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Karen B. London
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Researching Social Cognition
Dogs finally get some respect
What's on this dog's mind?

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 research over the years were usually met with derisive comments about dogs that all fit into the category of “familiarity breeds contempt.”

Although Charles Darwin and Nobel Laureate Konrad Lorenz studied dogs and found them scientifically interesting, there soon followed a gap of many generations of researchers who mocked attempts to study dogs. In the last decade, the tide has turned, and now excellent research on dogs is being done in many areas of the world. Some of the most exciting studies are coming from a lab in Hungary where scientists, such as Vilmos Csányi and Ádám Miklósi, are exploring the canine mind. Along with American scientists, such as Marc Bekoff, Alexandra Horowitz, Colin Allen and Clive Wynne, some very revealing studies about the canine mind have come out in recent years. Canine research is finally getting the respect and attention it deserves. Hurrah!

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Chris | October 1 2009 |

Thank you so much for the article as it would have been difficult to retrieve otherwise. The field of canine cognition will hopefully expand to become its own field of study, or rather, a degree specialization in psychology. As a graduate student in psychology, I have had to scrounge for peer reviewed scientific articles in the softer sciences. Thank you.

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