How dogs became man's best friend: Dr Hare's hypothesis is that dogs are superbly sensitive to social cues from people...
His experiment was simple. He presented his animal subjects with two inverted cups. Then he hid the cups behind a screen, put a small piece of food under one of them, and took the screen away. The animal had to choose which cup to look under. If the experimenter gave no cue, both species got it right 50% of the time, as would be expected. However, if he signalled in some way which was the right cup, by pointing at it, tapping it, or even just gazing at it, a dog would choose correctly every time, while a chimpanzee would still do only slightly better than chance.
[More at Harvard Gazette
-- My question: are you able to reproduce his results?
posted by MzB
on Feb 21, 2004 -
Police dog suspended for potential racism.
It seems that for some time now, Dolpho, a police dog in Pennsylvania, has been singling out black children, which, in the eyes of officials is clearly a sign of racism, and they are calling for an end to his active duty -- not to mention an end to his life.
posted by poorhouse
on Feb 4, 2004 -
What makes Dogs happy?
Food? Sex? Working? Being pampered and spoiled? A whole host of books are out there alternating between the belief that your dog is somewhere between a fuzzy-wuzzy lovey parasite and a quasi-human companion. (My dog sez, food and belly rubs...)
posted by vito90
on Aug 14, 2003 -
Want to let your dog experience the thrill of doing their business on nature's own newspaper, but are scared that a great big eagle might swoop down and snatch poor Speckles away from you? Problem solved! Here's a nice square patch of grass! In a box! On wheels! No kidding!
Sometimes, I think it's not the pets that are the ones that need to be spayed and neutered...
posted by majcher
on Aug 1, 2003 -
You're the one that I want!
Okay, I've seen trained dogs before, but this is ridiculous. A highly choreographed routine between the trainer and perhaps the world's furriest John Travolta impersonator (warning WMV link).
posted by jonson
on Jun 24, 2003 -
Red Dog Army:
"Red Dogs line up along the edges of the art-world. They have many objectives...
Their purpose is to put art into the hands of anyone who sees them and takes them home...
They are distributed by a person or persons unknown, tracing movement in cities across the world. They inhabit their new environment sometimes for just a few minutes before being destroyed or taken in by a new art collector. Or they may remain for months, changing shape and being forced into compromising positions. Above all, they are always seen by someone. Their presence is noticed, noted and very red."
Take note, Antipodeans, and keep your eyes open; the red dog comes for you.
posted by taz
on May 3, 2003 -
"The pig is not content to wag his tail and point when he has discovered a truffle," says Peter Mayle, author of 'A Year In Provence'. "He wants to eat it. In fact, he is desperate to eat it. And you cannot reason with a pig on the brink of gastronomic ecstasy. He is not easily distracted, nor is he of a size you can fend off with one hand while you rescue the truffle. There he is, as big as a small tractor, rigid with porcine determination and refusing to be budged." Which is why Hungarians are teaching dogs to do the work -- but should they be asking a canine to do a sow's job?
posted by feelinglistless
on Apr 27, 2003 -
Just Nuisance, Able Seaman.
The only canine enlisted in the Royal Navy, Just Nuisance served from 1939 to 1944 in Simon's Town, South Africa (on his papers his occupation was listed as 'Bone Crusher
' and his religion 'Canine Divinity League [Anti-Vivisection]
'). Providing a great source of morale to sailors stationed there he would escort them on train trips and make sure they made it back to base after a night on the town. Of course being a sailor himself he was privy to a few brushes with the law as well by traveling on the railways without a pass (punishment: Confined to the banks of Froggy Pond, Lily Pool, with all lamp posts removed) or sleeping on an Officer's bed (punishment: Deprived of bones for seven days.). Married, and survived by five children, on his death he was afforded a funeral with full military colours. You can read his biography
(which spawned a television series), or merely pay respects at his statue
next time you're in Simon's Town.
posted by PenDevil
on Mar 19, 2003 -
Do Dogs Have History?
For those of you who participated in this discussion
a while back (I linked here to the discussion, but be warned the FPP link from that discussion is to a gruesome, sad picture)
, the author of this book review elucidates many of the reasons why some of us love dogs as much (if not more than?) people. via Robot Wisdom
posted by vito90
on Jan 30, 2003 -
Betting on Mini-Cows
"ROCKWELL, Iowa -- Dustin Pillard is betting his farm on compact cows...Pillard has 50 tiny cows on his northern Iowa farm" MEANWHILE..."In a May dispatch from Cuba, the Wall Street Journal reported that Fidel Castro proposed in 1987 to alleviate a chronic milk shortage by trying to get his scientists to clone the most productive cows, shrunk to the size of dogs so that each family could keep one inside it's apartment. The cows would feed on grass grown inside under fluorescent lights." Now I'd like a mini-polar bear, please, and a mini-elephant, while you're at it...
posted by troutfishing
on Dec 28, 2002 -
is the fancy term for dog hair used to make mittens, hats, sweaters, and more. This site will teach you all about chiengora and how to hand spin it into yarn. If you'd rather just brush your dog and send the fur to someone else to knit, check out Rover's Comb
posted by acridrabbit
on Dec 7, 2002 -
Three Dog Eves
--They really do understand
us--even better than our cousin chimpanzees. Well, at least when food's
As to how wolves became dogs, the current understanding seems to be they tamed themselves--in a Survival of the Friendliest
. Here's more on animal linguistics
. As for cats, well, Stephen Budiansky in The Character of Cats
suggests they aren't even really tame
. Hence, unlike dogs, cats haven't bothered to pick up our language--they've taught us Cat talk
instead. Take the test and see. A woof out to Australian Broadcast Coporation's five part Animal Attraction series is called for here.
posted by y2karl
on Nov 24, 2002 -
"No sir, that's not my fido."
Iranian cleric denounces the "moral depravity" of owning dogs, and calls for their arrest. (Both dogs and owners.) "In our country there is freedom of speech, but not freedom for corruption," he said. Why do we pretend to understand the culture of the middle east?
posted by woil
on Oct 14, 2002 -
Pariah dogs of the Middle East
No, not these two
jokers, but the real thing
: Canaan dogs
. Like the more refined Saluki
, Afghan Hound
and "barkless" Basenji
(among many others
), Canaan dogs have been known for thousands of years. They guard herds for modern Bedouins
like they did for ancient Israelites. During the 1930s, when traditional "war dogs" were having trouble adapting to Palestine, Zionists carefully redomesticated
the semi-wild animals, turning them into seeing eye dogs
and guards for isolated settlements
. Canaan dogs became one of the first breeds trained to detect mines effectively, although their use for bomb-sniffing remains a touchy subject
[LAT, reg'n]. You also might enjoy pondering the provocative question raised by this detailed essay: Why have all three major monotheistic religions considered dogs "a threat to the authority of the clergy"
posted by mediareport
on Jul 15, 2002 -
Canine candidate challenges Harris in FL elections
Harris the dog is running as a write-in candidate in the Republican primary. Percy is described as "a compassionate conservative who takes a hard-line with social parasites, particularly fleas and worms. His past is free of sex scandals, due to 'timely neutering.'" A great reminder of why this country is so great.
posted by wackybrit
on Jul 3, 2002 -
the Dalmatian who greeted the rich and powerful at the Inn at Little Washington, died this morning at age 13...
posted by GriffX
on May 14, 2002 -
Dog-mauling convicts' adopted Aryan son might be the Night Stalker
says the SF Chronicle. This case continues to get weirder. The DA now wants DNA evidence from Paul "Cornfed" Schneider -- the Pelican Bay inmate and Aryan Brotherhood gang leader whose Presa Canario dogs mauled Diane Whipple to death and whose lawyers (convicted in that death) adopted him -- to see if he is the missing link in the decades old "Night Stalker" serial killer case in California. Yeesh.
posted by brookish
on Apr 24, 2002 -
Two sworn enemies
that have been battling for a hundred years, each with their own agenda. Neither side has the moral high ground, and you would think that one side would know better than to use the tactics they do. Another mid-east post? Nope. Mail-carriers versus dogs.
posted by machaus
on Apr 21, 2002 -
I don't know what kind of dog it is (and I thought I was a dog-knowing expert) but I want one. If anyone can help me out with the breed (if it isn't a bizarre dog-panda hybrid) I would be really quite grateful...
posted by rikabel
on Apr 5, 2002 -
Killer Dog Trial...
...continues to get weirder and weirder. The longer this story goes on, the stranger it gets. 3-way sex with a convicted felon, who belongs to a white supremacy group. The dogs are for protecting Meth labs for the group. The couple adopts "Cornfed" Schneider (the convict) as their son (he is 39 years old) because they can't marry him (polygamy). Add on to it charges of Bestiality between the female defendant and the male dog "Bane," and the story just gets more and more interesting. The story so far will be coming out in this week's Rolling Stone
posted by da5id
on Feb 8, 2002 -
As Seoul Prepares for Soccer World Cup, a Debate Is Unleashed Over Dog Meat
. Cultures collide as FIFA warns and Brigitte Bardot threatens to organize boycotts of Korea over their Canine Cuisine
. Koreans are offended. (more)...
posted by Mack Twain
on Dec 11, 2001 -
We've had plenty of posts about dogs. . .we've had some posts about mercury. . . .but this
has not been posted as yet, as far as my searches of the site can deduct. No compelling reason to post this, other than it's in my occupational field and it's interesting.
posted by Danf
on Dec 6, 2001 -
BROWN v. MUHLENBERG TOWNSHIP
A municipal law enforcement officer violates the Fourth Amendment when he intentionally and repeatedly shoots a pet without any provocation and with knowledge that it belonged to a family readily available to take
posted by espada
on Oct 15, 2001 -