Can your dog help?

Tell us about your dog and food

We want to know about how dogs differ in their attitude to food.  Please tell us about your dog – take the GOdogs questionnaire. It takes less than 10 minutes and will really help our work. All breeds welcome!

The questionnaire is also the best place to start if you would like to donate DNA from your dog or take part in our behaviour or energy metabolism tests – just opt in when you are offered at the end.  We are currently collecting samples from retriever breeds, pugs, and French and English bulldogs, but may well reach out to other breeds in the future so are pleased to hear from everyone.

Flatcoated Retriever volunteers wanted!

Measuring metabolism

We are looking for enthusiastic owners of flatcoated retrievers who would like to participate in our relaxed test to investigate how genes affect energy metabolism in the body.

It all takes place at the Cambridge University Department of Veterinary Medicine (vet school). All travel expenses are covered and we offer a £50 Amazon voucher as a thank you to all participants.

The test is simple—dogs are taken for a 1 hour walk then settled in a modified transport kennel until they’ve been resting or sleeping for about 2 hours.  Visits last 4-8 hours and owners can stay with the dogs throughout.

It’s all about testing the effect of a genetic variation in a gene called POMC which affects appetite, and possibly metabolic rate.  If you would consider getting involved or would like more information, please email us at

We are looking forward to meeting you and your dog!

Here is our very first participant, Lark. On the left she is at home getting used to the practice box we sent her. On the right, she is looking very proud of herself after doing a brilliant job of relaxing for us!

The view from the inside: GOdogs researcher Eleanor having her own energy expenditure measured. Chilling out inside a spacious dog kennel was a surprisingly good way to get some work done!

Here is Lilly doing a fab job of snoozing for us!

Energy expenditure measurement is complex for the researchers but very simple for your dog – we hope they will chill out, lie down and even go to sleep. Measurements take a couple of hours once the dogs have relaxed.


Measuring feeding behaviour

One of our non-retriever volunteers playing with the ‘Clever Pet Hub’ How hard would your dog work to reveal a treat? Thanks to for the kit!

For food choice trials, we usually ask people to visit once or twice for visits of about an hour.  The tests and games allow us to measure dogs’ food preference in a set of playful experiments, which are fun for the dogs and interesting for the owners.

We have no feeding behaviour trials running at the moment but we are planning some for the near future. If you would like to volunteer your flatcoated retriever (or labrador) to take part please email us at and we will add you to our interest list.


Your dog isn’t a retriever, pug, or bulldog?  We’d still love to learn about your dog and food so take the Dog Eating Behaviour Questionnaire

We are still collecting information about dogs of any breed and how they are with food. Whatever breed of dog you have, please click here to take the survey.

We are interested in dogs of any breed but are focusing at the moment on collecting DNA samples from retriever breeds, pugs and French and English bulldogs.  If you have one of these dogs, read on…

Donating DNA from your Dog

At the end of the eating behaviour questionnaire, we ask if you would consider submitting a DNA sample from your dog.  It’s entirely optional and we will use the eating behaviour information whether or not we get DNA to match.  At the moment we are focussing on collecting from retriever breeds, pugs, French bulldogs and English bulldogs but in future we may approach owners of other breeds too.

What will it involve if my dog donates DNA to the study?

oragene kit use

Saliva sampling is quick, painless and easy. Two spongy swabs are used to soak up saliva from the cheek pouch.

  • GOdogs will send you a saliva sampling kit.
  • Using the kit is simple and most dogs tolerate sampling very well.
  • The kits are easy to use and have clear instructions:
  • If you try to get a sample but your dog won’t tolerate it, that’s fine.  We just ask that any unused kits are returned in the stamped addressed envelope we provide.