Dogs do the darndest things…

But then, so do people...

What's going on?

- Do dogs engage in ‘mental time travel’? Are they aware of their own past; can they imagine their future?

- Do dogs learn from members of their own species, and even us?

- Could dogs survive without assistance from people?

- Do companion dogs have better welfare than free-living dogs?

- What causes sudden fads for purebred dogs, and do the most popular breeds have the best welfare?

- Are there really personality differences between “dog people” and “cat people?”

- What are the major gaps in our knowledge of dog behavior— gaps which do not exist in a number of other species?

- Is stress bad? Can it ever be useful? Can it be minimized in certain dog populations, like those at the shelter?

Excellent questions, and I have no choice but to leave you hanging. These questions will be thoroughly discussed starting tomorrow at #SPARCS2015, the Society for the Promotion of Applied Research in Canine Science Conference (@CanineScience, Facebook) an international canine science event live streaming from Phoenix, AZ this Friday through Sunday (June 19-21). Which means you can join the conference in-person in Phoenix, or you can watch it for free, anywhere in the world via the free live stream.

The three-day conference brings together psychologists, neuroscientists, ethologists, anthropologists and others to address three, major, canine-science topics: Dog Learning and Memory (Friday, June 19), Dogs Around the World (Saturday, June 20), and Stress: Physiology, Cognition, and Behavior (Sunday, June 21). I’m co-hosting the conference the second straight year with my Do You Believe in Dog? colleague, Mia Cobb (@DoUBelieveInDog, Facebook).

The daily layout is this: From 9 AM to 6:45 PM PST, researchers will give short presentations relating to the day’s theme, and at the end of the day, everyone will come together for a lively panel discussion (probably not a la 'Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis,' but maybe). For the daily talk schedules, scroll down here, or view the schedules at the end of this post.

Who's presenting?

Each day at 5 PM (PST), a special guest will join for a brief, remote interview. In order of appearance: Ádám Miklósi, PhD (Friday), Nicola Rooney, PhD (Saturday), and Simon Gadbois, PhD (Sunday).

Interested? Here’s how you can participate:

Join the live, studio audience in Downtown Phoenix. I believe tickets are still available. Information here.

Watch #SPARCS2015 remotely for free. Each day, the conference will be live streamed for free which means if you have access to the Internet, you can tune in. When the conference begins on Friday, access the daily live stream here (and remember, the conference is in Arizona in PST).

Ask questions on Twitter. Have a question for any of the speakers? Tweet it! Mia and I will be monitoring #SPARCS2015 and incorporating your questions into speaker interviews and daily panel discussion.

Watch later. Can’t tune in this weekend? A SPARCS membership gives you access to talks. Details here.

Follow on Twitter! Mia and I will be live tweeting the event. Follow at @DoUBelieveInDog, @CanineScience and #SPARCS2015.