Essential Reads

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

Dogs don't like people who are unhelpful or uncooperative to their loved ones

Evolutionary Basis to Differences Between Cats and Dogs

An Almost-Serious Scholarly Debate on Evolved Behavioral Differences

Humans Are a "Unique Super-Predator" Claims New Research

A new study shows humans have incredibly broad negative effects as predators

A Path of Few Regrets

The risk of decisional regret in animal end-of-life care

Recent Posts on Animal Behavior

Charlie: The Feral Dog Who Came in From the Wild

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 03, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book about a feral dog called "Charlie: The Dog Who Came in From the Wild" by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma shows the importance of shared trust, love, and deep commitment when one chooses to live with a "difficult dog" who came to the author with very special needs that could only be satisfied by a very special human being. This is a most important book for humans and dogs.

The Nature and Consequences of Noise Sensitivity in Dogs

By Stanley Coren Ph.D., F.R.S.C. on September 03, 2015 in Canine Corner
Recent data suggests that noise sensitivity in dogs may be based upon genetic and physiological factors and may also predict separation anxiety, fearfulness in novel situations, and even some age-related changes in stress responses.

What Happens When the Dogs Strike Back

By Mark Derr on September 03, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
In "White God," mutts strike back against oppressive humans. Bodie is one of two canine brothers who portray Hagen.

New Book Re-examines Lives of Captive and Confined Animals

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on September 02, 2015 in Animal Emotions
In his new book called "The End of Captivity?" Dr. Tripp York discusses zoos, pets, conservation, Christian ethics, and much more centering on the lives of captive and otherwise confined animals. It would be a perfect choice for undergraduate and graduate courses in biology and religious studies, and I'm sure high school students would get a lot out of reading it as well.

Excessive Barking Part I: Why Does My Dog Bark?

Does your dog bark excessively? Do you have any idea why? Before you try to stop the barking, you need to know how to address the reasons it's happening. Any other plan just puts a Band-Aid over the problem and never really corrects it.

Dog-Gone It!

By Saul Levine M.D. on August 31, 2015 in Our Emotional Footprint
I went from being a dog-fearing man all my life, to a "higher level" of being.

Now that Yellowstone Killed Blaze Bear What About Her Cubs?

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 28, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Killing Blaze, a mother grizzly bear, really was a decision that "killed" three bears. Now her two surviving cubs are supposed to go to the Toldeo Zoo, however, there is huge resistance to this move. Zoo administrators like to note that captive bears live long and cushy lives in cages, but that is not what it is like to be a grizzly. They should be returned to the wild.

Who's More Rational, Human Animals or NON-human Animals?

By David Ropeik on August 28, 2015 in How Risky Is It, Really?
Discoveries about animal intelligence and emotion, and about human cognition, are challenging our views of which species on the Tree of Life are more rational.

Why Are We So Prone to Feeling Crazy?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on August 27, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How our nature nurtures feelings of insanity. If we’re not stressed out and feeling crazy right at this moment, we’ve probably paid a recent visit to that neighborhood – and are likely to return in the very near future. Our own thinking may twist us – but it can also uncrumple us again.

Dogs Avoid People Who Are Not Cooperative with Their Owners

New data shows that dogs, like young human children, continually watch the social interactions going on around them and use information from what they observe to decide who to avoid in the future.

Vegetarianism and Money: Surprising Results from a New Study

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 24, 2015 in Animals and Us
What the results of a new survey of the diets of Americans reveal about the connection between vegetarianism and household income.

Evolutionary Basis to Differences Between Cats and Dogs

Is the denial of evolved behavioral sex differences in humans similar to the idea of denying that cats and dogs differ from each other by nature? (warning: satire alert!)

For the Love of Dogs: Three Ways Companion Animals Help

By Richard Taite on August 21, 2015 in Ending Addiction for Good
According to a Gallop Poll, sixty percent of Americans have a pet. Most of those who have a companion animal have a dog.

Humans Are a "Unique Super-Predator" Claims New Research

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 21, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new study shows humans have incredibly broad negative effects as predators that are unsustainable. While a BBC essay and others that summarize this study do not make for especially pleasant reading, I urge everyone to read something about this new groundbreaking study, for its results are important for every single human. No one is spared from our predatory ways.

How Dogs Show Us What Is Happening in the World

Dogs have developed a behavioral technique that involves directing the attention of humans to objects in the world that may be of interest.

Behavioral "Red Flags" in the Dog

Dogs show many different signs that they are stressed or scared. Understanding their body language can help an owner or caregiver understand the dog's mindset, avoiding being bit, and make events more pleasant for their dogs.

A Path of Few Regrets

Decisional regret—the remorse or distress than patients or caregivers experience after making high-stakes health care decisions— is a real risk, especially in high stakes decisions such as euthanasia. Although much discussed in the human health care literature, decisional regret is rarely addressed in the veterinary context.

What's Wrong with Antianxiety Drugs?

Recognition of the multiplicity of the brain systems that contribute to fear and anxiety disorders is the first step towards the development of better treatments.

Why do we owe sex and romance to viruses?

By Eyal Winter on August 14, 2015 in Feeling Smart
Why we owe sex and romance to viruses?

Yellowstone Kills Blaze, a Bear Who Attacked Off-Trail Hiker

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Blaze, a grizzly bear who tragically killed an off-trail hiker in Yellowstone National Park, was slaughtered today and plans are being made to place her two surviving cubs in a zoo. Following the killing of Cecil the lion, these sorts of human-animal interactions bring to light our complex and challenging relations with other animals and with spending time "out in nature."

Grief: Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Personal Views

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A recent BBC Forum called "Grief" offers a very thoughtful and easy to understand discussion of cross-cultural, cross-species, and personal perspectives in which three women consider a wide array of different forms of grief and loss. I highly recommend it as it surely will encourage listeners to pay more attention to these topics.

Pets As Ambassadors?

Affection for animals may be expressed in many, possibly interlocking, ways. New research suggests that pet-keeping is linked to positive attitudes towards the natural world, indicating that conservationists may need to rethink their antipathy towards cat owners.

Do You Prefer You Pets to Your Friends?

Pets are like a combination between court jesters and strict Freudian therapists: They can make you feel better about the world while never saying a word.

Who Gets the Dog?

By Ruth Lee Johnson J.D. on August 12, 2015 in So Sue Me
When can your vengeful ex successfully take your precious pet away from you? It is more complicated than you think. Learn how to protect yourself and your furry best friend.

Do Dogs Understand Play Signals Given by Humans?

Some of the most frequently used human signals inviting dogs to play simply don't work. However there are certain signals people can give to their dogs which get them to play 100% of the time.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 5)

By Michael Jawer on August 11, 2015 in Feeling Too Much
Strange but true occurrences suggest that what family members (including our pets) feel for one another bonds us in unusual ways. Such experiences could only be chalked up to sheer one-in-a-million chance were it not for their conjunction with deep emotion.

Do Dog Owners REALLY Make Better Lovers?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 in Animals and Us
A recent Psychology Today post asked whether dog owners are better lovers. Let's look at what the new science of human-animal relationships actually reveals about the connection between love, sex, and pet-ownership.

Can the Mystery of the Dog Be Solved?

By Mark Derr on August 10, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
Dogs did not domesticate themselves in early human garbage dumps, despite what many believe.

Compassionate Conservation Meets Cecil the Slain Lion

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on August 09, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A recent meeting on the growing field of compassionate conservation helped to define the field, and much discussion centered on the challenging question if killing "in the name of conservation" is acceptable. Diverse opinions were presented and while some argued that killing animals in the "most humane" way was necessary and acceptable, others argued the killing must stop.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 4)

By Michael Jawer on August 08, 2015 in Feeling Too Much
Some animals have truly distinctive personalities. The passing of one such pet created an enduring mystery while also hinting at the spiritual nature of emotion-laden family ties.