Below is a list of current projects being run at the University by our staff and students. Most of these projects would require you to bring your pet into the University. If you own a horse or a reptile, or you have a cat or a dog that you do not want to bring into the University but you still want to take part, please check our surveys page for current online questionnaires and home-based video projects.

If you think you and your pet would enjoy taking part in a particular project, and you meet the listed project requirements, please contact the specified email address to see if you can take part. Please ensure that you have signed your pet up to our database here before you contact us.


Understanding how dogs’ task performance might be affected by sound stimuli

Working dogs are asked to perform important tasks under many different conditions. It is currently unknown how much they are distracted by different things in the environment, such as sounds. This research investigates how dogs respond to distracting stimuli in their environment and how it impacts their behaviour. 

Dogs will be accustomed to wearing hearing protection designed for dogs, although not all dogs will wear it during the task. In the task, dogs will be taught to look for food in an array of pots, and sometimes a sound will play. The sound conditions are designed to be reflective of environmental situations which are comparable to those that your dog will experience in its everyday life e.g. background traffic noises or cars backfiring. 

Your dog will be required on one day at Riseholme Campus, for around 3 hours. You would not be able to stay with your dog for this project so it is important that they are comfortable with strangers.

If you would be interested in taking part in this study, please email or

Does owner handedness influence paw preference in dogs?

This project involves a questionnaire and then two tasks to perform at home with your dog.

These two tasks need to be undertaken 10 times, assessing paw preference each time. They are quick and easy, and fun for both you and your dog! The first is the ‘Paw Task’, which involves you presenting your left and right hand to your dog and recording which paw your dog lifts. The second is the ‘Reach Task’ which involves you putting an item out of reach of your dog (such as under a chair, table, chest of drawers …etc) and recording which paw your dog uses first to try retrieve the object.

If you would like to take part in this project, please click here.




Investigating the influence of neuter status on paw preference in cats and dogs

This project involves a short questionnaire and two tasks for you to do at home with your pet. All you need is a willing pet, some tasty treats, a toy and a piece of furniture (such as a sofa!).

The purpose of the study is to investigate whether the neuter status of your cat or dog has an effect on their paw preference. For example: Which paw does your cat or dog use when they reach for a piece of food under a sofa?

If you would be interested in taking part in this study, please click here.