When every call of “Spot, come!” sends your dog running in the opposite direction, it’s easy to be cynical about how well canines listen. But a new study shows dogs and even puppies are capable of understanding subtle and indirect cues in human voices, a finding with implications for how dogs came to be deeply attuned to human behavior.
The study found that dogs of all shapes and sizes could home in on a treat based entirely on the direction in which a hidden human was speaking. Human babies can do the same, but our clever cousins the chimpanzees can’t, according to a 2012 study.
It has been almost 10 years since Bashur the dog left a war zone in Iraq for a quiet home in the Chicago suburbs, and in that time, a lot has changed.
Once small enough to fit in the palm of the Army officer who rescued her from a life in the wild, she has grown to a 110-pound hulk. Once attuned to the faint noise of distant but rapidly approaching rockets, her radar now locks onto deer and foxes.
But one thing is still the same. Bashur remains a paragon of faithfulness — only now, the center of her world is the officer’s father, Hampshire car dealer John Fenzel.
“She’s a character,” Fenzel said the other day. “Not a lovey-dovey lap dog, but super loyal.”
Susy Tucker marks the time her autistic son, Zach, began hugging her again — after a lapse of four years — by the arrival of Clyde, a chocolate Labrador trained behind bars by a convicted killer.
Within three weeks of Clyde’s arrival at the Tuckers’ home in Colorado Springs, Zach went from petting his dog to wrapping his arms around his mother. It was a stunning moment, one of many to follow. The boy who once grimaced and whined at any skin-to-skin contact had learned the warmth of touching from a dog. Read More
Beth Smith walked by the dachshund once, then twice.
The dog was injured; it could barely move its hind legs. And its muzzle and face bore superficial cuts, as though it had tangled with a cactus or perhaps another dog.
Many of the strays brought into Maricopa County Animal Care and Control have such marks from their time on the street. But Smith, an animal-care technician at the shelter, was noticing other things, too.
The dachshund’s unusual coloring caught her eye; she knew the dappled look was prized among admirers of the breed. And there was something else. Despite the little dog’s obvious pain and bedraggled face, its eyes were bright.
This dog had a home, Smith knew. And she needed to find it. Read More
The Bytesize team were floored by the response to the Everyday Chemistry contest last month. We received 32 great videos from all over the world, and all this week we’ll be running our favorite clips from the competition.
The top spot went to a video on what to do if your dog gets “skunked.” The video was produced by Sally B. Mitchell, a chemistry teacher from East Syracuse Minoa High School in Syracuse, NY. It turns out that tomato juice is not the best way to de-skunk your dog — watch the video to find out more!