Commentaries

Ten Holiday Commandments for Pets

Do you consciously or subconsciously impose Ten Holiday Commandments on your pets during the holiday season? I used to–Until I discovered there’s a solution for this irrational human behavior.

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Spay and Neuter History and Mystery

Although companion animal spay and neuter has ancient roots, its contemporary incarnation includes an intriguing mystery. 

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Catastrophizing Companion Animal Behavior

Are you guilty of catastrophizing companion animal behavior? If so, it might be affecting your animal’s health and behavior.

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Human-Animal Bond Amblyopia: When animals get lost in translation

I never would have connected the human-animal bond with amblyopia until I had an experience that introduced me to this human orientation.

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A More Mindful K-9 Socialization Strategy for Rescue/Transport Dogs

I believe we’re in desperate need for a more mindful socialization strategy for rescue/transport dogs. Over the decades, I’ve learned a lot about canine behavior and the human-canine bond from my clients.  This includes what works–as well as what doesn’t.

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A Noble Natural Experiment

Last month I began a noble experiment on the grounds surrounding the little house on the hill to test the findings of a study done by the USDA and partners funded by the National Science Foundation. Specifically, I wanted to know how mowing affected bee welfare in my yard.

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Nature and the Human-Companion Animal Bond

Any change in nature can influence the quality of the human-companion animal bond. But at no time of year is this as obvious as it is in spring.

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Animal Learning and Teaching Theory à la Frica Louise

For eleven weeks more than a decade ago one of my dogs, Frica, daily reminded me of the disconnect between animal learning and teaching theory vs. the way we teach animals and expect them to learn. She taught me a lot that I still use today.

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Tool Use in Dogs and Cats

As often occurs in science, once scientists started looking for tool use in nonhuman animal species, they found members of multiple species throughout the animal kingdom exhibiting this behavior in nature. (See this Wikipedia article for a nice overview of this subject.) Historically, tool use was considered one of those skills that made humans superior. Then when evidence of it appeared in wild animals, some said those animals must have learned it from humans. But then evidence ruled that out too. Naturally, this got me thinking about tool use in dogs and cats and whether the lack of reports of this

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Evolutionary Elegance and Anthropomorphism

I doubt that Bamboo the cat cared a bit about evolutionary elegance and anthropomorphism when he created his new cabin fever game. But that didn’t stop me from making the connection…

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