Dr. Simon Gadbois

Dr. Simon Gadbois

Supervisor Canid Behaviour Research Lab, Senior instructor Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada


Research Topics

  • Animal behaviour
  • Neuroscience
  • Olfactory processing
  • Learning
  • Behavioural endocrinology
  • Canids
  • Reptiles

Research Interests

I study domestic and wild canids (wolves, coyotes, and red foxes). I have studied the behavioural endocrinology and social behaviour of wolves (socioendocrinology; with John Fentress and Peter McLeod) as well as food caching action sequences in red foxes, coyotes and wolves (with John Fentress and Fred Harrington). I am currently focussed on olfactory processing in canids and the applications of canine scent processing, particularly with wildlife conservation dogs (dogs trained to search and track species at risk, particularly Nova Scotian reptiles, i.e., Northern ribbon snakes, Wood turtles) as well as research on coyotes in Cape Breton.



BPS, MAPS (Moncton)
PhD (Dalhousie)


Research Methods in Experimental Psychology
Neuroscience Principles and Methods
Animal Behaviour
Advanced Animal Behaviour
Topics in Behavioural Biology
Comparative (Animal) Psychology
Seminar in Teaching Effectiveness


Topic 1 - Applied canine olfactory processing: Modern scent work and neuroscience

The science of wildlife conservation and biomedical Canines.
After over a decade of working in applied scent processing with dogs, we have re-discovered the wisdom of psychophysics. Principles used in sensory psychology and neuroscience have been almost completely ignored in modern scent work with dogs. Yet, the constraints and challenges of diagnostic and detection work beg for the sound century-old methodologies offered by animal (and human) psychophysics.

Topic 2 - The dynamic of motivation: Wanting and Liking (psychology and neuroscience content)

The modern ethology, psychology and neuroscience of motivation will be discussed here, and particularly in the context of animal learning and training. This approach takes in consideration the whole brain and the whole “mind” by including motivational, affective and cognitive (learning) processes in the training process. I will discuss the relevance of intermittent reinforcement and secondary reinforcers in this approach.