top of page

Do you understand your dog's language? Take part in this study to find out!

If you are a dog owner or working with dogs on a regular basis and want to expand your knowledge about dog`s communicative signals, we need you! Please take part in our research project aiming to understand how people can read various communicative dog body signals and identify the risks associated with these behaviours. You will be asked to watch short dog videos and assess the behaviour you see. The study should take about 45-60 mins to complete. Please use your PC, laptop or Mac to participate (no phones). The study could be accessed by clicking the following link:

Title of study: Risks associated with the misinterpretation of canine communicative signals Name of researcher(s): Greta Kerulo, Niko Kargas, Daniel Mills (Contact details of the researchers are given at the end)

You are invited to participate in my doctoral research project, at the University of Lincoln, that examines how people with varying experience with dogs can recognise dog body language and how they can identify the risks associated with particular dog behaviour. Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary and anonymous and you can withdraw at any time. Before you decide whether or not you wish to participate, please read this information sheet carefully and be sure to ask any questions you have via email.

What is the purpose of the study?

Previous research has suggested that people have difficulties in interpreting canine body signals, however, experience could improve their accuracy. The aim of the current study is to assess the skills of dog owners and professionals’ working with dogs in reading canine communicative signals and to understand how they perceive the risks associated with specific dog behaviours. The study also investigates how other factors, such as experience with dogs and the strength of dog-human relationship could influence their accuracy in dog body language recognition. Finally, the present study aims to assess to what extent, if any, completion of a brief training program could improve their skills in dog body language recognition.

What equipment do I need to take part?

As the questionnaire uses videos, for the best experience please use your PC, Mac or tablet when taking part. Please DO NOT use your phone as the videos are not available on that platform.

Am I eligible to take part?

We are looking for dog owners who have some interest in dog behaviour and body language and professionals who work with dogs on regular basis (e.g. vets, animal behaviourists, animal-assisted intervention professionals, dog trainers etc.). If you belong at least one of these groups, you are eligible to take part.

Do I have to take part?

Participation is completely voluntary. You should only take part if you want to and choosing not to take part will not disadvantage you in anyway.

What will I be asked to do?

After completing the electronic consent form, you will be asked to fill in an online questionnaire while providing information about your experience and relationship with your dog. As part of the questionnaire you will also be asked to watch short videos on dog body language and behaviour and answer a few questions after each video. You will see 18 videos in the first stage which will be either followed by 18 videos or still images and in the third stage you will again see 18 short videos. The study should last about 45-60 minutes to complete. You can stop any time and return to the questionnaire later by logging in with the same device within a week.

Will I be paid expenses for taking part?

You will not be paid to participate in this study.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

Although, there are not any direct benefits of taking part in this study, the study involves some training elements in dog body language which could potentially enhance your skills in dog body language recognition.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

There are no direct disadvantages of taking part in this research, however, there are some videos on dogs showing high levels of stress, fear or aggression. If you find these videos disturbing, please feel free to skip them. There are no videos where dogs are harmed or dogs bite other animals or humans.

Will anyone know I have taken part?

Any information collected in the study by the researchers will be anonymous. In the event that the results of the present study will be published, you will not be identifiable in any publication.

Where will my data be stored?

The data collected will be kept confidential and stored in password-protected computers at the University of Lincoln premises for a period of five years.

What will happen if I don’t want to carry on with the study?

You can withdraw any time during the survey by exiting the questionnaire. As you complete the study anonymously it will not be possible to remove the data provided, as we will not be able to identify you in any way. The responses are completely anonymous and cannot be traced back to you.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

This study is part of my PhD and will be written up as part of my PhD thesis. The results of this study are likely to be published early 2022.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This research is being conducted by the University of Lincoln.

Who has reviewed the study?

All research conducted by the University of Lincoln is looked at by an independent group of people, called a Research Ethics Committee, to protect your interests.

What if there is a problem?

If you have a concern about any aspect of this study, you should ask to speak to the researchers, who will do their best to answer your questions. The researchers’ contact details are given at the end of this information sheet. If you remain unhappy and wish to complain formally, you can do this by contacting, ethics reference number: UoL2020_3773.

Further information and contact details

PhD student: Greta Kerulo,

Supervisory team: Dr Niko Kargas,; Prof Daniel Mills,

Please do not take part in this study using your phone.


Recent Posts
bottom of page