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  • What is the difference between a sensitive and critical period in the brain and how does this relate to dogs?
  • How is the brain’s function different during a sensitive period in terms of wiring?
  • How is the brain’s function different during the sensitive period for socialization in terms of stress responsiveness?
  • What is the timing of this difference in stress responsiveness in dogs?
  • What are the implications of this timing for adult personality?
  • Does the timing of stress responsiveness in early socialization differ across dog breeds?
  • Does the timing of stress responsiveness in early socialization differ across individual dogs?

Dr. Jessica Hekman | The biology of socialization

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  • Jessica is a veterinary researcher who is fascinated by dog behavior. She received her veterinary degree in 2012 from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts, where she also received a Master’s degree for her work on stress behaviors in hospitalized dogs. After graduation, she completed a year-long internship specializing in shelter medicine at the University of Florida Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program. She received her PhD in genetics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, studying a group of foxes (often known as the “Russian tame foxes”) which have been bred over many generations to be friendly to humans. She is currently working at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a postdoctoral associate, studying the genetics of behavior in pet dogs through the Darwin’s Ark project and the Working Dogs Project. Her ultimate goal is to find genetic causes of fearfulness in dogs, to work with behaviorally challenged shelter dogs, and to help people better understand the science behind dog behavior. She also frequently teaches online classes and webinars about canine genetics and behavior. Jessica lives in Raymond, NH with her husband and two dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @dogzombieblog or on Facebook at

  • 21st June 2020

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