Research Interests

Socialization for improved adoptability in laboratory populations

  • We have designed a program at Colorado State University that teaches principles of training to interested students while socializing laboratory dogs and rabbits to prepare them for adoption at the end of their research studies.  Fewer and fewer animals are used in research as more methods of remote modeling exist, but we are developing cutting edge standard methods for assessing and enhancing animal welfare of those that take part in this vital process of investigation.
  • If you are a student interested in taking part in VS495, see the class page   for more information.
  • If you are interested in adopting a research dog, cat, or rabbit, please contact me at askdrwillis@gmail.com

 

Role of enrichment in stress reduction

  • Enrichment is encouraging an animal to take part in species specific activity and behavior as a part of their daily routine.  This is important to all animals (pets, zoo, laboratory, and shelter) to promote physical and mental well-being and stress relief.
  • It is becoming more recognized that enrichment is an important aspect of daily health and welfare, however we are engaged in measuring what types of enrichment are most successful.  We are measuring behavioral benefit to involved animals before, during and after different types of enrichment with the goal being the reduction of stress behaviors.

 

Treatment of inter-dog aggression

  • This is a developing research area where standardization of treatment could be key in helping more dogs and owners be successful in treating this problem.

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