Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Visit Blog Website

129 posts · 98,073 views

This blog takes a scientific approach to understanding the behaviour of companion animals, especially dogs and cats. Topics include dog training, animal cognition, environmental enrichment for indoor cats, the development of kittens and puppies, the effects of the recession on pets, and how dogs can motivate people to exercise. Follow this blog to keep up-to-date on the research on companion animals and their relationship with people.

CAPB
129 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • March 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 73 views

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  

  • March 18, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 80 views

The Right to Walk Away

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

What can pet owners learn from the way scientists give animals choices in research?When people take part in research, scientists must ensure they give informed consent. When the participants are pets, owners give consent on their behalf: they understand the risks of the research and they have the right to end their participation at any time (e.g. if they feel their dog is stressed). We can’t ask animals about their feelings, but scientists have several ways they give the pets a choice.In Sarah........ Read more »

  • March 11, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 83 views

Where Do Cats Like To Be Stroked?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

People expect cats to enjoy affection, but what’s the cat’s opinion?Research by Sarah Ellis (University of Lincoln) et al investigated how cats respond to being stroked by their owner and an unfamiliar person, and which parts of the body they prefer to be petted. The results show cats have definite preferences.It is thought that animals prefer petting from humans to be similar to the ways animals show affection to members of their own species. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you are expec........ Read more »

  • March 4, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 83 views

Taking Care of your Pet Rabbit

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Rabbits are the third most popular pet, but how should you look after them?A study by Nicola Rooney (University of Bristol) et al asked 1254 rabbit owners about how they housed, fed, played with and otherwise cared for their rabbit. The good news is that “many pet rabbits were found to be in good health, had compatible companions and were provided with enriched living areas.” But there were also many areas where things could be improved. The most common type of rabbit was a Lop, followe........ Read more »

Rooney NJ, Blackwell EJ, Mullan SM, Saunders R, Baker PE, Hill JM, Sealey CE, Turner MJ, & Held SD. (2014) The current state of welfare, housing and husbandry of the English pet rabbit population. BMC research notes, 942. PMID: 25532711  

  • February 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 110 views

Why You Need to Socialize Your Puppy

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The importance of socialization can’t be stressed enough.These days, more and more people understand that puppies need to be socialized. But sometimes people wonder, how do we know this? It’s based on classic research in canine science.Many papers contribute to our understanding of puppies. In 1950, J.P. Scott and Mary-‘Vesta Marston published a study of 17 litters, including the earliest age at which they opened their eyes for the first time, began to walk, and engaged in play. They hypot........ Read more »

  • February 18, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 156 views

What Do Young Children Learn From Pets?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Is a better understanding of biology something children can learn from dogs and cats?Young children are very interested in animals. One study even found children aged 11 – 40 months would prefer to look at an animal behind a glass screen (even if the animal is fast asleep) rather than play with a toy (LoBue et al 2013). Now researchers are asking whether this interest in animals means that children with a cat or dog know more about biology than those without.The study, by Megan Geerdts (Univer........ Read more »

  • February 11, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 157 views

Why Do People Take Part in Dog Sports?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Is it for themselves, for the dog - or a bit of both?People can participate in dog sports (like agility) at any level, from local classes to national and international events. A study by Joey Farrell (Lakehead University) et al investigates what motivates people to take part in dog sports, and why some compete much more often than others. They recruited people at events where at least two different sports were taking place, from a list of agility, rally, field, obedience and conformation (s........ Read more »

Farrell, J., Hope, A., Hulstein, R., & Spaulding, S. (2015) Dog-Sport Competitors: What Motivates People to Participate with Their Dogs in Sporting Events?. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of The Interactions of People , 28(1), 61-71. DOI: 10.2752/089279315X1412935072201  

  • February 4, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 133 views

Unanticipated Animals: What Happens When Pets Appear in Research Interviews?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study finds pets are often written out of research reports.We all know the saying “never work with children or animals”. Normally it applies to actors. But what happens when a researcher goes to interview someone and a pet is there too? A new paper by Sara Ryanand Sue Ziebland(University of Oxford) says that health scientists are not paying enough attention to the importance of pets in people’s lives.Their analysis shows that pets are often ignored or are seen as an interruption in i........ Read more »

  • February 1, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 152 views

A Conversation with Mia Cobb

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

On Wednesday we covered Mia Cobb’s new paper on working dogs and canine performance science. Mia's research has the potential to have a big impact on the lives of working dogs. She kindly agreed to talk to us about working dogs, animal welfare, and her new puppy Rudy.How can we improve the training of working dogs?One of the key things that would help to improve the success rates of trainee working dogs would be wider recognition of the sum of all the parts that make a successful working dog. ........ Read more »

  • January 28, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 145 views

How Can We Improve Working Dog Programs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new paper suggests ways to develop the welfare and performance of working canines.A search-and-rescue dog takes part in a training exerciseHave you ever stopped to think about the amazing variety of jobs that dogs do: herding sheep, chasing criminals, sniffing out cancer, assisting people with disabilities, supporting the military in the field, detecting explosives or narcotics, visiting sick people in hospital, pulling sleds, search and rescue, and so on. They bring a wide variety of ski........ Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 207 views

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
  • 08:30 AM
  • 208 views

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  

  • January 7, 2015
  • 08:30 AM
  • 213 views

Does It Matter What Age You Neuter Your Kitten?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates whether age of neutering affects feline behaviour – and looks at punishment and other variables too.Photo: NCAimages / ShutterstockThere are so many cats without homes that some shelters neuter kittens early, at 8 – 12 weeks old, so they are neutered prior to adoption. This is the only way they can guarantee that a kitten will be neutered. Normally, cats are neutered at 6 – 8 months old. Kittens, like puppies, have a sensitive period that is an important soci........ Read more »

  • December 17, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 242 views

Picking a New Dog is a Complex Choice

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

It’s not a case of ‘any puppy will do’ - the whole package counts.Photo: DragoNika / ShutterstockSurprisingly little is known about how people choose a new dog considering how popular they are. While it’s a personal choice, it has wider implications – humane societies would really like to know how to increase adoptions from shelters and decrease purchases from puppy mills. Could relocation programs, where dogs are brought in from out of town, be part of the solution?A new paper by Laur........ Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 240 views

The Companion Animal Science Story of the Year?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Dogs love learning. Eureka!Photo: Anna Tyurina / ShutterstockScience Borealis challenged Canadian science bloggers to write about the most important science news of the year in their field. It’s incredibly tough to choose one single study. Every week we cover fascinating research about people’s relationships with their pets, and every one of those studies deserves to be chosen. But there was one paper that really captured our readers’ imagination. It’s one of our most shared storie........ Read more »

McGowan RT, Rehn T, Norling Y, & Keeling LJ. (2014) Positive affect and learning: exploring the "Eureka Effect" in dogs. Animal cognition, 17(3), 577-87. PMID: 24096703  

  • December 3, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 355 views

Learning More About Animal Abuse

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates the effects of abuse on domestic dogs.Photo: GeorgeMPhotography / ShutterstockThe paper, by Franklin D. McMillan (Best Friends Animal Society) et al, looks at the behaviour profiles of 69 dogs with a very strong suspicion of abuse, and compares them to 5,239 pet dogs. The abused dogs scored significantly higher on various problem behaviours including aggression and fear to unfamiliar people and dogs, attachment problems, attention-seeking, and repetitive behaviour........ Read more »

McMillan, F., Duffy, D., Zawistowski, S., & Serpell, J. (2014) Behavioral and Psychological Characteristics of Canine Victims of Abuse. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18(1), 92-111. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.962230  

  • November 26, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 299 views

Does Playtime for Cats Reduce Behaviour Problems?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Does few toys and no play equal issues with your cat?Photo: XSeon / ShutterstockA new survey of cat owners by Beth Strickler and Elizabeth Shull investigates how many toys the average cat has, how often their owner plays with them, and whether there is a link with behaviour problems. Since behaviour problems are a common reason for cats to be surrendered to shelters and so many cats are euthanized every year, it’s important to understand how meeting the behavioural needs of cats can lead to fe........ Read more »

Ellis, S., Rodan, I., Carney, H., Heath, S., Rochlitz, I., Shearburn, L., Sundahl, E., & Westropp, J. (2013) AAFP and ISFM Feline Environmental Needs Guidelines. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 15(3), 219-230. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X13477537  

Strickler, B., & Shull, E. (2014) An owner survey of toys, activities, and behavior problems in indoor cats. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 9(5), 207-214. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2014.06.005  

  • November 19, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 312 views

Are Dogs Good for Our Health?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We’re used to reading that they are, but it’s more complicated than you think.Photo: legenda / ShutterstockA new study by González Ramírez and Landero Hernández in Mexico compares dog-owners with non-dog-owners to find out whether or not dogs are beneficial to people’s health and well-being. They wanted to improve on the design of many previous studies by comparing two groups of people who were similar except for the fact that some owned dogs and some did not.There are several reasons w........ Read more »

  • November 12, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 278 views

Should Pets be Included in Emergency Planning?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And can they help vulnerable people be more resilient?Photo: Nika Art / ShutterstockA new paper by Thompson et al (2014) in Australia considers how pets can be incorporated into planning for emergencies such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and forest fires. It can quite literally be a matter of life and death. For example, they say, “over 8% of flood-related fatalities in Australia from 1788 to September 1996 resulted from people’s attempts to save ‘stock, property or pets’ – even w........ Read more »

Lem, M.,, Coe, J.B.,, Haley, D.B.,, Stone, E.,, & O'Grady, W. (2013) Effects of companion animal ownership among Canadian street-involved youth: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 40(4), 285-304. info:/

  • November 5, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 315 views

How Many Dogs is Enough for Canine Science?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And does it matter which dogs they are?Photo: Julia Remezova / ShuterstockThe number of dogs that take part in each research study is variable. Often, the sample size is small, because of the difficulty of recruiting dogs and their owners. And while scientists know how many are needed for statistical analysis, there are other things to take into account too.For example, breed may or may not be relevant. If only ten dogs take part in a study and they are all Australian Shepherds, the result........ Read more »

Berns, G., Brooks, A., & Spivak, M. (2012) Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs. SSRN Electronic Journal. DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2047085  

Lofgren, S., Wiener, P., Blott, S., Sanchez-Molano, E., Woolliams, J., Clements, D., & Haskell, M. (2014) Management and personality in Labrador Retriever dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 44-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.04.006  

Savvides, N. (2013) Living with dogs: Alternative animal practices in Bangkok, Thailand. Animal Studies Journal, 2(2), 28-50. info:/

Westgarth, C., Christley, R., Pinchbeck, G., Gaskell, R., Dawson, S., & Bradshaw, J. (2010) Dog behaviour on walks and the effect of use of the leash. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 125(1-2), 38-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2010.03.007  

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit seedmediagroup.com.