How to Touch Your Dog

New research shows that how and where you touch a dog makes a large difference in terms of calming or disturbing him, especially if you are unfamiliar to the dog.

Just How Much Do Dogs Bark When Left Home Alone?

New data provides information about how much an average dog barks in an eight hour day when left alone. The barking rate also seems to depend upon the age and sex of the dog.

How the Dog's Brain Reads Human Emotions

MRI scans show that dogs and people use of the same portion of their brains to extract emotional information from sounds—regardless of whether those sounds were made by dogs or the human voice.

The Best Dog Fiction Writer Ever?

A collection of clever and loyal Collies is described in nearly 50 books written by Albert Payson Terhune.

What Assistance Dogs Can and Can't Do

An assistance dog does not replace a handicapped person's missing abilities (such as vision), but rather performs narrowly defined tasks that his human companion has difficulty with.

The Memory Abilities of Dogs

A trained dog can use its own the episodic memory to answer the questions "Where?," "What?," and "When?" to assist a person whose short-term memory is no longer functioning as well as it should.

Is a Dog's Head Shape Related to His Intelligence?

Research shows that classifying dog breeds on the basis of whether their head shapes are relatively long, or short and flat, or something in between, also gives us an estimate of a dog's intelligence or trainability.

Assistance Dogs for Alzheimer's and Dementia Patients

Several training facilities are now training dogs to assist individuals suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia. They compensate for failing memory and disorientation such as when the person can no longer find their way home. They also help structure the patient's life and provide social support.

Can People Recognize Their Own Dogs By Scent Alone?

Although human beings have nowhere near the odor recognition ability of dogs, research shows that we have unconsciously learned to identify the scent of our own pet.

Even Young Children and Toddlers Prefer Dogs Over Cats

New research shows that very young children prefer dogs over cats, teddy bears and human babies. It seems as if time and experience with cats is needed to develop a fondness for them, and this is more likely if the particular cat has baby-like facial features. However, the affection for dogs is virtually innate.

Do Dogs Have a Special Magnetic Sense?

New data suggests that dogs may have a magnetic sense that responds to the direction of the Earth's magnetic fields. This sensitivity could serve as a "compass" that could help explain some of the remarkable homing behavior, where lost dogs travel hundreds of miles to return to their home.

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.