Explains why ...
... of about 100 words my dog understands, about 90 are foodstuffs. Although she's probably using scent as well as texture.
We here on the canine desk at Vulture Central have often pondered the mystery of how it is that dogs - with their own mental lexicon - understand words that relate to fetching specific objects such as "ball" or "bone". Now animal behaviour academics at the University of Lincoln have collected empirical evidence that apparently …
if you train a police dog to bring down a running target, what happens if by coincidence there is also a jogger nearby?
Police dogs have been trained to do this since before anyone ran except criminals and people who were late for a bus. Seriously question. There are a lot more running people these days, often sweaty and smelling of nasty lycra. Doesn't that mess with the dogs?
from what i've seen by watching lots of shows on Alibi, lycra is very much NOT the preferred clothing material of the criminal classes.
possibly, that explains why joggers wear it. the only reason i'd ever wear the stuff was out of fear of being mauled by a police alsatian if i wore normal clothes.
The trick here is the criminal's response vs the jogger's response. The jogger seeing the cops and the dog will stop, the criminal will run faster. The dog now has an easy way to pick out his targets that is convenient for the cops as well.
And what if the criminal stops as well? Well, then the dog did its job of stopping the criminal without even having to bite anyone.
my reaction to a dog chasing me while jogging would be to either
a) climb up the nearest tree or similar area inaccessible to the dog
b) find a way to disable the dog.. what I'd use depends on the situation, while jogging is one the few times I won't be carrying a multi-tool so I'd be very vulnerable....
Is that your opinion on the conundrum posed, or is there any argument/facts/whatever to back this up.
If you take an average dog and put a cat in front of it, the outcome mostly depends on the cat: if it stands its ground and threatens, the dog retreats; if it turns tail the dog chases it (and it depends on the individual/training whether it play-chases or grabs to kill). [See similar video of cats chasing bears up trees etc.]
So that's in line with the idea that police dogs go by the runner's reaction; but it applies to untrained dogs. [Trained dogs differ: My neighbour's hunting dog, a lurcher, almost killed my not-running-away cat; in four seconds he put him into intensive care for three days after he brazenly jumped into the dog's garden to eat from the its tray.]
AFAIK police dogs are never trained with unprotected people (say lycra-wearing joggers), I guess Health&Sanity laws wouldn't allow it, so that's not it. [Come to think of it, police dogs are trained with the 'criminal' dressed in gigantic, furry, anti-bite suits. So if they were strictly trained by similarity, they'd be lethal to those annoying "mascots".]
I have seen police dogs bring down running as well as standing people, and people making eye contact or looking away. That doesn't mesh with the dog chosing his target based on running style. I think target indication is very much up to the handler; it's not that they suddenly shout "CAtch!" with their arms on their back and looking at the clouds. I actually wonder what the dog would do if there's possible confusion (signal? stop?); it can certainly be instantly called off if chasing the wrong target.
[Wolves very much hunt in packs with a leader somehow indicating which one from a herd of buffalo to bring down, while there's a mass of similar-sized, similar looking beasts stampede in identical fashion. So dog training must use this signalling/listening system.]
'Police dogs have been trained to do this since before anyone ran except criminals and people who were late for a bus. Seriously question. There are a lot more running people these days, often sweaty and smelling of nasty lycra. Doesn't that mess with the dogs?'
That sounds like an EPSRC grant application well worth pursuing. Your deliverables should be a paper, conference presentation, a lawsuit and YourTube video with laugh track.
Having been around a lot of dog training, I can answer this one. They are given additional cues. Dogs trained for police work, search and rescue, etc. don't just work off "he is running, so get him". They also work off a scent cue picked up early in the chase, and are also trained to take directional orders from their handler. So, the dog can be halfway across the parking lot and the handler can yell a command and make the dog turn right, or left, or even stop completely. The training must override the instinct, or they won't make a good service dog. Being extremely well trained is life saving TO THE DOG.
As Maria says, you can train a dog to change direction on command, sheep dogs being the obvious example if you're not familiar with police dogs.
A few words of advice;
- Never attempt to stroke a police dog when it's on duty. The dog will probably won't lash out but its handler isn't going to take the risk just so some drunk can pet it. Especially since it'll mean the dog will be sanctioned. You're likely at minimum to get an earful from the handler but it's more likely you'll be forcefully pushed out of the way and you won't have any recourse for any injuries you sustain.
- If you're being chased by a police dog do not attempt to run, it'll always outpace you. Don't attempt to climb a tree either, the dog will have your ankle before you're even on the first branch.
- Under no circumstances attempt to attack the police dog with your 'multi-tool'. First, you'll get in serious trouble for attacking a police dog. Second, these dogs will continue to do their duty even with injuries. Third, you'll have a set of dog jaws clamped round your arm as soon as you reach into your pocket.
Your canine might be picking cues from the Staffie... they tend to be keener on humans than they are other dogs.
I was impressed when my nine-month old cocker spaniel took his lead from my mate... his chickens had got loose, so he ran towards them, arms flapping. My spaniel immediately picked up on this, and joined in the game. Fearing he would he would hurt a chicken, I called him back and returned to me - surprising, because usually he is 'selectively deaf'. He's got within a jaw-length of an ascending pheasant's tail, and made an ambitious attempt to catch a buzzard, but so has yet to dispatch anything avian.
"... has yet to dispatch anything avian."
We had a pair of siberian husky 'twins', the only obvious difference being their eye color. They were pros at catching birds and fiendishly clever. Their best trick was to carry the food dish a bit inside the doghouse entrance and "sleep" outside while waiting for a hapless bird to make a go for the dog food. Once the bird was far enough inside the pair would rush the entry with one going in after the bird and the other blocking its escape. After seeing them do this successfully several times in one weekend I stopped wondering where all the starling and grackle feathers were coming from.
Definitely object based, words for various toys are understood well by my hound (a collie) but "rabbit" seems to be understood not as an object but as a command to chase small furry animals. Mind you, a few years ago when the outlaws were about, my previous one picked up commands in Chinese, even when the command "sit"* had different meanings depending on who gave them.
*As in place posterior on ground or eat.
"sound-to-meaning mappings... was fundamentally distinct in mutts and humans"
Just because texture is noticed over shape?? I have a suspicion that if humans picked up most objects with their mouth, we'd suddenly start paying more attention to texture as well.
Also makes me wonder, how did they measure (and control for) the distinction between each object's taste ;)
"... if humans picked up most objects with their mouth, ..."
Yes, puppies especially seem to explore the world by grabbing things with their mouths and licking them until them get bored. I've never tried it myself but I'm sure it would give me a different perspective on things.
Anyone who has trained a gundog will know about the whole size/texture thing. You train using a simple cylindrical dummy which doesn't look anyhting like a bird or rabbit. You then strap some feathers / fur to it as the training develops. At no point does it look like the intended quarry.
You can buy bird shaped training dummies - I did so - but I'm not at all sure that the dog cares which one he is fetching etc.
There is a difference in training a creature and working within it's own instincts. I think training can lead to higher level intelligence in any creature generation after generation, so it has a lot of value. The raw instinct before training is what humans consider intelligence, or to someone who thinks this is an accurate way to measure intelligence, the method of sorting the trainable with the lesser. Notice how quickly the measure of intelligence spins out of control?
However, I think if you have a animal of any kind that will actually fetch something, you have a animal who's instincts are not sharp enough to recognize enslavement. Thus, the intelligence of the trainable animal might be compromised. There are exceptions to the rule, and I'm not implying this doesn't make them cute, loyal, and very loving creatures.
At some point, I have to question my instincts to enslavement to that of different species. Sadly, I have found myself to be very well trained, and I have seen dogs and cats you can't train at all. So,where do I rest?
There's a lot in how the human behaves. There are ways a human can act which a dog will react to, and even Police Dogs are trained in ways which don't push too hard against is. It isn't a Crocodile Dundee stunt, but not acting scared will affect how the dog acts. As far as the Police are concerned, you have stopped, and that's fine.
A lot of dog training was based on misleading ideas that came from the study of wolves in zoos, a very artificial situation. Looking back over the dogs and cats in my life, we used to surprise some people, but we never went the Barbara Woodhouse way. As for the one-eyed ginger tom from across the road, who had a reputation as a Right Bastard, I think he ended up trusting us.
My uncle's piece of skirt was one of the "Ooh, baby" school of pet handling. Our cat would hide for the rest of the day.
" I have a suspicion that if humans picked up most objects with their mouth, we'd suddenly start paying more attention to texture as well."
Young children always explore new things with their mouth - as the final test after eyes and hands. Don't think it is necessarily because they are hungry. Mapping of the nerve density of various parts of the human body shows that the lips are a major sensory area.
I also have a well trained Border Collie (called Linux; working as a rescue dog) and recently I noticed something funny about languages. When he sleeps I can talk in Polish, English, German, etc. and he just continue sleeping ignoring all the sounds.
However, recently I started learning Chinese and he is crazy about it! Even when I say 我 (meaning 'I') he runs to me and expects more commands ("What should I do?!"). 8)
The difference is in the tones and tone 3 "activates" him the most.