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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
Do Dogs Act Guilty?
New research looks at conflict deffusing behavior in canines
74 percent of dog lovers believe that their pups act guilty when they've done something wrong.  There is plenty of evidence that dogs experience primary emotions, like happiness and fear, but it's hard to prove that they experience secondary emotions, like jealousy and guilt. In 2009, Barnard College professor Alexandra Horowitz found that dogs were more likely to display behaviors we associate...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Influencing Hip Dysplasia
Study finds exercise helps prevent the debilitating disease
Responsible breeders have done a lot to combat hip dysplasia by researching lines and x-raying their dogs. As a pet parent, I try to do all that I can to keep my pups healthy. To protect their bones and joints, I keep my crew at a healthy weight and avoid agility jump training until their growth plates close. Now new research points to additional factors that could affect the development of hip...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Understanding Our Dogs' Thoughts
Study uses MRIs to figure out what’s going on inside the canine brain
I spend so much time with my dogs that I feel like I know exactly what’s going on inside their heads. But of course I don’t. When I walk in the door, how do I know that Nemo is genuinely happy to see me or is just excited to smell all the interesting scents I brought home on my clothes? Researchers at Emory University are setting out to understand what our dogs are thinking. Using an MRI to...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Dogs are Born to Run
Study finds that our pups experience “runners high”
Sometimes it takes a good amount of effort to get myself off the couch and out for a run. But when I manage to get moving, it feels great. On the other hand, my dogs seem to naturally love running and could probably gallop around all day. As it turns out, exercising is another way that humans and canines are alike. Researchers at the University of Arizona recently found that, like people, dogs...
Blog: Guest Posts
What Colors Do Dogs See?
Explaining a Seeing Eye dog’s vision to children
Whitney and I visited a school on the North Side of Chicago recently, and for some reason the first and second graders seemed particularly interested in color blindness. When one of them asked me if it’s true that dogs can only see black and white, I explained that dogs do see some colors, but they can’t tell the difference between red and green. “If we’re at an intersection with a stoplight, it...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Canines v. Chimps
Dogs understand pointing better than chimps
A few years ago I took my dogs to the Harvard Canine Cognition Lab to participate in some really interesting research. One of the studies looked at the dogs' understanding of gestures, such as pointing. I didn't think my pups were really making the association in the lab, but at home I do think that they seem to understand when I'm pointing at things. Maybe it's just a shared understanding we'...
Blog: Guest Posts
Ancient Dog Skull Complicates the Story of Domestication
Points to more than one common ancestor
A well-preserved skull discovered in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia has been identified as the 33,000-year-old remains of a domesticated dog—making it among the oldest evidence of domestication, according to a report originally published in Plos One. The discovery means the story of domestication as happening in a single place needs to be revised. It looks very much like...
Blog: Guest Posts
Deciphering the What in your Mutt
In-home DNA tests are cheaper. Are they better?
Just in time for Christmas, the Canine Heritage Breed Test came out with a 4th gneration test to look for evidence of 120 breeds in your dog’s DNA, for the rock-bottom price of $25. Honestly, that seems like a pretty good deal—as long as you don’t plan on taking the results too seriously. I know of what I speak. In 2007, the first in-home genetic tests started making the rounds. I wanted to...

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