Yeah, I got a new dog, and I'll write more about that later. But right now I just wanted to share some info that may be interesting to dog owners in my area (Research Triangle, NC). The Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University is starting a Canine Cognition Center to study unique social cognitive abilities in dogs, (such as interpreting human gestures like pointing or eye gaze to find hidden food, a simple task that most other animals do not perform well in experiments.) The goal of the new lab is to run further experiments in the form of fun games on pet dogs to explore this unique ability.
The center will be starting its work next fall, but they are currently gathering information on potential participants. According to the information I received, the tests are expected to take 30 to 60 minutes and should not exceed two hours. Dog owners must be able to bring their dogs to the Center's lab on Duke's West Campus in Durham, where the dogs will participate in various problem solving games to win food rewards. Dogs of all breeds and ages are welcome and owners are welcome to sit in with their dogs while the testing is going on.
Although the studies will not start until Fall '09, dog owners who are interested in participating can fill out this questionnaire.