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Blog: JoAnna Lou
Chihuahuas v. Great Danes
Different breeds share structure and movement characteristics
In agility there's a lot of talk about the effect of stride length and size on movement, but a new study has found that there may be less variation in basic structure than previously thought. Martin Fischer and his team at Jena University in Germany set out to determine gait differences between dog breeds and the impact joints have on movement. The research used high-speed 3-D cameras to film...
Blog: Karen B. London
Dogs Have Difficulty “Unlearning”
New research on canine cognition
A recent study published in the journal Animal Cognition shows that dogs have a hard time “unlearning” certain tasks that they have been trained to do. In Minding the gap: spatial perseveration error in dogs, researchers Britta Osthaus, Donna Marlow and Pippa Ducat demonstrated that dogs who have learned a specific sort of detour behavior have trouble deviating from that behavior once the set up...
Blog: Karen B. London
Are Some Dogs Pessimistic?
A new study addresses this question
In a recent study in the journal Current Biology, researchers assert that shelter dogs who show behavior indicative of separation distress tend to be pessimistic, compared with more optimistic dogs who are less likely to exhibit separation-related behavior. I’m going to explain briefly how the experiment was conducted and then discuss my concerns with the researchers’ conclusions.   In their...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs in School
Literacy pups help kids develop a love of reading and writing
As a certified Good Dog Foundation therapy team, Nemo and I have visited our local library many times over the years. During these visits, I’ve noticed that the children develop more confidence every time we see them. We’ve even helped one girl overcome her fear of dogs. In today’s world of video games and television, it’s great to see kids get excited about reading and focus their attention on...
Good Dog: Behavior & Training
Canine Behaviorists’ Top 10 Issues
By the Numbers
Applied animal behaviorists are constantly developing new techniques, exploring new ideas, considering controversial theories and conducting research. So what is on the minds of the people in this dynamic field? What are behaviorists talking about right now? 1. The prevention of problem behaviors. As behaviorists, we generally deal with serious problems that have been going on for a long time by...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Testing Hips
The standard OFA test may underestimate the risk of hip dysplasia
When we were ready to add a Sheltie to our family, I made sure prospective breeders met a long check list of requirements from socialization to genetic testing. Since Shelties are prone to hip dysplasia, I only considered breeders who screened the parents’ hips. The standard screening model is the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals test, or more commonly known as the OFA. So I was shocked to find...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Mapping the Gut
New research seeks to understand the stomach
My dog, Nemo, is an expert at getting into the garbage and eating treasures off the street.  Fortunately, to date,  Nemo’s dietary habits have been fairly innocuous, but eating bad food can easily lead to more serious conditions, like gastrointestinal infections. Until now identifying canine gastrointestinal disease was difficult because scientists could only culture a small percentage of the...
Blog: Editors
And Man Created Dog?
Nat’l Geo special explores canine evolution
Recently, I had the chance to preview a National Geographic Channel special, And Man Created Dog (airing Sunday, August 8, 9p.m. ET/PT). This show is about canine evolution; one of our favorite topics! I must admit I had trouble with its title (too human-centric) and its diorama-like reenactments that confidently state scientific conjecture as proven fact. There is also too much of a “golly gee”...
Blog: Guest Posts
Study Dogs Sought
For study of canine compulsive behavior
The Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts University is currently enrolling:   Terriers (except Bull breeds) German Shepherds Border Collies   into a study regarding the genetic underpinnings of compulsive behavior. Dogs that are affected and unaffected are needed. You will be required to fill out a survey about your dog’s behavior and a blood sample will be taken. A visit to Tufts is not required. If...
Blog: Editors
“Blowing” Off Mosquitoes
Fans can provide relief from summer stingers
No one likes mosquitoes. And since only one bite from an infected one can spread heartworm in our dogs, we have to be doubly aware of how to prevent being bitten by them. The New York Times had an interesting piece that looked at the effectiveness of using wind—in the form of a fan—to deter flying pests from landing on you or on your dog. What makes the fan an effective deterrent is that it “...

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