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Smartest Dog In the World, Chaser – 60 Minutes With Anderson Cooper

By Marion Algier – Just One More Pet (JOMP)  –  Cross-Posted at AskMarion

Anderson Cooper met Chaser, a dog who can identify over a thousand toys, and because of whom, scientists are now studying the brain of man’s best friend.  Chaser is also the subject of a book:  Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words.

Man and dog have lived together for 15,000 years and there are now more than 80 million dogs in the United States, more dogs than children, yet we know very little about man’s best friend.

Did you know that when your dog(s) stare at you, they are hugging you with their eyes?!?

Video: 60 Minutes October 5, 2014 – Anderson Cooper- Chaser – Smart Dog Segment

Video: The Dog Who Knows 1,000 Words | CUTE ANIMALS (Episode 5)

And, there’s even more to smart dogs than what ’60 Minutes’ and Chaser showed you says Arlene Weintraub, author of – Heal: The Vital Role of Dogs in the Search for Cancer Cures.

The hit CBS CBS -0.48% newsmagazine 60 Minutes just re-ran what was no doubt one of its most popular segments of recent years, “The Smartest Dog in the World,” featuring Chaser, the border collie who learned more than 1,000 words and names. As shown in the segment, Chaser accomplished that incredible feat because her owner, retired psychology professor John Pilley, spent five hours a day, five days a week training the white-and-black spotted pooch to associate certain words with objects such as toys.

As a result, Chaser ended up with a vocabulary three times greater than that of the average toddler. It’s impressive, to be sure, especially since very little was known about the power of the canine brain until quite recently, as correspondent Anderson Cooper pointed out at the top of the piece.

Over the last two decades, however, the scientific community has started to delve more deeply into canine intelligence, unlocking the clues to what’s happening in their brains that makes dogs so seemingly human. Here are some of the latest insights:

Dogs aren’t just learning tricks when you train them—they’re actually getting smarter.

Not everyone can spare the time that Pilley took to train his dog to recognize so many words, but science has proven that, in fact, dogs that stay mentally engaged do get smarter.

For example, researchers at the University of Milan recently took a group of 110 dogs, half of whom had little or no training in obedience or any other skill, and the other half who had extremely sophisticated levels of schooling, in agility, search-and-rescue, and the like. All of the dogs were then challenged to find food that had been hidden—but only after they were shown how the treats would be hidden and what they would have to do to uncover them.

As dog psychology expert and author Stanley Coren reported on the Psychology Today blog, it was clear that the dogs in the trial who had spent a lot of time training to do challenging tasks had gained a leg up on the intelligence scale: Only 30% of the untrained dogs found the hidden food, while 61% of the trained dogs successfully completed the task—even though their previous training didn’t prepare them for this particular test.

The scientists concluded that the trained dogs had acquired a “’learning to learn’ ability” that is otherwise absent in the average dog.

Studies show that dogs trained in complex tasks like agility gain intelligence (Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

That insight jives with what one of the scientists featured in the 60 Minutes piece, Brian Hare, pointed out. “What’s special is that [Pilley] spent so much time playing these games to help her learn words, but are there lots of Chasers out there?” said Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University during the piece. “Absolutely.”

In other words, any mutt can probably be as good as Chaser—if his or her owner is willing to put in the hours.

Dogs can smell cancer and other things we can’t because of how their brains are structured.

It’s long been known that dogs’ noses are extremely sensitive—a virtue that has made them indispensable as search-and-rescue aides for centuries. But only recently have scientists begun to unlock the mysteries behind how dogs can pick up and follow scents that no one else can.

What they’ve learned is that dogs have 200 million olfactory receptors (ORs), or proteins on the neurons inside their snouts that send signals to their brains, allowing them to process smells. We human have only five million ORs. Dogs’ nostrils are structured so intricately that they can detect odors at such miniscule levels as parts per trillion, and many experts believe the proportion of the dog’s brain that’s dedicated to analyzing those scents is 40 times larger than that of humans. That makes the dog’s ability to recognize particular odors one million times better than that of people.

Dogs’ noses are now being put to use beyond the realm of search-and-rescue. In the medical world, service dogs are being trained to help people with diabetes recognize when their blood sugar is dropping to dangerous levels. And much attention has been paid recently to reports that dogs can sniff cancer.

The notion that dogs might be able to detect cancer first emerged about 25 years ago, when the British medical journal The Lancet published a five-paragraph letter in which two doctors in London described the case of a forty-four-year-old woman, who came into their clinic with a lesion on her left thigh. She told them her Doberman–border collie mix was constantly sniffing a mole on her leg, and one day when she was wearing shorts, her dog tried to bite the mole off entirely. Turned out that mole was a malignant melanoma—and the dog saved his owner’s life, because the tumor was so small at that point the cancer could be cured.

Since then, dog-loving scientists all over the world have trained and then tested hundreds of dogs to prove they can smell cancer. The results are sometimes astounding: In a 2012 trial, sniffer dogs were able to identify the scent of lung cancer about 90% of the time, even when the scientists tried to confuse them with samples from patients with non-cancerous conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Dogs have also been successfully trained to detect ovarian, breast, bladder, and colorectal cancer. Multiple efforts are now underway to translate the dog’s nose into automated breathalyzer-like devices that may be able to detect cancer early.

Dogs are wired for empathy in ways that many other species are not.

During the 60 Minutes story we heard a lot about oxytocin, commonly called “the love hormone.” This is a hormone, made in the brains of both dogs and people, that promotes the bonding between mothers and their babies, for example, and makes us feel good when we hug a loved one. Turns out when dogs make eye contact with their people or jump in their laps, both dogs and the recipients of their affection get more of an oxytocin rush.

But are dogs empathetic? Do they feel our emotional pain and joy? Several studies suggest they do. For example, in 2013, a group of Japanese researchers showed that the phenomenon of contagious yawning—long believed to be a sign of empathy—does not just happen among people. The scientists observed 25 dogs yawning in response to the yawns of both their owners and those of people they did not know. They measured the dogs’ heart rate to show that their yawning was not caused by stress (as many dog trainers believe it is).

Dogs may also be empathetic because in addition to sharing the love hormone with their humans, they share the stress hormone, called cortisol. Last fall, researchers in New Zealand took 75 dogs and 74 people and played the same sounds for both groups: a baby crying, a baby babbling and white noise. When they heard the crying baby, both people and dogs showed an increase in cortisol. The dogs’ behavior changed, too, as they became more submissive and alert. The researchers concluded that the dogs were showing “emotional contagion,” a basic form of empathy. What’s more, the empathy crossed species—a rare occurrence, they suggested.

‘Dogs Have The Intelligence of a Human Toddler’ and bottom line, your dog is probably just as smart as Chaser, both intellectually and emotionally.  I know mine are! You just might need to do a bit of work to uncover that intelligence.  Age, breed and owner or trainer involvement are all factors.

A Quebec bill has changed animals from “property” to sentient beings and includes jail time for cruelty in Canada.  Let us hope that the United States and the rest of the world will not be far behind.  Especially with daily headlines like these: China, Korea, South East Asia: Stop Cooking Dogs, Any Animals, AliveWeasel of the Weak –> The Monster Who Tortured And Abused This Dog, Teen Who Killed Kitten Only Had to Serve One Year in Prison, Buried Alive Because She Was A Nuisance This Stray Dog Has Become An Inspiration and Copycat Dog Muzzle Duct Taping Crime?.  Even livestock who are ultimately slated to end up on our dinner tables deserve human treatment throughout their lives!

Hopefully, WE, human animals are finally realizing that all animals have value and deserve fair and better treatment, beginning with domesticated animals that we share our lives with. To whom much is given, much is expected! And because we are the most intelligent animals with the largest brain, at least on our planet, we must be much better than we are!

June 15, 2015 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pets, Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop Euthenization, Unusual Stories, We Are All God's Creatures | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hundreds of family pets, protected species killed by little known federal agency

Maggie1[1]

Fox News: It was an August morning two years ago when Maggie, a spry, 7-year-old border collie, slipped through the backyard fence of her family’s suburban Oregon home. Minutes later, she was dead – her neck snapped by a body-gripping trap set by the U.S. government less than 50 feet from the home she shared with the four children who loved her.

"It is an image that will never leave me," Maggie’s owner, Denise McCurtain, of Gresham, Ore., said of her death. "She was still breathing as we tried to remove the trap. Her eyes were open and she was looking at me. All I could say was ‘I’m trying so hard. You didn’t do anything wrong.’"

Maggie’s death at a minimum was one of hundreds of accidental killings of pets over the last decade acknowledged by Wildlife Services, a little-known branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is tasked with destroying animals seen as threats to people, agriculture and the environment. Critics, including a source within the USDA, told FoxNews.com that the government’s taxpayer-funded Predator Control program and its killing methods are random — and at times, illegal.

Over the years, Wildlife Services has killed thousands of non-target animals in several states – from pet dogs to protected species – caught in body-gripping conibear traps and leg hold snares, or poisoned by lethal M-44 devices that explode sodium cyanide capsules when triggered by a wild animal – or the snout of a curious family pet.

The McCurtains, like many other families, were never informed that such deadly devices were placed so close to their home in grass near the edge of a pond where their young son kicks his soccer ball and their daughter catches turtles.

The traps, set on communal property owned by the neighborhood association, were meant to kill an infestation of nutria, rat-like pests that pose no danger to people but can be harmful to the environment. The only warning sign was a small placard in the grass that identified the device as government property and cautioned against tampering with it. The neighborhood association told the McCurtains it never would have approved such traps had it known they were so deadly.

"It’s unconscionable that anybody with an ounce of common sense would set these traps in an area frequented by the public and their pets," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a national watchdog group that advocates non-lethal predator control.

"It’s unconscionable that anybody with an ounce of common sense would set these traps in an area frequented by the public and their pets."

– Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense

The M-44’s intended targets are coyotes that kill or harass livestock primarily in the western states, where Wildlife Services is most active and critical to farmers protecting their livestock.

But, like Maggie, there often are unintended victims — like a puppy belonging to J.D. and Angel Walker of Santa Anna, Texas.

In February 2011, the couple’s 18-month-old pit bull was killed when it sniffed and pulled on a meat-scented M-44 placed about 900 feet from its home.

Kyle Traweek, the Wildlife Services employee who set the device, violated at least three M-44 restrictions set by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Texas officials. In a June 6, 2012, letter reprimanding Traweek, the Texas Department of Agriculture said he broke EPA rules by placing the cyanide in an area where "exposure to the public and family and pets is probable."

Click here to read the letter

Traweek is no longer employed by Wildlife Services, although his departure was not related to the incident in Texas, according to a spokeswoman with the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a division of the USDA that oversees the program.

It is difficult to verify the number of accidental killings of pets each year by Wildlife Services, in part because many go unrecorded, according to multiple sources.

A management source within the USDA claims Wildlife Services employees are told not to document the accidental killings of pets if it can be avoided.

"They are told to get rid of the leash and bury the dog," said the source, who spoke to FoxNews.com on condition of anonymity.

The source also alleged that in some instances in Arizona, California and Minnesota, the killings of pets are intentional – often with the knowledge, approval and encouragement of upper level Wildlife Services management.

"There have been cases of them shooting and killing dogs," the source said. "They’ll just claim it was feral, vicious or rabid. They think they can do anything they want."

In court documents obtained by FoxNews.com, Christopher Brennan, a California-based Wildlife Services employee, told a Mendocino County Superior Court judge that he has shot hundreds of "free-ranging" dogs who he claimed were preying on livestock. During the Sept. 1, 2009, hearing – involving a restraining order between Brennan and a neighbor – the judge asked Brennan how many dogs he has killed as a government trapper over the last 10 years.

"Probably close to 400," Brennan replied, according to the court transcript.

Carol Bannerman, an APHIS spokeswoman, confirmed Tuesday that Brennan is still employed as a "wildlife specialist" for the agency. Bannerman claimed Brennan works in an area where there is a large number of unleashed dogs that harass or kill livestock — and said there is a "significant population" of privately owned guard dogs, mostly pit bulls, that are allegedly left to roam freely so they can protect illegal marijuana crops.

"None of the feral and free-ranging dogs lethally removed in California last year were non-targets," Bannerman said. "Some non-target dogs were trapped and released."

In January, a Wildlife Services employee was arrested in Arizona and charged with felony animal cruelty after allegedly using a government trap to capture a neighbor’s dog he deemed problematic. The employee, identified as Russell Files, set up the leg-hold device during work hours to trap the animal, which was covered in blood from trying to chew its way out of the device when police arrived on the scene. An APHIS official would not comment on whether Files is still working for the government, citing an ongoing investigation.

Wildlife Services described the overall harm to pets and non-target wildlife as “rare.”

"Wildlife Services provides expert federal leadership to responsibly manage one of our nation’s most precious resources — our wildlife," APHIS spokeswoman Tanya Espinosa said in a statement. “We seek to resolve conflict between people and wildlife in the safest and most humane ways possible, with the least negative consequences to wildlife overall.”

The program said that accidental killings account for less than one percent of wildlife removed for damage concerns – and claimed that number is even lower for pets.

Wildlife Services, which has been in place since 1895, touts its mission as critical, priding itself on protecting the country’s agriculture and natural resources from destructive wildlife – damage that can be costly for landowners and businesses.

According to a 2010 report by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), U.S. farmers and ranchers spent $188 million during 2010 on non-lethal ways to protect their land and livestock. That number has declined from 2006, when NASS estimated annual investments in non-lethal methods to be at $199 million.

The USDA says that despite such investments, approximately 647,000 cattle, sheep and goat are killed by predators each year, resulting in an annual loss of more than $137 million. The lost animals do not include chickens and turkeys.

But Carson Barylak, federal policy adviser of the Animal Welfare Institute, is skeptical of the USDA’s statements. She said the danger posed by predatory animals is exaggerated.

"The very reports that Wildlife Services cite for these figures show that [attacks by wild predators have] a relatively small impact on the livestock industry. In the case of cattle, for instance, under a quarter of a percent of the nation’s stock was lost to predators in 2010 according to the program’s records."

The exact number of pet animals and protected species killed over the years by the agency is one that will likely never be known.

A report by the Sacramento Bee, which investigated the program last year, claimed its employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 non-target animals since 2000, including federally protected golden and bald eagles. The newspaper also reported that more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets, were destroyed by government traps or poison within those same years. Other known cases include serious injuries to pets that result in leg amputations, as well as harm to humans who come in contact with the cyanide.

Doug McKenna, a longtime criminal investigator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – a separate agency that falls under the Department of Interior – said he probed many killings of non-predatory and protected species by Wildlife Services over the years.

"The Bald Eagle is a scavenger bird, so of course if it flies down to investigate a carcass that is placed near a leg hold trap, it will get caught in it," he said. If the trap is not checked in a timely manner, the eagle is left to die. Such deaths are a violation of federal law, like the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, first passed in 1940.

McKenna said that in the case of M-44 cyanide devices, state governments must grant employees permission to place them as well as post warning signs for the public.

"Any access point into the property has to have signs that M-44’s are being used and it has to be in English and Spanish," he said.

For pet owners, seeking legal recourse against the government is a daunting and tedious process – requiring individuals to file a tort claim that typically results in families losing more money even if they win.

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"Most people do not pursue litigation when they realize the financial cost, the time involvement and the limit on recovery for damages being the actual value of their pet," said Oregon-based attorney Daniel Stotter, who handles many of these cases.

"The bottom line is that the federal government has limited liability in all lawsuits involving tort claims, damage to property or persons. You can sue the federal government for certain things, like negligence, but you cannot seek punitive damages," he said, adding that victims are responsible for covering their own legal fees.

“The government knows that when they injure or kill an animal, they’re more likely to not have financial repercussions," he said.

For families like the McCurtains and Walkers, there is no price to be paid for the emotional toll of losing a pet.

"It is losing a member of the family," Angel Walker said. "You can’t really get past it."

March 15, 2013 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Rights And Awareness, animals, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, NO KILL NATION, Pets, We Are All God's Creatures, Wild Animals | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Chihuahua – 3-lbs of Agility

Video: 3-lbs of Agility

This is Mixy my 4 year old Chihuahua. I brought her along with me when I went to train my BC’s. I wasn’t planning on doing agility with her, but I set up a few jumps and a tunnel and she caught on so quick. So I decided to do some more. This video was made just one week after I first brought her out to do agility.

Enjoy!!

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Chihuahua, Dogs, Dogs, If Animlas Could Talk..., Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet and Animal Training, pet fun | , | 1 Comment

OCCUPY DENVER ELECTS A DOG AS ITS LEADER

Despite Occupy Denver’s efforts to remain leaderless, the city’s mayor has asked that they appoint one so that officials know who to go to when they need assistance, information, etc.

“At the DNC riot, we were able to locate a few of the leaders and talk to them directly, but for Occupy Denver we can’t go around and talk to everyone in the park directly,” Matthew Murray, public information officer for the Denver Police Department, said in a Westward post.

“That’s one of the issues of this style of hierarchy.”

So how did demonstrators react to the city’s request? They did what any sane and logical group would do: they elected a Border Collie-mix named Shelby as their leader.

Wait, what?

See the video of the election that was posted on YouTube:

Part of the reasoning behind the selection was posted on the YouTube page (either the caps lock button is broken or the author is really, truly excited for this development):

SHELBY IS THE FIRST ELECTED LEADER OF ANY OCCUPY MOVEMENT. WE ELECTED HER ON NOVEMBER 5TH BECAUSE SHE IS MORE OF A PERSON THAN A CORPORATION IS AND LESS CORRUPT THAN MOST PEOPLE. SHE IS THE YOUNGEST, FIRST, AND ONLY DOG LEADER OF THIS REVOLUTION.

“She’s the youngest leader of a revolution in history and the first of any occupation so far, but she’s smart, so people know she won’t make any situations,” said Peter John Jentsch, the dog’s owner, in the Westward story.

“We just have to make sure she doesn’t get arrested.”

Jentsch promised to be her “bodyguard,” but not to speak in any meetings with officials (which will most likely result in extremely one-sided conversations).

But the reasoning for nominating the dog went beyond symbolism: one of the Occupy Denver organizers wanted to stick it to filmmaker Michael Moore.

Apparently, when a multimillionaire talks about “income inequality,” it rubs people the wrong way.

Organizer Aaron “Al” Nesby says he nominated Shelby because he was annoyed when Michael Moore recently visited Occupy Denver and “acted like the movement’s leader.”

He figured a canine leader would be more down to earth, writes Westward.

Shelby is “a smart and fun dog,” Nesby told his fellow protesters.

Plus she “can breathe, bleed, and show emotion. These three things alone obviously prove she’s more like a person than a corporation.”

(h/t Newser)

Source:  The Blaze

November 10, 2011 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Unusual Stories | , | Leave a comment