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BH510: The Biology of Building a Great Performance Dog

Instructor: Jessica Hekman

Course Details

We all want to do everything we can to make our next performance dog be the very best she can be. This means not just being a good trainer, but making good decisions about where our dogs come from, based on a solid understanding of how genetics and environment interact to affect the developing dog. In this course, you will get your science on! We will learn about developing brains, the effects of genetics on behavior and health, and the importance of very early socialization, and we will grapple with the "to neuter or not to neuter" question, all based on recent scientific articles. 

Jessica is a veterinarian who decided that she was more interested in learning how things go wrong with dogs than in how to fix them, so she went back to school (again) to get a Ph.D. in the genetics of dog behavior. She is actively engaged in research on how genetics affect the development of different personalities in dogs. She also has a lot of experience in teaching dog trainers and loves getting into geeky conversations with students about the biology of dogs. Having recently gotten a new performance dog and being hip-deep in training him for agility, parkour, and nosework, she also has an understanding of the unique perspective of the sports enthusiast who wants both a pet and a teammate. 

This course is not about teaching your dog specific behaviors. It is about learning some cool science, asking questions, and talking through the answers. For some, it will be about learning how to think scientifically. For others, it will be about diving right in to the latest dog research. If you think dog science is awesome, this is the class for you.