homes, will make the world more peaceful and will foster hope in challenging and far too often violent times.

The First Care Commitment

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 15, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
One of the most important things we can do for our elderly or ill animals is attend to "total pain," and respond creatively and compassionately to the full range of suffering.

4 Care Commitments

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on December 14, 2015 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
Four core ethical commitments can shape our work in caring for our dying animal companions, either as professionals or as individual caregivers.

Toadfish Love: Singing Fish Seem to Invite a Ménage à Trois

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Biologists find love in a fish who is "awfully ugly," croons beautifully, and invites a ménage à trois.

Sleeping With Baby: Good or Bad?

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on December 11, 2015 in How We Do It
A crucial decision parents must make after birth is whether to sleep with the infant. Some claim that sudden infant death is more likely. But bed-sharing promotes breast-feeding.

Detroit Zoo's Ron Kagan Talks About "Patient-Centered" Zoos

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 08, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A TEDx talk by Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit zoo, about the future of compassionate "patient-centered" zoos is worth watching regardless of your views on zoos.
Gretchen Rubin

3 Bad Habits that I Use with My Puppy.

By Gretchen Rubin on December 08, 2015 in The Happiness Project
Do you have any habits that you swore you wouldn’t have, before you got a dog? Any tips for me?

Social Conflict Between Household Cats

With the popularity of companion cats at an all-time high, many households have multiple cats. This can lead to some interesting dynamics, including aggression.

Great, Great, Great, Great…Ape Men

By Peter B. Gray Ph.D. on December 07, 2015 in The Evolving Father
Some new books and recent fossil finds spawn these reflections on great apes, cultural transmission and the ways of wise old men. Thanks to Lamarck too.

What Do People Really Think About Dogs in the Workplace?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on December 02, 2015 in Canine Corner
Pets in the workplace make the environment more comfortable, provide companionship and improve social interactions.

How and Why Dogs Play Revisited: Who’s Confused?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book presents some interesting but untested ideas and beliefs about play behavior in dogs as facts. Beliefs don’t substitute for data that have been reviewed by peers.

Mind Control: Psychology by the Numbers?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 28, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How addition and subtraction affect our behavior. Are we truly in charge of our own choices, or does simple math routinely intrude to manipulate our mental equations? Just who or what is in control of our minds?

Dog Training Using Behavior Capture

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 26, 2015 in Canine Corner
Behavior capture is a simple and enjoyable way to train dogs and puppies to respond to basic obedience commands.

Trophy Hunters' Smiles Show How Much They Like to Kill

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows that pleasure smiles are greater when hunters pose with large "dangerous" corpses and that "they’re quite a bit happier when they kill a large animal versus a small animal of the same species.” There really are killing smiles.

Flying the Coop: The Importance of Adventure

By Gregg Levoy on November 25, 2015 in Passion!
There's an inverse relationship between adventure and depression in our lives. Too little of one can lead to too much of the other. Here's a cautionary tale that captures it.

Steroids Can Change Your Dog's Behavior

Roid rage is real even for dogs - check out what the most common behavior changes are for dogs on steroids.

Do Crocodiles Really Cry?

What's up with crocodile tears? Do crocodiles really cry? Scientists find out.

The Evolution and Ethology of Terrorism: We Are Unique

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 21, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Detailed ethological data show that human exceptionalism reigns uncontested in the arena of within-species violence.

Research Chimpanzees to be Finally "Freed" and Retired

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 18, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A decision made on 16 November by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will send 50 "reserve" chimpanzees to sanctuaries so they can finally live out their lives in peace and safety.

Paris, Religion and Human Evil

By Mark Rowlands Ph.D. on November 15, 2015 in Good Morning, Atlantis
What do the tragic events in Paris reveal about human nature? Is religion the cause of all evil?

Advice for the Animal Rights Movement Part 2

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on November 13, 2015 in Without Prejudice
In a previous column I gave some advice, from a psychological point of view, on how animal rights advocates can more effectively communicate their message. Here I follow up with some additional comments.

Central Asia Is Proposed as Birthplace of Dogs

By Mark Derr on November 12, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
A new genetic study of village dogs--free-ranging dogs--points to Central Asia as the most likely place where dogs originated.

Are Silent Dog Whistles Useful?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 12, 2015 in Canine Corner
There are many myths and misunderstandings about how silent dog whistles can be used to control canine behavior.