The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab in New York City is looking for some playful dogs, and their playful humans.
The lab at Barnard College, run by Alexandra Horowitz , author of Inside of a Dog,” is investigating the different ways people and dogs play together and the behaviors they use.
Whether you and your dog wrestle, engage in tug of war, play fetch, or Scrabble (one of these days I will win), the lab wants to see the two of you in action, and invites you to submit a video.
It’s cataloging all the ways, traditional and non, that people play with their dogs. Project: Play with Your Dog is open to anyone, in any country, and short video submissions — under 60 seconds — are welcome.
To participate, make a video and upload it to the study website. You’ll also be asked to complete a short survey. Those taking part can add a picture to the project’s Wall of Contributors.
Julie Hecht, the canine behavioral researcher who manages the lab, describes it as an opportunity for dog lovers around the world to get involved in scientific research into dog behavior.
“While dog-dog play has been studied extensively, dog-person play, which takes on a different form and appears to have different rules, has not attracted nearly as much scholarly attention,” Hecht noted in a guest blog for Scientific American.
Hecht, who’s also a science writer, adjunct professor in the Anthrozoology Masters Program at Canisius College, and blogger, says play behaviors arise early in a dog’s life. From three weeks onward, puppies show behaviors like wrestling, rolling over, biting, rearing and reciprocal chase.
For dogs, play appears to help them learn social skills such as bite inhibition, and other behaviors they will use the rest of their lives.
Play often incorporates behaviors also found in aggressive interactions, but dogs seem to have found a way to let other dogs know that it is play time, not fight time — the hiney-raised play stance for instance.
“Dog-dog play is more similar to an episode of the Three Stooges than you might have imagined,” Hecht says.
Dog-human play might have some similarities, and some differences — and the lab plans to try and figure that, among other things, out.
Tugging games between dog and human, for instance, seem to be more about keeping the interaction with a human going rather than gaining possession of the object being tugged — at least to the dog.
To learn more about the study, and get details on how to join, visit www.DogHumanPlay.com.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alexandra horowitz, animals, barnard, behavior, biting, chase, cognition, dog, dog cognition lab, dog human play, dog-dog, dog-human, dogs, fetch, horowitz, humans, julie hecht, owners, pets, play, play stance, play with your dog, playing, poject, research, run, sought, study, submissions, tug, video, videos
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter’s annual fundraiser is this Saturday (October 20, 2012).
The event begins at 11 a.m. near the pagoda in Patterson Park, but you’re welcome to come earlier and get some exercise.
This year BARCStober Fest, in partnership with Charm City Run, will be featuring its first “Ready…Set…Sniff 5 K Run OR Walk.”
Dogs are welcome to join their humans on the course around Baltimore’s Patterson Park.
Click here to register for the run.
BARCStober Fest is Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter’s primary annual fundraiser, and proceeds benefit the more than 12,000 homeless animals that come to BARCS each year.
The fest includes: pet contests (including costume), pet health and welfare specialists, pet blessings, pet micro-chipping, stage entertainment, food vendors, local artists, representatives from other rescue groups, a silent auction, raffles and, of course, some ready-to-be-adopted pets.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 16th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 5k, animals, baltimore, baltimore animal rescue and care shelter, barcs, barcstober fest, barcstoberfest, charm city run, contests, dog, dogs, event, fundraiser, homeless, pagoda, patterson park, pets, ready, run, set, sniff, walk
Names: Run (above) and Alex
Ages: Run is 13, Alex is 2
Encountered: Outside a convenience store in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Headed: To Santa Fe and Taos
From: Lawton, Oklahoma
Travel Habits: Run and Alex are perfectly content in the back seat of their Buick as they travel with their owner, Marty, and her friend, Chris. “They always go where I go,” Marty said. In the backseat, she added, they’ve got everything they need: something to chew on, water, food and each other.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, alex, animals, dog's country, dogs, maltese, new mexico, ohmidog!, pets, road trip, roadside encounters, route 66, run, shih-tzu, travel, traveling, traveling with dogs, tucumcari
Here’s a nutty, and muddy, little story — one we’ll tell in pictures and words.
All the pictures were taken Sunday, at Riverside Park in Baltimore, where after three straight days of rain, sunny skies had finally prevailed, along with temperatures so toasty that the squirrels took a break from hoarding their nuts to eat some, and the homeless guys — usually up and gone by mid-morning — slept in.
It was really more like a spring day, except for the turning leaves, hitting their peak of redness on some trees, burning bright orange on others. Those already brown and fallen, after three days soggy, were starting to regain their crunch under the warming sun.
Football and softball games were getting underway on the sports fields — never mind the puddles. Parents and children filled the swings and slides in the fenced-in play area.
And dog walkers were out in abundance — some with their pets on leash, some of whom had let them off, which, in this particular park, as of now, is against the law.
Nevertheless, a lot of us do it — keeping an eye out for the white animal control van while we let our dogs enjoy a little freedom, exercise and squirrel chasing.
It was one of those free and easy, good to be alive, laid back Sunday mornings — quiet but for the happy squeals of children, the chirping of squirrels and that thwickety thwickety noise of dogs charging through piles of leaves — when what should appear but …
The white animal control van. Usually the animal control van keeps to the paved paths, stopping to warn those with their dogs off leash to hook them up, sometimes writing citations, which carry a $200 fine.
This animal control van was — for reasons unknown — driving through the grass, which, in addition to not being good for the grass, could prove problematic for homeless guys sleeping thereon, not to mention children playing, families picnicking, or squirrels a scurrying.
Anyway, the animal control officer pulled his van to a halt in the grass, apparently to confront some lawbreakers, and when the time came to leave, he couldn’t. The van’s back wheels became mired in the mud, sinking deeper the more they spun.
The officer called for a tow truck and, about an hour later, one arrived. Its operator attached a chain to the animal control van’s axle and hoisted it out of the muck.
While his van was being saved, the animal control officer found the time to take some photos of off-leash dogs running in the distance. That’s what his camera was pointed at, at least. Then again, maybe he was just shooting the foliage.
Once freed, the van departed the park, leaving some big muddy ruts behind.
It’s unknown if the animal control officer issued any citations Sunday morning — and if so, whether the revenue those bring in will be enough to cover the towing fee and other damages left in the wake of his morning patrol.
After freeing the bogged down animal control van, the tow truck operator acccidentally hit a bolted-to-the-ground trash can, which he then used his truck to bend back into an upright position before pulling off.
Maybe sending animal control officers to hunt for unleashed dogs walking in parks with their owners — as opposed to cracking down on abuse, neglect and dogfighting — is a legitimate use of their time. Maybe citing the owners of dogs who are bothering no one, and who no one has, specifically, complained about, makes the city a safer place. Maybe it’s not just a heavy-handed, wheel-spinning waste of tax dollars.
But the only visible marks left by yesterday’s patrol were these:
(Photos by John Woestendiek/ohmidog!)
Posted by jwoestendiek November 16th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal control, baltimore, chase, citations, city, dog, dog parks, dogs, exercise, fall, fines, government, grass, homeless, law enforcement, laws, leash law, leaves, legal, mud, off-leash, officer, parks, photos, recreation, riverside park, run, spinning, squirrels, stuck, tax dollars, tickets, tow truck, trash can, unleashed, van, wheels
There’s an experiment underway up in Newton, Mass — a compromise of sorts between those who would never allow dogs to be off leashes in a municipal park and those who think dogs need to, once in a while, run free.
Up to now, most cities dealing with the same conflicted interests, have tried only a couple of alternatives: One is passing laws that require dogs to be leashed, which many people don’t bother to obey, which leads to crackdowns and ill will. The other is creating fenced in dog parks, which costs money, not a whole lot of which is available these days.
Newton is trying something different. A nine-month dog park experiment at Cold Spring Park was launched last week, allocating one area of the park to off-leash dogs, and, while neighbors of the park objected even before it started, given a chance it just might work.
In a way, it’s a perfect solution. Dogs can run. People who dislike dogs can avoid the off-leash dog part of the park. And police and animal control officers can still cite dog owners whose off-leash dogs stray from the designated area.
Lee McIntyre, a dog owner who helped spearhead the experiment, told the Boston Globe the change will benefit everyone.
“We have had an underground illegal dog park here for years,” said McIntyre, who estimated nearly 200 people bring their dogs to Cold Spring. “… Now that there is an official place to bring dogs, a place with a set of rules, it should really keep them from being places they shouldn’t be.”
Posted by jwoestendiek March 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alderman, animal control, animals, city, complaints, compromise, designated area, dog parks, dogs, experiment, free, laws, leash, leash laws, legal, massachusetts, municipal, newton, off-leash, parks, pets, run, solution, unleashed
I admit I’ve tormented my dozing dog with my own version of the paw tickle — ever so lightly touching his pads to make them jerk and quiver, until he finally wakes up to see what’s going on.
It’s not only a rebellious act, running counter as it does to the conventional wisdom about what we’re supposed to do with sleeping dogs — but it’s also one of those mindless wastes of time that are so important in life
The only thing that might be even more mind-numbing than paw tickling is watching someone else do it, for three minutes and 22 seconds, on a Youtube video.