I’m a dog lover, but you wouldn’t think so with my four cats at home. As much as I love my kitties, sometimes I need something more canine to brighten up my day. I’m also working toward a psychology minor and was in need of some classes. While perusing ASU’s course listings for a psychology elective, I stumbled upon PSY 394: Dog Behavior, a new online psychology course taught by Dr. Clive Wynne. I decided to take the class to give myself a broader view of psychology outside of human cognition and was not disappointed.
Dr. Wynne is an expert in animal psychology with a focus on dogs. He has years of experience in dog research and frequently brings in colleagues for interviews. In lecture, he includes photos and information from his own studies and explains them in depth. Dr. Wynne also teaches a three-part, self-paced continuing education course series called Dog Behavior and Cognition.
The class structure is simple and straightforward. Every week there are a few lectures, usually totaling about two hours, plus a weekly quiz and discussion board assignment. Lectures mainly consist of Dr. Wynne introducing a theory or topic and then explaining it in depth using real life examples. He’s an excellent storyteller and gives life to his lectures through his enthusiasm and occasional jokes. The discussions in this class are some of the best I’ve had online so far. Students usually post questions about their own dogs, allowing you to apply concepts in a meaningful way. Discussion questions are varied and promote open discussion between students.
For those who own a dog, this course will help your bond with your canine companion grow even stronger. You can perform most of the experiments from this class with your own dog, but you don’t have to have a dog to reap the benefits of the course. You won’t be missing out on any content, since Dr. Wynne thoroughly explains every experiment in his lectures.
After finishing this course, I’ve noticed a change in how I view and interact with dogs. I’m more aware of their behaviors and how to act accordingly. I’ve amazed dog owners who think I’m a dog whisperer now that I can get along with most dogs. Once you understand how dogs think, you start to see how most people do not interact correctly with dogs. You can also train dogs more efficiently with the knowledge of how dogs think and what motivates them.
Dog Behavior neatly wraps the basics of canine cognition into one seven and a half week course. I can tell Dr. Wynne put significant effort in building this course. His lectures are engaging and full of personal anecdotes. Dr. Wynne has experience in almost every example he gives, from cuddling domestic foxes in Russia to testing Chaser, the canine Einstein. I highly recommend this class to anyone who likes dogs or is looking to shake up their ASU Online experience. Check out the video below for a closer look into Dr. Wynne’s class!