Name:Harrison Location:United States

The Original Lovable Little Fuzzball

Here's the straight stuff.

The adventures of Harrison are true.
Try a few of his Crunchy Bites for a taste.
--Alpha Human Mom

Sunday, August 24, 2008

O tempora, o mores!

A bunch of scientists are tryin' to say we've got the morals of…a human?

Dogs are becoming more intelligent and are even learning morals from human contact, scientists claim.

Much as I'd like to toss out a big ole' "See, I Told Ya' So," I don't think that openin' statement matches the article. 'Course we have morals, s'long as a hot babe doesn't wander in or someone leaves a rib bone or two unattended.

Which, of course, proves my point.

They say the fact that dogs' play rarely escalates into a fight shows the animals abide by social rules.

The operational word here is "rarely." Yeah, we pack animals have social rules, and the Alphas are always recognized. But, that can go right out the window when two Alpha's come nose-to-teeth in the show ring. The dogs soon follow.

During one study, dogs which held up a paw were rewarded with a food treat.

Amateur. I did a whole hell of a lot more for a food treat.

When a lone dog was asked to raise its paw but received no treat, the researchers found it begged for up to 30 minutes.

We canines have learned persistence counts—which is why there's a growin' problem with pet obesity. And we tend to believe what we've been taught, just like the average human. How else do ya' explain why ya'll are still buyin' into that global warmin' crap?

But when they tested two dogs together but rewarded only one, the dog which missed out soon stopped playing the game.

Well, d'uh. Like you humans never did the "I’m gonna' take my ball and go home!" routine? Why d'ya' think Demo-cats make sure they keep feedin' the hands that pull the lever.

Dr Friederike Range, of the University of Vienna, who led the study, said: 'Dogs show a strong aversion to inequity. I would prefer not to call it a sense of fairness, but others might.'

Oh, pu-leese! Send me the grant money this fe-lyin' raked in for his study. Anyone who thinks we canines 'show a strong aversion to inequity' has never tossed a steak bone into the middle of a pack. Stealin' each other's food without getting' caught by tooth or claw or AHM is an art form 'round here.

Human's inclination to invest dogs with human-like states of mind isn't as unscientific as it might appear as they really do have some remarkable mental skills that allow them to thrive in their strange habitat—our world.

Specifically your kitchen.

Dr Peter Pongracz from Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, and colleagues have produced evidence dog barks contain information that people can understand. They found even people who have never owned a dog can recognise the emotional 'meaning' of barks produced in various situations, such as when playing, left alone and confronted by a stranger.

It's so easy even a caveman can do it—and have been doin' it since the first wolf crashed the local barbeque.

At the forum in Budapest, Dr Akiko Takaoka from Kyoto University in Japan described as-yet unpublished work that examined what is going on inside a dog's mind when it hears a stranger's voice. She played dogs a series of recordings of unfamiliar voices—both male and female—with each voice followed by a photo of a human face on a screen. If the gender of the face did not match that of the voice, the dogs stared longer, a sign that their expectations had been violated. …'This suggests dogs generate an internal visual representation of a male or female correlated with the voice.' [Dr. Takaoka] suggests that this ability to infer information about a person from their voice alone might help dogs communicate with people.

There's no inferin' about it. We've seen this little experiment in action for years. Humans give commands usin' all sorts of vocal variations. We know exactly who means what they're sayin' and who ya' can ignore. When I was just a pup, we were visitin' a friend when another acquaintence showed up with two rambunctous dobermans. The owner was moanin' 'bout how hard it was to get 'em to behave. I got relegated to the car and AHM bet the owner a lobster dinner she not only could get them to behave, but ignore any commands the owner tried to give. In case you're wonderin', don't expect to collect on a bet like that when ya' reeeeaaally embarrass the owner.

It is generally accepted that a few other animals, including great apes, are capable of this mind reading to some extent, but it is nevertheless a quality reserved for only the most intelligent of species.

Considerin' most humans can't read minds, this is a huge leap. Just to clear things up, we're not readin' your mind, we're readin' your face and body language. And we can tell the difference between who's pretendin' to be an Alpha and who's the real deal. Kinda' like choosin' between Bar-ack! and McCain.

But Dr Alexandra Horowitz from Barnard College in New York prefers the term "theory of behaviour" to describe dogs' apparent insight. She said: 'I think there is a massive territory between a theory of mind and a theory of behaviour.'

She's a professor from New York, figures we can't think for ourselves, and claims behavior modification is the answer. I'm guessin' she's a Demo-cat.

posted by Harrison at 10:48 PM


Post a Comment