Is your dog interested in participating in our studies?
We investigate dogs’ learning in a variety of contexts including dogs’ physical problem-solving abilities (e.g., how to get treats out of puzzles) and their understanding of social information (e.g., following a pointing gesture or learning from a demonstration). Our research takes the form of short, interactive games and training exercises that are designed to be fun and engaging to dogs. We record dogs’ actions when interacting with people, toys, and puzzles, and the choices they make to learn more about their understanding of the world. Our findings help us understand how our canine companions’ minds work, which can also help us to improve programs for dogs who are trained to help humans.
Our in-person studies are conducted on the Brown University campus in Providence, Rhode Island. Some of our study activities take place outdoors (e.g. taking the dog for a walk) and some activities will take place in our lab space in the Metcalf Research Building at 190 Thayer St., Providence RI. You will schedule a time to bring your dog to campus to take part in our studies. With your consent, your dog will be videotaped during the study. The session will last for 30-60 minutes.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve adapted our studies so that you and your dog can participate from your home! In our virtual studies, one of our researchers will video conference with you and your dog and guide you through one of our studies. In your new role as a canine cognition experimenter, you will engage in one of our short, interactive games with your dog while one of our researchers observes over video conferencing. The objects you will use in your virtual experiment are household items, such as plates, post-it notes (or similar), and dog treats.
To participate in our research studies, your dog:
- must be up to date on rabies vaccinations (we will need to see a valid tag or certificate upon visiting the lab)
- must be generally healthy at the time of participation
- must not have a record of aggression towards humans
- must be 4 months or older
If you are interested in registering your dog with the lab, please fill out our online questionnaire so we can get to know a bit more about your dog!
Please visit our FAQ page for answers to common questions about participating in our research studies. If you still have questions, contact us!