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 something unique about nosework for this. The researchers suggest allowing dogs to spend more time practicing normal “foraging” behavior to help them feel more optimistic.
Authors: C. Duranton, A.Horowitz
Publication: Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 211, February 2019, Pages 61-66
Publication Date: February 2019
Applies To: Nosework, optimism in dogs
Sample Size: 20 dogs of various breeds, split into 2 groups that were counterbalanced for sex and breed as much as possible (both groups had 5 shepherd-type dogs, for example)
Limitations/Drawbacks: small sample size