Pam Hogle is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on dogs. Her Thinking Dog Blog (www.thinkingdogblog.com) looks at how dogs think and learn and encourages readers to challenge their dogs' minds as they improve their relationships with those dogs. Pam also teaches at the Bergin University of Canine Studies in Rohnert Park, California, an accredited university that focuses on the human-canine partnership. She lives in Petaluma, California with two thinking golden retrievers, Jana and Cali.

Dogs Are Exceptional, Despite Attempts to Argue Otherwise

Headlines like this really bother me: Dog intelligence ‘not exceptional.’ Compared with what? How are you defining ‘intelligence’? Seeking answers to these questions, I downloaded and read the full study, which is available for free. It’s 20 pages, plus 8 pages of references. It’s primarily a review of existing literature on the cognitive abilities of a wide variety of nonhuman […]

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Managing Expectations

A wonderful Australian study published July 6 looks at the expectations of potential dog adopters and considers them in light of the potential adopters’ previous dog ownership experience (or lack thereof). It’s a nice look at what people are thinking as they contemplate adopting a dog and whether their expectations are realistic. The authors look at high rates of dog […]

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Scents Can Help Dogs Relax

A small study published in May looked at the effects of four scents on dogs in a shelter kennel. The focus was whether the aromatherapy would help the dogs relax. Though it’s a small study and, oddly the only one of its kind, it points to some additional ways that trainers and canine behavior consultants may be able to help […]

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Onset of Noise Sensitivity Might Indicate Pain in Dogs

Older dogs who develop noise sensitivity might be in pain. Other behavior changes, like a normally friendly dog showing aggression to children or dogs, have long been regarded as potential indicators of pain. But a study published in February might be the first to make the connection between the onset of noise sensitivity and pain. The researchers looked at two […]

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Talking to Dogs

A newly published study finds that dogs pay attention to both the way we talk to them and to what we say. Alex Benjamin and Katie Slocombe’s ‘Who’s a good boy?!’ Dogs prefer naturalistic dog‑directed speech looked at what they term “dog-directed speech,” or DDS, which is similar in tone and affect to baby talk. Their canine test subjects were all adult dog guests […]

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Teach Old Dogs New Games

A team of researchers at the Clever Dog Lab (oh, how I’d love to work there …) at the Messerli Research Institute in Vienna suggest teaching older dogs to play brain games on touchscreen computers and tablets. The articles describing the related study don’t go into details on what these Lumosity-like brain games for dogs entail (and I haven’t gotten hold […]

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New Delta Rules Signal Tightening Up of Rules for Service, Emotional Support Animals

Updated Feb. 25 to reflect Delta’s change: Travelers with trained service animals are encouraged, but NOT required, to provide proof of health and vaccination records 48 hours ahead of travel; passengers should have this documentation with them as Delta might request it. Those traveling with psychiatric service animals and ESAs will be required to provide all required documentation at least […]

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So Easy to Miscue …

A few days ago, I heard a story on the radio about police dogs and their handlers. The reporter was talking to a retired police dog handler who now trains dogs and works as an expert witness. What he said was disturbing for anyone who gets stopped by a police officer-and-dog team, but, to anyone with dog training experience, sounds […]

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