Let me sniff! Nosework induces positive judgment bias in pet dogs

Short Synopsis: The researchers compared how dog reacted to a new object after practicing nosework versus heelwork for two weeks. If the dogs were quicker to approach the new object, they were deemed “optimistic.” The dogs who practiced nosework were quicker to approach the new object than before the two-week nosework training period. Practicing heelwork didn’t get these results, so there’s …

“Reactivity to Stimuli” is a Temperamental Factor Contributing to Canine Aggression

Short Synopsis: The study showed there was a correlation between dogs’ reactivity to their environment and aggression. In other words, dogs who were more easily upset by environmental changes were also more likely to be aggressive in four different types of aggression. Four targets of aggression were included in the study: owner directed, stranger directed, child-directed, and dog directed. Reactivity …

Fearful Fido: Investigating dog experience in the veterinary context in an effort to reduce distress Author links open overlay panel

Short Synopsis: Lots of dogs get scared at the vet. Many commonsense recommendations seem obvious, but don’t have research behind them. The study points out that there’s insufficient evidence behind DAP as an effective fear reducer overall. Some studies suggest that chemical restraint may be less stressful for dogs than physical restraint. Though training dogs to enjoy car rides and wearing …

The effect of a pressure wrap (ThunderShirt®) on heart rate and behavior in canines diagnosed with anxiety disorder

Short Synopsis: 90 dogs with diagnosed anxiety disorders were split into 3 groups: proper Thundershirt wrap, loose wrap, and no wrap. Thundershirts, when properly applied, helped lower heart rate and reduce visible calming signals in a group of dogs diagnosed with anxiety disorders, but didn’t show an improvement in overall behavioral outcomes. Authors:Camille King, Laurie Buffington, Thomas J.Smith, TempleGrandin Publication: Journal …

A modified counterconditioning procedure prevents the renewal of conditioned fear in rats

Short Synopsis: Operant behaviors are more effective at extinguishing fear responses than counterconditioning alone. Authors: Brian L. Thomas, Marlo Cutler, Cheryl Novak Publication: Learning and Motivation, Volume 43, Issues 1–2, May 2012, Pages 24-34 Publication Date: May 2012 Applies To: Reducing fear. Limitations/Drawbacks: Study was done on rats. Unclear if it would also work to reduce arousal or frustration (for reactive dogs). Link: …