Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Canine Cognition

Science Says: “Nose Work is Good for Your Dog!”

We started training nose work games with our dogs about 8 years ago. One of the many neat things about this activity is observing the different search styles of each dog. For example, Chippy, our Toller, was very focused and methodical. He stopped and thoroughly sniffed each box before moving on to the next, finally… Continue reading Science Says: “Nose Work is Good for Your Dog!”

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Canine Cognition · dog-human relationship · shelter dogs

Missing the Point

Dogs are talented observers of human body language. Dog folks attest to this via boatloads of anecdotal stories and home videos that we are happy to share (and over-share) with others. But more importantly for the purposes of The Science Dog, it is the results of an additional boatload of controlled research studies that support our belief that dogs are paying attention to us.… Continue reading Missing the Point

Behavior Assessments · Science · shelter dogs

Ailurophile? (Or not)

All four of our dogs like cats and are especially smitten with our current cat, Pete. They play with Pete, go for walks with him and sleep with him. Lucky for us, (and for Pete), our dogs would definitely fall within the category of ailurophile (cat lover). But, of course, this is not true of all… Continue reading Ailurophile? (Or not)

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Dog Breeds · dog selection · dog-human relationship

(Field) Dogs on the Beach

Mike and I and our dogs just returned from a week in Florida at a beach community that prides itself on its dog-friendliness. We met our friends Bob and Karen from Virginia, who brought their two Labs, Gus and Sally. It was an amazing week. We spent hours with the dogs walking the beach, watching shorebirds and dolphins, hiking local trails,… Continue reading (Field) Dogs on the Beach

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · dog selection · dog-human relationship · Science · shelter dogs

If Sit Doesn’t Matter, What Does?

My last Science Dog blog. "When Sit Doesn't Mean S*it" reviewed a series of studies showing that training shelter dogs to sit on command is not as predictive of future adoption as was once assumed. Those results should not be interpreted as an argument against the benefits of training programs, but rather as evidence that there may be other factors… Continue reading If Sit Doesn’t Matter, What Does?

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · dog-human relationship · Science · Scientific Method

Excitable You

There is a common cognitive bias, the Fundamental Attribution Error,  that is central to the way in which we view others and make judgements about their behavior. It is supported by a large body of research and is one of the most common errors that our brains make on a regular basis. The Fundamental Attribution Error refers to our tendency to explain… Continue reading Excitable You

Behavior and Training · Behavior Assessments · Science

Beware the Straw Man

Many animal shelters regularly use standardized tests to assess the behavior of dogs and to determine adoption suitability. However, while the use of these tests has become ubiquitous, there is a distinct lack of research demonstrating their reliability or validity. In other words, while testing a dog's degree of friendliness, aggression and fear prior to adoption makes intuitive sense and feels like a good idea, we do not… Continue reading Beware the Straw Man