Essential Reads

Quebec Considering Bill Declaring Animals to Be Sentient

An interview I recently did lays out what this bill likely will and won't mean.

Say Your Dog's Name and He May Form an Image of Your Face

Dogs can associate their owner's voice with a mental picture of his or her face.

How Did Dogs Become Our Best Friends?

Dr. Brian Hare studies dogs' uncanny ability to understand our gestures

Why We Have Dogs

The evolutionary origins of our four-footed friends

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Insufficient Childhood Sleep And Teenage Overweight

By Dennis Rosen M.D. on December 12, 2014 Sleeping Angels
A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics on December 11th 2014 found a strong connection between insufficient sleep in early childhood and overweight in adolescence.

Modern Marriage

We can use the imagination and the will to adapt that allowed us to claim meaningful partnerships in the face of adversity--and against all odds--to remain awake, alive, and engaged with our spouses, well beyond our wedding days.

Pope Francis Says That All Dogs Go to Heaven

Pope Francis contradicts the long standing Catholic Church catechism by claiming that animals have souls and can enter Paradise.

The Freedom to Change Your Experience of the Holidays

By Hal Shorey Ph.D. on December 08, 2014 The Freedom to Change
Although it should be a time of joy and celebration, many of us look toward the holidays with a sense of foreboding. The good news is that once you grasp some basic principles, you can implement these twelve suggested strategies for making the most of your time with family and friends across the holiday season.

Improve How You Feel by Changing Your Attention

By Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D. on December 06, 2014 Living Forward
You can learn to control painful emotions through the simple but highly significant process of learning to redirect your attention.

Do Animals Play for the Hell of It? Watch This Fox

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 05, 2014 Animal Emotions
Watch this video of two red foxes discovering a trampoline. One chooses to play on the trampoline while the other is cautious and never goes onto it. The lessons offered in this video are that animals do play for fun and that personality differences can be displayed, ranging from being exploratory and playful to being very curious and cautious. I really enjoyed it.

Mindfulness Without Therapy

By Jenni Ogden Ph.D. on December 03, 2014 Trouble in Mind
Every one of us is an expert in the arts of Mindfulness, Mind Wandering and Time Travel. In this first of three posts I muse about ways to experience mindfulness without therapy, yoga or relaxation exercises, and whether non-human animals demonstrate mindfulness.

The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins: We Are Not Alone

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on December 02, 2014 Animal Emotions
A new book called "The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins" by renowned researchers Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendall is a must read. It is perfect for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses and also for a broad audience that is interested not only in whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans, but also in other animals in which culture is clearly and amply present.

Bonding (Physically) With Same-Sex Individuals

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

Do Your Hobby at Work

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

Did Time Stop For You?

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.

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

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 20, 2014 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.

Lucky Thirteen (For Cats, Anyhow)

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 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...

Age Appropriate Chores for Children

By Rebecca Jackson on November 13, 2014 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.

Dog TV: A Pet Antidepressant

By Renee Garfinkel Ph.D. on November 12, 2014 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.

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?

26 Mysteries of Life Explored and Explained

Why do brides buy their wedding gowns (which, one would imagine, that would wear only once) but grooms rent their tuxedos (which, one would imagine, they would have other occasions to wear--if only as a joke?

Picky Eaters: Emotional or Physical Problem?

Children may refuse to eat for physical reasons (constipation, abdominal pain) which can be addressed with supplements. But when they lose their appetite because of stress or grief, natural medicines can help.

Understanding Gender Differences in Religiosity (Part II)

In Part I of this series, I reviewed the current literature on gender differences in religiosity. Here I examine how to understand these findings from a unified approach.

Animal Heroes: "Daisy to the Rescue" Celebrates Compassion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 06, 2014 Animal Emotions
A new book about animal heroes called Daisy to the Rescue: True Stories of Daring Dogs, Paramedic Parrots, and Other Animal Heroes contains numerous stories of compassion and caring in a wide variety of animals. It is a very inspiring read and can be used to generate further studies into the study of animal consciousness and animal minds in the field of cognitive ethology.

SeaWorld Exposed: Behavioral Profiles of Captive Orcas

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on November 05, 2014 Animal Emotions
The information in this file of behavior profiles of captive orcas released by SeaWorld needs to be analyzed and is perfect for theses. I want to inform a wide public about these data as they are a goldmine for studying the behavioral profiles of captive orcas, many of whom are extremely aggressive and understandably go crazy in captivity. It's a study in "orcazoology."

Are same-sex marriages good for the economy?

By Gordon Hodson Ph.D. on October 31, 2014 Without Prejudice
With noticeable declines in the numbers of heterosexual marriages, marriages between gay couples can boost the economy among businesses linked to the wedding industry. By similarly tuning self-interests toward economic strategies that cut carbon emissions, can psychology help save the planet?

Mind Over Meat

By Juliana Breines Ph.D. on October 31, 2014 In Love and War
How do we reconcile our love for animals with our desire to eat them?

The Art, and Crucial Importance, of Flirting

Whether it's covert or overt, the art of seduction is a very important part of courtship. Despite what some may think, humans don't have the market on flirting techniques. It can be surreptitious or it can be brazen, but animals flirt in as many varied ways you could imagine.

Halloween Partying: Celebrate the Spirits Without Spirits

By Mendi Baron on October 30, 2014 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 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.

Keeping Dogs with Special Needs Happy, Healthy, and Active

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on October 29, 2014 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.

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.