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Canine Science Collaboratory (Wynne)

types of canines

Keywords:  wolf; human-dog interaction; sniffer dogs; shelter dog welfare; cognition, Going to the Dogs

Lab Research Area:

Welcome to the Canine Science Collaboratory! 

The Canine Science Collaboratory is dedicated to improving the lives of dogs and their people.

We are interested in many aspects of the behavior of dogs and their wild relatives, in particular:

  • Dog Welfare at the Animal Shelter: Millions of dogs live in shelters. We are determined to reduce the stress of their lives and help them find lasting human homes.

  • Behavioral Problems in the Home: We seek new, more science-informed, methods of dealing with the problems that can arise when dogs live in human homes.

  • Human-Dog Interaction:  What is the impact of owning a dog? How do dogs respond to human behavior? How and when does the social bond form between dogs and humans?

  • Dogs’ Wild Relatives: Dogs are members of a genus that includes their ancestors, wolves, and several other species. We are interested in dogs’ wild relatives both for what they tell us about what makes dogs unique, and also for their intrinsic interest as often endangered species.  

  • Cognitive Aging in Canines: We are interested in how dogs’ cognition declines as they age. This is valuable because it may help us find ways to help older dogs, but may help us understand human cognitive aging too.

Current Research Projects

Dog Welfare at the Animal Shelter: Every year millions of dogs enter animal shelters in the United States. Although euthanasia rates have been dropping, too many dogs live impoverished lives in kennels. We are carrying out several studies looking at improving the quality of life for dogs in shelters and improving their opportunities of finding lasting human homes. These include investigations of the value of short-term fostering programs, behavioral training to improve adoptability, the impact of breed labels on adoption success - among many others.

 Behavioral Problems in the Home: One of the major reasons people give for abandoning their dog is a behavioral issue like problem barking, separation problems, inappropriate toileting - to name just a few. We are developing novel, humane methods - better informed by the latest behavioral science - to help people and their dogs live more contented lives together.


 Human-Dog Interaction:  We are not only interested in the problems that can arise when people and dogs share their lives, but also in the positive aspects of human-dog interaction. We study the impact on people of interacting with a dog and how dogs respond to human behavior.


 Dogs’ Wild Relatives: Dogs’ wild relatives interest us for two reasons. First, the only way to understand what makes dogs unique is to compare them to the wild animal from which they are descended. Second, wild canids are intrinsically interesting. Some are endangered and all can cause problems in interaction with people. We seek humane behavioral solutions to the problems of coexistence with wild canids.



  The Effects of Aging on Dog Cognition: Ongoing studies are investigating the effect of aging on cognition in memory and attention tasks. Since dogs show several impacts of age on cognition that are similar to the human condition, as well as helping dogs, this research may also shed light on the human condition. Photo left: Xephos in a maze remembering where the treats were located!



Help Us Help Dogs

There are Three Ways You Can Help the Canine Science Collaboratory!

1. If you would like to make a donation to our lab, please click the button below. Even small contributions are a phenomenal help when it comes to buying treats for our research!  

Your financial support may be considered a charitable contribution and all donations will be processed by the ASU Foundation for A New American University, a non-profit organization that exists to support Arizona State University (ASU). Your contribution to the Canine Science Collaboratory and the Department of Psychology is greatly appreciated!

2. Volunteer your Dog (woof!). If you have a dog and would like to volunteer him/her for our research, sign up here!

3. Join the Lab!   If you are a Psychology major or an ASU undergrad in the sciences and would like to gain research experience, we'd like to hear from you! Please submit this form and someone from the lab will contact you for additional information.  For more information about PSY 399 or PSY 499 course credits, visit our Research Opportunities page.

Lab Director & Principal Investigator:  Clive Wynne, PhD, Professor

Dr. Clive Wynne is Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University and Director of Research at Wolf Park, Indiana. He was educated at University College London and Edinburgh University in Scotland and has studied animal behavior in Britain, Germany, the U.S. and Australia in species ranging from pigeons to dunnarts (a mouse-sized marsupial). Several years ago he founded the Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab dedicated to the study of dogs and their wild relatives. As well as numerous scientific papers, he has also written for Psychology Today, American Scientist, the New York Times, and other outlets. He is often quoted in print media and radio, and his science has been featured on several TV shows such as National Geographic, Nova ScienceNow and others. He is the author of a textbook Animal Cognition now in a new edition, and former editor in chief of the journal Behavioural Processes. His most recent book is Do Animals Think? (Princeton Univ. Press, 2004). Curriculum Vitae.

Current Graduate Students

Lisa GunterLisa Gunter, MA, CPDT-KA is a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University in the Department of Psychology and conducts her research under the mentorship of Clive Wynne in the Canine Science Collaboratory. Before beginning her graduate studies, Lisa worked for nearly a decade with dogs both in animal shelters and with pet dogs and their owners. Lisa's research attempts to better understand the influence of breed labels on perceptions of dogs and what breeds and breed mixes are present in animal shelters. She also studies the impact of stress on the welfare of kenneled dogs; and post-adoption interventions focused on owner retention. She has published her research in scientific journals and presented her findings at numerous conferences.

Josh Van BourgJosh Van Bourg received his BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California Berkeley, where his primary undergraduate research focused on comparative morphology and ecology of carnivorans. As an undergrad and postbac, he collaborated on a diversity of behavioral, physiological, and ecological projects throughout the US, Central and South America, and Australia. Josh hopes to utilize the diversity of ecological and cognitive characters exhibited by canid species, to examine the mechanisms that drive cognitive and social complexity. To this end, he is also fascinated by the unique evolutionary mechanisms that shape cognition and behavior in domesticated canids. Josh is currently pursuing projects focused on memory and prosocial behavior in dogs, and plans to incorporate these and other projects into larger, comparative framework.

Research Assistants

Rachel GilchristRachel Gilchrist, BS, is a research assistant with the Canine Science Collaboratory. She graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in biological sciences with a concentration in neurobiology, physiology and behavior. Her current research looks at the effects of primary versus secondary reinforcement in teaching new behaviors to dogs.

Join the Lab!   

If you are a Psychology major or an ASU undergrad in the sciences and would like to gain research experience, we'd like to hear from you! Please submit this form and someone from the lab will contact you for additional information.  For more information about PSY 399 or PSY 499 course credits, visit our Research Opportunities page.


Select Publications

Below are a sample of recent publications from Dr. Wynne's research and lab. A more complete listing may be found in Dr. Wynne's curriculum vitae. Student and post-doc co-authors appear in bold.

2016 and in press

Wynne, C.D.L. (in press) What is Special About Dog Cognition? Current Directions in Psychological Science

Protopopova, A. & Wynne, C.D.L. (in press) Judging a Dog by Its Cover: Morphology but Not Training Influences Visitor Behavior towards Kenneled Dogs at Animal Shelters, Anthrozoös

Feuerbacher, E.N., & Wynne, C.D.L.(2016) Application of functional analysis methods to assess human-dog interactions, Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 49: 1-5.

Hall, N.J., Smith, D. W. & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Performance of domestic dogs on an olfactory discrimination of a homologous series of alcohols, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 178, 1-6.

Hall, N.J., Smith, D. W. & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Effect of odorant pre-exposure on domestic dogs' sensitivity on an odorant detection task, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 178, 80-87. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2016.02.003

Stevens, E.D., Arlinghaus, R., Browman, H. I., Cooke, S. J., Cowx, I. G., Diggles, B. K., … Wynne, C.D.L.(2016). Stress is not pain. Comment on Elwood and Adams (2015) “Electric shock causes physiological stress responses in shore crabs, consistent with prediction of pain.” Biology Letters, 12(4), 20151006. http://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2015.1006

Protopopova, A., Brandifino, M., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Preference assessments and structured potential adopter-dog interactions increase adoptions. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 176, 87–95. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2015.12.003

Gunter, L.M., Barber, R.T., Wynne, C.D.L., (2016) What’s in a Name? Effect of Breed Perceptions & Labeling on Attractiveness, Adoptions & Length of Stay for Pit-Bull-Type Dogs. PLoS ONE 11, e0146857. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146857

Hall, N.J., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Canine Olfactory Learning and Behavior. In Jezierski, Tadeusz, J. Ensminger, & L. E. Papet (Eds.), Canine Olfaction Science and Law (pp. 123–137). CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.

Hall, N.J., Protopopova, A., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Olfaction in Wild Canids and Russian Canid Hybrids. In T. Jezierski, J. Ensminger, & L. E. Papet (Eds.), Canine Olfaction Science and Law (pp. 57–66). CRC Press. Boca Raton, FL.

Hall, N. ., Liu, J., Kertes, D. &  Wynne. C.D.L. (2016) Behavioral and Self-report Measures Influencing Children’s Reported Attachment to Their Dog, Anthrozoös. 29, 137-150.

Bentosela, M., Udell, M.A.R. & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016). Sociability and Gazing Toward Humans in Dogs and Wolves: Simple Behaviors with Broad Implications. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 105, 68-75.

Miletto Petrazzini, M.E. & Wynne, C.D.L. (2016) What counts for dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) in a quantity discrimination task? Behavioural Processes. 122, 90-97.


Protopopova, A., Wynne, C.D.L., (2015). Improving in-kennel presentation of shelter dogs through response-dependent and response-independent treat delivery. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. 48, 590–601. doi:10.1002/jaba.217

Zaine, I., Domeniconi, C., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2015). The Ontogeny of Human Point Following in Dogs: When younger dogs outperform older. Behavioural Processes. 119: 76-85.

Hall, N.J., Smith, D. W., & Wynne, C.D.L.(2015). Pavlovian conditioning enhances resistance to disruption of dogs performing an odor discrimination. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 103: 484-497.

Hall, N.J., Glenn, K., Smith, D. W., Wynne, C.D.L. (2015). Performance of Pugs, German Shepherds, and Greyhounds (Canis lupus familiaris) on an Odor-Discrimination Task. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 129: 237-246. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039271

Hall, N.J., Lord, K., Arnold, A.-M. K., Wynne, C.D.L., & Udell, M. A. R. (2015). Assessment of attachment behaviour to human caregivers in wolf pups (Canis lupus lupus). Behavioural Processes, 110, 15–21. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2014.11.005

Hall, N.J., Protopopova, A., Wynne, C.D.L. (2015). The role of environmental and owner-provided consequences in canine stereotypy and compulsive behavior. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research 10, 24-35.

Feuerbacher, E.N., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2015). Shut up and pet me! Domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer petting to vocal praise in concurrent and single-alternative choice procedures. Behavioural Processes, 110, 47–59. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2014.08.019


Mehrkam, L.R., Wynne, C.D.L. (2014). Behavioral differences among breeds of domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Current status of the science. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 155: 12-27.

Protopopova, A., & Wynne, C.D.L.(2014). Adopter-dog interactions at the shelter: Behavioral and contextual predictors of adoption. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 157, 109–116.

Protopopova, A., Hall, N. J., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2014). Association between increased behavioral persistence and stereotypy in the pet dog. Behavioural Processes, 106, 77–81.

Hall, N.J., Smith, D.W., Wynne, C.D.L. (2014) Effect of odor preexposure on acquisition of an odor discrimination in dogs Learning and Behavior, 44, 144-152. 

Feuerbacher, E.N., Wynne, C.D.L.(2014). Most domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) prefer food to petting: Population, context, and schedule effects in concurrent choice Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 101, 385-405. 

Mehrkam, L.R., Verdi, N.T., & Wynne, C.D.L.(2014) Human Interaction as Environmental Enrichment for Pair-Housed Wolves and Wolf-Dog Hybrids. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 17, 43-58.

Udell, M.A.R., Ewald, M.E., Dorey, N.R., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2014) Exploring breed differences in dogs (Canis lupus familiaris): Does exaggeration or inhibition of predatory response predict performance on human-guided tasks? Animal Behaviour, 89, 99-105.

Rose, J. D., Arlinghaus, R., Cooke, S. J., Diggles, B. K., Sawynok, W., Stevens, E. D., & Wynne, C.D.L.(2014). Can fish really feel pain? Fish and Fisheries, 15, 97-133. doi:10.1111/faf.12010

Udell, M. A. R., Lord, K., Feuerbacher, E.N., & Wynne, C.D.L. (2014). A Dog’s-Eye View of Canine Cognition. In A. Horowitz (Ed.), Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior (pp. 221–240). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


Wynne, C.D.L. & Udell, M.A.R. (2013) Animal Cognition: Evolution, Behavior and Cognition. 2nd edition. Basingstoke, UK.: New York, US: Palgrave Publishers.

Wynne, C.D.L. (2004) Do Animals Think? Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Dutch translation (2006) Denken Dieren Na? Pearson Education, Amsterdam.

In the News and More!

In The Chronicle of Higher Ed Animal Minds: Clive Wynne, who studies animal cognition at Arizona State University, says that "anthropomorphic descriptions of animal behavior shed more smoke than light" (posted 2 Oct 2016).



Mentored by Dr. Clive Wynne, ASU's student group Sparky's Service Dogs makes the news in ASU Now!  Read more  how this special group of students and a raft of retrievers are being trained to help people with PTSD and other types of issues.

Dogs can tell when praise is sincere. Study suggests that man’s best friend probably understands more than we thought when we talk to them. Nature (30 August 2016).

New Scientist. "Selfish dogs would rather play with a toy than help a human" (posted 10 Aug 2016).

 Wisconsin Gazette and the Associated Press, "Those puppy eyes can help a dog bond with owner" (posted 17 June 2016). 


 May 31, 2016. Clive Wynne weighs in on bomb-sniffing dogs and his current research funded by the Office of Naval Research in New York Times article, "TSA Trains Dogs to Stay One Sniff Ahead of Bomb Makers"


More Pit Bull pick ups by the media featuring Lisa's masters research including Newsweek (3/28), Bustle, ASU Now (3/29)  and the Washington Post (3/31), "Being labeled a pit bull can doom a shelter dog’s chances of adoption."

Research by doctoral student Lisa Gunter is featured on 3/23/16 PBS Newshour,  "The Woes of Being Labeled a Pit Bull" and published in PLOS One, "What’s in a Name? Effect of Breed Perceptions & Labeling on Attractiveness, Adoptions & Length of Stay for Pit-Bull-Type Dogs."


 Going to the Dogs TOO:  A Day of Canine Science. Featuring canine experts from Arizona State University, Carroll College, Texas Tech University, and Oregon State University,  the Canine Science Collaboratory and the Arizona Humane Society presented an all day workshop on 7 Nov 2015 for the public on recent canine science research. Topics included shelter interventions and adoptions; canine play & aggression; separation-related problem behavior; odor detection performance; how dog breeds get labeled; use of shock collars; and dog dominance.

ASU Lab Training Bomb-Sniffing Dogs (2/05/16 - KJZZ)

Dogs' New Challenge: Find A Bomb Before It Becomes A Bomb  (2/11/16 - NPR)
"So we're now asking dogs not just to find a needle in a haystack, now the problem is more like saying to the dog 'we need you to find any sharp object in the haystack,' " says Clive Wynne, a professor at Arizona State University.

Also in the News:

A new approach to licking Alzheimer's (11/13/15 - ASU Now)

Pugs Lead The Pack In Scent Detection Research  (11/09/15 - KJZZ)

Why do dogs do that?   (11/05/15 - Scientific American)

Why is that dog looking at me?  (9/15/15 - Today Online)

It's Me or the Dog (5/01/15 - New York Times)

What Eye Contact - and Dogs - Can Teach Us About Civility in Politics (5/08/15 - NPR)

Gazing Into Those Puppy Dog Eyes May Actually Be Good For You (4/18/15 - NPR)

Scientists Probe Puppy Love (4/16/15 - NPR)

Dogs Prefer Petting Way More Than You Thought (9/07/14 - Huffington Post Science)

"Were first dogs our best friends, or mutant vermin? The tale wags on"  (11/18/13 - NBC News)  Related story: Could Man's Best Friend be a Mutant?

Going to the Dogs - An Evening of Canine Science. In February 2014, the Canine Science Collaboratory presented Psychology’s first canine science event for the public which included current research on how dogs understand, love, and have the potential to heal us.