September 28, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals


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.

Hal Herzog, a professor of psychology at Western Carolina University, is regarded as a leading expert in the psychology of human-animal relations. He looks closely at the ethics and philosophy involved in our animal relationships in his new book, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals.

Here's a quick take on the book from Super Cool Pets favorite Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs:

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.

Browse Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals.

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May 12, 2010

PetScoop: Dog and Deer Playdate in the Yard

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.

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April 3, 2010

Amazon Hot New Pet Book Release -- Birdology by Sy Montgomery


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.

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February 11, 2010

Must-See Video: Cat vs Robot

If you ever have worried about robots taking over the planet, this should calm your fears a bit:

Super cool find via DVICE

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December 16, 2009

Hunch -- Practical Decision-Making About Pets and Other Stuff


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.

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November 12, 2009

Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan Mastering Leadership DVD Series 5th Ed: Common Canine Misbehaviors


You may be familiar with Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan's Cesar Millan's Mastering Leadership - Volumes 1-4. Here's a few helpful hints from his latest DVD Mastering Leadership DVD Series Vol. 5 Common Canine Misbehaviors:Solutions to the 5 Most Common Dog Problems:

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.

Are you a fan of Cesar Millan? Check out Amazon's Dog Whisperer Store

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September 22, 2009

PetScoop: The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind at Time.com


This past weekend we featured some new Super Cool Pet Books for fall, among them Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz [New York Times review here].

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.

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September 15, 2009

Ruminations on Being a Cat by Flautist at bookofjoe


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.

Readers, what do you think?

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September 7, 2009

Labor Day 2009 -- Honor the Working Dog


Most US dogs live out their lives as pets, largely providing comfort and companionship 24/7 to the humans with whom they share their world. Definitely hard work.

Many dogs also formally serve us--searching, rescuing, herding, assisting the disabled, the police, the military. They provide therapy to the elderly and incapacitated, hunt, guard, track, and detect.

Today, Labor Day, we take off our hats to the extra special working dog. What would life be without them?

Want to learn more? Check out Working Group (Dogs) and enjoy a good read, Working Dogs: True Stories of Dogs and Their Handlers.

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September 5, 2009

Remembering Alex the Parrot

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.

He was the subject of a thirty-year (1977-2007) research project by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, who judged that Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old human and the emotional level of a human two-year-old at the time of his death (see article). Pepperberg's moving tribute to her parrot Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process is a must-read.

Watch this amazing video clip where Alex answers questions he hasn't been trained to answer:

Video via HuffPost Green

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