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Genetics of Dog Aggression. Presented by Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD

  • Friday, October 27, 2023
  • 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • live


  • PPG member registration
  • Public registration

The Genetics of Dog Aggression.

 Presented by Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD


What do (and don't) we know about how genetics affects canine aggression?

In this webinar, Jessica Hekman will take a deep dive into her own area of research - how genetics affects personality in dogs. How much of canine personality is due to genetics and how much to environment? How do researchers track down genes related to personality? Have any such genes yet been found? Can we expect a genetic test for dog reactivity any time soon? In this webinar, Jessica will particularly address examples from human literature about traits that are similar to reactivity and aggression in dogs, why they are so hard to understand from a genetics viewpoint, and what the future holds for us.

As always, there will be something for everyone, so come listen and ask questions, whether you are just starting to wrap your head around genetics or whether you're a confirmed science geek!

About The Presenter

Dr. Jessica Hekman, DVM, PhD

Jessica is a veterinary researcher who is fascinated by dog behavior. After eleven years working as a computer programmer, she decided to go back to school to research the causes of behavior problems in dogs. 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 "Siberian silver 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 three dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @dogzombieblog or on Facebook at facebook.com/dogzombieblog.

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