Welcome!

Beloved Pharaoh. Born: June 3rd., 2003 – Died: June 19th., 2017. A very special dog that will never be forgotten.

Dogs live in the present – they just are!  Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value.  Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years.  That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!

As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer.  Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming,  thence the long journey to modern man.  But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite.  Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.

Dogs know better, much better!  Time again for man to learn from dogs!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

This has nothing to do with dogs!

But everything to do with staying fit and healthy.

There are many things that I read first thing in the morning before I am dressed. Ninety-nine percent of them I don’t share with you.

But the following caused me to a) reflect on whether I was guilty of doing this, and b) how many others know of this.

One of the results of having 4,000 (bar 25) followers of this place is that I feel a certain obligation to share certain news.

It was published on The Conversation and is free to reproduce.

So here goes:

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The serious consequence of exercising too much, too fast

Exercising too much, too hard can lead not only to burnout but sometimes to a serious condition that can harm the kidneys.

By , Associate Professor of Exercise and Sports Science, Wayne State University, January 24th, 2020.

Every 365.25 days, when the Earth completes a full orbit around the Sun, we humans have the opportunity to hit the reset button and become fitter, finer versions of ourselves. As usual for January, social media is humming with advice on how to eat better, exercise regularly, lose weight and remain healthy. We feel particularly invincible at this time of year, armed with renewed vigor and motivation to purge ourselves from previous indulgences and our couch-potato ways.

The New Year is also the time when our overzealous, instant-gratification selves emerge, and we do too much exercise too soon to make up for lost time. Exhaustive muscular work, especially following a period of inactivity, can cause mechanical and chemical disruptions to muscle cell membranes which trigger the muscle cells to burst.

I am an exercise physiologist and sports medicine specialist who studies exercise-associated collapse. I am seeing and hearing of more incidents of skeletal muscle ruptures that are causing harm in other parts of the body.

This information is not designed to scare people back onto the couch. The key take-away from highlighting these cases is to remind athletes, coaches and mere mortals that the desired physiological response to a training stimulus requires both a gradual buildup period and period of recovery in between training sessions.

A cross-section of the human kidneys, which can be injured when muscle cells rupture and send toxic chemicals into the bloodstream. crystal light/Shutterstock.com

More than muscle injury

The medical term for skeletal muscle cell rupture is “rhabdomyolysis,” or “rhabdo” for short. When muscle cells rupture or explode, the intracellular contents are released into the bloodstream. These cellular contents include enzymes, such as creatine kinase; electrolytes, such as potassium; and proteins, such as myoglobin.

Myoglobin, in particular, is a big, red protein that can block the kidney filtration system, or renal tubules, that serve as kidney plumbing. It also can dissociate into toxic byproducts that injure kidneys. In rare cases, too much myoglobin in the bloodstream can stop kidney function altogether, as happened with a 27-year old marathon runner who died from kidney failure.

In a study we conducted on college swimmers, we saw a cluster of rhabdomyolysis, in which six out of 34 swimmers were hospitalized after participating in a 20-minute or so “arm competition” to see how many pull-ups, rows and bench presses they could complete. Cases of “symptomatic rhabdo,” or those needing medical treatment, appear to be increasing within collegiate sports teams at an alarming rate, with the characteristic appearance seen in football players returning to January practice after a season-ending holiday layoff.

To date, 17 cases of team rhabdo have occurred from doing “too much, too soon, too fast” and include a variety of sports such as football, swimming, lacrosse, soccer, track, basketball, softball, volleyball and golf.

Noncompetitive athletes affected too

So, what about us mere mortals trying to get back in shape? Any physical activity that is either new or excessive can cause symptomatic rhabdo. Excessive gardening, weightlifting, CrossFit type activities and even a routine Army physical fitness test have triggered symptomatic rhabdo with kidney injury.

Over 90 cases of rhabdo have been documented after spinning, while 119 high school students in Taiwan ended up in the emergency room after their teacher made them complete 120 push-ups within five minutes. Thus, harmful muscle cell rupture can occur after any degree five minutes to 36 hours of exuberant and/or unaccustomed physical activity.

In combination, gradual training and appropriate recovery allow beneficial muscular, cardiovascular and body composition adaptations to occur, such as building muscle, increasing fitness and losing body fat. Our research confirms that a two-week gradual introduction into training after a layoff is required for muscle cell membranes to fully adapt to training stress.

Subclinical rhabdo, or muscle breakdown without acute kidney injury or debilitating symptoms, is common and represents the typical response to training which does not require medical treatment. However, hard exercise, especially following a layoff, with the following signs or symptoms within one to two days requires an appropriate medical examination:

    • excruciating muscle pain that does not resolve over time
    • muscle swelling with limitations in movement
    • nausea or vomiting, or both
    • very dark (looks like Coca-Cola) or sparse urine.

There are risk factors which increase the likelihood of developing rhabdo following a workout. These risk factors include exercising in the heat, dehydration or overhydration, binge drinking, excessive coffee consumption, extreme dietary practices (vegetarian or high [protein] https://doi.org/10.1097/JSM.0000000000000310)) and possessing the sickle cell trait. Both men and women can develop symptomatic rhabdo, although we see more cases in men. Smaller arm muscles appear more susceptible to rupture after five to 30 minutes of exercise than bigger leg muscles for reasons that remain unclear.

Although symptomatic rhabdomyolysis is uncommon, this emergent complication of exercise should be on everyone’s radar since cases are on the rise. We coaches, trainers, scientists, practitioners and others encourage everyone to reap the joys and benefits of regular exercise training. However, we caution against exercising too much too soon. Self- (or coach-) inflicted skeletal muscle cell explosions are fully preventable with adherence to smart, physiologically sound approaches to training.

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Now there’s an element of me not really understanding this (and I haven’t yet watched the video) but that’s no reason not to share it with you.

What do you think? Wiser to share it or too much a case of worrying? Tamara Hew-Butler certainly knows all about this.

I will never tire of writing about dogs!

This is another astounding article about a dog.

It happens to be in Georgia but from the dog’s point of view it could be anywhere in the world.

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Dog Stops Traffic So Group Of Kids Can Safely Cross The Street

Such a thoughtful pup.

By
Published On 01/22/2020

Photo Credit: Beqa Tsinadze

Unfortunately, there are still some drivers out there who apparently don’t know how to treat pedestrians with the respect that they deserve.

But this little dog is doing his best to set them straight.

The other day, Beqa Tsinadze happened upon a curious scene in the town of Batumi, Georgia. There, at a clearly marked crosswalk, a group of young kids were waiting for cars to yield so they could safely cross the road.

Photo Credit: Beqa Tsinadze

Regrettably, though, it seems that many drivers weren’t eager to extend that courtesy without being told to.

So, that’s exactly what this dog did — taking on the role of crossing guard on the kids’ behalf. The moment was captured on video.

The thoughtful dog tackled the situation like a pro. But apparently this wasn’t just a one-time thing.

Tsinadze shared another video of the same dog stopping traffic and escorting yet another group of kids across the street.

Photo Credit: Beqa Tsinadze

Though it’s unclear why the pup came to adopt the role of crossing guard, it may be as a way of saying thanks.

According to Georgian media, the dog arrived to the area as a helpless stray a few years back, and has since endeared himself to members of the community who have taken it upon themselves to care for him.

The report above states that the dog goes by several names among folks in the neighborhood who know him — but there’s no doubt that you’d be safe in calling him a very good boy.

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Another wonderful report.

I’m sorry, I ought to write more but I would only be waffling!

Dogs observations of us humans

A widely-reported study shows the depth to which dogs understand us.

I have seen this reported both in The Smithsonian and Mother Nature News.

I have included both!

I’ll comment at the end of the articles.

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Stray Dogs May Understand Human Signals, Too

By Brigit Katz

Researchers in India studied whether 160 stray dogs would react to commands like gesturing toward a bowl. This image, taken in 2012, shows street dogs surrounding an Indian tea vendor in Allahabad. (AP Photo / Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Dogs are famously good at interpreting human signals, whether communicated verbally or through gestures. But much of what we know about our furry friends’ comprehension of social cues focuses on pet dogs, which share close relationships with their owners and are trained to follow commands. Now, a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, suggests that stray dogs can also understand human gestures, indicating that this ability might be innate.
The new research took place on the streets of several regions in India, which is home to some 30 million stray dogs. Coexistence between canines and humans there is not always peaceful; people have been known to attack street dogs, and vice versa. Around 36 percent of the world’s annual rabies deaths occur in India, most of them children who came into contact with infected dogs.

To better manage the country’s street dogs, it’s essential to gain further knowledge of their behavior, Anindita Bhadra, study co-author and animal behaviorist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, tells Liz Langley of National Geographic. So she and her colleagues set out to discover whether strays, which have never undergone specific training, are able to understand humans in a similar way to their pet counterparts.

The researchers took to the streets equipped with two bowls; one contained chicken and the other was empty but had been rubbed with raw chicken, transferring the food’s scent. The bowls were covered with pieces of cardboard and handed to an experimenter who did not know which one contained the snack. This researcher would approach a stray dog, place the bowls on the ground and point at one of them, sometimes momentarily, sometimes repeatedly.

In total, the researchers studied 160 adult strays. Around half of them refused to get close to either bowl, perhaps because they had negative interactions with humans in the past, the researchers speculate. But of the dogs that did approach the bowls, approximately 80 percent went to the one to which the experimenter had pointed. Whether the researcher had pointed to the bowl briefly or repeatedly did not seem to matter. This response, according to the study authors, suggests that untrained stray dogs are “capable of following complex pointing cues from humans.”

Dogs share an intertwined evolutionary history with humans, with domesticated pooches emerging at least 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, though some experts have argued for an even earlier date. This close contact has prompted dogs to develop a number of skills that allow them to communicate with people, including interpreting human emotion. Still, Bhadra says, the researchers found it “quite amazing” that stray dogs without a history of close human interaction were able to “follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing.”

“This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision,” Bhadra adds. “This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

Because some dogs seemed anxious and were wary of approaching the researchers, it’s not clear how a dog’s personality—and past experiences—might affect its ability to interpret human signals. But this ability does not appear to be entirely dependent on training, the study authors say, which in turn should inform efforts to manage stray dogs.

“They are quite capable of understanding our body language and we need to give them their space,” Bhadra says. “A little empathy and respect for another species can reduce a lot of conflict.”

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Mother Nature News had a second picture in their broadly-similar article. Indeed, I’m going to republish this article as well. For although they are of the same story they offer a slightly different account.

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Even stray dogs understand human cues

A new study shows these feral canines are paying close attention.

By Starre Vartan   January 21, 2020

Even untrained dogs can follow simple communications. (Photo: Abir Bhattacharya/Shutterstock)

Dogs were likely the first animals that human beings domesticated — scientific guesses vary as to whether that was 10,000 years ago in Europe or 30,000 years ago in Asia (or, as one theory goes, humans tamed grey wolves two separate times). Regardless, they have been our companions for much of human history, and all of modern history. We have evolved together.

And that longstanding connection shows up in feral dogs.

Behavioral biologist Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Kolkata, India, revealed this by studying stray dogs in several Indian cities. In the experiment, Bhadra and her colleagues would find a solo stray dog and put two covered bowls on the ground nearby. They they’d simply point to one of the bowls; some did this just once, others did it a few times.

The researchers, who published their work in Frontiers in Psychology, recorded the dogs’ reactions. Half the dogs seemed nervous, and didn’t look at or come close to either bowl. But the other half — noted as less anxious dogs by the researchers — approached the bowls. Of those friendlier dogs, about 80% went to the bowl the researcher pointed at. As long as the dogs weren’t too scared of the people, they were easily able to interpret what the pointing meant.

“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra said in a news release. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

Wolf puppies surprised researchers with their responses. (Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock)

In another study, three out of 13 untrained 8-week-old wolf puppies spontaneously retrieved a ball for a person who threw it, as MNN’s Mary Jo DiLonardo explains. It was a small study, and a low percentage of retrieving puppies, but it was an unexpected result as these weren’t domesticated dogs. “It was so unexpected, and I immediately knew that this meant that if variation in human-directed play behavior exists in wolves, this behavior could have been a potential target for early selective pressures exerted during dog domestication,” Christina Hansen Wheat, a biologist at Stockholm University, said.

Her observations show that playing with people may be a very old trait for wolves, that could reflect how our human ancestors first got to know them. This playful behavior may have sparked humans’ interest in domestication. If a dog could fetch a stick or other thrown object, they could be quite useful to hunting humans.

Of course, their adorable, big puppy-dog eyes and floppy ears (both traits that have become accentuated over time as dogs evolved) are among the reason we are still drawn to dogs today. (It also helps that they’re great listeners.)

But long before that happened, dogs served an important purpose — assisting people in locating and retrieving prey, and serving as eyes and ears for an intruder. Simple tasks like showing they can follow directions or fetch an object may have moved prehistoric dogs from outside the fire circle to within it, which is why understanding these behaviors are so important.

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If we go back into the mists of time then prehistoric wolves (or dogs) learnt to bond with early humans because it served both their interests to so do. Humans became much more adept at hunting and wolves obviously became the benefactors of food!

Now dogs are so well bonded to human gestures that even non-domesticated dogs understand the signals that we humans put out. I say ‘non-domesticated’ but in a real sense all dogs are domesticated. It would be more accurate to say that these are dogs who do not have a home with humans.

The oldest human-animal relationship by far!

How old is that doggie in the window?

Interesting article about calculating a dog’s age.

It’s a well-known ‘calculation’ that a dog’s age is seven years for every human year. But it’s wrong; the scientific result is more complex.

But rather than me say it, I’ll hand it over to Christian Yates of the BBC who on the 6th January this year published an article on this subject.

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Your pet clearly ages faster than you do, but new research is giving us a much clearer idea of just how old your dog really might be.

By Christian Yates, January 6th, 2020

If your dog has been alive and kicking its paws about for a decade, the widely held belief is it has aged as much as a human would have done over 70 years. This conversion factor – each year of a dog’s life accounting for seven human years – comes from dividing human life expectancy of around 77 by the canine life expectancy of around 11.

The underlying assumption is that each calendar year a dog lives through is equivalent to seven human years at any stage of a dog’s life. But new research suggests that things aren’t so simple. And if we look at some basic developmental milestones, it’s clear why.

For example, most dog breeds reach sexual maturity between the ages of six and 12 months – the upper end of that range corresponding, by the traditional conversion, to a human age of seven. And at the other end of the spectrum, although unusual, some dogs have been known to live for over 20 years. Under the “factor-of-seven” conversion rule, this would equate to an unfathomable 140 human-equivalent years.

New insights into how dogs age suggest our pets move into middle age more rapidly than most owners might suspect (Credit: Getty Images)

To make matters more complicated, dogs’ life expectancy depends significantly on the breed. Smaller dogs tend to live significantly longer, suggesting that they age more slowly than bigger dogs.

All of this raises the question of what exactly we mean by age. The most obvious way to describe it is simply the length of time that has passed since birth. This is known as the chronological definition of age.

When it comes to comparing animal ages across species, the biological definitions of age are far more useful than their chronological counterparts

However, there are other descriptions. Biological age, for example, is a more subjective definition, which relies on assessing physiological indicators to identify an individual’s development. These include measures like the “frailty index” – surveys that take into account an individual’s disease status, cognitive impairments and levels of activity.

Then there are the more objective ageing biomarkers, such as levels of gene expression (genes produce proteins at differing rates at different stages of life) or numbers of immune cells. The rate at which biological age increases depends on genetically inherited factors, mental health and lifestyle.

Rather than celebrating chronological age, looking at the levels of methylation on a dog’s DNA is a much more accurate measure of aging (Credit: Getty Images)

For example, if you’ve spent a lot of time eating junk food and smoking cigarettes instead of taking exercise and eating healthily, the chances are your biological age will exceed your chronological age. Or, you might be a 60-year-old with the body of a 40-year-old if you’ve looked after yourself well.

A dog’s life

When it comes to comparing animal ages across species, the biological definitions of age are far more useful than their chronological counterparts. Knowing a hamster is six weeks old doesn’t give you a good picture of that animal’s life stage, even if you know the life expectancy of a hamster is only three years. Learning that a hamster has reached an age where it can reproduce gives a much better picture of its level of maturity.

The authors of the new ageing study suggest that a sensible way to measure biological age is though so-called “epigenetic clocks” – changes to the packaging of our DNA that accumulate over time in all mammals.

In their first year of life, puppies grow up so quickly that they age the equivalent of 31 human years (Credit: Getty Images)

In particular, “methylation” – the addition of methyl groups (a carbon atom bonded to three hydrogen atoms) to DNA – seems to be a good indicator of age. Many prominent physiological markers, such as the development of teeth, seem to occur at the same levels of methylation across different species. So by matching the levels of methylation in Labrador retrievers and humans, the researchers derived a formula to map dog age to its human equivalent.

That formula is: human equivalent age = 16 x ln(dog’s chronological age) + 31.

Here “ln” represents a mathematical function known as the natural logarithm. The logarithm function is well-known in the non-linear scales for energy released during earthquakes (Richter) or for measuring sound (decibels). It comes in useful for measuring quantities whose sizes vary over many orders of magnitude. It’s even possible that a logarithmic experience of the passing of time might explain why we perceive time speeding up as we get older.

A handy short cut is to remember that the first dog year counts for 31 human years

In the graph below, you can see how the natural logarithm works to convert the years a dog has lived (dog age) into the equivalent human age in the red dashed curve. The curve suggests that dogs mature extremely rapidly at first, but that their ageing then slows down, meaning that most of their lives are experienced as a form of protracted middle age.

A handy short cut is to remember that the first dog year counts for 31 human years. Then, after that, every time the dog’s chronological age doubles, the number of equivalent human years increases by 11. So eight calendar years represents three “doublings” (from one to two, two to four and then four to eight) giving a dog age equivalent of 64 (that’s 31 + 3×11).

This useful approximation is plotted as the black curve on the conversion figure below. The green line represents the discredited factor-of-seven rule that suggests unrealistic ages at the higher end of the dog age spectrum.

In eight calendar years a dog will approximately age the equivalent of 64 years (Credit: Christian Yates)

Most dog lovers will already have suspected that the human-to-dog age relationship is non-linear, having noticed that, initially, their pets mature much more quickly than the linear factor-of-seven rule suggests.

more sophisticated refinement to the factor-of-seven rules has suggested that each of the dog’s first two years correspond to 12 human years while all subsequent years count for four human equivalents. The blue curve in the above figure, which represents this ad hoc rule, shows better agreement with the new logarithmic law.

In practice the new molecular insights into human-to-dog age conversion encapsulated by the logarithmic law suggest that dogs move into middle age even more rapidly than most dog-owners would have suspected. It’s worth bearing in mind, when you find that Rex is reluctant to chase the ball like he once did, that he’s probably got more miles on the clock than you’ve been giving him credit for.

Christian Yates is a senior lecturer in mathematical biology at the University of Bath. He is also the author of The Maths of Life and Death.

This article originally appeared on The Conversation, and is republished under a Creative Commons licence. 

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I don’t know about you but I found this article extremely interesting.

Well done the BBC!

Speaking with wolves!

An insightful look at the way that baby wolves play.

I’m gradually getting ourselves organised following the power failure and, on cue, Chris Gomez sent the following in two days ago.

It shows beyond doubt that young wolves play like dogs and that the two animals are more alike than dis-alike.

You watch the following video and see what I mean.

Then there is the article that is reproduced below.

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Baby wolves like to play fetch too – what this says about your dog.

By Fermin Koop

Playing a game of fetch with a dog means they are following a human social cue to recover the ball. But fetch isn’t just for dogs, wolf puppies are down to play too, which means they can also understand human communication cues, according to a new study.

Credit Wikipedia Commons

The findings, published in the journal iScience, were made after researchers put 13 8-week-old wolf puppies from three different litters through a series of tests usually used to assess dog-puppy behavior. Three of the pups were interested in playing fetch with a stranger, which included bringing a ball back when encouraged to.

The discovery was quite a surprise for the team as it was believed that the cognitive abilities necessary to understand communication cues given by a human were presented in dogs only after humans domesticated them 15,000 years ago. Dogs differ from wolves physically, genetically and behaviorally.

“When I saw the first wolf puppy retrieving the ball, I literally got goosebumps,” said Christina Hansen Wheat of Stockholm University in a press release. “I immediately knew that this meant that if variation in human-directed play behavior exists in wolves, this behavior could have been a potential target for early selective pressures exerted during dog domestication.”

Wanting to learn more about the effects of domestication on behavior, Hansen Wheat and her team raised wolf and dog puppies from the age of 10 days and put them through various behavioral tests. In one of them, the pup was thrown a ball by an unknown person, encouraging the wolf to get it and bring it back.

Expectations of the wolf pups catching on weren’t high, with the first two litters showing no interest in the balls, let alone of playing fetch. But everything changed with the third litter. A few of the puppies went for the ball and even responded to the social cues and brought it back.

“It was very surprising that we had wolves actually retrieving the ball,” said Hansen Wheat. “I did not expect that. I do not think any of us did. It was especially surprising that the wolves retrieved the ball for a person they had never met before.”

In the past, other research showed that domesticated and non-domesticated species will follow human gestures if a food reward is given, Hansen Wheat and her team said. But in those cases, the animals were previously trained to follow the cues or knew the person conducting the study.

While the new research has a limitation over the size of its sample, it could reassess our interpretation that understanding human social cues came from domestication. Instead, it could be possible that this behavior can be traced back to an ancestral population before wolves were domesticated into dogs.

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Despite this being the twenty-first century there are still things being discovered that cause us humans to be amazed.

Such as this story about the young wolves, way before they evolved into dogs.

We’re back!

On last Thursday morning, at 02:30, in the middle of a huge storm the electricity was lost. So was the telephone and the internet.

The electricity was restored at 04:30 on Friday, the telephone later in the morning but no internet.

Finally, the internet was restored at 21:00 last night, too late to do anything useful.

So that explains the absence of yours truly over the last three days. Hopefully, if it remains on there will be a normal post at midnight tonight. All times are Pacific Time.

It was a huge storm with about 6 inches of snow.

There’s more to a dog’s whiskers than we imagined!

A fascinating article.

The following was sent to me by Chris Gomez, brother of Dan, who I have known for nearly as long as Dan (and that’s a long time)!

The article appeared on ZME Science was published on the 15th January. It contains material that I, for one, didn’t know and I suspect I’m not the only one.

Have a read.

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Why do dogs have whiskers?

Whiskers allow dogs to “see” things that are literally under their noses.

By Tibi Puiu

Credit: Pixabay

Many mammals, including canines, have whiskers. Some dog owners think these whiskers are just longer unruly hairs that can be groomed and even snipped off entirely — but this would be a huge mistake. The whiskers, technically known as “vibrissae”, serve important specialized functions that help dogs sense the world around them and coordinate their movement.

Humans sense touch through millions of sensory receptors that line the skin and deeper tissue. Unlike humans, the follicles of the coarse hairs protruding from a dog’s muzzle, jaw and above its eyes are also packed with nerves that relay sensory information.

Essentially, these whiskers allow dogs to sense objects and the world around them as humans do with fingers.

What are a canine’s whiskers good for

Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

The tactile sensation is made possible thanks to Merkel cells, which are specialized skin receptors associated with nerve terminals. A dog’s mouth and snout are very rich in Merkel cells, according to a study published in the journal Veterinary Science.

According to researchers, these tactile hairs serve a variety of functions. For instance, the whiskers allow dogs to gather information from subtle changes in air currents about size, shape, and speed of nearby objects. Ultimately, this allows canines to see their surroundings better, even in dark. It’s well known that vision isn’t a dog’s strong point, so their vibrissae greatly assist them — especially when dealing with close objects (dogs are farsighted). Whiskers beneath the chin allow dogs to “see” objects obstructed by their snouts.

Whisker’s positioned immediately above the eyes are particularly important for vision. When an object or strong airflow causes these whiskers to flex, dogs will reflexively blink in order to protect their eyes.

It’s not clear whether dogs use their whiskers for food acquisition. However, if they’re anything like rats, seals, and walruses — all related species that have been shown to use their whiskers to find food — dogs might very well use their sensing hairs for this purpose, too.

A dog’s whiskers can also serve an important role in communication with other canines or other species. Like many other mammals, when a dog is threatened it will automatically flare its whiskers, pointing them in a forward direction. This signals to predators and other aggressive animals that the dog is ready to defend itself and respond with violence.

Dogs may use their whiskers to also disperse pheromones, keep their head upright when swimming, and monitor their environment.

About 40% of a canine’s visual cortex (the part of the brain responsible for processing vision) is devoted to mapping information from whiskers. They’re that important!

What you need to know about your dog’s whiskers

Credit: Pxfuel.

Although they might look similar, vibrissae are distinct from body hair. The main difference is that a dog’s whiskers are directed by the nervous system and contain nerves.

Unlike cats, which have four rows of whiskers on either side of a cat’s face, the placement of a dog’s whiskers is less predictable. Some have a multitude of vibrissae, others may have few or even none. You should find them above the eyes, on both sides of the muzzle, above the upper lip (pointing down) and beneath the dog’s chin.

According to scientists, there are no breed-specific differences in canine whiskers. An exception may involve hairless breeds, which have no whiskers at all.

That being said, you should never trim your dog’s whiskers. Some pet owners believe their dogs’ whiskers should be groomed and snip them for aesthetic purposes.

This practice won’t hurt the dog, because there are no pain receptors found in whiskers. However, given the multitude of functions they serve, a whisker-less dog will become confused, disorientated, and less able to navigate its spatial surroundings. If you cut your dog’s whiskers in the past out of ignorance, know at least that they will grow back naturally.

In summary, dogs use their whiskers as a sort of radar to detect objects that they cannot properly see with their own eyes.

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Apart from the fact that the photographs are gorgeous there is much material that is good to know. For instance, I never knew there were no breed-specific differences in canine whiskers. Just hadn’t thought about it before.

Thank you, Chris, for a great link!

Dog rescuers are a great bunch of people!

I was reminded of this earlier yesterday.

Yesterday and today are days where it’s my turn to do the neighborhood watch patrols. I left for the first patrol a little after 9am yesterday and when I was going up Livingston Drive there was a guy walking his Corgi. Now it’s the second time we have met and I stopped and let the sweet dog come up to my outstretched hand and sniff my fingers. John, not his real name, mentioned that he was slowly adapting to a life of love and affection in stark contrast to the beatings the dog received in his previous life. John was a real hero!

Here’s another example of goodness beyond description. Taken from The Dodo.

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Dog Found On Side Of Road Immediately Snuggles Her Rescuer

Photo Credit: Kris Lenker

Kris Lenker and her husband were driving home from work last week when they spotted something on the road ahead.

They assumed, being out in the country, that the small, tan animal was a baby deer — but as they got closer, they realized their mistake. “We slowed down and realized that it was a dog,” Lenker told The Dodo.

Lenker hopped out of the car and called to the dog, but the nervous pup took off down a pathway. Lenker followed close behind, tempted to turn around. “I couldn’t see her anymore and we almost left,” Lenker said. “I just had a feeling, though.”

Photo Credit: Kris Lenker

Lenker found the dog hiding behind a fence, and after a few minutes of gentle pets, the nervous dog decided to take a chance. “She wrapped her front paws around my neck and let me carry her back to the car,” Lenker said. “She was absolutely terrified, but I could tell she trusted me … It just felt like we were brought together for a reason.”

Shortly after the dog entered the car, her demeanor changed. It was as if she knew she was finally safe. “I just pet her and told her I had her,” Lenker said. “That is when she just collapsed into a ball in my lap. It’s like relief just hit her. She rode the rest of the way home in my lap like that.”

Photo Credit: Kris Lenker

While she decompresses and regains her strength, the dog, whom the couple has named Reba, is hanging out in a warm bathroom. When she’s up to it, she’ll get to meet her new dog siblings, who will show her the rules of the house.

And Reba is still just as affectionate as the first day they found her: “Belly rubs are her favorite, and she doesn’t hesitate to ask for them!” Lenker said. “She rolls on her back and paws at us until we give in.”

Reba was initially resistant to being rescued, but now she doesn’t want to leave — even to go outside for potty training. She demands that her mom carries her outside and back in every time.

Photo Credit: Kris Lenker

“I think she is still afraid she will be left out there,” Lenker said.

It’s only been a few days, but already Reba has been putting on weight and learning what it means to have a real family. “Her energy level is so much better and she is the biggest love bug,” Lenker said. “All she wants to do is snuggle us and give us kisses. It’s her favorite thing to do.”

Lenker believes they were truly meant to have Reba as part of their family. “She wouldn’t let anyone get near her, but she let us take her,” Lenker said. “She trusts us so much and we have fallen in love.”

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She trusts us so much and we have fallen in love.” What a fabulous end result.

There are so many loving people out there that would do the same. It’s an honour to present this account.

It’s amazing what your bladder will do for you!

This is a delightful story.

It was published on the Majestic Animals website and I hope republishing it is OK.

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Dog accidentally runs half-marathon after being let out for pee, finishes 7th

Sports are great for the health and running is the best way to keep you in a good shape. But I just can’t imagine to train hard for a 13 miles marathon, only to have a dog beat you. Well, that is exactly what happened with most of the Elkmont Trackless Train Half Marathon runners, in Alabama.

Ludivine, a 2 years old Bloodhound was out for a pee when she spotted all those guys running. And since there wasn’t any rule to say that only humans re allowed to participate, the quick thinker pup joined the marathon. Surprisingly, that wasn’t all as the doggy not just finished the run, but she even got a medal.

The adorable dog who finished seventh in the race, even had some pit stops!

She finished in just over an hour-and-a-half. Her owner April Hamlin said:

“All I did was open the door, and she ran the race on her own accord. My first reaction was that I was embarrassed and worried that she had possibly gotten in the way of the other runners. She’s laid back and friendly, so I can’t believe she ran the whole half marathon because she’s actually really lazy.”

Jim Clemens, who finished fourth in the half marathon said, “Every time I thought she had dropped off to go back home, I would hear her coming back up to me and she would race past me up to the two leaders. She would run off to romp through the streams and into yards to sniff around for a while.”

After the week I’ve had, I so needed this story! Check the video below!

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Again and again our love for dogs comes across!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Twenty-One

Devoted exclusively to the work of Sue Dreamwalker

Sue earlier on in the week brought my attention to this page on her blog: Pastel Drawings. Sue said that I could republish them. I am flattered. In fact, there are sixteen of these beautiful drawings and I intend to publish eight of them today and the remaining eight in Picture Parade Three Hundred and Twenty-Two.

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They are so beautiful.

Thank you, Sue, for giving me permission to republish them. Needless to say full copyright is vested in Sue Morton and them being republished in this place does not give authority for them to be republished elsewhere.