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Dogs wanted for behavioural study

Tuesday November 12th 2013

A team of scientists want dog owners to bring their pooches to a new Dog Cognition Centre that is carrying out ground-breaking research involving man's best friend.

The unique lab tests dogs with games and exercises to determine how they respond to other dogs, humans and their surroundings.

Researchers say the results of the study will be beneficial for those who work with or rely on their dogs, such as the police and military and those who are disabled or visually impaired.

The University of Portsmouth's Department of Psychology will examine the facial expressions of dogs and how humans and their dogs communicate with each other.

Dog intelligence expert Dr Juliane Kaminski has been studying dog cognition for more than ten years. She said they can be as able as young children in understanding their environment and solving problems. They also understand some forms of communication, such as pointing or looking at something better than chimpanzees and wolves.

Although humans and dogs have been getting on famously for 15,000 years, only now are we starting to study their behaviour in detail and just why they have become man's closest companion.

Dogs of any gender, age and breed are invited to take part in the research. The tests are observational and the dogs involved will be rewarded with food or play.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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