Tag: Canine Companions

This is amazing!

Puppies are born ready to communicate with humans!

This was an article that I saw in The Smithsonian and, as such, I am not allowed to reproduce it in full.

But I will give you a small extract:

ooOOoo

By Alex Fox

SMITHSONIANMAG.COM 
JUNE 3, 2021

Dog owners might not be too impressed when they’re able to point out a fallen piece of chicken or a thrown stick to their pooch, but dogs’ ability to follow that seemingly simple gesture places them in rare air in the animal kingdom. Some research suggests that even chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relatives, don’t understand pointing as well as dogs.

For decades, researchers have debated whether dogs obtain their ability to understand pointing by spending time with humans and learning it or if our furry companions are born with a capacity to comprehend this deceptively complex feat of communication.

ooOOoo

And if one follows that link above then one comes to Current Biology and, again, an extract:

ooOOoo

Summary

Human cognition is believed to be unique in part because of early-emerging social skills for cooperative communication.1Comparative studies show that at 2.5 years old, children reason about the physical world similarly to other great apes, yet already possess cognitive skills for cooperative communication far exceeding those in our closest primate relatives.2,3 A growing body of research indicates that domestic dogs exhibit functional similarities to human children in their sensitivity to cooperative-communicative acts. From early in development, dogs flexibly respond to diverse forms of cooperative gestures.4,5 Like human children, dogs are sensitive to ostensive signals marking gestures as communicative, as well as contextual factors needed for inferences about these communicative acts.678 However, key questions about potential biological bases for these abilities remain untested. To investigate their developmental and genetic origins, we tested 375 8-week-old dog puppies on a battery of social-cognitive measures. We hypothesized that if dogs’ skills for cooperating with humans are biologically prepared, then they should emerge robustly in early development, not require extensive socialization or learning, and exhibit heritable variation. Puppies were highly skillful at using diverse human gestures, and we found no evidence that their performance required learning. Critically, over 40% of the variation in dogs’ point-following abilities and attention to human faces was attributable to genetic factors. Our results suggest that these social skills in dogs emerge early in development and are under strong genetic control.

ooOOoo

And I am going to sneak one of the photographs in the original article!

A young puppy responds to a human pointing to a treat during an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona. (Canine Companions for Independence)

And what better to close the post that one of the photos I showed yesterday of dear Joy.

Treasure this dog!

The world of service dogs.

There was a post on The Dodo the last day of March. It was about a service dog that went the extra mile, so to speak.

The dog’s name is Wynn and she is one special dog. I mean special within the fine dogs that make up service dogs in general.

Have a read! It was taken from here.

ooOOoo

Service Dog Comforts The Hospital Workers Who Need Her The Most

Photo Credit: Susan Ryan

Wynn is only a year old, but when she’s old enough, she’ll be trained by Canine Companions for Independence to be an assistance dog for someone with a disability. Until then, she’s being trained and socialized by her puppy handler Susan Ryan — but she still has a very important job to do.

From the moment Ryan met Wynn, she knew she was a special dog. She’s so sweet and playful, and has never met a challenge she couldn’t find a way to tackle.

“I have two of my own Labs at home and she always does surprise attacks on them,” Ryan told The Dodo. “Once her vest is on, though, she is all business.”

Photo Credit: Susan Ryan

Ryan works as an emergency physician at Rose Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, and to help with Wynn’s training and socializing, she started taking the puppy with her to the hospital sometimes. Wynn always loves visiting the hospital — but when the coronavirus epidemic started to become an issue in the U.S., it became clear that Wynn could fill an important role at the hospital.

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, doctors, nurses and all hospital staffers are working around the clock to provide the best care they can. They’re working so hard and could definitely use some support, and Wynn is there for them, acting as a therapy dog specifically for everyone on staff who could use a moment to decompress amid all the chaos.

Ryan works hard at the hospital too, and even though she gets to see Wynn at home, she still took a moment on her shift recently to let Wynn comfort her. The pair sat on the floor of the hospital together and Wynn leaned into her foster mom, as if to thank her for taking such good care of both her and all of the patients in the hospital.

“She comforts us for sure,” Ryan said.

Photo Credit: Susan Ryan

Eventually, Wynn will move on and become an assistance dog for someone else who needs her, but for now, she’ll continue to help out at the hospital with her mom, and everyone is so grateful to have her there.

“When I walk into a shift the staff light up,” Ryan said. “But it’s for Wynn, not me.”

ooOOoo

What a delightful story. Just look at those photographs; the second and last ones in particular!

You heard me say this many times before and, I assume, it will be many other times ahead: Dogs are the most comforting animal bar none. They are so, so precious!