One of the questions that many people asked about Buster (and really all dogs that we have available for adoption) was "How is he with cats?" We had to recommend that he go to a home without cats because of his "resource guarding" issues, but the truth is that he had never been around cats, so we really didn't know. And for all dogs that have never been around cats, no one really knows until someone tries it. Which, as you can imagine, can be a big risk for cats. So most rescues and shelters are understandably cautious. The problem is that a dog marked as not safe around cats will have a harder time finding a new home. As did Buster.
Which brings me to the point of this column . . . finally. We have recently discovered a blog called The Science Dog, whose author, Linda P. Case, (a science writer who specializes in topics about canine health, nutrition, behavior and training) writes a monthly column that summarizes and critiques research on dog related behavioral issues. Check it out at thesciencedog.wordpress.com. In this month's post she looks at research conducted by Dr. Christy Hoffman and the Canine Research Team at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Dr. Hoffman studied known cat-loving and cat-hating dogs to determine what behavioral cues might be helpful in developing a reliable test for "cat attitude" in dogs. The research is still in the preliminary stages, but what she found is that the most reliable indicator that a dog was too negatively interested in cats was its response to cat sounds, as opposed to scents (cat pee) or visual cues (stuffed cat). It's way too early for shelters to start translating Dr. Hoffman's work into standardized temperament testing--but wouldn't that be great? The more we can learn about our companion animals based on well-constructed research, the better for them and us!
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 2,07-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.