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 is the material presented?
- Webinars are at 12 pm and 7 pm ET on the 2nd Tuesday of the month
- Live webinar with discussion
- About an hour (exact time varies depending on the number of questions, etc.)
- Participants will also receive a recording of the lecture
- Attendance requires internet connection and computer speakers, a microphone is optional but recommended
- Members also get access to quarterly bonus webinars, twice-monthly ‘coffee break’ live video chats with Dr. Spaulding and discounts on multi-week courses.
What topics are covered?
I present a wide range of topics including:
- Training and treatment methods
- Fear, anxiety and aggression
- And more!
Does owner relationship affect learning? A look at the factors that impact social learning in the dog.
Dogs can learn from observing others. This has all kinds of implications for living with and training dogs. August’s paper explores the relationship between dog-owner interactions and the dog’s ability to learn by watching people. Which factors influence how well the dog learns by observing their owner? What about an unfamiliar person? Join us for this fascinating discussion about how our relationship with our dogs relates to their ability to learn!
Pongrácz P, Rieger G, Vékony K. Grumpy Dogs Are Smart Learners—The Association between Dog–Owner Relationship and Dogs’ Performance in a Social Learning Task. Animals. 2021; 11(4):961. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11040961
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
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
March 2021 – How do owner’s feel about their dog’s behavior? Examining behavior issues from the other side of the leash.
When working with clients, much of our energy and focus is on the dog’s behavior—as it well should be. However, as we know, working with the human side of the equation is also important for ensuring success. This month we’ll take a look at the human end of the human-dog relationship by discussing two articles. The first examines the experience of owners living with dogs with behavior problems. The second is similar, but focuses specifically on owner perceptions of adolescent dogs. This month’s talk will help trainers and behavior consultants understand better where the typical pet owner is starting from. This, in turn, will enable professionals to be more empathetic and design training and behavior plans that are “user-friendly” and effective.
Buller, K. and K.C. Ballantyne. 2020. Living with and loving a pet with behavioral problems: Pet owners’ experiences. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 37, 41-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2020.04.003
Lord, M.S., Casey, R.A., Kinsman, R.H., Tasker, S., Knowles, T.G., Da Costa, R.E.P. et al. 2020. Owner perception of problem behaviours in dogs aged 6 and 9-months. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 232, 105147. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.105147
April 2021 – What is the puppy brain capable of? An in-depth look at the cognitive capabilities of 8-week-old puppies.
This month’s paper is all about puppies. Researchers put 8 – 10-week-old puppies through a series of tests to assess their cognitive abilities. Abilities tested included the ability to follow human gestures, inhibitory control, memory, and reaction to novelty. Designing effective training, socialization, and enrichment programs will be so much more effective if we start with a strong understanding of the cognitive capabilities of our students. This webinar will be useful to anyone who works with puppies – breeders, shelter workers, pet and performance dog trainers and owners.
May 2021 – 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 at 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!
Fugazza, C., Pongrácz, P., Pogány, Á. et al. 2020. Mental representation and episodic-like memory of own actions in dogs. Scientific Reports, 10, 10449.