The Daily Dog

Daily news about your best friend

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Drop Outs and Bloopers: Behind the Scenes of Canine Science

The growing field of canine behavior and cognition research is not built on the backs of lab beagles. Instead, research depends on the kindness and interest of dog owners who sign up their dogs to join any of the canine studies around the globe.

So whenever I meet a dog in NYC, I’m thinking, “Would your human companion be interested in signing you up for a study at the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab?” And, just as important, “Would you, Mr. or Ms. Dog, be interested in participating in a study?” Nine out of ten times (not an exact science) the answer is yes.**

But dog participation doesn’t always go as planned. Which leads to one of the most interesting yet overlooked sections of research papers — the section that reports the dogs who didn’t make it into the final results. A blooper reel of sorts. These nuggets hidden in dense research papers offer little windows into the world of dogs and canine research methodologies. Why did a dog not perform according to plan? Was the dog not interested in playing along with the tasks required by the study? Or maybe the owner or experimenter goofed up the execution. Let’s take a look:

Read more: Drop Outs and Bloopers: Behind the Scenes of Canine Science | Dog Spies, Scientific American Blog Network.

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Dogs yawn more often in response to owners’ yawns than strangers

Aug. 7, 2013 — Dogs yawn contagiously when they see a person yawning, and respond more frequently to their owner’s yawns than to a stranger’s, according to research published August 7 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Teresa Romero and colleagues from the University of Tokyo.

Read more: Dogs yawn more often in response to owners' yawns than strangers.