Friday, December 14, 2012

Cool Dog Talents and Neat News

Dogs never cease to amaze with their senses, talents, and the great things that we can teach them to accomplish. A Beagle in Amsterdam has been trained to sniff out the superbug Clostridium difficile (or c. diff). This particularly virulent disease can flourish and spread in hospitals or nursing homes, the very places we are supposed to go to get well! With the assistance of Cliff the Beagle, c. diff can be recognized sooner (it mimics flu-like symptoms), and affected patients can be isolated.
Another talented pup is pictured here. Migaloo is the world's first "archaeology dog." She has been trained to sniff out human bones. Unlike a cadaver dog or rescue dog, she has been trained to sniff out dry bones from archaeological sites--her biggest test thus far has been finding a 600 year old Aboriginal grave site. Even though they are dry, buried bones, Migaloo can still sniff them out. She is now going to be trained on fossils and perhaps pottery, to see just how far she can push the limits of her senses.
In New Guinea, a rare wild dog, feared extinct in their natural habitat, appears to have been spotted. The elusive Singing Dog (named for its coyote-like howls) is a relative of the Dingo, and resembles domestic Shiba Inu dogs. A scant 200 of these dogs live in captivity, but this population is dwindling due to lack of new genes. It's thrilling to know that there are still wild things out there, waiting to be (re)discovered!

I found out about a cool study that you and your dog can participate in-- the Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab is doing a study on the myriad of ways that people and pups have playtime. All that you have to do to participate is upload a short (60sec) clip to the study website, and complete a short survey. This is open to participants all over the world, and can help to increase our understanding of the complex relationship between a dog and its owner.

 Stumbled across this funny clip on YouTube today-- a pup got just what he wanted for Christmas! A huge pyramid of empty water bottles. These are definitely Gordon's favorite toy, too. :-)

Have a great weekend!


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