Post image for Laika the dog – the first living creature in space

3rd November 2017 marked the 60th anniversary of Laika, a Russian stray dog, who became the first living creature to orbit Earth on the rocket Sputnik 2. Previous American and Russian missions had failed, using a range of animal test subjects including fruitflies, mice, monkeys, and other dogs. Although Laika successfully journeyed into space, the […]

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Post image for Angry human faces trigger mouth-licking in dogs

Dogs communicate constantly through a combination of olfactory, visual and vocal cues.  Whilst some behaviours such as barking are obvious, some of the more subtle signs that a dog is feeling uneasy such as mouth-licking, yawn or a head turn, might be missed or misinterpreted (depending on the context to which these occur).  Now a […]

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How to tackle jumping up

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One of the most common problems dog owners ask me about at Puppy & Dog School is “How do I stop my dog from jumping up?”  Firstly, jumping forms part of ‘normal’ dog behaviour, typically, produced as part of dog’s greeting ritual.  To understand how to tackle jumping, you need to be aware of the […]

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Earliest artwork of dogs found dating at least 8,000 years

Thumbnail image for Earliest artwork of dogs found dating at least 8,000 years

The debate about when dogs were domesticated has raged for years with commentators suggesting anywhere between 10,000 to 30,000+ years ago.  Nevertheless, fossils tell us very little about how dogs interacted with humans.  Now, new depictions of man’s best friend have been discovered in Saudi Arabia and are shedding new light on the human-dog relationship. […]

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Ancient wolf and dog remains found in Russia

The remains of two Late Bronze Age initiation ceremonies have been discovered at Krasnosamarskoe in southwestern Russia.  Among the finds include bones from dogs and wolves believed to have been eaten during rites of passage in which teenage boys became ‘wolf-men’ warriors.  The bones, dated between 3,900 and 3,700 years ago, may be the first […]

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DNA testing and its benefits

Over the last decade interest in family ancestry has surged – websites such as Ancestry.com and shows including Who Do You Think You Are? have fuelled this.  Just as humans have DNA, so do dogs with each breed having a distinctive set of markers.  It was only a matter of time that curiosity would stretch […]

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Genetic variants may explain why dogs are friendly to humans

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In recent years, advances in genetic research have led to the discovery of genes involved in dog traits that include; coat colour, size and personality.  Now scientists have found structural variants in genes on chromosome 6 which is associated with human-directed social behaviours, which may explain why dogs are typically friendly to humans. The study, […]

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Sniffing out Parkinson’s disease

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The research charity Medical Detection Dogs is partnering with Manchester University to determine whether dogs can sniff out Parkinson’s disease. In recent years, dogs have been reported to alert their owners to health problems that, in some cases, have turned out to be cancer.  (Click here to read about my personal experience of this).  Consequently, […]

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Domestic violence and its links with pets

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In 2016, The Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) released figures that showed an estimated 1.8 million adults aged 16 to 59 were a victim of domestic abuse.  In many cases, women were more likely to report having experienced domestic abuse than men.  In 2016, it was estimated that 11m (40% of) UK households have […]

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Canine predatory chase behaviour

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When Fenton, the black Labrador, chased deer in Richmond Park hotly pursued by his frantic owner a few years ago, he become an instant social media star.  His owner repeatedly called after Fenton but the dog kept running; this video (see below) illustrates canine predatory chase, one of dogs’ natural behaviours but one that can […]

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