Dr. Monique Udell

Dr. Monique Udell

Assistant Professor Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University, PhD in Psychology

M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Psychology - Research has primarily focused on the development & flexibility of social behavior in canines and human-animal interactions


Although my love for animals and nature began early in life, it was during my training as a biology/psychology double major at Stetson University that I developed a formal interest in the social behavior of animals. As an undergraduate student I had several opportunities to design and conduct research firsthand.  These experiences not only confirmed my ambition to pursue a career in animal behavior, but resulted in an ongoing desire to teach and mentor others in research.



In 2006 I co-founded the Canine Cognition and Behavior Lab at the University of Florida where I studied with Dr. Clive D. L. Wynne and earned my M.S. and Ph. D. degrees in Psychology. My research has primarily focused on the development & flexibility of social behavior in canines and human-animal interactions. One goal has been to better understand lifetime factors that facilitate social bonds between humans and other species.



Currently I am an Assistant Professor of Animal and Rangeland Sciences at Oregon State University, located in Corvallis OR. Prior to this post, I held positions at the University of Oregon, Flagler College, and University of Florida, conducting research and teaching a wide range of courses related to psychology and animal behavior.


I also teach a Canine Cognition course and moderate a monthly lecture series with E-Training for Dogs.


While much of my recent work has centered around the behavior of dogs and wolves, my interests extend to a broad range of species. In addition to research, I am an animal trainer and have served as an animal behavior consultant to pet owners, zoos, and lawyers. As a result, I have worked with a variety of animals including domesticated and wild cats, horses, megachiropteran bats, coyotes, foxes, mice, birds and non-human primates.



I currently live in Eugene Oregon with my husband Chester Udell, who is a composer and sound engineer, and my Border Collie Ember.


Topic 1 - DAID Training: Dogs as Active Partners in Animal Assisted Intervention Programs

Dog ownership and interactions with dogs in therapeutic settings have been found to have a variety of beneficial outcomes for humans. However, in many cases dogs play a passive role in therapeutic activities, with the beneficial outcomes focused solely on the human. In this talk I will discuss, and show examples from, a current program where we are investigating the efficacy of engaging a family’s own dog as an active therapeutic partner for children with developmental and motor disabilities (e.g. autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy). In the current program children learn about basic dog behavior, how to properly walk their dog and in one condition learn how to train their dog using an imitative training methodology (‘Do As I Do’ training). I will discuss how canine science and an understanding of human and canine cognition can facilitate the development of novel forms of animal assisted therapy and human-canine interactions intended to benefit both humans and dogs.


Topic 2 - ‘Mis’behavior or Dog Behavior?

Living with another species can be both rewarding and challenging. Dogs are amazingly adaptive and can live very successful lives in human homes, however sometimes their natural behaviors or ways of seeing the world can conflict with our own. In this talk I will provide an overview of behavioral and cognitive principles that can be used to help us (or pet owners) better understand their dogs’ behavior from a scientific perspective, including canine behavioral ecology, instinctive drift, attachment style, and common motor patterns. We will also look at some advanced learning theory (beyond basic reinforcement and motivational principles) to help explain why animal training may not always go as planned, and what can be done to overcome common obstacles. We will end with a discussion about how a greater scientifically based knowledge of canine cognition and behavior can help break down stigmas about many common behavior problems and training challenges faced by those owning and working with dogs.