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Posts Tagged "Dog"

Dog Spies

Put Your Nose First: Smellwalks for You and Your Dog

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There was no way I was going to miss something called a ‘Smellwalk.’ A social dilettante at heart, I revel in time spent in the mind of others — especially those who add an entirely different color to the palate of my worldview. While I think loads about the olfactory experiences of dogs, I give [...]

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Dog Spies

What’s a Dog For?

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A few years back, John Homans, former executive editor of New York magazine, published What’s a Dog For? — an intimate reflection on his beloved family dog, Stella, as well as a snapshot into the flourishing field of canine science. Looking down at the wagging tail by your side, you could easily answer the above [...]

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Dog Spies

The Dog Killer in Your Pocket

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Your pocket can hold many potentially lethal items, so let me be more specific: ‘What’s the Dog Killer in Your Pocket That You Wish No Longer Existed?’ Can you guess? Let’s review the clues: It can be lethal to dogs It can be found in your pocket You wish it no longer existed Can you [...]

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Dog Spies

Pulp Fiction Gangster Gets Dogs

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Pulp Fiction gangster Jules Winnfield is right. “A dog’s got personality, and personality goes a long way.” Cross-species animal behavior studies confirm Winnfield’s statement (although he’s wrong about pigs: pigs have personality, too). Humans aren’t the only ones with ‘personalities,’ that is, usual patterns of behavior or characteristics that are relatively stable over time and [...]

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Dog Spies

The Unexpected Dog Killer

Alison Kennedy-Benson permission granted Dog Spies

For some, it happens in the bathroom. For others, it’s the living room. All across America, as fireworks go off on July 4th, many dogs experience varying degrees of fear and stress. Some crouch and huddle in the bathtub; others pace, pant and whine in the living room; others wildly dig and chew; and of [...]

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Dog Spies

Is Dog Training Scientific?

ScienceinTraining

Dog owners seem pleased when they meet me because they can talk about their dog with someone who is truly interested. Sometimes they share intricate descriptions about something interesting that their dog does (often followed with the question, “Why does she do that?”), and other times, owners have a question like, “How do I get [...]

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Dog Spies

Maybe Dogs Don’t Want to be Walked by a Drone

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I like playing the game, “What’s going to make people mad?” Dogs wearing pantyhose = mass hysteria! A dog being walked by a drone = not cool… but hmm… kinda cool? Now that the robots have taken over our cars and our gameshows, they’re also moving in on our dogs. Earlier this month, one innovative [...]

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Dog Spies

You’re Invited to a Canine Science Conference (WITH TICKET GIVEAWAY)

Giveaway

If you think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, Thank You! That means you stopped by Dog Spies in May 2013 and read a post with the same title. But that was #SPARCS2013, and this is #SPARCS2014; same concepts, different location, topics and speakers. During this year’s 3-day event, June 20-22, leading canine [...]

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Dog Spies

Don’t Sell Your Dog Short

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In 1996, veteran dog trainer Jean Donaldson picked a fight with Walt Disney. Donaldson begins her book Culture Clash: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding the Relationship Between Humans and Dogs by explaining that people continue to buy into a made-up, Walt Disney version of dogs. According to Disney, the dog “is very intelligent, has [...]

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Dog Spies

Dog Farts Blow Up Building

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Well, not quite. But maybe they wrecked a few Dog Fart Suits. But did cow farts blow up a building in Germany? Or is that just an April Fools joke? Read here to find out. ~~~ Image: ‘I’m gassy and I know it‘ used with permission: Tyler Gildin and Elite Daily. References Motupalli P (2013) [...]

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Not bad science

Dogs Follow the Gaze of Humans, Especially When There’s Food Involved

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I recently wrote about how humans and other primates follow the gaze of others. This week I read about two more interesting findings relating to gaze-following, the first in dogs, the second in robins. The first study used forty family-owned dogs. The researchers wanted half of these dogs to think that there was food hidden [...]

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Not bad science

Does Your Dog Know What Sex You Are From The Sound of Your Voice?

To analyse which way the dogs were looking, the researchers used videos of the dogs to see which way their head was oriented compared to a centre line

  After glancing at the people in the photo above, what did you think? Perhaps you just thought ‘four people’, or ‘older people’, but it’s likely if I asked you to describe it you would say, ‘two men, two women’. As humans, we love to categorize things. Upon meeting a new person you’re likely to [...]

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Observations

Adaptation to Starchy Diet Was Key to Dog Domestication

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They work with us, play with us and comfort us when we’re down. Archaeological evidence indicates that dogs have had a close bond with humans for millennia. But exactly why and how they evolved from their wolf ancestors into our loyal companions has been something of a mystery. Now a new genetic analysis indicates that [...]

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Observations

What can a three-legged dog teach robots about resilience?

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Anyone who’s ever seen a dog move around on three limbs knows that canines are remarkably resilient creatures. Scientists are now wondering whether such adaptability could likewise be programmed into robots, in the event they experience damage or malfunction far from a repair shop (look no further than NASA’s Mars Spirit rover to see why [...]

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Symbiartic

It’s A Fun Game… Until The Dog Swallows It

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If I told you that a tennis ball could kill, would you roll your eyes or laugh in my face? What if I showed you this? Like a cork in a bottle, a fumbled tennis ball in an innocent game of fetch can lodge in a dog’s esophagus with the unfortunate consequence of asphyxiating your [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Wolves Can Learn From Humans. What Does That Mean For Dogs?

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Where did dogs come from? The question is harder to answer than it seems. The problem with much of the research on domestication is that the focus has been on how dogs and wolves interact with humans. Perhaps that’s understandable, since domestication is in part defined by a species’ incorporation into human culture. But to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Does Your Dog Love You Back?

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You love your dog. Does your dog love you back? Is the love that an owner feels for her dog reciprocated? That’s the question that a group of Swedish and Danish researchers wanted to answer.

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The Thoughtful Animal

Man’s Best Friend or Oversized Rat?

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Here’s something curious. The phrase “man’s best friend” didn’t appear in print, according to Google’s n-grams, until after the year 1750. Here’s something else that’s curious: the owning of dogs as pets by anybody more than the “one percent” – the richest of the rich – is also a relatively new phenomenon, something unique to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Searching for the Social in Contagious Yawning

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Evidence has been accumulating for several years that contagious yawning is driven by social cognition. But how? And is it related to empathy? A new study with chimpanzees sheds some light.

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The Thoughtful Animal

If You Need To Test Your New Robot, Ask A Dog

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The 1962 cartoon series The Jetsons featured a futuristic nuclear family: father George, mother Jane, and their offspring, Elroy and Judy. In the very first episode, we learn about the Jetson family’s purchase of a housecleaning robot named Rosey. Rosey is, according to paleofuturist Matt Novak, “perhaps the most iconic futuristic character to ever grace [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

What Is Operant Conditioning? (and How Does It Explain Driving Dogs?)

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While second nature to many of us, driving a car is actually a fairly complex process. At its most stripped down version, first you sit in the driver’s seat, then you start the engine, then you shift into gear, and then you must simultaneously steer while keeping your foot on the gas pedal. That doesn’t [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

For Word Learning, Size Matters If You’re A Dog

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In 1988, a three-year-old child is led into a brightly colored testing room in a psychology department in Bloomington, Indiana. A small toy is brought out and put onto a table in front of the child. The toy was wooden, blue, about two inches square, and U-shaped. “This is a dax.” The researchers picked a [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

UPDATE: Guilty Dogs on the Radio

Just a quick announcement that I’ll be on a short segment of The Aaron Rand Show, on Montreal’s CJAD 800 radio station this afternoon tomorrow afternoon, June 6, around 3:45pm eastern (12:45pm pacific). The topic will be dog guilt. If you’re in or around Montreal, I expect you can simply tune into AM 800. For [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Do Dogs Feel Guilty?

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“I walked into the house, and he was acting strange. I could tell he had done something wrong,” she told me. I pressed for further details. “His head was down, and he wasn’t making eye contact,” she explained. “Then, I found it. Under the bed.” She had spent weeks training her dog, Henry, not to [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Contagious Yawning: Evidence of Empathy?

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When is a yawn just a yawn? When is a yawn more than a yawn? Contagious yawning – the increase in likelihood that you will yawn after watching or hearing someone else yawn – has been of particular interest to researchers in fields as varied as primatology, developmental psychology, and psychopathology. At first, scientists thought [...]

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