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Pet Behaviour Science Conference

New dog research abundant and accessible
By Karen B. London PhD, December 2018, Updated June 2021

It’s exciting how much scientific research is currently being done on the behavior of dogs and of other pets. Even better, so many of the new studies are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. The recent Pet Behaviour Conference was an open online event put together by Pet Behaviour Science—a free, open source, peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research on pet behavior and pet-human relationships. The conference was hosted by the University of Cordoba in Spain.

Looking at the conference proceedings, I realized that there are so many researcher names that are new to me, which is yet another indicator of the increase in interest in the area of pet behavior. A whole new generation of scientists is exploring the behavior of our best friends to the benefit of us all.

This international conference had so many interesting presentations related to dogs. The range of topics was matched by the range of accents, reminding us that research about the animals that are closest to us is truly an international affair. Videos of each talk are on YouTube and the text of the scientific posters submitted to the event are available on the conference website. It was drilled into me during graduate school that part of being a scientist is communicating the results of research to others, so the wide accessibility of the information shared at the conference is a key reason that I’m so pleased about this event.

 Some of the talks and posters that I found most interesting were:

  • The connections between physical health and behavior problems in dogs by Jon Bowen.
  • Improving Animal Welfare in domestic species with the use of chemical communication by Alessandro Cozzi.
  • Preventing children’s cruelty to animals through animal welfare education by Joanna Williams and Roxanne Hawkins.
  • Fecal marking frequency during intraspecific socialization sessions is related to urinary cortisol levels in shelter dogs by Daniela Alberghina, Gina Pumilia, Pierluigi Raffo, Giuseppe Distefano and Michele Panzera.

Karen B. London, Ph.D. is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral issues, including aggression. Karen writes the animal column for the Arizona Daily Sun and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University. She is the author of six books about canine training and behavior, including her most recent, Treat Everyone Like a Dog: How a Dog Trainer’s World View Can Improve Your Life