Martina Lazzaroni

Project at the WSC The observation of “ambiguous” behavioural patterns: what social situation do they relate to?
Favourite wolf song “Lupo” di Gappa
Favourite animal at the WSC Shima

I came from Italy where I studied Natural Sciences in Milan. I’m attending a master in dog training at Univerità of Pisa. I’m here thanks to kind people working at “Laboratorio Canis Sapiens” of Università degli Studi di Milano. I studied for my master’s thesis in dog training with them and they spoke me about this wonderful place!

I’m doing a comparative observational study between dogs and wolves. The overall aim of my research project is to clarify the functional relevance of a number of behavioural patterns so far considered ‘unclear’ or ‘ambiguous’ in the literature. I’m investigating bow, stand over, genital sniffing and self directed behaviours such scratching, stretching and so on. I would like to understand in which social contexts these behaviours are more expressed. Moreover, I will  conduct a detailed analysis of postures observed in different social situations because I hypothesize that the details of postures exhibited during different settings may give different meanings to that behaviour. This means that what is normally classified as one behaviour could have different meanings defined by different postures.

I worked as volunteer for 5 years in a kennel. In Italy many kennels are not good and there are many sad situations. I worked in a kennel with 200 phobic dogs, remembering their terrible life. Most of them have a family now and are very happy!

I came to the WSC in May 2013 and I will be here for 7 months. What do I enjoy the most at WSC? To listen Kaspar’s pack howling!! Sometimes the black wolves start howling with a strange groan, like a laugh. They are so fairy-tale! My favourite wolf is obviously Shima! She is shrewd and sweet, and she often follows me along the fence and sometimes looks briefly at me with cunning, smiling eyes.

I’m very thankful to the Wolf Science Centre for this fantastic experience.