Happiness in Animals?

Callie & Jenny

Of course! It seems like a simple question, but as is often the case, our big, complicated brains allow us to add nuance to the answer. I've gone on record as arguing that yes indeed, mammals like dogs and horses can be happy, how could they not be? Feeling good is a way for the body to tell the brain (as if they were separate, forgive me for this simplistic duality) that it is in an environment that is safe and healthy. The neuro-hormones associated with happiness, like dopamine and oxytocin are shared by all mammals, and expressive mammals like dogs have the same facial expressions as we do when we are happy ourselves. I write about this in the book For the Love of a Dog and show examples in the DVD of the same name. However, I was reminded that the question has more depth than "can a Read More

The Secret Life of Dogs

There is a great BBC special on dogs on YouTube, (sent to me by an alert reader, thank you!). I spend so much time in front of my computer that I rarely want to watch an hour long show on it . . but this time I sat down and didn't move for 60 minutes. It's called The Secret Life of Dogs, and it's great. Hands (and paws) down, great. It has sections on Miklosi's work on dog barks (people are very good at discriminating between barks given in 6 different contexts), Juliane Kaminksi's work on the ability of dogs to follow a pointing gesture (which chimps and wolves do not seem able to do), Belyaev's & Trut's work on selection for docility in foxes (resulting in a profound number of physical as well as behavioral changes which basically result in domesticated foxes in 20 generations), and Read More

Help with Podcast!

Work on the podcast is progressing. I'm waiting to hear the first version of the pilot that we recorded last week, and am on pins and needles about it. How will it sound? Are my answers (to some of your GREAT questions!) helpful? Interesting? How about the format? By the way, we decided to go with another voice, that of my new partner in crime, Buzz Kemper. He's the co-owner of Audio for the Arts, and sole owner of a great voice, lots of recording and podcast experience and a terrific sense of humor. He's not a behavior or training expert, but that's part of why I think he'll be a great presence on the show... keeping me honest and adding a fresh voice to the mix. (And yes, to loyal Calling All Pets listeners, I do miss Larry, and I will continue to miss him, but he's full to the brim with Read More

Send Podcast Questions!

We are soon going to tape the pilot of a potential podcast and would love some questions from dedicated readers. Each podcast will have an interview with an author or professional of interest (we have Temple Grandin and Karen Pryor lined up first, how fun is that?) and the answers to two to four questions about behavior or training, and that's where you come in.  We'd love to get some real questions from you... we could make them up (that is VERY common by the way on lots of shows) but would much rather get them from you. So here's your chance... send in a question you'd like us to consider for the podcast.  The good news is that we might use it on the show and you'll get your question answered. The bad news is that you'll send in a question and never hear a thing in response. That will Read More

Are Pets Important 2, Wood work in Fall

I have read your excellent comments with great interest, thank you all so much for writing. I do agree that in many ways it is far too simplistic to sort the world into two groups as I did in my earlier post. I suspect that it's easy to oversimplify when you are frustrated, and truth be told, I was feeling a bit frustrated when I wrote last week. Part of that stemmed from recently hearing what I believe has been meant as a compliment to Calling All Pets. Several times I've heard people say that Calling All Pets is a good show for Wisconsin Public Radio because "it brings in people who wouldn't normally listen to pubic radio." This presupposes that the show's listeners are different than most listeners of public radio. Does that mean that most people who listen to public radio are not Read More