Pat Parker18 February 2012 at 3:10pmPosts: 2683 (0 today)Status: offline
Interesting read, Rraven. It's also interesting to know that a study between wolves and dogs was recently done (@ one year ago) -- it was a test of how wolves react to humans pointing to something. In the study, they found that not all wolves followed the pointing fingers and/or their noses, just as not all dogs do. Seems as if it really is an individualized thing. (The study, by the way was conducted at Wolf Park, my favorite wolf education center and it was done by "experts in the field" with the super intelligent wolves of Wolf Park -- I imagine the work has been published by now).
I do know that although wolves have a higher level of intelligence than the smartest dog -- it's more of an innate intelligence. Wolves can do deductive reasoning (where as dogs don't), yet wolves will not do "tricks" for us like we have our pets do and they don't answer to "names" -- if they are raised with humans, it's more the human's voice that they recognize, not because anyone says, Here Lassie!.
(I vaguely remember that even the Wolf Park staff were quite surprised when one of their typically "star" pupils just never got the idea of following the pointing finger to the cup that covered a treat -- so again, I guess it's just as individualized as our own learning).
Thanks again for the interesting read.
Zenrider18 February 2012 at 4:37pmPosts: 3560 (0 today)Status: offline
Read that this morning. Interesting. Dogs also have a lot on a lot of people. If you point at something the dog almost always knows what you are pointing at, people not so much so.
Of course, dog agility people have known this for a long time.
All the dogs in my family learned that a tapping toe usually involved dropped food.
There's a brilliant BBC Horizon documentary on dogs that came out a few years ago. I don't know if it ever was shown in the states. In it, experiments were done raising newborn wolf cubs as puppies in homes with dogs. By the age of 4 months, all of the wolf cubs had grown so violent that they were returned to the wold sanctuary where they were born. This suggests that domestication is a matter of genes more so than nuturing. (I used to know a lot about wolves, but most of those memories have gone POOF)
There has been suggestions bysome biologists that wolfs are dumber than dogs. But really, what would a wolf gain by acting by a dog? They don't need to. That's the problem with trying to measure animal intelligence (although I'm glad that conventional science does recognize that non-human and non-primate animals have intelligence). There's an Oxford univeristy study out stating that dogs and horses are more intelligent than cats based on social interaction and brain size:
Pat Parker18 February 2012 at 8:09pmPosts: 2683 (0 today)Status: offline
I'll have to take a look at it after working my weekend, Rraven -- it sounds quite interesting. As far as the wolf cubs being raised with humans and dog pups, I believe you in that they most likely would not make great pets (wolves, that is). It's true that although dogs' ancestors are wolves, it has taken many, many years to "work out" those wild genes. A wild wolf would kill a dog -- it's just that way.
While I was at Wolf Park, the staff were so great at educating us all and even tho their wolves have been raised to be "socialized", they are wolves in the end -- they are not "pets", they do not act as pets and no one on the staff would ever think that they can trust the wolf to be their friend -- in fact, every staff person has at one time or another been involved with a wolf acting out on them. I remember them telling us, "we would never assume the wolves love us" (much like most people do with their pets) -- we, as humans have no idea what a wolf's version of "love" is and vice versa.
Sorry to go on and on about it, but quite honestly, I have always loved wolves -- mostly because of their wild nature and as much as I would love to have a wolf, I know that I could never -- which makes me enjoy them even more. Weird I guess, but it works for me.
Zen -- I like the tapping of the foot thing. I have always just pointed and the dog gets the idea -- there we go -- right back to square one on the discussion, yeah? Pointing to an object for the dog to get.
Interestingly enough, Harry is brilliant, but he doesn't do the "pointing finger" reaction just yet -- he is slowly getting it though. One thing that I really enjoy about Harry is the fact that I haven't spoiled him by giving him any kind of snacks (human snacks, that is). I find that he doesn't really know to beg. I can sit with chips,etc., and for the most part he might start out looking at me, but eventually just walks away. I think it's because he didn't have that experience of being raised around us humans sitting and chomping in front of the tv. He does, however, know that the kitchen counter is where all food sources come from and with me he's very patient and knows that I will be giving him his food from there. However, if anyone else stands at the kitchen counter, preparing any food, Harry will bark at them -- as if to say, "Don't mess with my food, man!"
Thanks again for an interesting read. Catch up with it all later.
That's interesting info from Wolf Pack about their interactions with wolves! I like th foot-tapping observation, Zen. Dogs can also follow the direction a human's eyes swivel to and get information that way. Our 2 dogs have learned that a crash or an "Oh, shit!" from the kitchen means that food has dropped on the floor.
There may be bits and pieces of the Horizon documentary on YouTube. I hadn't looked for them. (Blush)
Pat Parker18 February 2012 at 10:41pmPosts: 2683 (0 today)Status: offline
LOL! Rraven -- you are sooooooooo right about the crashing of something -- all of my dogs will know that there might be some treats in store for them. I remember once a very long time ago, I had dropped a jar/can of cashews onto the kitchen floor -- at the time, Sheba came running toward the kitchen to help "clean up" -- I stopped her immediately -- STOP!! Fortunately, Sheba was a very well-behaved dog so she did. Of course, all I could do was sweep them up and throw them in the trash.
Dustydog used to know when I called to order food delivery. She knew by the tone of my voice, the short phone call, etc., As soon as I would hang up the phone, she would go to the door and wait for the delivery. She really was one smart dog (border collie/chow mix).
Harry is learning that when the doorbell rings and he goes running to the door, I usually trick him into going into the powder room (which is right by the front door). This is only because I haven't yet taught him/tested him with not running out of the front door when the door is opened. So, I quickly have him go into the powder room and wait until I've opened the door. Recently, he's caught on, so he tries to avoid me putting him in the powder room -- have to come up with another plan I guess.
Has Harry learned to spell yet? There are some words we couldn't say around Pony (the oldest dog) such as "dinner", "walk" or "Petsmart." So Mom and I would spell the words out to each other. Now we can't even spell the words -- she'd figured them out.
Ela19 February 2012 at 3:53amPosts: 1336 (0 today)Status: offline
Our dog Marley recognizes the word "walk", so we have to spell it, but I think she's catching on to that too. She also knows the word "bath" and hides under the kitchen table or runs upstairs to hide when she hears us say something about giving her a bath. One annoying thing she also does is if any of us put on shoes, any shoes, even house shoes, she starts hopping up and down and barking wanting to go for a walk. Hysteria every time someone puts shoes on! We walk her a lot too, so it's not like we don't take her out. A cute thing she does each morning when the kids put their breakfast plate by the sink, she will sit by the counter and look at me and then towards the place on the counter where the plate is. She will do this repeatedly. It's as if she's saying "don't you see me sitting here patiently waiting for any scraps left on the plate?" I'm a sucker for that particular habit and she sometimes ends up with a bit of scrambled egg in her dog bowl. I know, I'm falling for her tricks too! She's got me well trained!
Soul Reader19 February 2012 at 11:23pmPosts: 3479 (0 today)Status: offline
Cool topic! I know that Otis seems to have his own ways of getting me to do what HE wants, lol. Very sharp pup.
Progressive jen20 February 2012 at 1:18amPosts: 5474 (0 today)Status: offline
Scruffy used to always bark and run to the front door whenever a doorbell was used in a TV show or commercial. We used to tell him "it's ok, you've scared them away" and then he would calm down.
We also had to spell out, park and ride.
God I miss my dog!
Pat Parker20 February 2012 at 6:03pmPosts: 2683 (0 today)Status: offline
The past weekend must have been a "dog" theme all around. I was reading and posting here on this thread (and love all of the stories from everyone and their dogs ) and then when I went to work on Friday night, during the night we got into a conversation about our dogs -- I can't remember how it started or by whom, but then I began to tell the other nurses about these studies, etc., -- of course, we then all shared even more stories and I do think the general consensus is/was that these canines (and felines, I'm sure) are one smart bunch of animals . . . and cute with it also.
For Laura -- Having met Marley personally this past summer (yes, folks, even Marley attended a PG-pre-show picnic at Saratoga Springs ), I can picture her doing that to you. I remember when we were sitting there and you had her on your lap -- she was a bit shy and when she turned to look in our direction, both Dar and I said at the same time -- oh, how cute are her ears (she really does have the cutest face and ears). Dar and I said it together, which made Marley bark at us -- I think she was put off by our two-part harmonies ). Anyway, I also remember that once I started giving her some chicken, she became my best friend . . . well, until the chicken ran out, of course! I do believe you're right -- these little buggers do such a great job of training us and we like to think that we've taught them something.
As for Harry knowing to spell yet -- I'll have to get back to you on that one. I do know that he recognizes "out" "treat" "eat" and while we're walking I will usually say, "let's go get the mail" -- "mail" and I think he's getting the hang of that. He also seems to know "home", so I will have to start practicing spelling out the words and do some research.
Jen -- I smiled when I read your post because I am going thru the very same thing with Harry -- every time he hears some sort of chime, bell ring, he runs to the front door barking. Many nights Wheel of Fortune will be on although I'm not watching it . . . and they have lots of bells -- for every time a letter gets turned. I think Harry's becoming desensitized to it -- finally, otherwise he used to go crazy with the "dings"
Jen, I understand how you feel about Scruffy and know that you are missing him very much. I'm not sure if you'll ever consider getting another dog, and even if you do, who knows when you'll feel the time is right, but I can tell you based on my most recent experience (losing Dustydog last year; getting Harry this year) that I was worried about getting another dog because I didn't want to feel as if any dog could ever replace Dustydog, so it took me awhile. I do love Harry very much and sometimes I feel a bit of a pang of guilt that I'm enjoying him just as I did Dustydog, but then I realize that it's all okay -- Harry's worthy of the same type of affection as Dustydog had -- so it's all good. I think you'll find that you won't ever replace Scruffy, but you wll replace the affection that exists between a human and canine -- and somehow, I think these canines are worthy of all we can give them because they, in the end, give us way more than we even dreamed of. So, hopefully you'll consider a new pet someday soon -- you deserve the very best!
Meanwhile, Harry has learned some "tricks" -- of course he shakes/gives paw -- he will lie down for a treat and more recently, he can "pick the hand" that has the treat -- I always teach my dogs that because it's so entertaining to the kids -- little and big alike
Okay, will be back soon . . . gonna take Harry O-U-T -- it sparked an interest -- I'm thinking that it's not so much as the spelling but more so because I start it out with "Do ya wanna go . . . " He's already running to get his leash on.
One last thing that I just remembered -- when I was working in HIV Research, one of our directors had been a military man in his previous career. Paul was very tall, stood straight and had that super, duper neat military appearance. One day as we drove to the site where I worked with my patients, he told me about his dog he had and how he had taught him sign language (which they do seem to use in basic training classes). Paul's dog knew every single command both verbally and through hand signals/gestures -- no one ever knew that Paul had a dog because he was so quiet. I thought that was really neat. Perhaps I'll try that with Harry -- I can teach him to give the finger to the puppy mills that we drive by -- oh well, that's a different topic, don't want to bog this thread down with it.
Progressive jen21 February 2012 at 12:37amPosts: 5474 (0 today)Status: offline
Scruffy was supposed to be a companion for my mom but he really bonded with me and had too much energy for her to handle. We are going to get a "lap dog" for her in the near future because once I get back to work she will need the company.
I'm not ready for a new companion yet but when I am he/she will definitely be a rescue dog.
Love hearing those Harry stories, what a character!