Dogs are not quite as smart as the hype would suggest, researchers have found.
A new study suggests that they're smart but not "super smart," The New York Times reports.
Stephen Lea, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter, said he saw lot of studies "showing how remarkable the things were that dogs could do" when he was editor of the scientific journal Animal Cognition. The problem was, despite not being studied as frequently, other animals such as cats and horses had been known to display similar capabilities.
"It made me quite wary that dogs were special," he told the Times.
And the new study bears that suspicion out. Authors of the study, published in the journal Learning & Behavior, arrived at their findings by reviewing existing research. Compared with dolphins, horses, and several other species, dogs were fairly unexceptional. The researchers looked at areas such as tool usage and ability to carry out complex tasks.
Sales of tech-based "smart" durable petcare products reached $400 million last year, according to a new report.
The products create a "connected" lifestyle between pet parents and their fur babies, according to market research firm Packaged Facts in the report Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products, 2nd Edition.
"Americans love their pets. And they love their devices. Pet tech products satisfy both affections by creating a closer bond between pet and owner, and by using technology to make petcare easier," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. "Make no mistake, pet tech is big business, and products that can connect pet owners with their pets, whether via Bluetooth, over WiFi, or using a home network, are in high demand."
In the report, durable petcare products include toys; collars, leashes and harnesses; beds; carriers, crates and housing; bowls, feeders and waterers; apparel and fashion accessories; and litter boxes and accessories. The market accounts for about $5 billion a year in sales.
The trend toward connected products is part of the much larger trend in the consumer packaged goods market, with U.S. consumers using the internet to connect themselves to brands, companies, and other consumers, not to mention marketers increasing their market penetration via e-commerce sites and social media, according to a Packaged Facts press release.
Many technology-focused products work with smartphone or desktop apps that allow pet owners to interact with the products and their makers, and Packaged Facts expects smart products to play a larger role in 2018 and beyond.
Products designed to perform a service are well-established segments of categories formerly limited to manual items, from self-cleaning litter boxes to automated feeders to collars with Bluetooth monitoring capabilities.
Packaged Facts also expects products that monitor a pet's activities, vital signs, body functions and location to become a norm among engaged pet owners, enabling them to detect health problems — and spurring them to take action — earlier.
Natalie Yoder, like all pet owners, loves her pet, a 3-year-old husky named Atlas.
To protect the health of this member of her family, Yoder took out a pet insurance policy on Atlas two years ago.
"Atlas has seizures and takes medicine twice a day. This really helps out with the cost. Atlas is only 3, and has an existing health condition that requires monthly vet visits and medication," says Yoder.
Per month, Yoder spends about $20 for her insurance premium. She figures pet insurance is saving her $20 a month with her vet bills at $100 per month.
With 41 percent of pet owners surveyed by the Associated Press saying they are concerned they wouldn't be able to afford medical bills for a sick dog or cat, is health insurance the answer?
D.C.-based Consumers' Checkbook recently finished up its analysis of pet insurance.
“Like any insurance, over the life of the policy, you are far more likely to pay more than you'll get out," says Brittany Jonas.
Jonas has opted not to take out pet insurance on 4-year-old Jasper.
She told Seven on Your Side, “I felt like maybe if when he got a little bit older, and I was concerned about his health, something that would make it a little bit more effective with vet bills, I would consider it.”
Consumers' Checkbook says its study shows the opposite is actually true. Kevin Brasler says, “Over time as your dog ages, those premiums go up and up and up.”
Checkbook shopped at a variety of pet insurance companies and found that at one company, a $44-per-month premium to insure a puppy jumped to almost $200 a month when the dog turned 12.
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) announced the recipients of the 2018 ASPCA Humane Awards. They will be honored at the upcoming Humane Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 15th in New York City. The awards honor animal heroes who vitally help humans or other animals in extraordinary ways, as well as people who demonstrate great commitment to assisting at-risk animals. Following a nationwide public call for nominations, an expert ASPCA committee reviewed hundreds of entries and selected winners in six categories including Cat of the Year, Dog of the Year, Kid of the Year, the Equine Welfare Award, the Public Service Award and the Henry Bergh Award.
“This year’s ASPCA Humane Award winners cover a wide variety of issues, locations, and approaches, but what they share is a deep commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and driving toward a more humane culture overall,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 15, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. This year’s honorees include:
ASPCA Dog of the Year: Noah, Mineral Point, WI Working with a specialized curriculum developed by his owner, teacher Lisa Edge, Noah embodies the message that even though people look different, we all have similar needs and are no less important because of our differences or disabilities.
ASPCA Cat of the Year: D-O-G, St. Louis, MO D-O-G (pronounced dee-OH-gee) the once homeless cat is now considered instrumental in helping service dogs get the training they need to support people all over the country and in Europe.
ASPCA Public Service Award: Bear (Police Dog), Seattle, WA A former homeless Labrador-mix born in 2013, Bear found his calling with Indiana fireman Todd Jordan as the first trainee in Jordan’s innovative program to train animals to detect electronic storage devices. Bear also provides emotional support to officers working in the stressful division as well as to children at the sites of the raids who may need to be questioned.
ASPCA Henry Bergh Award: Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), New York, NY As the official animal welfare organization for the City of New York, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) finds loving homes for tens of thousands of homeless and abandoned cats, dogs, and rabbits by adopting animals directly to the public, reuniting families with lost pets, and through partnerships with more than 300 local animal welfare organizations, including the ASPCA.
ASPCA Equine Welfare Award: Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center, Franktown, CO The Dumb Friends League Harmony Equine Center is a national model in the rehabilitation and adoption of tragically abused and neglected horses, ponies, donkeys and mules that have been removed from their owners by law enforcement authorities.
Some people can only dream of living on a houseboat in Amsterdam, but that's the reality for dozens of feral and abandoned cats in the city. As Mic reports, De Poezenboot, or The Catboat, provides shelter to about 50 cats in need of homes—and guests can visit the floating animal sanctuary for free.
The shelter was founded in 1968, when a cat lover named Henriette van Weelde purchased a Dutch sailing barge to house the growing number of rescue cats she had taken in. The barge was eventually replaced with the Dutch houseboat that's docked in the canal today. The vessel provides heating in the winter and beds, boxes, and scratching posts to keep cats happy and comfortable. They have access to the outside deck any time of year, and there's even a fence to keep them from swiping at duck chicks in the water.
Weelde passed away in 2005 at age 90. Today the shelter is managed by Judith Gobets, who worked under Weelde for years, and maintained by a team of volunteers. In addition to caring for and feeding the cats, they also make sure every cat that comes to them is sterilized, micro-chipped, and vaccinated.
Goats (and sheep) have been recruited in the effort to fight wildfires.
Northern Spain has a "Fire Flocks" project, in which dozens and dozens of the ruminants chip in by doing what they do so well: eat.
"They eat what is the fuel for fires," says Sergi Nuss, who runs the project, which is based in Girona, an area where there were recurrent wildfires in summer.
By chowing down on grass and the leaves of young trees and bushes, the goats and sheep can help reduce the chance that a fire will spread through grasslands and treetops.
An added bonus is that the project creates more work for shepherds, who are a disappearing breed. To further boost the career prospects of shepherds, the Fire Flocks group encourages local butchers to promote the sale of goat meat.
You’ve heard of service dogs, but how about service llamas?
For those with disabilities, regaining access to the trail systems surrounding Boulder is a life changer, but it takes a huge amount of work. With the help of a llama, however, those with disabilities can venture further, go faster and stay longer.
Tuesday afternoon Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and Pack Animal Magazine held an event to try and raise awareness about the benefits of llamas as service animals in the backcountry. The Center for People with Disabilities — whose mission is to “provide resources, information and advocacy to assist people with disabilities in overcoming barriers to independent living” and has locations in Boulder, Longmont and Broomfield — also helped put on the event.
“It means a lot to, say the least,” said Vijay Viiswanathan, a community outreach specialist for Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, who was paralyzed in a repelling accident his freshman year at the University of Colorado. “I’ve always been an avid outdoors person and when I was paralyzed I thought that a lot of those activities weren’t going to be possible anymore. But Boulder is one of the places where folks are pushing the bounders of adaptive sports.”
A New Jersey man who died of a brain-eating infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis was exposed while visiting the BSR Cable Park and Surf Resort in Waco, Texas, during the summer, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District said Friday.
Water samples taken by local, state and federal health officials at the beginning of the month "found evidence of Naegleria fowleri," the amoeba that causes the infection, according to the health district. Fabrizio Stabile, 29, visited the surf resort before developing symptoms in September. Health officials say Fabrizio Stabile was exposed to the amoeba that caused his death at a water park in Waco, Texas.
A GoFundMe page launched by those close to him said he was mowing his lawn when he developed a severe headache. It hadn't gone away by the following morning, and his symptoms progressed until he was unable to speak coherently or get out of bed. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found the amoeba in his spinal fluid.
Although the amoeba itself was not found in water samples from the park, "the presence of fecal indicator organisms, high turbidity, low free chlorine levels, and other ameba that occur along with N. fowleri indicate conditions favorable for N. fowleri growth."
The tests were taken from the park's Surf Resort, Royal Flush and Lazy River features. Those areas are to remain closed until "all health and safety issues have been addressed and mitigated appropriately," the health department said, adding that the owner of the park is cooperating and working to develop a "comprehensive water quality management plan to include current regulatory requirements."
The BSR Cable Park said on its website that it is installing a state-of-the-art filtration system on the three features to ensure that they are "as clear and clean as humanly possible." However, the park is interpreting the test results another way: "Water tests come back clean," the website proclaimed, adding that "comprehensive test results have now confirmed that the water at BSR Surf Resort meets every standard for safety." BSR also offered its condolences: " A precious life has been lost, and we are deeply saddened for his loved ones."
There have been nine cases of primary amebic meningoencephalitis in Texas since 2005, according to the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention data dating to the 1960s show between zero and eight cases per year nationwide, with five cases in 2016 and none last year.