Essential Reads

The Truth About Being Left-Brained or Right-Brained

Do you think of yourself as a right- or left-brained person and does it matter?

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

Pain, Fear, and Death Documented at Monkey Breeding Facility

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 02, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Videos and pictures documenting the horrific and unspeakable abuse of monkeys have generated a USDA inspection for violations at a primate breeding facility. If you have the stomach for it, you can see a video and some photos online. You can do something about it by filing a petition that already has more than 15,000 signatures. These monkeys really need your support.

Is There a Relationship between Playfulness and Trainability

Recent data leads to the conclusion that if you test a puppy's eagerness to play with a person you may actually be testing its trainability as well.

Separation Anxiety: The Great Imitator (Part 1)

Did you know that behaviors we commonly think of as being diagnostic for separation anxiety (destruction, urination/defecation inside, vocalization) can actually be signs of other behavior problems? In this series of blogs, Dr. Stepita will explore these causes as the problem is unlikely to be managed or resolved without knowing the root cause of your dog's behavior.

Regret And Worry: A User’s Guide

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on May 31, 2015 in Ambigamy
Regret and worry have their place. Here's some background on them, helpful to keeping them in their place.

Living With My Dog Is Like.....

Dogs with behavioral issues need help too!

New York Blood Center Leaves Chimps to Die of Starvation

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 29, 2015 in Animal Emotions
An institution that conducted experiments on approximately 200 chimpanzees and made a commitment to provide them with lifelong care has abandoned the ones who are still alive, leaving them to die of starvation. Dr. Brian Hare, an anthropologist and primatologist at Duke University notes, “Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this.”

When Your Dog Dies

We all suffer losses, but the death of the family dog is clearly one of the most painful we endure. Our attachment to our canine friends trumps many of our human relationships. It's not that people are less valuable or meaningful to us, but where else do we find such unconditional love, loyalty, happiness in the simplest of pleasures and rarely a complaint?

Play, Primates, Jealousy, Work, and Losing Deliberately

By Peter Toohey on May 27, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
Gorillas like to play games and when they do, they sometimes lose deliberately. Why? “Self-handicapping” encourages their playmate to keep on with the game. Jealousy can be very like play—there are triangles, winners and losers, and feelings run high. This is very true of workplace jealousy. Does self-handicapping have a role to play in mitigating workplace jealousy?

Sounding Off About High-Volume Friends

How to reclaim our personal quiet zones and restore peace. High-volume blusterers are often chronic—even if unknowing—offenders, and they are generally among our least favorite folks to encounter. Otherwise pleasant personalities become ones we avoid. The psychology of behavioral shaping offers a polite way to turn down the volume.

Jordan Dog: Dismembered, Abandoned, and Rehabilitated

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 27, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A video of the rescue and rehabilitation of an abused and abandoned dog named Jordan will force you to question our conflicting relationships with other animals. I hate to say it, but you must watch this video and share it widely. The scientific field of anthrozoology is concerned with the study of human-animal relationships and this video is a must-see for all.

Un-Churched Chimps

Research on monkeys and chimpanzees suggests that moral sensibilities evolved long before religious sensibilities.

How Long Will Your Dog Live?

New data shows that a dog's size has a greater influence on its life expectancy then we had previously believed.

Elephants Rescue Baby Who Lies Down on a Busy Highway

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 27, 2015 in Animal Emotions
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this video of a herd of elephants rescuing a young herd member who decides for some reason to lie down on a busy highway in Kruger National Park in South Africa is well worth numerous words and the two plus minutes it'll take to watch it. Other animals can teach us valuable lessons about caring, compassion, and empathy.

Lessons on Safari: Putting Humans in Their Place

An African photo safari provides the pathway to internalize the power of animal life in our world.

More Evidence that Dogs Rose Early On

By Mark Derr on May 24, 2015 in Dog's Best Friend
New evidence that dogs emerged in multiple places before the end of the last Ice Age.

Dog's Brains Are Tuned to Recognize Human Faces

Recent fMRI data shows that dogs' sensitivity to human faces and expressions may be wired into the canine brain.

What to Do When You Hate Your Partner’s Pet

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on May 17, 2015 in The Squeaky Wheel
You might love the new man or woman in your life but what do you do when you can't stand their pet?

Butts and Noses: Secrets and Lessons from Dog Parks

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 16, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Dog parks are gold mines of information about the behavior of dogs and humans. In this brief essay I consider a number of common questions and provide "quick answers" and many different references to which readers can go. While we know a lot about dogs there also are many holes in the database despite claims to the contrary. There are numerous projects waiting to be done.

Moving Beyond the Euthanasia Imperative

Why is natural death wrong for our companion animals? Why is it a dangerous idea that animals could be—at least in some circumstances—kept comfortable and shielded from significant suffering as they live out their last days? And to turn the question backwards, why is euthanasia the unchallenged imperative in veterinary medicine?

Can Women be as Violent as Men?

By Nigel Barber Ph.D. on May 14, 2015 in The Human Beast
Gender equality is making strides in most occupations, including violent ones such as the military and police. If violent crime is a “job,” as Woody Allen referred to bank robbery in Take the Money and Run, can we expect to see gender equality there also?

A Simple Way of Reducing Long-Term Stress in Dogs?

An unexpected finding — the simple act of walking your dog can affect its long-term ability to cope with stress.

Why Shouldn’t We Use Punishment toTeach A Dog Not To Jump Up

There needs to be trust in our relationships with our pets.

Empathic Rats Save Drowning Pals Rather than Eat Chocolate

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 13, 2015 in Animal Emotions
Research once again shows rats display empathy so why do we continue to torture them in all sorts of invasive research? In the latest study rats were found to save other rats from drowning rather than eat chocolate and were "more likely to help when they’ve had an unpleasant swimming experience of their own, adding to growing evidence that the rodents feel empathy."

The Ideal Dog

Having a well-mannered dog just might be easier than we thought.

Killing "Happy" Pigs Is "Welfarish" and Isn't Just Fine

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 07, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book by Barry Estabrook called "Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat " could make a huge difference in people's meal plans. Following in Temple Grandin's footsteps Mr. Estabrook argues that pigs need to be treated better before they're killed on the way to people's mouth and that killing "happy pigs" is just fine. But, really, no one has to eat a pig.

Do Dogs Have Empathy for Human Stress and Discomfort?

Dogs and humans seem to respond in the same way when they hear the crying sounds of the distressed baby.

Your Dog and You: A New Book About Forming Close Friendships

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on May 05, 2015 in Animal Emotions
A new book by Gill Garratt, a psychologist and specialist in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) called "Your dog and you...: Understanding the canine psyche," is a very useful guide for forming close relationships between dogs and humans. The combination of scientific data, numerous case studies, and exceptional photographs make this book a most valuable read.

Makings of a Child

What is a father? How does assisted reproduction reshape how we think of fathers and mothers, and what are the consequences for children's genetic, epigenetic and cultural legacies?