Ask An Expert

At Dognition, we believe that shared inquiry and discovery fuel the greatest benefits for dogs and their owners. Therefore we’ve partnered with the world’s leading canine cognition experts and canine-focused institutions/organizations.

Now, you also have the opportunity to inquire and learn from our experts.

Scientific Advisory Board- The experts on dog cognition and psychology
Dr. Brian Hare
Dr. Juliane Kaminski
Dr. Josep Call
Dr. Richard Wrangham
Dr. Laurie Santos
Dr. Adam Miklosi

Expert Panel- The experts on everything else dog!
Kyra Sundance – Expert Trainer
Victoria Stilwell – Expert Trainer
Nina Ottosson- Dog Toy Designer
Richard Hawkins – Vet
Paul Mundel – Canine Companions of Independence
Betsy Saul – Petfinder Foundation

  1. Cunning Test Question

    On the cunning test, my dog was reliable and didn't take the treat for the entire 90 seconds whether we were looking, back was turned or eyes were covered, but the graph showed her cunning as right in the middle - it seemed to us she was being extremely trustworthy, but the summary didn't agree - what would it take to get placed on the far left side of the trustworthy graph? We know it isn't a competition, this just doesn't seem to make sense so was hoping to get some clarification.

    4 votes
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  2. Indecisive dog?

    In the exercises with finding the hidden snack, Lizzie would just sit in front of me, right at the middle sticker, and stare at me instead of doing the exercise, as if she was waiting for me to tell her what to do. Why is she doing so?

    1 vote
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  3. How can I stop my dog running up to strangers and jumping up to 'kiss' them in greeting.

    I am keeping my 18 month old dog on leash around people at the moment as he leaps up at peoples faces to greet them. This in not acceptable for most people. He has learnt not to do it to us and can be controlled at home but in the park it is an issue. Any ideas on the best way to stop this behaviour.

    6 votes
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  4. In the tests my dog chose to always go to the right side. Why?

    While I was doing the tests my dog always chose the right side. In the results he says he got it correct 50% of the time but it was only due to default that the treat was located on the right. What could this mean?

    16 votes
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  5. My dog has bad front door manners.

    My 3 year old neutered male second generation wheaten/standard poodle mix is sweet, well behaved, gentle and affable. But when someone comes to the front door, he cannot control his excitement. It doesnt matter whether the person at the door is a total stranger or my mother, he jumps all over them in his exuberance. He often gets sent to his kennel as a punishment (which he hates but accepts). We could discourage his behavior with his electic collar but I am reluctant to use painful training techniques. Any ideas or insight you have would be appreciated.

    8 votes
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  6. How can I help my sensitive dog relax?

    I have a 6 mo. old puppy named Pepper. She learns very quickly, listens to our commands, and is a very affectionate companion. Pepper is definitely a more submissive dog. Is that something she will "grow out of" or something that we should work on with her?

    For example, Pepper gets very excited to sit and stay for rewards and was really enjoying the assessment. By the second game she started to seem wary of my intentions and eventually stopped listening to my commands and backed away. I've learned to stop the game at that point and let her relax.…

    3 votes
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  7. Does a dog miss another dog that died? Will the dog be sad about it?

    If one dog in a household dies, will the other dogs miss it? Can they get sad or stop eating because of another dog's death?

    71 votes
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  8. Does breed heritage beat temperament?

    My dog is a mix, probably of Boxer and an American Pitbull. She is a very smart and sweet dog at home, but ever since she was attacked by another dog, she developed an aggressive behavior towards other dogs. Could it be because of her Pitbull origins? If so, how do you treat problems that occur as a result of genes?

    17 votes
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  9. Licking

    My dog likes to lick the carpet, dog bed & anything else she happens to lay on. Is this a self calming behavior?

    65 votes
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  10. Answered- Is my dog practicing hypnotic suggestion?

    My dog is very good at communicating what she wants. Most of the time her desires are completely reasonable but her method makes me feel as though she has trained me better than I have trained her. She stares very intensely into my eyes. I usually guess what she wants but It feels like she is trying to push her thoughts into my head. What is up with this?

    36 votes
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    1 comment  ·  Canine Cognition  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-

    Your dog’s stare can be so hypnotic, it might seem as though she is trying “jedi mind tricks”. But probably more likely is that she is getting a fix of oxytocin.

    Oxytocin is a peculiar little molecule. It is known as the ‘hug hormone’ because it is what makes you feel good when you are touched by a loved one, get a massage, or enjoy a good meal. Oxytocin has pain relieving properties and can also decrease stress and blood pressure.

    We humans experience oxytocin in many of our social relationships, including bonding with our children or partners. What is surprising is that we would also experience a change in this hormone when bonding with a completely different species.

    In a study with 55 dogs from Azabu University in Japan, people whose dogs gazed at them for longer…

  11. 31 votes
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  12. Answered- How do dogs express their creativity?

    I heard part of a discussion on NPR of animals and creativity. Well, WHETHER they have it. They seemed to be considering a very human definition of creativity --- making art or music, things like that. My dog makes up games with me and with other dogs. I am wondering whether you have ever investigated how dogs express creativity and how we can help them develop their creativity.

    36 votes
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  13. Excessive Pulling On Lead

    I own a very loving male English Setter. In the field and around the house he will try(mostly succeed) in doing what I ask. He is happy, confident, gentle and mild manner dog. Daily(most days twice) I take him to a field and release him from his leash(he's very good at following directions off lead). This is by far and away the highlight of his day. I need to take him on lead to the field through a highly urban area and he pulls excessively - he is in a hurry to get there and extremely focused on the matter.…

    1 vote
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  14. 1 vote
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  15. How can we help with dog-reactivity?

    Chester is a 6 year old F! Labradoodle we adopted from a rescue at 3 1/2. He appears to be dog-reactive and becomes semi-aggressive on walks when other dogs are nearby. We have tried all types of training and are wanting to make it a pleasant experience for him on walks, can you advise?

    1 vote
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  16. Bored puppy

    My nearly year old Yorkie gets bored frequently. He gets at least 2 walks a day (1-3 miles each time), is taken outside numerous times daily, has tons of toys and a couple of brain games for dogs, gets playtime and trick training daily, and has bully sticks and slices to chew on. Since my husband and I are retired, he is not left alone very much. So if he is not engaged in these activities or napping, he goes in search of things to get into. (He is very good at that!) He also has a puppy friend close…

    1 vote
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  17. Has there been any research on dogs in Northern communities that pack and attack humans? Does this happen anywhere else?

    I would like to know why dogs in the North (and possibly elsewhere) do this, if they're provoked or so feral, they're almost wild and it's their way of surviving - are the news reports accurate? I can't help but link this to socio-economic issues and probably many other factors. Just wondering if you know of any research to direct me towards. I have read some of Dr. Boitani's work but nothing from Canada's North. Thanks.

    1 vote
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  18. Treats become ineffective rewards for my dog when we're outside. I give one to him, but he drops in on the ground in favor of other things.

    He'd rather look at fire hydrants and trees than accept a treat for good behavior. How should I reward him when we are training outside so that he will be more motivated to repeat desired behaviors?

    5 votes
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  19. How can I teach my dog not to be afraid?

    My dog gets skittish around random moving objects. If a piece of paper is blowing in the wind and comes close to him he gets extremely frightened, and I can't bend down to pet him with anything in my hand because he'll try to get away from it. What can I do to train him not to be so afraid? Strangely enough, he's not afraid of other dogs or people, just random objects.

    4 votes
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  20. What is the best way to transition a dog who has lived with three other dogs her whole life, to being an only dog?

    I am moving out of my parents house and taking my chihuahua with me to my new apartment. What is the best way to go about transitioning her to being an only dog, and is there anything I can do now to help prepare her for the change?

    3 votes
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