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Blog: 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...
Blog: 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...
Blog: 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...
Blog: 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...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Do Dogs Understand Our Words?
Say What?
“This is not your food! Don’t even think about eating it. This … is … not … your … food.” What do our words mean to dogs? Not that I’m about to stop speaking to dogs anytime soon, but I do wonder what my daily utterances signify to Millie, Piper, Upton and Finnegan, the dogs I converse with on a regular basis. Do I sound like a cross between Charlie Brown’s teacher and Gary Larson’s “What Dogs...
Blog: Guest Posts
Toy Alert
Study finds Hormone-disrupting Chemicals Leach from Some Plastic Toys
The toy aisle is meant to be all about fun, but recalls, toxic imports and a dearth of regulations have left dog owners facing tough choices. Many toys are made of plastic and may contain chemicals that interfere with hormones. A new study by researchers at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University shows that BPA and phthalates, chemicals that disrupt hormones, “...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Do DNA Tests Reveal Genetic Secrets?
The Beauty of Diversity
For those of us who love dogs, using DNA tests to deconstruct our mongrel pooch’s mysterious heritage is appealing because we want to be able to answer the question, “What kind of dog is that?” Companies say that DNA-based diagnostic tests, which sell for about $60, can answer the question by comparing your dog’s DNA to over 100 of the most popular breeds. But are the tests accurate? I decided to...
Blog: Karen B. London
The American Gut Project
Seeking samples from you and your pets
The gut microbiome is a factor in a range of diseases such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer, all of which are more common in Westernized populations of both pets and people. A new study called the American Gut Project is seeking to investigate how diet affects the gastrointestinal microbiome. Previous work studying microbiomes of typical healthy adult humans raised questions...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
The "D" Word: Dominance
We talk about dominance, but do we really understand it?
If a dog has behavior issues such as a tendency to mount other dogs, any form of aggression, an overly pushy play style or poor response to training, some people are sure to claim that “dominance” is the culprit. But are they right? The ongoing dialogue about dominance in the dog world is more problematic than an unattended puppy in a shoe store but it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. While...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Education: Gone to the Dogs
Canines claim their territory on college campuses
Summer has faded into fall and it’s time for dog lovers — and dogs too — to head to college, where dogs are taking their place in the dorm, the psych lab and even the classroom. While some dogs simply kick back and enjoy campus life at a university with pet-friendly housing, such as Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., or Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., others give their intellectual...

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