Schools across the country opening their doors to dogs

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Timber the husky mix is one of many dogs now enrolled in Canine Cognition Centers and his owner was thrilled to enlist him for duty. (KFSN)

Timber the husky mix is one of many dogs now enrolled in Canine Cognition Centers and his owner was thrilled to enlist him for duty.

"I thought it would be a really unique opportunity," said Laurie Stenerson, Timber's owner.

At another cognition center, Angus was tasked with figuring out how to open a box.

"I wanted him to do something that's fun and useful," said Rhona McKhan, dog owner.

We found Canine Cognition Centers popping up at colleges and universities across the country.

"We've seen almost an explosion in this work on canines and how they think. You can see new centers opening all the time," said Laurie Santos, psychology professor.

Researchers are racing to figure out how the mutt mind works-- using your dogs.

"Canine Cognition Centers are an incredibly promising and exciting thing. It's a whole new research model where rather than having labs full of animals we rely on the animals that are in our communities," said Evan Maclean, University of Arizona.

In the cases of Timber and Angus scientists calculate how dogs take cues from humans. Which not only help dog owners understand their furry family members but also, how dogs can help us.

"We also hope to learn about the ways that dogs solve complex problems so that we can improve the things they do in society, such as helping us to find explosives or helping people with disabilities, or even medical detection work," said Maclean.

It was Timber's first time participating, but Angus has become quite the professional student and racked up lots of diplomas in the process.

"Both he and I love to come to do the studies and maybe we're contributing something to science," said McKhan.

Researchers usually look for outgoing and friendly dogs that are good with both people and other dogs.

The schools tell us sometimes owner's drive several hours for their pet to participate.

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