Habituation of the threatening response in cats and kittens

Short Synopsis: Researchers put kittens and cats in cages and then walked a docile dog past them. They did this several times and measured how the kittens/cats responded over time to see if their responses got more or less dramatic (ie, did they get used to the dog or did they get more scared?) From the abstract: “Six out of 7 …

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 …

Canine Aggression Toward Familiar People: A New Look at an Old Problem

Short Synopsis: It used to be common to refer to aggression towards familiar people as dominance aggression in all contexts. These veterinary PhDs outline different explanations for different types of aggression directed at owners, including how to diagnose based on body language, neurologic exam, a complete blood cell count, serum chemistry panel, and urinalysis. The authors write, “Medical differentials that should …

Prevalence of owner-reported behaviours in dogs separated from the litter at two different ages

Short Synopsis: Puppies separated from their litter at 30-40 (4-5 weeks) days were far more likely than puppies separated from their litter at 60 (8.5 weeks) days to exhibit behaviors including destructiveness, excessive barking, fearfulness on walks, reactivity to noises, toy possessiveness, food possessiveness, and attention-seeking. Correlations were stronger with puppies that were younger, and especially if they came from a …

Questionnaire survey on the use of different e-collar types in France in everyday life with a view to providing recommendations for possible future regulations

Short Synopsis: 26% of people use E-collars in this survey, mostly with big guard/hunting dogs that were intact. The vast majority of e-collar users (71.8%) used the collar without professional advice, and 75% of e-collar users tried 2 or fewer other solutions before using the collar. Seven percent of the dogs on which the collar was used presented with physical wounds …

“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 …

Let Me Sniff! Nosework induces positive judgement bias in pet dogs

Short Synopsis: The study examines whether giving dogs regular time for “nosework” leads to an improved response when presented with a novel object. The regular nosework resulted in dogs having a more positive outlook; essentially the dogs became more optimistic. The dogs that had regularly practiced nosework had reduced hesitation when approaching an unfamiliar or new object. These results provide …

Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research

Short Synopsis: “Animal trainers often assume clicker training is a “science-based” way to train animals. But, the few studies that have compared clicker training to a control have not provided evidence that adding a clicker is beneficial to training. This may be because research on clicker training has studied only one of several potential functions of the clicker stimulus that have …

What are we measuring? Novices agree amongst themselves (but not always with experts) in their assessment of dog behaviour

Short Synopsis: Researchers asked novices and working dog experts to evaluate 38 border patrol dogs in a standardized behavioral evaluation. Lots of past dog behavior research is based on owners assessing their OWN dog’s behavior (novices assessing dogs). These studies, at times, disagree with evaluations published where experts evaluated the dogs. The researchers found that novices tend to agree with each …

Predictive models of assistance dog training outcomes using the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire and a standardized temperament evaluation

Short Synopsis: Researchers compared C-BARQ, IFT, and combination scores from the two tests to see which test helped predict which dogs would succeed at assistance dog training. All versions of testing identified a dog’s likelihood of success better than chance. All 3 versions of testing were most accurate for flagging the dogs that were most likely to fail (85%-92% accurate for …