Do Pet Psychics Work?

Animal communicators say they can make telepathic contact with our pets. Can they really?

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA,
November 1, 2010
Episode #082

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Our much-loved dog Izzy was found on the street by a kindhearted stranger when she was two or three years old. I would have done almost anything for a glimpse of her early life--who did that sweet girl live with, and how did she come to be running around Brooklyn on her own? Sometimes when I’m working with an especially fearful or aggressive dog I just wish I could have two minutes inside his head, to ask what on earth he’s so freaked out about and to explain how unnecessary all that cowering or lunging is. Maybe an animal communicator could help; they can make telepathic contact with cats and dogs. Well--I wish they could, anyway.

The podcast edition of this tip was sponsored by Audible.com.   You can sign up for a 14-day trial membership and download an audiobook for free by clicking here. This week’s pick from The Dog Trainer is Peter Hessler’s fascinating and funny Oracle Bones, human stories of life in a changing China. The cast includes everybody from Uighur traders to small-town English teachers who can’t get enough off-color American slang.  

Do Pet Psychics Work?

If you’ve ever consulted an animal communicator or pet psychic, you may have walked away from the encounter amazed by how much the communicator knew about your dog, how spot-on her perceptions were. I used to feel a similar amazement at the dog park, whenever my first mentor in training glanced at a pair of dogs and said, “Whoa, there’s going to be a dogfight any second now,” and then whammo. Spooky! But my mentor’s foresight came from her real-world expertise. Long years of studying dog behavior allowed her to spot trouble signs us amateurs couldn’t see.

Pet Psychics Use “Cold Reading” for Impressive Results

Stage mentalists, mediums, and, yup, animal communicators all use a technique called cold reading. It’s every bit as supernatural as chopping onions or reading canine body language.

A cold reader uses her general knowledge of the world, careful questioning and observation, and our own cognitive biases to persuade us that she has learned things she could only know psychically. And she may not be a cheat! I’m convinced that many or most animal communicators honestly believe in what they do. Here’s how cold reading works.


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