The Team at the Clever Canine Lab
Alex Taylor is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. He set up the Clever Canine Lab in 2017 after being awarded the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Award and a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship.
“For me, understanding how animals think is one of the biggest mysteries in science. We are more sure about what happened in the first few seconds after the big bang, some 13.7 billion years ago, than we are about exactly what thoughts are passing through the minds of our pets. Our lab hopes to change this.”
Dana Keating holds a B.Sc. Hons in Comparative Psychology from the University of Auckland, where she developed an interest in canine cognitive neuroscience. She has experience in canine behaviour and training. She is now undertaking a PhD in Comparative Psychology at the University of Auckland.
“I have always been interested in how animals think and feel, especially dogs who can have such strong bonds with humans. This led me towards conducting research, to gain a better understanding of exactly what goes on in the minds of dogs.
I hope that the understanding gained through our research will help to improve animal welfare, as well as contributing to our knowledge of how social intelligence might have evolved. I am particularly interested in examining canine neural activity, which will help us understand dogs’ cognitive abilities and how their minds work.”
Rebecca Hassall holds a B.Sc. Hons in applied animal behaviour and welfare, a M.Sc. in cognitive neuroscience and has over 15 years’ experience working with dogs, as a trainer, behavioural consultant and husbandry manager. She is now undertaking her PhD at the University of Auckland.
“I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs. After years of pleading, I was given my first best friend at age 12. I developed such a close bond with Bonnie. I grew to see her as not just a pet, but a special, emotional, thinking individual just like you and me.
This bond showed me my calling in life. I wanted not only to work with animals, but to understand them, know their thoughts, minds and feelings. I wanted to share my understanding, using it to teach other people to treat animals with the respect and love they deserve. This put me on my path to becoming a scientist, specialising in the study of canine behaviour and cognition.”
Amalia Bastos holds a B.A. Hons. in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford, where she discovered her passion for the study of animal cognition. She is now undertaking a PhD in comparative psychology at the University of Auckland.
Having worked previously with Goffin cockatoos, New Caledonian crows and Kea, she is now hoping to learn more about minds of dogs and the incredible bond they can form with humans.
“I grew up owning all sorts of pets, and have been around dogs for as long as I can remember. I have a great love of dogs and I am fascinated by how they have cooperated with humans for thousands of years, shaping us as we have shaped them.”
Healthy Pet Foods
The Clever Canine Lab is proud to be sponsored by Healthy Pet Foods. Our mission to discover how dogs think is driven by a passion to understand our four legged friends, as well as a sincere concern for their health and wellbeing. We are therefore committed to using only nutritionally balanced pet food products which meet our high standards. Healthy Pet Foods generous donation of treats and food allows us to be confident that we can give our Clever Canines quality products, and great nutrition.
You can find out more about our sponsor at their website www.healthypetfoods.co.nz.