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January 18, 2011 4:39 PM   Subscribe


 
This is the most remarkable part, to me: "If she is asked to fetch a new toy with a word she does not know, she will pick it out from ones that are familiar."
posted by rmd1023 at 4:44 PM on January 18, 2011


Reason dogs > cats # 49,201,765 in a series of infinity
posted by mightygodking at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


I like all these animal intelligence posts. Keep 'em comin' folks.
posted by nzero at 4:48 PM on January 18, 2011


Reason dogs > cats # 49,201,765 in a series of infinity

Are you kidding me? I didn't have to train my cats for four to five hours a day and they don't give a shit about grammar.
posted by vorfeed at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are you kidding me? I didn't have to train my cats for four to five hours a day and they don't give a shit about grammar.

Also, when you die, they will start eating you rather than sitting around guarding your corpse like some lamer dog AM I RIGHT
posted by mightygodking at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


I enjoy how we've totally taken over Dogs' evolutionary progress for our own means. it's like a huge hundred-thousand year genetic experiment we don't talk about. Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.
posted by The Whelk at 4:53 PM on January 18, 2011 [24 favorites]


I love dogs.

That is all.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


Are you kidding me? I didn't have to train my cats for four to five hours a day and they don't give a shit about grammar

You own a dog. You feed a cat.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I like dogs. I also like cats.

The two things are not mutually exclusive.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2011 [26 favorites]


Sent this to a friend who has a border collie. I am sure he will say that his dog knows 1,023 nouns.

Yeah, got to say, I love my cats, but they are pretty dim.
posted by medeine at 5:00 PM on January 18, 2011


"It was hard to remember all the names Chase had to learn, so he wrote the name on each toy with indelible marker"

Hilarious concept, the dog has better recall then the trainer!

Dogs are very social animals. Is it possible the dog is reacting to subtle clues in body language or "vibes" form the owner rather than actually processing the language? I recall a famous mathematical horse that achieved this.
posted by oblio_one at 5:03 PM on January 18, 2011


vorfeed: "I didn't have to train my cats for four to five hours a day and they don't give a shit about grammar."

Dogs, on the other hand, give a shit about everything. They do it freely, without expectation of reward. Sometimes, they will even give a shit in your favorite slipper. They're selfless like that.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:04 PM on January 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Clever Hans is the horse I was thinking of:
http://www.damninteresting.com/clever-hans-the-math-horse
posted by oblio_one at 5:04 PM on January 18, 2011


This is the thread where we argue whether cats or dogs are better? Fucking A, they're pets. They're not in the running as the next species we're going to let vote.

That said, what about the African Grey Parrot that had such great reasoning, logic and verbal skills that he (only knowing the words 'cherry' and 'banana') described an apple as a 'bananerry' when introduced to it? I'm pretty sure he's win in this manufactured competition.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:04 PM on January 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


I enjoy how we've totally taken over Dogs' evolutionary progress for our own means. it's like a huge hundred-thousand year genetic experiment we don't talk about. Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.

Let's break this down. We feed and house them. They bark if a burglar ever shows up. Who's running who?
posted by Ironmouth at 5:05 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.

I don't know that it was so much clever as it was the inevitable, organic result of self-interest. Kind of like the domestication of the human race by [nation-states/religions/corporations/other control structures].
posted by Ryvar at 5:05 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dogs, on the other hand, give a shit about everything.

The reason why dogs are the posteranimal for domestication and intelligence is partly because they really, really, want to please you. Many of the working breeds get very ...upset if they don't have a Job To Do, the more complex the better. Some of that is innate to the canine but some of it the hundred thousand years of breeding and living among humans.

Seriously dogs are neat. And border collies can be shockingly intelligent. There was a case in England - I got this from Futility Closet so I'm not sure- where some border collies kept up a sheep farm for a few years after the owner's death without anyone noticing. They tended the flock, put them to bed at night, and allowed themselves into the house, with some hunting and scavenging on the side.
posted by The Whelk at 5:08 PM on January 18, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is it possible the dog is reacting to subtle clues in body language or "vibes" form the owner rather than actually processing the language?

Apparently no. From the article:

Juliane Kaminski, a member of the research team that tested Rico, was well aware of the Clever Hans effect. So she arranged for the dog to be given instructions in one room and to select toys from another, making it impossible for the experimenter to give Rico unwitting cues. Kaminski works at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

Pilley took the same precaution in testing Chaser. He submitted an article describing his experiments to Science, but the journal rejected it. Pilley said that the journal's advisers had made valid criticisms, which he proceeded to address. He and his co-author, Alliston K. Reid of Wofford College, then submitted a revised article to Behavioural Processes. Horowitz, who was one of Science's advisers in the review of Pilley's report, said of the new article that "the experimental design looks pretty good." Kaminski, too, regards the experiment as properly done.

"I think the methodology the authors use here is absolutely sufficient to control for Clever Hans," she said.


Also, take a look at the video, demonstrating Pilley's use of this technique.
posted by bearwife at 5:11 PM on January 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kind of like the domestication of the human race by [nation-states/religions/corporations/other control structures].

someone needs a puppy
posted by The Whelk at 5:11 PM on January 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Just chiming in to say

cats > dogs.
posted by flippant at 5:12 PM on January 18, 2011


I was impressed when my dog learned "bedtime" and "outside", back to school Rusty.
posted by 2bucksplus at 5:14 PM on January 18, 2011


Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.

Agriculture was the fall from Eden, and me personally I wish we were all still living on nuts and berries. Hunter gatherers get to just sit around for most of the day.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:16 PM on January 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


my dog knows a few words, including "floor". i just wish she would quit pissing on it.
posted by kitchenrat at 5:17 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


NYtimes: In three years, Chaser’s vocabulary included 800 cloth animals, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees and a medley of plastic items.

So his full vocabulary consists of arbitrarily named junk toys from thrift shops? That's kind of sad for some reason. Like the doggie equivalent of a humanities PhD.

I guess if he's lucky he can get a job teaching the arbitrary toy names to other dogs.
posted by dgaicun at 5:18 PM on January 18, 2011 [41 favorites]


So his full vocabulary consists of arbitrarily named junk toys from thrift shops? That's kind of sad for some reason. Like the doggie equivalent of a humanities PhD.

Damn, dgaicun, that's mean!
posted by msali at 5:20 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: the doggie equivalent of a humanities PhD.
posted by The Whelk at 5:21 PM on January 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


I had an Aussie cattledog who knew all of his many toys by name. He was pretty bright: he liked to chew ice cubes and figured out how to work the ice dispenser lever on the freezer door. He also loved to play a game with the cat: he would wait until the cat had her back turned and would sneak up behind her, grab her tail in his mouth, give it a good hard yank and then run away as fast as he could. Not surprisingly, the cat always reacted rather badly to this game.

One night, I spotted the dog creeping up on the cat who was grooming herself in front of a glass patio door. Just as the dog was reaching out toward the cat's tail with his jaws, she whirled around and 5-clawed the dog right across the nose with an audible slap. Smart as that dog was, he never understood his own reflection, something the cat knew allll about.
posted by jamaro at 5:22 PM on January 18, 2011 [19 favorites]


Chaser, a female border collie, knows the name for 1,022 items.

That's 71 more than Sarah Palin!
posted by briank at 5:22 PM on January 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


That's 71 more than Sarah Palin!
posted by The Whelk at 5:25 PM on January 18, 2011


One of the reasons I've never understood why certain people fashion themselves Dog People and others Cat People is that both cats and dogs have a great thing going for them: they are totally ridiculous. They are both put on this Earth to do wacky things and make their humanfolk laugh even as we curse them for ripping up this or pooping on that. Having either one around the house, if you have the appropriate sense of humor, is a nearly endless stream of delightful head-scratchery that only increases the more you fall in love with the animal.

Even this dog, who on the surface has had his innate ridiculousness trained out of him, now knows the names of 1,022 random pieces of crap. Which may well be the most awesome ridiculous doggie fact I've ever heard.
posted by ORthey at 5:31 PM on January 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


You own a dog. You feed a cat.

That reminds me of a welcome mat I saw once, maybe in a catalog:

The Cat
with its domestic housekeeping staff
is In.

posted by Malor at 5:54 PM on January 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


If this were a male border collie, I'd be able to quote Jay-Z. Except it would be 1,022 items.

This joke will go into cryogenic storage until an ultra-smart male dog performs this feat.

Hit me!
posted by zippy at 6:17 PM on January 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


You own a dog. You feed a cat.

Yep, every day promptly at ten and ten, otherwise they piss on the bed.

...what's that, cleanup in the litterbox aisle? Yes, sir, right away sir...
posted by vorfeed at 6:27 PM on January 18, 2011


Take that Noam Chomsky!
posted by DigDoug at 6:40 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dog lovers love to point out that cats are dumb because you can't train them to fetch things or be slavishly obedient.

When was the last time you saw a dog train a human to fetch things and be slavishly obedient?
posted by loquacious at 6:40 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I speak like seven or eight whole phrases in cat.

She's working on it.
posted by gracedissolved at 6:44 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


My cats know the names for 1,023 items.

They just don't give a shit.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 6:49 PM on January 18, 2011


When was the last time you saw a dog train a human to fetch things and be slavishly obedient?

Last time I saw a dog sitting, staring at the door, and whining. Took all of 20 seconds before the leash came out.

Make no mistake, we didn't train dogs. They trained us. And they definitely got the better part of the deal. We feed them, shelter them, and take care of their most basic needs, and all they have to do in return is bark at the mailman. If their a big dog. If their a small dog, all they have to do is shiver a lot.

My girlfriend's parents own a border collie, and he knows and will fetch all of his toys by name. In fact, there is one toy that's a duck, and he'll get it if you tell him to get the duck, but he'll also get it is you tell him to get the migratory bird. He'll give it to whoever you tell him to give it to as well, by name. And if you tell him to give it to somebody he doesn't know, he'll go to the person he doesn't know and drip it at their feet.

The flip side is he may be the most neurotic dog I have ever seen. His herding impulse is so string that is everybody isn't in the same room together, he gets hideously distressed. He's only ever happy at Christmas, when the whole family is gathered around the tree.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:53 PM on January 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


If she learns two more words she will know one doggie-byte.
posted by amethysts at 6:56 PM on January 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


I enjoy how we've totally taken over Dogs' evolutionary progress for our own means. it's like a huge hundred-thousand year genetic experiment we don't talk about. Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.

The Whelk, there's evidence growing that they might have done the reverse to us... that is, that our success over the neanderthals might be due to our canine companions.

More accurately, since they've been with us longer than clothing, it's safe to say we domesticated together. In lifespan alone, both of us have benefited enormously.
posted by IAmBroom at 6:56 PM on January 18, 2011


Dog lovers love to point out that cats are dumb because you can't train them to fetch things or be slavishly obedient.

When was the last time you saw a dog train a human to fetch things and be slavishly obedient?


In all seriousness, though, the ability to be trained to perform complex tasks indicates the sort of mental plasticity that seems to be a prerequisite of intelligence as we know it. It's obvious why a dog can't train a person, but a person can easily train another person to fetch things or be slavishly obedient as a result of that same plasticity. Intuitively it seems that dogs require and respond to training more than cats do because they come with fewer behaviors hard-wired, and that's why they can do stuff like this.

Also, that stereotype of dogs fawning slavishly over their owners? It's because, we being the narcissistic bastards that we are, we train them that way!

I love cats, but I'm pretty sure that what we perceive as intelligence is them being ready, instinctively, to take care of themselves. Babies seem pretty stupid in comparison, too.
posted by invitapriore at 7:10 PM on January 18, 2011


I like dog personalities. The size, smell, wire-like "fur" and demandingness I can do without.
posted by DU at 7:11 PM on January 18, 2011


1,022 nouns?

That dog must be awesome at Mad Libs.
posted by PlusDistance at 7:14 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


You got me at dog, but here's the [big: 860M long: 12 pg] pdf -- is anyone familiar with Behavioural Processes and/vs other journals? I could be reading this stuff for hours. Thanx.
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 7:15 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My dog only knows about five words - but she was raised by wolves.
posted by Michael Roberts at 7:21 PM on January 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, yeah? Well, I have a chicken who is trained to wear hats (for real).
posted by Alison at 7:36 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


First, yay for Spartanburg! I always love it when nice news comes out of my home town. Second, this:

"I think the methodology the authors use here is absolutely sufficient to control for Clever Hans," she said.

is a great turn of phrase. "We must control for Clever Hans." It sounds like someone plotting against an extremely minor superhero.
posted by JDHarper at 7:37 PM on January 18, 2011 [20 favorites]


Reason dogs > cats # 49,201,765 in a series of infinity

Reasons 1-49,201,764 in favor of cats, of course, being they are born knowing how and where to shit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Domestication: caveman gene hacking.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:53 PM on January 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


More accurately, since they've been with us longer than clothing, it's safe to say we domesticated together. In lifespan alone, both of us have benefited enormously.

I know! Isn't that neat?
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on January 18, 2011


If that collie was so clever, he'd tell Billy not to go fall down the g'damn well in the first place rather than just telling us about it afterwards. Waster.
posted by arcticseal at 8:46 PM on January 18, 2011


Billy just never learned to fucking listen.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:52 PM on January 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cats can speak perfect Parisian French, but not to us.
posted by doctor_negative at 9:34 PM on January 18, 2011


Right now, my fetching cat is begging me to play fetch with him. He brings me the toy, drops it at my feet, and stares at me until I become unstupid enough to understand what he wants. Then I throw it; he goes after it and brings it back; rinse, repeat.

Still and all, what Chaser can do is way, way amazing.
posted by rtha at 9:38 PM on January 18, 2011


Maybe we just used to wear dogs.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:19 PM on January 18, 2011


I too love both dogs and cats in a way in which I tend to get all distracted at social events where dogs or cats are present. Like, "I know you're trying to tell me something important but what you may not realize is that there's a dog/cat right here, and that's going to have to take up most of my brainspace. Sorry."

They're both smart animals in different ways, because they domesticated differently. Dogs did, indeed, get the better end of the deal with humans, because dogs actually didn't bring as much to the table at first. Cats domesticated more or less symbiotically. They hunted vermin, and vermin hung out where the food was. We were happy to have them around, and they were happy to be around us.

Dogs, meanwhile (as I understand it, and I may be wrong) came to us more in need of protection. Seeing their potential usefulness, they were then bred for a number of different tasks, depending on the environment. And yes, it's one of the neatest things we've ever done.

So it makes sense in that regard that cats are more self-sufficient and dogs more loyal. But I feel sorry for anyone who has not seen examples of cat loyalty. Some are the "evil" cats, who attack almost everyone who comes near. The thing I've noticed about most of those cats, however, is that they are fiercely imprinted on a single member of the household, who they will be very loving to. I'm very fortunate in that both of my cats (again, I love dogs as well but know enough to not own one in my current living situation) are very social and affectionate. My piebald, Fitz, is currently taking up residence right behind me in my chair, preventing me from leaning back, but purring like a madman.

Gatsby, my tabby, also had an uncanny ability which a change in his diet has since nullified, but which I'd really like to understand. The cat certainly doesn't seem to understand words or commands (trying to teach him to stop jumping on the damn table has proven completely fruitless, for example) but in the days when he got dry food from an automatic feeder, whenever I'd wake up in the morning, as soon as I opened my eyes (and literally did no more than that) I'd hear him come immediately rushing from wherever in the apartment he was and jump up on the bed, nuzzling me. Apparently he can hear me opening my eyes. Of course, since I switched them to wet food after the dry food almost killed him in May (please please please stop feeding your kitties dry food right now so as to not go through what I went through) he just does what he can to wake me up in the mornings himself instead of waiting. He's been learning to step on my computer keyboard to make it create error noises, a development I'm not particularly pleased about.

But my favorite kitty loyalty story comes from before I was born, with my family's old pekingese, Ebony. This was a dog who loved exploring the immediate perimeter of our old house, much like the "outdoor" cat who lived next-door. They were sympatico, but never really did anything together, being a cat and a dog as they were. Still, there was a rottweiler named Tex who roamed the neighborhood, and at one point Tex set his sites on Ebony and attacked. As you might expect, this was not a fair fight.

To hear my mother (who doesn't generally like cats) tell it, the next-door cat jumped down from the roof right on top of Tex's back and sunk her claws in, eventually fighting the rottweiler off by herself, and then hung by Ebony as my mom got out there to make sure he was okay.

If cats and dogs can be cool enough to stick up for each other, why can't we drop the false dichotomy nonsense ourselves?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:32 PM on January 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'd like to comment on this post but my Australian Shepard says it's time to go to bed.
posted by gamera at 11:36 PM on January 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


My dog knows quite a lot of words - all the usual ones along with walk, bed, dinner, and for me, most charmingly, if you ask her "where's the kong?" she'll go find the kong, or "where's Mr Jasperella?" she'll go find Mr Jasperella.

What I find most astonishing is that she is "friends" with a beagle and gets very excited when she sees another beagle across the park - she can see/smell/sense that one beagle is very much like another beagle.

In short, even though I am in danger of some heavy anthropomorphising, she constantly surprises me with her perceptiveness and awareness. Yes, she is just a dog, but dogs are amazing creatures.
posted by jasperella at 12:13 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, can someone please explain to me why Noam Chomsky was ever accepted by the intelligentsia? Is it because he writes in a way that "sounds" smart? Because everything I've ever read of his is basically a permutation of "Fuck you, it's true because I say it is" despite having no backing for his claims.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:44 AM on January 19, 2011


The dog centric headline would be "Collie discovers secret to getting owner to spend 9,000 hours playing fetch".
posted by rongorongo at 2:42 AM on January 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


Seriously dogs are neat. And border collies can be shockingly intelligent. There was a case in England - I got this from Futility Closet so I'm not sure- where some border collies kept up a sheep farm for a few years after the owner's death without anyone noticing. They tended the flock, put them to bed at night, and allowed themselves into the house, with some hunting and scavenging on the side.

Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland,
Beasts of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the Golden future time.

They succeeded because they didn't listen to the pigs.
posted by ersatz at 3:39 AM on January 19, 2011


Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
posted by garrett at 5:57 AM on January 19, 2011


I love my bunny, really, but she's got a vocabulary of about 3 words, max.
posted by tommasz at 6:17 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Such a fantastic article. I'm a veterinarian, and this is all we've been talking about for the past couple days at work. So far, the only thing we all agree on is that this owner is fantastic, and that this feat would not be reproducible in a chihuahua, pomeranian or a shih tzu.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 6:23 AM on January 19, 2011


Say what you will about the relative intelligence of dogs and cats, but here in Massachusetts, cats can get called for jury duty
posted by briank at 6:38 AM on January 19, 2011


Metafilter: Fuck you, it's true because I say it is
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:08 AM on January 19, 2011


I love cats, but I'm pretty sure that what we perceive as intelligence is them being ready, instinctively, to take care of themselves. Babies seem pretty stupid in comparison, too.
posted by invitapriore


Cats are just as trainable as dogs, especially when you compare them to terriers, who need the same kind of training. The myth that cats can't be trained, or are 'too smart' to be trained, came from when the dominant method of training involved lots of physical discomfort, if not outright pain. Since dogs are social animals *and* social hunters (while cats are social animals but solitary hunters), dogs have a concept of 'punishment for the good of the pack'.

So the choke chain jerking, paper-smacking, physical manipulation style of training worked on dogs, because they live in a mental space where it's okay for the leader to sometimes get rough when someone is really screwing up. If pack discipline isn't good, then no one eats, and eating is good.

Whereas cats' social structure is very loose, and is made up of cliques of friends. Friends hang out, groom each other, play together, and then go off separately to hunt. Friends don't 'discipline' each other, and if a cat tries those sorts of bullying methods, he or she soon finds that no other cat in the colony is willing to hang out. So when humans tried to train cats with the methods that were working on dogs, the cats essentially said 'screw you' and avoided them.

Modern reward-based training methods are showing exactly how intelligent and interested in learning cats are -- I keep meaning to work up an FPP on cats, intelligence, and training them but I've been really busy with work. So I'll just say that my own personal cats have around 30 behaviours, including basic dog-style obedience (sit, come, stay, etc), stupid tricks (roll a die, speak, jump through hoops, etc), and ICAT obstacles.

All done with a clicker and a variety of treats.
posted by Concolora at 7:13 AM on January 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Seriously, domestication is one the neatest, cleverest things we've ever done.

As alluded to upthread, with respect to dogs, domestication may have been one of the cleverest things THEY'VE ever done.
posted by snofoam at 7:13 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


By the way the video in the FPP comes from John Pilley's youtube channel which has more Chaser videos. Chaser also understands different locations, actions, and the names of many real world objects and categories.
posted by dgaicun at 8:39 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Modern reward-based training methods are showing exactly how intelligent and interested in learning cats are.

Absolutely. Positive reinforcement makes it very easy to train all of my very different cats -- even the near-moron feline among them. (It also works on my Aussie, whose ability to recall gestures is incredible.)
posted by bearwife at 9:22 AM on January 19, 2011


Freakin' awesome. Dogs are the best, and there's a reason they are called "man's best friend."

Almost as good as dogs: the comments in this thread. Loving the Clever Hans refs.

Also - from the article, this quote: "She still demands four to five hours a day," Pilley said. "I'm 82, and I have to go to bed to get away from her." Heh. Sounds like something Mr. Roper might say on "Three's Company."
posted by davidmsc at 9:55 AM on January 19, 2011


Modern reward-based training methods are showing exactly how intelligent and interested in learning cats are.

Have you figured out how to train a cat NOT to do something with reward-based training? (I'm asking because I want to know!)
posted by callmejay at 9:59 AM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sounds like something Mr. Roper might say on "Three's Company."

That's a sentence that dates a person's teenage years. You are old!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:18 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


It also works on my Aussie, whose ability to recall gestures is incredible.

This is not surprising since dogs are actually better at physical language than verbal language, since dogs communicate far more with body language than anything else. I teach dog agility and I regularly tell my students that their dogs are paying far more attention to their body language than what they say - indicate one obstacle with your body and tell the dog to do a different obstacle and the vast majority of the time the dog will do what your body language told him to do. Humans are verbal creatures, dogs are much less so.
posted by biscotti at 1:57 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have you figured out how to train a cat NOT to do something with reward-based training?

Yes, put a reward on stopping the behavior. For example, first reward train the cat for jumping off the table onto the floor. Then reward train the cat for staying on the floor.

Clicker training is an amazing tool with any animal. You may want to check out Karen Pryor's site.
posted by bearwife at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


indicate one obstacle with your body and tell the dog to do a different obstacle and the vast majority of the time the dog will do what your body language told him to do. Humans are verbal creatures, dogs are much less so.

Makes sense, dogs (and animals in general but dogs more so) learn by modeling and by seeing.
posted by The Whelk at 5:35 PM on January 19, 2011


fff: oof...thanks for reminding me. now would you be so kind as to GET THE HELL OFF OF MY LAWN?!
posted by davidmsc at 8:58 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]



Agriculture was the fall from Eden, and me personally I wish we were all still living on nuts and berries. Hunter gatherers get to just sit around for most of the day.


Dog domestication occurred before widespread agriculture, so yes, you can have a puppy.
posted by The Whelk at 6:04 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


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