Podcast Guest: Dr. Jessica Hekman
In this episode, we’re diving into the connection between behavior and genetics in dogs. I’m joined by Dr. Jessica Hekman, who is a postdoctoral associate at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she researches how genetics affect behavior in pet and working dogs. She is the team lead of the Working Dog Project, where she works with organizations that breed and train working dogs such as guide dogs. Jessica received her Ph.D. in animal sciences (genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics) in 2017 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied canid behavioral genetics. Previously, Jessica graduated from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 with a dual DVM/MS degree.
Jessica lives in Marlborough, MA with her husband and two dogs: Dashiell, an English shepherd who does nosework and parkour; and Jenny, a shy mixed breed dog who does parkour.
In this episode we discuss:
- What is the connection between behavior and genetics? Isn’t it all how they’re raised?
- Is there a way to tell if a behavior you are seeing has a genetic element?
- Breeding dogs is really hard, how can breeders know what to prioritize?
- Animal Health Advice
- Dr. Jessica Hekman at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy
- Dr. Jessica Hekman at Dog Zombie
- Russian Fox Project
- Dalmatian Outcrossing Project
This podcast is supported by…..
FDSA LIFE SKILLS SELF STUDY COURSE
Life Skills – Real Life Skills for Performance Dogs
If you are struggling to balance high energy, high-intensity behaviors in your sport with calm behavior in everyday life, this online course may be for you! Give your dog the skills needed for life outside the ring. All taught with positive reinforcement, and all with the goal of preserving working drive and walking into the ring with a dog that is ready to perform with maximum focus and intensity. The class, instructed by Hannah Branigan, will cover:
- Loose leash walking
- Public Appearances
- Polite Greetings
- Household Manners
- General use management strategies to use in performance settings