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  • December 17, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 57 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
  • 75 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
  • 124 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
  • 114 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
  • 152 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
  • 124 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
  • 130 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  

  • October 29, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 203 views

How Does a Dog's Brain Respond to the Smell of a Familiar Human?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And what does it tell us about the importance of people to their dogs?Photo: hitmanphoto / ShutterstockNew fMRI research by Gregory Berns et al (in press) shows that dog’s brains respond differently to the smell of a familiar human compared to an unfamiliar human and other canines – suggesting that certain people are special to their dogs.The research focussed on a part of the brain called the caudate, which has been much investigated in humans, monkeys and rats. The scientists explain that ........ Read more »

  • October 22, 2014
  • 11:21 AM
  • 192 views

Are All Labrador Retrievers the Same?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Or do show dogs and field dogs vary in temperament?Photo: c.byatt-norman / ShutterstockIt’s often said there are personality differences between Labrador Retrievers bred to show (conformation dogs) and those bred to work (field dogs). And chocolate labs have a reputation for being different than black and yellow labs. Is it true? New research by Sarah Lofgren et al (Royal (Dick) Veterinary School, University of Edinburgh) investigates.Although many Labrador Retrievers are family pets, some&nbs........ Read more »

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  

  • October 15, 2014
  • 01:52 PM
  • 187 views

My Dog Comes First: The Importance of Pets to Homeless Youth

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Dogs and cats have both advantages and disadvantages for street-involved youth.Photo: everst / ShutterstockResearch by Michelle Lem et al (University of Guelph) asks homeless young people (aged 18-24) what their pet means to them. Previous studies have focussed on the benefits to homeless people of owning a dog or cat. The aim of this study was to get a balanced picture of both the advantages and disadvantages. Ten homeless young people took part in in-depth interviews about their pet. 8 of........ 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, XL(4), 285-304. info:/

  • October 8, 2014
  • 11:45 AM
  • 209 views

The Surprising History of Veterinary Medicine for Dogs and Cats

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

And the ‘dangerous’ woman who played a vital role.Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbHWe are used to the idea that veterinarians treat dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals, but it wasn’t always so. Before the automobile, the main role for vets was in the treatment of horses. As the number of horses declined, two British government reports (in 1938 and 1944) suggested vets should specialize in the treatment of farm animals. The change to small animals is often explained as due to incr........ Read more »

  • October 1, 2014
  • 02:17 PM
  • 196 views

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 »

  • September 24, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 242 views

What Influences Whether Owners Pick Up After Their Dog?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

What’s the scoop on picking up poop? New research by Christopher Lowe et al (2014) investigates.Photo: Jakkrit Orrasri / ShutterstockThe study consisted of an environmental survey of several popular dog walking locations, and an online survey that was completed by 933 participants from across the UK (83% were women).Eight footpaths in Lancashire, in the north of England, were visited in March/April 2010 to check for dog waste. This included a mix of urban and rural locations, and covered........ Read more »

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  

  • September 17, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 266 views

Does Your Cat Sniff New Food?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

New research investigates which feline behaviours show that cats find food tasty. Photo: FreeBirdPhotos / ShutterstockThere are certain things we can take for granted when feeding the cat: the pitiful miaows that become increasingly strident, the anticipatory purring when you move towards the cat food, and the way the cat wraps herself around your leg as if you’re her best friend ever. But when you put the food down, is there any guarantee she will eat it? Cat food manufacturers have team........ Read more »

Becques, A., Larose, C., Baron, C., Niceron, C., Feron, C., & Gouat, P. (2014) Behaviour in order to evaluate the palatability of pet food in domestic cats. Applied Animal Behaviour Science , 55-61. info:/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.07.003

  • September 10, 2014
  • 11:49 AM
  • 224 views

Are Deaf Dogs and Blind Dogs just like other Dogs?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Do dogs that are deaf and/or blind have specific behavioural traits? New research sets out to investigate – and finds they are very similar to dogs with normal hearing and vision.Photo: Amy Rene / ShutterstockNo one knows exactly how many dogs have hearing or vision problems. Congenital deafness and/or blindness occur in several breeds. In some cases this is related to coat colours – for example the double merle gene in Australian Shepherds is linked to deafness and blindness– and at........ Read more »

Farmer-Dougan, V., Quick, A., Harper, K., Schmidt, K., & Campbell, D. (2014) Behavior of Hearing or Vision Impaired and Normal Hearing and Vision Dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Not the same but not that different . Journal of Veterinary Behavior. info:/

  • September 3, 2014
  • 01:22 PM
  • 243 views

Adopting Shelter Dogs: Should Fido Lie Down or Play?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

 If you go down to the shelter today, will you bring home a dog? A new study by Alexandra Protopopova and Clive Wynne (2014) finds that interactions between dogs and potential adopters predict the likelihood of adoption.Photo: Alexey Shinkevich / ShutterstockEvery year in the USA, 3-4 million healthy, potentially-adoptable, homeless animals are euthanized (AHA and PetSmart 2012). Many would be saved if there was a better understanding of how to increase adoptions from animal shelters. Previ........ Read more »

  • August 13, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 152 views

The Effects of Owner Experience and Housing on Argentine Dogos

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Photo: Lakatos Sandor / ShutterstockWhat are the effects of an owner’s prior dog experience and the dog’s housing on behaviour problems? A survey of people with Argentine Dogos investigates.Some previous research has suggested people who are first-time dog owners are more likely to have a dog with behaviour problems, perhaps because they don’t have enough experience. Also, sometimes people say breed experience is helpful. The aim of this study was to investigate this by looking at only one........ Read more »

Diverio, S., & Tami, G. (2014) Effect of owner experience, living environment, and dog characteristics on owner reports of behavior of Argentine Dogos in Italy . Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 9(4), 151-157. info:/

  • August 6, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 317 views

Is it Important to Attend Puppy Class?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Is a one-off puppy party a suitable alternative to a six-week puppy class? Research says you can’t skip the socialization if you want a well-rounded adult dog.Photo: Zuzule / ShutterstockA study by Ai Kutsumi et al (2013) of the Azabu University Graduate School of Veterinary Science compares four groups of dogs: those who attended a six-week puppy class, those who went to a one-hour puppy party, those who attended a six-week adult dog training class, and those who didn’t attend any pup........ Read more »

KUTSUMI, A., NAGASAWA, M., OHTA, M., & OHTANI, N. (2013) Importance of Puppy Training for Future Behavior of the Dog. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science, 75(2), 141-149. DOI: 10.1292/jvms.12-0008  

  • July 30, 2014
  • 08:30 AM
  • 302 views

The Attentive Look of a Dog in Training

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

Researchers investigate the body language of a dog that is performing well in training.Photo: Markus Balint / ShutterstockA new study puts dogs through the first stage of a basic training task and analyzes eye contact and posture in the most successful dogs. The research by Masashi Hasegawa et al (Azabu University School of Veterinary Medicine) is motivated by a desire to improve people’s training abilities by helping them recognize the posture associated with successful learning. O........ Read more »

  • July 23, 2014
  • 11:54 AM
  • 353 views

The Adolescent Dog: One Last Chance?

by CAPB in Companion Animal Psychology Blog

A synthesis of the latest research on social influences on development suggests adolescence is an important time for mammals – including dogs.Photo: dezi / ShutterstockMost people are familiar with the idea of a sensitive period for puppies that ends around 12 or 14 weeks. Is it possible that adolescence is also an important period for brain development and future behaviour?Social experience plays an important role in shaping animal behaviour throughout development according to Sachser et al (........ Read more »

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