Quick Contact

Lauren Highfill
Associate Professor of Psychology

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711

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local: (727) 864-7562
toll-free: (800) 456-9009



Dog Behavior Project

Are you interested in learning more about your dog's behavior, personality, and thought processes? We are! The Dog Behavior Project conducts non-invasive behavioral experiments to try to answer these questions. We are always searching for new dogs to join our research team. Participation in our experiments will benefit your dog by providing a fun and stimulating environment (and of course, edible treats!) Also, spending time with your dog outside of the home is a great way to strengthen your pet-owner bond.

We are always looking for dog volunteers - young or old, pure breeds or mixes - to participate in our studies. If you are interested or would like to request more information, please fill out the contact form and someone from our lab will contact you shortly.

General Information

First, we love dogs! It is very important to us that your dog enjoys visiting the lab. We only use positive reinforcement (i.e. treats, toys, verbal praise) and maintain a very upbeat and friendly atmosphere. We want this experience to benefit you and your dog.

Who can participate? We welcome all breeds, ages and training levels!

Time investment? This depends on the particular study and how much time you and your dog would want to invest. Most of our studies require a single 30-60 min session. Some studies require regular weekly visits.

Contact Information

Lauren Highfill, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology, Eckerd College
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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Lab located?

Our lab is housed in the Department of Psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. We will provide all volunteers with specific directions to our dog lab.

How long is a research session and do I simply drop my dog off at the lab?

Currently, all of our experiments require the dog's participation for an hour or less. We do require that owners stay with their dog for the entire session.

I have more than one dog, can they all participate?

YES! We can accommodate multi-dog families.

My dog is not dog-friendly, will this be a problem?

Currently all of our projects test one dog at a time, so there will be no interaction with other dogs. However, please let us know if this is a concern because sometimes the next volunteer may arrive early and we would want to avoid that situation.

My dog is allergic to certain treats, is that a problem?

If your dog has food allergies, please let us know in advance so we can have special treats that fit his/her diet restrictions.

B.A. or B.S.

Students majoring in psychology have the option of completing a Bachelor of Arts or Science. The B.A. program is intended for students who want a strong background in psychology as preparation for careers in such areas as law, public health, and medicine. The B.S. program is intended for students who plan to go on to graduate school in some area of psychology.

The Eckerd Difference

<strong>Rachel Feinberg</strong>---Atlanta, GA---Psychology

"Eckerd met every one of my expectations and more. Here I can be driven, focused, and able to explore any area I please thanks to the dedication of teachers, faculty, and friends. At the same time, I am able to take advantage of Eckerd's beautiful environment, calming atmosphere, and fun activities to make my education experience an enjoyable one." - Rachel Feinberg, Psychology major