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Scientists Searching for Clues to The First Dog
Village dogs’ genetic code may hold clues to canine evolution and health
Like classic twin studies that investigate the interplay of nature and nurture, comparing the genome of village dogs to modern dogs may help disentangle the long-term evolutionary effects of genetic and environmental influences. Mastiff to Min-Pin, Corgi to street cur: all dogs share the same set of roughly 20,000 genes. What makes one dog different from another—or, in the case of purebreds,...
News: Karen B. London
Effects of Diet on Olfaction
Benefits of lower protein and higher fat
It’s not news to anyone that the food that we feed our dogs matters. The right food may translate to better health, proper weight management, longer life, a shinier coat, and better performance in a range of sports and activities. New research suggests that the diet of working detection dogs can even have an impact on their ability to smell. Joseph Wakshlag at Cornell and his colleagues at...
News: Editors
Dogs Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
The American Heart Association issued a scientific statement yesterday that yes, owning a dog may protect us from heart disease. The statement was issued by an expert panel that was convened to look at alternative approaches to combat heart disease. They were prompted to look at the benefits of pet caring because of the growing number of medical studies linking pet ownership to better health. Dr...
News: Karen B. London
Does Reproductive Capability Matter?
Its association with lifespan and cause of death
In a new study called Reproductive Capability is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs, researchers report on the links of reproductive status (intact or spayed/neutered) with both lifespan and cause of death. Previous studies have suggested that sterilization increases the risk of certain cancers. However, if spaying and neutering actually does increase life span, then...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Step into Spring
Fitness Resolutions
Unlike our dogs, who have an aptitude for biting off more than they can chew (if they chew at all), when it comes to fulfilling our fitness resolutions, we might be more successful with a modest approach. Take, for instance, recent findings that only 150 minutes a week of moderate activity (such as brisk walking) can extend our lives by 3.4 years! A daily dose of 22 minutes might seem like a...
News: Karen B. London
Human Point of View
Dogs’ behavior suggests they understand it
Dogs take the human perspective into account when deciding whether to take food that they have been told not to take. This is the conclusion of a recent series of experiments by Juliane Kaminski, Andrea Pitsch and Michael Tomasello described in a research paper called Dogs Steal in the Dark. The experiments all had a similar set up, in which a dog was in a room with a food item on the floor....
News: Guest Posts
Remains of a 33,000 year-old dog found in Siberia
I had watched the dog origin wars as a chronicler of the dog-human relationship for several decades when in 2009 I was approached a young editor The Overlook Press about writing a book on the origins of the dog.  I readily agreed, and the result was How the Dog Became the Dog. Pondering the conflicting dates, places, and theories associated with the emergence of the dog, I concluded that as soon...
News: Guest Posts
Behavioral Differences Between Dogs and Wolves
Dogs and wolves share a similar genetic profile. So why are their behaviors so different? The reasons aren’t clearly understood. In a recent paper in the journal Ethology , evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord's doctoral research (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) suggests differences in later behaviors might be related to the pups' earliest sensory experiences during the critical period of...
News: Karen B. London
Research About Dogs Responses to Human Emotion
Could this study be improved?
In the recent study “Can domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use referential emotional expressions to locate hidden food?”, researchers investigated whether dogs have the ability to locate hidden food based on the emotions shown by people’s facial expressions. It’s a fascinating question, and I was eager to learn what the experiment revealed. Unfortunately, I had concerns related to the methods, and...
News: JoAnna Lou
Playing with Our Pups
Dog Cognition Lab is looking for play videos
A couple years ago, I brought my two Shelties to the Harvard Canine Cognition Lab to participate in a study on dogs’ understanding of human gestures.  Boston isn’t exactly close, but I was happy to drive the three hours to check out the research being done on the canine brain. As pets become a bigger part of our lives, universities are getting more funding to understand what going on in our dogs...

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