Essential Reads

How Long Will Your Dog Live?

A dog's remaining life expectancy can be predicted by its size and current age.

Elephants Rescue Baby Who Lies Down on a Busy Highway

An incredible video of a herd of these magnificent beings caring for a baby

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

Research again shows rats display empathy so why do we torture them in labs?

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

It Makes No Sense to Punish a Fearful Dog

Fear and anxiety are at the root of many dog behavior problems. Fearful dogs lack confidence and are already stressed, and punishing them for manifesting those things will not make them better. In this blog Dr. Ilana Reisner explains how fear can be changed by associating the scary stimulus with food and reinforcing alternative behaviors.

Of Vultures and Pain Killers

A colleague who is visiting our Poison Control Center from Europe recently asked me if I knew anything about vultures and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, specifically diclofenac. The near extinction of the dominant species of vulture in the Indian subcontinent is linked to this pharmaceutical...

Bonding (Physically) With Same-Sex Individuals

By Jesse Marczyk on November 30, 2014 in Pop Psych
A new papers suggests that homoerotic behavior functions to bond same-sex friends closer together. I remain skeptical.

Cephalopods: The Fascinating Lives of Sensitive Beings

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 29, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book summarizes what's known about the fascinating lives of cephalopods, including octopus and cuttlefish. We learn, for example, that who some call the "two-brained" octopus engage in exploration and object play, have different personalities, demonstrate complex foraging strategies, show dynamic forms of camouflage, and may have simple forms of consciousness.

The Whites of Your Eyes Convey Subconscious Truths

By Christopher Bergland on November 27, 2014 in The Athlete's Way
A new study has found that our eye whites communicate important social cues that are key to our bonding and survival at a conscious and unconscious level,

Like Real-estate, Feline House Soiling Is All About Location

Spite and anger are not the reasons a cat will no longer use their litter box.

Your Guilty Conscience's Secret Message

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on November 25, 2014 in The Dolphin Divide
What guilt might be saying about your friendships. When our consciences kick up a guilt-ridden fuss, it is often in an effort to preserve something that is most precious to us, namely friendship. Feelings of guilt could mean we owe someone – big time.

An Easy Way to Prevent Food Aggression in Dogs

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 25, 2014 in Canine Corner
Food aggression or food bowl guarding is learned while a puppy is still in its litter, however it is easily prevented.

Do Your Hobby at Work

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 25, 2014 in How To Do Life
More often than you might think, you can incorporate your hobby into your job.

Big-Balled Males Kill Infants More than the Less Endowed

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 24, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Large testicles are associated with males of a given species killing youngsters. Big-balled males kill infants more than the less endowed. A recent essay in New Scientist magazine begins, "GREAT balls of fury. Large testicles could be a giveaway sign that the males of a species are given to killing their rivals' offspring." They kill so that they can then reproduce.

Did Time Stop For You?

By Judith Coche Ph.D., ABPP on November 23, 2014 in No Ordinary Life
Join me as I visit with Maureen and her infant, Fawn, whose lives illustrate the power of fully engaging with each other and show us the core of living a flourishing life.

Interviews with My Intellectual Idols: Part III

This installment focuses on my January 2014 interview with the world’s most decorated living scientist, Harvard University’s Edward O. Wilson. Among hundreds of other accolades, Ed is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction and recipient of the Crafoord Prize, biology’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

New Psych Test Opens Moral Can of Worms

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 20, 2014 in Ambigamy
Does a young beauty have more in common with her older crone self or with another young beauty? Either way you answer it, one might question your morality.

Ward Family Questions Raise Issues for Us All

The death of sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr. sparked a heated national conversation over who was at fault. Had NASCAR star Tony Stewart done enough to avoid hitting Ward? Had Ward written his own death sentence by exiting the car?

"Animal Weapons" and "Why Life Matters," Two Excellent Books

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 20, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Two new books deserve a wide readership. In "Animal Weapons" researcher Douglas Emlen concludes, "Weapons of mass destruction change the stakes … We're not likely to survive another arms race." In "Why Life Matters" Michael Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison provide a global view of what numerous people are doing to keep diverse ecosystems and all animals alive and thriving.

Into the Virtual Wild

Lions, rhinos, giraffes--all the big mammals of the African savanna mesmerize the imagination, even as humans drive them into extinction. But technology might help children connect virtually, while teaching about animal conservation and habitat protection. A "wild animal app" tries to do just that.

Do Dogs Grieve Over a Lost Loved One?

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 18, 2014 in Canine Corner
Images of dogs mourning over the death of someone dear to them are common in fine art and in photos on the Internet. Although behavioral scientists agree that these dogs are showing great sorrow and sadness they debate as to whether the emotion the dogs are feeling is really grief.

Lucky Thirteen (For Cats, Anyhow)

By John Bradshaw Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in Pets and Their People
The sequencing of the feline genome continues to shed light on the domestication of the cat, which may now be attributed to changes in as few as 13 genes.

Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Really Work?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on November 17, 2014 in Animals and Us
Can interacting with dogs or horses help treat mental and physical illnesses? I recently reviewed the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of animal assisted therapies. The good news is that the vast majority of studies have reported that animal therapy works. The bad news is that...

The Last Great Wild Places: Rewilding Through Photographs

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 16, 2014 in Animal Emotions
A new book by world renowned photographer Thomas Mangelsen called "The Last Great Wild Places" is a most welcomed volume of awe-inspiring photographs and a reminder of just how influential we have been in destroying landscapes globally. It surely will serve to rewild ourselves and also can be a valuable lesson in anthrozoology, the study of human-animal relationships.

The Dominance Down

You don’t have to dominate your dog to train him.

How to Communicate Effectively with Older Adults

Higher standards of living and medical advancements are extending life expectancies in many countries to well above the age of eighty. Caring for, and having successful relationships with older adults often requires unique communication skills and strategies. Here are five keys for successful communication with seniors...

Women With Male Friends Have More Sex (But Not With Them)

By David J Ley Ph.D. on November 15, 2014 in Women Who Stray
Recent research finds that men who have more attractive female partners, who have more male friends (the female that is), have more sex. This might reflect sperm competition, and men trying to fight off the chances that the women could cheat. But, this might also reflect some unique aspects of the woman herself.

Animal Farm

By Laura Betzig Ph.D. on November 14, 2014 in The Political Animal
Almost a century after the Bolshevik Revolution ousted tsar Nicholas II, and close to 70 years after George Orwell finished his fiction about Josef Stalin, the forces of democracy, and opposing forces, are being played out in the former Soviet Union.

Age Appropriate Chores for Children

By Rebecca Jackson on November 13, 2014 in School of Thought
Learning habits take firm root in children by 3rd grade, so it’s helpful for parents to know what chores are age appropriate.

Smart Collars Monitor Your Dog's Activity and Health

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on November 12, 2014 in Canine Corner
Devices already on the market allow you to remotely talk to your dog, while tracking his location, activity and wellness

Wolves: Hunting Affects Stress, Reproduction, and Sociality

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Animal Emotions
Hunted wolves show elevated levels of stress and reproductive hormones that influence reproduction (more multiple litters in a pack) and social organization. Wolf expert Paul Paquet notes the "resulting harm can be acute, chronic, and permanent, sometimes spanning generations.” Merely counting wolves and then deciding how to manage them is a shoddy unscientific practice.

Dog TV: A Pet Antidepressant

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 in Time Out
Americans spend a great deal on their pets. Much of it doesn't make a difference to the animal. Dog TV may sound frivolous, but it turns out to be sound.

Is Going to a Zoo Like Shopping for a Car? Musical Semen

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 11, 2014 in Animal Emotions
At a recent meeting of the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) many different issues were discussed, including the effects on animals being shipped around as breeding machines (musical semen), the formation of captive groups and the removal of animals for various reasons, and what zoos really do in terms of education and conservation.

Can Pets Help Us From Beyond the Grave?

Grieving the death of a pet can be a lonely process. Is loving a pet inherently a short-lived joy?