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Blog: Guest Posts
Gene Linked to Compulsive Disorder
Dogs and humans have a lot in common
Last spring, Julia Kamysz Lane blogged about a study that suggested a link between compulsive tail-chasing and high cholesterol in dogs. Now, Bark contributor Mark Derr reports for The New York Times on a study linking compulsive behavior in dogs—think: excessive licking, fence running, spinning, staring and more—to a gene for the first time. The discovery is important not simply for the...
Blog: Guest Posts
Which Is Better?
Cats v. dogs—a serious consideration
New Scientist has stepped deep into the dogs v. cat debate with a comparison of species across 11 categories--from brain size and bond-ability to smell, sight, hearing and domestication. Of course, dogs claim a win but the 6-to-5 squeaker was far closer than I would have thought. Who knew cats, on average, have more acute sniffers? Or that they have a subliminal power in their purrs? My big...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Fur Is the Best Medicine
Pet therapy helps to reduce the need for pain pills.
As a pet therapy team, my Sheltie, Nemo, and I have visited patients at the hospital and read with kids at the library. Nemo loves children, so he’s always excited about the reading program, although sitting in one place for 15-30 minutes can sometimes be a challenge! But my favorite place to visit is the hospital. I love bringing some canine sunshine into the dreary rooms and chatting with the...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
From Timeouts to Clicker Training
What we’ve gained from studying animal behavior.
I’ve learned a lot about human behavior from my experience training dogs and always knew it would somehow influence how I raise my future kids. I often joke that I’ll corral unruly children in crates, which is usually met with nervous laughter, but in all seriousness, many of the techniques we use to modify human behavior stems from what we know about animal behavior. A recent Slate.com article...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
$2 Million to Study the Human-Animal Bond
Research on the health benefits of pets begins to receive major funding.
While I don’t need any studies to know the benefits of the human-animal bond, research in this area is critical to the support of programs and legislation that dog lovers care about. Now, more institutions are receiving funding to explore the effect that animals have on humans. Last month, I wrote about a $300,000 government funded study that seeks to quantify the impact of service dogs on Post...
Blog: Guest Posts
Cheap, Easy Alternative to Spay/Neuter Surgery
One man is funding the search for an answer.
Last October, I posted a blog about billionaire orthopedic surgeon Gary Michelson’s bid to drive research into finding an efficient, inexpensive and nonsurgical alternative to spay/neuter. His nonprofit foundation, Found Animals, put up $75 million to fund promising research and commercial development of what many consider to be the key to fighting pet overpopulation and, in turn, euthanasia--...
Blog: Karen B. London
Researching Social Cognition
Dogs finally get some respect
Science recently ran an article about the importance of dog research. It’s an understatement to say that times they are a-changing. The fact is that times have changed so much that it’s a whole new era. This journal is among the most prestigious of scientific publications, and to see a big article about the value of dogs as research subjects is mind-blowing to those of us whose discussions of dog...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Government Funds PTSD Service Dog Study
Department of Defense begins research on the canine potential for helping veterans.
Back in July I wrote about the Puppies Behind Bars' Dog Tags program that provides service dogs to veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Now research is underway to demonstrate the impact of pairing up returning soldiers with trained canines. The U.S. Department of Defense is financing a $300,000, 12-month study that will look at the effects of service dogs on changes in PTSD...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Three Genes Behind the Canine Coat
Scientists identify the genetic variants that influence dog hair.
From the Puli’s cords to the Poodle’s curls, the canine’s array of coats makes them one of the most diverse species in the world. Until now, little was known about the genetics behind their fur. Recently, a team of researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) studied 1,000 dogs representing 80 breeds and identified three genetic variants that account for all dog hair types...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Boy or Girl?
Study finds that men and women differ on the perfect dog.
In the world of dog sports, I’ve often heard people say that men work better with female dogs and women work better with male dogs. That statement has yet to be proven, but a study by Monash University has begun to research how gender effects how we choose our furry friends.  According to their study of 877 Australian dog lovers, women prefer male dogs and vice versa. Researchers also found that...

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