April 2, 2018
CPT’s Mark Spivak is an experienced and talented expert witness in criminal and civil legal cases that involve animal behavior, animal training, animal handling, or animal husbandry practices. Mark represents either the plaintiff or defense. His one rule before accepting an assignment is that he must have passion for the case and for the attainment […]
October 9, 2017
From October 6 – 8, CPT founder and Head Trainer and Dog Star Technologies Chief Operating Officer Mark Spivak attended the 2017 Canine Science Conference on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The 3-day Canine Science Conference featured nationally and internationally renowned speakers in the field of canine genetics, canine behavior, and […]
September 24, 2017
CPT’s founder and Head Trainer Mark Spivak presented at the September 23 meeting of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) held on the education campus of Egleston Children’s Hospital. The NAON is a 7,000 plus member nonprofit professional association whose primary mission is to advance the highest standards of musculoskeletal […]
September 22, 2017
CPT’s founder and Head Trainer Mark Spivak presented at the Fall 2017 Animal Law Symposium held at the Georgia Bar Association building in Atlanta. The symposium, “Uniting Legal, Law Enforcement, Veterinary, and Shelter Professionals,” was hosted by Animal Law Source. Animal Law Source’s mission is to provide education, awareness, legislative action, and professional action that […]
March 26, 2017
CPT Trainer Karen Smalley and her 6.5-year old, male Border Collie, Bodhi, have worked hard to become one of the top human-canine competition tandems in Georgia, if not the entire Southeast. Since Bodhi arrived at Karen’s home as an 8-week puppy, Karen and Bodhi have acquired a lofty resume, including AKC titles, UKC titles, ASCA titles, […]
November 23, 2016
Our upcoming canine fMRI study, nicknamed “Tiki Learning,” evaluates the canine cognitive process upon exposure to visual stimuli. In the Tiki Learning experiment, while in the scanner the dogs are randomly exposed to two objects that they have not previously observed. After one object the dog receives a treat, whereas nothing noteworthy occurs subsequent to […]
November 4, 2016
On Thursday, November 3, CPT’s Mark Spivak attended the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) seminar on Animal Law held at the State Bar of Georgia building in Atlanta. The seminar featured multiple speakers and materials relevant to Mark’s respected work as an expert witness in civil and criminal cases containing issues related to animal […]
October 28, 2016
CPT’s Mark Spivak appeared on a 2-part WSB news feature broadcast on Thursday, October 27 during both the 5 pm and 6 pm newscasts. The feature discussed concerns about the increasing trend of “fake service animals.” Mark was interviewed by WSB for his expertise in service dog training and legislation. During the lengthy interview with […]
September 3, 2016
Background CPT’s Mark Spivak, along with his Dog Project cohorts Peter Cook, Ashley Prichard, and Greg Berns, authored a paper published in the high impact factor journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN). The article, entitled “Awake Canine fMRI Predicts Dogs’ Preference for Praise Versus Food,” examines the reward preference amongst an experimental group of […]
August 30, 2016
Sharecare.com is a national health and wellness resource and information website that includes platforms for both personalized and general health programs and information. The company was founded in 2010 by Jeff Arnold, the creator of WebMD and television’s Dr. Oz (Mehmet Oz) in collaboration with several large corporate investors: Harpo Studios, Sony Pictures Television, and […]
May 16, 2016
CPT’s Mark Spivak is conducting an international webinar entitled, “Innovative Canine Neuroscience.” The webinar discusses how fMRI research is improving our ability to select dogs for working roles, train working and pet dogs, and improve our dogs’ quality of life. The webinar is hosted by Fetch Dog Training of Minneapolis and will be broadcast in […]
April 9, 2016
CPT’s Mark Spivak, along with his Dog Project cohorts Peter Cook and Gregory Berns, authored a paper published in the esteemed journal, Animal Cognition. The article, entitled “Neurobehavioral Evidence for Individual Differences in Canine Cognitive Control: An Awake fMRI Study,” examines inhibitory control behavior both with a task performed within an fMRI machine and during […]
November 19, 2015
On October 14, October 28, and November 19, CPT President and Head Trainer Mark Spivak visited the Gwinnett Jail to instruct prisoners on proper dog training techniques to better prepare rescue dogs for adoption into permanent homes and for participation in the Office of Naval Research (ONR) sponsored CPT/Emory fMRI projects.
November 17, 2015
CPT’s Mark Spivak, functioning as a research consultant in conjunction with Emory University’s Neuroscience Department, co-authored a sixth research paper published in a prestigious peer reviewed academic journal. The article, entitled “Regional Brain Activity in Awake Unrestrained Dogs,” authored by Peter Cook, PhD, Andrew Brooks, PhD, Mark Spivak, CPT, and Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, describes the process the team employed to become the first research team worldwide to obtain fMRI images of non-human animals without the use of sedation or restraints. The paper also discusses the advantages of the team’s protocol and applications for the methodology.
October 6, 2015
Sylvie is a 3.5 year old, spayed, female Standard Poodle. Her owner, Charlotte, suffers from a condition called neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS). The condition occurs when an identifiable trigger, such as sudden standing, rapid movement, long period stationary positioning, dehydration, fatigue, stress, or sometimes no identifiable trigger (idiopathic), elicits an autonomic brain stem response that affects […]
August 7, 2015
CPT’s Mark Spivak, functioning as a research consultant in conjunction with Emory University’s Neuroscience Department, co-authored a fifth research paper published in a prestigious peer reviewed academic journal. The article, entitled “Awake fMRI Reveals a Specialized Region in Dog Temporal Cortex for Face Processing,” co-authored by Dr. Daniel D. Dilks, PhD, Dr. Peter Cook, PhD, […]
May 22, 2015
The Emory-CPT canine fMRI research team’s recent project obtained attention from Coren due to his interest in visual processing and human-canine interaction. Coren lauds how using canine fMRI the Emory-CPT team became the first researchers to definitively demonstrate an explicit facial processing area in the canine brain. Coren discussed the uniqueness and difficulty of the process developed by Berns and Spivak, the methodology of the experiment, the results of the experiment, and the importance of the experiment.
May 7, 2015
CPT’s expert witness role included composing deposition questions, composing questions for a private investigator, aiding in researching the dog’s behavioral history, interpreting data, providing insight regarding the dog’s breed origin and behavior, and providing insight regarding the neighbor’s actions and knowledge.
April 17, 2015
Research conducted by Dog Star Technologies, a canine neuroscience company co-founded by CPT’s Mark Spivak, was featured in the Spring 2015 issue of the Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) magazine, “The Companion.” The article, entitled “Understanding How Assistance Dogs Think- Science at Canine Companions for Independence,” discusses bi-coastal research funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and conducted by Dog Star Technologies and Dog Star’s subcontractors Emory University, Georgia Tech University’s entrepreneurial research arm- the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), and the University of California, Berkeley.
March 29, 2015
In addition to conducting fMRI-based canine neuroscience research, CPT, Dog Star Technologies, and the Emory University Dog Project Team conduct canine psychology research that is behaviorally-based. In September 2014, the mentioned participants conducted behavioral research in conjunction with the University of Arizona and University of Florida psychology departments. The September 2014 experiments that studied behavior within a radial arm maze provided information about the working and spatial memory ability of canines. More recent experiments conducted on March 15 and 29, 2015 studied inhibitory control.
March 14, 2015
GA Senate Bill 184 will disallow Georgia municipalities and counties from banning or restricting Pit Bulls or other dog breeds. The bill, authored by State Senator Ellis Black and supported by the American Kennel Club, passed the Georgia Senate on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 by a vote of 42-11. The bill next proceeds to the State House.
January 9, 2015
CPT President Mark Spivak was recently interviewed by Savannah Morning News feature columnists Jeffrey Manley and Jusak Bernhard for their bi-weekly column “Spots Corner.” The column focuses on pet information and issues. Jeffrey and Jusak were most interested in Mark’s expert witness experiences, as they wished to inform readers how an expert in dog behavior may benefit them should they become engaged in a criminal or civil legal matter stemming from the ownership of their dog.
December 12, 2014
Mark was quoted in an article entitled “So You Want to be an Expert?” written by Expert Institute columnist Joe O’Neill. The article quotes 14 experienced and successful expert witnesses from a variety of fields, including accounting, finance, medicine, engineering, management, dog behavior, and security. In the article each expert describes what separates an extraordinary expert witness from an average expert, what difficulties they have encountered on cases, and how best to address “difficult” situations.
November 17, 2014
CPT Trainers Lisa Carroll, Megan Sinteff Jefferson, and Mark Spivak participated in the Appie and Robert Kamps Seminar held November 15 and 16 in Dawsonville, GA. Appie and Robert are two of The Netherlands’ top KNPV competition and police dog trainers. They also train performance horses that are well known as crowd pleasers at Dutch events, especially when the horses work in combination with dogs and chickens.
October 29, 2014
WGCL-TV CBS 46 News again solicited the expertise of CPT for a recent feature story on how cold weather poses danger to our pets. Jim Loznicka, CBS 46’s weatherman interviewed CPT President and Head Trainer Mark Spivak for the feature. The resultant feature included video of Mark discussing the profile of pet most at risk during cold weather months and strategies for pet owners to reduce the risks. This was Mark’s 4th appearance on WGCL in the last 6 months.
October 5, 2014
Back on February, 22, 2014, Anderson Cooper of the distinguished CBS news documentary 60 Minutes visited CPT to interview Emory Professor Greg Berns, CPT President Mark Spivak, and Georgia Tech Professor Melody Jackson. CBS brought 2 production crews to complete the interviews that occurred earlier in the day at Emory and later in the day […]
September 30, 2014
CPT President Mark Spivak, functioning as a research consultant in conjunction with Emory University’s Neuroscience Department, co-authored a fourth research paper published in a prestigious peer reviewed academic journal. The article, entitled “One Pair of Hands is not Like Another: Caudate BOLD Response in Dogs Depends on Signal Source and Canine Temperament,” co-authored by Dr. Peter F. Cook , PhD, Dr. Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, and Mark Spivak, CPT, describes the existence of fMRI biomarkers that may help researchers determine a dog’s suitability for a designated working role.
September 21, 2014
The radial arm maze examines working memory, spatial memory, and spatial learning. The maze consists of 8 arms of equal length that spoke off a central hub. Food is placed at the end of each arm. The subject animal is then placed in the center and must continue the maze until navigating so that the animal eats all the food drops. The experimenters meanwhile measure time to completion and the number of errors, with an error defined as the animal returning to an empty arm.
August 2, 2014
The 2014 Department of Defense (DOD) Canine Science & Technology Workshop was co-hosted by the United States Army Research Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the US Marine Corps, the US Air Force Security Forces, and Defense Science Technology Laboratories of the UK. The Workshop was held proximal to the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC from July 29 to August 1, 2014.
August 1, 2014
Dog Fancy is a highly respected magazine amongst dog enthusiasts. The August issue of Dog Fancy Magazine featured CPT’s Mark Spivak within an outstanding article entitled, “Inside Your Dog’s Mind- Groundbreaking Research into Canine Cognition Begins to Pull Back the Curtain on Your Dog’s Inner Self.”
July 29, 2014
WGCL- TV 46 solicited the expertise of CPT for 3 recent feature stories.
June 1, 2014
The article delves into the origins of the dog’s inclusion in cognitive science and then advances to contemporary times when describing “The Dog Project,” the moniker for the groundbreaking fMRI research undertaken by Berns and Spivak. The article describes the genesis for The Dog Project, which occurred when Prof. Berns viewed photographs of military dogs rappelling from helicopters and then became determined to become the first researcher to train a non-human animal to take an MRI without sedation or restraints. Berns also discusses his primary goal behind the research, which is to better understand the dog-human bond.
May 30, 2014
CPT President Mark Spivak, Prof. Gregory Berns, and Dr. Peter Cook, the project leaders of the Emory-CPT Neuroscience Team, in late May, visited Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana. Wolf Park is the country’s foremost facility dedicated to wolf behavioral research, education, and conservation, with the objective of improving the public’s understanding of wolves and the value they provide to our environment. The team was invited to Wolf Park by Prof. Clive Wynne, the Wolf Park Director of Research. Dr. Wynne, a member of the Wolf Park Board of Directors and a noteworthy researcher of dog and wolf behavior and cognition, is a Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University and formerly held a similar position at the University of Florida.
April 28, 2014
Neighbor Newspapers featured a full-page article citing CPT President Mark Spivak and colleague Greg Berns’s appearance on the PBS Nova episode entitled, “Inside Animal Minds.”
April 9, 2014
Sandy Springs, GA- Wednesday, April 9, 2014. Do our dogs truly love us? Who makes them happier, their human caretakers or fellow canines? How can we most effectively communicate with our pets? What is the best way to train them? Sandy Springs dog trainer Mark Spivak and Emory University professor have answered the first two […]
March 6, 2014
CPT President Mark Spivak, functioning as a research consultant in conjunction with Emory University’s Neuroscience Department, co-authored a third research paper published in a prestigious peer reviewed academic journal. The article, entitled Scent of the Familiar: An fMRI Study of Canine Brain Responses to Familiar and Unfamiliar Human and Dog Odors, coauthored by Dr. Greg Berns, MD, PhD, Andrew Brooks, PhD candidate, and Mark Spivak, CPT, describes the olfactory cortex and caudate activation responses of 12 subject dogs exposed to a variety of social scents.
March 1, 2014
On Sunday, March 23, 2014, between the hours of 2 to 3 pm, Mark Spivak, President of Comprehensive Pet Therapy, will be one of the featured speakers for a presentation at Fernbank entitled, “Decoding What Dogs Think.” Mark will present along with Prof. Gregory Berns from Emory University, and Prof. Melody Jackson from Georgia Tech University. Greg and Mark will discuss their exciting research that is decoding the minds of dogs. Melody will discuss the FIDO vest that her laboratory created. FIDO enables two-way computerized Bluetooth communication between dogs and humans.
February 22, 2014
With the forthcoming release of their 3rd paper and some groundbreaking research methods and findings, the Emory-CPT Neuroscience Team, also know simply as “The Dog Project,” has received outstanding media attention. The team has been covered by ABC World News Tonight, CBS This Morning, The New York Times, The LA Times, Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone amongst others and will be featured in an upcoming episode of PBS’s Nova series. Yet, the pinnacle may have occurred on February 22, 2014 when two production crews from 60 Minutes visited Emory University and CPT to film live MRI sessions, MRI training sessions, and interviews with the projects’ principals, Prof. Greg Berns and CPT President Mark Spivak. 60 Minutes correspondent Anderson Cooper conducted the interviews.
January 28, 2014
PBS also released a fantastic video “sneak peek” into the series. Click the following image to see outstanding video of dogs, wolves, dolphins, orcas, birds, chimps, monkeys, elephants, bees, and more. The Emory-CPT research team, including an interview with CPT’s Mark Spivak, is featured from 0:48 to 1:17 of the fast moving 3 minute 7 second video.
December 4, 2013
In May 2011, Emory and CPT began collaborating on a humane approach to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to better acquire knowledge related to the human-animal bond, canine cognition, canine emotions, canine sensory perception, and canine receptive communication. Mark co-designed the initial research study, designed the selection criteria for the subject animals, and designed the training protocols, whereby he identified the key variables, then used the processes of systematic desensitization, habituation, behavior shaping, behavior chaining, and positive reinforcement to direct the training of two subject dogs to cooperatively enter the fMRI tube and coil and remain motionless for the required time period.
On May 11, 2012, the group published their first paper, Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs that documented the process and the cognitive findings for two dogs. The group’s second paper, published on December 4, 2013, documents the process and relevant research findings for a total of 13 dogs.
October 22, 2013
CPT Trainer Patricia King and her Golden/Lab Mix Kady appeared in a segment on CBS This Morning entitled, “The Science of Puppy Love: Brain Scans Reveal Emotions of Dogs.” CBS This Morning correspondent Terrell Brown interviewed Patricia regarding her involvement in the Emory-CPT Neuroscience Project and the Project’s quest to understand dogs’ emotions and how they love us.
September 15, 2013
The Emory-CPT Neuroscience Team is achieving global recognition. On September 15, 2013, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) flew a production crew to Atlanta to film live MRIs at Emory and training sessions at CPT. The crew also interviewed CPT President Mark Spivak and Emory professor Greg Berns, the co-founders of “The Dog Project,” the world’s first research group to obtain successful MRIs of awake and non-restrained animals.
August 13, 2013
Since dogs are our most vital pets and the working animal most important to the military, wouldn’t it be beneficial to literally delve deep into their minds? Wouldn’t it be nice to know whether our dogs love us? How we can make them happier? What is the best way to train them?
But, how do we venture into their brains to answer the preceding questions?
A research team comprised of a prominent Emory professor and a well-respected Sandy Springs dog trainer are seeking to answer the preceding questions. They are the first researchers worldwide to effectively use the tool of MRI to study dog behavior. They have obtained some significant accomplishments. However, to progress even further in answering the above questions, they need the help of Atlanta dog owners and their very special dogs.
July 15, 2013
On July 15, 2013, Oxford Scientific Films (OSF) traveled from London to Atlanta to film the Emory-CPT Project Team for inclusion in an upcoming hour-long documentary about canine cognition. The film crew videoed the fMRI scanning of 3 team dogs and participated in one of the experiments. The OSF production team expects that they will complete the documentary in October 2013. OSF hopes to distribute the documentary for broadcast on BBC1 in England and on a major public broadcasting or cable network in the USA.
July 1, 2013
On July 1, 2013 the Department of Defense (DOD) notified Dog Star Technologies, a company co-owned by CPT President Mark Spivak, that the DOD was awarding Dog Star a contract to improve canine fMRI research processes so that they may be better employed for improving the selection, training, handling, and quality of life of service […]
May 13, 2013
On Monday, May 13, 2013 CPT presented a clicker training seminar to its trainers and support staff. The seminar began with a discussion regarding the role of the clicker, which in the belief of CPT is most advantageous when:
Conducting imprint training with puppies, when
Working with anxious, but noise tolerant dogs, who are nervous amidst humans or when hearing the human voice,
Conducting counterconditioning drills with a majority of human or dog aggressive animals,
Conducting shaping drills for complex exercises, and
Working with owners/handlers who are not adept at vocal modulation and/or human-dog verbal communication.
February 13, 2013
On February 10, 2013 CPT President Mark Spivak and Emory Professor Greg Berns incorporated Dog Star Technologies, LLC. Dog Star will develop, manufacture, and market leading edge products that improve the quality of life of working dogs, competition dogs, and pet dogs. Some of the products proposed by Dog Star will spawn from the research […]
October 1, 2012
On October 1, 2012 the Emory-CPT Neuroscience Team received notification from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) that the team was awarded a 3-year $988,000 grant to use awake, non-restrained fMRI to study canine brain responses, especially those dealing with olfaction. The project team will also study canine cognition, emotions, sensory perception, and receptive communication. […]
May 14, 2012
CPT President Mark Spivak, functioning as a research consultant in conjunction with Emory University’s Neuroscience Department, co-authored a groundbreaking research paper published in the prestigious academic journal PLoS One. The article, entitled Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained Dogs, coauthored by Dr. Greg Berns, MD, PhD, Andrew Brooks, PhD candidate, and Mark Spivak, CPT, details the […]
May 12, 2012
CPT President Mark Spivak today was featured in a full-page human interest biographical article that ran in the Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Buckhead, and Brookhaven editions of the Reporter Newspapers. Melissa Weinman, a journalist for the Reporter Newspapers visited Mr. Spivak to interview him for the article, entitled “Sandy Springs Trainer Combines Art and Science.” Ms. […]