Me and My Dog course

Dear course participant,

The "Me and My Dog" course describes the dog’s journey from wolf to human’s best friend with the help of the latest genetic and behavioral research.

At the same time, the course collects new research data for behavioral research and the study of dog owners' personality and well-being. The research is conducted at the University of Helsinki and the Folkhälsan Research Center by the research group of Hannes Lohi. The data is collected through self-report surveys that participants answer on the MOOC platform during the course. For those who have also ordered a genetic test for their dog, we aim to combine the dog’s genetic data with the behavioral data. All adult owners can participate in the study, regardless of their dog’s age, breed, or personality. Participation is entirely voluntary, and you can withdraw from the study at any time.

Behavioral research aims to investigate the genetic and environmental background of pets' behavior and personality variation between individuals.

The study of pet owners' personality and well-being aims to examine how the owner's personality, well-being, attachment style, and mental strain during puppyhood are associated with the pet's personality and unwanted behavior. We aim to collect extensive survey data, so your participation is important.

Participation in the study involves enrolling in the "Me and My Dog" MOOC-course and answering various questionnaires during the course. The questionnaires ask you to evaluate your pet's personality and unwanted behavior, your personality and psychological well-being, and the feelings and thoughts you experienced during your pet's puppyhood. Additionally, we ask you to complete a questionnaire about your pet's background and current living environment and provide basic information about yourself and your pet. Please complete these carefully. Participation in the research will not affect your daily life, but it requires participating in the course and responding to the various surveys.

When registering for the course, you provide your personal information. We will use this information later to link it to your survey responses. We may also use your personal information, for example, to contact you about a follow-up study and ask you for a voluntary blood sample of your pet.

We adhere to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union in collecting and processing data. Your information will be stored on a secure server. All data collected in the study is confidential and will be analyzed, and the results will be published so that no one can identify you. If you decide to withdraw from the study, we will retain the information collected about you and your pet unless you request its deletion. After the study, the data will be archived indefinitely with identifiers at the University of Helsinki. The need for data retention will be reassessed every ten years.

Participation in the study poses no significant risks to the participants. Data security risks have been minimized in the ways described above.

The development of the MOOC course was partially funded by the Open University of the University of Helsinki, ERASMUS+ and University of Helsinki, and additional funders may still join. The funders of the research will be updated on the course registration page. The funders and the corporate partners of the study do not influence the research design, methods, or results, nor their publication.

The privacy notice of the study is attached below.

During the study, you can contact the researchers at any time. Contact information: Research Director Professor Hannes Lohi, or