Canine-human relationships to be explored in symposium

· 3 min read

Canine-human relationships to be explored in symposium

A woman smiles as she plays with her dog in the kitchen
The annual Nebraska Symposium on Motivation will explore the human-canine connection.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s annual Nebraska Symposium on Motivation is going to the dogs.

Coordinated by Jeffrey Stevens, director of the Canine Cognition and Human Interaction Lab, the 2022 symposium, “Canine Cognition and the Human Bond,” is April 21-22 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium, 14th and R streets. The event is free and open to the public. There is also a Zoom option for those who want to attend virtually.

A pre-symposium seminar on PTSD service dogs for military veterans by Kerri Rodriguez of Colorado State University will be held at 5:30 p.m. April 20 in the Nebraska Union Auditorium, with refreshments beginning at 5 p.m. The seminar can also be attended virtually. Participants can register to attend in person or receive a Zoom link.

“The goal of the symposium is to bring international experts on dog cognition and canine-human interaction on campus to explore the canine-human bond from ‘both ends of the leash,’” Stevens, Susan Rosowski professor of psychology, said. “Speakers will talk about wolf and dog behavioral evolution, dog neuroscience, comparing bonds with dogs versus robots, working dog performance, and animal-assisted interventions in schools and colleges.”

In addition to the presentations, the symposium will feature a poster session focused on local research regarding dog behavior and human-animal interaction, working dog demonstrations and a visit from therapy dogs, where attendees can “pet their stress away,” Stevens said. Research has shown that petting a dog can lower blood pressure.

The full symposium schedule is available on the symposium website. Presenters and their topics for the symposium are as follows:

April 20
  • 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Pre-symposium Seminar by Kerri Rodriguez, Colorado State University, “PTSD service dogs for military veterans: Current knowledge and future directions.”
April 21
  • 9:30-10:30: Friederike Range, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, “Wolves-humans-dogs: How did domestication change the human-canine relationship?”

  • 11 a.m.-noon: Brian Hare, Duke University, “Is dog cognition the secret to working dog success?”

  • 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Jeffrey Katz, Auburn University, “Dog, human and robot bonding: Past, present and future.”

April 22
  • 9:30-10:30 a.m.: Anindita Bhadra, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, “A dog’s life in the human jungle.”

  • 11 a.m.-noon: Patricia Pendry, Washington State University, “Conceptual and pathway models guiding research on identifying active treatment components of AAIs on stress-related outcomes.”

  • 2:30-3:30 p.m.: John-Tyler Binfet, University of British Columbia, “Dogs on campus: Lessons learned from 10 years overseeing canine-assisted interventions and programming.”

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