My research interests centre on the behaviour and welfare of domestic cats and dogs, and their relationships with people. Over the past two decades this has included: 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 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 previous academic post 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 Organisation (IAHAIO). I have been a member of the Council of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) and served as Secretary for its Accreditation Committee from 1999-2003: I am currently responsible for course validation for that Committee.
My current research concerns the evolutionary psychology of the pet-owner bond, including studies of anthropomorphism. I am also involved as an advisor on a number of research projects in the Animal Welfare and Behaviour Group, including the welfare and behaviour of working dogs, and applied cat population dynamics.
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 recently completed the second edition of my textbook "The Behaviour of the Domestic Cat" (CAB International, 2012).
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
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