Clive Wynne, Dog Behaviorist

wynne webrascal to drawIf you've ever owned a dog, you know that dogs really are our best friends. The unconditional love, the forever-wagging tail, the licks on your face and the way they greet you when you walk in the door. What could be better than that?

Clive Wynne, Ph.D., a behavioral scientist with a fascination for dogs, will be in PebbleCreek at 10 a.m. Nov. 6 to talk about why dogs are special, and how their intelligence compares to other animals. (See video below)

In recent years, scientists have tried to pin down what it is about dogs that makes them so able to thrive in human societies. Some scholars have argued that dogs possess exceptional intelligence, noting they are trained to sniff out drugs and explosives, learn words and master complex agility trials.

Wynne, however, doesn’t believe dogs have extraordinary intelligence. Rather, his research has shown that it is their capacity to form affectionate relationships with members of other species that marks dogs as uniquely successful around human beings. It is their hearts, not their smarts, that make dogs so remarkable.

Wynne, a professor of psychology and the director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, is also the director of research at Wolf Park, a not-for-profit organization in Indiana, dedicated to behavioral research, education and conservation, with the objective of improving the public’s understanding of wolves and the value they provide to our environment.

He was born and reared on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England, studied at University College London, and got his Ph.D. at Edinburgh University. He has studied animal behavior in Britain, the United States and Australia in species ranging from pigeons to dunnarts (a mouse-sized marsupial.)

Some years ago, he found a way to meld his childhood love of dogs with his professional training, so he could study and teach the behavior of dogs and their wild relatives. 

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $4 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.

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