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  • March 8, 2017
  • 10:30 AM
  • 280 views

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
  • 02:30 PM
  • 339 views

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:/

  • February 22, 2017
  • 12:00 PM
  • 295 views

The Function of Play Bows in Dog and Wolf Puppies

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research casts doubt on an old explanation for the play bow – and suggests it’s all about more play.The play bow is a glorious signal in dogs. The bum goes up and the elbows go down, leaving the rear end sticking up, usually accompanied by a lovely happy face (as pictured above). Not just reserved for other dogs, our canine friends will play bow to us too.Traditionally, it was believed that the play bow serves as a signal to say something like, “I’m just playing, it’s not real!”,........ Read more »

  • February 15, 2017
  • 12:00 PM
  • 347 views

"Dominance" Training Deprives Dogs of Positive Experiences

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Dominance is an outdated approach to dog training – and it also means dogs miss out on fun.Approaches to dog training based on dominance rely on the idea that you have to be the ‘alpha’ or pack leader. Unfortunately, this type of dog training is not just out-of-date and potentially risky, but modern approaches to dog training are also a lot more fun – for you and the dog.What is dominance in dog training?We sometimes hear the phrase ‘my dog is being dominant.’ ‘Your dog is being do........ Read more »

  • February 8, 2017
  • 10:30 AM
  • 308 views

Timing and Attention Matter in Dog Training, New Study Shows

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Analysis of videos of dog training sessions show that getting the dog’s attention and good timing of rewards are linked to better results.A new study looks at the interactions between people and dogs whilst teaching ‘lie down’. The results show the importance of the timing of rewards and of getting the dog’s attention in order to be successful in dog training.The study is part of a wider research project at the University of Sydney into what they call “dogmanship.” I asked first auth........ Read more »

Payne, E., Bennett, P., & McGreevy, P. (2017) DogTube: An examination of dogmanship online. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 50-61. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2016.10.006  

  • January 18, 2017
  • 10:30 AM
  • 350 views

Finding Out if Dogs Like Cats - Or Not

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study investigates the best way to find out if a dog will get on with cats.When dogs are waiting for adoption at a shelter, a common question is “what is the dog like with cats?” But at the moment there’s no validated way to test dogs to see if they will be friendly to cats.Some dogs become good friends with cats, but other dogs want to chase and kill them, so it would really help if shelters knew if a dog is cat-friendly.Sometimes the person who surrenders a dog will provide informa........ Read more »

  • December 7, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 439 views

Losing a Pet Can Lead to Different Types of Grief

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research looks at the factors that influence how we feel after euthanizing a pet.The loss of a pet is a difficult process. People’s feelings of grief may be the same as for losing a human family member. New research investigates some of the factors that may affect people’s grief and sorrow after euthanizing a dog or cat.The study, by Sandra Barnard-Nguyen (University of Sydney) et al, is one of the first to use a survey designed specifically to measure people’s responses to loss o........ Read more »

  • November 30, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 450 views

Playtime After Training Improves a Dog's Memory

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Making time for play immediately after a dog training session improves the dog’s memory.New research by Nadja Affenzeller (University of Lincoln) et al investigates whether play following learning leads to better performance the next day. The scientists wanted to know whether this effect, previously found in humans, would also apply to dogs.In people, it is thought that the hormonal response during positive arousal acts on parts of the brain called the hippocampus and amygdala and leads to........ Read more »

  • November 23, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 468 views

Pets May Help Children Learn About Animal Welfare

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Children’s beliefs about animal welfare and sentience are linked to their own experiences with animals.Surprisingly little is known about children’s beliefs and knowledge about animals. Yet this information could help to improve humane education programs for children. Two recent studies begin to fill this gap, with recommendations for how humane education is taught.We know from previous research that even very young children like animals, and that children with pets are more likely to attrib........ Read more »

  • November 2, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 440 views

Testing an Automated and Humane Way to Resolve Barking

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Teaching a quiet behaviour using an automatic feeder is a promising solution to barking problems.Some dogs bark when their owner is out and they are left home alone. A recent study by Alexandra Protopopova  (Texas Tech University) et al investigates the effectiveness of a humane, automated approach to solving barking problems.The research was conducted because some owners use citronella or shock collars to try and prevent their dogs from barking. While the devices may sometimes work, there ........ Read more »

  • October 26, 2016
  • 10:30 AM
  • 445 views

Study Shows Just How Stressed Dogs Are at the Vet's

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Most dogs show signs of impaired welfare at the vet, according to their owners.A survey of 906 dog guardians in Italy found most people report their dog as being stressed at all stages of the visit to a vet clinic, from being in the waiting room to being examined by the vet. 6.4% of dogs had actually bitten their guardian at the vet and 11.2% had growled or snapped at the vet.The report by Chiara Mariti (University of Pisa) et al draws important conclusions about what owners and vets need to do ........ Read more »

  • October 19, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 456 views

A Windstorm is a Reminder of Disaster Preparation for Pets

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The best time to start disaster preparation for your pet is now.Recently, like many people in this part of the world, we heard there was a big storm on the way. The third of three windstorms was said to be the most powerful. Since we live in an area with many beautiful trees and the power lines are above ground, it does not take much to knock out the power.In the end, we were lucky. The storm was not as strong as predicted, and it changed track and went further north. But it’s a reminder that ........ Read more »

  • September 19, 2016
  • 03:30 PM
  • 544 views

Harnesses are a Great Choice to Walk Your Dog

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study compares a harness to a neck collar and finds both are good for canine welfare.Milo. Photo: Sabrina MignaccaHarnesses are often said to be better for your dog than walking on a collar, but no one had investigated it. Now, a team of scientists at Hartpury College (Grainger, Wills & Montrose 2016) has published a study of the effects of walking a dog on a harness and on a neck collar.The same dogs were walked on a neck collar and on a harness on separate occasions, and their behavi........ Read more »

  • August 31, 2016
  • 11:30 AM
  • 476 views

Brain Scans Show Your Dog Loves You And Food

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

An fMRI study shows different dogs have different preferences for food and social interaction.A recent fMRI study investigates individual differences in dogs’ preferences for food and social interaction with their owner. The results have been widely – and erroneously – reported as showing that dogs prefer praise to food. In fact, the results paint a far more interesting picture of how brain activity predicts canine choice.I think most people feel subjectively that their dog loves them. The........ Read more »

Cook PF, Prichard A, Spivak M, & Berns GS. (2016) Awake Canine fMRI Predicts Dogs' Preference for Praise Versus Food. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. PMID: 27521302  

  • August 17, 2016
  • 11:45 AM
  • 592 views

In Dog Training, Balance Is Off

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

It’s not a good thing when dog trainers describe themselves as ‘balanced’. Here’s why.When you think about balancing dogs, your first thoughts might be of a dog walking along a beam, all nicely balanced and not falling off. Or maybe of a dog posing for a photo with a pile of cookies balanced on their muzzle, to show off how good their balancing skills are.But, unfortunately, this is not what people mean when they refer to ‘balanced’ dog training.Balance is one of those weasel words i........ Read more »

  • August 10, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 684 views

Dog Bite Strength: It's Not What You Think

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Scientists tracked down the evidence for a common statement about bite strength in dogs – and found it lacking.Have you ever read comments about the strength of a dog’s jaw when it bites? These statements are often made in relation to certain types of dog, like pit bulls. Maybe some people take it as fact. But what if it’s not true?A recent paper by Dr. Gary Patronek (Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University) et al traced citations in the literature and went back to the ori........ Read more »

  • August 3, 2016
  • 02:45 PM
  • 816 views

Why Do People Choose Certain Dogs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Many factors go into people’s choice of dogs. Animal welfare isn’t always top of the list, but could this change?English Bulldogs only live six years, according to a recent paper that highlights the lack of genetic diversity in this breed (Pederson et al 2016). Karin Brulliard of the Washington Post spoke to one of the authors of the study, Niels Pederson. “There are genetic diseases that [breeders] could test for, but they choose not to. Which means they’re more interested in the coat c........ Read more »

Asher, L., Diesel, G., Summers, J., McGreevy, P., & Collins, L. (2009) Inherited defects in pedigree dogs. Part 1: Disorders related to breed standards. The Veterinary Journal, 182(3), 402-411. DOI: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.08.033  

Diverio, S., Boccini, B., Menchetti, L., & Bennett, P. (2016) The Italian perception of the ideal companion dog. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 27-35. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2016.02.004  

King, T., Marston, L., & Bennett, P. (2009) Describing the ideal Australian companion dog. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 120(1-2), 84-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.04.011  

Lampe, R., & Witte, T. (2014) Speed of Dog Adoption: Impact of Online Photo Traits. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18(4), 343-354. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.982796  

Mornement, K., Coleman, G., Toukhsati, S., & Bennett, P. (2012) What Do Current and Potential Australian Dog Owners Believe about Shelter Practices and Shelter Dogs?. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 25(4), 457-473. DOI: 10.2752/175303712X13479798785850  

Pedersen, N., Pooch, A., & Liu, H. (2016) A genetic assessment of the English bulldog. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 3(1). DOI: 10.1186/s40575-016-0036-y  

Waller, B., Peirce, K., Caeiro, C., Scheider, L., Burrows, A., McCune, S., & Kaminski, J. (2013) Paedomorphic Facial Expressions Give Dogs a Selective Advantage. PLoS ONE, 8(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082686  

  • July 20, 2016
  • 11:45 AM
  • 674 views

Behaviour Problems in Guide Dogs

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The behavioural reasons why guide dogs sometimes end their working lives early, and what it means for pet dogs.A study by Geoffrey Caron-Lormier (University of Nottingham) et al looks at twenty years of data from Guide Dogs (UK). During this time, 7,770 working guide dogs, who had worked with blind or partially sighted people, were withdrawn from service. By far the most common reason was retirement, which applied to 6,465 dogs (83%). The authors looked at the reasons why other dogs were withdra........ Read more »

  • June 8, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 746 views

Canine Science is Better than Common Sense

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We need canine science because common sense can lead us astray.Recently I wrote about why science matters to our dogs and cats, based on findings from Dr. Paige Jarreau’s research that suggests science blogs (like this one) may contribute to readers having a better knowledge of science.I thought of this again recently because a comment I often see from readers – on any kind of science story on the internet – is "don’t we know this already? Isn’t it just common sense?"I understand the c........ Read more »

  • May 11, 2016
  • 10:00 AM
  • 762 views

Dog Attacks on Guide Dogs: The Personal and Financial Cost

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new report finds there are 11 dog attacks on guide dogs every month in the UK, on average.The lifetime cost of a guide dog for the blind is approximately US$75,000Guide dogs provide essential assistance to people who are blind or partially sighted. When other dogs attack guide dogs, the consequences can be severe. The charity Guide Dogs has been keeping records of these attacks, and a new paper by Rachel Moxon (of Guide Dogs) et al details the problems faced over a 56 month period from 2010 to........ Read more »

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