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

Captive Killer Whales Die Much Younger than Wild Orcas

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 29, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new study shows captive killer whales don't live as long as wild relatives. The researchers show that "62 to 81 percent of wild female killer whales live at least 15 years. In contrast, only 27 percent of the now-dead females in the captive study survived that long. Roughly half of the still-living captive female whales are at least 15 years old."

Dogs and Underdogs: Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 28, 2015 Animal Emotions
Elizabeth Abbott's "Dogs and Underdogs: Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash" and Toni Shelbourne's "Among the Wolves" are excellent reads. Both books are filled with personal stories about these amazing beings and show how we can rescue and help them and they can in turn rescue and help us. Both also raise numerous questions about human-animal relationships.

Kids and Animals Helping One Another at Green Chimneys

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 26, 2015 Animal Emotions
I just returned home from a most inspiring conference called "Growing Together: Kids, Animals and Sowing the Seeds of Resiliency" held at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York. This interdisciplinary gathering on human-animal interaction shows how much can be done for the kids and the animals who in many ways rescue, help, and heal one another. Green Chimneys rocks!

Sex with Animals

Is zoophilia, or sexual attraction to animals, a sexual orientation? Or is it a perversion? And is it possible to engage in zoo-sex without causing harm?

Is Your Dog Lonely?

Is Your Dog Lonely? It can be difficult to decide whether to adopt a second dog

Need a Lift? Just Look Into a Dog's Eyes.

By Mark Derr on April 22, 2015 Dog's Best Friend
Japanese researchers make a lofty claim for what staring into your dog's eyes does to you and your dog.

Does Emotional Attachment to an Owner Change in Older Dogs?

Although older dogs may appear to be more placid and less emotionally responsive, physiological measures show that this is not the case. They may actually be reacting to stress to a greater degree than they did when they were younger.

Treatments Available to Long Term Abduction Victims

A variety of therapeutic techniques that focus on empowerment and reconnecting with family can help abduction victims heal.

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 15, 2015 Animal Emotions
Wildlife Services, more appropriately called Murder Inc., wages a horrific war on all types of wildlife using inhumane and indiscriminate methods. In 2014 they killed 2,713,570 animals. Wildlife Services kills using taxpayers money and there is enormous collateral damage and what they call "unintentional killing." Fortunately, their killing ways are being scrutinized.

Is There an Epidemic of Fake Service Dogs?

In order to gain access to public places such as restaurants and hotels with their pets a number of people are purchasing service dog vests and meaningless assistance dog identification cards and certificates from commercial online service dog registries. These do not require that the dog be trained nor that the person have a disability.

Time to Tidy Up Your Head

When a book about tidying up your home hits the top of the best seller's list, there's got to be something worth reading in it. Or maybe this is just a wake up call for all of us to look at the kind of cleaning up we really need to do. The author asks that you completely empty your drawers and closets. I ask that you completely empty out your head.

"Squash It!”

We tend to focus on ‘squashing’ ‘bad’ behavior, A shift in perspective to examining the motivations behind the behavior may ultimately prove more useful.

Putting Music to the Words

By David Ludden Ph.D. on April 13, 2015 Talking Apes
In animal communication systems, you can have either syntax or semantics. Human language, however, integrates the two. As a result, our range of expression is almost limitless.

Gracing Clients’ Lives

Boomer died suddenly at age 9, leaving a trail of progeny and well wishes for his therapy work with clients.

What's in a Name? A Lot More Than You Think.

What are the little things in your room and your life telling you?

Is Competition Between Men Healthy?

In moderation, competition is a normal, healthy human expression and way to strengthen ourselves. But it is not uncommon for competition to be taken to extremes, and manipulated to feed a man’s ego. If left unaddressed, unhealthy competitiveness can lead to detrimental relationships and other long-term problems for men.

Do We Project Our Own Personalities Onto Our Dogs' Behavior?

Dogs can be a sort of psychological mirror since people sometimes use their own personality tendencies to fill in the gaps when trying to interpret ambiguous dog behaviors.

The Modern Savage: A New Book Questions Why We Eat Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 Animal Emotions
James McWilliams' book "The Modern Savage: Our Unthinking Decision to Eat Animals" is a very thoughtful work about our meal plans where he covers the ecological and ethical reasons for not eating other animals and shows that labels such as "cage free," "free range," and "humanely raised" are not necessarily sound and ethical. There's a good life beyond beef and after meat.

The Emotional Lives of Rats: Rats Read Pain in Others' Faces

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on April 01, 2015 Animal Emotions
A new study shows that rats are able to read the pain that other rats are suffering. When are those people who are responsible for writing legislation to protect animals from invasive and abusive research going to use the scientific information that is readily available to protect them from unnecessary harm, pain, and death? The federal Animal Welfare Act is lame.

Announcing a New Journal in Psychology

By Jesse Marczyk on March 31, 2015 Pop Psych
It's time to fix the false positive problem in psychology.

Can You Ever Mend A Broken Heart?

Animals and people can die of a broken heart. The pain and grief we feel when we lose a loved one activates some of the same brain areas as those that formed that love in the first place. Moving forward with the scars of loves we have lost can make us wary of opening up to new relationships.

What Pet Owners Can't Know About Their Pets

By Peg Streep on March 31, 2015 Tech Support
Dog owners universally ascribe complex emotions to their furry companions. But what's really going on? Do dogs feel what we think they feel or are we all just projecting?

Can You Stop Thinking?

Why do our minds chatter away so much? Why involuntary mental chatter is bad for us, and how can we quieten it.

Monkey Business

By David Ludden Ph.D. on March 30, 2015 Talking Apes
Humans have a number of brain regions that are dedicated to language processing, but other primates also have these same neural structures.

What to Consider When Adding to Your Four-Legged Family

Choosing a new canine companion can be daunting. Should you adopt a shelter pet or buy from a breeder? Would a puppy or adult dog be a better fit for your life style and family? In this blog Dr. Stepita discusses what to consider before bringing your next furry family member home.

Is Euthanasia Just Another Pet Service?

Euthanasia is often listed alongside nail trimmings and flea treatment, as if it were one among a series of “services” a pet owner might seek out on a given day. Isn’t the killing of a pet a far more serious proposition, morally speaking, than a mere “pet service” like a vaccination or a quick shampoo?

How to Spend the Time You Have Left

Today is the first day of the rest of your life! Are you living life to the full? Are you spending your time wisely?

Say What? Why Do People Forget They Have a Live Mic?

What is it that makes this universal faux pas in attention and concentration so easy to occur?

Do Dog People and Cat People Differ in Terms of Dominance?

New data suggest that dog people and cat people are selecting their preferred pet because it complements their own personality.