C-BARQ: Canine database seeks to better understand man’s best friend

    (frank11/BigStock)

    (frank11/BigStock)

    According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 43 million U.S. households have a dog.

    So yes, Americans love their pets, but many will admit their dog’s behavior can sometimes be a bit of a mystery: what are they saying when they lick things? Will they ever learn that they’re not going to catch that bird? Or that the tail they’re chasing is actually their own?

    The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine has been compiling a database of reported dog behavior. It’s called C-BARQ, which stands for Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire. 

    James Serpell, Professor of Ethics and Animal Welfare at Penn’s Veterinary School, directs the Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society. He joined NewsWorks Tonight guest-host Tom MacDonald to discuss what it takes to gather doggy data using pet owners rather than researchers.

    According to Serpell, having owners fill out a questionnaire is a more realistic way of gathering large amounts of information regarding specific species. “We’re trying to do comparisons between different breeds, and for that you need a fair number of dogs of each breed. In this country, we have somewhere between 300 and 400 different breeds.”

    Eventually, the public will be able to access the database and compare their own dog’s behavior to the information gathered.

    You can hear the conversation below.

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