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The BRAY (Behavioral Research Across Years) lab is directed by Dr. Emily Bray, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Veterinary Medicine. We study how dogs think, problem solve, and interact with their world and our own species, including the various factors that influence those behaviors. Explore this website to learn more about the research.

How do your earliest interactions affect the rest of your life? Why is impulse control so difficult in some contexts but not others? When can we detect warning signs of cognitive decline? What are the characteristics of a successful working dog, and how soon can we tell? Will the puppies outsmart me today? (Invariably, yes.)

At the BRAY (Behavioral Research Across Years) lab, we seek to answer all the above questions and more within our main study species, the domestic dog.

Dr. Bray is an assistant professor of human-animal interaction in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona and a research scientist at Canine Companions. She earned her PhD in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where she worked with Robert Seyfarth, Dorothy Cheney, and James Serpell. For her dissertation, she partnered with The Seeing Eye, Inc.  to conduct a longitudinal study investigating puppy development, which involved tracking a cohort of 138 puppies from birth until completion of the program. After graduating, she was a post-doctoral research associate at the Arizona Canine Cognition Center (in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona) and Canine Companions, where she studied how early developmental, behavioral, and cognitive factors impact later life outcomes.


Prior to UPenn, she earned a B.A. in Psychology and English from Duke University, where I worked at the Duke Canine Cognition Center studying inhibitory control in pet and Canine Companions® service dogs with Evan MacLean and Brian Hare.


Our research

Take a peek at some of our research!  Through studying canine cognition, health, and genetics, it is my goal to improve the success of service dogs and the dogs’ impact on their handlers. Also, by doing this research, I am working to not only actively support the mission of Canine Companions, but also to unlock factors that will set up all dogs for success, ranging from pet dogs to working dogs.

Watch our research in action

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