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Olfaction in Dogs from the Point of View of Modern Psychology, Ethology and Neuroscience

February 12

11:00 am PT

This talk is eligible for CEUs from: CCPDT - Behavior, CCPDT - Training, IAABC, KPA


My presentation will offer perspectives on olfaction within academia that are not commonly very well known in the applied world of olfaction.

From experimental psychology we will discuss the distinction between detection and discrimination that defines methods and procedures, including models that could benefit the work done in medical detection and diagnosis. From ethology we will discuss the “perception-action” school of thought that defines olfaction as “sensing,” meaning that it takes place in a dynamic and rich context that may be hard to simulate in controlled conditions. And finally, from neuroscience, we will discuss the olfactomotor integration, and the role of motivation and emotion in olfactory processing in dogs.

I will end by discussing how some of those theoretical and fundamental ideas within psychology, ethology and neuroscience can and should impact how we train and work with professional sniffer dogs as our colleagues and research assistants in the lab and the field.

Presented By:

Simon Gadbois

Simon Gadbois (he/him/his) is a behavioural scientist and neuroscientist that integrates animal experimental psychology (learning and sensory processing), ethology and neuroscience in his study of wild and domestic canids. He is the director of the Canid and Reptile Behaviour and Olfaction Laboratory at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. His team is currently focusing on applications of olfactory processing in dogs, in particular, Wildlife Conservation Canines and Biomedical Detection and Assistance Dogs (for diabetes and PTSD). Previously he studied red foxes, coyotes and wolves including their social behaviour, behavioural endocrinology and natural behaviour patterns.