Luisa Hofberger

End of June 2016 - end of January 2017

When I heard, that my application for my master thesis at the Wolf Science Center had been accepted, I was so happy and excited. When I further heard, that my project would be with wolf puppies I could not believe it. Recent projects at the WSC discovered a steeper hierarchy in dogs in the food context (who is allowed to eat and who is not). Now the question arises, how does this develop and differ from the wolves. In the project I am helping with, we want to test two hypothesis:

(1) Dogs are more aggressive than wolves and therefore develop this steep hierarchy or

(2) dogs are more sensitive to aggression than wolves.  

This is a childhood dream come true for me. Already as a child I was captivated by books about wolfs and dogs, their pack mentality and their interaction with humans. I have always dreamt about having a dog, when I grew up. After years and years of begging (also we had to wait until our cat died) my parents finally agreed to getting a dog puppy. It was the greatest joy of my life watching it growing up.  

Even as a child I could just sit in the garden for hours watching the animals around me, and I wondered what they were thinking and doing. My love of animals and nature drove me to my biology study and further to the behavior biology master in Göttingen. However, over the course of my studies, I realised, that the focus is mainly on primates, which is not enough for me. Therefore, I did one project with seals, one with humans. And now I am here.  

In my opinion, learning from different facilities and people is fundamental to broaden my horizon. Hence, it is important to see many different angles of the study field I am going to merge into, get different ideas and find a place for myself. Due to my experience in my master and here, I hope to find a job I am not only good at but also passionate about.