One of the challenges for those interested in dog behavior is keeping up with current research. Access to journal articles can require prohibitively expensive subscriptions or membership in a research institution with an extensive library system. That’s why open access journals, like Plos One are so valuable, and why I’m grateful to Monique Udell, the editor of a special issue of Behavioural Processes, New Directions in Canine Behavior, (Vol 110, Pages 1-132.) for providing open access to the issue until February 6th, 2015.
By clicking on the link above, you can read articles as varied J. Hecht’s and E. Spice Rice’s discussion on the benefits and challenges of citizen science as it relates to canine behavior, to what personality dimensions “puppy tests” actually measure, to whether rolling over in play is “defensive” or “offensive.”
This is a treasure trove of information, with free access to all seventeen articles in the entire issue until February 6th of this year. If you are like me, and don’t have time to read them all on line between now and February 6th, you can print out the pdf and read it when you can get around to it. One article that I have read already is Hecht and Spice Rice’s article on citizen science, which is an important contribution to the field, given the popularity of some popular products labeled as citizen science. It is true that citizen science presents great opportunities, but it is also rife with potential pit falls, and the authors do an excellent job distinguishing between the two.
The article by Norman et. al. about rolling over in play is also worth your attention. They argue that rolling over allows a dog to either avoid a bite to the neck, or puts it in a position to play bite the other dog’s neck. On some occasions a roll over was used as a play solicitation gesture, but never did they see any evidence that rolling onto the back was a sign of “submission,” as is often claimed. There is so much more: an article by Berns about an fMRI study of “canine brain responses to unfamiliar human and dog,” self regulatory depletion behavior in dogs and what can turn it around by Miller et. al. and lots more great stuff to read and ponder.
I hope you get a chance to look at the articles. I’d love to hear which ones are of most interest to you. I’ll never get to all of them before Feb 6th, but my printer will be very busy between now and then.
MEANWHILE, back on the farm: A wonderful weekend of fun with dogs and food. I went on a cooking jag and spent hours happily chopping, braising and baking in the kitchen: I made Cock-a-Leekie Chicken Pie on Thursday night (chicken, leeks and prunes in a savory pie crust), Chicken Bone Broth on Saturday morning, the filling for Boef Bourguignon Pie Saturday night, Gaucamole Dip Saturday morning and the final version of the Boef Bourguignon Pie for Sunday dinner, and Madeleines for dessert Sunday night. (Thanks to good friends Peter and Deb for helping us eat it up.) The dogs and cats thought it was great too; many of the meals resulted in virtual pounds of meat scraps for them.
Apologies to readers: I took no photos, but refer you to the magazine Bon Appetit, which I’m holding responsible for the five pounds that I really, really need to get rid of. I know, I know… but who can diet in the middle of winter when your body is yelling at you to put on fat to protect from the cold, and your subscription to Bon Appetit seduces you with all these great recipes? I am clearly but a helpless victim here.
Thank heavens for the dogs, who got us out of the farmhouse on two long, lovely walks in the woods, and to the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison with Tootsie as a member of the Pet Pals therapy dogs group. Usually there are three dogs of varying sizes, but Saturday was “lap dog” day, with Shanti, Honey and Tootsie providing lots of oxytocin to patients, family and friends during what otherwise is a stressful time. No photos are allowed with the patients, but Visit Captain Lori kindly agreed to hold onto all the dogs before we went up so that we owners could take photos. You’ll note that every dog is looking at its owner intently. Potential translation: “Why are you over there, when I’m over here?”
I put this photo of tulips on my home computer to counter the boring brown and grey colors of January, and thought it would be nice to share with you all the happiness that flowers can bring. It’s hard to imagine that there will be color like this is the backyard in just a few months, but Jim and I planted over 200 new bulbs, so in four months or so (argh, that long?!) we will be able to take photos like this again.