February 23 – A Day In The (Dog’s) Life

Today’s factismal: Paul McCartney included a dog whistle sound in the song “A Day In The Life” as a treat for his Shetland Sheepdog.

Dogs. You’ve got to love them. They range in size from tiny teacup poodles to ginormous great danes. They’ve been everywhere we’ve gone, from the depths of the ocean to the frozen Arctic wastes to the loneliness of outer space. They eat anything that we do (except chocolate and broccoli). There are an estimated 400 million of them on Earth. Their noses are so sensitive that they can be trained to detect bombs, fruit, and cancer. And they’ve been man’s best friend for more than 15,000 years. If you want proof of that, go listen to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with your dog. Near the end of “A Day In The Life”, odds are that your furry friend will perk up. That’s because Paul McCartney put a special sound in the track just for his best four-footed friend – a 15,000 Hz “dog whistle” that his Shetland Sheepdog loved.

A dog helps his best friend fish (Image courtesy USFWS)

A dog helps his best friend fish
(Image courtesy USFWS)

But perhaps the most amazing thing about dogs is that we are still learning things about them. We have only recently discovered that dogs can suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and that dogs can recognize other dogs by their faces (and you thought it was all about the sniffing!). We’ve discovered that dogs became omnivores because of their association with early hunter-gatherers, and that dogs got to the Americas thousands of years after people did.  Most importantly, we are still learning how dogs and their owners grow together. How does the human’s mood affect the dog? How does the dog’s mood affect the human? How do they deal with the good times and the bad? And will the dog ever train the human to clean up after him?

A dog waits patiently for the hunt to begin (Image courtesy USFWS)

A dog waits patiently for the hunt to begin
(Image courtesy USFWS)

If you’d like to take part in the research on this topic, then why not join the Center for Canine Behavior Studies’ long-term (longitudinal) study on dog-human interaction? To learn more about the study, fetch:
http://centerforcaninebehaviorstudies.org/

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