While both human children and dogs learn from copying adult humans, dogs are better at spotting the bullshit.
So says (though not in those words) a new study from Yale University’s Canine Cognition Center.
Imitation, in addition to being the sincerest form of flattery, is how we — be we a puppy or a baby — learn. But young humans tend to be more trusting, following adult advice exactly. Dogs are more likely to see a shorter route to accomplishing the goal and opt for it, filtering out unnecessary steps that are just a waste of time.
(Might this explain why dogs don’t watch television all that much, or get on the Internet?)
In the experiment, researchers presented over 40 breeds of dogs with treats hidden inside puzzles.
They showed the dogs the steps necessary to solving the puzzle, but in doing so they included many unnecessary steps.
When the dogs’ turn came to solve the puzzle, they skipped the irrelevant steps that had nothing to do with getting to the treats, showing that dogs are able, or at least more able than human children, to separate bad advice from good advice.
Researchers contrasted their study results with those from a similar study at Yale that examined children, and they found humans relied more on imitation than the dogs. The children, after watching an adult solve the puzzle, tended to duplicate every step — even the unnecessary ones.
The study is similar to one about a decade ago that compared chimpanzees with human puzzle solvers. Chimpanzees, while prone to imitation, were slightly better at discerning the unnecessary steps and avoiding them than humans.
“So this tells us something really important about how humans learn relative to other animals,” said Yale Professor of Psychology Laurie Santos, one of the study’s authors. “We’re really trusting of the information that we get from other individuals – even more trusting than dogs are.”
“And what this means is we have to be really careful about the kinds of information we present ourselves with,” she added. “We’re not going to have the right filter for bad information, so we should stick to looking at information that’s going to be positive, information that’s going to be good.”
Or, as easily duped as our species is, we could just let dogs give us the advice.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 6th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, brains, canine cognition center, children, cognition, copying, dogs, experiment, filter, humans, imitation, information, pets, problem solving, puzzles, relevance, science, study, trust, yale university
If you happen to be strolling around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Sunday and run into a pack of pit bulls, fear not — they are there to make friends, influence people, and lick away any misconceptions you may have about the breed.
B-More Dog, the organization behind “Pit Bulls on Parade,” plans to make group walks like Sunday’s a monthly event, held in various parts of the city — all aimed at erasing the stereotypes surrounding the breed.
While all breeds are welcome, dogs must be signed up in advance to take part in the parades. So while it’s too late to get your dog into Sunday’s, you can find out about participating in next month’s by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To check out Sunday’s parade, show up around the Inner Harbor at 11 a.m.
Pauline Houliaras, a founding member and current president of B-More Dog, came up with the idea for the parade after noticing how often she’d be stopped and asked about the dogs she was walking. Her own dog, Ravenopolis, she found, often got greeted on walks around the harbor by tourists and locals alike, who’d stop to ask questions and pet the dog.
Taking the concept to the next level, B-More Dog organized groups of pit bull owners to walk together and spread goodwill about the breed. Then they decided, rather than just do it once a year, to try and parade pit bulls every month.
B-More Dog is an outreach and education organization that formed in the fall of 2007 to speak out against breed specific legislation being proposed in Baltimore County. That legislation, which would have required all pit bull owners to muzzle their dogs and confine them in locked kennels, was not passed.
Since then, B-More Dog has gone on to focus on improving the breed’s image and promoting responsible ownership of pit bulls and all other breeds through education, mentoring, and outreach.
Its members work with local shelters to provide information packets about the breed to adopters. B-More Dog also offers a “Humane Education” program in which members take their friendly, trained and well-mannered pit bull to community centers and after-school programs.
Posted by John Woestendiek February 4th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, b-more dog, baltimore, bmoredog, breed, breed specific legislation, breeds, dogs, downtown, goodwill, harbor, humane education, image, information, inner harbor, march, myths, outreach, parade, pauline houliaras, pet owners, pet ownership, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, pride, responsibility, responsible, stereotypes, training
The Atlanta Humane Society on Monday gave a $5,000 reward to the woman who provided the names of two people eventually charged with shooting and killing a Griffin police dog.
Jimi, a two-year-old German shepherd, apparently strayed onto a nearby property, where he was shot. The dog’s body was found last November dumped along the side of a rural Georgia road in Lamar County.
Lamar County investigators announced the arrest of Kevin Pippin, 37, last month.
Lamar County District Attorney Richard Milam said he plans to ask a grand jury in June to indict Kevin Pippin, 37, and his mother, 66-year-old Geraldine Pippin, for misdemeanor animal cruelty, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The Humane Society said the woman who provided the names was unaware of the reward at the time she gave the information.
Jimi’s handler, Griffin police Cpl. Chad Moxon, and his family also put up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for killing Jimi, who was trained at detecting drugs and explosives and tracking people.
Hayes received that $1,000 reward earlier, though the case has yet to go to court.
(Photo: Jimi, on the right, with Moxon’s other dog, Yager)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 20th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal cruetly, animals, chad moxon, georgia, german shepherd, griffin, information, Jimi, K-9, k9, kevin pippin, killed, Lamar County, news, ohmidog!, pets, police, police dog, reward, shooting, shot
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the persons responsible for injuring Christy, a one-year-old pit bull who was pelted with rocks and bricks in Baltimore.
A witness says children threw rocks and other materials at the dog who was tied up in the 3700 block of Greenspring Avenue near Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School.
The pit bull was taken to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter where she is being treated for injuries that include wounds to her paws, head, snout and hemorrhages in both eyes.
The children responsible for the crime are believed to be about 12 or 13 years old.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $2500, animals, arrest, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue and care shelter, barcs, bricks, children, christy, conviction, dog, dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, identification, information, injured, injuries, news, ohmidog!, pelted, pets, pit bull, pitbull, reward, rocks, stoned, suspects
The Atlanta Humane Society added $5,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person who shot and killed a Griffin Police Department German Shepherd.
The dog’s handler, Griffin police Cpl. Chad Moxon, and his family had already put up $1,000 , according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Moxon discoverd Jimi, the police dog, and his own dog, Yeager, missing from their kennel at his home in Lamar County last week.
Moxon said he searched all Monday night and most of Tuesday night for the dogs, handing out about 300 flyers. On Wednesday morning he received a call about a German shepherd found dead in a ditch. It turned out to be Jimi. The 3-year-old dog was shot in the side with a shotgun and dumped there.
“I just sat down in the ditch for the next 30 minutes. I didn’t have the energy to get him out,” Moxon said.
Shortly after he got home a neighbor called with the news that Yeager had been found, badly beaten, but alive.
“Hes still at home recovering,” Moxon said of his 2-year-old dog, also a German Shepherd. ” I’m hoping he’ll recover in the next few days.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 10th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: arrest, atlanta, chad moxon, dog, german shepherd, griffin, humane society, information, Jimi, K-9, killed, Lamar County, police dog, reward, shot, Yeager
In the 1930’s Bensaude, a wealthy Portuguese businessman and dog lover was introduced to the breed by friends. By then, the breed’s numbers were dwindling, and there were only a few still doing the job they were bred to do — fisherman’s assistant.
Once seen all along the coast of Portugal, the breed was prized by fishermen — for the companionship they offered, the security they provided on docked boats, and their ability to jump in the water and herd schools of fish into the nets.
They had other skills as well, such as retrieving lost tackle or broken nets, and to serve as couriers, delivering messages from one boat to the next.
The first written description of the dog dates to 1297, when a monk wrote about a sailor hauled out of the sea by a dog with a “black coat of rough hair, cut to the first rib and with a tuft on the tip of his tail.”
The Portuguese water dog — known in Portugal as Cao de Agua — is believed to be a blend of poodle, Kerry blue terrier and the Irish water spaniel.
Improved technology in the fishing industry lessened the demand for the Cao de Agua, and only a few remained in the 1930s, when Bensaude acquired one named Leao. Leao became the founding sire of the modern breed, the first litter of which was born in May 1937.
It took another 30 years for the dog to come to America. The first didn’t arrive until 1968, and was a descendant of Leao.
The Portuguese Water Dog Club of America was formed in 1972, and the breed was acknowledged by the American Kennel club in 1983.
(Source: Portuguese Water Dog Club of America)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 12th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: breed, dog, edward kennedy, first dog, first family, fishermen, information, kennedy, malia, obama, obama dog, obamas, portugal, portugese, portuguese, sasha, ted kennedy, vasco bensaude, water, water dog, white house
Alley Cat Allies, a group that promotes humane care for cats — both those in homes and those on the streets — will conduct free workshops in Baltimore tonight and tomorrow.
Tonight’s session will be at the Maryland SPCA, 3300 Falls Road, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Thursday’s will be at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), 301 Stockton Street, also from 7 to 9 p.m.
The sessions are part of the organization’s “Every Kitty-Every City Program,” and is open to anyone interested in learning more about dealing with stray and feral cats.
Feral cats are outdoor cats that are unsocialized to humans and therefore unadoptable as pets. These workshops will provide information on how to best care for feral cat colonies through communication, mediation, and trap-neuter-return practices.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 4th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alley cat allies, caring, cat, cats, colonies, feeding, feral cats, information, kitten, kittens, return, stray, trap-neuter, wild, workshops