WHAT REQUIREMENTS DOES MY DOG HAVE TO MEET TO PARTICIPATE IN YOUR STUDIES?
Your dog needs to be at least one year of age at the time of participation, be generally healthy, have no record of aggression towards humans and be up to date on rabies vaccinations! Other, than that, there are no other formal requirements, all breeds welcome!
DOES MY DOG NEED EXTENSIVE TRAINING TO PARTICIPATE?
No formal training is required in order for your dog to participate! Our main objective is to better understand canine cognition, meaning we want to know how dogs think, rather than how dogs perform. In a typical session, we will use simple commands such as a sit, stay, release and recall – or your variants of these commands.
I HAVE MULTIPLE DOGS, CAN THEY ALL PARTICIPATE?
Of course! However, we run single dog sessions, so we can give each dog our undivided attention, so you would need to book two separate appointments. If you wish to bring in your dogs for back to back sessions, we recommend bringing a second person to hang out with the dog who is not participating.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO A SESSION?
Other than you and your pooch, we ask that you bring a flat collar or a harness with a back clip attachment, proof of rabies (if not emailed to us prior) and some high value treats if your dog is a picky eater/has allergies.
HOW LONG DOES A SESSION LAST?
Each session typically lasts 30 – 60 minutes.
WHAT TYPES OF TREATS DO YOU USE?
We use high reward treats like dried beef liver, but you may also bring your own treats if that is what you prefer. It is important that the treats are something your dog would be excited to receive!
CAN I PARTICIPATE IF MY DOG IS SHY OR TAKES A WHILE TO WARM UP TO PEOPLE?
This is completely fine, a lot of dogs we have visit our lab are shy, and this can be expected in unfamiliar environments! The initial visit we book is for us to get to know your dog and for them to get to know us, and develop a sense of comfort at their own pace! We want your dog to feel as safe and comfortable as possible, and also to have fun! If your dog is nervous at any time during any of our studies, we can always take breaks, bring them outside for fresh air, and stop the study if needed.
WHAT WILL MY DOG DO IN A TYPICAL SESSION?
Your dog will be asked to do a series of small tasks, involving food searching. These tasks are not hard, do not require intensive training and are meant to be intuitive and fun! You will be present in the room with your dog for the entire duration of a test session.
WHEN WILL I GET RESULTS ABOUT HOW WELL MY DOG DID?
Since we are studying canine cognition as a whole, there are no right or wrong answers! Our research is aimed at discovering how dogs as a species think. With that being said, we are happy to send you copies of any publications that come out of our research.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY DOG DOES WELL?
It may seem strange, but there are no right or wrong answers from your dog! Whatever they choose in our session is useful information, as it shows us how their brains work. They may not always choose the option with the treat, but each time they make a choice they’re doing great!
HOW DOES THIS BENEFIT ME AND MY DOG?
Most dogs enjoy the novelty of the interaction with the toys and playing with the experimenters. You and your dog will also be making a substantial contribution to improving our understanding of dog cognition, which can lead to improvements in future dog training, animal welfare efforts, and enhanced research abilities.
WHAT ROLE DO I AS AN OWNER PLAY DURING A SESSION?
During an in-person visit, owners are not required to play any significant roles, other than be present! In some of our more advanced studies, you might be asked to handle your dog on a leash during our session, for which you will receive detailed instructions prior to the test session (from a video sent via email and again in person). During a video conferencing visit, you as the owner will be interacting with your dog while one of our experimenter observes and instructs you through Zoom. You will receive detailed instructions prior to the test session.
CAN I BRING MY KIDS, PARTNER, FRIENDS, ETC. TO A SESSION?
Yes, but we typically only allow for one person to accompany the dog into the actual testing room. It could also get very distracting for your dog if surrounded by their people while they are trying to take part in the studies. By minimizing distractions, we are setting your dog up to be as comfortable as possible and for them to have better focus for the studies. If anyone does accompany you and your dog to our research space, they can sit in our waiting room and observe your dog through a live-stream on our TV!
IF I FILL OUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE AM I REQUIRED TO PARTICIPATE?
There is absolutely no commitment required from filling out our questionnaire. The questionnaire merely serves to give us the chance to receive your contact information, get to know your dog more and find studies you and your dog are eligible for.
IS THIS TRAINING/WILL MY DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?
Unfortunately, we do not do any training. We play short interactive games with your dog so your dog can find some treats and hopefully have fun!
DO YOU USE MY PERSONAL INFORMATION IN STUDIES?
Your contact information and personal information is only for our research team to be able to contact you. Any information you provide will only be handled by our research team in the lab, and your personal information will never be published. Your dog’s first name is used in the organization of videos and data, and may be published, though it would only be their name and would not be attached to you in any way.
I HAD A GREAT TIME! CAN I BRING MY DOG BACK AGAIN?
We can guarantee that we also had a great time with you and your pooch! Thank you for your interest in bringing him/her back. We will need to check out our other studies and see if they would be suitable, as some studies have height and other requirements! That being said, we would love to have him/her back and will contact you as soon as possible to schedule another event with him/her.
HOW LONG AFTER I FILL OUT THE SURVEY CAN I COME IN?
At any given time, we are scheduling 1-3 weeks ahead, and there will typically be a delay of 2-4 weeks between questionnaire submission and when we are able to send you a link to sign up for the initial visit. Thanks for your patience!