Essential Reads

Why Do We Wince When We're in Pain?

By Nathan H. Lents, Ph.D. on September 12, 2016 in Beastly Behavior
The recent discovery that all mammals make the same pain-face begs the question, why? One reason could be that wincing is a facial expression intended to communicate danger.

Play, Newness, and You

By Wilma Koutstaal Ph.D. on September 04, 2016 in Our Innovating Minds
What leads us to try new things?

Equine Tourette’s Syndrome

By Nicholas Dodman on September 04, 2016 in Dog Days
Can horses have Tourette's Sydrome? This author belives they can.

Are Pet Owners Really at Greater Risk of Cancer?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on September 01, 2016 in Animals and Us
A new study used "big data" to examine the associations between pet-ownership and cancer rates and physical activity in older women. The results are surprising.

More Posts on Animal Behavior

Therapy Dogs or Robots for Nursing Home Residents?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 09, 2016 in Animals and Us
Do robots or dogs make better therapists in assisted living facilities?

8 Misconceptions About Therapy, Service, and Support Animals

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on February 08, 2016 in Animals and Us
Can you get a free airplane ride for your pet snake? Can you take a psychiatric service dog into a bar? Here are the answers to some common questions about assistance animals.

Is Your Dog in Pain?

By Jessica Pierce Ph.D. on February 03, 2016 in All Dogs Go to Heaven
A new book helps dog owners understand and address pain.

Which Toys Do Dogs Prefer?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on February 03, 2016 in Canine Corner
Research shows that dogs get bored quickly with their toys, so new is always better — although there are exceptions.

Why Are There More Service Dogs Than Ever?

By Susan B. Winston LMFT on February 03, 2016 in Shift Happens
Have you noticed that there are more and more service dogs in your restaurants, stores, planes? Do more and more people need the comfort of their four-legged friends?

What's a Good Life for an Old Dog?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on February 01, 2016 in Animal Emotions
At the end of a dog's life a tasty treat is better than nasty pills with major side effects. I hope someone will make the same decision for me if a comparable situation arises.

Your Dog Can’t Be In Pain As He Runs and Plays? Think Again!

Pain can contribute to your pet's behavioral issues and can be challenging to diagnose.

Parrots to the Rescue: How they Help Veterans with PTSD

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 31, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A New York Times essay by Charles Siebert called "What Does a Parrot Know About PTSD?" is a must read about how parrots can help people deeply in need. It could be a life-changer.

The Exotic Pet Trade: Human-Animal Interactions Gone Bad

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 29, 2016 in Animal Emotions
The exotic pet trade is a lucrative international enterprise responsible for the horrific death of millions of animals. Here is an interview with a scientist trying to end it.

A Guest in Quiet

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 28, 2016 in Bear in Mind
What rattlesnakes teach us about the grace and dignity of being reptile.

Risky Business: The Psychology of Facing Danger

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on January 27, 2016 in The Dolphin Divide
How we arrive at the willingness to take calculated risks. Specific components of mental conditioning are often required to face moments of grave danger.

Why Do Dogs Turn in Circles Before Lying Down?

New data helps to explain why dogs spin around in circles before laying down — it's all about comfort.

Dog Tales Are Fun to Read but Often Stretch What We Know

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 27, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Dogs do not live in the moment nor are they unconditional lovers. Tales about how dogs help humans are great to read but must stick to what we know about these amazing beings.

Did Dogs Take 18,000 Years to Reach the Middle East?

By Mark Derr on January 26, 2016 in Dog's Best Friend
Most of the world's dogs approximately one-billion dogs are free-ranging, but it's sometimes hard to tell. These dogs guard sheep on the Navajo Reservation.

The Psychology of Supremacism: Whether White, Male or Human

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 24, 2016 in Moral Landscapes
As a child the women around me routinely warned each other not to insult the ego of a nearby male. Male supremacism was not challenged, till later. How about human supremacy?

Voles Console Friends and Display Oxytocin-Based Empathy

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 24, 2016 in Animal Emotions
A new study on prairie voles shows for the first time that rodents console others in distress. Consolation appears to evolve under specific social and evolutionary conditions.

Dosing Nature: Feeling Down, Take a 3 Minute Walk 2x a Day

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 22, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Can we really dose nature? A recent essay called "The Problem with Nature Therapy" considers different sides of this question and poses a challenge to conservation psychologists.

Are Women Better Dog Trainers Than Men?

The fact that four out of five companion dog trainers are women may be partially due to the fact that dogs respond differently to men and women.

Doing What Light Does

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on January 19, 2016 in Bear in Mind
Explore the psychology of compassion that knows no boundaries.
Ruth Collier

So Human an Animal: Homo Sapiens?

Perhaps dogs have the edge on us as a species when we study the history of mankind in nature’s world.

Sheep to the Rescue in Learning About Emergency Evacuations

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 17, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Sheep show that "faster is slower" and show us how to escape potentially tragic situations.

At What Age Should Puppies Be Brought to Their New Homes?

New data confirms that when a puppy is taken from its litter at too young an age problems develop when it becomes an adult.

Why the News Is Loaded With Violence

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on January 14, 2016 in The Human Beast
If it bleeds, it leads according to a journalistic aphorism. This emphasis distorts reality and reinforces grisly crimes. But where in the human psyche does it come from?

Play in Animals: A Potpourri of New Comparative Research

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on January 13, 2016 in Animal Emotions
Four new essays discuss play in animals including metacommunication, fairness, social competence, and how dominance relationships among players need to be considered.

The Psychology Behind the Doctors Strike in the UK

Strikes can also serve a psychological function, because if the union were never to strike, the employer would always offer the lowest possible remuneration...

Will You Lose Weight By Giving Up Meat?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 11, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most diets fail. This new study compares vegetarianism and veganism as strategies for shedding excess pounds. The results are encouraging.

Puddle Week Viral Videos

By Siu-Lan Tan Ph.D. on January 08, 2016 in What Shapes Film?
It's "PUDDLE week" in the world of viral videos... just in time to brighten up our first week back after the holidays!
By Tom Adams (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This Is Why Couples Cannot Hold Grudges

By Jennifer Verdolin Ph.D. on January 06, 2016 in Wild Connections
Conflict is always stressful, and animals show us that re-establishing positive interactions quickly afterward is crucial for a relationship to remain healthy.

Three Reasons Why Pets Don't Lower Health Care Costs

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 04, 2016 in Animals and Us
An industry study claims that the medical benefits of owning pets save Americans $12 billion dollars a year on health care costs. Here are the reasons they might be wrong.

Something Radiant and Unknown

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 31, 2015 in Bear in Mind
Sanctuary cannot erase an Elephant's traumatic past, but it can reignite the spark within.