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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...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Do Animals Have Empathy?
Study finds that rats look out for their friends
Rats have a bad reputation, but they actually make wonderful pets. I had two before my living situation allowed me to welcome dogs into my family. They were clean and actually quite personable. Reggie and Angie quickly learned their names and would run to the side of the cage when I came into the room. I always thought of them as being very dog-like. A recent study not only confirmed that rats...
Blog: Karen B. London
New Tool in Canine Cancer Treatment
Results look promising
For anyone whose life has been touched by cancer, and that’s most people, any advancement in treating the disease provides hope and is welcome news. A new tool that helps in the treatment of osteosarcoma is a result of Stan Stearns’s desire to help other dogs like his St. Bernard Gabriel. Gabriel was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, and succumbed to the disease in 2008. Stearns is an...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Do Men Make Dogs More Reactive?
A study looks at the characteristics of reactive dogs
As pet lovers, we've always known that animals pick up on our emotions. When I first started competing in rally obedience and agility, Nemo always seemed to pick up on how nervous I was. As I gained more confidence, Nemo also looked more comfortable in the ring. But could our being male or female affect our pets? According to a new study, the sex of the person on the other end of the leash...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Eavesdropping on Humans
Study: Dogs behave based on observations of people
My dogs always seem to be watching what I'm doing. I'd like to think they care about my well being, but I think they're more interested in any clues that I might drop food or that it might be dinner time. A recent study led by Sarah Marshall-Pescini at the University of Milan looks at the information dogs get from watching us and the decisions they make based on that data. Her research focused...
Blog: JoAnna Lou
Cancer Detecting Pups
Dogs can diagnose lung cancer in humans
Earlier this week, I wrote about the depressing number of dogs affected by cancer. Many organizations and researchers are working towards finding a cure. Meanwhile, dogs may play an important part in curing humans. Lung cancer is the the deadliest form of cancer worldwide, but current detection methods have been unreliable. Scientists are looking at a possible test for volatile organic...

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