The Canine Companions Research Team continues to look for ways to better understand behavior and cognition in Canine Companions dogs. Understanding how certain life experiences impact future behavior is an important area of research that has the potential to benefit future service dogs. We are excited to explore this topic through the Dog Life Experience Study, a large study enrolling dogs of all breeds and experiences, in partnership with the Hecht Lab at Harvard University. The study aims to explore how different life experiences influence dog behavior, cognition, and emotions.
The study includes a total of two online surveys (15-25 minutes each) that will ask you questions about the dog. After completing the surveys, if you would like to participate further and the dog is identified as eligible, the researchers at Harvard may contact you about collecting DNA samples from the dog using a mail-in cheek swab kit. Participation in this sample collection is not required to participate in the survey portion of the study.
Please note: this survey is designed to capture information about behaviors and emotions such as fear. Therefore, some of the questions will ask about negative experiences the dog may have had, including neglect or abuse, that will not apply to Canine Companions dogs. These topics may be uncomfortable, and while we do not expect Canine Companions dogs to have had many of these negative experiences, we are partnering on this study as it is important that dogs with a variety of experiences take part in this research. Understanding links between dog’s experiences and their behaviors will help our organization better support Canine Companions dogs and caretakers who take so much loving time to care for them.
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