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Sociability: Behind the Human-K9 Partnership




Please skip any or all of these assignments if you feel your dog could be bothered or in any way overwhelmed

  • Videos should be short, no more than 20-30 seconds maximum.

  • Videos should be submitted no later than 2 weeks prior to each session scheduled for February 26, march 5 & 12, 2022.

  • Video clips can be emailed directly to 

  • If you require a dropbox link to upload your video(s), please email Sue for upload instructions.

  • Sample videos are shown on the bottom of the guidelines to illustrate what Sue is looking for.



Choice #1:

Your Dog’s Potty Area and Journey To It (can film with or without your dog included, it doesn’t really matter)


This video will include filming from inside your home through whatever exit, and subsequent journey, leading to the area your dog usually potties (urinates and defecates). This may be as short as revealing an interior doorway threshold, opening that door, and filming directly outdoors if there is a yard, or this may be a video depicting an interior doorway threshold, opening that door leading to a hallway, and then an elevator, and a journey through a lobby and then outdoors to a sidewalk. Again, the filming can be done with or without your dog(s), it doesn’t matter. The goal is to show the variety of environments to which our dogs have adapted. 


Choice #2:

These can be photographs or short videos. Your Dog’s Favorite Daytime Resting/Napping/Sleeping Areas


This video will include frantically vacuuming all the dog hair and quickly tidying the surrounding areas (hahaha just kidding about the cleaning part!) of the place or places your dog most frequently chooses to nap, rest, sleep during the day.  If your dog(s) has more than one favorite resting area, please film the top three. Footage can include your dog(s) or just be the resting areas themselves, it doesn’t matter.


Choice #1:

The Tissue Crumple 

  1. Have a tissue or paper towel sheet in your hands

  2. Call your dog over to you

  3. Let your dog watch as you take the paper and crumple it up and then drop it to the floor between your dog’s front feet and yours

  4. Using only verbals, try to stop your dog from getting all the way to it


The purpose of this is to show the differences in how humans use verbal interactions to try to influence their dogs, and also to observe individual dogs’ commitment to pursue a novel item. There is absolutely no judgment on how you choose to try this, and no judgment on your dog’s responses. A dog who shows no interest in the paper is as valid as a dog who dives for it and gobbles it into his mouth.


Choice #2:

The Refrigerator Enticement

  1. With your dog in sight of you, walk to your refrigerator

  2. AS you open the door, say your dog’s name once

  3. Pull something out of fridge, and turn to your dog and give food object all your attention, talk to it, pretend to eat it

  4. Do this for 5 seconds before putting item back in fridge and closing door


The purpose of this is to just see a random and (maybe?) unusual interaction between familiar human and dog. There are no right or wrong responses, just interactions. A dog who doesn’t even rouse to go the refrigerator is as valid as a dog who nudges open the fridge ahead of the human and eats everything inside…


Choice #3:

Sit On a Chair and Tap on Your Lap

  1. Approach chair or bed

  2. AS you are lowering yourself say your dog’s name once

  3. As soon as you are seated, clap on your lap three times

  4. Observe for at least the next 5 seconds, and try not to use your hands (of course if you’re going to lose an eye, then by all means use your hands)


The purpose of this is to see the dog’s responses to a familiar human engaging by calling the dog’s name and then silently cajoling using gestures only. 



Choice #1: 

Get Down On All Fours for 20 Seconds

  1. With your dog somewhere in sight of you, walk to place where you can comfortably get down on all fours

  2. As you assume the position, say your dog’s name once

  3. Observe without saying anything for 20 seconds


The purpose of this is to see the dog’s responses to a familiar person in (perhaps) an unusual position, lower to the floor, closer to face level with the dog.


Choice #1A—Bad Knees Version:

Sit In A Chair and Lean Over As Far As You Can for 20 Seconds

  1. With your dog somewhere in sight of you, walk to a chair or sofa and sit down

  2. AS you are sitting down, say your dog’s name once

  3. Lean over as far as you physically can, put your head down as far as it will go

  4. Observe for 20 seconds without saying anything


Choice #2: 

Three Deliberate Back Strokes

  1. Start next to your dog or call your dog over to you

  2. Stand up unless you have a very small dog, or you have trouble bending down or reaching your dog, in which case do the sitting on a chair

  3. Without saying anything, lean down and with one hand begin at the base of your dog’s neck and conduct one long, slow, stroke ending at the base of your dog’s tail

  4. Stand up in between, and repeat two more times for a total of three strokes

  5. The long stroke should take between 1 and 2 seconds (it’s slow)

  6. Remember to remain silent after calling your dog over to you to start


The purpose of this is to see the dog’s response to a repeated set of physical touch by a familiar human. Repeating the strokes three times allows the dog to become familiar with the event and anticipate the next stroke and respond accordingly as the dog wishes. 


Choice #3 (This requires more than one familiar human):

“I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up”


  1. Have one person hold the dog in a separate room with the door shut

  2. Have the person lie down in a separate room, on the floor, belly down, with head/face turned away from wherever dog will be entering

  3. The person lying down should be within 8’ of where the dog will enter

  4. Have the person holding the dog enter the room with the dog and then free the dog—they should say nothing

  5. Observe the dog for 20 seconds


The purpose of this is to see the dog’s responses to finding a familiar person in an unusual, possibly compromised position, and to observe the dog not just as he locates the person but also after identifying the person. 



Try to have both human and dog in the frame in all assignments that involve human and/or dog. It can be helpful to do a dry run without the dog to see if the phone or video camera is recording satisfactorily. Please don’t try to practice or repeat an assignment because you didn’t like your dog’s responses, or because you secretly wished he/she would do something different. Be objective and scientific!



In addition, we will also be looking for some volunteers who would like to perform and video tape a complete, (mini) Assess-A-Pet Sociability Test on their own dog(s). The Sociability Test takes less than two minutes, is non-invasive, will be done with your dog on a leash, in your own home. This will likely require the volunteer to be familiar with YouTube or Dropbox for uploads and sharing, since these videos will be almost two minutes long, and cannot be readily emailed as is. If you think you might be interested in participating in this assignment (no firm commitment required) please email Sue directly at, with “Puppyworks Sociability Video” in the subject heading.

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