Dogs Can Classify Complex Photos In Categories Like Humans Do
Like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts. Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown for the first time that dogs can classify complex color photographs and place them into categories in the same way that humans do. And the dogs successfully demonstrate their learning through the use of computer automated touch-screens, eliminating potential human influence.
In order to test whether dogs can visually categorize pictures, and transfer their knowledge to new situations, four dogs were shown landscape and dog photographs, and expected to make a selection on a computer touch-screen.
In the training phase, the dogs were shown both the landscape and dog photographs simultaneously and were rewarded with a food pellet if they selected the dog picture (positive stimulus). The dogs then took part in two tests.
In the first test, the dogs were shown completely different dog and landscape pictures. They continued to reliably select the dog photographs, demonstrating that they could transfer their knowledge gained in the training phase to a new set of visual stimuli, even though they had never seen those particular pictures before.
In the second test, the dogs were shown new dog pictures pasted onto the landscape pictures used in the training phase, facing them with contradictory information: on the one hand, a new positive stimulus as the pictures contained dogs even though they were new dogs; on the other hand, a familiar negative stimulus in the form of the landscape.
When the dogs were faced with a choice between the new dog on the familiar landscape and a completely new landscape with no dog, they reliably selected the option with the dog. These results show that the dogs were able to form a concept i.e. ‘dog’, although the experiment cannot tell us whether they recognized the dog pictures as actual dogs.
The authors also draw some conclusions on the strength of their methodology: “Using touch-screen computers with dogs opens up a whole world of possibilities on how to test the cognitive abilities of dogs by basically completely controlling any influence from the owner or experimenter.” They add that the method can also be used to test a range of learning strategies and has the potential to allow researchers to compare the cognitive abilities of different species using a single method.
**Choosing the Right toy for your dog!
Rubber dog toys
Great jaw and mouth exercise for dogs that like to chew; keeps them occupied for hours; fun for fetch or non-interactive play; great for aggressive chewers because they are so durable. Some are hollow so you can put treats inside of them for extra fun.
Vinyl dog toys
Easily compressed by the bite of just about any-sized dog; usually have squeakers that almost all dogs enjoy; great for fetch.
Plush dog toys
Made of fleece, plush fabric; retains dog's scent for extended play; some have squeakers; great for fetch, other dogs just like to carry soft or plush toys around and snuggle.
Rope dog toys
Great for fetch, tug games, and chewing; often flavored; good for teeth and gums; they last a long time.
Rawhide chews and bones
Chewing rawhide removes plaque from the dog's teeth and keeps them cleaner while the dog has a great time chewing; come in many flavors, sizes and shapes - from bones to chews.
Bone-Hard Toys & Chews
Great for dogs who love to chew; good for the teeth since they remove plaque and are nonabrasive; relieve boredom; come in various flavors and sizes. Nylabones are a long-lasting chew toy, as well as other bone-hard chew toys.
Many dogs are surprisingly finicky about the size, shape, or feel of the toys they'll play with. If your dog doesn't play with the soft plush toy you give him, try a rubber or bone-hard toy. Be patient and don't give up - you'll find the toy type your pet loves to play with.
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**OUR HAPPY TAILS OF THE MONTH
**Puppy Crate Training
Over time the crate will become your puppy's own private area which they will grow to love and feel secure in.
- One of the first and most important uses of the crate is in the puppy housebreaking process. Crate training is the best way to quickly teach your puppy to eliminate (go to the toilet) outside.
- Crating our puppies teaches them to chew on the toys we provide to them and prevents them from chewing on the things we don't want them to chew on (shoes, furniture, curtains etc.). This is the key to establishing good habits in our dogs and preventing destructive habits which can be difficult to rectify.
- When your young puppy is in his/her crate he is safe from any number of dangerous household items. Unfortunately many puppies are severely injured and killed every year as a result of chewing wires, ingesting poisons or eating foreign objects.
- NEVER USE THE CRATE AS A PUNISHMENT. A HAPPY PUPPY MUST TO FEEL SECURE & CONFORTABLE IN HIS/HER OWN SPACE.
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