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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...
Dog Culture: DogPatch
Are Dogs’ Mouths Cleaner Than Humans’?
Young Scientist in Action
Abby Walling & Lucy
Are dogs’ mouths cleaner than humans’? Her grandmother said they were, her mother said they definitely were not. Not one to take things at face value, Abby Walling of Iowa City, Iowa, decided to conduct an experiment and answer the question once and for all. Not only did she reach a conclusion, she won a 2011 Young Naturalist Award from New York’s American Museum of Natural History for her work....
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...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Dog Training: Operant Conditioning
When operant conditioning clicked (and clucked)
On a warm and slightly overcast morning in 1967, a rusty, mustard-colored station wagon slowly approached the terminal at San Francisco International Airport. Wheels still rolling, a door opened and something gray jumped out. As the wagon continued on its way, an animal headed toward the terminal. It was a cat. Straight five steps, then wait. The glass door opened and as a portly man in a...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Dog Smart: Exploring the Canine Mind
Researchers exploring the canine point of view
Canine Mind
Doesn’t it sound reasonable to study the behavior of cranes? After all, cranes are quite different from humans — they can f ly, spend lots of time on one leg and don’t need an external GPS to find their way to Florida. But what if we replace “cranes” with “dogs”? Why study dog behavior? Unlike cranes, dogs are not a wild species with feathers, migratory patterns or conservation needs. Dogs have...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Q&A with Mark Derr about Dog Origins
Venturing deep into the history of our oldest friends
sociable wolves
Mark derr, long-time Bark contributor and historian of the dog, recently released a new book, How the Dog Became the Dog, in which he examines canine evolution. Derr covers a lot of ground in this work — 135,000 years, to be precise! We talked with him about the dawn of dog, and how our evolutionary pathway coincided with theirs. Claudia Kawczynska: Canines going from fierce predator to “loyal...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Humanity's Best Friend
We may owe our evolutionary success to the domestication of dogs
Scientists have long debated why Neanderthals lived successfully on earth for over 200,000 years and then died off after humans came along, about 40,000 years ago. Some blame it on climate change, while others think humans were more successful at getting food due to social cohesion and the ability to develop advanced tools. However, a new theory claims that we may owe our evolutionary success to...
Blog: Guest Posts
Very Big Fleas
New evidence of ancient bloodsuckers
Flea problems got you down? Well, count your lucky stars that you’re not raising a pack of pet Brachiosaurus. Recently, paleontologists in China discovered fossil evidence of Jurassic fleas that were as long as a thumbnail with sharp “mouth parts” all the better to dig into dinosaurs’ tough reptilian skin. Shudder.
Blog: Karen B. London
Genetic Control of Canine Appearance
A few genes make all the difference
My relationship with dogs is sometimes a bit split. One side of things is that I love them, for all the reasons everybody reading this understands so well. Another side of my relationship with dogs is my fascination with them—a true scientific interest, based on some of their extraordinary characteristics. And research about their genetics has continued to add to their appeal as creatures...
Dog Culture: Stories & Lit
Anthrozoology Books Explore the Science and History of Dog-Human Bond
Scientists have only recently caught on that canines are not just a fertile subject for their particular specialties — psychology, anthropology, zoology, ethology and more — but also a topic that the publishing world seems eager to promote. This trend has been a long time developing. Nobel Prize–winner and ethology’s co-founder, Konrad Lorenz, wrote Man Meets Dog (1950), breaking ground that lay...

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