Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday—a now-and-then blog that asks the burning question:
Just WHAT were they THINKING?!
I come across a wide variety of links to interesting articles, from fluffy-fun to give-me-a-break reportage. For instance, a dog-gone FUN link for art-loving canine folks shows the winners of the most recent Art Show at the Dog Show 2011. Awesome!
Here’s one for all the feline fanatics—you’ve heard of police dogs. Well now Sheba fights crime, with her fur! Yes, you read it right. There is now a DNA database of feline fur to use for catching criminals. Y’all know how cat fur gets on and into everything. Bad guys who encounter a cat or even a cat-environment get “marked” with that kitty’s DNA. Mee-OUCH! Read all about it here.
Here’s one that had me howling when the “study” debunked the ability of sniffing dogs to accurately detect contraband. They set up a “test” and marked each supposed location with a visual flag the handler recognized, and sent the dogs through to see how accurate they were. But some of the markers were bogus—and the dogs still “alerted.” So their conclusion was that the dogs cued off what the handler believed/expected because doggies so very much want to please us. You can read the article here.
Uh…DUH! Of course they want to please us! And yes, I can see how handler expectation might influence a dog’s alerts. Why didn’t they do a blinded test—that is, one where the handler doesn’t know the result? This appears a purposeful discrediting of the outstanding work these dogs do, and it comes down to the individual dog, handler, and training how accurate (or not) it might be.
I had the honor and pleasure to interview several dog handlers from the ATF for my radio shows to learn how they’re trained and work. Fire Engine Dogs is about arson-alert canines, Big Bang Theory covers ATF explosive detection canines, and Biting Back At Crime features ATF tactical dogs.
Woofs & Purrs,
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Causes Amy Shojai Supports
Cat Writers Association, Winn Feline Foundation, AKC Canine Health Foundation, CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)