Research Interests

My broad research interest is non-human animal personality, in particular dog personality.  Now that scientific research has finally shown that dogs (and other non-human animals) have individual personalities, I’m interested in all aspects of personality in dogs.

I'm interested in learning about the dog/human relationship and how we influence dogs and how dogs influence us.  Most of my current research is on working dogs. I'm particularly interested in how humans influence dogs during their first year of life, which is a critical period in the dog's life.  How do humans shape dogs behavior and personality?  How might human interactions influence the success of working dogs?  Personality is a particularly salient feature of working dog success, so it is important to understand how humans may influence the personality of the dogs they care for.

Going off of that, it may be that some people and some dogs work better with one another than others.  I'm interested in learning about how dogs and people interact with one another and what makes up a good match between dogs and people.  Is it mostly the characteristics of the person, the dog, or both?  What are those characteristics?  And ultimately, is a successful match in a puppy raiser/working dog the same as a owner/companion dog? 

I'm also interested in measurement and how to best measure dog personality and the human characteristics that are important in establishing effective relationships between dogs and humans.  With more and more roles being created for dogs today, it is important to make sure we can understand which dogs are best suited for different types of working roles.