Canine Research Unit

Perhaps more than ever before, people are sharing their lives with dogs as companions. Worldwide, there are approximately half of a billion domestic dogs. In North America alone, over 40% of all households report having a dog!

The human-dog association that has developed over thousands of years has shaped dogs into what they are today. As animal behaviour and cognitive researchers in the Department of Psychology at Memorial University, we believe that there is much to learn about dogs, since until the last decade or so, their behaviour was rarely studied using scientific methods.

We are especially interested in the behaviour and cognition of all types of dogs (domestic dogs and wild canids). Much of our work is focused on canine social behaviour: how do dogs communicate and interact with each other, and what factors affect these social interactions? We are also interested in how factors like a dog’s temperament, or personality, influence social behaviours, and whether measuring stress-related hormones, such as cortisol, can give us insight into how these factors interact with each other. Finally, we are keen to understand human-dog interactions, especially aspects of the owner-dog relationship.

Our research mainly involves testing dogs in the spaces they live, work, and play- their homes and yards, and local dog parks. If you are interested in participating in one of our studies, check out the "Now Recruiting" page.

Please look around the website, and feel free to get in touch with us at any time if you have any questions or comments!

Contact Us!

Dr. Carolyn Walsh


Dr. Rita Anderson