Research Bites is the fastest and easiest way to keep up-to-date on research on dog training and behavior!
Staying current with research is critically important to being at the top of your field. It’s also fascinating and exciting to see the latest ideas and discoveries. However, finding, reading, and interpreting current journal articles can be overwhelming and frustrating. Research Bites presents current research in the field of dog training and behavior in a bite-sized, manageable package.
All webinars are taught by Kristina Spaulding, PhD, CAAB. She will find current, relevant, and interesting papers and read and interpret them for you. All you need to do is show up, listen to the lecture and discuss the implications.
Each webinar will take you on a tour of that month’s selected research paper. We will cover everything you need to know in order to interpret and apply the current, cutting edge research.
- What is the key background information you need to know?
- How was the study designed?
- What were the results? The conclusions?
- What do the results mean? How do they help you train dogs and modify behavior?
- What are the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of the paper?
- What questions remain?
From there, I open up discussion with the group and we’ll explore the remaining questions and implications of the work together. In this way, participants will keep up to date on the latest scientific thinking while also honing their skills to critically evaluate and effectively apply research in our field.
CBCC-KA – 1 CEU; IAABC – 1 CEU
How are the courses presented?
- Courses are at 7 pm EST on Tuesday
- Live course with discussion
- About an hour (exact time varies depending on number of questions, etc.)
- Participants will also recieve a recording of the lecture
- Attendance requires internet connection and computer speakers, a microphone is optional but recommended
What topics are covered?
I present a wide range of topics including:
- Training and treatment methods
- Fear, anxiety and aggression
- And more!
Do dogs have mental representations of past events? Exploring the question of episodic memory in dogs.
We know dogs have memory for emotional events because they can develop learned fear. We also know dogs have memory for instrumental learning, or they wouldn’t be able to learn the relationship between performing a behavior on cue and receiving reinforcement. We also know that they have skill memory because they can show improvement in physical skills (like jumping) over time. What about episodic memory, though? Do dogs have cinematic memories of previous events in the way that humans do? This is a very difficult question to study—but also a very important one. This month’s paper investigates a dog’s ability to have mental representations of past events. In this case, the dogs are being asked to remember their own actions, so this paper also addresses the concept of self-representation in dogs. Get ready for some really high-level thinking with this talk!
Bray, E.E. et al. 2020. Cognitive characteristics of 8- to 10-week-old assistance dog puppies. Animal Behavoiur, Vol. 66, pp. 193-206. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-67302-0
How do I sign up?
Science is best learned in conjunction with other science instead of as a stand-alone product. Therefore, the best way to learn from the webinars is as a subscription. Taking regular webinars will help you form a cohesive set of knowledge in dog training and behavior.
Subscribe monthly or yearly. Yearly is the best deal – save $72 off the monthly cost!
Not sure? Try your first month for only $12 – you can cancel at any time!
Space is limited, so sign up now!
What if I want to cancel my subscription?
You can cancel monthly subscriptions at any time.
You can cancel yearly subscriptions so they will not renew the following year, but there is no refund for current year.
Are CEUs available?
Yes, CEUs are available from CCPDT and IAABC.
What payment methods can I use?
Payment is available through PayPal and Credit Card.
Topics from Previous Months
March 2020 – You’re Stressing Me Out: The relationship between long-term stress in owners and their dog’s behavior.
Chronic stress has a number of serious negative impacts on behavioral and physical health. Understanding the factors that contribute to stress in dogs is essential to maximizing their quality of life. This paper examines this issue from the perspective of the owner’s stress level and personality. How much does owner behavior really impact stress levels in dogs? Are owners with certain personality characteristics more likely to stress their dogs? Are performance dogs impacted differently than pet dogs?
Paper – Sundman, A., Van Poucke, E., Svensson Holm, A., Faresjö, Å, et al. 2019. Long-term stress levels are synchronized in dogs and their owners. Scientific Reports, 9, | https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-43851-x
April 2020 – Can dogs have ADHD? A look at recent work on impulsivity, hyperactivity, and inattention in dogs.
As professionals, we often attribute hyperactive and impulsive behavior to age and lack of exercise, training, and/or enrichment. But is it possible that something else is going on in some dogs? Owners often joke that their dogs have ADHD. Could this be true? What do we actually know about inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in dogs? How can you use this information to more effectively address these behaviors in dogs?
Paper – Bunford, N., Csibra, B., Peták, C., Ferdinandy, B. et al. 2019. Associations Among Behavioral Inhibition and Owner Rated Attention, Hyperactivity/Impulsivity, and Personality in the Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 133(2), 233-243. doi: 10.1037/com0000151.
May 2020 – The Biology of Breed: Examining genetic, neuroanatomical, and behavioral differences in dog breeds.
How much does breed really matter? Are there more differences within breeds or between breeds? Environment and learning are important, but biology matters too. How do the brains of different dogs differ? What might this tell us about their behavior? We know what traits are commonly associated with various breeds, but what does the research actually support? This webinar will look at two different studies – one on genetic variation between breeds (with over 14,000 dogs and 101 breeds) and one on brain variation among breeds.
MacLean, E., Snyder-Mackler, N., von Holdt, B.M. and Sepell, J.A. 2019. Highly heritable and functionally relevant breed differences in dog behaviour. Proc. R. Soc. B 286: 20190716. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.0716
Hecht, E.E., Smaers, J.B., Dunn, W.J., Kent, M. et al. 2019. Significant neuroanatomical variation among domestic dog breeds. Journal of Neuroscience, 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0303-19.2019
June 2020 – Assessing what they know: Can dogs determine that they need more information to solve a problem?
Can dogs make assessments about their own cognitive abilities? Do they know what they know and don’t know and how that might impact the outcome of a behavior? Metacognition is the ability to make judgments about one’s own cognitive capabilities. This is a hot topic in animal behavior research right now, but a particularly difficult subject to study. This webinar will take a close look at a recent article on cognition in dogs examining whether or not they seek additional information when they don’t have the knowledge they need to solve a particular challenge. We’ll also discuss the implications of this work and how it might influence dog training.
Belger, J. and J. Bräuer. 2018. Metacognition in dogs: Do dogs know they could be wrong? Learning & Behavior, 46, 398-413. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-018-0367-5
July 2020 – Why do dogs become fearful? A closer examination of how social fear develops in dogs.
Which environmental and demographic factors make dogs more likely to develop social fear of other dogs or people? How can we use this information to prevent or lessen social fear in dogs? Fearfulness is a major contributing factor to decreased welfare and increased likelihood of aggression. This large study of almost 6,000 dogs aims to identify factors that influence fearfulness. Use the information in this study to advise adopters and new pet owners and to help with the breeding and raising of your own dogs!
Puurunen, J., Hakanen, E., Salonen, M.K. et al. Inadequate socialisation, inactivity, and urban living environment are associated with social fearfulness in pet dogs. Sci Rep 10, 3527 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-60546-w
August 2020 – Are there different types of separation anxiety? Looking at the characteristics of separation-related disorders in dogs.
Does the term ‘separation anxiety’ lump together multiple different disorders? Are there different types of separation anxiety? If so, how might that impact prevention and treatment? It’s possible that the labels we use to categorize certain behavior problems in dogs actually encompass several different, but related, behavioral disorders. Separation anxiety may fall into this category. This month’s paper looks at separation-related problems in a large sample of dogs to determine if there are different categories of separation related distress.
De Assis, L.S., Matos, R., Pike, T.W., Burman, O.H.P. and D.S. Mills. 2020. Developing Diagnostic Frameworks in Veterinary Behavioral Medicine: Disambiguating Separation Related Problems in Dogs. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 17, https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2019.00499
September 2020 – How attached are shelter and foster dogs? A study of human-dog attachment in dogs living in shelters or foster care.
Do shelter and foster dogs form attachments that are different than dogs living in homes? What are the limitations of the study? How can we apply this information to working with shelter and foster dogs and to newly adopted dogs? Attachment is an area of growing interest in the dog behavior literature. This webinar will first examine what attachment is and how it is measured. Then we’ll take a look at the design and results of the study and discuss the implications of the findings.
Thielke, L.E. and M.A.R. Udell. 2020. Characterizing Human–Dog Attachment Relationships in Foster and Shelter Environments as a Potential Mechanism for Achieving Mutual Wellbeing and Success, Animals, 10(1), 67, https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010067
October 2020 – How does agility competition impact arousal and wellbeing? Examining arousal and its impacts on behavior.
Agility has many benefits for pet dogs and their owners. However, it’s also important to be aware of the impact competition in particular may have on dogs’ arousal and welfare. This is a relatively short study. Therefore, we will also be examining the results of some other, related, research in this area, including arousal in general.
Carpenter, A.M., Guy, J.H., and M.C. Leach. 2020. Influence of the Competition Context on Arousal in Agility Dogs, Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, DOI: 10.1080/10888705.2019.1711093
November 2020 – Do dogs solicit help from humans in an impossible task? Investigating the relationship between problem solving, the dog-human bond and persistence.
Several studies recently have examined the phenomena that dogs will “look back” at their owners when they are attempting—and failing—to solve a challenge. Why do dogs do this? Are they seeking assistance from their owners? Could they be looking for reinforcement? Are we teaching our dogs to give up easily and discouraging persistence? This study aims to address some remaining questions regarding the function of this behavior, and the factors that influence it.
Lazzaroni, M. et al. 2020. Why do dogs look back at the human in an impossible task? Looking back behaviour may be over‑interpreted. Animal Cognition, 23, 427-441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-
December 2020 – Do dogs make up after a fight? A look at post-conflict behavior and it’s function.
In many species, animals will increase affiliative behavior (or reconcile) after a conflict. Previous research has found some evidence of reconciliation in domestic dogs. This paper examines post-conflict behavior in dogs at a dog park and investigates the function of this behavior. A better understanding of conflict and affiliation in dogs can help trainers to more effectively interpret and make recommendations about dog-dog interactions.
Walters, K.A.F., King, C., Scolaro, C.L.C., Shyan-Norwalt, M.R. 2020. Reconciliation in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): Evidence for the uncertainty reduction hypothesis, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 226, 104987, doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2020.104987
January 2021 – Does using a marker/clicker improve training efficiency? Another look at the use of markers in training – the results may surprise you!
Clicker are widely used in training dogs. They are heralded for their benefits in marking the precise moment when a dog performs the behavior we’d like to reinforce. For many years, we didn’t have research data to support the use of clickers in dogs. However, there has been a recent flurry of research on the use of clickers in dog training. This month’s webinar will cover a recent clicker training study in detail and will also summarize previous research done on the efficacy of clicker training in dogs. If you’ve been waiting for a Research Bites webinar on a topic that is directly and clearly related to training dogs, this is the one for you!
Dorey, N.R., Blandina, A. and M.A.R. Udell. 2020. Clicker training does not enhance learning in mixed-breed shelter puppies (Canis familiaris), Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 39, Pages 57-63, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2020.07.005.
February 2021 – What can fear/reactivity at 6 months tell us about future behavior? Analyzing over 35 years of temperament data from 6 to 12 months.
Temperament testing is a controversial topic. They are often criticized for not accurately predicting of future behavior. However, having an effective temperament test (or tests) would be extremely helpful for placing dogs in homes and working programs that are a good fit for the individual. Not all temperament tests are the same and we are getting more and more research now aimed at testing their predictive value. This paper examines the ability of a questionnaire and later behavioral test to predict behavior in dogs. The results tell us how effective this particular test is, how consistent the dog’s behavior is across development and how useful the test is in predicting success in a service dog program. Although this paper is focused on service dogs, the results are applicable to a variety of populations and contexts. We discuss the results and their implications in this month’s webinar.
Dollion, N., Paulus, A., Champagne, N., St-Pierre, N., St-Pierre, É. et al. 2019. Fear/Reactivity in working dogs: An analysis of 37 years of behavioural data from the Mira Foundation’s future service dogs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 221, 104864, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2019.104864