By Guest Indiana
By Guest Nicole
JW Theme Talk Coping With Feelings (version 2)
By Guest Nicole
As a pet owner, here’s a good rule of thumb to follow: If it’s too hot outside for you, then it’s way too hot for your dog.
Jason Nicholas, veterinarian and chief medical officer at Preventive Vet, says once weather hits 80 degrees Fahrenheit (which seems like Antarctica compared to last week’s 100-plus degree heat wave), pet owners should start taking precautions. Nicholas says he’s seen far too many cases of dogs with heatstroke, a deadly, but completely preventable, condition.
Why can't dogs handle the same weather that humans can? As much as the guy with long blonde hair may look like his similarly-styled Afghan hound, dogs and humans are separate species with much different tolerances to temperature. We have the luxury of being swathed in a massive, perspiring organ that cools us from head to toe. But dogs' thick fur coats make it harder for them to get rid of heat.
Instead of sweating, the main way a dog lowers its body temperature is through panting. These heavy, quick breaths expel heat and cause moisture to evaporate, which cools the blood in the mouth and tongue. However, certain conditions make this technique ineffective. In high humidity, evaporation happens more slowly—which means that even in a nice, shady refuge, no amount of panting will bring down a dog’s internal temperature.
Read more: https://www.popsci.com/keep-dogs-cool
By Guest Nicole
HEARTBREAKING: Faithful dog led rescuers to his dead owners in Guatemala volcano disaster
The incident happened in the village of SanJamie, close to the Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of fire) in south-central Guatemala.
The volcano re-activated on Sunday when villagers describe how they heard small explosions before it began to erupt violently, spewing lava which ran down the mountainside.
According to most recent news reports, the 16-hour eruption has so far claimed at least 75 lives while around 200 more are still missing.
One of the most recent stories to emerge is of the loyal white and brown dog who managed to catch the attention of fire-fighters and led them to a house where eight bodies had been buried by ash.
The photo of the scene was shared on Facebook, where it has been shared over 50,000 times.
The post with it says: "The pet managed to get the attention of the rescuers and to take them to the house. Inside they found eight people, already all dead.
"There was a keen sadness in the eyes of the pet as it watched its owners remains being carried outside."Â
The actions of the loyal pup have been praised by social media users. One user wrote: "It hurts me to my soul to see this animal fighting for its owners until the end to try and get them out of that hell.Â
Â“It is admirable to realise the love of this dog and it gives us a great lesson on humility and humanity." Other netizens have offered to adopt the dog.
By Guest Nicole
A team of researchers at SISSA have conducted a series of olfactory tests on alexithymia, a condition marked by reduced emotional awareness and the inability to describe experienced emotions
Do you express your emotions? Are you able to name them, talk about them, relate to your feelings? If your answer is not an unqualified yes, you might be among the 10 percent of the healthy population who has difficulty processing the emotions they experience: a psychological condition known as alexithymia. An alexithymic individual has difficulty, to a greater or lesser degree, in relating to the sensations - ranging from joy to fear, from disgust to anger - which make up our experience. New research conducted at SISSA in Trieste and published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports seeks to shed light on new aspects of the condition, using a hitherto completely untested approach. Specifically, given the close link which exists between the perception of smells and emotions, the scientists Cinzia Cecchetto, Raffaella Rumiati and Marilena Aiello used olfactory tests: "There is a partial overlap between the areas in our brains which deal with olfactory perception and those which process emotions. A test such as this may, therefore, be particularly suitable for studying this specific psychological condition," explains Aiello, who coordinated the research.
Read more: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/sisd-tnr102617.php
By Guest Nicole
Epidemiological studies show that children who grow up in households with dogs have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies. CreditDebra Bardowicks/Getty Images
Scientists are paying increasing attention to the “indoor microbiome,” the billions of bacteria, viruses and fungi that we share our homes and offices with. But not all those micro-organisms are bad for us, experts note. And exposure to a rich array of indoor germs may actually be salutary, helping stave off a variety of illnesses.
So there is growing concern that, in our anxiety to banish bacteria from our indoor world, we have become too clean for our own good. We run the risk of scrubbing, disinfecting, vacuuming and filtering out the fortifying mix of microscopic creatures that our immune system needs to develop properly.
Enter the dog.
Dogs roll in the mud. They sniff feces and other questionable substances. Then they track countless germs into our homes on their paws, snouts and fur.
And if the latest research on pets and human health is correct, that cloud of dog-borne microbes may be working to keep us healthy. Epidemiological studies show that children who grow up in households with dogs have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies — and it may be a result of the diversity of microbes that these animals bring inside our homes.
By Guest Nicole
April 7, 2017
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Humans are able to interpret the behavior of others by attributing mental states to them (and to themselves). By adopting the perspectives of other persons, they can assume their emotions, needs and intentions and react accordingly. In the animal kingdom, the ability to attribute mental states (Theory of Mind) is a highly contentious issue. Cognitive biologists could demonstrate with a new test procedure that dogs are not only able to identify whether a human has an eye on a food source and, therefore, knows where the food has been hidden. They can also apply this knowledge in order to correctly interpret cues by humans and find food they cannot see themselves.
Dogs are able to identify the human having an eye on a hidden food source.
Credit: Ludwig Huber/Vetmeduni Vienna
Humans are able to interpret the behaviour of others by attributing mental states to them (and to themselves). By adopting the perspectives of other persons, they can assume their emotions, needs and intentions and react accordingly. In the animal kingdom, the ability to attribute mental states (Theory of Mind) is a highly contentious issue. Cognitive biologists from the Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna could prove with a new test procedure that dogs are not only able to identify whether a human has an eye on a food source and, therefore, knows where the food has been hidden. They can also apply this knowledge in order to correctly interpret cues by humans and find food they cannot see themselves. This perspective taking ability is an important component of social intelligence. It helps dogs to cope with the human environment. The results have been published in the journal Animal Cognition.
The so-called Theory of Mind describes the ability in humans to understand mental states in conspecifics such as emotions, intentions, knowledge, beliefs and desires. This ability develops in humans within the first four or five years of life while it is usually denied in animals. Indications that animals can understand mental states or even states of knowledge of others have only been found in apes and corvids so far. Dogs have been tested several times, but the results were poor and contradictory.
With a new experimental approach, cognitive biologists from the Messerli Research Institute could now provide solid evidence for dogs being able to adopt our perspective. By adopting the position of a human and following their gaze, dogs understand what the human could see and, consequently, know. This ability to ascribe knowledge is only a component of a full-blown Theory of Mind, but an important one.
Identifying the right informant
The so-called Guesser-Knower paradigm is a standard test in research into the attribution of knowledge to others. This experiment involves two persons: a "Knower" who hides food, invisibly for the dog, in one of several food containers or knows where somebody else has hided it, and a "Guesser." The Guesser has either not been in the room or covered her eyes during the hiding of the food. A non-transparent wall blocks the animals' view of the food being hidden. After that, the two humans become informants by pointing to different food containers.
The Knower always points to the baited container and the Guesser to another one. All containers smell of food. "To get the food, the dogs have to understand who knows the hiding place (Knower) and who does not and can, therefore, only guess (Guesser). They must identify the informant they can rely on if they have to decide for one food container," said principal investigator Ludwig Huber. In approximately 70 per cent of the cases the dogs chose the container indicated by the Knower - and thus were able to successfully accomplish the test. This result was independent of the position of the food container, the person acting as the Knower and where the Guesser was looking.
Dogs can adopt human perspectives
The only aim of this test series, however, was to independently confirm a study carried out in New Zealand. Clear evidence of dogs being able to adopt our perspective and take advantage of it was provided in a new test developed by the team, the so-called "Guesser looking away" test.
In this new experiment, a third person in the middle hides the food. This person does not give cues later on. The potential informants were kneeing left and right of this hider and looked to the same side and slightly down. Thus, one of the two persons looked towards the baiter, the other person looked away. "This means that the tested dogs, in order to get the food, had to judge who is the Knower by adopting the informants' perspectives and following their gazes," explained Huber. Even in this test, which is very difficult for the animals, approximately 70 per cent of the trials had been mastered.
Adopting the human perspective leads to invisible food
Being able to adopt the perspective of a human does, however, not require the ability to understand intentions or wishes. "But the study showed that dogs can find out what humans or conspecifics can or cannot see," explained Huber. "By adopting the positions of humans and following their gazes geometrically, they find out what humans see and, therefore, know - and consequently whom they can trust or not."
In similar experiments, chimpanzees and few bird species such as scrub jays and ravens were able to understand the state of knowledge and also the intentions of conspecifics and modify their own behaviour accordingly. For dogs, there have only been specualtions and vague indications so far. But dogs understand our behaviour very well, for example our degree of attention. They can learn from directly visible cues such as gestures or gazes. Thus, they are able to find food even if their view of it has been blocked. "The ability to interpret our behaviour and anticipate our intentions, which has obviously developed through a combination of domestication and individual experience, seems to have supported the ability to adopt our perspective," said Huber. "It still remains unclear which cognitive mechanisms contribute to this ability. But it helps dogs to find their way in our world very well."
Materials provided by Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Amélie Catala, Britta Mang, Lisa Wallis, Ludwig Huber. Dogs demonstrate perspective taking based on geometrical gaze following in a Guesser–Knower task. Animal Cognition, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10071-017-1082-x
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