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'Genius canine' study explores dogs' learning ability
Max from Hungary (pictured) will demonstrate his learning ability in a live broadcast.

Six border collies to take part in live experiments

Scientists from the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd (ELTE) University, Budapest are conducting an international research project which aims to find 'the world's smartest dog'.

The Genius Dog Challenge will see six dogs from around the world demonstrate their ability to learn the names of various toys.

The research team will be sharing the dogs' efforts with the rest of the world as part of several live broadcasts taking place from 11 November to 16 December.

The challenge will be split into two stages. For the first stage the dogs have a week to learn the names of six new toys and at the second stage the dogs will be given the same amount of time to learn the names of 12 toys.

At the end of each stage, the dogs will be tested live on the Genius Dog Challenge's Facebook and YouTube. The team aims to publish the data gathered during these live streams as a scientific article.

The project is led by Shany Dror, a PhD Student from the Department of Ethology, ELTE University. She said: “Well-trained dogs can easily learn the names of many commands such as sit or down but learning the names of objects appears to rely on different learning mechanisms.

“There is only a handful of studies conducted on dogs with a large vocabulary of object labels, such as toy names, and these studies are normally conducted on only one or two subjects.

“Our hope is that with this project we will be able to detect new genius dogs that are willing to participate in our research. We encourage owners of such dogs to contact us.”

Owners whose dogs know the names of ten or more objects or toys are invited to apply through the Genius Dog Challenge website.

Image (c) Genius Dog Challenge.

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Vets asked to opt-in to Scottish SPCA fostering programme

News Story 1
 The Scottish SPCA is encouraging veterinary practices to opt into its new fostering programme, by agreeing to register foster animals when approached by one of the foster carers.

The programme goes live in August 2021, and will help to rehabilitate animals under the Scottish SPCA's care until they are able to be properly re-homed. The programme will help the animals to receive care and attention in a stable and happy home environment, as some animals do not cope with a rescue and re-homing centre environment as well as others.

Specific information for veterinary practices on the new programme can be found at www.scottishspca.org/veterinarysurgeons 

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News Shorts
Webinar provides insight into old age pets

A new webinar providing insights into the BSAVA PetSavers Old Age Pets citizen science project is now available free of charge to its members via the BSAVA Library

The webinar presents an exclusive insight into the research process and progression of the study, which aims to help veterinary professionals and owners provide the best care for their senior dogs.

It also discusses the study's research methods, the researchers' personal interests in this area of study, and how they envisage the findings being used to create a guidance tool to improve discussions between vets and owners about their ageing dogs.