Do Dogs Really Prefer Their Owners Over Food – Let’s See What the Science Really Says

what-dogs-prefer-graphic

Instructors: Daniel Estep, Ph.D., CAAB and Suzanne Hetts, Ph.D., CAAB

A recent study that related brain activity in dogs to preferences for food or praise has generated a lot of discussion.  For example, one news report of the study says:

“We always knew it! Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta GA recently proved that most dogs prefer their owners over food.” Another says “A new study shows that more dogs prefer praise from their owners over food when being rewarded for good behavior.”

We heard trainers lament that now it will be even more difficult to convince reluctant dog owners to use treats in training. Those who don’t like using food believe they’ve found support for their belief that praise has always been better than food.  After all, “my dog should work for me”, not for food!

But not so fast.  What the MEDIA says studies find far too often bears no resemblance to what the scientific results and the researchers’ conclusions actually ARE.

This is a disturbing trend in science reporting – the reduction of complex science to simple sound bites that make great headlines but in fact create confusion and misunderstanding of what the research was all about.  We can’t just pass this off as typical journalistic license – these misrepresentations can create real problems for those who use the science as a basis for their applied work or pet parents looking for sound advice about how best to train their dogs.  Imagine having someone show you how to spot these suspicious claims, and give you a step by step checklist you can use to evaluate these reports yourself so you aren’t trapped by misrepresentations and over-simplifications

Well you don’t have to imagine it, because we have it! In this upcoming webinar “Do Dogs Really Prefer Their Owners Over Food? Let’s See What the Science Really Says!!”  we’ll take on this research in detail.  You may have read blog posts and articles that questioned the research’s claim of what dogs prefer.  But do you know why?  We’re going to take it beyond questioning to picking apart the research questions, methodology, statistical analyses, results, and conclusions.  What you’ll learn is important not only for THIS specific research, but as a blueprint for how to look at the “new research says” claims you encounter daily.

And by the way, reviewing timely research is something we do EVERY SINGLE month for members of our Behavior Education Network.  This month, we’re giving you a chance to sample what BEN members have had the benefit of EVERY month since October of 2009 (do you know how many science review articles that adds up to??  Not to mention all the other benefits you can see at BehaviorEducationNetwork.com)

So join us as we dive deep into exploring whether dogs really prefer praise over food, based on their brain activity.  You’ll come away not only understanding this research and what it means for how best to reward the dogs you work with, but you’ll also have an Evaluation Checklist to use the next time you see a “science says” claim.

Webinar registration comes with the option of becoming a member of Behavior Education Network – the growing community of top pet professionals and enthusiastic pet parents who have chosen to get serious about understanding pet behavior science.

YES – I want BOTH – webinar registration that includes one month’s membership in Behavior Education Network.  After 30 days, I understand I’ll be billed the $25 monthly membership fee but I can cancel anytime.

$14.97, includes webinar and one month in BEN

NOPE, just the webinar please.  I understand I’ll be passing up the chance to learn about the science of pet behavior from behavior scientists, about proven strategies to grow a successful behavior and training practice, and how to work effectively with pet owners, veterinarians and other professionals, while changing pet behaviors efficiently, effectively and compassionately.

$14.97, includes webinar only