What are you looking at? Understanding the role of human influence in canine behavioral evaluations

Domestic dogs are exceptionally sensitive to the presence and behavior of social companions. These social tendencies play an important role in dogs’ success and can help facilitate dog-human bonds. However, frequently humans are unaware of the many ways their actions are influencing the behavior of onlooking dogs, including those under their care. In this talk we will explore examples of how human presence and behavior influence canine persistence, exploration and even the outcome of cognitive and behavioral assessments. With this deeper understanding, we will think about how dogs’ social focus influences behavioral evaluations and human-animal interactions in shelter, work and home settings and how we can use this knowledge to the benefit of both species.