Campus going to the dogs again with DogFest

· 3 min read

Campus going to the dogs again with DogFest

Alyssa Mae | University Communication
A dog showcases his tricks for the "Dogs Got Talent" competition during the inaugural Husker DogFest on Aug. 11, 2018, at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The second DogFest is planned for Sept. 21.

Come one, come all, the two-legged, the four-legged, the tall and the small.

Craig Chandler | University Communication
Jeffrey Stevens, director of the Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab, with his dog, Koda.
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab is hosting Husker DogFest again this year to celebrate the lab’s first anniversary, share research with the public and recruit new participants for upcoming research endeavors.

The event, which is free and open to the public — including well-behaved, leashed dogs — is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 on the campus greens south of Memorial Stadium and Manter Hall. Free parking will be available in the Stadium Drive parking garage on T Street.

Activities will include:

  • Tours of the new Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab in the 501 Building
  • Demonstrations of dog obedience, herding dogs, search and rescue dogs, dancing dogs, police dogs — including the University Police Department’s famous Layla — and dog Frisbee tricks
  • Vendors of dog-related products and services
  • Food trucks

The Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab opened in mid 2018 in the 501 Building. Directed by Jeffrey Stevens, associate professor of psychology and resident faculty in the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, the lab focuses on researching dog psychology and how interacting with dogs influences human behavior and psychology.

VIDEO: A look inside the Canine Cognition and Interaction Lab at Nebraska

Stevens said he’s looking forward to showcasing the lab and the work done there.

“One of the key purposes of DogFest this year is to actually start showing the research, the findings we’ve discovered,” Stevens said. “We can talk about this with the public and show what we’re doing here. We’ll have stations set up where people can see three of the projects we’re currently working on and have data on. They can get a feel for what’s actually happening in the lab.”

One such study is looking at the positive aspects of human interaction with canines.

“We have some really interesting findings suggesting that interacting with the dog improves people’s positive mood, and it decreases their negative mood,” Stevens said. “If they were already in a bad mood, that kind of starts to go away. It reduces stress, and it reduces anxiety. And those were all very strong effects.”

Those who bring their animal companions must sign a waiver of liability. For more information, check out the Husker DogFest website here. The lab is continually recruiting dogs for its research. For more information, click here.

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