The Clever Dog Lab Facilities
A touch screen is used in the mental rotation tests. The dog Snow has to touch the correct picture with his nose to receive a reward.
A special camera system is used for 3D tracking, which is operated via a control unit in front of the test room. Photo: Christoph Völter
A dog sits with its head on a chin rest while the researcher checks the setting of the eye-tracker camera. In the picture: Sabrina Karl. Photo: Rooobert Bayer
The dog trainer trains the dog Jimi to climb the ramp to the mock scanner. In the picture: Marion Umek. Photo: Thomas Suchanek/Vetmeduni
The CDL is a research hub to study the behaviour and cognition of companion dogs that visit us with their caretakers. The lab consists of 6 testing rooms, each equipped with an adjustable multi-camera system, optimized for all kinds of behavioral studies. The state-of-the-art technological infrastructure provides us with the means to go beyond behavioral observations: Touchscreen units connected to automatic food dispensers allow us to study dogs’ learning and categorization abilities. An eye-tracker measures dogs’ eye movements and pupil size with high temporal and spatial precision while they watch pictures and videos (e.g., of their caregivers). A special 3D tracking system consisting of 8 industrial cameras permits the 3-dimensional reconstruction of the position of various body parts of a dog moving freely in space. Finally, a dummy scanner at the lab allows us to train the dogs for their participation in fMRI studies carried out in collaboration with the SCAN-Unit (University of Vienna).