Participate in a Canine Behavior Study


Dogs do SCIENCE! (Now with Comic Sans and Lens Flare!)

I’m a big fan of canine research and I actively seek out participation opportunities for all sorts of dog studies.  My dogs have participated in a bundle of studies that required blood and DNA samples, comprehensive measurements, and lengthy surveys.  Although most studies do not release individual results for your dogs when they do participate, as a breeder and enthusiast it’s important to improve the understanding and tools we have to assess the health and behavior of our dogs now and in the future.

This request for participation in a new study came across my desk this morning and I encourage you to participate. It’s very easy, just a simple online survey that you can complete on your lunch break or during the commercials for your favorite show. Blind and deaf dogs are an issue I write extensively about on this blog and you can see from the many comments and viral nature of those posts that people care deeply about their welfare. Here is an opportunity for scientists to discern just how deeply blindness and deafness can change a dog’s behavior.

We all can’t adopt a special needs dog or fund the rescues who do, but we all can find 15 minutes to improve the data of this study.

Valeri Farmer-Dougan

Dear Border Wars,

I am a research professor from the Canine Cognition Laboratory here at Illinois State University. Our laboratory is currently investigating and identifying canine behavioral problems as well as positive behaviors, in dogs with and without disabilities. To do this, we are using a modified version of the questionnaire known as the C-BARQ (Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire). This is a diagnostic tool for identifying canine behavior problems. The C-BARQ has been extensively tested for reliability (how well it gets the same results for the same dog) and validity (how accurately it detects behavioral problems).

We have posted our online version of the C-BARQ (link will be inserted), and are seeking help to increase the number of dogs in our database. We are very interested in having dogs that are blind, have low vision, are deaf, have hearing loss, or both. We are also interested in having normal dogs of the same breed, so we can compare behavioral traits across dogs with and without disabilities.

The questionnaire takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Participants will then be able to click on a separate link to enter their name into a database of individuals to contact once the results have been analyzed. We will not provide individual dog’s scores, as we are interested in the behavior of dogs across the different groups and not an individual dog. We, of course, are willing to provide the results of our study to your site as well.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me via email at

Please feel free to share and cross-post this information.

Thank you.

Valeri Farmer-Dougan, Ph.D.
Canine Cognition Laboratory
Department of Psychology
Illinois State University

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.