Leia Gets the Lay of the Land
Ever wonder what your dog is experiencing as they run in the park? Or shop for a new toy?
Here are two gadgets that may help.
Leia is modeling the GoPro – an easy to mount and operate camera, at a reasonable price.
I love this video as it captures the essence of a great dog hike. And what is it that stops Leia in her tracks more often than not? Scents! This points out yet again what an important and probably dominant, olfactory sense dogs have.
While this little gadget does capture the fun of a romp in the park, it probably does not represent what Leia is actually seeing. Dogs, while able to distinguish differences in color, do not see the bright colors as we do. Also, a dog’s ability to see in the dark is much better than ours, as is his ability to detect motion.
There’s An App For That!
Then, there is of course “an app for that” called Pet Vision. With this app you will supposedly be able to see, for instance, a shelf of colorful toys beautifully displayed for your pleasure at Petsmart. These displays are definitely geared towards he who holds the purse strings! A more effective approach, in your dog’s mind, would be to have each toy smell differently. The colors are for us.
Beware though – if you check out this app you are likely to come away feeling sorry for your cat! Their apparent view of things is even more dull.
Are there any implications for training? Yes – because “the subject dictates the reward!” In order to reward our dogs we have to think dog. Will giving them a stack of $100 bills be rewarding? Not so much. But if we hand them a toy that either smells like food or smells like a critter we are “thinking dog” and are on the right track. Toys, especially tug toys, that are designed with this in mind can be very very powerful rewards. I was demonstrating this in class with a dog that was not food motivated. I tossed a raccoon tail that was attached to a webbed leash towards him. It was fortunate the leash was attached because by the time I got over there, he had already started to swallow it! I ended up pulling out a very well slimed raccoon tail from this dogs throat. This “Beastie Toy” is always a favorite in class because the tail is in a pouch, so the handler is not actually touching the tail, but the scent is still strong.