Essential Reads

The Qualities of Leaders

Clues about leadership from the animal world.

Stress Relief in Seven Minutes, Doggie Style

Do programs using dogs to relieve anxiety in university students really work?

The Clothes You Wear Can Affect a Dog's Emotional State

The pattern on your shirt might just make a dog feel anxious and uncomfortable.

Chimpanzees Pass the Marshmallow Test

Delaying gratification isn’t a uniquely human ability after all.

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Play, Primates, Jealousy, Work, and Losing Deliberately

Gorillas like to play games and when they do, they sometimes lose deliberately. Why? “Self-handicapping” encourages their playmate to keep on with the game. Jealousy can be very like play—there are triangles, winners and losers, and feelings run high. This is very true of workplace jealousy. Does self-handicapping have a role to play in mitigating workplace jealousy?

Sounding Off About High-Volume Friends

How to reclaim our personal quiet zones and restore peace. High-volume blusterers are often chronic—even if unknowing—offenders, and they are generally among our least favorite folks to encounter. Otherwise pleasant personalities become ones we avoid. The psychology of behavioral shaping offers a polite way to turn down the volume.

Jordan Dog: Dismembered, Abandoned, and Rehabilitated

A video of the rescue and rehabilitation of an abused and abandoned dog named Jordan will force you to question our conflicting relationships with other animals. I hate to say it, but you must watch this video and share it widely. The scientific field of anthrozoology is concerned with the study of human-animal relationships and this video is a must-see for all.

Un-Churched Chimps

Research on monkeys and chimpanzees suggests that moral sensibilities evolved long before religious sensibilities.

How Long Will Your Dog Live?

New data shows that a dog's size has a greater influence on its life expectancy then we had previously believed.

Elephants Rescue Baby Who Lies Down on a Busy Highway

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this video of a herd of elephants rescuing a young herd member who decides for some reason to lie down on a busy highway in Kruger National Park in South Africa is well worth numerous words and the two plus minutes it'll take to watch it. Other animals can teach us valuable lessons about caring, compassion, and empathy.

Lessons on Safari: Putting Humans in Their Place

An African photo safari provides the pathway to internalize the power of animal life in our world.

More Evidence that Dogs Rose Early On

By Mark Derr on May 24, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
New evidence that dogs emerged in multiple places before the end of the last Ice Age.

Dog's Brains Are Tuned to Recognize Human Faces

Recent fMRI data shows that dogs' sensitivity to human faces and expressions may be wired into the canine brain.

5 Ways to Make Peace with Your Partner's Pet

You might love the new man or woman in your life but what do you do when you can't stand their pet?

Butts and Noses: Secrets and Lessons from Dog Parks

Dog parks are gold mines of information about the behavior of dogs and humans. In this brief essay I consider a number of common questions and provide "quick answers" and many different references to which readers can go. While we know a lot about dogs there also are many holes in the database despite claims to the contrary. There are numerous projects waiting to be done.

Moving Beyond the Euthanasia Imperative

Why is natural death wrong for our companion animals? Why is it a dangerous idea that animals could be—at least in some circumstances—kept comfortable and shielded from significant suffering as they live out their last days? And to turn the question backwards, why is euthanasia the unchallenged imperative in veterinary medicine?

Can Women be as Violent as Men?

Gender equality is making strides in most occupations, including violent ones such as the military and police. If violent crime is a “job,” as Woody Allen referred to bank robbery in Take the Money and Run, can we expect to see gender equality there also?

A Simple Way of Reducing Long-Term Stress in Dogs?

An unexpected finding — the simple act of walking your dog can affect its long-term ability to cope with stress.

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research once again shows rats display empathy so why do we continue to torture them in all sorts of invasive research? In the latest study rats were found to save other rats from drowning rather than eat chocolate and were "more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy."

The Ideal Dog

Having a well-mannered dog just might be easier than we thought.

Killing "Happy" Pigs Is "Welfarish" and Isn't Just Fine

A new book by Barry Estabrook called "Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat " could make a huge difference in people's meal plans. Following in Temple Grandin's footsteps Mr. Estabrook argues that pigs need to be treated better before they're killed on the way to people's mouth and that killing "happy pigs" is just fine. But, really, no one has to eat a pig.

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

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 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?

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

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.