Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
Sunday, October 2, 2011
What’s the News: You might think that identical twins have an advantage when it comes to crime—with the same DNA, who could tell them apart? But new research with a squad of scent-trained Czech police dogs reveals that even identical twins have their own individual smells, even if they live in the same house and eat the same food.
How the Heck:
- Scent line-ups for identifying suspects are regularly used in the Czech Republic, Russia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and several other European countries. Trained dogs are provided with a scent from the scene of a crime and then sniff out the matching scent from sweat samples taken from suspects.
- The researchers took sweat samples from two sets of identical twins and two sets of fraternal twins (whose status they verified with DNA testing), as well as plenty of samples from unrelated children. All the samples were taken in the same room and with the same scientist present, so background odors wold cancel out.
- Then, 10 trained German Shepherds, police dogs used solely for identifying suspects by scent, were put through a total of 120 scent line-ups by police officers who had no knowledge of which pads were which.
- In every single trial, the dogs correctly identified the individuals they were seeking, even when an individual’s identical twin was also in the line-up.
Read the rest here:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
"The results of the present study indicate that early separation of
a puppy from the litter is an experience that may increase the ani-
mal’s chances of showing potentially problematic behaviours as an
adult. Moreover, this effect can be further potentiated by the puppy’s
very first environment. It is well known that experience, genetics
and environment jointly influence most aspects of behaviour, exert-
ing interactive effects (Gottesman and Hanson 2005). In dogs, as in
human beings, the socialisation period is associated with the develop-
ment of social and environmental behaviour patterns, including those
associated with learning," the study reads.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Tongues are important, biologists say. Two recent studies explore tongue design and function--how they are used for lapping by dogs and for nectar retrieval by hummingbirds. Margaret Rubega, of the University of Connecticut, explains how hummingbird tongues, without any muscle, grab liquid. A. W. Crompton and Catherine Musinsky, of Harvard University, and Crompton's dog Matilda, demonstrate how dogs get water in their mouths by flattening the tongue into a plate and how the liquid travels through the mouth. video, stills: Alejandro Rico-Guevara and Margaret A. Rubega/PNAS A. W. Crompton and Catherine Musinsky/Biology Letters
Saturday, April 23, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Citing a lack of state standards for
drug-sniffing dogs, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday tossed out
evidence a canine detected against a Panhandle man.
It was one of two warrantless search and seizure cases the justices
decided Thursday. Both set new guidelines for such cases.
While the 5-1 drug dog decision will make it more difficult for
police to obtain evidence, the 5-2 ruling in the second case should
make it easier. That opinion upheld evidence that police obtained
through human surveillance in a South Florida drug case.
"Because a dog cannot be cross-examined like a police officer on the
scene whose observations often provide the basis for probable cause
to search a vehicle, the state must introduce evidence concerning the
dog's reliability," Justice Barbara Pariente wrote for the court.
Given the lack of statewide standards for single-purpose,
drug-detecting dogs, training certificates and records aren't enough,
Prosecutors also must present other evidence including field
performance records and an explanation of each dog's training as well
as evidence concerning the experience and training of the officer
handling the dog. Further, it's the state's responsibility to prove a
dog is reliable, not the defendant's burden to show otherwise.
Chief Justice Charles Canady dissented.
"The majority demands a level of certainty that goes beyond what is
required by the governing probable cause standard," Canady wrote. He
added the dogs will need "to be virtually infallible."
The U.S. Supreme Court approved drug-sniffing dogs to check vehicles
during routine traffic stops in 2005, but their accuracy has remained an issue.
The Oregon Supreme Court also set reliability criteria in a pair of
rulings earlier this month, and a Chicago Tribune analysis of
Illinois data in January showed the dogs are wrong more often than
they are right.
Just last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in a separate case
that police must get a warrant before using drug-sniffing dogs at the
front door of a home.
Attorney General Pam Bondi said she would appeal that ruling to the
U.S. Supreme Court, but her office had no immediate comment on the
It reversed a 1st District Court of Appeal decision that had upheld a
judge's refusal to suppress drug evidence obtained against Clayton
Harris during a 2006 traffic stop in Liberty County southwest of Tallahassee.
Sheriff's Deputy William Wheetley's dog Aldo alerted to the driver's
side door handle after Harris refused to consent to a search of his truck.
Wheetley then found more than 200 pseudoephedrine pills under the
driver's seat and 8,000 matches in eight boxes on the passenger's
side. A later search turned up muriatic acid in a toolbox.
All three items are used to make methamphetamine. Harris admitted he
was addicted to meth and "cooked" it at his home in Blountstown. He
pleaded no contest and received a two-year prison sentence, but he
reserved the right to appeal the denial of his suppression motion.
The state presented evidence Aldo had been trained to detect several
types of drugs including meth, but Pariente noted the list did not
include pseudoephedrine. Also, two months later, Wheetley again
stopped Harris for a traffic infraction and Aldo again alerted to the
door handle, but this time no illegal drugs were found.
Pariente pointed out that only Aldo's successes were noted in his
training records, not his failures, so there was no way to determine
In the surveillance case, the majority upheld Anthony Hankerson's
cocaine conviction and 10-year prison term.
The opinion by Canady reversed a 4th District Court of Appeal ruling
that evidence found on Hankerson should have been suppressed. The
appeal court cited a prior appellate court ruling that a single
suspicious event was not enough to establish probable cause for a
search without a warrant.
In Hankerson's case, a Delray Beach police officer saw him give
objects to three people in exchange for money in quick succession.
Based on that information, another Delray Beach officer stopped his
vehicle and found a bag of cocaine in one of his shoes.
The search was justified because the first officer saw three
transactions, not just one, Canady wrote.
In dissent, Pariente argued those exchanges were a single transaction
because they took place in a matter of seconds and could not justify
a search. Justice James Perry concurred with her dissent.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Dogs, like many other mammals, tend to prefer using physical cues (movement, proximity, body language, hand signals, facial expression) to determine what behavior is being asked of them. Verbal cues are a human preference.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Over the last two decades, the traditional model of dominance and submission has been thoroughly and effectively debunked. A seminal work is the book _Dogs_ by Raymond and Lorna Coppinger (2001). But a strong basis lies in the study of calming signals by Turid Rugaas,
since 1982 or so. Then along came Alexandra Semyonova, with a really GRITTY book, _The 100 silliest things people say about dogs_.
That book requires some salt to go with it; I don't really need to
tell anybody where to salt it. Anybody may think what they like. I
agree with most of what Semyonova writes.
Her debunking of various of the dominance myths is absolutely
heart-rending at times. The truth of her descriptions is evident to
anybody who has lived with dogs for a long time, and observes with
care, without prejudice, on DOG terms.
THAT is where, historically, we humans have failed. Our observations
have incorporated far too much projection, and we have, therefore,
failed to see DOG terms.
Humans worry about rank, status, hierarchy - we live in a society full of power-struggles. Domestic dogs, as a rule, do all they can to avoid conflict, and probably can't imagine a struggle for power, though they may covet something another dog has. However, a dog whose real needs are consistently met in a timely way, shows not the slightest evidence of caring about anything like rank, status, or hierarchy. Those are artificial, human structural creations.
I went through a period of believing one should "support the dominant dog." That lasted maybe about six months, till I realized I had no idea WHICH dog was dominant - dominance seemed to be fluid - at one time, or in one situation, one dog was dominant, and at another time, or in a different situation, a different dog was dominant.
That was before I met Turid's work. When finally I did meet it, I
breathed large sighs of relief, along with saying to myself, Oh, so
THAT'S what my dog(s) meant - when they used certain body language.
Finally I realized that the dominance model simply fails because it
doesn't match dog-terms.
To find dog-terms, we have to ask the dogs, and that's precisely what
Turid Rugaas did - observing with meticulous care, documenting with
We do, though, have a VERY long history and a high percentage of
belief in the dominance model among dog-trainers and behavior
counselors. So probably, wherever we go, we can find counsel that
says, "Support the dominant dog."
Slowly, slowly, the percentage of those who are actually able to ask
the dogs is rising.
People who fear that their dogs might become the boss probably slows
human learning. A careful look shows that those of us who keep
companion dogs are neither the boss nor alpha. Our position is far
greater than that - it is that of Caretaker and Guide. OUR dogs would
not survive without our care. Very simple, really!
Carrol - if you want to, you may copy this post elsewhere. It's my
personal opinion, based on my 50-year experience with dogs, 30 0f
those with intensive self-study on behavior. During which time I made
PLENTY of mistakes, going through various sets of beliefs.
And there's plenty more besides the references I've mentioned that
support my position on this.
Tue, 8 Mar 2011 20:45:52
Carol Whitney, with Kwali (ndd, RB) and Kumbi (dd; dx 1 Sept 2006, RB)
Camellia Camelo, IFO (ndd), Havanese
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Do you think your dog "knows" sit? Take the sit throw-down challenge. You can find Dr. Ian Dunbar's sit test here - http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001/sittest.htm
Post a video response at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtY5U2K-rG0 showing how you've helped your dog to generalize "sit."
FYI - - the points don't matter. And the winner - well that's everyone who helps his/her dog generalize this behavior using positive training methods.
Be sure to stop by Lisa's channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/lisarnocn . Lisa owns that lovely doberman, Kelly.
Stop by http://www.youtube.com/user/krysova for Anita's channel. Anita owns those gorgeous German Shepherd Dogs.
And, of course, you can visit Marge Rogers channel http://www.youtube.com/user/rogersmmr for more ridgeback videos and some unique tricks.