Dog Stress Eating

Is Your Dog a Stress-Eater?

A new paper examines emotional eating in companion dogs Food and feelings are intimately intertwined, often in ways that challenge our well-being and our waistlines. Emotional eating, or “stress eating,” is when we use eating to soothe negative emotions. When Bridget Jones plops down on the couch with a huge tub of ice cream after her latest emotional love-disaster, this is...

Do Dogs Understand the Consequences of Their Own Actions?

New research shows they do, as do other ecologically valid studies. For the past few days, my email inbox has been ringing with references to a recent study by a team of Hungarian researchers called "Dogs (Canis familiaris) recognize their own body as a physical obstacle" published in Scientific Reports and available online.1 To conduct their novel and clever research, Rita Lenkei and her...
are dogs more loyal than cats

Are Cats More Socially Inept Than Dogs?

We don't know because of large individual differences among cats and dogs. During the past few days, I've received a number of emails about an essay by Live Science writer Yasemin Saplakoglu called "Cats are too socially inept to be loyal." For headline readers who don't go on to read much more—and sadly there are far too many for whatever reasons—one could easily...
How to make a dog happy

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy

An interview with Zazie Todd, the author of a wonderful book about dogs. I recently received my long-awaited copy of Dr. Zazie Todd's new book, Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. Todd is a fellow Psychology Today writer, positive dog trainer, and social psychologist. Having long followed Todd via her Companion Animal Psychology blog, I knew I would really like Wag, and indeed I did. I was thrilled she could...
dogs during pandemic

Dogs vs. Masked Faces: What Are They Thinking and Feeling?

Citizen science can help us understand how dogs react to "faceless" humans. There aren't any sweeping one-size-fits-all explanations even for a single dog. It's well known that many dogs watch us carefully and read our faces very well using specific parts of their brains. Given the prevalence of masked humans, it's not all that surprising that during the past few months I've received numerous emails and in-person queries asking...
dog socialisation

All Our Dogs Are Socially Awkward Now

The pandemic has made dogs "out of practice" socially. In a recent essay in The New York Times called “We’re All Socially Awkward Now,” journalist Kate Murphy suggests that over the course of this pandemic human social skills have begun to get rusty because we are all out of practice. She notes the widespread concern that social distancing or virtual schooling will negatively impact...
dogs fear

Why Do Some Dogs Fear Strange Dogs and Unfamiliar Humans?

"Inadequate socialisation, inactivity, and urban living" make dogs fearful. "Less socialization, less exercise, fewer activities with the owner, less training, and breed differences are all linked to social fear in dogs, survey shows." —Zazie Todd An essay by Psychology Today writer Dr. Zazie Todd called "The Factors Involved in Dogs’ Fear of Strangers and Unfamiliar Dogs" caught my attention because yesterday someone asked me if I knew of any systematic...
what do dogs dream about

What Do Dogs Dream About? Wouldn’t You Love To Know!

What Are Dreams? Most of us if not all have experienced dreams. But what are they and why do they seem so real? Well the ability of our minds to create these realistic stories and images that are the stuff dreams are made of is amazing. So amazing that some believe our dreams carry hidden messages, messages that can be "decoded"...
separation anxiety in dogs

Should You Say Goodbye to Your Dog Before You Leave?

Pilot data show petting or talking to some dogs can make your absence easier. Zazie Todd's recent Psychology Today post, "Should You Pet Your Dog Before an Absence?" nicely summarizes a recently published essay by Chiara Mariti and her colleagues titled "Effects of petting before a brief separation from the owner on dog behavior and physiology: A pilot study," for which only the abstract...
dog telepathy

The Unexplained Power of Animals

For many years animal trainers, pet owners and naturalists have reported various kinds of perceptiveness in animals that suggest the existence of psychic powers.  Surprisingly little research has been done on these phenomenona.  Biologists have been inhibited by the taboo against "the paranormal", and psychical researchers and parapsychologists have with few exceptions confined their attention to human beings. According to...
dog boredom

Working for Food Enriches Dogs’ Lives and Breaks the Boredom

Positive stress challenges dogs and breaks up the monotonous same old same old. Sometimes people claim that they wish they could be a dog because they’d just get to lay around, sniff, drool, play, and have food delivered to them in a bowl. It may surprise you, then, to know that a life of laziness is not actually what dogs want or need. Research...
dog zoomies

Dogs at Play: Fun-Filled Zoomies Exercising Senses & Bodies

Different forms of dogs' play behavior involve a mix of touch, sight, and sound. Play is a kaleidoscope--a frenetic potpourri--of the senses Many, if not most, dogs love to play, and different forms of dogs' play behavior truly are a kaleidoscope--a frenetic potpourri--of the senses. (Numerous essays focusing on dog play can be seen here.) Play nicely draws together previous discussions of how dogs use different senses alone...

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