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!
What factors influence the development of executive function in dogs? A review of the literature on the development of impulsivity, attention, and cognitive flexibility in dogs.
Are you interested in developing better self-control in dogs? Then this month’s talk is for you! Executive function refers to the mental processes that are involved in the self-regulation of behavior. For example, maintaining focus and avoiding distraction, inhibiting behavior, adjusting behavior for different environments, and working toward a goal. Obviously, these behaviors are critical for pet, performance, and working dogs alike. This month’s webinar is a review of everything we know about the development of executive funciton in dogs. If you have been waiting to join Research Bites, this is an excellent time to join – you don’t want to miss this talk!
Foraita, M., Howell, T. and P. Bennett. Environmental influences on development of executive functions in dogs. Animal Cognition, 24, 655-675.
Join Research Bites
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.
What do members get?
- Access to live (and recorded) monthly webinars, including discussion
- Access to the member/student-only Facebook group – continue to geek out about research, training, and behavior all month long!
- Free quarterly webinars on a variety of topics. Recent topics include personality, consciousness, and reactivity.
- Twice monthly drop-in Coffee Breaks over Zoom with Dr. Spaulding and other members to discuss science and training.
How Do I Sign Up?
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
October 2021 – How do dogs cope with impulsivity? Examining factors that influence self-control in dogs.
Self-control and impulsivity impact many aspects of dog behavior. In humans, impulsivity has been associated with a number of challenges, including increased aggression, impaired learning and abnormal social behavior. This month’s study looks at several factors impacting impulse control in dogs. The talk will include an overview of impulsivity, the results of the study and a discussion of how we can apply this study to training and behavior.
Brucks, D., Soliani, M., Range, F. et al. Reward type and behavioural patterns predict dogs’ success in a delay of gratification paradigm. Sci Rep 7, 42459 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep42459
September 2021 – Is my dog jealous? Investigating the research evidence on jealousy in dogs.
People frequently claim that their dog is jealous. Is this anthropomorphism or do dogs really experience jealousy? This month’s webinar will examine the emotion of jealousy, how it’s studied in dogs and whether the evidence supports the presence of jealousy in dogs. We’ll also discuss the function of jealousy and what the presence or absence of jealousy might be able to tell us about other aspects of dog emotion and cognition.
August 2021 – 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!
July 2021 – How does training method impact emotional state? Examining the effect of methodology on wellbeing in dogs.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a training method for dogs. We want the methods to be effective, of course, but it’s also important to consider the emotional impact a method has on the dog. This month’s webinar will take an in depth look at two recent studies on how training methods impacts the dog’s emotional state. One paper compares three training methods: positive reinforcement, high frequency of punishment and low frequency of punishment. The second paper examines two variations on clicker training. Both papers assess how the training methods impact how optimistic or pessimistic the dog is after training. Don’t miss this one!
June 2021 – What are the most effective approaches to aggression in dogs? A detailed examination of the effectiveness of various aggression treatments.
Aggression is a major issue in dog behavior. It’s complex, can be difficult to treat, and is often extremely distressing for dogs, their families, and the behavior consultant. Our field has been plagued with very little scientific research on behavior modification for aggression. This month’s study takes a step toward greater scientific knowledge by examining the outcomes of aggression treatment from a variety of angles. They look at the credentialing of the professional, tools used, methods and medication and how they impact the likelihood of improvement. Join us for this exciting review of one of the first detailed research papers on behavior treatment for aggression in dogs!
Dinwoodie, I.R., Zottola, V. and N.H. Dodman. (2021). An investigation into the effectiveness of various professionals and behavior modification programs, with or without medication, for the treatment of canine aggression. Journal of Veterinary Behavior, Vol. 42, pp. 46-53.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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-