The Dogs of Christmas

Santa Claus, shepherds, sleepy children, and former president Lyndon Baines Johnson all seem to tie dogs into the celebration of Christmas.

Are Some Dogs Getting Addicted to Hallucinogens?

Certain species of toads secrete toxins as a defense mechanism. In the mix of these toxins are some hallucinogenic substances, and some dogs seem to be seeking out these particular types of toads so that they can lick them, in order to get a psychedelic high. As a result some dogs are actually becoming addicted.

Why Do Some Dogs Tilt Their Heads When We Talk to Them?

Recent data suggests that the reason that dogs tilt their heads when we speak to them is because their muzzle blocks their view of our mouth area. Dogs with less pronounced muzzles tilt their heads when spoken to significantly less.

Do Dogs Really Know When We Are Talking to Them?

Recent research shows that dogs will follow your gaze and look at what you are looking at if you first engage their attention with direct eye contact and the high pitched speech tones that we tend to use for young children.

Dogs Read Your Emotions and Attach Them to What You Look At

By looking at what their owners are paying attention to and reading their emotional states, dogs learn which things they should approach and avoid. Dogs seem to pay more attention to positive emotions. Dogs also seem to pay little attention to the emotions of strangers.

In What Ways Do Dogs and Their Owners Resemble Each Other?

Recent research confirms that dogs and their owners resemble each other. People can pick out real dog-owner pairs accurately from their photos, but only when the eyes of both the dogs and the humans are visible.

Dog Breeds Vulnerable to Extinction in the United States

Among American Kennel Club registrations, 10 dog breeds account for approximately half of the total while the 50 rarest breeds account for only 1.2% of the canine population. Among these rare breeds some, despite their historical importance and popularity, are teetering on the verge of extinction.

The Queen's Corgis and Other Breeds at Risk of Extinction

Because of changes in fashion, taste, and legislation, a number of dog breeds that have been very popular and visible over a long period of time now have sufficiently low registration numbers that they are teetering on the brink of extinction.

What Is the Best Way to Greet Your Dog?

A recent study shows that the sight of a familiar person produces positive emotional changes in a dog, however speaking to the dog, and touching the dog when greeting them produces the largest and most persistent responses as measured by changes in concentrations of the blood hormones oxytocin and cortisol.

Do Dogs Have the "Look of Love"?

Affectionate social interactions can raise the level of the hormone oxytocin. When it comes to dogs, simply observing them looking at you seems to be enough to raise their caretakers' oxytocyn level—but only if there is already a strong social bond between the human and their canine pet.

Do Dogs Have a "Eureka" Feeling When Solving Problems?

The "Eureka Effect" is the sudden surge of positive feeling that we get when we solve a problem. Dogs seem to have the same response, however how good they feel depends upon which particular rewards they anticipate for their accomplishment.

Do Dogs Know The Difference Between Dogs and Other Animals?

The variation in the size and shape of dogs is greater than that seen in any other domestic animal, yet recent research shows that dogs can not only recognize all other dogs, regardless of breed or size, but can also visually distinguish between what is a dog and what is another species of animal.

Who Is That Puppy in the Mirror?

Puppies do not recognize themselves as being reflected in a mirror. Instead they seem to first treat their image as another dog. However they soon lose interest in their reflection, perhaps because their image has no scent, or perhaps because their mirror image does bad things to them.

What Type of Training Schedule Works Best for Dogs?

Recent data suggests that daily training and extended teaching sessions may not be the most efficient way to train dogs. In fact training as little as one or two short sessions each week may be sufficient and even better in some cases.

Dog Lovers, Cat Lovers, and Human Dating Behavior

A recent survey suggests that cat lovers are less likely to call back after a date, dog lovers are willing to spend more on a date and are happy with a one night stand, while people who don't own pets are less likely to believe in the idea of a "soul mate" to spend the rest of their life with.

Dogs Can Be an Early Warning System for Diabetics

It is possible to train dogs to give an alert when diabetics enter a hypoglycemic state. The training involves using scent markers collected from patients when they are in a low blood sugar state. Having a dog that can respond to changes in blood sugar levels not only improves safety in diabetic patients, but also reduces their anxiety and improves their independence.

Is a Dog's Life Worth More Than a Person's?

Some recent research posed a moral dilemma for participants in which both a human and their own pet were in peril and only one could be saved. While you might think that the situation is clear and the human's safety would take precedence, the actual results of this study are quite surprising.

Do Owners and Their Dogs Have Similar Personalities?

When dogs and their owners are rated on the personality traits of neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness (intellect) they show a large degree of similarity. This is the result of the owner choosing a dog or a dog breed that is consistent with his own personality rather than the dogs changing over time through association with their owners

When Will Dogs Try to Help Humans?

By the age of two years human children show a tendency to spontaneously help others. New research shows that dogs have a similar tendency. Even untrained dogs also show that same predisposition to help people, but before they do so requires clear communication indicating what the human needs from them.

Do Dogs Look Like Their Owners?

It is a common belief that dogs and owners tend to resemble one another. This is the basis for many amusing photographs and drawings. Surprisingly there is some data which suggests that people do prefer a dog which looks similar to themselves at least in terms of their facial characteristics, the shapes of their head and the way their hair hangs.

Life History and Owner's Nature Shape a Dog's Personality

Data shows that a dog's personality is not just determined by genetics, but it is also influenced by the dog's age and sex, as well as the personal characteristics of its owner, the way that that owner interacts with their dog, and the dog's individual life experiences.

Do Dogs Actually Use Color Vision?

Recent data shows that have color vision, although limited in range compared to humans. Nonetheless dogs do use the available color information to solve problems. Given a conflict between brightness cues and color cues dogs spontaneously choose on the basis of color.

The American Heart Association Says Dogs Are Good for You

An expert panel commissioned by the American Heart Association has looked at many years of research comparing the health status of dog owners and non-dog owners. They conclude that dog ownership seems to be related with reduced risk of problems such as hypertension, obesity, and stress related risks that might cause cardiovascular disease.

Do Dogs Learn Faster for Food Than Other Types of Rewards?

The issue as to which rewards are most effective when you are trying to train dogs is very controversial, but there is a little scientific data available. A new study compares the course of dogs learning two common commands ("sit-stay" and "come") when rewards are food treats, petting, or verbal praise (like "Good dog!").

Dogs With Left Paw Preferences May Be Different Emotionally

Left and right-handedness in humans predicts specific patterns of emotional responses because of the way the brain is organized. Although left and right paw preferences in dogs are not as strong, recent data suggests that the dominant paw in a dog may also predict its emotional predispositions.

Do Politics Matter When it Comes to Loving Cats or Dogs?

A new survey shows that, despite the fact that there are more pet cats than dogs in the US, dogs are more loved than their feline counterparts. The most interesting findings, however, are that the attitudes toward dogs and cats differ between liberals and conservatives, with liberals leaning slightly more toward cats.

Beacon the US Marshal Dog: A Service Dog and a Loving Bond

People often forget that when the service dogs used by law enforcement agencies are not on duty, they are living with their handlers and become members of their household. Combined with the intensity of the situations in which dog and human work together, this means that the strength of their emotional bond can be quite deep.

Do Dogs Feel Jealousy and Envy?

Dogs have all of the primary emotions that we see in humans. They also have a sense of fairness and seem to be capable of jealousy and envy when they feel that other dogs have been receiving more rewards and attention then they are entitled to.

Are Male Dogs More Aggressive Than Females?

Male and female dogs not only differ in the frequency and the severity of aggressive behaviors, but also in the way in which canine aggression is expressed. People's beliefs about sex differences in aggression among dogs are often influenced by our stereotypes about sex differences in humans.

The Barking Dog Blues: Why Dogs Bark and What to Do About It

During the process of domestication humans specifically chose dogs that barked loudly and could sound the alarm if something unusual or dangerous occurred. To control barking we can respond to the message the dog is sending or we can mimic the behavior that wild canines used to control noisy puppies.