Essential Reads

Born to Gossip

Every sentence is a juicy tidbit about who did what to whom.

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

Rewilding: A Cultural Meme for Rehabilitating Our Hearts

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 31, 2014 in Animal Emotions
My new book "Rewilding Our Hearts" calls for a personal/spiritual transformation of our relationships with all beings and their homes. In a video interview I recount how rewilding is necessary to undo the unwilding that occurs in all of our lives. Rewilding is a cultural meme and is all about rehabilitating our hearts and souls. It is about acting from the inside out.

Halloween Partying: Celebrate the Spirits Without Spirits

By Mendi Baron on October 30, 2014 in On the Verge
Some easy tips to celebrating Halloween clean.

Does Evolution Preclude Religious Faith?

By David P. Barash Ph.D. on October 29, 2014 in Pura Vida
Does evolutionary science preclude traditional religious belief? In my opinion, it doesn't, although it does make such belief substantially more difficult than it had been in pre-Darwinian days. In this post, I reprint an op-ed article I wrote for The New York Times, which generated a response avalanche - much of it misunderstanding what I was saying. Do you understand?

The Gentle Art, Part I

I recount my experiences shadowing a euthanasia veterinarian on her daily rounds.

The Gentle Art, Part II

What is it like to follow along with a euthansia veterinarian and see her work?

Keeping Dogs with Special Needs Happy, Healthy, and Active

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 29, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book called "No Walks? No Worries!" is a wonderful guide for dogs on restricted exercise. Written by Sian Ryan, who has a degree in clinical animal behavior, and Helen Zulch, a veterinarian, this book will be useful to the countless people who, from time to time, have to enrich their dog's life when she or he isn't allowed to frolic or take much exercise.

Working Hard or Slacking Off?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on October 28, 2014 in The Dolphin Divide
What down time tells us about our drive. Why workplace slacking isn’t really a question of character, but more a response to the nature of the workplace itself.

Is the Dog's Brain Tuned to Love People?

A recent MRI study shows that a reward center lights up in the dog's brain when he is reminded of a familiar human.

Beyond Blackfish: Symposium Marks a Rapid Heroic Response

By Rachel Clark on October 27, 2014 in Mothering Nature
Online symposium is a benchmark of rapid heroic response.

Becoming Conscious

By Ken Eisold Ph.D. on October 27, 2014 in Hidden Motives
Contrary to our subjective beliefs, we make most of our decisions automatically, unconsciously. Professor Michael S. A. Graziano at Princeton recently reminded us of this.

Help! Max Won’t Let Me Sleep at Night

You've heard of Alzheimer's Disease in people, but do you know about 'Dogzheimer's' in dogs? This is a very real and often distressing disease in dogs. Find out how to recognise if your dog is developing dementia type changes and how to help.

All Hands on Deck: A Science Writer Looks at Blackfish

By Rachel Clark on October 23, 2014 in Mothering Nature
Why Blackfish warrants a panel discussion and workshop at a major university, and how it's a gateway to overhauling the system that’s putting all life on Earth at risk.

When Did You Stop Kicking, Hitting Your Spouse, Dog, Child?

By Mark Derr on October 22, 2014 in Dog's Best Friend
To train a dog well, it is important to find out what motivates her. Katie would rather play tennis ball than eat.

Tommy the Chimp Is an Animal, Not a Prisoner

A human child, even as young as two years of age, is head-and-shoulders above any ape intellectually.

Why We're All Overwhelmed Today

By Richard E. Cytowic M.D. on October 21, 2014 in The Fallible Mind
Prolonged and repetitive exposure to devices changes our behavior and even the way we think. The result is counterproductive interruptions and flitting from one task to another. Attention is like a spotlight: what lies outside it is in our cognitive blind spot.

When Your Heart Hits the Wall

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on October 20, 2014 in Emotional Fitness
If you don’t want to put yourself out there again, don’t think that this makes you a loser. If you’ve made a conscious choice to stay away from dating and mating, then so be it. If your friends try to fix you up, say “no thanks.” Stay off of dating web sites, and do things for yourself that you might not be able to do in a relationship, like pampering yourself.

5 Truths about Marriage

Our cultural landscape suggests that marriage is the “next step” for any couple who enjoys a strong and satisfying physical attraction, sparkling conversations, and likes the same type of pets. Unfortunately, marriages built on physical attraction are not likely to survive long term. Marriage is not easy and marriage is not always “fun.”

The Vanishing Point of Grief

Grieving is not a linear process. It’s more of a spiral that leads us from our immediate broken heart, to a place of release and then, just when we think we have found some peace, sweeps us even more deeply into the tender heart of sorrow. That tender heart is the ground for compassion and acceptance, lifting us out of our sadness and into grace.

Dogs at Play: What They Do, Know, Think, and Feel

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 16, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A beautifully illustrated and well referenced book called "Canine Play Behavior" by German dog trainer Mechtild Käufer is a thorough and current review of what dogs do, know, think, and feel when they play and why they do it. It also is a goldmine for future research and exposes readers to studies about which they were unaware or published in languages they cannot read.

Animals in the Media: Guidelines for Accurate Representation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 15, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Important guidelines for giving voice to the voiceless are now available. At the website "Animals and Media" you'll find a style guide for how animals should be represented in journalism, advertising, PR, and entertainment, and there are also extremely valuable resources. This website should be mandatory reading for anyone reporting about nonhuman animals. It is that good.

Why Do Dogs Have Dewclaws?

Although dewclaws are nonfunctional extra toenails in dogs today, they tell us something about how dogs evolved.

​Barking Mad! “How do I stop my dog from barking?”

Barking dogs cause headaches, disgruntled neighbours, and disturbed sleep. In this blog learn how veterinary behaviourist, Dr. Gabrielle Carter tackles this stressful problem.

Why You Need to Know How to Say No

By Jennifer Verdolin Ph.D. on October 13, 2014 in Wild Connections
For many, setting limits can create feelings of guilt. But when we look at animals we see very clearly that animals often say no and don’t appear to feel the slightest bit bad about it. Why is that?

Serial Killers and the Essential Role of Fantasy

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on October 13, 2014 in Wicked Deeds
In many ways, the key to unlocking the pathological mind of a serial killer lies in the nature or content of his fantasy and how he actualizes it. Driven by obsessive fantasy, serial killers are compelled to murder again and again in order to satisfy their desires. However, the reality of killing never lives up to the perfect excitement of their fantasies.

Want More Energy? Mind Your Peas, Zzzs, and Queues

Learn how simple adjustments to your diet, sleep, and stress zones can boost your energy level.

Rats vs. Mice in Research: Were We "More Humane" Years Ago?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 09, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Why do researchers and the federal Animal Welfare Act continue to ignore what science has told us about animal sentience? A recent research report that shows that rats and mice perform similarly in different cognitive tasks totally ignores the ethics of their use in invasive research although we know that they and other animals are highly emotional and sentient beings.

Dogs and Toddlers Make the Same Errors

Some interesting illustrations of how dogs and children solve problems in a similar manner, and how they also make the same kinds of errors when they fail to get it right.

Why Testing on Monkeys Won't Help Kids

By A Guest Blogger on October 09, 2014 in The Guest Room
Studies done on monkeys do not result in benefits to humans. In fact, I am concerned with the psychological well-being of the children who are being targeted by researchers.

Lessons from the Tortoise People

By G.A. Bradshaw Ph.D., Ph.D. on October 08, 2014 in Bear in Mind
In everyday speech, we casually refer to reptiles when calling a seemingly emotionless person “cold-blooded.” Yet science now reveals that Tortoises and other reptiles are cold-blooded only in physiology and metaphor. We humans share comparable brain structures and functions that govern a rainbow of emotions, feelings, and even consciousness.

Testicles Are Cool

By Robert D. Martin Ph.D. on October 08, 2014 in How We Do It
An odd feature of most mammals is descent of the testes. Testes migrate from a protected position by the kidneys to end up in pouches outside the body cavity. Many attempts have been made to explain this strange development, ranging from the pull of gravity through sexual display to avoiding concussion. In fact, the lower temperature in the scrotum provides the key.