2010: Monique Udell

University of Florida

Monique's research interests center around environmental and experiential factors that contribute to canid success in using human gestures as discriminative stimuli. This involves testing domestic dogs from different populations (pets, working dogs, strays/shelters) on standardized tests that require the use of human stimuli to obtain reinforcement. She has also conducted comparisons with human-socialized wolves and coyotes. This line of research has emphasized the importance of early and lifetime experience for the development of canid responsiveness to human action. It has also demonstrated that not all human stimuli are equal predictors of canine behavior; stimulus properties and an individual's learning history contribute greatly to performance on these tests. These findings suggest that treating dogs' positive responsiveness to humans as a given inhibits a broader understanding of the lifetime development of canine social behavior, sometimes resulting in less effective policies and training practices within a society where the presence of dogs is inescapable. Monique hopes to broadly impact the way humans view their interactions with dogs, tying her experimental work to practical considerations for applied settings.


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