What Dog Owners Think about Lead-Pulling

(And why it is such a common problem.....) One of the many joys of living with dogs is going for walks. In our family, all of our dogs have loved to hike and run, and Mike and I spend time together almost every morning with our dogs at our local forest preserve. The dogs enjoy … Continue reading What Dog Owners Think about Lead-Pulling

Are There Benefits of Insect-Based Dog Foods?

Insect-based dog treats and foods were first introduced into the commercial pet food market quite recently - about 6 years ago. While early products were primarily offered as treats, complete and balanced dog foods that contain various types of insect meals are increasingly available. I have written about the insect species that have been studied … Continue reading Are There Benefits of Insect-Based Dog Foods?

Does Your Dog Love You More than He Loves Food?

(Do you want to know?) Our Dogs Love Us Of this, we are pretty certain. Of course, this is the science dog, so we like evidence. One of the ways in which researchers study dogs' relationships with owners is to measure dogs' preferences - called differential responses - in a variety of situations. In many … Continue reading Does Your Dog Love You More than He Loves Food?

Protein Quality of Freeze-Dried Foods

I have written about freeze-dried pet food safety in a previous Science Dog essay. While we have a bit of evidence regarding risks of pathogen contamination in freeze-dried products, there has been little published research regarding the nutritional quality of freeze-dried foods or treats. This is an important question because freeze-dried foods and treats are … Continue reading Protein Quality of Freeze-Dried Foods

Diet and Your Dog’s Skin Microbiome

The word "microbiome" is all the rage among dog researchers and dog folks these days. In most instances when you hear this term, it refers to a dog's gut microbiome. However, another important microbiome system in the dog's body is the skin. Similar to the gut, the skin's bacterial makeup is comprised of multiple species, … Continue reading Diet and Your Dog’s Skin Microbiome

Teasing is Bad.

(Science Says So). My dogs are retrieving maniacs; always have been. This is not surprising seeing that we live with Goldens and Tollers. Throw something (literally anything) and they will happily race after it, pick it up, and bring it back to you. We LOVE this about our dogs and they adore playing this game. … Continue reading Teasing is Bad.

FDA Guidelines? Who Knew?

I have been in the pet food industry, in some capacity, for my entire working life. Today, I learned about a set of FDA Guidelines that are written to help to keep our dogs (and us) safe. Until recently, I had no idea that these even existed. Apparently, I am not alone. A recent study, … Continue reading FDA Guidelines? Who Knew?

If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding!

This week's blog is an excerpt from "Dog Smart: Evidence-based Training with The Science Dog." Even those who are not Pink Floyd fans understand this principle. “You cannot have dessert until you first eat your vegetables” This common admonition means that you can only have the thing that you really want if you first complete … Continue reading If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding!

Enrichment Activities

(Are Not All Created Equal) Enrichment is a popular term these days in the dog training and dog care world. And for good reason. At its most basic, environmental enrichment refers to a variety of techniques and interventions that are intended to enhance the physical and emotional well being of animals who live under human … Continue reading Enrichment Activities

Did Lassie Love Her Job?

One of the many ways that the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) is unique is in how many different roles that dogs have in human society. Most who read this blog share their lives with dogs who are well cared for and who are deeply loved. However, around the world, some dogs lack homes altogether and … Continue reading Did Lassie Love Her Job?

The (Dis)connection between Grain-Free Foods and DCM

Almost 4 years ago, in July of 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a public alert stating that they had reports of an apparent increase in the national incidence of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs. At the time, it was speculated (without evidence) that the perceived increase in cases was related to the consumption … Continue reading The (Dis)connection between Grain-Free Foods and DCM

The Eeyore Effect

Measuring the Emotional Toll of Aversive Training Methods The tension between dog trainers who use primarily reward-based methods (positive reinforcement) and those who rely more on aversive methods (positive punishment/negative reinforcement) is not new. Many trainers (myself included) believe that not only are reward-based methods more humane than methods that rely heavily upon aversives, but … Continue reading The Eeyore Effect

Farting French Bulldogs

Yeah. Apparently it's a thing. FLATULENT FREDDIE It is even enough of a thing that a group of scientists from Sao Paulo State University in Brazil decided to study it. More precisely, they studied a few dietary components that might contribute to unpleasant smells produced by members of this adorable (but sometimes stinky) breed. Is … Continue reading Farting French Bulldogs

More Human-Grade Research… and a Rant

Dog foods that are produced with human-grade ingredients have increased in number and popularity in recent years. In addition to containing food ingredients that are classified and handled differently than typical pet food ingredients, these products are usually less highly processed when compared with extruded kibble (see "Human Grade Dog Foods: Some Science" for details). … Continue reading More Human-Grade Research… and a Rant

Wait. Should I like that?

A number of studies have shown that dogs possess the ability to learn new behaviors and even problem solve by observing the actions of other dogs or humans. Several forms of social (aka observational) learning are defined by researchers. Discussions regarding dogs' proficiency, the types of tasks that can be learned, and the relative cognitive … Continue reading Wait. Should I like that?