Hello and Welcome to “The Science Dog”! Let me introduce myself. My name is Linda Case and I am a dog trainer, canine nutritionist and science writer who specializes in topics about dog training, behavior and nutrition.  My academic training is in animal sciences, specifically in canine/feline nutrition and companion animal behavior and training. I have a B.S. in Animal Science from Cornell University and an M.S. in Canine/Feline Nutrition earned at the University of Illinois. Following graduate school, I taught the undergraduate program in companion animal science in the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Illinois for 15 years and also taught companion animal behavior/training at the College of Veterinary Medicine for 5 years.  I left academia a few years ago to concentrate more on writing and training and am the owner of  AutumnGold Consulting and Dog Training Center in Central Illinois  (http://www.autumngoldconsulting.com ).

Me, hiking with Cooper and Alice in Acadia National Park

I am the author of numerous publications and eight books. My most recent books are “Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog” (2018),  Beware the Straw Man: The Science Dog Examines Dog Training Fact and Fiction”  (2016) and  “Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in an Age of Too Many Choices” (2014). Information about all of my dog books can be found in the Books section of this blog.

My husband Mike and I live with and love two dogs; Cooper, and Alice (aka Ally) and Pete, the (formerly feral) cat. In a nutshell, my work, my life and my happiness revolve fully and completely around dogs. I write about dogs, train dogs, teach other folks about dogs, play, run, hike and cuddle with dogs, and am fully capable of talking for hours on end  about……dogs! Like many of you who are interested in this blog, I consider myself to be a card-carrying, lifetime, proud member of the “dog person” club.

So, welcome! I hope that you enjoy The Science Dog and look forward to reading your comments and suggestions! (If you would like notification when new essays are posted, press the “Follow” button on the right side of the blog. You can also “Like” The Science Dog on Facebook!)

Vinny, Cooper and Chip       Ally 15 weeks      Cooper Kissing Pete


50 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m nearly done with “Beware the Straw Man” and am enjoying thoroughly. Regarding dog parks, I’m not a big fan of the small enclosed dog parks, but we have one here in Addison, IL that’s about 80 acres. I find that there are less popular areas where my dog and I used to be able to walk (I am currently dogless) with few interactions with other dogs, This way the dog is off leash, having fun and I’ve only have one altercation in several years. So if the area is big enough to avoid competition, but only involves occasional passers-by, I’m not totally against dog parks.


  2. As it relates to nutrition, here’s a question that’s come up. With cold weather coming, many blogs and articles, some from veterinarians, have advised people to increase their dog’s food, as more energy is used in the cold. But, during the warmer weather my dogs spend hours running around outside and on long walks and hikes. With freezing temperatures we spend much less time on outside trips, and they choose to play less in the dog run.

    With those dogs who mainly go only on walks and spend similar time outside through the year, I can see their advice. But for many others, does the marked decrease in outside activity effect their energy needs more or less than the cold? Is generally applying their advice on food often wrong? As for my guys, I just weigh them every two weeks and judge from that.

    Likely no simple answer here, but some more qualified advice might be useful.


  3. I am having a problem with 2 of my three dogs eating either their own or the other dogs’ poop. Is there a recommended product I can add to their diet other than the powder deterrent which had not worked? All three dogs are on different but appropriate dry dog foods as supervised by our vet.


  4. Hi Linda,

    I thought to email you direct but think this is the best I might do.

    I have JUST read an interesting article re childhood stress and changes in genetic expression.

    I think that it helps to explain the effects of poor puppy rearing on the long term behavioural problems in dogs. (as in Ian Dunbar’s “the dog is trashed” remarks)

    Childhood stress tied to change in gene expression related to emotion regulation, physical health


    It should lead to an interesting article from you — well, one I’d like to read, anyway.



    1. Hi Evelyn, Thanks for your comment and link to the article. (Sorry about the delay – WordPress tags any comments that have more than one link as spam, so your comment originally went into the spam file). I am sure it is an interesting study, and would like to learn more. However, given that there are so many interesting studies of dogs, and that these are my area of interest and study and writing, I limit my articles to reviews of applied research in canine science. Regardless – thanks again for your note and interest! Linda


  5. Hello I would like your advice on a recommendation of which Petfood Co offers internships and where to get a degree on Marketing Advertising for Petfood. Appreciate your help in this matter. Presently daughter in Ann Arbor. Best Regards


  6. And one more question (so sorry!) — does your book contain recipes or input for making our own dog food or does it concentrate on making choices among the commercial options available?
    Many thanks and so sorry.


    1. Hi Elizabeth – Thanks for your note. I hope you enjoy the book! It does not include recipes as it is not that kind of book. However, I know that there are several good books out there that provide recipes for cooking for dogs (this is not a bad way to go at all if a person has the time and inclination to do this). Best wishes for your dog – we have a 14-year-old Golden right now so I completely understand the senior dog issues that can come up with our beloved dogs. Best wishes, Linda


  7. Okay, well just ignore my previous question! I see you wrote the book and I will buy it now. If you can think of any other resources that you found useful, I’d welcome them. I so enjoy this blog. It’s jammed with helpful things. Sorry I missed the obvious earlier.


  8. Hi, I wanted to ask you about food. I notice your site has a link to a book that helps owners figure out best way to feed their dogs. Do you recommend it? Are there others you can suggest? The food our dog is used to can’t be used any more. She’s a 14-year-old Cairn terrier who is pretty healthy but has some issues. We are thinking about alternatives including making some but we wonder if that is going overboard. Thoughts?


    1. Hi Jeff – Thanks for your note and comment! I am glad you like The Science Dog and the information it is providing – feel welcome to visit often! (BTW – We are neighbors, it seems. We are located in the Champaign-Urbana area!) Best, Linda


  9. What a really great connection! All because of your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. Would love you to share some of your doggie stories over at LfD! (We currently have 9 dogs at this end, together with a few other animals!!) So, Linda, thank you!


  10. Hi Linda, thank you for the follow. I just found you through a friend on FB and loved the recent post about children, dogs, and the studies of how parents respond so differently from their children to training. I love anything that protects dogs and raises awareness of what makes dogs (and their humans) tick, or not. I love anything about dogs. So I think I am going to love this blog.


    1. Hi Elizabeth! I really enjoyed reading about you and your work and am glad I found your blog! I also found “She Writes” via your blog and just joined that site as I love the concept of a group dedicated just to women writers! I am glad you enjoyed “The Kids are Alright” piece on Science Dog (I have actually been quite surprised at how “viral” that piece has gone – it seems to have hit a very big nerve among both dog people and parents. Personally, I found the research fascinating as I think it informs us about how best to target educational efforts regarding dog/child interactions). Thanks for your note and for following! Linda


  11. Hello Linda. I recently found your blog and find the articles very interesting. I like how the stories you share are based on science and research studies. I look forward to learning from your blog in both the material and how your site has become so successful.


  12. Hello linda, I’m really glad to have come across your blog, i have been looking for a really good one for a while and your’s hit the nail on the head. I’m studying to become a Canine Behaviourist and as I’m reading your blog its like your talking from my mind. At the moment I’m studying about cognitive learning and also the phycology of a dogs mind. There isn’t one thing I can think of that I do not want to learn. Im hoping to one day write my own books and articles and I have so many ideas but I’m only 2. So right now I’m going to dedicate as many years as I can to as many courses as i can. It would be brilliant if i could have your email in order to contact you and ask a few questions and maybe discuss behavioural science?. Keep going and i look forward to reading more, Take care.


  13. Hi Jane! Thanks for your note and question. I agree completely that, as a trainer, dogs are much more adept at attending to and responding to non-verbal cues than to verbal cues. For example, we almost always teach a verbal cue by first pairing it with a non-verbal cue and then slowly fading the non-verbal cue until the dog responds only to the verbal cue. The only time that this differs of course is with teaching hand-signals for Utility. Still, I think that even with utility hand signals the only reason a dog needs this is because the verbal cue has already been trained to proficiency. Anyway, studies of non-verbal cues……I think there are a few. I have a paper by Pam Reid that I think is a review paper (I have not read it yet…..it is “in the pile”), entitle: “Adapting to the human world: Dogs’ responsiveness to our social cues”. (If you would like it, send me an email and I can send you the pdf). I hope to do a Science Dog blog on it, but it may be a bit.

    In a nutshell, I think like other trainers, our practical experience is that dogs are contextual learners; they respond very, very well not only to our non-verbal (and sometimes unintentional!) cues, but also to the context in which the behavior is occurring. So, this begs the question of whether Dash is aware that agility training is a different context from Freestyle, which differs from obedience work. My inclination is to feel that dogs do use these cues to help them to respond, even if they are not saying to themselves “oh, this is agility now!” 🙂

    Last, love to hear that you are doing Freestyle!! It is SO much fun! We taught it here at AG a few years back, but then lost our instructor when she move out of the area. Hmmm….are you interested in teaching it at all?? (Email me privately if you would consider that!). Happy Training! Linda


  14. Hi, Linda; I have a question for the Science Dog Doc.It’s about how dogs perceive our cues. In my experience, I find that dogs are such good readers of environmental and body language cues and that the verbal cues upon which we humans love to use ad nauseum take a great deal of training once the dog has learned the behavior. And that the dog will almost always default to the non-verbal over the verbal.

    Now, I find myself involved in multiple dog sports…which involve dog behaviors that may be different, similar, or exactly the same across the sports. Keeping the cues (environmental, body language, and verbal) consistent and designing new cues has been quite a challenge.

    And now I have added freestyle dancing for which the verbal cues make the performance look very smooth. My movements may be different from (or even contradictory to) what Dash is used to seeing (looser, not as precise, or not held as long). So as I begin to add verbal cues while minimizing the look of body language cues (making them smaller is an option), I find that I have this question: how does a dog interpret our cues? Here are two examples:

    1. Move in a 360 degree turn (circle): clockwise and counterclockwise. Dash can twirl and spin on verbal cue with a very small hand signal. Will he interpret that “circle” as the same movement when I add a prop like a cane or my body (circle the cane or circle my body)?
    2. Move in a sideways fashion (side passes): with body parallel to me, both of us move in the same direction sideways in both directions (towards me and away from me). On both sides of my body. So…Does Dash perceive the movement to his right as the same cue when he is on my left and moving towards me as when he is on my right moving away from me?

    Hoping that there is some additional or new science that I can learn!


    1. Hi Judy, Thanks for following The Science Dog blog and for your kind words! Please feel welcome to comment and suggest topics. Currently I am concentrating primarily on behavior and training, but plan to include current nutrition and feeding research topics once my new book is published. All comments and thoughts are welcome!


  15. I really like your new blog and the scientific philosophy that guides it. I will be following it. Thanks.
    Dr. Ken Tudor, The Dog Dietitian


  16. I am pleased to have caught wind of your blog . I am interested in not only how to be a better human for my boys but to apply what I learn to dogs in need in my not so progressive area. This is so exciting and I am anxious to read what you have in store for your blog. Of course, I will throw topics or issues out there as they come to mind.


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