The Brain & Behavior through life stages: Puppyhood, Adolescence, Adulthood, Senior


In the first few months of life the brain develops at a phenomenal rate, with thousands of new neuronal connections being made every second. In this way the foundations are laid for later life learning, memory, health and behavior, and early life experience shapes the individual.

In this webinar we will learn about the key stages of brain development, the processes underlying them, factors influencing them and behavioral consequences. Understanding the neurobiology of development helps us plan our puppy care and training appropriately, and according to the puppies needs. We will also reflect on the impact of stress and trauma at this critical developmental stage, and how that can determine an individual's coping mechanisms in adulthood.


Ever wondered why a puppies behavior seems erratic during adolescence? Or why it is that they seem to have forgotten everything they've been learning up until that point?

The neurobiology of adolescence is fascinating, with some key events that alter both the structure and function of the brain. Understanding these processes gives us an understanding of, and greater compassion for, why and how behavior fluctuates at this life stage. We will consider what other neurophysiological changes are going on in the puppies body, such as hormonal changes, in order to better understand the influence that they have on the brain what the puppies care and training needs are at this key life stage.


Experience dependent plasticity (EDP) is the process by which new neuronal connections are made and organized throughout adulthood, in response to different environmental conditions, social interactions and training methods. In this webinar we discuss factors which impact EDP and how we as carers can influence brain health throughout life.


The brain undergoes many changes with ageing. In this webinar we will outline these changes to brain volume, neuronal structure, neurotransmitter production and the impact these changes have on learning, memory and behavior.

Importantly we will look at the link between health and behavior in aged dogs, when many individuals are dealing with chronic conditions such as arthritis, cardiac or endocrine disease. Advancing age is also the primary risk factor for Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (or dog dementia). Here we will discuss the risk factors for this important condition, and what we can do as carers to support brain function throughout the senior years.

These webinars are suitable for veterinary professionals, animal trainers, animal behaviorists, shelter and rescue staff and volunteers, and anyone with an interest in evidence-based behavior intervention.

About Dr. Kathy Murphy:

Kathy Murphy (BVetMed, DPhil, CVA, CLAS, MRCVS) is a veterinary surgeon and neuroscientist. She graduated from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK in 1999, initially working in mixed clinical practice before studying for two post graduate clinical qualifications. In 2009 she was awarded a highly prestigious Welcome Research Training Fellowship to study for her PhD, in Behavioral Neuroscience, at The Queens College, University of Oxford, UK. She subsequently worked in the USA as Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Anesthesiology at the Icahn School of Medicine NYC; and is now back in the UK, where she holds a clinical-academic position as Director of the Comparative Biology Centre at Newcastle University and Director of Barking Brains Ltd (a neuroscience outreach program for the animal behavior and training community). Her clinical interest has always been anesthesia, analgesia, since the age of 13yo and she has recently completed a residency at the European College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia. In addition to her primary career roles she was Trustee and Veterinary Advisor to the Rottweiler Welfare Association for 14 years, is a founder of Ethics First (a collective which lobbies for ethical decision making in clinical practice), is an Oversight Committee Member for the UK Dog Behavior and Training Charter, sits on numerous National and International boards, working groups and ethical review panels, and most of all loves spending time with her own 4 dogs.