DR FOX & THE SUPERDOG (BIO-SENSOR) PROJECT
DEAR DR. FOX :I have been a dog trainer and behavior
consultant for over 20 years and am certified by five dog trainer
organizations. I invite you to read my experience and qualifications
I am writing a book on Puppy Socialization for owners.
I am researching the BioSensor program by Dr. Carmen
Battaglia and have found that it is controversial with some sources saying
that there is no data to back up the claims. http://www.border-wars.com/2012/02/bio-sensor-is-bad-science-the-failure-of-super-dog.html is an example.
Your name has come up in the discussion, and I
wondering if you could comment on the method. Thanks in advance for
any information you can give.
C.W.: Los Angeles CA
DEAR C.W.: While I was associate professor of psychology
Washington University, and having my PhD dissertation Integrative Development of Brain
and Behavior in the Dog published
by the University of Chicago press and soon after the popular best- selling version Understanding Your Dog came out, the
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps contacted me as a civilian advisor to improve the
in-field performance and well-being of their military dogs serving in Viet Nam
and being raised and trained at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. This
was because in both these publications I set out a protocol of early handling
of puppies to increase their stress-tolerance and adaptability and emotional
stability later in life.
The German shepherd dogs that I saw initially were
kennel-confined and shy, and in dire need of social and environmental enrichment,
remedies which I helped initiate. Their offspring were given various forms of
sensory and social stimulation during their first weeks of life. These were
based in large part on procedures and findings detailed in my doctoral
dissertation and summarized in Understanding
Your Dog. I
worked with Col Castleberry DVM and his staff to set up what we decided to call
the Superdog Project. One officer, Jeff Lynn DVM, worked closely with me and
earned a Master’s degree from Washington University, Dept. of Psychology,
detailing and evaluating this project which was indeed a success.
It has disturbed me that various individuals have made
claims to have developed or were involved in this Superdog project with whom I
have had no professional relationship and who never cited my original
research on the beneficial effects of early brain and sensory stimulation in
puppies. I see them as trying to capitalize financially and reputation-wise for
work which I did for no remuneration and with the only purpose of helping these
military dogs under the stresses of combat and save a few soldiers’ lives in
So long as the American forces continue to operate in
foreign countries with military dogs I would like to see better protective
footwear and protective vests ( including cooling vests) and goggles provided
as needed for the dogs along the lines established by the British military, and
suitable local dogs, better adapted climate and disease-wise, being trained for
military use and then brought back to the U.S. after service for adoption.