Do dogs daydream like we do? Until recently, we would have to say we could never know. Now, with new advancements in canine cognition research, we can understand what dogs might be thinking when at rest. When humans are told to do nothing while in an fMRI scanner, there is activation in brain regions termed the Default Mode Network. Based on the brain regions associated with this network, some scientists believe this network is related to envisioning the future, autobiographi
Separation anxiety in dogs is characterized by behavioral signs related to physical, psychological, or behavioral distress in the absence of the dog owner. This absence does not need to be long – many separation anxiety related behaviors occur immediately and can be heard by owners, such as vocalizations. Some of these behaviors leave evidence – like house soiling or destructive behaviors, but other behaviors such as pacing, restlessness, whimpering, yawning and withdrawal (a
Have you ever seen one of those visual illusions? Dogs are susceptible to visual illusions, too, just in a different way. Two illusory displays that consistently fool humans are the Ebbinghaus-Titchener & Delboeuf illusions. The Ebbinghaus-Titchener illusion presents two equally sized circles – one surrounded by small circles, and one surrounded by large circles. Humans will perceive the target circle surrounded by the smaller circles as larger. The Delboeuf illusion also pre
In order to better understand how training dogs with aversive shock collars effects dog behavior, a team of researchers in the Netherlands observed police and guard dog trainings with and without the use of an electronic shock collar. Most of these dogs were German Shepherds! They found that when the police/guard dogs in training were shocked, they exhibited behaviors related to stress, fear, or pain for a fraction of a second after the shock. Some of these behaviors included
From a general level, positive reinforcement carries the least risk for undesirable outcomes such as aggression, escape behavior, fear of the punisher, apathy, etc. Punishment (the addition of something unpleasant, or the removal of something pleasant) might work at deterring behavior, but it will almost always be accompanied by additional, unintended consequences for the dog. Important to note here is that negative reinforcement in dogs can also carry negative consequences.
I’d love to hear from you! Please send questions or suggestions for future postings.