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Canine Science: A Trend You Can Easily Get Behind

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Most trends I can’t get behind. Hammer pants should have stayed in the 1980s and 1990s and far away from 2014 (there, I said it). Sure, I love a good flash mob, but the more of ’em you do, the older they get.

Finally, there’s a growing trend that is here to stay that I can get behind—interest in the inner lives and workings of Canis familiaris. This interest is not just from academics, but also the dog loving public. And with social media, researchers are making it easier for everyone to directly access canine science!

Dog science appears increasingly on television programs and in magazines and books (no, Clifford the Big Red Dog does not count). We can now add popular conferences to the list! If you’ve been watching this blog, you’ll remember that my Do You Believe in Dog? colleague and I recently hosted SPARCS 2014. This 3-day canine science conference—covering Aggression and Conflict, Temperament & Personality, and Science in Training—was held in Newport, RI and simultaneously live-streamed to an international audience. We just learned that the #SPARCS2014 broadcast received 47,462 hits from 80 different countries! There were half as many viewers the year before. That, my friends, is a sign of a trend! To watch any of the conference videos, you can visit the SPARCS website (or Facebook) for membership details.

Your access to canine science conferences continues! Just last week, I attended the 4th Canine Science Forum (Facebook) held in the UK. The Canine Science Forum is geared more toward an academic audience. Around 300 researchers and dog professionals from around the globe came to present and discuss research in the form of short talks, scientific poster, and longer presentations covering ‘Controversies in Canine Science.’ View the 3-day canine science program here.

While the Canine Science Forum does not live broadcast, that doesn’t mean the doors were closed to you! You most certainly did not miss three full days of canine science! People were actively tweeting during the conference (particularly Mia Cobb of Do You Believe in Dog?), and you can view collected tweets from each day of the conference here on Storify:

The Canine Science Forum was preceded by the 1st Feline Science Forum and was followed by a day on Companion Animals – Human Health and Disease. All the conferences are worth checking out. Ten points if you can find the talk that featured this picture:

Stay tuned for details on the 5th Canine Science Forum in 2016 in Padua, Italy. Check out highlights from the 3rd Canine Science Forum in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain here.

Julie Hecht About the Author: Julie Hecht is a canine behavioral researcher and science writer in New York City. She would really like to meet your dog. Follow on Twitter @DogSpies.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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