Month: September 2016

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes

K9 Investigation Errors: A Manual for Avoiding Mistakes, by Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak, Brush Education, Inc.; 256 pgs.; ISBN: 978-1-55059-672-4, $44.95

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How can you make a good book better? Resi Gerritsen and Ruud Haak who wrote K9 Fraud, have accomplished that with their updated book, K9 Investigation Errors. They cover many important points in handling dogs that are common mistakes. For example, they explain how dogs can read human gestures, even the slightest ones (the Clever Hans Effect) which can cause a false response from a dog. They review some famous cases in the United States and show how the handler or poor training misled authorities, sometimes resulting in the arrest of the wrong person.

What I especially liked was their comments that dog handlers who claim fantastic results with their dogs (typically false) influence authorities who believe them and then think that properly trained dogs who cannot perform to that level are not as good, when in fact the properly trained and handled dogs are correct.

Another interesting point that they bring out in their book is what they call failure scents. This is when a dog associates a scent with failure and by association can lead to the dog’s poor performance. This is the same as people will often associate a benign event, song, scent or even food with a bad experience and react to the memory that it triggers.

There is so much information in this book that I strongly recommend handlers of all disciplines read this book and evaluate how they can improve their dogs and their handling skills.

The book is a high quality book, as is typical of Brush Education Publications, with quality binding, pages and soft cover. It is well edited with no typo’s or other common mistakes that authors tend to make when writing. It is always a pleasure to review a Brush Education book.

The chapters are:

Scent-Identification Lineups

The Dutch Training Method for Scent Identification

Dogs’ Responsiveness to Human Gestures

Tracking Dogs in Crime Investigations

Scent Research and Tracking Experiments

Errors in Mantrailing

Human Odor and Dogs’ Scent Perception

Scent Problems and Training Problems

Preventing Investigation Errors

Birds nest near friends that they made during the winter- new study shows

Birds in general are much smarter than previously thought. They form friendships, work together and protect each other.

Most people have seen flocks of geese grazing in a field or by the water. If you look closely you will see one or two geese standing with their heads held high scanning the area for danger. They are the geese on guard.

Crows will have meetings to learn who had the best success in finding food that day. The next day some of the members of the flock will follow the successful crows.

Certain types of birds, such as Chickadees, Titmouse, and others will let birds in the area know that they have found a well-stocked bird feeder, especially in the winter. The other birds learn to listen for the announcement.

New research shows that some birds will establish their spring nesting sites near the birds they made friends with during the winter. They seem to share boundaries with the birds that they are closest too. What is interesting is that the birds will form friendships. This indicates that the birds have social interactions with each other, perhaps more than we humans suspected.

Even birds that typically live a solitary life, such as Robins, will join together and flock to migrate. Sometimes a person is able to predict the weather by the behavior of the wild birds. The birds seem to  know when a storm is coming, sometimes a day before.

How fascinating it is to learn about wild animals. Birds are easy to watch if you put up a few bird feeders. It is wonderful that scientists are learning how smart animals really are.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160914143538.htm

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/backyard-food-scouts-titmice-chickadees-sherry-thornburg

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The Amazing World of Plants – Some Trees Know When a Roe Deer Has Eaten a Shoot or Bud

 

Although plant neurobiology is not a new field new material is always a fascinating topic. In this case, Carolin Seele (Leipzig University) and Stefan Meldau (Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology) have discovered that young beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) and maple trees (Acer pseudoplatanus), can protect themselves from roe deer that love to eat their new shoots and buds.

This amazing discovery found that the trees can determine whether the shoot and/or bud was eaten by roe deer or damaged by other circumstances. The trees are able to detect roe deer saliva which triggers an increase in its production of salicylic acid. This hormone then signals an increase in the production of specific tannins which the deer do not like to eat. Not only that, but the growth hormone is also increased to compensate for the lost bud or shoot. If the damage is by other means, such as a storm, the trees only produce a growth hormone.

Many years ago people found that if they talked to their plants they would grow better. Maybe there was something to this. There are so many wonderful things yet to be discovered about plants. What a fun topic!

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160912132733.htm

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Canine Parvovirus Mutated from Domestic Cats

Those of us who have been involved with dogs for many years may recall the terrible outbreak of Canine Parvovirus in the 1970’s. Many puppies and dogs died as a result. In some cases, whole litters died.

What most people do not realize is that according to a study conducted by Colin Parrish, the John M. Olin Professor of Virology and director of the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University and Susan Daniel, associate professor in Cornell’s Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is that the virus most likely was transferred from the feline panueukopenia or a similar virus from domesticated cats.

According to their study the virus can jump from one species to another because of a mutation in its protein shell. As a result, the virus has since infected a variety of wild carnivores including the raccoon.

This is why it is very important to vaccinate pet dogs and cats. This not only protects them from the virus, but can help prevent the virus from spreading to wildlife.

FMI: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160414122007.htm

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Has the Grey Wolf and Striped Hyena Joined Forces in Israel for Survival?

A study conducted by Vladimire Dinets, UT Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Benjamin Eligulashvili, an Israel-based zoologist, seems to imply that these two enemies may have joined together for survival in the harsh Israeli desert.

Striped Hyenas were observed in the middle of grey wolf packs as they traveled together through a maze of canyons in the southern part of the Negev desert.

Why would they do this? The theory is that the hyenas have a better sense of smell and the ability to locate carrion miles away. They can also dig and crack bones better than wolves. The wolves are more agile and can bring down large game. Together they both have a greater chance of survival.

What is not known is if this is a common occurrence that has not been observed before, or an unusual event.

What is nice about their unity, as Dinets commented, it is an example for humans about overcoming differences and learning to get along.

It is always refreshing to learn more about the behavior of wild animals and studies like this make you wonder how much more there is to learn.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160317151307.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fplants_animals%2Fdogs+%28Dogs+News+–+ScienceDaily%29