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How can we build better dogs?

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Having evolved alongside humans for many thousands of years, dogs have interwoven themselves in most aspects of human life across the planet. Dogs can be found as companions and family pets, as working dogs searching for hidden odors or missing people, as service dogs helping disabled people live fuller lives, and even across the world as feral, stray, and village dogs. What behaviors and cognitive traits have dogs evolved to allow them to be so successful in these wildly different environments? What makes a “good” pet versus a “good” explosives detection dog? How can we improve the lives and ‘careers’ of both? These are questions that my research aims to explore across multiple types of dogs. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center, investigating the genotype and phenotype of multiple types of working dogs (e.g. single-purpose scent detection [e.g. explosives, drugs], dual-purpose police patrol dogs, search and rescue dogs, cancer detection dogs, invasive species detection dogs).

I will be starting as an assistant professor at SUNY Cobleskill in Spring 2022.