Posts about dogs

Dogs and Wolves Share a Sense of Fair Pay

Dogs and wolves share sense of fair play

The scientists tested similarly raised dogs and wolves that lived in packs. Two animals of each species were placed in adjacent cages, equipped with a buzzer apparatus. When the dog or wolf pressed it with their paw, both animals got a reward on some occasions. Other times, the dog or wolf doing the task got nothing while the partner did.

The key finding was that when the partner got a high value treat, the animal doing the task refused to continue with it.

photo of a Gray Wold looking at the camera

Gray Wolf by Gary Kramer (USFWS), public domain

This is a similar result as that found with Capuchin monkeys that don’t like being paid less than others.

The question of social status or hierarchy also played an important role in the experiments with dogs and wolves of higher rank taking umbrage more quickly.

The human impact on dogs isn’t entirely absent though. Pet dogs are less sensitive to being treated unfairly – probably because of their experience with us!

It is fun to see these results mirror aspects of our psychology. It is fun to see how these experiments test out animal’s responses.

Related: Goats Excel at Learning and Remembering a Complex TasksRats Show Empathy-driven BehaviorInsightful Problem Solving in an Asian ElephantsHow Wolves Changed the Yellowstone Ecosystem

Friday Fun: Exercise Wheels for Dogs and Cats

This would certainly give dogs that don’t have big enough yards to run in some good exercise.

Cats don’t seem to take to the wheels as naturally as a few dogs do. While the wheel is odd no matter what I would also wager the evolution of the animals is at play. Cats are use to stalking animals. You can see that trait play out in the kitten video above (and lots of other similar videos – so while this one is partially the kittens short attention span it also seems common that cats don’t just run for a long time). While dogs are evolved to wear our their prey in log distance chases. I’m sure getting dogs to use a wheel isn’t likely to be super easy but I think it will be easier than getting cats to do so.

Related: Kittens Reminding You to Thank Your MotherFriday Escape Dog FunFriday Cat Fun: Treadmill CatsDog and Duckling Fun

Build a Remote Presence Robot to Play with Your Dog While You Are Away

This Microsoft robotics test developer built this remote controlled robot to play with his dog while he was at work.

Related: Remote Presence RobotSwarmanoid: Cooperative Robot NetworksAutomatic Dog Washing Machine

What Dogs Reveal About Evolution

cover of the Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

From, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins

All breeds of dogs are domesticated wolves: not jackals, not coyotes and not foxes.

Coppinger points out that when domestic animals break free and go feral for many generations, they usually revert to something close to their wild ancestor. We might expect feral dogs, therefore, to become rather wolf-like. But this doesn’t happen. Instead, dogs left to go feral seem to become the ubiquitous “village dogs” – “pye-dogs” – that hang around human settlements all over the Third World. This encourages Coppinger’s belief that the dogs on which human breeders finally went to work were wolves no longer. They had already changed themselves into dogs: village dogs, pye-dogs, perhaps dingos.

Real wolves are pack hunters. Village dogs are scavengers that frequent middens and rubbish dumps.

Belyaev and his colleagues (and successors, for the experimental programme continued after his death) subjected fox cubs to standardised tests in which an experimenter would offer a cub food by hand, while trying to stroke or fondle it. The cubs were classified into three classes. Class III cubs were those that fled from or bit the person. Class II cubs would allow themselves to be handled, but showed no positive responsiveness to the experimenters. Class I cubs, the tamest of all, positively approached the handlers, wagging their tails and whining. When the cubs grew up, the experimenters systematically bred only from this tamest class.

After a mere six generations of this selective breeding for tameness, the foxes had changed so much that the experimenters felt obliged to name a new category, the “domesticated elite” class, which were “eager to establish human contact, whimpering to attract attention and sniffing and licking experimenters like dogs.” At the beginning of the experiment, none of the foxes were in the elite class. After ten generations of breeding for tameness, 18 per cent were “elite”; after 20 generations, 35 per cent; and after 30 to 35 generations, “domesticated elite” individuals constituted between 70 and 80 per cent of the experimental population.

The tame foxes not only behaved like domestic dogs, they looked like them. They lost their foxy pelage and became piebald black and white, like Welsh collies. Their foxy prick ears were replaced by doggy floppy ears. Their tails turned up at the end like a dog’s, rather than down like a fox’s brush. The females came on heat every six months like a bitch, instead of every year like a vixen. According to Belyaev, they even sounded like dogs.

These dog-like features were side- effects. Belyaev and his team did not deliberately breed for them, only for tameness.

The famous domesticated silver fox experiment offers interesting insight into animal traits and evolution.

Related: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins – The Evolution of House CatsDarwin’s Beetles Still Producing SurprisesBackyard Wildlife: Fox

Friday Fun: Bristol Zoo’s Human Exhibit

Human Exhibit at the Bristol ZooPhoto of the Homo Sapiens zoo sign at the Bristol Zoo

A mysterious sign has appeared on the side of the Zoo’s popular Coral Café, designating the area as a place to spot one of the world’s most widespread species – Homo sapiens. The notice, which appeared without warning this week, shows humans ‘on display’ inside the café and includes tongue-in-cheek description of the species and its characteristics.

Zoo staff were surprised and amused to discover the new fixture. Dr Jo Gipps, Director of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “This is definitely not one of the Zoo’s own signs, it is clearly a prank and a very good one too. It looks completely genuine. We think it’s great sign and we have absolutely no intention of removing it, however I think one of them is probably enough.”

From the sign:

After a gestation period of nine months, the you usually live in the parents’ next for around 16 years. While the parents are out foraging for food, juveniles are looked after in large groups by other adults.

In adolescence, the offspring adopt a more nocturnal lifestyle and engage in ritualized activities of drinking fermented liquids and dancing to rhythmical sounds, which scientists believe may help them to find a mate.

They are known to adopt other species as pets, particularly dogs (canis lupus familians) and cats (felis catus).

Related: Friday Cat Fun #10: Cat and Crow FriendsAdventurous Young Humanfunny comicMalaysian Shrew Survives on Beerposts on animals

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Automatic Dog Washing Machine

I think this is pretty cool; I’m sure some will object though. It was “designed by a team of veterinarians and engineers to clean the dog very very well. Its very very safe.” You probably can’t afford one for your house though: it cost $30,000. The
The Dog-Washing Machine is available in France and elsewhere, too (the video above is from Vancouver, Canada).

The brainchild of French entrepreneur Romain Jerry, the Dog’O’Matic takes about 30 minutes: 5 minutes for the actual washing with soft jets of water and a mild shampoo and an additional 25 minutes for drying with warm air.

A French reporter tried the invention with her own dog, and though the pooch initially tried to jump out of the machine, the dog quickly calmed down once the process started and completed the wash.

I imagine some will react emotionally that it must be mean because a machine sounds mean. I don’t really see why it must be mean. Plenty of people pay others to wash their dogs and the dogs jump around and bark and shake when they are getting lathered up. That isn’t cruel, I don’t see why this would be.

Related: Friday Dog Escape Funposts on engineering entrepreneurshipMaking Magnificent Mirrors with Math

Friday Cat Fun #14: Scuba Cat

The video was removed 🙁

Scuba cat with pal – scuba dog. What does scuba stand for? Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

Related: Friday Cat Fun with a Guest Star: A Dolphinfun with catsFriday Dog Fun

Friday Dog Fun

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Polar Bears and Huskies

I posted about Polar Bear and Dogs previously. Now here is a video:

Related: Tabby Cat and Black BearBackyard Wildlife: Fox

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