A research study found dogs can understand human pointing cues to infer the location of food. Dr Yin performed the dog pointing cue test on 2 JRTs who flunk the test while 1 Scottie passes.
Last week when lecturing at a seminar with Sarah Kalnajs, I watched an interesting video that Sarah showed. When her friend who had a history of cluster headaches was visiting her, Sarah’s dogs performed an unusual behavior. Typically they would hang back instead of interacting with the visitor but in this case they climbed onto his lap and kept licking his face, especially in the area of his right eye. At the time her friend did not have a headache but 10 minutes later he felt one coming on.
Scenes from a Saturday morning cartoon? A twisted scheme of some sort? Neither of the above. It’s the assigned mission at the August 2000 Advanced Operant Conditioning Workshop (a.k.a. chicken training camp), taught by Bob Bailey and psychologist Marian Breland-Bailey. Nine animal trainers from the U.S. and Canada, including myself, are here to meet the challenge. We have five days. Sounds like a joke, but it’s serious business. We’re here not just to train chickens. We’re here to learn the intricacies of a universal mechanism of learning called operant conditioning.
Haicheng, China, 1975. A massive earthquake hits. Buildings are demolished, roads destroyed, but thanks to an evacuation several hours earlier, thousands, possibly tens of thousands of human lives are saved. The Chinese claimed they’d predicted an earthquake within hours of its occurrence. Their forecasting system: animals.