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Professor Alexandra Horowitz PhD has been teaching at Barnard since 2004. Before coming to Barnard, she taught at Hunter College and at the University of California - San Diego. Professor Horowitz's research is in animal cognition. She is currently testing the olfactory acuity of the domestic dog, through experiments in natural settings, and examining dog-human dyadic play behavior. Professor Alexandra Horowitz on Inside of a Dog, World Science Festival and on TEDEd Lessons Worth Sharing
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Professor Daniel Mills DVM was Europe’s first professor of veterinary behavioural medicine and as such he has pioneered both the practice and research of companion animal problem behaviour management internationally. Daniel is a RCVS, European and ASAB recognised specialist in clinical animal behaviour. He has been developing and exploring new interventions for behaviour problems at Lincoln University for over 20 years. He has a strong research interest in the comparative psychology underpinning behaviour and behavioural interventions, with a particularly interest in what makes an individual different and how this arises from their interaction with the environment. This links both his applied and fundamental research, for example by examining how we and non-human animals recognise and respond to the emotional state of another. More recently he has had opportunities to scientifically explore his interests in the potential value of our relationships with animals. His research in this area focuses on the benefits from pet keeping using a multidisciplinary approach, for example through collaborations with biologists, health care professionals, psychologists, lawyers and economists.
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Ir. Ineke van Herwijnen is educated as dog trainer, therapist and tester. She has a public health education specialisation in nutrition from Wageningen University and is presently a PhD student there researching interaction styles between dogs and handlers. Ineke is Director of the Dutch Royal Association for the Protection of Dogs, an organisation that has fended for dog welfare for over a hundred years. One of the key activities of this organisation today is offering effective education about dogs and their needs, specifically to audiences where dog welfare issues are still abundantly present.
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Janneke van der Laan is a PhD student at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, where she works on evaluating methods to monitor canine welfare. Janneke has an MSc in cognitive neurosciences, which she focussed on animal behaviour and welfare. She also successfully finalised a postgraduate course in applied animal behaviour. Next to her PhD-work at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, together with two colleagues she offers behavioural therapy, training and advice on the behaviour of companion animals and is guest teacher at a dog school.

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Sabrina Brando is a psychologist with a MSc in Animal Studies, interested in the human-animal relationship. She has in interest in animal welfare, particularly from the 24/7 across lifespan approach, and how various systems (thought as well as practical) and working methods affect animals short-and long-term. With the experience of welfare assessment in zoo animals she is looking forward to exploring cross-pollination with other animal welfare fields, such as dog welfare. Sabrina is owner of AnimalConcepts and a short bio can be found by clicking here


Professor Alexandra Horowitz

Smell like a dog

To understand the dog, one must inhabit a world of smell. Since olfaction is the dog's primary sense, research that investigates the dog's world through smell is most apt. In this talk I discuss our research into the dog's use of smell in discriminating quantity as well as recognising themselves and others.

The work of play

Dogs are unusual among animals in that they play throughout their lives, with humans and with other dogs. I discuss our research into what their play bouts tell us about their minds, as well as the kinds of play we engage in with dogs -- and how it affects us.

Professor Daniel Mills

Why dogs need scientists

Many people who claim to love dogs, appear to be blind to or even complicit in the many anatomical and behavioural problems affecting this species. Why is this? How can we clearly let an animal suffer that we claim to love? In this talk I will discuss the concepts of “caring for” versus “caring about” animals as it applies to dogs. This highlights the need to recognise and differentiate our emotional engagement with them from our dispassionate, purely objective assessment of them. I will argue that both approaches are more common than we may appreciate and are harming dogs as a result. I will show how a more integrated, compassionate approach based on critical reasoning which weighs up the welfare when adopting a particular stance, leads to more ethical behaviour. I suggest that those of us who are scientists working in this field also need to understand the philosophical basis to our work and not simply depend on tradition rules of convenience for establishing scientific knowledge, if we want to care for dogs to the best of our abilities.

Understanding how dogs feel

Most people believe their dogs have feelings and live in an emotionally rich world, but trying to demonstrate this in a scientific way is much more challenging. There is a real danger that we simply project our own human feelings on to dogs, and this can lead to not only misreading of the dog, but also welfare problems as a result. For example the “guilty look”, has been used to justify punishment, when it is in fact a response to antagonism shown by the human in these sorts of situation. While there has been an explosion in studying dog cognition, work studying their emotions has not developed at the same rate. However, if we are interested in dog welfare this is perhaps more important. In this talk I will review some of the approaches used to study dog emotions both in the lab and in more practical settings. We are now at a point to say with confidence that dogs have some central representation of emotion in their brain, but exactly which categories they can recognise and respond to remains largely unknown. This talk will also consider a practical approach to help people make assessments in the field that reduce the risk of misreading the dog’s emotional state

Ir. Ineke van Herwijnen

Fighting the battle for fighting dogs

The Netherlands seems to follow in the ‘fighting dog issue-footsteps’ of the UK and USA. Over the summer of 2016 a storm of reports hit the media on dogs and children severely damaged by other dogs. Reports on these ‘high-risk dogs’ have not lessened since. The Dutch government investigates possible legislation. Dogs involved are nearly all of breeds/types formerly bred for fighting and defence purposes. What lies behind the tragic stories? Is it a ‘dog issue’ or a ‘social issue’ we see ourselves confronted with? What defines a ‘high-risk dog; particular breeds, types, mixes? What is the role of dog trainers, behaviourists, breeders and other parties, when we are to counter the situation for society, dog owners and dogs involved?

Janneke van der Laan

Monitoring canine welfare

Environments and circumstances can abruptly change for dogs, for example when switching owners, the addition of a new family member or relinquishment to a shelter. It is of utmost relevance to evaluate whether a dog is able to adapt to such a new situation. Inability to appropriately react to the challenges facing a dog (‘s life), can lead to welfare issues. Monitoring of an individual’s stress responses, is key to understanding and managing stress and to give insight in individual reactivity and coping capacity. This talk will focus on recent scientific literature regarding dog welfare monitoring. Which physiological and behavioural parameters seem to be convenient (such as easy to use in practical situations) indicators of adaptability of individual dogs to challenging environments, such as animal shelters? And how would we be able to implement these measures easily in the routine of dog owners and caretakers? The ultimate aim of these questions is to find ways to help dog owners and caretakers in monitoring their dogs, for them to be better able to support their dogs by for example management changes and training.

More abstracts soon!


This seminar will be held in English.


More info on the location and registration will be available soon.

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Participants will receive a confirmation upon reception of the registration form. You are then officially registered. Cancellations received at least 3 month prior to the first day of the conference or workshop will be honoured and fees, if already paid, refunded, less a processing fee. Cancellations made after this date up to 2 months before the start will be refunded at 50% (even if invoice is not yet send and if payment is still outstanding). Cancellations made less then 1 month before the seminar are not refunded (even if invoice is not yet send and if payment is still outstanding). In fairness to all attendees, confirmed participants who do not attend their scheduled workshop or conference are liable for the entire fee unless other arrangements have been made with AnimalConcepts prior to the start of the event. AnimalConcepts is a registered company under Dutch law, and by accepting the cancellation policy at registration you agree and are bound to these laws, regardless of your geographically area. All payments have to be received prior to the start of the seminar, if this is not possible then only a cash payment on the day will allow access to the event.