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Old 10-02-2006, 09:51 AM
drumancroy@btinternet drumancroy@btinternet is offline
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Default Help needed from you guys please!

Hello everyone, I am new to this forum and I just wondered if anyone had any ideas. I need to do a research based study - ie observing dogs - on any aspect that I like! It is so broad that I am at a loss. I have 5 dogs of my own so could use them - but that might be too subjective. I also train assistance dogs but I think that would bring in too many variables!
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:13 AM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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What about observing your dogs in the way they understand you, as a human, another specie. There are many studies which have shown how dogs differ greatly from wolves, for instance in how they understand human cues. You could do some reading on that and then try some experiments of your own.

http://www.harvard-magazine.com/on-line/030374.html

http://whyfiles.org/shorties/119dogs_eat/index.html

That's one of many subjects I've been studying and am very interested in.

Another idea might be to observe how they respond to clicker training. You could chart the progress of shaping a behavior and even comparing differences between your 5 dogs. I don't know if you've done any work with this type of training.
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Old 10-02-2006, 12:36 PM
drumancroy@btinternet drumancroy@btinternet is offline
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Hi Doberluv

Thanks so much!! Really interesting stuff and great links. I do teach clicker training but not sure how to set up a chart to test their progress. Are there not too many variables in shaping a behaviour? For instance , the different ways I respond to my dogs?

I'd like to observe how they respond to human cues. I have access to a number of dogs, apart from my own so it would be very interesting. The constants would be that they were all family pets. Other than the links you posted, where else could I read about wolves responses to human cues?

Thanks again.
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Old 10-02-2006, 02:34 PM
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Well, dealing with living organisms (lol) there are going to be variables...no getting around that. And those variables are what makes it interesting. You might even turn those variables into part of your paper...why does one dog respond differently? Was there something diffferent in his early puppyhood perhaps? Is it to do with his breed? Why could that be? Is he more distracted? While they're all domestic dogs, they may vary with some of the tests. You probably should repeat any single test several times so that it can't be thought of as a fluke when they do something. You want to make it a true experiement, and describe your observations in great detail, what the dog looks like (expression, body language, does he look to you a 2nd time after you point, a 3rd time before he gets it?) Think up things you want to look for and write them down and go by them systematically.

You could chart it like, dog#1, dog#2, dog#3 (or just use their names) etc and maybe running down alongside the paper, day#1, day#2 etc. On the heading, describe your experiement. In each line put down your observations for each dog, how they reacted in the first minute, what they did in the next minute or whatever you want to set for your scientific critera...how long it took dog#1 to choose the container with the food in it when you pointed with your finger, then when you pointed with your foot maybe, then perhaps see if your gaze alone will cause any of the dogs to choose the right container.

Then you could go onto another page with another heading for another experiement, in how the dogs react to some other human cue, some human body language that dogs don't do perhaps. I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud.

You can do a Google search and look for more to research by writing in what you want to look for, maybe starting out more specifically and then, if needed, broaden your search with less stringent criteria.

Here's a student's paper I saved in "My Favorites" because I enjoy reading stuff like this. Maybe it might give you ideas.

Last edited by Doberluv; 10-02-2006 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:52 AM
drumancroy@btinternet drumancroy@btinternet is offline
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Thanks again!! Couldn't see the student paper. And I will do Google search today.
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