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Blog: JoAnna Lou
Canine Behavior Database
C-BARQ provides data for valuable research
Recently, I attended a presentation of Parvene Farhoody’s research on the physical and behavioral effects of spaying and neutering, which is currently being prepared for publication. There were a lot of interesting findings that I can’t share until they’re published (I promise to do so when they are!), but I did learn about an important database. Parvene’s research was based on analysis of data...
Blog: Karen B. London
Language Ability of a Dog
It goes way beyond a big vocabulary
[Editor's update: A February 9 episode of Nova will feature Chaser.]   In a recent study in the journal Behavioural Processes, John W. Pilley and Alliston K. Reid have demonstrated an impressive level of language ability in a Border Collie named Chaser. It’s certainly easy to be most impressed by the fact that she knows the names of 1,022 objects, which she was taught over a nearly three-year...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Laughing Dogs
Research reveals their secret
On any given day, I am apt to observe my dogs. For hours, I may just be with them, watching. They delight me with their humor and they surprise me with their varied language. A few years ago, curiosity started me on a wonderful exploration into the canine vocabulary, and in the end, I created quite a stir with my research into the vocalizations dogs produce while playing. This line of inquiry...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
At Long Last Love
An interview with Jeffrey Masson
This is one of the first interviews (if not the very first interview) ever to appear in the pages of Bark. It was originally published in Bark’s third issue in fall 1997—back when Bark was still printed in black-and-white on newsprint—when Jeffrey Masson first released his book Dogs Never Lie About Love. On the day of our interview, Jeffrey Masson’s lovely Berkeley home was a bustle of activity...
Blog: Guest Posts
No Dogs in Happiness Study?
Harvard brains miss a trick
I recently read about and then signed up for a happiness study conducted by Harvard researchers. I answered some personal questions and then agreed to respond, as soon as possible, to a daily (you can request more frequent check-ins) text and email. The short daily survey asks several questions about what I’m up to and how I feel about it, and then charts my emotional temperature.   But I’ve hit...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Social Animals Have Bigger Brains
New study suggests social animals developed larger noggins
Ask a cat lover and a dog lover which species is smarter and you'll get two different answers.  As a dog lover myself, you can guess my opinion, though what do I know, apparently a study in the United Kingdom found that the average cat lover holds a higher education than the canine persuasion! But, smarts aside, the truth is that dogs have larger brains, and not because they’re generally bigger...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
The Danger of Microchips
Can implanted identification cause cancer?
Last week, the tragic story of Target the war dog hero sparked a discussion among our readers about microchips and the possible risks. A couple of people asked about the research behind the risk claims, so I decided to explore the topic. This discussion is particularly timely because Merck was recently served with a lawsuit over claims that its HomeAgain microchip caused cancer in a Massachusetts...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Teacher’s Pet: Boning up at Ivy League
Harvard puts canine cognition to the test
Ivy League Dog
My dog was a little late for her test at Harvard University. Penny Jane was clearly nervous. Then she saw the testing room’s slick linoleum floors and the glare of the fluorescent lights, which screamed veterinarian’s office to her. She trembled and panted lightly as she scanned the shadowless room, probably for a syringe. When she turned her black nose up at a salmon-flavored treat, I worried...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Study Places Origin of Domestic Dog in Middle East
A new study of the genomes of domestic dogs and wolf populations has determined that the domestic dog most likely originated in the Middle East. The finding strongly contradicts earlier mitochondrial DNA studies that put the origins of the domestication in East Asia. In comparing the various genomes of different populations of wolves and dogs, researchers at the University of California, Los...
Good Dog: Studies & Research
Amazing Facts About a Dog's Ears
Superior Senses: Hearing
Floppy, folded, small, large—dogs’ ears come in many shapes, but they all serve the same purpose: as funnels for sound. Did you know that at least 18 muscles work to tilt, raise and rotate these furry appendages, helping the dog identify and capture sounds from different directions? Here are a few fast facts about canine ears and hearing.   A dog’s level of attention can be determined by...

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