Take Part in our Dog Studies

The dogs that take part in our studies are normal pet dogs living with their owner(s). We are interested in dogs that live in their natural environment: together with humans. Nearly any dog can take part in our studies, independent of age, breed, sex, and level of training. The dog only needs to fulfill three requirements.

Requirements for your dog's participation

  1. Your dog should be comfortable in an unknown environment. Some studies are conducted without the owner, as the owner's presence might influence the test results.
  2. Your dog should not be afraid of other people.
  3. Your dog should be keen on food or play in order to motivate him/her for participation.

Study procedure

Individual studies are conducted in playful settings. Your dog will be presented with a problem to solve, with either food or toys as reward. Your dog`s participation is always voluntary. We are constantly aiming to make your dog`s stay in the testing rooms as comfortable as possible because only a happy and motivated dog will be able to show their cognitive skills. For longer sessions, there will be breaks. Your dog can then rest or play with the experimenter of the study or – with your permission – with other dogs. We are also happy to provide you with a copy of the video of your dog’s study participation.


The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History maintains a dog database, in which the information of interested dog owners and their dogs is saved (LINK registration). We select potential participants from this database, call their owners and invite them. Inclusion in our dog database does not obligate you to participate. If, for instance, you receive a call and the date for the study is not convenient for you, you are always free to decline participation without giving any reasons. In addition, we guarantee that your data will not be passed on to unauthorized individuals and that deletion of your data from the database is possible at any time.

Study duration

The length of the individual studies might vary from ten minutes to more than one hour. For some studies you will be invited only once, whereas other studies require several sessions. You will be informed about the duration of the study prior to your participation. How frequently your dog will be invited to our studies depends on the ongoing studies and your dog’s motivation, but also on your own interest. Usually your dog will not be invited more often than three to five times a year.

Registration for studies

If you and your dog would like to take part in our dog research, we would be happy to register you in our database to invite you to one of our studies. For this purpose, please fill in this registration form and send it to the following address:


with subject: Registration of a dog


Max-Planck-Institut für Geoanthropologie

Kahlaische Strasse 10
07745 Jena, Germany

If you have questions or would like to register your dog, you can also call us:
+49 (0)3641/ 686 935 or visit us on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Hundestudien/ (in German)

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