Canine Research Supports Adopting Senior Dogs … and Other Findings

Canine Research Supports Adopting Senior Dogs … and Other Findings

Researchers are studying dogs now more than ever, and their findings are fascinating for any dog lover. We’ve posted before about intriguing findings like dogs differentiating between languages and their ability to help lessen ER patients’ pain.

At Forever Loved, we firmly believe the more we know and understand, the better pet parents we can be. Here’s another roundup of some canine research making headlines lately.

Like, Ew: Dogs Go Through a “Teenage Phase”

Well, here’s another reason you should adopt a senior dog: young dogs have been found to go through a “teenage phase.” A study from the UK reveals that dogs go through a moody puberty period in which their attitude changes. They even experience hormonal changes and brain remodeling that causes them to test their bond with their owners.

Indeed, during this “teenage phase,” which often begins around five months, the dogs were harder to train and took longer to obey the “sit” command, even if they previously knew it(!) In typical teenage fashion, this disobedience was only directed towards the dogs’ owners and when a stranger was present, the dog did not act out.

“What we found is evidence that dogs show a period of reduced obedience towards their owners and specific to their owners and not other people,” Zoologist Dr. Naomi Harvey told the BBC.

Oof. Just a friendly reminder: we have plenty of senior dogs available for adoption who will never roll their eyes at you or stay out past curfew.

The Nose Knows

We all know that dogs’ noses are amazing, and using their sense of smell is something they enjoy. But did you know they can be more effective at detecting Covid than even at-home or hospital tests?

According to a review of a growing body of research, dogs can be faster, more accurate, and less expensive at detecting Covid than regular tests. They can even do so when the subject also has a cold or the flu or when the subject is asymptomatic and their viral load is so low it goes undetected by standard tests.

While preferred breeds like beagles, coonhounds, and basset hounds are often the go-to for such work, even puppies and mixed breeds can learn to detect. And the training takes just a few weeks. 

One of the review’s authors, professor emeritus Tommy Dickey at the University of California Santa Barbara, notes that they analyzed research from over 400 scientists from all over the world. Other countries have been more open to using dogs to detect Covid, but hopefully Americans will get on board with utilizing dogs, particularly now that we know their accuracy.

Besides, which would you prefer–having your nose swabbed and waiting a while to know your diagnosis or letting a cute pup sniff you and then immediately sit to let you know the results? Seems like a no brainer! 

Cutie-Patooties Like It

Do you, or does someone you know, use ‘baby talk’--you know, that higher-pitched, often repetitive way of speaking–when communicating with your dog? We often use this way of addressing our dogs without even realizing it. Turns out, science backs that instinct.

New research establishes that dogs actually respond better when humans use that higher-pitched baby voice. They also prefer female voices.

Researchers measured dogs’ brain activity via fMRI and exposed them to unfamiliar adult voice samples addressing their own babies, dogs and other adults. The dogs processed the baby-talk voice samples in a preferential way. 

Researchers discovered “neural evidence showing that dog's brains, just like the brains of human children, are attuned to exactly the kind of special speech patterns that people usually direct to them.”  

Experts say this proves that dogs have, over time, adapted their ability to understand humans. They also theorize that women may have an advantage when it comes to dog training.

So, if you cringe when you hear yourself, or others around you, using baby talk, just know that your dog actually prefers it!

That’s all for this roundup of canine research. The scientific community is always learning more about dogs which we find fascinating and we hope you do, too!

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