My research interests centre on the behaviour and welfare of domestic cats and dogs, and their relationships with people, although I no longer supervise research students. Before I retired I co-ordinated research programmes on the following: separation disorders in dogs; the welfare of kennelled dogs; the role of olfaction in dogs' location of hidden objects; the psychology of dog-handler interactions; the interpretation of "play" behaviour in dogs and cats; cat domestication; the development of "personality" in cats; the effects of human factors on cat population dynamics.
Video: speaking about research into anthropomorphism and emotional support at ISAZ 2012.
My current professional focus is on making the science of anthrozoology accessible to pet owners, through books and other media - click here or on the Impact tab for more detail.
I was formerly Reader in Companion Animal Behaviour and University Research Theme Leader for Animal Welfare & Behaviour at the University of Bristol. My academic post prior to that was a Senior Research Fellowship at the University of Southampton (1987-2003), where I founded the Anthrozoology Institute.
I was one of the founders of the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), and formerly acted as Science Chair for the International Association of Human-Animal Interactions Organisations (IAHAIO). I have been a member of the Council of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) and served on its Accreditation Committee from 1999-2015.
I give lectures on the BSc in Animal Behaviour & Welfare (years 2 and 3), and on the HE Certificate in Companion Animal Welfare and Behavioural Rehabilitation. Formerly I was responsible for the third-year projects on the AB&W degree. I have supervised more than 20 PhD students to completion, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in animal welfare science.
With Drs Rachel Casey and Sarah Brown, I have revised my textbook "The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat" (2nd edition, CAB International, 2012). Sarah Brown and I have contributed a chapter to the third edition of "The Domestic Cat: the biology of its behaviour" (Cambridge University Press, 2013), and Dr Nicola Rooney and I have chapters in the second edition of "The Domestic Dog" (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and "Domestic Dog Cognition & Behavior" (Springer, 2014).
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
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