Play with Your Dog: For Research

Clara flirtpole waiting

Alexandra Horowitz and her Dog Cognition Lab are investigating play between dogs and people. So was there ever a more fun way to participate in a research study?

Clara flirt pole still

For those who aren’t familiar with Dr. Horowitz, she wrote a great book called “Inside of a Dog.” She is also the one who authored the study that demonstrated that dogs’ appeasement behaviors after being scolded have no relationship to whether they did the deed in question.

So here’s the link to the new research study on play. Let’s all flock on over there and submit videos!

Dog-human Play Study

The hard part for me was choosing what game to play. But Clara’s current passion for the flirtpole is such fun, even though our releases need a little work. Ahem.

Our submission is below. There’s a time limit of 60 seconds, so that’s why it ends pretty abruptly. It was actually our 5th session of the day. I had cut my head out of the first several takes. She is moving more slowly by this time, but still In the Game for sure.

I hope lots of people participate. I can’t wait to see what comes of the study.

Imminent post: Classical Conditioning: Creating a Positive Response to Barking

ADDENDUM, 12/20/12

At the request of a couple of friends, here is more of Clara with the flirtpole. This is a session earlier in the day than the one we sent to Dr. Horowitz’ study, and Clara is very very excited. She also outsmarts me to get the toy back.


18 thoughts on “Play with Your Dog: For Research

      1. What Lorac said: “Clara should participate in lure-coursing.”

        Yes! I was thinking that too! She is like lightening.

        And yes, 60 seconds will definitely be a problem, considering that it usually takes us a while to get going, and I have to wait for Barnum to be in the right mood, and I have to have someone film us with decent lighting, etc…. Too bad — tonight we had a really fun game of fetch/tug/fake chase with a squeaky duck.

        Where did you get that flirt pole, and do they make them extra tough so the dog doesn’t destroy it?

        1. They ask to see the beginning of the session too, and the end! (The end “if possible”) We didn’t even try to get the end. I think one of the things they are interested in is how people start the play sessions and what the dogs do to indicate they want to play (they ask the latter in the survey).

          The flirt pole is a Chase It from CleanRun: . But I’m going to upgrade. It is definitely not going to last with Clara. The plastic/nylon rope is simply glued inside the handle; that came out right away. I was frankly amazed at how cheaply made it is. I have my eyes on this one: Also, flirt poles are based on a special kind of horse whip (flinch) and people make their own from those. That’s probably the cheapest route for someone who has access to a farm store.

          You’ll be ahead of the game since Barnum will actually let go of stuff! Hopefully he wouldn’t be as hard on one as a more persistently grabby dog….

    1. I wish I could have used one of our earlier sessions. Clara was like lightening, even more hard core then. The flirt pole does really wear them out. Summer looks at me like I’m nuts if I try the flirt pole with her, and Zani is a little scared of it. People say you can just stand there to do it, but I find myself working pretty hard to stay ahead of Clara.

      1. Yes, I can tell – you are quick with that though!! I would love to use one, but not sure if I want to teach mine how to chase and actually CATCH! He’s such a wimp right now.. Lol

  1. This is a lesson on “how to use a flirt pole” as well as an example of play. I let Lily watch it this morning, and she is ready…….although I can see already that the one I have will probably not survive the first attempt. Please do post her earlier sessions.

      1. Something I always have at the back of my mind why involving Lily in “enthusiastic” play is water. Since her breed, Weimaraner, is one of the large chested breeds that are particularly susceptible to bloat, part of our play prep is to have limited amounts of water available. Key word: limited.

        Sharon, I’d like to hear more how you exercise Barnum through play.

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