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Blog: Karen B. London
Dogs Helped Humans Hunt Mammoths
New evidence from archaeological sites
Archaeological sites with hundreds of dead mammoths posed a puzzle to scientists: How could humans kill so many of these massive animals with the weapons available at the time? The answer is that one of the “weapons” used was not made of stone like the other tools of the time, but was made of flesh and blood. It was the domestic dog. According to new research by Pat Shipman at Penn State...
Blog: Editors
Are There Differences Between Dog and Cat People?
All of the theorizing on the differences between dog lovers and cat lovers has some new research to fuel the rivalry. A new study led by Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, suggests that “dog people” and “cat people” are quite distinct in their personalities. People who said they were dog lovers in the study tended to be more lively...
Blog: Guest Posts
You are Invited to a Canine Science Conference
with free live streaming
If you think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, Thank You! That means you stopped by Dog Spies in May 2013 and read a post with the same title. But that was #SPARCS2013, and this is #SPARCS2014; same concept, different location, topics and speakers. During this year’s 3-day event, June 20-22 2014, leading canine researchers will cover three general areas of research that get at the core...
Wellness: Food & Nutrition
Dog Food Logic
Become a label sleuth and improve your skill at making wise dog-food choices.
When selecting a new dog food, take a few moments to read and compare the label claims on a variety of different brands. You may notice two things. First, many of the claims are identical, making it impossible to differentiate one brand of food from another in a meaningful way. Popular and frequently used claims promote a food’s natural properties (labels are overrun with these), as well as...
Blog: Karen B. London
Behavioral Predictors of Adoption
What dogs do influences potential adopters
We know that millions of shelter pets are available for adoption each year, but that many are never selected. Most previous research into the choices that people make about which dog to adopt has focused on what the dog looks like and the dog’s behavior in the kennel. The recent study “Adopter-dog interactions at the shelter: Behavioral and contextual predictors of adoption” investigated whether...
Blog: Karen B. London
Attention Changes With Age
Dogs and humans follow similar path
If you think that your dog has changed in his tendency to pay attention to you over time, you are probably right. A new study is the first to describe the developmental changes in dogs’ attention over their entire life. In the study “Lifespan development of attentiveness in domestic dogs: drawing parallels with humans”, scientists studied 145 Border Collies from the ages of 6 months to almost 14...
Blog: Guest Posts
A Proposal to Stop Breeding Dogs
On the whole, human breeders have not improved on nature.
On a flight last year, I sat next to a woman from India on her way to London from New York, where she had been visiting her first grandchild When she heard I wrote about dogs, she turned her attention to the one aspect of her daughter and son-in-law’s life she could not understand—their dog. On her walks around Central Park with the dog and her granddaughter, the dog drew the most attention and...
Blog: Guest Posts
Drop Outs and Bloopers: Behind the Scenes of Canine Science
I judge dogs when I meet them, but not in the way you might expect. You see, every dog and owner I meet gets filtered through a lens called “Potential Canine Science Study Participants.” The growing field of canine behavior and cognition research is not built on the backs of lab beagles. Instead, research depends on the kindness and interest of dog owners who sign up their dogs to join any of the...
Blog: Editors
Laughter is the Best Tonic
Study shows dog people laugh more
Do you enjoy a good laugh with your dog? If so, apparently you are not alone. So writes New York Times long-time health columnist Jane Brody on one of the many benefits her new dog Max contributes to her life. Brody’s recent article champions the many perks of “life with a dog”—companionship, exercise, meeting people and laughter. She cites a study of 95 people who were asked to keep “laughter”...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dogs' Responses to Familiar Human Scents
Their brains reveal a positive response
You may not feel happy when you smell your husband’s underarm when he has not showered or used deodorant for 24 hours, but your dog probably does. So concluded scientists who conducted an fMRI study to investigate the response of dogs’ brains to both familiar and unfamiliar canine and human odors. Since the canine sense of smell is so well-developed, studies that investigate it are especially...

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