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  • March 8, 2017
  • 11:30 AM

Dearly Departed Dogs

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do online pet obituaries reveal how we truly feel about our pets?Guest post by Jane Gething-Lewis (Hartpury College).“You were such a selfless and giving boy. Dad loves you with all his heart.”A heartfelt online tribute to a dearly departed loved one – but this loved one had four legs, a tail and was called Cosmo. Over the top? Not necessarily. Research suggests that many people feel the loss of a beloved pet as keenly as the loss of a child.The bond people have with each other has long be........ Read more »

  • February 24, 2017
  • 03:30 PM

Irresistible: Emotions affect choice of breed despite welfare issues

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Knowing a breed of dog may have health problems does not stop people from wanting one, because emotions get in the way. A new Danish study by Peter S Sandøe (University of Copenhagen) et al investigates the reasons why people acquire particular small breeds of dog and how attached the owners feel to their pet. The research helps explain why some breeds are popular despite a high incidence of welfare problems. The study looked at people in Denmark with French Bulldogs, Chihuahuas, Cava........ Read more »

Sandøe P,, Kondrup SV,, Bennett PC,, Forkman B,, Meyer I,, Proschowsky HF,, Serpell, JA,, & Lund, TB. (2017) Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. . PLOSOne. info:/

  • May 17, 2015
  • 09:30 PM

Less Talk More Touch: What's Your Dog Saying to You?

by Cobb & Hecht in Do You Believe In Dog?

Guest post by: Erica Feuerbacher, PhD, of Carroll College Anthrozoology Program (Facebook)via Flickr creative commonsHi Mia and Julie, Like you and your readers, much of my energy is devoted to my dogs’ happiness. I can identify a plethora of things they do that make me happy and I want to know what makes them happy; I explore this in my research. What types of human interactions do dogs prefer and under what circumstances? Knowing this might help us understand how to produce and maintain........ Read more »

  • May 13, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

6 Reasons to Love Canine Science

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Recent years have seen a blossoming of the field of canine science. Here are some reasons to love it.Because dogs are amazing, and science proves it!We love our dogs, and fMRI studies show how important people are to dogs (their caudate lights up on smelling a familiar human, Berns et al 2014). Dogs can learn to follow pointing gestures,  will try to comfort a crying stranger and respond to the sound of a baby crying. Chaser the border collie knows 1000 words. And we mustn’t forget how am........ Read more »

Freedman, D., King, J., & Elliot, O. (1961) Critical Period in the Social Development of Dogs. Science, 133(3457), 1016-1017. DOI: 10.1126/science.133.3457.1016  

Hall, N.J., Lord, K., Arnold, A-M.K., Wynne, C.D.L., & Udell, M. (2015) Assessment of attachment behaviours to human caregivers in wolf pups (Canis lupus lupus). Behavioural Processes, 15-21. info:/

Morrow, M., Ottobre, J., Ottobre, A., Neville, P., St-Pierre, N., Dreschel, N., & Pate, J. (2015) Breed-dependent differences in the onset of fear-related avoidance behavior in puppies. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.03.002  

O'Haire, M., McKenzie, S., McCune, S., & Slaughter, V. (2013) Effects of Animal-Assisted Activities with Guinea Pigs in the Primary School Classroom. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 26(3), 445-458. DOI: 10.2752/175303713X13697429463835  

  • April 15, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

Earliest Memories of Pets

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do our earliest childhood memories of pets influence our attitudes to animals?  Think back to your first memory of a pet, whether it was your own or someone else’s. Is it a happy memory, or a sad one? Were you interacting with the animal, or just watching? And is it possible that early memories like this influence your attitudes as an adult?This question was posed by Philip Marshall(Texas Tech University) et al, who compared earliest memories of a pet, a friend and an automobile. 223........ Read more »

Marshall, P.D., Ireland, M.E., & Dalton, A.A. (2015) Earliest memories of pets predict adult attitudes: phenomenological, structural and textual analyses. Human Animal Interaction Bulletin, 3(1), 28-51. info:/

  • March 25, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

Can Street Dogs Become Good Pets?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

From free-ranging dog to new home. It sounds like a fairy-tale, but how does it work out?A recent survey by Yasemin Salgiri Demirbas (Ankara University) et al investigates how well free-roaming urban dogs fit into a family home once they are adopted. The results show the dogs adapt well to their new homes.The scientists say, “Every year in Turkey, thousands of free-ranging dogs are brought to dog shelters. These dogs are mongrel dogs with stray origins.” There is often a bias against adoptin........ Read more »

Salgirli Demirbas, Y., Emre, B., & Kockaya, M. (2014) Integration ability of urban free-ranging dogs into adoptive families' environment. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(5), 222-227. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.04.006  

  • January 21, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

Do Dogs Prefer Petting or Praise?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study asks dogs to make the choice. Photo: Felix Rohan / Shutterstock Normal 0 false false false EN-CA X-NONE X-NONE ... Read more »

Fukuzawa, M., & Hayashi, N. (2013) Comparison of 3 different reinforcements of learning in dogs (Canis familiaris). Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 8(4), 221-224. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2013.04.067  

OKAMOTO, Y., OHTANI, N., UCHIYAMA, H., & OHTA, M. (2009) The Feeding Behavior of Dogs Correlates with their Responses to Commands. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 71(12), 1617-1621. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.001617  

  • January 14, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

Do Hand-Reared Wolves get Attached to their Humans?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Researchers test the bond between captive wolf pups and the humans who rear them.Photo: Geoffrey Kuchera / ShutterstockWe all think our dogs form attachments to us, but previous studies with wolf pups have suggested they don’t attach to their caregiver in the same way. While a 16-week old puppy is already attached to its owner, scientists found the same is not true of a 16-week old wolf. However, the way the wolf pup is raised and the age of testing may have an effect. New research by Nathanie........ Read more »

Hall, N.J., Lord, K., Arnold, A-M.K., Wynne, C.D.L., & Udell, M. (2015) Assessment of attachment behaviours to human caregivers in wolf pups (Canis lupus lupus). Behavioural Processes , 15-21. info:/

Rehn, T., Lindholm, U., Keeling, L., & Forkman, B. (2014) I like my dog, does my dog like me?. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 65-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.10.008  

  • October 1, 2014
  • 03:17 PM

What Encourages People to Walk Their Dog?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And is dog-walking a good way to persuade people to take more exercise?Photo: Monkey Business Images / ShutterstockWe know that most people do not get the 150 minutes of exercise per week that is recommended. Could encouraging people to walk their dogs more often help, and if so, how best to go about it? A new paper by Carri Westgarth et al (2014) of the University of Liverpool reviews the state of current research.Although to some dog owners a daily walk is an essential part of the routine, the........ Read more »

  • April 16, 2014
  • 09:30 AM

Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Help At-Risk Boys?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

If existing behavioural programs aren’t working, can therapeutic sessions with a dog help boys who have problems at school?Photo: criben / ShutterstockA new paper by Abbey Schneider et al (2014) investigates the success of a program designed to help boys who are considered ‘at-risk’ – by matching them up with a specially trained dog and handler.In Colorado, a group of elementary schools take part in a program called the Human Animal Bond in Colorado (HABIC). It is designed to help ........ Read more »

Schneider, A.A.,, Rosenberg, J., Baker, M., Melia, N., Granger, B., & Biringen, Z. (2014) Becoming relationally effective: High-risk boys in animal-assisted therapy. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 2(1), 1-18. info:/

  • January 22, 2014
  • 09:30 AM

Me and My Dog: Is the Feeling Mutual?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

You know you love your dog. Those gorgeous eyes that gaze up at you, the way she runs to greet you when you get home from work, and that cute way she drops the leash in your lap when it’s time for walkies. It’s all adorable. But does your dog feel the same way about you? Photo: Poprugin Aleksey / ShutterstockA new study by Therese Rehn et al (2014) investigates whether or not there is a link between how an owner feels about their relationship, and how the dog feels. Twenty dog-owner pairs to........ Read more »

Rehn, T., Lindholm, U., Keeling, L., & Forkman, B. (2014) I like my dog, does my dog like me?. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 65-73. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.10.008  

  • January 13, 2014
  • 01:00 PM

It Must Be Love Love Love: The Neurobiology of Love

by Robert Hollis in Antisense Science

Conceptually, romantic and maternal love may be seen as very distinct, but it’s easy to see why humans have evolved these emotions: together, they lead to the production and safe-keeping of children – the foundation of species survival. It’s therefore not surprising that the biology of these two emotions involves similar areas of the brain, whilst also incorporating discrete areas that may account for the perceived difference between the two states. ... Read more »

Esch T, & Stefano GB. (2005) The Neurobiology of Love. Neuro endocrinology letters, 26(3), 175-92. PMID: 15990719  

  • July 3, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

What Pets Do Children Have, And Which Do They Prefer?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Some people have wonderful memories of the pets they had as a child, running through meadows with the dog or playing dress-up with the cat. Others never particularly cared for the animal or spent time with it. Why do some people have such apparently idyllic relationships with their childhood pets, while others don’t?A fascinating new study led by Dr. Carri Westgarth of the University of Liverpool investigates pet ownership amongst 9 and 10 year old children. The study took part in a deprived a........ Read more »

Lobue V, Bloom Pickard M, Sherman K, Axford C, & DeLoache JS. (2013) Young children's interest in live animals. The British journal of developmental psychology, 31(Pt 1), 57-69. PMID: 23331106  

Westgarth C, Boddy LM, Stratton G, German AJ, Gaskell RM, Coyne KP, Bundred P, McCune S, & Dawson S. (2013) Pet ownership, dog types and attachment to pets in 9-10 year old children in Liverpool, UK. BMC veterinary research, 102. PMID: 23668544  

  • June 12, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Homing and Re-homing Fido: How many newly-adopted pets are still kept six months later?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

When people adopt a new pet, why do some of them re-home the pet before six months is up? And how many actually still have the pet in the home? These are the questions asked in a new survey for the American Humane Association, funded by PetSmart.Every year in the US, 3 to 4 million homeless dogs and cats are euthanized. Understanding how many pets are not kept, and the reasons why, is essential to finding ways to solve the problem of pet overpopulation. The problem is not unique to the US......... Read more »

  • June 5, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Is attachment to pet dogs linked to their behaviour?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Some people are more attached to their dogs than others.  Recently, we wrote about a study that found that people who relinquished their dog to animal shelters had lower attachment to them than people who were keeping their dog. This week, we discuss a new study by Christy Hoffman et al that asks whether there is a link between a dog’s behaviour and how attached the owner is to the dog.The study involved a questionnaire that was completed by 60 adults and 92 children from sixty dog-........ Read more »

Fratkin, J., Sinn, D., Patall, E., & Gosling, S. (2013) Personality Consistency in Dogs: A Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE, 8(1). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054907  

Hoffman, C.L., Chen, P., Serpell, J.A., & Jacobson, K. (2013) Do dog behavioral characteristics predict the quality of the relationship between dogs and their owners?. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 1(1), 20-37. info:/

  • May 15, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Why do people surrender dogs to animal shelters?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Five to seven million companion animals arrive at animal shelters in the US each year, and about half of these are animals being surrendered by their owners. Why do people surrender their pets? To find out, a new study by Jennifer Kwan and Melissa Bain compared dogs being relinquished at three Sacramento animal shelters to those dogs that were there simply to receive their vaccinations.The experimenter spent time at the shelters during the hours when relinquishments could take place, and w........ Read more »

  • April 10, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Is having many cats an early sign of animal hoarding?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

In January of this year, 99 live cats and 67 dead ones were removed from a woman’s home near Albany, New York. The cats were living in crates surrounded by faeces, and the woman was subsequently charged with animal cruelty. If situations like this could be predicted, psychological help at an early stage might prevent animals from being harmed. A study published this month by Ramos et al in Brazil investigates whether or not the early stages of cat hoarding can be identified. Animal h........ Read more »

Ramos, D., da Cruz, N.O., Ellis, S.L.H., Hernandez, J.A.E., & Reche-Junior, A. (2013) Early stage animal hoarders: Are these owners of large numbers of adequately cared-for cats?. Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, 1(1), 55-69. info:/

  • March 13, 2013
  • 09:30 AM

Do Dogs Find Their Owners Presence Supportive When a Threatening Stranger Comes Near?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

How does your dog compare to a toddler? Recent animal research is comparing the abilities of dogs with young humans. A brand new study by Márta Gácsi et al in Hungary investigates whether dogs have the same response as infants to a test called the Strange Situation.In humans, attachment theory explains how children need to develop a strong attachment to at least one caregiver. If they don’t, their social and emotional development will be disrupted. As infants begin to crawl, the caregiver is........ Read more »

  • December 12, 2012
  • 09:30 AM

How to Help a Fat Cat Lose Weight

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Many cats are overweight or obese. A recent review by Kathryn Michel and Margie Scherk summarizes the problem and the steps that should be taken to help cats lose weight. Their paper begins by discussing the serious health concerns caused by overweight and obesity: an obese cat is almost four times as likely to get diabetes as a normal-weight cat, and more likely to suffer from other problems such as urinary tract disease and lameness. They point out that just ten extra pieces of kibble a day, o........ Read more »

Michel K, & Scherk M. (2012) From problem to success: feline weight loss programs that work. Journal of feline medicine and surgery, 14(5), 327-36. PMID: 22511475  

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