We humans certainly are ambivalent about our relationships with animals. Ever wondered why dogs are food in some countries, but members of the family in others? Or why we happily wear leather shoes but condemn cruelty to animals? Most of us would say it's okay to feed a mouse to a pet snake, but not a kitten.
The book combines stories and science in an accessible way. For example, researchers found that people really DO look like their dogs (at least, people can match which dog goes with which person, a fact I personally would argue is not quite the same thing) and that cat and dog lovers really do have slightly different personalities (dog people are more extroverted than cat people, but ironically, cat people are slightly more likely to be open to new experiences.)
But most of all, the book constantly reminds us that our interactions with animals are in part driven by genetics, in part by culture and experience, and as a result, are often irrational and contradictory. But if you're like me.... they are always fascinating.
This super cute clip of a dog and a young deer romping in the yard is a must-see for animal lovers. First, some background from L.A. Unleashed:
The deer, named Theen, was cared for by mlcarriker's family after he was discovered alone and malnourished. The family bottle-fed Theen until he began to eat on his own, and although he's now free to wander and mingle with his wild brethren, he "frequently comes back to the house to eat some [cat food] and play with our dog, Buddy," mlcarriker explains. "He doesn't care much for deer corn."
At the end of the video, notice the cats perched on the porch bannister watching the show.
What makes a bird a bird? That's what Sy Montgomery set out to discover in Birdology:Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur. Sy is the author of the national bestseller The Good Good Pig:The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood, as well as 15 other nonfiction books.
In Birdology, she uses compassion, humor and fascinating facts to explore and understand the lives of seven types of birds. The author studies bird communication, personality, homing and hunting abilities, as well as their relationship to dinosaurs. A must-read book, for birders, bird-lovers, and anyone with an interest in these beautiful creatures.
Can't decide? Don't know what kind of dog or cat breed is best for you, what to name your pet, what kind of food to feed your pet, or even if you should get a pet? Hunch is a super cool site that helps you make these decisions and more.
Hobbies and Pets are only one of multiple categories (beauty, business, clothing, etc) and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of topics at Hunch. You can create a free account and then answer a few questions so Hunch can get to know you and figure out what you'd like best. You can also just browse and see what is generally popular based on other contributors' feedback.
1.) Problems on the walk - A canine pack leader leads, and so should you! Your dog should always be next to you or behind you, never out in front. Make sure you are the first one out the door and the first one to come back in.
2.) Barking at a specific stimulus - Take time to simulate the cause of the barking, and practice correcting your dog. If it's the doorbell that sets your dog off, ring it when no one is coming over, so you can stay focused on the task at hand: helping your dog overcome this unwanted behavior.
3.) Barking while the owner is away - This is most often a symptom of separation anxiety. You can help your dog to relax by communicating that being apart is no big deal. Instead of showering your dog with affection, practice no touch, no talk, and no eye contact for at least five minutes when entering or leaving your home.
4.) Overexcitement or hyperactivity - Overexcited or hyperactive dogs are not being challenged enough. Most often, they just require more exercise! Find a new activity to try with your dog - hiking, swimming, agility courses - or step up your current walk routine. Dogs require at least 30 minutes of a structured walk every day. Talk to your vet about how much exercise your dog can safely handle.
5.) Aggression towards other dogs - Watch your temper! If you are tense, frustrated, or angry, your dog will mirror that energy right back at you, so it's especially important to remain calm when dealing with an aggressive dog. But remember, always put your safety first! Seek the help of a professional to deal with this potentially dangerous issue.
Ms. Horowitz's work with dogs is cited in Time.com's fascinating The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind. Did you know that out of all animals on earth, only humans and canines understand the meaning of a pointed finger? Or that the sloppy kiss your dog plants on your lips may not be an expression of affection as much as a quest for food?
Researchers are opening up centers to study dog behavior here in the US and abroad in Europe, such as the Duke Canine Cognition Center whose assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology, Brian Hare, is profiled in the article and Harvard's Canine Cognition Lab.
Not only will these studies benefit dog owners who continually strive to interpret their dogs' signs and signals more accurately, they should improve and enhance training methods for service animals such as guide dogs and bomb-sniffers.
Who hasn't wondered at some point what life is like for our pets--how do they really view the world? The 'world's most popular blogging anesthesiologist' posted the other day over at bookofjoe:
One project of mine over the past few months has been trying (without success, methinks) to become Gray Cat, see the world as she does and experience things from her point of view.
I sometimes lie down right next to her and look at what she's looking at and try to do a mind-meld with her cat brain but so far nada.
If only I had fur and whiskers to make the incoming more realistic....
And received the following insights from Flautist:
Regarding your project to experience and see things as Gray Cat [above and below] does, I can save you some time and effort. I've already done it with my felines and here's my report: They spend their time dividing everything up into Feels Good or Doesn't Feel Good, and Exciting or Not Exciting. There is broad agreement amongst felines and plenty of individual quirks. Feels Good examples -- chin scratch, sunny spot, chow; Doesn't -- bath, medicine applications, toenail clipping. Exciting -- squirrel chase, bird stalk, cockroach hunt; Not -- waiting for playtime, waiting for rodents to show up, etc. They can occasionally feel deeply conflicted; when I pick up Laurence (cat) I like to hold him upside down like a baby, which he hates, and he plants back feet under my chin in readiness to kick forcefully for release, but he seldom uses that move because he knows he will get back of head scratch which he loves more than anything on earth. Anyway, all that is to say, this is pretty much what you need to know about Gray Cat's (literal) experience of life.
Alex the Parrot died unexpectedly overnight two years ago on September 6th 2007. Alex is the African gray parrot whose ability to master a vocabulary of more than 100 words and answer questions about the color, shape and number of objects brought him widespread acclaim during his life.