Companion Animal Psychology News April 2019

Cats that fetch, equine therapy, and the joy of dogs... the latest Companion Animal Psychology news.

Cats that fetch, equine therapy, and the joy of dogs... the latest Companion Animal Psychology News


Some of my favourites this month


“A tongue-in-cheek NPR.org headline comparing the fetching abilities of cats and dogs revealed a truth known by countless cat owners: Some cats do fetch.” All right, some cats do fetch at NPR by Matthew S Schwartz.

“I’m well aware that it just takes one second for trouble to turn into tragedy. In addition, let’s face it, I tend to be on the neurotic cautious end of the continuum.” Nothing to fear but fear itself by Patricia McConnell.  

Some tips for how to help dogs learn to use dog doors in Help! My dog won’t use the dog door by Sylvie Martin.

“If you’re a puppy parent searching for guidance on how to socialize your puppy, you risk coming across some concerning misinformation, even from professional trainers. “ In defense of puppy socialization by Kelly Lee at the Academy for Dog Trainers.

“All he asked was that we bury you in the garden.” A letter to Ruby, my son’s sorely missed cat by Anonymous at the Guardian.

“It seems that one of the consequences of regarding pets as family members is that as kids get older, family members—including canine and feline family members—play less important roles in their lives.”  Why do kids become less attached to pets as they get older? By Dr. Hal Herzog at Psychology Today.

The latest news from Companion Animal Psychology. Photo shows cat looking at laptop


“How do low-income households keep their pets fed when there is limited pet food in the home?” People on low incomes deserve to keep the pets they love by Linda Wilson Fuoco

“When my therapist wasn’t able to fit me into their schedule, I turned to equine therapy” Horses, depression and me: How riding changed my life by Mari Sasano at The Walrus.  

"There could be very good reasons why they don't want to interact with other dogs or various humans, and we should honor their choices and not force them to do so." Dr. Marc Bekoff asks, Do dogs hold grudges? at Psychology Today.

“I have a dog because I truly love everything about dogs.” The joy of a dog by Lori Nanan is a celebration of all things canine.  

In this podcast, the Thought Project talks to Julie Hecht about dog urine, that “guilty” look, and Fear Free vets.  

And the Smithsonian archives show famous people with their cats, by Jacqui Palumbo at Artsy.

Animal Book Club


This month the Animal Book Club is reading What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World by Cat Warren.

What the Dog Knows by Cat Warren book cover

"A firsthand exploration of the fascinating world of “working dogs”—who seek out missing persons, sniff for explosives in war zones, and locate long-dead remains..."

It’s fascinating. Are you reading it too? You can find a list of all the books and purchase via my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/animalbookclub (I earn a small fee, at no cost to you, from qualifying purchases). 

If you’re more into general chit-chat without the commitment to reading a book most months, you can always consider the Animal Books Facebook group.


Upcoming Webinar


I’m delighted to say that I will be presenting a webinar entitled Debunk, support science, or tell a story? How to communicate about dog training and animal welfare for the Pet Professional Guild. If you liked my recent post on reasons to be positive, you will enjoy this webinar.

The webinar will be on Tuesday, 16th July at 11am Pacific/2pm Easter/7pm British Summer Time.

Anyone who signs up in advance will automatically receive a recording after the event. The webinar is open to the public as well as to Pet Professional Guild members.


Support Companion Animal Psychology


Companion Animal Psychology is open to everyone and supported by animal lovers like you.

If you love Companion Animal Psychology, you can support me on Ko-fi. Ko-fi does not charge fees, and you can make either a one-time or monthly donation.  



This month, I’d like to say a special thank you to Jill Bradshaw, Lorena Patti, and Rose B. Your support means the world.


Here at Companion Animal Psychology


Companion Animal Psychology has a brand new look! You should find it easier to read and faster to download. Let me know what you think of the new design. If you miss the sidebar, click the  hamburger icon in the top left to see it.

Recently I was honoured to be included in LadyBossBlogger’s list of 240 badass female bloggers of 2019

This month I was quoted in an article about the responsible pet owner’s checklist for taking care of a pet, and  a review of the best dog toys of 2019.  

This month also sees the launch of the new magazine, Happy Paws, from Fear Free, and I’m thrilled to be quoted in an article in the first issue about understanding the canine mind.

Companion Animal Psychology News April 2019. Melina checks out the new magazine
My cat Melina checking out the new Happy Paws magazine.


Over at my Psychology Today blog Fellow Creatures, I wrote about how to find a missing cat (including some tips to help prevent them going missing in the first place). If you're ever in the unfortunate position of having a lost cat, I hope these tips help (the most important thing is to look very carefully very close to home). I also wrote about how a viral video affected the perception of lemurs
  
One of my favourite posts of the last month is animal lovers on the books that changed their lives. I found it inspiring to learn about the books that have made a difference to people, and many people have told me they feel the same. So I will be putting together another version of this post. If you would like to contribute, email me on companimalpsych at gmail dot com and tell me which animal book changed your life, and why. Include your website if you would like a link back. I look forward to hearing about the books that are important to you!

Companion Animal Psychology turned 7 last month. Latest news.


This month I also looked at which dog breeds are the best alternative to the French Bulldog for people who are concerned about the welfare of this breed. Thank you to everyone who shared their suggestions with me.

I wrote about some research that shows smaller dogs live longer than bigger dogs – and just how much by, depending on breed. As well, I covered an important new review paper that investigates how we can make vet visits less stressful for dogs; the article contains lots of tips and a temporary link to download the paper for free.

Reasons to be positive about being positive in dog training looked at the lessons we can draw from research in psychology and communication. If you’ve ever wondered about the best ways to debunk an idea, or if you should focus on other messages instead, this article is for you (as is my upcoming webinar at the Pet Professional Guild).

At the end of last month, Companion Animal Psychology turned seven years old. It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging this long and written so many words about science and our pets. As I said in that post, I'm very grateful to all of you for your support and encouragement.  


Pets in Art


This month’s pets in art shows an old woman with a cat by German artist Max Liebermann, from the Getty collection (open access).

The latest news from Companion Animal Psychology, including this month's pets in art: old woman with cat by Max Liebermann


I love the way the woman and cat are looking at each other. As well, I have to admire her skirt and apron.

Here are the catalogue details:
Max Liebermann (German, 1847 - 1935). An Old Woman with Cat, 1878, Oil on canvas.
 96.5 × 74.9 cm (38 × 29 1/2 in.), 87.PA.6. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


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Making Vet Visits Less Stressful is Essential, and Here's What We Can Do to Help Dogs

Why we should monitor dogs for signs of stress at the vet, and the steps dog owners and veterinary professionals can take to help, according to a new review of the literature.

We should monitor dogs for stress at the vet, and here's how dog owners and vets can help, according to new research. Photo shows dog at vet having blood draw.


Many people know their dog is afraid of going to the vet. It’s not surprising because a vet visit is very different from the dog’s usual daily experiences, and yet it’s essential for them to get good veterinary care. A new literature review by Petra Edwards (University of Adelaide) et al examines the scientific literature to find out what helps dogs at the vet, and what we still need to know.

Making vet visits less stressful has several benefits, including increasing the likelihood of people actually taking their dog to the vet, making it easier for the vet to make the right diagnosis, and reducing the risk of the vet staff or owner being bitten. In addition, stress is bad for dogs’ physical health, just as it is for people.

Petra Edwards, PhD Candidate and first author of the paper, told me in an email,
“We had two main ideas that developed throughout the review process. One was: there’s likely not a simple, black and white reason for why dogs develop a fear of their vets or the clinic. Lots of different things can play a part (like their genetic makeup, their previous veterinary history or the sights, sounds or smells of the current vet environment).  As such, we suggest each dog might be sensitive in their own way and watching their body language will provide useful information on their specific needs during the current vet visit. 
We also found that continuing to improve dog welfare in the veterinary context can be the responsibility of the guardian (dog owner) and vet team alike. There are lots of common sense approaches to reducing a dog's fear or stress in the clinic. While some of these may not be proven as yet in the scientific literature, our understanding of how dogs learn is very well established and it’s logical to assume it will apply equally in the veterinary context. 
For example: guardians can reward their dog while being handled by the vet (if this is okay from a medical perspective) and veterinary staff can request guardians bring treats, toys or their dog's mat to the visits or have those options available themselves. We hope guardians and vet staff will be empowered to start the conversation and brainstorm strategies together to help dogs cope with their vet visits better or prevent fear in the first place.”
The review summarizes the existing research on dogs at the vet, which finds many ways in which dogs show signs of stress during real or mock veterinary visits, as shown by behavioural signs, physiological measures (such as cortisol levels), and the judgment of clinicians or dog guardians. At the same time, they note that the range of different measures and study designs makes comparing them difficult.

There are many factors that can influence the dog’s stress, including genetic make-up and other biological factors. It seems that smaller dogs are more fearful at the vet, but it’s not known to what extent this is due to genetic factors or the different ways in which people treat small dogs.

How to make vet visits less stressful for dogs, according to new research. Photo shows happy dog at vet
Photos: visivastudio/Shutterstock


A dog’s prior visits to the vet influence how they experience future vet visits, so a dog that has had many procedures may find vet visits more stressful than a dog that has only had routine appointments. Socialization of puppies, including for veterinary handling, and dog training can help the dog to cope better.

Previous research has shown that the use of punishment has risks for animal welfare, and the paper considers this within the veterinary context:
“Punishment to change unwanted behaviour should not be used or recommended within the veterinary context, and veterinarians treating dogs trained with these methods should be aware the dogs may be more susceptible to experiencing distress during their care.”
The scientists also point out that trigger stacking may occur if the dog experiences different aspects of the visit as difficult, which together become even more difficult, such as the car ride, being in a carrier, being in the waiting room, being on a table in the exam room, being restrained, and so on.


All of these different factors mean that each dog will experience the stressors of each vet visit differently, so it is important to play close attention to watch for signs of fear, anxiety, and stress, and intervene sooner rather than later.

The paper pulls together recommendations to help make visits to the veterinarian less stressful for dogs.

There are several tips for dog guardians to help their dog with vet visits:

  • Don’t feed the dog just before a visit so they will be more interested in treats offered at the vet
  • Bring the dog’s mat and/or toys as they may be of comfort during the consultation
  • Be there for the consultation
  • Train the dog to like riding in the car/being in their carrier in advance, and consider using pheromones
  • Train the dog to like routine handling/vet care, such as nail trims, ears being examined, tail lifted up, etc., and maintain regular practice, perhaps also at the vet.

This training may involve positive reinforcement or desensitization and counter-conditioning. As well, the guardian can partner with the vet in spotting early signs of fear or stress during a consultation (see how can I tell if my dog is afraid for some tips).


"We hope guardians and vet staff will be empowered to start the conversation and brainstorm strategies together to help dogs cope with their vet visits better or prevent fear in the first place.”


There are extensive suggestions for vets too, such as not wearing a lab coat, knowing about the different types of restraint (including sedation), and avoiding unnecessary entry/exit from the exam room once the patient is in there. Veterinarians will want to check the paper for the full list (temporary free access link below).

There is also a helpful list of recommendations for guardians and vets together, of which I highlight just a few:

  • Fearful or aggressive dogs should wait in the car, if possible, instead of the waiting room
  • Have a great supply of treats on hand e.g. roast chicken, squeeze cheese, peanut butter
  • Reward all of the behaviours that you like (so long as the vet says treats are okay)
  • Give treats during and after anything potentially scary such as injections and taking the temperature
  • Basket muzzles are better than nylon ones as they make it easier for dogs to pant, drink and eat
  • Muzzle train dogs in advance, and put peanut butter inside the basket muzzle before fitting it
  • Have the guardian present whenever possible; guardians should ask for this if the vet does not suggest it, but at the same time, understand that sometimes it is not possible
  • Be aware that sometimes sedation is the best form of restraint

The paper includes a table summarizing some of the certifications in low-stress handling techniques, including Fear Free certification for veterinarians, veterinary practices, and dog trainers, the Low-Stress Handling University, Better Veterinary Visits, and Ready…Set… for Groomer and Vet.

As well, the scientists draw on a well-known social psychological approach called the theory of planned behaviour. They point out that successful culture change will involve positive attitudes from both dog guardians and veterinary professionals, subjective norms that prioritize reducing stress, and the extent to which people perceive they have control over the veterinary experience for dogs.

This is an important paper that highlights ways for dog guardians and veterinary professionals to reduce stress for dogs at the vet, as well as the urgent need for more research in this area. Since going to the vet is a necessary part of dogs’ lives, it’s imperative to make it easier for them.

If you want to find a Fear Free certified professional or practice, you can search via their directory.

What works to help your dog feel less stressed at the vet?

Companion Animal Psychology is open to everyone and supported by animal lovers like you. If you like what you see, maybe buy me a coffee on Ko-fi?


You may also like why don’t more people use positive reinforcement to train dogs; this list of resources on how to have less stressful vet visits; and my interview with Dr. Marty Becker about Fear Free.

Reference
Edwards, P. T., Smith, B. P., McArthur, M. L., & Hazel, S. J. (2019). Fearful Fido: Investigating dog experience in the veterinary context in an effort to reduce distress. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.02.009
Free access via this link until 25 May 2019: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1YrItcF2OWo0j

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Reasons to Be Positive About Being Positive in Dog Training

Why debunking out-dated ideas can backfire, the importance of spreading quality information, and the best ways to counteract the misleading duds.

The importance of spreading quality information and the best ways to counteract misinformation in dog training. Photo shows child and parent training dog to shake paw for a treat.


Many dog trainers who rely on using reward-based methods feel passionately about the importance of using humane methods that don’t cause dogs to experience fear or pain. Thus, they feel it strongly when people use or share articles about methods that involve shock collars, dominance, pack ‘theory’, or any form of positive punishment, because they know aversive methods have risks for dogs

What are the best ways to counteract this kind of misleading information?

This is a question that preoccupies me (and many of you, I know) because it is such an important one for animal welfare. I’ve written before about the many factors that influence people’s choice of dog training methods (Todd, 2018) and in this post I want to look at some of those factors in more detail.



The importance of social norms in dog training


A social psychological approach called the theory of planned behaviour tells us that one of the factors that influences people’s behaviour is their perception of social norms. That is, the ways we think society in general believes people should behave.

When it comes to dog training, many of us have the belief that dogs should be treated with kindness, that our pets are treasured creatures who deserve to have choices in life and to be trained in ways that will provide joy and enrichment.

At least, that’s how regular readers of this blog feel. That’s one of the reasons I feel privileged to have such amazing readers. (Thank you!!).

But when we look at wider society, we can see that some people have quite different perceptions of social norms around dog training.

When we see TV programs demonstrating the use of shock collars and alpha rolls, bookstores selling dog training books that promote punishment-based approaches, and random internet people (or even celebrities or veterinarians) recommending trainers who use aversive methods, we can see a very different kind of social norm being created.

One way to counteract this is simply to spread (and keep on spreading) good quality information about the best ways to train dogs, effectively and with kindness.

But the way social media is designed can sometimes feel like it is working against us. Algorithms that promote posts that receive a lot of comments can make controversial posts spread like wildfire, which means that sometimes arguing against things on Facebook might backfire.

At the same time, it is important for there to be voices of reason and humanity, so the choice to engage or not is a personal one every time. Social psychologists know that even one different voice in a sea of similar opinions can make a difference.

Lewandosky et al (2017) write,
"People should be encouraged to make their voices heard, not just to directly persuade, but also to influence people's perceptions of norms and the prevalence of opinions, so that false-consensus effects do not arise. Even a few dissenting voices can shift the perceived social norm (i.e., the perceived range of acceptable views), thus legitimizing opposition and encouraging evidence-based discourse."
We can put those social media algorithms to good use when we see material we like. Positively reinforce the author by leaving a nice comment, and then again by sharing the post, and we’re telling those algorithms that this is the kind of content we want to see more of.

How to counter misinformation about dog training, and the  importance of spreading good quality information. Photo shows dog hi-fiveing a person.
Stick to positive messages that will reinforce social norms that it is important to treat dogs with kindness. Photo: Rohappy/Shutterstock



Countering misinformation about dog training


Sadly the world is full of erroneous information about dogs (and many other topics too).

The problem is that countering misinformation is a tricky thing to do (Chan et al., 2017; Lewandowsky et al., 2017; Schwartz et al., 2016). We often hear these days that countering arguments with facts won’t change people’s minds. Actually it’s kind of complicated, and something we need more research on (if any communications scholars would like to take on the dog training world, there’s plenty of material here).

But one really important thing to remember is that repeating misinformation – even in order to correct it – can have a different effect to the one intended, in part because it causes that misinformation to feel more familiar and gives it the illusion of truth. This is called the illusory truth effect: repeating lies makes them seem more true.

This is one reason debunking false information can backfire.

If you must repeat the misinformation, at least preface it with a warning (e.g. “Some people still believe in the outdated notion that…”). And then give some correct information to take its place (e.g. “Your dog is growling because she is afraid”, mention the body language signals that demonstrate this, tell them what to do to make things better).

Schwarz et al. (2016) write,
"Overall, behavioral research shows that often the best strategy in the fight against misinformation is to paint a vivid and easily understood summation of the truthful message one wishes to impart instead of drawing further attention to false information."
The best ways to communicate about rewards-based dog training, and why debunking outdated ideas can backfire
Tug is another dog training topic where there's been a lot of misinformation, but it's a great game to play with your dog (and a good idea to let them win). Photo: Jasmin Awad/Shutterstock


Setting the agenda and sticking to it


Another reason not to repeat misinformation becomes obvious when we think about how dog trainers talk about punishment. One of the problems with using punishment to train dogs is that it only teaches a dog what not to do; it doesn’t teach them what to do instead.

Similarly, if we keep repeating misinformation in order to correct it, we are not spending that time teaching people what they should know instead.

Don’t let aversive trainers set the agenda.

We want to keep the conversation on our terms, and that means talking about the benefits of reward-based training and the technicalities of how to do it (because it is complicated and people often need coaching to do a great job of it).

Now maybe you’re thinking that I linked to posts on dominance and punishment and so on at the top of this article. Yes, I’ll put my hands up, I have written on those topics (although not necessarily in the way you’d expect).

In my defence, I spend most of my time writing about evidence-based ways to care for our pets. Luckily for me, this is where my interests lie.

If someone really wants to get into an argument, send them to the science to find out for themselves. You’ll find a list of scientific articles on dog training on my website.

Why debunking erroneous information about dog training can backfire, and the best ways to get the message about reward-based training across. Photo shows Australian shepherd with violet bandana
This is just eye candy, but photos help people stay engaged with posts. Photo: Lisjatina/Shutterstock



Being wrong can sometimes be an identity threat


Sometimes people are very invested in ideas that are wrong (that they don’t know are wrong).

Imagine someone has been told by a dog trainer that in order to be a good dog owner, they must follow some kind of outdated method of dog training.

Because the person loves their dog, and because they trust their dog trainer, their own beliefs about being a good dog owner might be tied in to using the methods the trainer recommended.

In this case, when we tell someone that the idea is wrong, it’s possible they will perceive it as a threat to their own beliefs about being a good dog owner – in other words, a threat to their identity.

This can sometimes make them hang on to that idea even harder. So again, telling them the idea is wrong may have the opposite effect to the one intended.


It's better to put cognitive effort into correct ideas not misinformation


If the person then comes up with reasons why they think their idea is right after all, psychology tells us the view will likely become even more entrenched. When people think about reasons for the misinformation, it can make it harder for them to change their minds. Chan et al (2017) found that,
"people who generate arguments supporting misinformation struggle to later question and change their initial attitudes and beliefs."
If people are going to put cognitive effort into understanding something, it's best to encourage them to put that effort into thinking about the correct ideas rather than the wrong ones.

I think this idea will resonate with dog trainers, because we're used to telling people how important it is for the behaviours we want to be rehearsed many times, and to remove the opportunities for the wrong behaviour to be rehearsed. So there's an analogy that makes sense here.

Why de-bunking outdated ideas can backfire and the best ways to spread good quality information about dog training. Photo shows dog thinking about bones.
We want people to put cognitive effort into the correct ideas, not into misinformation. Photo: ra2studio/Shutterstock

Research also shows that it is important to support people and build their confidence in using positive reinforcement if they are to use it in the future (Willams and Blackwell, 2019).

Education makes a difference


Helping people to understand why something is the case can help to counteract misinformation.

For dog lovers, this includes helping people to evaluate the credentials of dog trainers so that they can choose a good trainer. It means talking about the benefits of reward-based training methods, and how we know that they are humane and effective.

It means talking about cooperative veterinary care, low-stress handling, and Fear Free vet clinics. (One of the many things I love about Fear Free is that Fear Free vets know the importance of referring to reward-based trainers).

And it means finding ways to engage people and encourage them to participate, such as by scrutinizing claims or asking questions, as well as helping people trouble-shoot any issues they are having (such as helping them understand the need to use good dog training treats instead of kibble).

Why de-bunking outdate dog training ideas can backfire, and to do instead. Photo shows white German Shepherd playing in a pond.
Photo: anetapics/Shutterstock



Spreading the good news


Misinformation can be hard to counter, and it takes valuable time and resources away from spreading the messages that we do want to get across. This is why it is so important to be positive about reward-based dog training and good animal welfare.

It’s one of the reasons I like to share great posts by others in my monthly newsletter, and to discuss good books in the Animal Book Club.

There are many people producing great content about dogs (and cats). Every time we share these articles, we are helping to contribute to a perceived social norm that the treatment of animals should be humane and in line with principles of good animal welfare. (And we are encouraging those trainers and authors to produce more such material too).

When TV companies or other organizations promote dog trainers who use outdated methods, we can let them know why that's a problem.

Other tactics we can use include recommending (or giving) good dog training books to friends when they get a new dog or are having issues with their pet. And we can simply talk about what we’ve learned about how to train our dogs, the struggles we’ve faced, and the resolutions we’ve found.

Changing behaviour isn’t just about individuals; it’s also about building a society that supports and encourages people to behave in good ways. There are many ways to do so, and I would like to thank you for what you are doing to promote good animal welfare.

It matters to every dog or other animal in our lives, because it affects their welfare. Dog training should be fun and make dogs happy.

Happier pets means happier people. It’s a great thing to aim for.


Summary


  • Repeating misinformation (e.g. about dominance) can make it seem familiar and therefore true.
  • If you must repeat it, give a warning about it first, and then provide new information to take its place.
  • Even a few voices can make a difference to the perception of social norms. 
  • Focus on the message you want to get across, and say or write it as clearly as possible.
  • Help educate people on how to evaluate dog trainers’ credentials and information about dog training.
  • Comment on and share good quality information to make it accessible to people and to show that the misinformation is not the norm.

If you're interested in this topic, you might like to know that I presented a webinar for the Pet Professional Guild entitled Debunk, Support Science, or Tell a Story? How to Communicate about Dog Training and Animal Welfare on Tuesday 16th July. The recording is available for purchase.

What do you think are the best ways to teach people about dog training methods?

Companion Animal Psychology is open to everyone and supported by animal lovers like you. If you like what you see, maybe buy me a coffee on Ko-fi?


References
Chan, M. P. S., Jones, C. R., Hall Jamieson, K., & Albarracin, D. (2017). Debunking: A meta-analysis of the psychological efficacy of messages countering misinformation. Psychological science, 28(11), 1531-1546. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617714579
Lewandowsky, S., Ecker, U. K., & Cook, J. (2017). Beyond misinformation: Understanding and coping with the “post-truth” era. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 6(4), 353-369. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jarmac.2017.07.008
Schwarz, N., Newman, E., & Leach, W. (2016). Making the truth stick & the myths fade: Lessons from cognitive psychology. Behavioral Science & Policy, 2(1), 85-95. 10.1353/bsp.2016.0009
Todd, Z. (2018). Barriers to the adoption of humane dog training methods. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 25, 28-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2018.03.004
Williams, E. J., & Blackwell, E. (2019). Managing the Risk of Aggressive Dog Behavior: Investigating the Influence of Owner Threat and Efficacy Perceptions. Risk Analysishttps://doi.org/10.1111/risa.13336


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Companion Animal Psychology Book Club April 2019

"A firsthand exploration of the fascinating world of “working dogs”—who seek out missing persons, sniff for explosives in war zones, and locate long-dead remains..."

The Companion Animal Psychology book club choice for April 2019 is What the dog Knows by Cat Warren



From the back cover,
"Cat Warren is a university professor and former journalist with an admittedly odd hobby: She and her German shepherd have spent the last seven years searching for the dead. Solo is a cadaver dog. What started as a way to harness Solo’s unruly energy and enthusiasm soon became a calling that introduced Warren to the hidden and fascinating universe of working dogs, their handlers, and their trainers. 
Solo has a fine nose and knows how to use it, but he’s only one of many thousands of working dogs all over the United States and beyond. In What the Dog Knows, Warren uses her ongoing work with Solo as a way to explore a captivating field that includes cadaver dogs, drug- and bomb-detecting K9s, tracking and apprehension dogs—even dogs who can locate unmarked graves of Civil War soldiers and help find drowning victims more than two hundred feet below the surface of a lake. Working dogs’ abilities may seem magical or mysterious, but Warren shows the multifaceted science, the rigorous training, and the skilled handling that underlie the amazing abilities of dogs who work with their noses."

You can find this book (and all the book club choices) via my Amazon store: https://www.amazon.com/shop/animalbookclub


Will you be reading What the Dog Knows too? Leave a comment and let me know!

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Which Dog Lives the Longest? Smaller Dogs Have Longer Lives

Being mixed breed versus purebred, spay/neuter status, and regular dental cleanings at the vet, are also linked to lifespan.

What kind of dog lives longest? Small dogs live longer than larger dog, and mixed breeds live longer the purebreds, this study found. Photo shows mixed breed dog.
Body size is the most important variable in predicting life span, but mixed breed dogs live longer than purebreds. Photo: Lunja/Shutterstock

A study of over 2 million dogs attending veterinary clinics in the US answers some recurring questions about lifespan and dogs. The research, by Dr. Silvan Urfer (University of Washington) et al., analysed data from over 169,000 dogs in this cohort that died or were euthanized within a three-year period.

In all size groups (small, medium, large, and giant), mixed breed dogs live longer than purebred dogs, although the difference is not that large. The study found that, on average, a mixed-breed dog lives for 14.45 years compared to 14.14 years for a purebred dog.

For purebred dogs there was some variability in lifespan according to the breed. For example, amongst the breeds the scientists classified as giant, Great Pyrenees live longer (11.55 years) than Great Danes (9.63 years), with the mastiff, St. Bernard, and cane corso in between.

Small dogs had a longer median lifespan at 14.95 years than giant dogs at 11.11 years. Medium size dogs lived 13.86 years on average, and large dogs lived 13.38 years. (N.B. This study used a four-point size classification, compared to other studies that use a five-point scale).


The dog’s body size was the most important variable in predicting life span, more important than whether or not the dog was purebred. Small purebred dogs live longer than large or giant mixed breed dogs.

The dachshund is the longest lived at 15.2 years, and the Great Dane has the shortest median lifespan.

The shih tzu and Chihuahua also live longer than 15 years on average (median lifespan 15.08 and 15.01, respectively).

America’s most popular dog, the Labrador retriever, has a medium lifespan of 13.27, while the golden retriever has a medium lifespan of 12.93. Also in the large breed category, the German shepherd dog lives until 12.46 on average.

The study also found that, up until the age of 15 years, there was a lifespan advantage for dogs that were spayed or neutered. This was particularly the case for female dogs, who lived for 14.35 years compared to 13.77 if sexually intact.

For male dogs, the difference was much smaller, although still statistically significant: neutered male dogs lived until 14.15, compared to 14.09 for a sexually intact male. For dogs that lived longer than 15 years, spay/neuter status made no difference.

Another finding is that regular dental cleanings (under anaesthetic at the vet) were associated with an increased lifespan for dogs over 2 years old. The scientists say that one dental cleaning was associated with an almost 20% reduced risk of death.

There could be a direct association between good dental health and good general health, but this may not be the full story. It could also be that the kinds of dog owners who get their pet’s teeth cleaned also have other behaviours that may affect their pet’s lifespan.

There was a small association between the frequency of anal gland expression and lifespan. This was unexpected and the reason is not clear. but again may reflect the owner taking care of the dog's health.

The researchers had expected frequent vet visits to be associated with a longer lifespan, but instead the reverse was the case. This suggests that frequent visits are more often associated with health problems than with preventive health care. This does not seem surprising since a healthy dog may only be taken to the vet once a year.

Given the very large number of dogs in the study, the researchers took steps to avoid the risk of spurious statistical findings, including restricting the analysis to a few hypotheses they had developed in advance and using a conservative significance level.

Although it is not a representative sample, because the data included dogs who were not insured as well as those that were, the results are probably a good reflection of the general American dog population.

For mixed breed dogs, the analysis of the effects of body size could only include those for whom a breed was listed (e.g. ‘Labrador cross’), in order to classify them. This means that mutts for whom no breed was obvious were excluded from this section of the analysis.

As well, it is not possible to infer causal relationships from this data. For example, we do not know why smaller dogs tend to live longer than bigger dogs.

The data used records from a large veterinary chain, Banfield Pet Hospitals, across the United States, hence the size of the sample. The use of a large dataset like this is very promising for research on canine health.

The results are broadly in line with earlier studies, although an advantage for neutering in male dogs has not always been found.

Another recent study (with one co-author in common) found that being overweight has a significant effect on dogs’ lifespan.

Although most of the factors looked at in this study (body size, type of dog) cannot be changed, dog owners can take care of their dog's teeth. More research is needed because this study cannot show causality, but tooth brushing and dental scalings as recommended by the vet may help prolong your dog's life.

Do you brush your dog's teeth?

Join over 2,500 animal lovers and subscribe to Companion Animal Psychology.

You might also like: Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French bulldog and the best dog training treats.

Reference
Urfer, S. R., Wang, M., Yang, M., Lund, E. M., & Lefebvre, S. L. (2019). Risk Factors Associated with Lifespan in Pet Dogs Evaluated in Primary Care Veterinary Hospitals. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association. https://doi.org/10.5326/JAAHA-MS-6763

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Companion Animal Psychology Turns Seven

Celebrating seven years of blogging about science and pets here at Companion Animal Psychology.

Celebrating seven years of Companion Animal Psychology. Photo shows a Bengal kitten playing with a party toy


Today is exactly seven years since I started Companion Animal Psychology with the aim of finding out what science tells us about how to have happy dogs and cats.

In this time, I’ve been writing evidence-based articles about how best to care for our cats and dogs, and about new scientific research papers that are relevant to the everyday lives of people and their pets.

It’s wonderful to see how much the general public wants to know about science and our pets.

Over the years I’ve been honoured to speak to many scientists, veterinarians, dogs trainers, and others about their work with animals. As well, I’ve been lucky to publish some wonderful guest posts.

Companion Animal Psychology celebrates 7 years of pet science blogging, Photo shows dogs' noses peeking out from a blanket.
A seventh anniversary is a wool anniversary. Photo: dezy/Shutterstock


One thing that keeps me cheerful is to see just how many amazing people are working so hard to make the world a better place for both pets and their people.

This is my 445th post. In the last year, my most popular post was don’t punish your dog for peeing in the house. A series of posts on fearful dogs was particularly well received.

I’ve published fantastic guest posts by Dr. Christian Nawroth, about what animal cognition research means for pet goats, and Kristi Benson, on parallels between dog training and fiction.

I was thrilled to interview Dr. Marc Bekoff about his book Canine Confidential, to speak to Dr. Marty Becker about his co-authored book, From Fearful to Fear Free, and the Fear Free movement to make vet visits easier for pets, and to Prof. Hal Herzog about our complicated relationship with animals.


Companion Animal Psychology celebrates 7 years of blogging about pets and science. Photo shows two copper cat sculptures.
A seventh anniversary is also a copper anniversary. Photo: Narumoi Wunza/Shutterstock


As well, it was a pleasure to interview Lori Nanan about her course in canine nail care, and Jane Sigsworth about working with fearful dogs.

Last June, the 2018 Train for Rewards blog party was a huge success with 27 entries.  Thank you to all the pet bloggers who took part. I took part in someone else’s blog party for the first time with the Pet Blogger Challenge in January this year. 

And I was incredibly honoured that Companion Animal Psychology was profiled in the Washington Post.

Now, I am just finishing up copy edits on my book. I’m delighted to tell you that Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy will be coming to a bookstore near you early next year.

Companion Animal Psychology is 7! Thank you to everyone who supports the blog. Photo shows a tuxedo cat, a rose, and message Thank you.


I want to thank everyone who has supported Companion Animal Psychology over the years with likes, shares, and comments.

And I’d like to give a special shout-out to those of you who support Companion Animal Psychology on Ko-fi.

Your support and encouragement means the world and I appreciate it a lot.

Seven years in internet years feels like a long time. It’s something to celebrate!

Zazie

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Which Dog Breeds Are the Best Alternatives to the French Bulldog?

If you love Frenchies but the health issues give you pause, these are the dogs like  French bulldogs that you might like too.

The best dog breed alternatives to the French Bulldog, pictured
French Bulldog. Photo: Irinia Kozorog/Shutterstock.

In 2018, French bulldogs became the most popular breed of dog in the UK, overtaking the Labrador retriever, which had the number 1 spot for almost thirty years. French bulldogs are also in the top ten dog breeds in the US (no. 4), Canada (no. 5),  and Australia (no. 3).

French bulldogs are lovely dogs but unfortunately they can suffer from a number of inherited conditions, which can be distressing for the dog and heart-breaking for the owner.  Because they have a squashed face, they are at risk of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome, can have trouble breathing, be reluctant to exercise, and may overheat in hot weather.

Veterinarian Shaun Oppermann recently told The Guardian,
"We tend to say: ‘Oh, it’s a French bulldog – it’s normal for them to breathe like that. But if your child sounded like that after a walk in the park, you’d have him straight down to A&E [the emergency department].”
As well, some French bulldogs have ear problems; eye issues; skin issues; or deformities of the spine as a result of the genes that cause a screw tail.

If you’re thinking of getting a French bulldog but are concerned about their health, here are some suggestions for other breeds that might fit the bill, and some tips if you decide only a French bulldog will do.


People who get French bulldogs are often first time dog owners who choose the breed because of its distinctive appearance and personality.

I reached out to some experts to ask which breed they would recommend as an alternative to someone thinking about a French bulldog. In other words, breeds that are suitable for first time dog owners, good with families, suitable for apartment living, don’t need too much exercise, and have a great personality.


Choosing the breed isn’t the most important thing


Although breed is the thing most people think about when getting a dog, other considerations are more important, such as whether it’s the right time for you to get a dog.

Veterinarian Dr. Emma Milne, author of Picking a Pedigree: How to Choose a Healthy Puppy or Kitten, says,
“My advice for first time dog owners would be to totally forget about whatever breed they think they want! Every single prospective dog owner should go for a minimum of half an hour’s walk twice a day every single day for a month regardless of weather. Millions of dogs get no exercise and this task is harder than you think. Research is key. Talk to a vet, not just breed clubs, it’s us that see the breed diseases. Make sure the dog suits your life and learn about socialization and habituation.  
“As for which breed I champion - the good old mutt. A true cross breed. Temperament and health are WAY more important than looks.” 

Dog trainer Kristi Benson, CTC, says,
“consider what it is about Frenchies that you like, and see what other breeds might also have that characteristic.”

These are the breeds recommended as especially suitable for people who love French bulldogs.


Border terrier and other terriers


Which dog breeds are the best alternative to the French Bulldog? The Border Terrier, pictured, is one of the breeds on the list
Border Terrier. Photo: Radomir Rezny/Shutterstock


The border terrier and other terriers are all great choices.

Dog trainer and qualified groomer Amy Terceira, CTC, of Dog Gone Good says, “Looking for a fun loving breed? Consider a border terrier, West Highland terrier or a Norwich or Norfolk terrier."

She says. "These breeds are hearty and don't have loads of health issues. They are affectionate and enjoy the company of the family. These terriers can live happily in apartments as long as they get daily walks and their moderate exercise requirements are met. They have lovely, spunky personalities and loads of motivation which helps for training initiatives. The border terrier in particular is not known to excessively bark unless their needs are not being met. They are brave, confident little dogs.

“They have moderate grooming requirements which some owners prefer to a breed that has considerable grooming needs. Preferably, they are hand stripped but can be brushed or clipped as well. Their coats do not mat as easily as a poodle or Labradoodle for example. Hand stripping removes the dead rough outer coat to allow a fresh wire coat to grow in.

“The border terrier, in particular, is wonderful in the house and can chill out for long periods of time but does need to be walked daily.

“I would caution potential owners that these breeds have high prey drives and love to chase critters, which is what they were bred to do! Walking them on leash especially near roads is wise. Installing a strong recall is a good idea too. They aren't the best candidates to live with cats, especially in an apartment.

The best alternative breeds to the French Bulldog. Photo shows West Highland White Terrier puppies
West Highland White Terrier puppies. Photo: Olga Ovcharenko/Shutterstock


“Another thing to note about these terriers is that they are choosy about their doggie friends. Socializing them from an early age is very important but despite your best socialisation efforts, they may still be scrappy and not get along with every dog they meet. Terrier breeds tend to be less tolerant of forward advances by other dogs.

“If you like what you are reading but would prefer something a little less spunky or spiky try a Sealyham terrier or a Dandie Dinmont.”


Cairn Terrier


Which breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog? The Cairn  Terrier, pictured, is one good choice.
Cairn Terrier. Photo: Marina Plevako/Shutterstock

Cairn terriers are little dogs that are generally healthy; indeed, I suggested them in a post I wrote for Psychology Today about the #BreedtoBreathe campaign on brachycephalic dogs.

Dog trainer Eileen Holst-Grubbe, CTC, of Great Day Dog Training says, “While not usually thought of as a first-time-dog-owner dog, the cairn terrier has the personality someone looking at a Frenchie could be attracted to. They have the terrier spunk that might make a novice owner think twice, but I’ve found that with some training (a good professional is the best bet) and other mental enrichment their zest for life can be channeled appropriately. While they are busy little dogs, they have short legs and I've found it doesn't take as much physical activity to tire them out.”

Holst-Grubbe has a personal reason for loving the cairn terrier. She told me, “Oscar was the cairn in my life and he, as well as the few I have trained, all seem to have a sense of humor. “

She added, “Their terrier spiciness might outwit the average person (or dog), but the few cairns I have trained for clients have been quick learners and able to become well-behaved, yet entertaining, members of their families."


Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers


Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog? The Golden Retriever, pictured here as a puppy, is one of the suggestions.
Golden Retriever puppy. Photo: PhotoTrippingAmerica/Shutterstock


Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers need no introduction because they are such popular dogs.

Tim Steele, CTC, of Behavior Matters Academy says, “I realize it may sound trite, but I'd recommend people look at Labrador and golden retrievers. There are good reasons these dogs end up on the most popular lists every year (the Labrador retriever comes in first and goldens come in third out of 193 breeds at AKC.org).

“They are generally friendly, good family dogs, easily trained, and fantastic for people with active lifestyles. You couldn't ask for a better hiking buddy who will love cuddling with you when you get back home.”


Havanese


Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog? The Havanese, like the puppy pictured, is on the list of breeds
Havanese puppy. Photo: Dorrotya Mathe/Shutterstock

Havanese are toy dogs that are originate from Cuba, hence the name.

Bonnie Hartney, CTC, of Ocean Park Dog Training suggests the Havanese. She says, “As a professional dog trainer, I spend time with a variety of breeds and mixes. One little dog that has won my heart is the Havanese. They are cheerful, affectionate companion dogs, well-suited to apartment living. Friendly with people, children, and other dogs, the Havanese are popular on neighbourhood walks. They excel in dog sports such as agility, nose work, and obedience but are also content to hang out with their “people.”

“Like the French bulldog, Havanese are relatively quiet. Their beautiful silky coats, which come in a variety of colours and patterns, require brushing or clipping. Whether in a selfie pose or with a new trick, the Havanese are definite people pleasers.”


Italian greyhound


Which dog breeds are the best alternative to the French Bulldog? The Italian Greyhound, pictured, is one of the breeds on the list
Italian Greyhound. Photo: Sarah Weldon/Shutterstock

Italian greyhounds are small, elegant sighthounds that are often called Iggies for short.

Certified dog behavior consultant Kayla Fratt, CDBC, of Journey Dog Training told me Italian greyhounds are apartment-friendly dogs that are healthy and don’t need much exercise.

She says, “Italian greyhounds are notoriously quiet and cuddly. They’re even smaller than Frenchies and often look adorable in sweaters (they get very cold). They’re really nice, easy dogs. Plus, they come in a lot of colors and can still be quite striking.

“Let’s face it, many people love Frenchies because they’re so darn cute. Iggies (Italian greyhounds) also fit that bill!“


Poodle


Which dog breeds are the best alternative to the French Bulldog? Experts' answers include the poodle, pictured
Toy poodle. Photo: Jagodka/Shutterstock


Poodles come in standard, miniature, and toy sizes and are intelligent dogs.

Dog trainer and canine behavior consultant Melanie Ceronie, PhD, says “For individuals or families thinking about a Frenchie or other brachycephalic breed of dog, I highly recommend considering a poodle as an alternative. There’s much more to a poodle than just a pretty face! Poodles are consistently in the AKC’s top 10 list of most popular dogs in the United States. They are active, highly intelligent, and friendly dogs that make great family companions.

“With three varieties of poodles to choose from – toy (4-6 pounds); miniature (12-20 pounds); and standard (50-70 pounds) – there is a size suitable for everyone. Poodles also come in a wide range of colors, including grey, apricot, black, and white. Poodles are highly trainable dogs that make a great choice for people wishing to participate in dog sports, such as agility, freestyle, nosework, or competition obedience. They are also known to make wonderful therapy and service dogs, as well, due to their friendliness, intelligence, and trainability.

“Because poodles are active dogs, it will be important for those considering the breed to ensure that their dog’s daily exercise and enrichment needs are met. In addition their curly coats require regular brushing and grooming. There's a lot to love about poodles, and I highly recommend them to individuals and families looking for a sociable, active canine companion.”


Shih Tzu


Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog? Experts' answers include the Shih Tzu, pictured.
Shih Tzu. Photo: rebeccaashworth/Shutterstock


Shih Tzus are popular little dogs because of their playful nature.

Dog trainer Jennifer Gailis, CTC, of Bravo Fido says, “If I had to sum up the Shih Tzu in a few words, it would be happy-go-lucky and playful. The Shih Tzu is easily overlooked as a frou-frou show dog best suited to sit on a fluffy pillow with a bow in their hair but this couldn’t be further from the truth. These are generally playful little dogs with wonderful personalities. Their exercise needs are low compared to working breeds, however, they still need daily activities and play.

“As with any breed, finding a responsible breeder, early socialization, and positive reinforcement training are key to ensuring your Shih Tzu is happy and confident. Shih Tzus are generally extremely social dogs and can make wonderful companions for people of any age. They can be lovely with children and make good family dogs. However, due to the Shih Tzu’s small size, rough handling or overly boisterous kids can be scary. Parental supervision is always recommended.

“The main drawback to the Shih Tzu is their coat which requires regular grooming. Most pet owners choose to give their Shih Tzu a close-cropped puppy cut which gives them an adorable rough and tumble look.

“Shih Tzus make my list of dog breeds recommended for novice owners or anyone looking for a lovely companion. While the breed is recognized for many wonderful traits, please remember all dogs are individuals and there can be variation within the breed.”

This is a brachycephalic breed, so take extra care to find a responsible breeder.


Whippet


Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog?
Whippet. Photo: Cora Mueller/Shutterstock


Whippets are good-looking dogs that are taller than Italian greyhounds but smaller than greyhounds.

Dr. Kate Mornement of Pets Behaving Badly–Solutions with Dr Kate told me, "Whippets are a fantastic breed for so many reasons. They are friendly, affectionate, intelligent, compatible with other pets and usually don't bark excessively. They are also very clean and have a low shedding, low maintenance coat. These qualities make them well suited to apartment living (as long as they are adequately exercised).

“Whippets make great companions for most people and living situations including families and are said to be one of the hardiest purebred dogs. Whippets feel the cold, though, and may need an extra layer to keep them warm in the winter months. These lovely little dogs do best when they are allowed inside and included in family life."


Mutts


Which dog breeds are the best alternatives to the French Bulldog? Mixed breed dogs have to be considered alongside the other breeds on this list
Mixed breed dog. Photo: Lunia/Shutterstock


Mutts are very popular for a variety of reasons, and by definition come in all shapes and colours.

Monash University PhD candidate Mia Cobb of Do You Believe in Dog? recommends a mixed breed dog.

“You want to share your life with a healthy and happy canine companion for as long as possible, yes? Then get a mutt!," she told me. "I’m a huge fan of welcoming rescue dogs of unknown heritage into my home. Perhaps you’re concerned that a mutt won’t behave as predictably as a pure-bred dog, but research from the last two decades repeatedly shows us that we need to treat dogs as individuals. We can see as much behavioural variation within a breed as we can between breeds. We can’t be certain that dogs will behave a certain way just because they belong to a specific breed or breed type."

There are advantages to a mixed breed dog, Cobb says. "Mixed breed dogs live longer than pure bred dogs, and this lifespan advantage is proportional to body size. We know that dogs with squashed (brachycephalic) faces lead lives of compromised health and welfare. If the goal is a happy, healthy and long-lived dog - it’s not going to be one with an extreme body type – it’s really that simple.

"Whichever type of dog you decide to share your home with, be sure to meet the specific individual. I’d advise spending time getting to know them, their personality and activity levels. Do your research to be informed of any breed-related health issues they will face throughout their lifetime - then consider whether you will be a good fit for each other over the next fifteen years. Me? I’ll always be meeting my next mutt at the rescue shelter.”

Kristi Benson says an adult rescue dog has the advantage of being a known quantity. She told me, “Rescues and shelters in your area will likely have a bevy of mid-sized dogs who are fun, hilarious, and with the same amount of energy as a typical Frenchie.

"Plan to do meet and greets with dogs that are at least three years old, since once a dog is about three, they pretty much are who they are: they will be dog-friendly or not, cat-friendly or not, kid-friendly or not, and you can easily identify both their exercise and grooming needs.”


If you really want a French bulldog


Whatever breed of dog you get, research the health issues so you can ask the breeder the right questions.

If you want a French bulldog, it’s important to find a responsible breeder. Ask them whether the parents have needed any medical procedures; a good breeder will be happy to talk about the health of their puppies. Dogs that have had to have surgery for Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome should not be bred from. Make sure you see the puppy with mom, and pay attention to whether the mom seems healthy or is snorting or wheezing.

Ask the breeder if the puppies were born by caesarian section, and if the mom has had multiple caesarians. In some breeds, including the French bulldog, the majority of litters are born by caesarian section because they cannot safely give birth naturally. In some places, guidelines or legislation mean bitches can no longer be bred if they have had two caesarian sections.

Benson says “Check with the Frenchie breeders in your area for any who are breeding for longer snouts (and to address the other conformation issues with these dogs). Supporting these breeders will support changes in the breed standard, which is what many dog advocates are seeking.”

Benson also suggests that you consider a cross of a French bulldog with another breed. “Search the rescues and shelters in your area for Frenchie crosses. Crosses often share characteristics with their parent breeds, but can be healthier and more structurally sound.“

Remember that French bulldogs are also available from shelters and rescues. In this case you get the advantage of their health having already been checked – and any necessary veterinary procedures having been carried out. Plus, of course, you are giving a home to a dog who badly needs one.

The video below shows what the Mayhew animal welfare charity in London, UK, did for one of the French bulldogs that came into their care.




Summary: French bulldogs and alternatives


French bulldogs are wonderful dogs, but they can have serious health issues as a result of their looks. Ultimately, we need kennel clubs and breeders to find a way to solve this problem (for example, in Sweden, dogs that have had surgery for brachycephalic issues cannot be bred).

If you want a dog like a French bulldog, the breeds listed in this post are all great choices for people who love Frenchies, as are mutts. It’s important to remember that French bulldogs are available in shelters and rescues too.

Whatever breed you decide on, remember to research the potential health issues so that you know which questions to ask the breeder, and always see the puppy with mom. Check out my post on how to choose a puppy for more tips.

And if you’re getting a puppy, don’t forget to sign up for a good puppy class (see also: how to choose a dog trainer).


Join over 2,500 animal science enthusiasts and subscribe to Companion Animal Psychology.

Further Reading


Choosing dogs that can breathe (on my Psychology Today blog)
Why do people choose certain dogs  (here on Companion Animal Psychology)
‘This is a calamity’: The surgeons keeping pugs and bulldogs alive by Simon Usborne at The Guardian.
Dogs deserve better (RSPCA)
Veterinarian Dr. Emma Milne has a page about the responsible use of pets in advertising (and you’ll find lots of animal welfare info on her website too).
What the pug is going on? by Mia Cobb, Do You Believe in Dog


References
Evans, K. M., & Adams, V. J. (2010). Proportion of litters of purebred dogs born by caesarean section. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 51(2), 113-118. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-5827.2009.00902.x
Fawcett, A., Barrs, V., Awad, M., Child, G., Brunel, L., Mooney, E., Martinez-Taboada, F., McDonald, B. & McGreevy, P. (2019). Consequences and Management of Canine Brachycephaly in Veterinary Practice: Perspectives from Australian Veterinarians and Veterinary Specialists. Animals, 9(1), 3. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010003
Packer, R. M. A., Murphy, D., & Farnworth, M. J. (2017). Purchasing popular purebreds: investigating the influence of breed-type on the pre-purchase motivations and behaviour of dog owners.  Animal Welfare 26(2), 181-201.
Sand√łe P, Kondrup SV,, Bennett PC,, Forkman B,, Meyer I,, Proschowsky HF,, Serpell, JA,, & Lund, TB (2017). Why do people buy dogs with potential welfare problems related to extreme conformation and inherited disease? A representative study of Danish owners of four small dog breeds. PLOSOne https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0172091

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Companion Animal Psychology News April 2019

Cats that fetch, equine therapy, and the joy of dogs... the latest Companion Animal Psychology news. Some of my favourites this month “A ton...