Devices claiming to translate what your dog is thinking into human words have been popping up on the Internet for a good five years now, and some of the more gullible among us have bought them — and even contributed to campaigns to bring them to market.
There’s No More Woof an electronic device — still in the testing stages, of course — that Swedish scientists say will be able to analyze dogs’ brain waves and translate their thoughts into rudimentary English.
There’s the slightly more real but far more rudimentary Bow-Lingual, which claims to be able to translate your dog’s barks into emotions, currently unavailable on Amazon.com
There are apps — real and prank ones — that offer dog-to-human translations, virtually all of which have disclaimers saying that they should be used primarily for entertainment purposes.
And there are legitimate research projects underway around the world, with real scientists and animal behaviorists seeking to determine and give voice to what is going on in the heads of dogs.
But wait a minute. Do we really want to know?
As this bit of satire shows, we might not like the result.
It was produced by Los Angeles-based Rogue Kite Productions, an independent film company created by writer/producer/director Michelle Boley and camera operator/editor Taylor Gill, who pursue projects of their liking when not doing their day jobs.
Their spoof depicts a speech articulating device much like one a group in Sweden claims to actually be working on.
No More Woof aims to “break the language barrier between animals and humans,” the Sweden-based Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID) says on its Indiegogo page.
NSID says the device records electroencephalogram (EEG) readings from a dog that are then analyzed by a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and translated, through a small speaker, into simple phrases like, “I’m hungry,” or “Who is that person?”
Popular Science declared the project almost certainly bogus — and yet money keeps pouring in from donors.
The No More Woof indiegogo page says more than $22,000 has been contributed to the project.
Not to cast aspersions on the Swedish group’s attempt to move technology ahead, but I think Rogue Kite Productions could put that money to better use.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 31st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, apps, articulating, bow-lingual, bowlingual, communicate, communications, devices, dog, dogs, emotions, funny, humans, humor, minds, no more woof, owners, pets, reading, rogue kite productions, speech, thinking, thoughts, translate, translation, video, words
Having a gallery opening and appearing on the “The Rachael Ray Show” show in the same week would be quite the accomplishment for any artist.
But this one has only been painting a year.
And he has no hands.
Dagger II burst onto the art scene in March, when Newsday published a story about the paint brush- wielding, three-year-old black Labrador.
Yesterday, in light of his growing fame, there was a follow-up story in Newsday recounting his recent achievements.
Dagger II and his human, artist Yvonne Dagger, met Rachael Ray last month and demonstrated the dog’s skills. Dagger II, wearing his trademark red beret, was said to have hit it off especially well with Ray’s co-host for the day, Regis Philbin. The episode airs Friday.
Friday also marks the gallery debut of Dagger II — also known as DogVinci. His works will be on display at Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery in Massapequa Park.
Dagger II and his owner have partnered with that business to sell both original works and limited edition prints of his creations.
Ten percent of proceeds will go to Forgotten Friends of Long Island, a Plainview-based animal rescue and rehabilitation group.
Yvonne Dagger adopted Dagger II after he flunked out of service dog training. It was discovered he had a fear of going up and down stairs.
After laying at her feet as she painted, he attempted his own foray into the art world.
Last Summer, Yvonne Dagger said, the dog who had always quietly watched as she painted began nudging her. She asked him if he wanted to paint and he began wagging his tail. She set up an easel for him, made a brush handle out of a paper towel tube and duct tape, and taught him some commands.
Yvonne helps him load the brush with non-toxic paints.
“Brush,” she tells Dagger to get him to take the makeshift brush in his mouth. “Paint,” she says to get him to apply brush to canvas.
His original paintings are selling for up to $325.
You can learn more about Dagger II, and view more of his works, at his website, DogVinci.com.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 11th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: art, artist, black lab, brush, dagger, dagger II, dog, dogvinci, gallery, lab, labrador retriever, long island, long island picture frame and art gallery, opening, paint, painting, rachael ray, video, yvonne dagger
If you were built like a bowling ball, you too might have a propensity for rolling.
Bulldogs sure seem to.
Sophie was just a two-month old pup when her owners noted how much she liked rolling, caught it on camera and posted it on YouTube. It would turn out to be the first in a series of rolling Sophie videos.
“Usually she just throws herself onto her back and rolls around but the first few times she did it she happened to be on a sloping hill … I just set her down to go potty and as you see in the video, she threw herself down on the ground and rolled down the hill,” her owner wrote in a YouTube post.
“I picked her up, terrified that she had ‘fallen’ down this hill but I put her back down and she just did it again and again, 4 more times with such gusto we realized she was just having a ball! We were a bit afraid that she had ‘issues’ but she’s perfectly fine. We contacted the breeder and it turns out Sophie’s mother did the same thing.”
More recently, another rolling bulldog debuted on the Internet and quickly went viral:
So what’s behind it?
One plausible theory could be, in addition to seeming to enjoy the activity, they may be scratching some itches.
Given how humans have shaped the breed, an English Bulldog — with its short legs, short neck, and non-existent snout — isn’t able to reach too many parts of its body with its paws or mouth.
Human manipulation of the breed has led to far more severe, and less laughable, problems than that, including having heads so large most have to be born through C-sections. But they’ve adapted to the shape we’ve given them — at least in this regard.
They let the ground be their back scratcher. They roll over and squirm around on their backs — even though getting in and out of that position is sometimes a struggle.
To cope with that, they find a good hill, allow momentum do its job, and let the good times roll.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, back, breeding, breeds, bulldog, bulldogs, dogs, hills, manipulating, pets, reason, rolled, rolling, rolls, scratch, video, videos
Ed Gernon never suspected the German shepherd mix he adopted last year would be featured in one of those inter-species friendship videos.
Rex left the shelter with a reputation. He “fought other dogs and killed cats,” Gernon said. “He was dangerous. He was an animal that had learned to live on the streets and to survive on his own hunting ability, I guess.”
So Gernon was surprised when, a month after he took Rex home, the dog paused when he came across what Gernon thought was a dead hummingbird.
“He suddenly stopped and he would not move,” Gernon CBS Los Angeles. “I mean it’s tiny and it’s dead as far as I’m concerned. It’s covered in ants. It’s got no feathers.”
Given his dog’s seeming concern for the bird, Gernon checked it more closely, saw it was still alive, took it home, cleaned it up, and it has been living inside his home ever since.
And it even drinks out of Rex’s water bowl.
Gernon initially had to hand feed the bird a special formula every 15 minutes.
“You find yourself doing stuff you never thought in a million years you would do,” he said.
“It was this little creature. This fragile creature that the whole world wanted to kill and he was trying to protect her so I thought I’d go the distance,” Gernon said.
“I rescue this dog. He rescues the bird. The bird rescues all of us in a weird sense and it’s just a miracle,” Gernon said.
After living with the bird for a year, Gernon says it’s probably time for her to be free, and he’s started leaving the doors and windows of his home open, in case Hummer wants to go back out in the world.
So far, she hasn’t.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 28th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, birds, california, dog, dogs, friends, hummer, hummingbird, inter-species, los angeles, news, pets, report, rescue, rescued, rex, tinkerbelle, video
A man’s daring rescue of a dog hanging out the balcony window of a 13th floor apartment in Bogota, Colombia, was caught on video.
The video was posted earlier this week on the Facebook page of Love for the Animals, an animal rights group in Bogota.
The dog, named Luna, had apparently gotten stuck between the rails that covered the window, with most of her body hanging out the window.
Luna’s owner wasn’t home so the only way to get to reach her was from the outside.
Diego Andrés Dávila Jimenez first tried to use a broom to push the dog back inside, while leaning out the window of an apartment one floor below. When that didn’t work he climbed one story up the face of the building as a crowd below watched and shouted encouragement to him.
“People on the ground were screaming. They had a mattress out just in case,” said Jimenez, according to The Dodo. “The truth is, I did not think about the dire consequences. I did not look down.”
Jiminez climbed up the building, over the rails and into the apartment, then pulled the dog to safety.
“When I had Luna in my hands and looked down, a thousand thoughts flew through my mind,” Jimenez said. “My girlfriend was a little upset, yelling at me ‘You stay there! Do not climb back down!'”
When Luna’s owner came home and found out what happed, “she was in tears,” Jiminez said. “She is very grateful, because she just adores that dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek April 20th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 13 stories, 13th floor, amor por los animales, animals, apartment, balcony, bogota, building, climb, climbed, colombia, dangling, daring, Diego Andrés Dávila Jimenez, dog, hanging, health, hero, high rise, luna, pets, railing, rescue, safety, saved, video, window
Bryan Lewis is pretty sure his dog is a Democrat — certain enough, at least, to write a country song about it.
He premiered “I Think My Dog’s A Democrat” on radio station WTVN, and the YouTube video of the debut has garnered close to a half million views since early March.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 29th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bryan lewis, country song, democrat, democrats, dog, dogs, humor, i think my dog's a democrat, music, pets, politics, republicans, singer, song, video, wtvn
We can’t attest to how genuine this video is — some commenters suspect it was staged — but it’s pretty funny all the same.
The video was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month by someone using the name Joe Ballew. And it looks like it could hit the million-view mark before the month is out.
In it, a male voice, presumably Ballew’s, can be heard showing off his newly repaired fence.
“Yep, just completed fixing this fence. Pretty proud of it I’d have to say,” the man says. “Kinda keeps Stella in the yard.”
Just how “kinda” becomes obvious seconds later — when Stella comes into the frame and easily jumps over what appears to be the new section of fence.
“Dammit,” the man can be heard to say.
What makes some viewers suspicious is that just before Stella appears, the otherwise smooth camera work is interrupted with a jolt, and a slight human grunt can be heard — almost as if the camera operator is throwing something he knows Stella, fence or no fence, is going to go after.
We, too, might question how straightforward Ballew is being, but we are still mighty impressed with Stella’s jumping ability.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 24th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dogs, escapes, fence, fences, fencing, funny, home, jump, jumping, leap, leaping, pets, stella, video, yard