Behavior Research Program RFP

The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports research that enhances our understanding of the basic behavioral and social processes that influence the well-being of dogs and their owners.  Within the broad context of canine behavior, research can include studies with a primary focus on epidemiology, incidence and impact of behavioral dysfunction, clinical interventions or treatment studies for behavioral dysfunction, or development of new methods for identifying and assessing behavioral dysfunction. Genome Wide Association Studies will be considered; however, as it is highly likely that behavioral traits are polygenic in nature, it is strongly recommended that geneticists partner with behavioral specialists to design comprehensive studies that will define relevant behavioral phenotypes, genotypes and present potential intervention solutions for owners with affected dogs. Genomic studies that are inclusive of complementary proteomic, epigenomic, metabolomic, or transcriptomic studies will be considered more competitive than genomic studies in isolation.

Of higher priority are studies that will define behavioral and physiological traits that allow for enhanced selection of service dogs. Grants addressing the selection of service dogs must include a description of how the research will improve access of needy recipients to service dogs in general.

Topics of special interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Behavioral and physiological traits that enhance service dog performance and trainability, including but not limited to identification of biomarkers or compounds detected by service dogs that serve the needs of people with various types of autism, seizures, low blood sugar, or individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Studies should be designed to include reciprocal determination of biological markers that assess the health and well-being of service dogs themselves to ensure dogs are functioning out of positive rather than negative motivation.
  • Enhanced understanding of how pain is reflected in behavioral changes
  • Noise Phobia
  • Aggression
  • Timid
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety

The AKC Canine Health Foundation is not currently accepting grant applications in this research program area.

Please read an open letter to applicants concerning changes to our grant process from previous cycles.

View recently funded research in the Behavior Research Program Area >>

Return to main RFP page >>

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