Canine Behavioral Biology – Body and Mind Together Determine Behavior and Aptitude
This course, Canine Behavioral Biology, offers the dog trainer, behavior consultant, breeder and hobbyist the elements of genetic variations in the morphology and behavior of the domesticated dog. It traces the natural history of the species from regional types to an amazing variety of breeds that are reproductively isolated and selectively bred for very specific behaviors and shapes. The overview discussion examines pedigree reading, gait analysis for specialized behavior, temperament and innate behavior for work and the health issues that come with isolated breeding populations.
Of all mammals, dogs show the greatest variation in both morphology and behavior. This course traces the natural history of how the species became indispensable to humans, was selectively bred to perform widely varying types of assistance to humans and how that genetic isolation gave us both the marvelous variety that comes from artificial selection but also the mutations that cause disease and weakness. The course examines the principle biological systems of the dog’s body, it’s development from fetus to adult according to genetic and environmental influences and how specialized behavior sequences that are largely hardwired to have onset at a certain developmental stage differentiate the adult breed by much more than just looks. Cutting edge genetic discoveries, fascinating videos of behavioral variation plus practical skills like pedigree reading, gait analysis, selecting breeding candidates, breeding and puppy rearing practices, and performane events are also discusses in the light of selective breeding. The course uses the influences of ethology, biology, genetics, neuroscience and comparative evolution to investigate the dog as a whole being in tune with its environment (or not).
There are 10 lectures with numerous additional resources in the form of up to date published behavior and genetics studies, videos and articles about purpose bred dogs working, and two required books. The successful student will pass a quiz for each lesson, a mid-term and final exam as well as turn in homework on a progressive project. The course encourages the student to adapt the course materials to their own interests in order to make the learning process more meaningful on a personal level. CEUs available ONLY on successful completion of quizzes, final exam and homework.
What You Can Expect to Learn:
- Evolution of the dog
- Natural and artificial selection of the dog
- Ecology of dogs around the world
- Specialization into breeds
- Fundamentals of canine biology (anatomy, movement, reproduction and health issues)
- Adaptation of anatomy and physiology into specializations for function
- Adaptedness to environment
- Behavioral genetics
- The principles of breeding for function or appearance
- The problems inherent in founder effects and restricted gene pools
- Utilizing health testing and participating in ongoing projects to better our dogs
Instructor: Chris Redenbach CDBC, CBCC-KA is a long time breeder of working Bouviers des Flandres and has studied ethology and is now in a neuroscience program to better her understanding of current brain and behavior research. See her full bio and the other courses she teaches here.
Cost: Available soon!
Length of time to access this course: Access to this course will be allowed for 12 months.
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