Exploring the Genetic Basis of Non-Pathological Behaviors in Dogs

In the realm of canine studies, research into behavior—particularly non-pathological behaviors—proves intriguing for both dog owners and scientists alike (Serpell, 1995). These behaviors span a wide range from herding and pointing to more abstract qualities like temperament and trainability (Svartberg, 2006). A deeper understanding of the genetics behind these behaviors not only expands our knowledge … Read more

Social Learning Mechanisms in Domestic Dogs

Social learning, the process by which animals acquire information or behaviors by observing others, is an important aspect of the development and behavior of many species, including domestic dogs. For domestic dogs, social learning can happen in a variety of contexts and through different mechanisms. Social learning mechanisms in domestic dogs are varied and complex, … Read more

The Intricacies of Canine Play: An Insight into Dog Behavior

Play, a cornerstone of canine behavior, is a multifaceted activity providing multiple benefits to dogs and their human companions. The high levels of play in dogs, a product of domestication and selection for playfulness, are integral to their physical, cognitive, and social development, and continue to be an enduring trait into adulthood. The core … Read more

The Key Stages in a Dog’s Early Development

Canine ontogeny, or the development of dogs from conception to adulthood, is a complex and intriguing process. It is characterized by a series of six “natural” stages: (1) the prenatal period; (2) the neonatal period; (3) the transition period; (4) the socialization period; (5) the juvenile period; and (6) the pubertal period. Understanding these stages … Read more

The Importance and Implications of Play in Dogs

Play is a critical aspect of the behavior of domestic dogs. It’s not just an outlet for excess energy or a way to pass the time, but rather, a complex behavior with numerous implications for a dog’s physical health, mental well-being, and social relationships. Play and Its Forms Dogs engage in various forms of play, … Read more

Understanding Vocal Communication in Dogs

The loyal dog, our first friend, has been an integral part of human society for thousands of years. Over this extensive period of domestication, dogs have developed a sophisticated and diverse repertoire of vocalizations, of which barking is the most prevalent and distinctive. Recent research has begun to unravel the complexities of dog vocal … Read more

A Closer Look at Dog Vocalizations

From barks and growls to whines and howls, dogs employ a fascinating array of vocalizations to communicate with humans and other dogs. Dogs, like many other animals, have a surprisingly intricate and nuanced system of communication that allows them to express a wide range of emotions and intentions. First, let’s explore some of the common … Read more

Intra-specific and Inter-specific Use of Attention-seeking Behaviors by Dogs

Dogs are renowned for their strong social bonds, not just with humans but also with other dogs. Their ability to communicate and engage in complex social interactions is a product of their evolution as a domesticated species. Dogs use a variety of attention-seeking behaviors in both intra-specific (within their species) and inter-specific (between species) … Read more

Decoding Canine Communication: Understanding Local Signals, Global Signals, and Temporal Patterns

Canine communication involves a complex system of visual signals, including local signals, global signals, and temporal patterns. This entry explores the nuances of these signaling systems, highlighting the importance of understanding the timing, sequence, and duration of visual cues in interpreting dogs’ emotions and intentions. By examining the role of context and repetition in … Read more

Trust and Adaptability in Farm Dogs: Cultivating Essential Traits for Success

An important part of a farm dog’s behavior comes to light during novel, uncommon or high-drive situations.  In these situations, I see farm dogs fall broadly into two categories.  In the first category are dogs who look to the handler to decide what to do.  These dogs begin offering behaviors until the handler gives them … Read more

Predatory Motor Sequences In English Shepherd Dogs

Predatory motor patterns in dogs are innate behaviors that have evolved over time to aid in hunting and capturing prey. These behaviors, inherited from their wild ancestors, can still be observed in domestic dogs, albeit to varying degrees. This entry explores the six stages of the predatory motor sequence in dogs and applies Tinbergen’s four … Read more

The Ethocognitive Model of an English Shepherd

The ethocognitive model of an English Shepherd, or any dog breed for that matter, is a theoretical framework that seeks to understand and explain the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral aspects of a dog’s life. This model is particularly useful for trainers, breeders, and owners who aim to optimize the dog’s well-being and effectiveness in various … Read more

How Does an English Shepherd Work?

This article examines the working abilities of English Shepherds at a systems level, highlighting their perceptual, referential, and action systems. By analyzing their keen sensory perception, cognitive skills, and physical prowess, we provide insights into how these dogs efficiently perform herding, guarding, and other farm tasks, emphasizing the importance of proper training and environmental … Read more

Exploring Ontogenetic Ritualization in Dog-Human Communication

The domestication of dogs has led to the development of unique communicative behaviors that facilitate interaction between dogs and humans. This short article explores the concept of ontogenetic ritualization and its role in shaping dog-human communicative signals. We discuss key examples of ritualized behaviors in dogs, such as gaze alternation, barking, play bow, tail … Read more

Exploring the Ultimate and Proximate Causes of English Shepherd Behavior

This short article touches on the factors that influence farm dog behavior, examining both ultimate (evolutionary) and proximate (immediate) causes. Ultimate causes include natural selection and adaptation, which have resulted in farm dogs developing specific traits and instincts to excel in their roles on the farm. Proximate causes encompass learning, socialization, genetics, hormones, and … Read more