We hope you’ll consider joining us in the Working Dog Project!
The goal of the Working Dog Project is to identify genetic explanations for why some dogs succeed in working dog programs while others do not, and to help better target individual dogs to different programs, such as assistance versus law enforcement work. This new project is based at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is generously funded by the Theriogenology Foundation and AKC Reunite. You can learn more about us at www.workingdogproject.org.
We will analyze the genetics and behavior of thousands of working dogs over the next several years, and we need your help. We seek to partner with groups that have experience breeding and/or training working dogs. Collaborators collect non-invasive DNA samples using saliva swabs from each dog. If blood samples or other DNA samples have already been collected and stored, we may also be able to accept those. We will then work with you to assess each dog’s skills and performance through the behavioral assessments that you already have in place.
For the Working Dog Project, it is critically important that we include both successful and
unsuccessful dogs. We are interested in:
● Dogs who are about to enter a training program
● Dogs who are currently enrolled in training
● Successful working dogs
● Dogs who were unable to complete their training program for behavioral reasons
We will compare the behavioral and genetic profiles of successful and unsuccessful dogs to identify genes associated with working dog performance. By setting concrete and measurable goals with the two year Working Dog Project, we expect to powerfully advance any future phases, which may take years to explore. Our long term goal is to provide our partners with practical guidance, based on our research, that will increase the number of dogs succeeding in your program.
If you are interested in helping out or just learning more, please email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to working with you!
Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD (Team Lead, Working Dog Project)
Brittney Logan, BS (Project Coordinator, Working Dog Project)
Elinor K. Karlsson, PhD (Principal Investigator, Working Dog Project)