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  • November 18, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Education about Cats may Reduce Feline Behaviour Problems

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Behavioural advice for people with a new kitten is linked to a better-behaved pet at 1 year old.A new pet can be hard work, and if people don’t fully understand the needs of their animals, behaviour problems can result. A new study investigates whether education for owners at their first vet appointment is the answer. People with a new kitten (3 months old) were given 25 minutes of standardized advice on caring for cats. The study, by Angelo Gazzano et al (University of Pisa) compared the........ Read more »

  • November 4, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Large Study Finds No Evidence for "Black Dog Syndrome"

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A study of over 16,000 adoptable dogs finds black dogs don’t take longer to be adopted after all.Understanding what people look for in adoptable dogs can make a big difference to animal shelters. It makes sense to target promotions in order to stop dogs having lengthy stays. But you can only do this if you know what people want. The idea that black dogs wait longer for a new home than dogs of other colours has been around for a while. New research by Heather Svoboda and Christy Hoffman (C........ Read more »

  • October 28, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Make Your Dog Happy: Enrichment

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Easy ways to provide enrichment for your dog.Although we love our canine friends, many dogs have a relatively boring life in which they spend a lot of time hanging around the house or yard, perhaps on their own. Dogs that are bored or under-exercised can easily find their own entertainment, which might not be so pleasing to their human companions. Luckily there are many easy ways to add enrichment to our dog’s lives.Walks: If you are one of those people who walks your dog whatever the weather,........ Read more »

Christian HE, Westgarth C, Bauman A, Richards EA, Rhodes RE, Evenson KR, Mayer JA, & Thorpe RJ Jr. (2013) Dog ownership and physical activity: a review of the evidence. Journal of physical activity , 10(5), 750-9. PMID: 23006510  

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  

Tavares, S., Magalhães, A., & de Sousa, L. (2015) Labrador retrievers are more attracted to water than to social stimuli: A pilot study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. DOI: 10.1016/j.jveb.2015.07.041  

  • October 25, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

A Conversation with Carri Westgarth

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Carri Westgarth and Francine Watkins new paper explores the perspectives of victims of dog bites. The results give important new insights into dog bite prevention. Carri kindly agreed to answer questions about her research on dog bites, dog walking, and puppies, and her own companion animals. How did you get interested in studying dog bite prevention?Carri as a child; Top photo: Carri with her dogs Jasmyn andBen, and her friend's dogs Alfie and ZephyrMy mum might say it started as a toddler........ Read more »

  • October 21, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

A New Approach to Dog Bite Prevention

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Strategies to prevent dog bites need to get past the belief that ‘it won’t happen to me.’4.5 million people a year are bitten by a dog in the US, of whom 885,000 need medical attention (Gilchrist et al 2008). In England in the last year, there were 7,227 admissions to hospital for injuries due to dogs, over 3000 more than a decade earlier. Developing a better understanding of how to prevent dog bites is essential. A new paper by Carri Westgarthand Francine Watkins (University of Liver........ Read more »

  • October 14, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Talking About Animals: The Vegan and the Foxhunter

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

There are surprises in the language used to talk about animals. A vegan and a fox hunter have completely opposed views of animals. Yet analyzing how they talk shows some similarities, according to research by Guy Cook (King’s College, London). He studied interviews with a spokesperson for the Vegan Society and a spokesperson for the pro-foxhunting group The Countryside Alliance. Foxhunting has been illegal in the UK since 2005, and only a quarter of one per cent of the UK is vegan, s........ Read more »

  • October 7, 2015
  • 09:30 AM

The Labrador Lifestyle

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A survey of Labrador Retriever owners tells us what they eat, how often they exercise, and where they sleep.A survey of over 4000 people with Labrador Retrievers provides a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the average Lab. 68% of the dogs were pets, 6% working dogs, and of the remainder the largest group of people did not say (a quarter of overall responses).  Black Labradors were the most common (49%), followed by yellow (27%) and chocolate (21%), with other colours including fox ........ Read more »

Pugh, C., Bronsvoort, B., Handel, I., Summers, K., & Clements, D. (2015) Dogslife: A cohort study of Labrador Retrievers in the UK. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2015.06.020  

  • September 23, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Cluck Click! Training Chickens Reveals Their Intelligence

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Teaching a trick to a chicken increases beliefs that chickens are intelligent and can feel emotions.Learning how to train chickens changes student’s attitudes towards them, according to a new study by Susan Hazel, Lisel O’Dwyer (both University of Adelaide) and Terry Ryan (Legacy Canine). The chickens were trained to do a specific task (such as pecking on a red but not green circle) in order to get food. Survey responses before and after the class show more positive attitudes after the ........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Make your dog happy. Train force free.

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

We can promote animal welfare by making learning a rewarding experience.By now, many people are familiar with the idea that using aversives to train dogs can have side effects. Studies show a correlation between aversive techniques (such as hitting, pinning, leash jerks and shock) and behaviour problems like aggression (Herron et al 2009; Casey et al 2014). One study found dogs in a training class that used aversives showed signs of stress and were less likely to look at their owners than in a s........ Read more »

  • September 9, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

If You Lead a Lab to Water, Should You Let Them Swim?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A new study tests whether Labrador Retrievers choose the pool.Labrador Retrievers were bred to retrieve from water, and it’s widely known they love to swim. But, how much? And, given their sociability, do they prefer to swim rather than mix with a person or another dog? A study by Sara Tavares, Ana Magalhães and Liliana de Sousa (Universityof Porto) gave Labs a free choice, and says the results are important for good animal welfare.The study involved ten Labrador Retrievers who live on a farm........ Read more »

  • September 2, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Preparation Makes a Difference to Pets in an Emergency

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

After the Great Earthquake in Japan, preparation was key to evacuating with pets - including training and socialization.When the magnitude 9 earthquake struck Japan in 2011, causing a tsunami and subsequent accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, over 15,000 people were killed. Many people had to evacuate at short notice. In 2012, pet owners from two of the most badly affected areas, Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, were asked about whether or not they took their pet and the types of planning t........ Read more »

Heath, S.E., & Linnabary, R.D. (2015) Challenges of managing animals in disasters in the US. Animals, 5(2), 173-192. info:/10.3390/ani5020173#sthash.7n7gGyyg.dpuf

Thompson, K.,, Every, D., Rainbird, S., Cornell, V., Smith, B., & Trigg, J. (2014) No pet or their person left behind: Increasing the disaster resilience of vulnerable groups through animal attachment, activities and networks. Animals , 4(2), 214-240. info:/10.3390/ani4020214

A survey of companion-animal owners affected by the East Japan Great Earthquake in Iwate and Fukushima Prefectures, Japan. (2015) Yamazaki, S. Anthrozoos, 28(2). info:/

  • August 26, 2015
  • 11:09 AM

Summer Reading: The Play Edition

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Our summer reading list is all about play.Why do animals play? In Dog Sense, John Bradshaw writes “In wild animals, play must promote survival; otherwise, evolution would select against it – a young animal that is playing out in the open is much more obvious to a predator than one sleeping in its den. However, the benefits of play do not usually become apparent until months later, when they emerge in the form of better social integration or more sophisticated hunting techniques (to name........ Read more »

Bradshaw, J., Pullen, A., & Rooney, N. (2015) Why do adult dogs ‘play’?. Behavioural Processes, 82-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2014.09.023  

  • August 19, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

The Beneficial Effects of Watching Fish

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Spending time observing an aquarium leads to improvements in mood and reductions in heart rate.There are psychological benefits to watching fish and crustaceans in an aquarium, according to a new study by Deborah Cracknell et al. They observed people’s natural interactions with a marine life display, and took heart rate, blood pressure and questionnaire results from 84 experimental participants. But the display wasn’t a fish tank that you could fit in your living room – it was a large exhi........ Read more »

  • August 12, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Proof the Internet helps Cat Adoptions

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And that toys are important in photographs of adoptable cats.We all assume that internet photos and adverts play an important role in pet adoption these days, and now it’s possible to put a figure on it, at least for cats. 82.5% of people who adopted a cat from a shelter in Western New York said Petfinder strongly or moderately influenced their adoption. The length of time cats waited for adoption varied from 1 to 126 days. Cats whose Petfinder profiles were clicked more than once a day were t........ Read more »

  • August 5, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

De-Stressing with a Puppy for Parents of Children with Autism

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A pet dog can reduce stress for parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder, according to a new study.Research by Hannah Wright et al (University of Lincoln) finds that a family dog reduces stress in the caregivers of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This result is especially striking because it applies to pet dogs rather than specially trained service dogs. But there are caveats, because a dog is not right for all families.The study looked at parents of children with ASD, and c........ Read more »

  • July 29, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Should Vets Give Treats to Pets?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do treats at the vet mean fewer bites and a less fearful pet? Many companion animals are scared of visits to the vet. There is an established procedure for treating fear called desensitization and counter-conditioning (DS/CC) which involves feeding nice food in order to make something less scary. Yet many vets do not give treats to animals. A new paper by Karolina Westlund (Karolinska Institute) considers this reluctance, and looks at the evidence for and against.Westlund says, “Veterinarians ........ Read more »

  • July 22, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Re-Arranging Metaphors for Dogs

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The problems with the wolf pack metaphor go deeper than you think.One of the metaphors many dog trainers despair of is that of the wolf pack. According to this, you are supposed to be ‘leader of the pack’ to your dog, who is trying all the time to be ‘dominant’. The way you stop this is to be ‘dominant’ yourself which involves awful things like ‘alpha rolls’. It’s surprisingly pervasive. It is not really based on science but on a kind of folk science, of how wolf packs are........ Read more »

  • July 15, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Great Photos are Important to Dog Adoption

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

What if the adoption of shelter dogs could be sped up with better photographs? A new study by Rachel Lampe and Thomas Witte (Royal Veterinary College, Herts) studies the effect of photographs of black Labrador Retriever crosses on the length of time before they found a new home. ... Read more »

Lampe, R., & Witte, T. (2014) Speed of Dog Adoption: Impact of Online Photo Traits. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-12. DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2014.982796  

  • July 8, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Six Ways to Entertain Your Dog Indoors

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

When walks are limited, these ideas will help you tire out your dog.Lately my dogs have been getting fewer walks due to unusually hot weather and smoke from forest fires. You can beat the heat by walking in the early morning or late evening, and sometimes there is better air quality just down the road. But there are times when there’s no choice but to limit walks. Then what do you do? These ideas will help you to entertain your dog. Feed Your Dog CreativelyYour dog’s food does not have to ar........ Read more »

  • June 24, 2015
  • 08:30 AM

Going for a Song? The Price of Pet Birds

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

The price of birds for sale in pet stores in Taiwan sheds light on legal (and illegal) trade, with consequences for native wildlife. Taiwan is an interesting place to study birds. Songbirds are kept for singing competitions, and there is a tradition of taking caged birds out for a walk (‘bird walking’). As in other Asian countries, birds and other animals are set free in order to make merit (prayer release), potentially adding significantly to the numbers of alien birds living wild. The........ Read more »

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