It used to be that many people who studied animal behavior thought dogs were too weird to bother with. We had bred them far away from the “natural” state of animals, so their brain had little insight to offer us.
That’s changed a lot in in the past couple decades. We have transformed wolves into some cognitively remarkable creatures, it turns out, and the diversity of breeds we’ve produced can serve as an unplanned experiment in the genetics of social behavior.
Of course, one of the biggest rules in all science is the more data the better. Which in this case means the more dogs that scientists can study, the more they may be able to discover about them.
All of which is introduction to an article I’ve written in today’s New York Times about a new push to gather Big Data about dogs–and to provide some insights from that data to dog-owners themselves. Check it out!