Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Psychologists studied how 28 horses reacted to seeing photographs of positive versus negative human facial expressions. When viewing angry faces, horses looked more with their left eye, a behaviour associated with perceiving negative stimuli. Their heart rate also increased more quickly and they showed more stress-related behaviours. The study, published February 10 in Biology Letters, concludes that this response indicates that the horses had a functionally relevant understanding of the angry faces they were seeing. The effect of facial expressions on heart rate has not been seen before in interactions between animals and humans.

Amy Smith, a doctoral student in the Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition Research Group at the University of Sussex who co-led the research, said: “What’s really interesting about this research is that it shows that horses have the ability to read emotions across the species barrier. We have known for a long time that horses are a socially sophisticated species but this is the first time we have seen that they can distinguish between positive and negative human facial expressions.”

“The reaction to the angry facial expressions was particularly clear — there was a quicker increase in their heart rate, and the horses moved their heads to look at the angry faces with their left eye.”

Research shows that many species view negative events with their left eye due to the right brain hemisphere’s specialisation for processing threatening stimuli (information from the left eye is processed in the right hemisphere).

Amy continued: “It’s interesting to note that the horses had a strong reaction to the negative expressions but less so to the positive. This may be because it is particularly important for animals to recognise threats in their environment. In this context, recognising angry faces may act as a warning system, allowing horses to anticipate negative human behaviour such as rough handling.”

A tendency for viewing negative human facial expressions with the left eye specifically has also been documented in dogs.

Professor Karen McComb, a co-lead author of the research, said: “There are several possible explanations for our findings. Horses may have adapted an ancestral ability for reading emotional cues in other horses to respond appropriately to human facial expressions during their co-evolution. Alternatively, individual horses may have learned to interpret human expressions during their own lifetime. What’s interesting is that accurate assessment of a negative emotion is possible across the species barrier despite the dramatic difference in facial morphology between horses and humans.”

“Emotional awareness is likely to be very important in highly social species like horses — and our ongoing research is examining the relationship between a range of emotional skills and social behaviour.”

The horses were recruited from five riding or livery stables in Sussex and Surrey, UK, between April 2014 and February 2015. They were shown happy and angry photographs of two unfamiliar male faces. The experimental tests examined the horses’ spontaneous reactions to the photos, with no prior training, and the experimenters were not able to see which photographs they were displaying so they could not inadvertently influence the horses.

Journal Reference: Amy Victoria Smith, Leanne Proops, Kate Grounds, Jennifer Wathan and Karen McComb. Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse (Equus caballus). Biology Letters, 2016 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0907

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160209221158.htm

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A Washington state animal shelter says a dog dutifully stood guard for a nearly a week on Vashon Island to protect another dog that had fallen in a cistern.

Tillie, a setter mix, only left Phoebe’s side to try to alert people of her trapped friend.

Amy Carey of Vashon Island Pet Protectors says the two were found Tuesday after they were reported missing by their owners last week. Vashon Island Pet Protectors says volunteers looking for the pair received a call about a reddish dog being seen on someone’s property a few times before promptly heading back into the ravine.

Carey says the Pet Protectors followed the tip and found Tillie lying beside an old cistern. Inside rescuers found Phoebe, a basset hound, on a pile of stones above the water.

The dogs were cold and hungry but otherwise unharmed.

“It’s really quite remarkable,” Carey said.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:9c331f3640d040c5ba3be1c8ebd32e2e

A 10-year-old mutt named Quasi Modo, whose spinal birth defects left her a bit hunchbacked, is the winner of this year’s World’s Ugliest Dog contest.

The pit bull-Dutch shepherd mix and her owner took the $1,500 prize Friday night, besting 25 other dogs competing in the contest that applauds imperfection, organizers said.

And though the name might make you think of the Quasimodo character in the Victor Hugo tale “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” this dog is female, not male as some thought.

Karen Spencer, marketing director for the Sonoma-Marin Fair, said she was notified Friday night by Quasi Modo’s owner that the world’s newly crowned ugliest dog is a she, and not a he.

Quasi Modo was abandoned at an animal shelter before being adopted by a veterinarian in Loxahatchee, Florida, according to her biography posted on the contest’s website.

Two Chinese crested and Chihuahua mixes named Sweepee Rambo and Frodo took the second- and third-place prizes, respectively.

An 8-year-old Chihuahua named Precious received the “spirit award,” honoring a dog and owner who have overcome obstacles and/or are providing service to the community. Precious, who is blind in one eye, is trained to monitor smells related to low blood sugar levels and alert her owner, a disabled veteran, of the problem, her biography said.

The contest, held at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma, is in its 27th year.

The dogs are scored by a three-judge panel in several categories, including special or unusual attributes, personality and natural ugliness.

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:0f37773b882c4941ae96d9d4287b69e3

Just because you can pre-order something doesn’t mean it’ll be awesome when it’s finally ready. The folks behind the No More Woof dog translator seem to be looking to tamper everyone’s expectations as such, with phrases like “to be completely honest, the first version will be quite rudimentary” and “the more money we raise, the better the chances of creating something truly amazing!”

The No More Woof Indiegogo campaign is looking to raise $10,000; at the time of this writing, the project’s at just over $7,000 with almost two months left to go, so it looks like this is happening.

The technology itself involves a dog-worn headset that senses EEG activity in the dog’s brain, runs the data through a tiny computer, and renders the thought out as words through a speaker. We’re talking simple stuff here like “I’m hungry, I’m tired, I want to go out, SQUIRREL!”

From the looks of it, it’s probably not too much more advanced than what you’re able to glean from your dog already – the dog barks at the door when he wants to go out, barks at his bowl when he wants food, and goes to sleep when he’s tired.

You’ll need to pony up at least $65 to get the lowest-level hardware – “one sensor equipped NMW able to distinguish 2-3 thought patterns, most likely Tiredness, Hunger and Curiosity,” according to the Indiegogo listing. Pay more and you can get versions with better and better features. Fork over a cool $5,000 and you can get the first No More Woof to ship.

Read more: BEHOLD THE FUTURE: Dog Translator Available for Pre-order | TIME.com http://techland.time.com/2013/12/19/behold-the-future-dog-translator-available-for-pre-order/#ixzz2pGGJwmc6

dog

Vets in Berlin are warning about an increase in the number of pets falling ill and being unable to walk properly after eating the drug-users’ faeces in the city’s parks.

Parks in the Treptow and Kreuzburg areas of the capital see groups of drug users gathering – some of whom go to the toilet in the bushes. The results of which, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported on Monday, are proving dangerous for dogs.

Vets told the newspaper that they had seen a rise in the number of dogs being brought in that had eaten human waste. Tests revealed that they had been poisoned by illegal drugs, like heroin, still present in the excrement.

Vet Reinhold Sassnau told the paper that symptoms include dehydration, shaking, an inability to walk properly and a rapid heartbeat. He sees a lot of these cases during his night shifts, he said.

If owners take their dog to a vet in time, the animal can be given an emetic which forces them to vomit up the faeces. If not, treatment can require staying in a clinic for some time to stabilize. Sassnau said fatal cases were rare.

One student, identified only as Malte, told the newspaper that he had to take his 10-year-old dog, Bob, to an emergency vet after walking him through Görlitzer Park, an area well-known for drug-dealing. “We thought he was going to die,” he said.

Jörn Bischof, the vet at the Charlottenburg clinic who treated Bob earlier in October, told the paper: “This is becoming more frequent.”

He added that although dogs are often tempted to eat waste they come across outdoors, owners should try to train them not to.

http://www.thelocal.de/society/20131021-52497.html

dogs

A Polish businessman who tried to save money by stashing amputated body parts in warehouses instead of incinerating them was exposed by the nose of man’s best friend, prosecutors said.

Stray dogs, attracted by the smell, started gathering outside the warehouses, Polish television quoted prosecutors as saying on Friday.

Police were alerted and made the grisly discovery when they searched the compound, broadcaster TVN CNBC reported.

The owner of the company, in the southern city of Katowice, could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for endangering public health, the station quoted prosecutors as saying.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the report, the company had contracts with around 300 medical hospitals and clinics to dispose of medical waste, which included amputated body parts.

The broadcaster reported that the company initially buried the waste underground at a private plot, and when space ran out, started using the warehouses. Prosecutors found 100 tonnes of medical waste that the firm had failed to dispose of properly, it said.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2013/05/10/20812016.html

dog

When Marine Sgt. Ross Gundlach served as a dog handler in Afghanistan, he told the yellow lab who was his constant companion that he’d look her up when he returned home. “I promised her if we made it out of alive, I’d do whatever it took to find her,” Gundlach said.

On Friday, he made good on that vow with help from some sentimental state officials in Iowa who know how to pull off a surprise. Since leaving active duty to take classes at the University of Wisconsin this summer, Gundlach, of Madison, Wis., had been seeking to adopt 4-year-old Casey.

The 25-year-old learned Casey had finished her military service and had been sent to the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office, where she was used to detect explosives. Gundlach wrote to State Fire Marshal Director Ray Reynolds, explaining the connection he felt with the dog. He even has a tattoo on his right forearm depicting Casey with angel wings and a halo, sitting at the foot of a Marine.

“He’s been putting a case together for the last two months, sending me pictures … it just tugged on your heart,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds decided to arrange a surprise. First, he got in touch with the Iowa Elk’s Association, which agreed to donate $8,500 to buy another dog for the agency.

“We have a motto in our association that as long as there are veterans, the Elks will strive to help them,” Iowa Elks Association president Tom Maher said. Then, Reynolds came up with a ruse to get Gundlach to Des Moines, telling Gundlach he needed to come to the state Capitol to plead his case in front of a “bureaucratic oversight committee.”

When Gundlach arrived with his parents, Reynolds told them the meeting had been delayed and invited them to join an Armed Services Day celebration in the rotunda. There, hundreds of law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians were seated, keeping the secret — until they brought out Casey. When Gundlach saw Casey, he put his head in his hands and cried. She licked his face, wagging her tail furiously.

“It was a total surprise,” he said. “I owe her. I’ll just try to give her the best life I can.”

His father, Glen Gundlach, seemed just as surprised. “It’s unbelievable … the state of Iowa, I love ’em,” he said.

Gov. Terry Branstad officially retired Casey from active duty during Friday’s ceremony, thanking the dog for a “job well done.”

During the 150 missions they performed together, Gundlach said Casey never missed an explosive — she caught three before they could be detonated. He credits her for making it back home safely.

“I wouldn’t be here … any kids I ever had wouldn’t exist if Casey hadn’t been here,” he said.

http://news.yahoo.com/marine-dog-reunited-surprise-ceremony-205112134.html;_ylt=Ar.ysfGFUOy8ZQpyv.IgyQMavMB_;_ylu=X3oDMTIzNzg2dm04BG1pdANIQ01PTCBvbiBhcnRpY2xlIHJpZ2h0IHJhaWwEcGtnA2lkLTMyNzU4MjUEcG9zAzUEc2VjA2hjbQR2ZXIDMTI-;_ylg=X3oDMTBhYWM1a2sxBGxhbmcDZW4tVVM-;_ylv=3

Thank to Kebmnodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Intereresting community.