Category: Innovation

And the other guest post!

This time from Penny Martin.

Penny wanted me to post this guest post from her a little earlier than the ‘chosen’ date. So, I am publishing it today!

ooOOoo

Tips and Tricks for Multistate Living with a Pet

As a senior, you get the best of both worlds by spending half the year in one state and half in another.  But sometimes, things can get a little hectic along the way, especially when you own two homes in independent living communities and a pet on top of it. There may be days when your stress levels rise as you try to cope with everything. That’s why Learning from Dogs has assembled some handy tips and tricks to smooth out multistate living for you and your pet.

Saving Money

One of your first considerations may be to save some money as you switch from one home to the other. You might, for instance, register your cars and purchase auto insurance in a state that is less expensive. Do the same for health insurance and even pet insurance to save extra money. You might also stock up on nonperishable and freezer items for each house when your budget allows so that you’ll have supplies on hand when you transfer between homes. Finally, consider replacing double cable services with streaming options. This way, you can watch all your favorite shows whenever and wherever you want without paying for access in two states.

Staying Organized

It can be quite difficult to stay organized when you’re splitting your time between two different homes, but you can if you get in the habit of making lists. Keep a running tab of your possessions and current supplies, like food and cleaning products, at both homes. This way, you’ll know what you have and what you need to bring with you. If you find yourself overwhelmed by clutter, don’t be afraid to use a storage unit. There are plenty of self-storage options in San Diego, and you can check prices and reviews in advance.

When it comes to your pet’s needs, you might do well to have a set of care items like harnesses, crates, cat trees, and litter boxes at both homes. This way, you won’t have to drag things back and forth. When you’re shopping for pet supplies, be sure to read online reviews from customers but also from veterinarians and other animal experts so that you can ensure the quality of the products and the health and safety of your pet. 

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Dividing time between two homes in two different states can be stressful for your pet, so make sure you take care of your pet’s health. Find a trustworthy veterinarian in both locations, and take your pet for frequent checkups each time you settle into a new place. Make sure your pet has proper flea and tick prevention for both environments, and find a good pet sitter in both locations, too. 

Also, consider pet insurance to help defray vet costs. One state may actually offer less expensive pet insurance policies than another — although you may find it more expensive in many ways — so shop around for the best policy. Research coverage options, prices, deductibles, limitations, and provider reputations before choosing a policy that is right for you and your pet. 

Living Well in Two States

Multistate living can be a challenge, but it can also be a delightful experience for you and your pet. Use the tips above to save money, stay organized, keep your pet healthy, and enjoy the best of both worlds.

Learning from Dogs serves as a reminder of the values of life and the power of unconditional love – as so many, many dogs prove each and every day. Click here to get involved!

Image via Pexels

ooOOoo

It was exceedingly kind of Penny to promote this blog and I am grateful for the links.

It is a very useful guest post and I hope that many people find it of value. It would be nice to hear from people who have read Penny’s post.

That’s all from me!

The Dog Ageing Project.

Yes, you heard that correctly!

I was just idly browsing dog websites a couple of days ago and came across the Dog Aging Project. As their About page reports:

The goal of the Dog Aging Project is to understand how genes, lifestyle, and environment influence aging. We want to use that information to help pets and people increase healthspan, the period of life spent free from disease.

I have taken the liberty of sharing one of their blog posts with you (I can’t see that isn’t allowed!)

ooOOoo

Longer, healthier lives. Together.

Dog and Human Genetics: Similarity and Difference

July 26th, 2022

Your pup may be your “fur baby,” but how similar are you genetically? You may be surprised!

Did you know that dogs and people share over 17,000 special genes called orthologs? Each pair of orthologs is derived from the same common ancestor via vertical descent (speciation) and they tend to have similar functions. They are one of the main reasons why your pup is such an invaluable comparative animal model for studying human health. In fact, humans and dogs have numerous similarities even in those parts of the genome that aren’t genes (the noncoding part of the genome). When it comes to better understanding human health, your pup is our best friend!

Sometimes, the effects of a gene are identical between dogs and people. For example, the same version of EPAS1, a gene triggered by low-oxygen conditions, is shared by people living in the Tibetan Plateau and the dog lineages that developed there. Genetic changes in this gene have taken place to help kickstart the body’s responses to hypoxia, or low oxygen levels, at high altitudes.

In other cases, the effects of a gene may be similar but not identical. For instance, the gene SCN3A is important to brain function and affects the development of speech. In children, mutations in SCN3A have been reported to cause disorders like epilepsy. But in dogs, genetic changes near the canine ortholog of SCN3A are associated with the frequency of howling in dogs.[1] The functions of this gene seem distinct (speech versus howling) but related!

For other health conditions shared by dogs and people, the same genes may not be responsible, but that doesn’t mean that research on those conditions in dogs isn’t helpful for humans! By learning more about how a dog’s genes are connected with a shared health condition, we can investigate the biological mechanisms involved and potentially make links to human health.

For example, people long suggested that narcolepsy might be a disease of the immune system: an autoimmune attack that causes daytime drowsiness and sudden sleep. In human studies, it was difficult to confirm the immune system link. It wasn’t until 1999[2] that this connection was discovered in a lineage of Doberman pinscher dogs. The researchers discovered a gene that is involved in the interface between the nervous system and immune system.

Finally, you and your pup share more than just genetics. Your environments are also very similar! You sleep in the same house—maybe even the same bed!—go on walks together, and breathe the same air. Interactions between these environmental variables and your genetics (called gene by environment interactions) can have an important impact on health. For example, smoking is well known to increase risk of bladder cancer in humans[3], but it is still unknown how secondhand smoke affects risk of bladder cancer in dogs.[4]

Data from the Dog Aging Project should help us answer important questions like these!

1. Kathleen Morrill et al. 2022. Ancestry-inclusive dog genomics challenges popular breed stereotypes. Science 376: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abk0639

2. Ling Lin et al. 1999. The Sleep Disorder Canine Narcolepsy Is Caused by a Mutation in the Hypocretin (Orexin) Receptor 2 Gene. Cell 98 (3): 365-376. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-8674(00)81965-0

3. JD Figueroa et al. 2014. Genome-wide interaction study of smoking and bladder cancer risk. Carcinogenesis 35 (8):1737-44. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24662972/

4. Deborah Knapp. Canine Bladder Cancer. https://www.vet.purdue.edu/pcop/files/docs/CanineUrinaryBladderCancer.pdf (PDF)

ooOOoo

This is, in my opinion, an important project.

Many may want to nominate their own dog and there is a page where a number of FAQ’s are addressed. If you wish to proceed then go to this page.

As was said, this seems like an important project.

Volunteering at animal shelters.

Another great post from Penny Martin.

Once again I am delighted to publish another post from Penny. This is a relatively short post but nevertheless of supreme importance.

With no more ado from me, here it is:

ooOOoo

Protecting Our Pets: Resources for Volunteering at Animal Shelters

By Penny Martin

August 10th, 2022

If animal welfare is close to your heart, you might want to consider helping out at a pet shelter for abandoned or unwanted animals. There are always a number of charities in the USA and beyond looking for eager volunteers. 

Before You Apply

Animal welfare work can be challenging for an individual, even if you’re just volunteering. It’s important to take precautions before you commit to your decision.

  • Read about the experience of working at a shelter to better understand the challenges and obstacles you might encounter.
  • Often, volunteers need to undergo training, orientation, and background checks before they’re allowed to contribute.
  • Connect with your local shelters on social media to see the kind of work they do and whether there are opportunities to volunteer.

Organizations

Shelters for abandoned and neglected pets are frequently found throughout the country. If you want to do your part, the logical first step is to locate one close to you.

  • Institutions like Guide Star have been established to hold animal rescue services accountable and ensure they are being maintained properly.
  • Take some time to learn about the listed charities in your area.
  • If you find an abandoned pet and you’re not aware of shelters in your area, try reaching out to American Humane.

Ways to Help

If you’re unable to volunteer in person, there are still plenty of ways to get involved and do your part.

  • There’s good work to be done online via social media and you can help out by engaging in discussion and sharing posts about missing or unwanted pets.
  • If you have any spare supplies that you’re willing to donate, these can make a profound impact on the lives of animals. 
  • If you’re purchasing supplies to donate, read expert reviews to choose the highest-quality products.
  • If the existing organizations don’t meet your concerns, you could try forming your own nonprofit.
  • You can create Facebook ads for free to secure donations and get the word out about your nonprofit. 

Unfortunately, across the USA and beyond, there are a great many pets in need of our help but even small acts of kindness can take us a significant way towards eradicating the problem altogether. Reach out to your local shelter and see how you can help.

Read the Learning from Dogs book for a reminder of the unconditional love dogs give us every day. 

Image by Pexels

ooOOoo

Once again, a big thank you to Penny and also my thanks for the link to Learning from Dogs.

For those of you that are considering helping out then Penny’s post might offer the advice you require.

Far, far back in time.

Nasa’s James Webb telescope is awesome beyond words.

The recent launch of this telescope, as a successor to Hubble, can see right back more than 13.5 billion years. The universe was formed 13.78 billion years ago. The reach of the James Webb telescope is therefore 98% (97.96) of the life of the universe. But the superlatives about this telescope are almost never-ending. For example it will, in time, be able to explore the tiny planetary worlds far, far away. We may in time see signs of life, as in water, vegetation, or industrialisation, connected with those planets.

The James Webb is in orbit some million miles away from Earth and will, in fact, be orbiting the sun.

One could go on and on speaking about this achievement but I will resist. I want to share a three things with you.

First the release of this early image and a portion of the associated text:

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far. Webb’s First Deep Field is galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and it is teeming with thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared.

Webb’s image is approximately the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length, a tiny sliver of the vast universe. The combined mass of this galaxy cluster acts as a gravitational lens, magnifying more distant galaxies, including some seen when the universe was less than a billion years old. This deep field, taken by Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), is a composite made from images at different wavelengths, totaling 12.5 hours – achieving depths at infrared wavelengths beyond the Hubble Space Telescope’s deepest fields, which took weeks. And this is only the beginning. Researchers will continue to use Webb to take longer exposures, revealing more of our vast universe.

Second, why is it named after James E. Webb (1906- 1992)? James Webb was NASA’s second administrator and known for leading Apollo, the series of lunar exploration programs that landed the first humans on the Moon. (A good Q&A is here: https://www.jwst.nasa.gov/content/about/faqs/faq.html )

Last thing to share is some music! ‘Floating in Heaven’ by Graham Gouldman and Brian May

It is indeed wonderful to be alive at this time!

Starting your own pet business.

Another guest post from Penny Martin.

Well I am preparing this post on Saturday, the 14th. The operation for the hernia on the 10th went smoothly enough but I did not reckon on the discomfort that would follow. Indeed, I was talking to a good friend on Thursday and he said that the pain would more or less last for two weeks. My son gave me the good advice to take regular doses of an over-the-shelf painkiller rather than the stronger tablets the hospital gave me because those prohibited driving! I returned to a small amount of driving last Friday.

Now on with the show!

Penny Martin first wrote a guest post for me in February, Fostering or adopting a dog, and I am delighted to present her second post. Over to her!

ooOOoo

Why Now Is a Great Time for a Pet Business and How to Start Your Own

By Penny Martin.

If you are an animal lover who wants to spend your days scrolling through cute dog pictures and surrounded by furry clients, now is a great time to consider starting your own pet business. Here, you can learn more about which relevant business areas experiencing growth and tips to get started on the right foot. 

Reasons Why It’s a Great Time for Pet Businesses

A growing number of families include animals. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association data, more than half of American households have a pet. That number appears to be growing, too, representing an increased need for care services. 

Pets are not just more abundant; they are also becoming full-fledged family members. As a result, spending on them is also increasing. Despite rapid growth in many care service areas, there are not enough providers to meet this increased demand. 

Animal-Related Businesses That Are Thriving

If you are curious about what type of business to start, look no further than pet care providers. There are several types of jobs you can get involved in:

  • Training and behavioral services: Training isn’t just for puppies. Dogs of all ages can benefit from learning household rules and appropriate behaviors when they are out and about. 
  • Dog walking and pet sitting: This is usually based out of the client’s home, where you pick them up for a walk or provide companionship for short periods.
  • Boarding: This is an excellent option for individuals who would rather welcome dogs and cats to their own home or care facility. Many boarding companies also provide daycare services. 
  • Grooming: You will need to learn how to groom different types of pets to master the skills for a successful grooming career. However, if you enjoy helping dogs look their best, this is an excellent high-demand field. 

Business Strategies to Help You Succeed

Economic conditions are excellent for small pet-focused companies to thrive. However, as an entrepreneur, you need to follow some basic business principles to succeed.

Start by choosing an appropriate legal structure. Research the most popular setup for businesses like yours to find one that fits your needs. Then, file with the appropriate offices to make it official. Next, take time to develop a comprehensive business plan. This document will do more than get you up and running; it will also serve as a reference as you continue to grow. Be sure to conduct market research to identify your target customers.  

Implement a structured invoicing process to set clear payment terms for clients and ensure you get paid on time, especially if you send invoices immediately after performing a service. Accepting several forms of payment is also helpful for clients. Use an invoice maker, free online usually, to streamline the process. Simply add your logo and business information, and you are ready to go. 

Use bookkeeping software to track your income and expenses and gain insight into your cash flow. This is a great way to organize and store receipts, ensuring compliance with regulatory agencies. It also makes tax filing easier at the end of the year and helps you find the most deductions.

A growing number of households with pets and increased spending make now a great time to start an animal-related business. Care and service providers are excellent fields to consider, with high demand for groomers, trainers, and dog walkers. However, no matter what type of company you start, sound business strategies can keep it running smoothly.

Image via Pixels

oOOoo

Excellent!

As an ex-entrepreneur, who fundamentally was a salesman, I can also add the following to that post.

It starts and ends with the customer. A business plan is vital and so too is market research. But unless you have a clear vision of how you are to sell your services and what’s the difference that makes the difference you must not proceed. Selling is all about: Need; Feature; Benefit.

  • Open-ended questions to establish the need. (Those are questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a no.)
  • Keep on asking, and establishing a relationship, until you and the potential customer are clear that there is a need.
  • Then speak about the features of what you are selling that matches the need/s. Do not progress until the prospective customer understands and agrees.
  • For every agreed feature be clear what the benefit is for the customer; of that particular feature.
  • Try closing the deal. If there is hesitation then understand why. Resolve it. Try closing the deal again.

The very best of luck to those that want to run with this.

Dogs’ Brains

Many surprises and, probably, more to come!

Among the many dog-related blogs that I read is Treehugger. It covers a wide range of sustainable actions and habits and not infrequently writes about dogs. That is the main reason I follow the blog.

On January 12th, 2022 the blog site carried an article about the ways that dogs hear speech. It was called Dogs Brains Can Distinguish Between Different Human Languages.

I republish it below:

ooOOoo

Dog Brains Can Distinguish Between Different Human Languages

They also can tell the difference between real speech and scrambled speech.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo

Kun-kun the border collie listens to language in an MRI machine. Enikő Kubinyi

You talk to your dog, and of course, you’re convinced your pup understands you. But what if a dog is plopped down in a place where suddenly everyone is speaking a different language?

In a new study, researchers have used brain imaging techniques to find that dogs can differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar languages. Researchers say the findings, from the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary, are the first evidence that shows a non-human brain can distinguish between languages.1

A few years ago, first author Laura V. Cuaya moved from Mexico to Hungary for her postdoctoral research. Before the move, Cuaya’s border collie Kun-kun had only heard Spanish. She was curious whether he would notice that people in Budapest spoke a different language, Hungarian.2

“Like many dogs, Kun-kun tends to pay attention to humans, trying to predict their social environment,” Cuaya tells Treehugger.

“When we moved to Hungary, it was a whole new world for everyone. In Budapest, people are very friendly with dogs. When people talked to Kun-kun, I wondered if he picked up the language difference. And happily, this question fitted with the goals of the Neuroethology of Communication Lab.”

For their study, researchers recruited Kun-kun and 17 other dogs, who had been previously trained to lie still in a brain scanner for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).1

The dogs were played speech excerpts from “The Little Prince” in Spanish and Hungarian. Each of the dogs had heard only one of the two languages: Hungarian was the familiar language of 16 dogs, Spanish of the other two dogs. That allowed them to compare a very familiar language with a completely unfamiliar one.1

Researchers also played scrambled versions of the excerpts to the dogs. These were nonsensical and completely unnatural. This was to test whether they could tell the difference between speech and nonspeech.1

They compared the brain responses to the two different languages and to speech and nonspeech.

“We found distinct cerebral regions for both processes: for speech detection (speech vs. non-speech), the primary auditory cortex, and for language recognition (familiar language vs. unfamiliar language), the secondary auditory cortex,” Cuaya says.

“Our results may suggest a hierarchy processing in the dog’s brain to process speech. In the first stage, their brain would detect whether a sound is speech or not. Then, in the second stage, their brain would identify whether the speech is a familiar language or not.”

The results were published in the journal NeuroImage.

Exposure and Age 

Researchers found that no matter which language the dogs were listening to, the primary auditory cortex of the dogs’ brains could distinguish between speech and scrambled, nonspeech.1

“Dog brains, like human brains, can distinguish between speech and nonspeech. But the mechanism underlying this speech detection ability may be different from speech sensitivity in humans: whereas human brains are specially tuned to speech, dog brains may simply detect the naturalness of the sound,” says Raúl Hernández-Pérez, coauthor of the study.

They also determined that dog brains could differentiate between Spanish and Hungarian. Those patterns were found in a different region of the brain called the secondary auditory cortex.1

Researchers found that the older the dog was, the better their brain was able to tell the difference between a familiar and unfamiliar language. That suggests that the longer dogs live with their people and are exposed to a language, the more they understand how their language sounds.1

“As we could not control the amount of exposure to language in our study, we used the dog age as an indirect measure of the time dogs have been exposed to a given language,” Cuaya says. “I hypothesize that dogs with a closer relationship with humans will better distinguish languages. It could be great if future studies test puppies to control the exposure to a language better.”

Dogs as Models 

Researchers are curious whether this language differentiation is unique to dogs or whether other non-human animals may also be able to distinguish between languages.2

“A variety of auditory regularities characterizes each language. For example, sometimes, we cannot identify what language we are listening to. However, we can likely recognize its general origin (e.g., an Asian or Romance language) because of its auditory regularities,” Cuaya explains.

“Detecting regularities is something that brains do very well, not only humans or dogs’ brains. It is highly likely that other species can be trained to differentiate between languages successfully.”

But Cuaya points out that in their study, dogs weren’t “trained.”

“Their brains detected the difference spontaneously, perhaps due to the domestication process,” she says. “While it is likely that other species can differentiate between complex sounds, it is possible that just a few species are interested in the human language.”

Researchers believe the findings are important because by studying dogs, they can have a broader picture of the evolution of speech perception.2

“Dogs are an excellent model because they have been living—and cooperating—with humans for thousands of years. When we wonder if another species cares about what humans do, it is inevitable to think of dogs. In the case of language perception, we can learn, for example, that different brains—with different evolutive paths—can carry out a similar process,” Cuaya says.

“Also, as someone with dogs in my family, it is lovely to know that dogs are picking up subtle cues of their social environment all the time.”

Article Sources

  1. Cuaya, Laura V., et al. “Speech Naturalness Detection and Language Representation in the Dog Brain.” Neuroimage, 2021, p. 118811., doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118811

2. first author Laura V. Cuaya from the Department of Ethology at Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary

ooOOoo

Time after time I learn new things about dogs. This is another example of the mystery of a dog’s brain. Thank goodness there is scientific study into our lovely animals.

The world of fungi.

A stark contrast to where I was a week ago.

A good friend of mine, Peter McCarthy, back in the UK, said that he had recently gone on to a supplement called Lion’s Mane. It is a supplement for keeping the cognition working and maintaining good brain function. Peter also mentioned a film called Fantastic Fungi that was available on Netflix.

At home we have Netflix and we watched the film. It was incredible, almost beyond words.

If you want to watch the official trailer then here it is:

The film is about the power of Mycelium. Here is an extract from Fungi Perfecti:

The activities of mycelium help heal and steer ecosystems on their evolutionary path, acting as a recycling mechanism to nourish other members of the ecological communities. By cycling nutrients through the food chain, mycelial networks benefit the soil and allow surrounding networks of plants and animals to survive and thrive. 

Increasingly known as the “wood wide web”, mycelium can be found underfoot with nearly every footstep on a lawn, field, or forest floor. It has been concluded that as much as 90% of land plants are in a mutually beneficial relationship with mycelial networks. Without fungi – without mycelium – all ecosystems would fail.

Mycelium and mycological applications have enormous potential to benefit the health of both people and planet. We are committed to continuing our research efforts to find new and innovative ways to build bridges between mycological applications to both human and planetary health.

We can think of it in a way of finding the mother tree.

The film speaks of protecting the old-growth forest trees. So if you have old-growth trees nearby, do everything in your power to protect them.

Here is a report including a video on Suzanne Simard’s New Book.

Forest researcher and university professor Dr. Suzanne Simard has spent years studying trees. Her research led to the discovery that the forest’s plants and trees have an underground communication system, with trees and fungi cooperating. Her Ted talk brought her work to a larger audience, while her 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals shared her research findings with the larger science community. Now, she is releasing her first book Finding the Mother Tree, published by Penguin Random House.

This is not a book about how we can save the trees. This is a book about how the trees might save us’.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

A beautiful example of humans in the supreme invention and deployment of JWST.

(A reminder that Tuesday is a ‘non-doggie’ day.)

JWST is astounding. It will look back to the beginnings of the universe, just 200 million light-years after the Big Bang, or possibly further back in time. Because of the way that the universe stretches out and causes light to go red, as it were, JWST will be searching for images from the cosmos in the infrared.

I recently listened to a 30-minute programme on BBC Sounds. It was a BBC Discovery episode about the JWST. Recorded before the launch it was, nonetheless, a deeply fascinating programme about what JWST will be looking for.

Now the link is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct1m8t

Please listen to it!

Then there is the NASA website that has many videos about the progress of JWST. I selected this one.

Finally, YouTube also have many videos and I selected this one to share with you.

I feel very grateful to be alive when this is happening.

How do you celebrate your dog’s birthday?

Some advice from The Dodo.

There are many things we just take for granted including, if I may say, celebrating a birthday for our dog. Now I’ve no way to check with readers if what I just said is correct; it is an assumption.

Earlier in the year, July to be exact, The Dodo published ideas that might be useful for you. Here they are:

ooOOoo

7 Ways To Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday

For the absolute best birthday (or adoption day) ever 🥳

By Lauren Taylor

Published on the 28th July, 2021

Target

There are lots of ways to celebrate your dog’s birthday. But different dogs might like to celebrate in different ways depending on their personality — some dogs are more social, and others might just want to spend the day lounging around.

With all the different ways to celebrate and all the different dogs out there, it might be hard for you to decide what to do to give your dog the best birthday.

To help you decide, The Dodo made a list of seven fun ideas for ways to celebrate your dog’s birthday.

Dog birthday party ideas

Throw a dog party

Invite all your dog’s friends to his birthday party! To make sure everyone’s included, send out invites like this one. You can personalize the template and add whatever you want to say to the front!

You’ll need some decorations for the party, too, so get this banner of your dog’s face! Just send in a pic of your dog, and you’ll get this banner to hang your pup’s face all over your house.

Give your dog’s guests some party favors before they go. Fill up these paw print party bags with little treats or toys to say thanks for coming. They come in a set of 20, so you’ll have plenty to go around.

Have a pool party

If your dog’s birthday is in the summer, let him cool off by taking a dip in the pool! This doggie poolcomes in multiple sizes and doesn’t need to be inflated, so it’s super easy to set up. 

Make sure you get a life jacket and doggy sunscreen to keep your pup safe in the water while having fun!

Dress up your dog

Obviously your dog will need a cool outfit for his party. Get him this Birthday Boy (or Birthday Girl) shirt that comes in multiple sizes and keeps your dog warm enough to wear on outdoor walks.

Get this birthday crown to complete the look. It’s sparkly gold with pom poms on top and has a chin strap, so it will stay put all day long (or as long as your dog will keep it on). 

Have a photo booth

Set up a photo booth with props! These birthday-themed props will let you take lots of Instagram-worthy pictures with your dog. There are glasses, balloons, cake and hats, so you’ll have a lot of options. 

Make pupcakes

Make homemade pupcakes for your pup with this dog cake mix. The recipe is all-natural and peanut butter flavored, comes with an icing mix and can be made in either the oven or microwave for easy baking. 

Spend time with your dog

Spend quality time with your dog and give him some exercise by taking him on a long walk. You can still dress your pup up for his birthday walk with a fun harness and leash combo like this mix-and-match one that earned The Dodo’s Paw of Approval. The harness is adjustable, and there are tons of different colors. It also comes with a cute poop bag carrier to make cleaning up after your pup a little more fun.

Take time out of your day just to play with your dog. Whether it’s throwing a ball or playing with a squeaky toy or tug-of-war, your dog will love it. Get him some new toys that he can play with on his birthday too.

Let your dog pick out a gift

Take your pup to a pet store and let him pick out his own gift! You’ll probably be getting him tons of presents, but it’ll be fun for him to pick one out for himself too. Plus, dogs go crazy for all the sights, smells and sounds in pet stores, so it’ll be an adventure.

ooOOoo

You should be aware that if you choose to purchase an item from The Dodo website then their statement is applicable:

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.

I think there are some brilliant ideas and, upon reading this article, maybe many fewer people will take it for granted when their dogs have a birthday!

A Tilt of the Head

Head-tilting in dogs.

There have been two recent articles on head-tilting in dogs. One was published by Springer Link and was a scientific report; the Abstract as follows:

Little is known about head-tilts in dogs. Based on previous investigations on the head turning and the lateralised brain pattern of human speech processing in dogs, we hypothesised that head-tilts may be related to increased attention and could be explained by lateralised mental functions. We observed 40 dogs during object-label knowledge tests and analysed head-tilts occurring while listening to humans requesting verbally to fetch a familiar toy. Our results indicate that only dogs that had learned the name of the objects tilted their heads frequently. Besides, the side of the tilt was stable across several months and tests. Thus, we suggest a relationship between head-tilting and processing relevant, meaningful stimuli.

The other report was a more easy read, so to speak, and is from Treehugger and that is the one that I shall share with you.

ooOOoo

Why Brilliant Dogs Tilt Their Heads.

They’re processing relevant information.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo

Mary Jo DiLonardo

Published November 12, 2021

Tetra Images – Jessica Peterson / Getty Images

Ask your dog a question, and there’s a good chance he’ll tilt his head as he ponders his response.

The head tilt is a cute canine maneuver that gives the impression your pup is paying attention to you. But there’s been little scientific research analyzing the behavior.

In a new study of “gifted” dogs, researchers found that dogs that can easily learn the names of their toys tilt their heads when their owners ask them to fetch a specific toy. And they typically tilt their heads consistently to the same side.1

Data was collected during the Genius Dog Challenge, a series of experiments that were broadcast on social media, showing dogs retrieving their toys by name. The information was also collected during an earlier study that researched how some dogs are able to learn the names of many of their toys.2

These dogs were dubbed “gifted word learners” by researchers.

“We started studying this phenomenon after we realised that all of us observed this behaviour very often when we were testing the gifted word learner (GWL) dogs,” lead researcher Andrea Sommese, from the Family Dog Project at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, tells Treehugger. 

“It’s such a cute, common behaviour but we didn’t know why our dogs were doing it and most of all, why so often!”

Gifted Learners 

For their work, researchers searched globally for two years, looking for dogs that had the ability to quickly memorize the names of their toys. They also created the Genius Dog Challenge, a research project and social media campaign, to find even more brilliant pups.3

They found six border collies that live in different countries, who all learned toy names just while playing with their owners. For the challenge, these gifted word learners had a week to learn the names of six toys. During the second stage, they had a week to try to learn the names of a dozen toys.4

“In all our experiments we found that the GWL dogs were tilting the head very often. It wasn’t just during the challenge but also when we were testing them every month,” Sommese says.

“We believe that there is a relationship between head tilting and processing relevant, and meaningful stimuli as our GWL dogs only showed this behaviour during the test when their owners were saying the name of a toy.”

In one experiment, researchers observed 40 dogs for three months as they attempted to learn the names of two new toys. The dogs sat or stood in front of their owners when they were asked to fetch one of the toys by pronouncing its name. (For example, “bring rope!”) The dogs would then go to another room and attempt to retrieve the correct toy.1

The researchers found that the gifted word learner dogs tilted their heads 43% of the time versus the typical dogs that only tilted in 2% of trials.1

The results were published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Choosing Sides

Dogs, horses, and other animals—including humans—show asymmetry in the way they perceive the world around them. They prefer one ear, eye, hand (or paw) over the other when interacting with the environment.5

“A typical way to show asymmetry, especially in humans, is handedness. Most of us are right-handed but there are still left-handed people around. The same can happen to animals,” Sommese says.

“Of course, it doesn’t always have to be a ‘hand’ or a paw in their case, it can be an eye or an ear. For instance, in dogs, even the inclination their tails have when they’re wagging is a sign of asymmetrical behaviour.”

In the study, researchers found that the dogs also showed asymmetry, nearly always tilting their heads to the same side.1

What About Typical Dogs?

Researchers say the findings suggest there’s a connection between head tilting and processing relevant and meaningful stimuli.5

But their results are limited because they only studied these brilliant pups who have learned toy names.

“Even if typical dogs are not able to learn the names of many toys as we showed with our previous study, typical dogs still tilt their head,” Sommese says. “It seems that even in them this might be in response to meaningful stimuli—but we don’t know what meaningful means for a typical dog just yet.”

Article Sources

  1. Sommese, Andrea, et al. “An Exploratory Analysis of Head-Tilting in Dogs.” Animal Cognition, 2021, doi:10.1007/s10071-021-01571-8
  2. Talk-To-Tilt: Head Tilting In Dogs.” ELTE Institute of Biology, 2021.
  3. Shany Dror, from the Family Dog Project, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest
  4. The Challenge.” Genius Dog Challenge.
  5. lead researcher Andrea Sommese, from the Family Dog Project at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest

ooOOoo

Now I see The Smithsonian magazine has jumped on the bandwagon. Here is a small piece from their article:

“The next step is asking more questions to get at what the head tilt really means,” says Monique Udell, a human-animal interaction researcher at Oregon State University who wasn’t involved in the work, to Rachel Fritts of Science. “Can we use head tilting to predict word-learning aptitude, or attention, or memory?”

But The Smithsonian has to be thanked for mentioning Monique Udell because one can quickly find her details:

Monique Udell

Dr. Udell is the Director of the Human-Animal Interaction Laboratory and teaches courses on Animal Behavior & Cognition, Applied Animal Behavior, Animal Learning, Behavior Modification and Enrichment within the Department of Animal & Rangeland Sciences at OSU.

Her research interests include:

  • Human-animal interactions & bonding, including animal training and animal assisted intervention programs aimed at improving the lives of humans and animals through mutually beneficial interactions.
  • Lifetime and evolutionary factors influencing the social development and wellbeing of canines (dogs and wolves), domestic cats, and other captive and domesticated species.
  • Evaluating and improving the welfare of animals living as companion, working, or production animals.

More details can be found at the Human-Animal Interaction lab website: TheHumanAnimalBond.com

If anyone wants to contact her then her email address is: monique.udell@oregonstate.edu

I think I will simply because I would like to know more about her work!