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Dog Breeds

Puppy Mafia: Dognappers take advantage of UK demand for pandemic pets

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Britain is in the middle of a huge wave of doping crime. This is extremely troubling in this nation of animal lovers, yet another emotional whip into a strange and terrible year.

The humane societies and rescue organizations in Britain say they have never seen anything like it. Animal welfare officers – actually animal detectives – blame the pandemic. The demand for dogs is massive, but there are so few available for sale or adoption. So crime bosses are now puppy brokers.

In the United States, the most famous case involved Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs Koji and Gustav, who were stolen from their dog walker Ryan Fischer, who was shot and killed during the dog heist in West Hollywood.

In the UK, the problem has risen to the level of senior government officials. Home Secretary Priti Patel described the reported increase in pet thefts as “absolutely shocking”. Police Minister Kit Malthouse swore action, saying: “It is a sad fact that criminals will try to profit from this heinous crime.”

Parliament debates stricter laws after receiving two petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures and is calling on the authorities to make dog theft a serious crime punishable by eight years in prison and fines of $ 7,500.

Currently, English law treats dogs as property, with the penalty being the value of the object. In practice, a dog’s worth is the same as a stolen microwave, television, or cell phone – a few hundred dollars or less. The petitioners want this to change to make the crime more similar to kidnapping a family member.

There is, of course, a certain hysteria in all of this, fueled by the tabloids and fueled by rumors about social media. Not every missing dog has been stolen by fiends.

But the British love their dogs – and their dogs are stolen.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen and I’ve been in the field for 35 years,” said Wayne May, police liaison officer for Dog Lost, the UK’s largest lost and found office.

According to May, the thefts reported to his organization are up 250 percent from the previous year.

“That’s over 400 cases, just in England, that were just reported to us,” he said. “This is not a dog that ran away. This is a reported case of theft. “

The investigators talk about the emergence of a new “puppy mafia”. They say some of the same human traffickers who normally deal with prostitution, drugs, and arms sales have turned to Labradoodles and ruthlessly took advantage of the skyrocketing demand.

“The cost of a puppy has increased significantly over the past year, making this market a lucrative market for organized criminals,” said Amanda Blakeman, director of the National Police Chiefs’ Council on Employed Crime.

The UK is only beginning to get out of its third national coronavirus lockdown, and the months of closed life under strict instructions to stay at home have left many people hungry for the (mostly) unconditional love of four-legged companions (who need it) long walks and eat).

A dog that would normally cost $ 500 is now $ 2,500 or more – if you can find one. Even rescue shelters have run out of mutts. An internet search for dogs available for adoption in the London area found few dogs here and there. Brits seeking companionship have started rescuing dogs from abroad.

“The prices for puppies have increased,” said Jacob Lloyd, senior investigator for animal welfare services. He described a new “wild west” of dog slinging and trading.

“I also blame society,” he said. “People don’t want to wait. They want a dog, and now they want a dog. “

And so organized criminals have stepped into the void.

Investigators describe an elaborate chain of crime, from opportunistic theft to puppy mills to seedy sales.

First, thieves target pets, especially fertile women. Most are stolen from cars, yards, shops and kennels.

May said a case in point could be a small breeder who advertises on the internet for puppies for sale at her home. A boy scout could take a look at the mother and pups, but locate the place to get in and out. and thieves return later.

May said he “did not want to be a fear monger” and stressed that it was “very rare” for a Dognapper to speak to an owner while walking a dog. But it happened.

Former amateur boxer James Cosens said he fought two kidnappers, one with a knife, who tried to catch his 20-week-old collie, Rosie.

Cosens told Wales Online: “To get away with it safely, the only thing I could do was get hit first, to try to have the element of surprise. The first punch I threw brought the man to the floor with Rosie, but he still had a tight grip on her so the argument fell to the ground. “

If thieves can escape with dogs, they tend to sell the males quickly. The females send them to illegal breeding farms that operate well outside of the Kennel Club’s norms. One such operation was discovered by police, who arrived on site with arrest warrants to look for weapons, not dogs.

James Perry, a lawyer prosecuting dognapping in UK courts, said police “had only just woken up to the importance of these cases”.

He pointed to recent raids on illegal kennels that housed up to 80 dogs, many of which were suspected of being stolen.

Perry said a litter of half a dozen pups could bring in 10,000 pounds (nearly $ 14,000).

He pointed out that a cell phone stolen from a house might only be worth a few dollars, but the right dog could fetch thousands in black and gray markets.

After a litter is born, the offspring are often sold through a sketchy sales team that works in parking lots and rental apartments. Sellers show kindhearted faces to encourage emotional buyers to pay thousands of pounds for breeds, designer mixes, or mutt.

“No papers, no shots, nothing, and they pay £ 3,000 [more than $4,000] in a parking lot for a sick puppy, ”said Lloyd of Animal Protection Services.

He noted that UK law requires puppies to be seen with their mothers first, microchipped and accompanied by papers from licensed operators. The chips can be removed by gross surgery, crimped with pliers, or deactivated using strong magnets.

Jon Gaunt is a gamekeeper on a pheasant hunting and riding arena in southern England. In May, thieves used hydraulic cutters to open his locks, entered his kennels and stole three of his Springer Spaniels.

Authorities later found one who was walking around freely. Gaunt suspects the dog was dumped. Another is still missing. But the third turned up during a police raid in September on a location occupied by travelers, sometimes referred to as Gypsies or Roma, where 46 dogs and puppies were found. Several arrests were made.

What people – and police and parliament – don’t seem to understand, Gaunt said, is that a litter of puppies is now worth a few pounds of cocaine. For their owners, however, the loss of a cherished pet is far more painful than replacing a stolen large-screen TV.

“They don’t steal your cell phone, they steal a family member,” Gaunt said. When a lowlife leans over your garden wall and picks up your dog, he added, “You take a lot more than just something.”

Dog Breeds

Even Puppies Get the Point

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Dogs’ ability to understand us and respond to our attempts to communicate with them has long been considered a fundamental part of the close relationship we share. More than two decades ago, researchers first provided evidence that dogs can follow human pointing gestures.

Many studies have since shown that when humans point at one of two identical objects to indicate the location of the food, dogs respond by choosing the one pointed more often than we would happen to expect. This may sound like an easy skill, but maybe that’s because it’s so easy for us. The idea that another species can respond to our hint is a big deal.

As with any significant discovery, this topic has been discussed at length. Behavioral questions mainly revolve around whether dogs are learning what this gesture means from spending so much time with us, or whether they can naturally understand that pointing is a way to get their attention to something interesting.

It is difficult to study for practical and ethical reasons. Most adult dogs have a lot of experience with humans. Raising dogs without such contact for the purposes of scientific study would be cruel and totally unacceptable. It would also be pointless because such dogs would be so poorly socialized and so fearful that they would not be able to participate in studies. However, puppies are a different matter.

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In a recent study, researchers used the fact that young puppies have limited experience with humans to examine their ability to respond to human pointing gestures. The 375 participating puppies were between 7.3 and 10.4 weeks old (mean age 8.4 weeks). The puppies were loaned out by Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit group that provides assistance dogs to people with disabilities. The 203 females and 172 males came from 117 litters. In terms of breed, there were 98 Labrador Retrievers, 23 Golden Retrievers, and 254 Golden Retriever / Labrador Retriever crosses.


The experimenter hid food in one of two places and either (A) pointed and looked at the bait container, or (B) placed any marker next to the bait container. (C) Puppies exceeded chance expectation with both social cues, but not in an olfactory control state. Source: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.03.17.434752

In the study, the pups had a choice of two containers, one of which held a piece of snack food. While one person was holding the pup, another caught the pup’s attention and either pointed and looked at the food reward container, or showed the pup a marker (a small yellow block) and then placed the marker next to the correct container. Based on the dot gesture, the pups chose correctly more than two-thirds of the time. They correctly picked almost three-quarters of the time the person communicated the location of the food by placing the marker.

In control trials, where puppies were not directed and were likely to choose based on the smell of the food, their decisions had a success rate of 48.9 percent – essentially random and slightly worse than you’d expect based on chance alone. These experiments showed that puppies could not find the food by sniffing it out.

Multiple replications did not appear to improve the puppies’ performance. This suggests that they don’t learn the task while studying. (They had either already learned the task even though they were so young, or they could do it without having to study.) Previous studies in adult dogs – both lap dogs and assistance dogs – found similar success rates for the pointing task, and were even higher Success in the marker task.

Another aspect of this study examined the genetic basis for the variation in dogs’ ability to find food based on human information about their location. They found that 43 percent of the variation was due to heredity, confirming a long-standing belief that genetics play a role in dogs’ social and cognitive abilities. This is an important finding. In order for selection to affect a dog’s ability to respond to human communication, as there are many theories about the domestication of dogs, there must be a genetic basis.

It is important to understand that even a natural ability can be adaptive. Hence, it is not that dogs either have an innate ability or need to learn that ability. The idea that behavior is binary is extremely out of date. In fact, an influential 1967 study in my field of ethology had the brand name “Ontogenesis of an Instinct”. To understand why it was so dangerous, it is important to know that ontogeny means evolution.

The study looked at changes in a pattern of behavior that was believed to be instinctive: a gull chick pecks at one point on the beak of an adult gull to trigger feeding. Such species-specific behavior patterns were viewed as innate rather than learned. In a series of studies, Jack P. Hailman, PhD showed that learning took place and that gull chicks improved their chopping accuracy with practice.

The idea that instinctive behavior can be improved and that learning occurs in relation to such behaviors was revolutionary and has changed the field significantly. But here, more than 50 years later, we are still debating whether behavior is instinctive or learned. It is more complex than that, and we have to accept that learning can play a role even in natural and species-prevalent behavior.

One possibility that must always be considered is that dogs have a tendency to learn the ability to follow human gestures. That is, it can be easy and natural for them to learn. In fact, it can be so simple and natural that it can be difficult to find dogs who have not yet learned how to do it. The current study provides evidence that even young puppies who have not had extensive experience with humans can perform this task and – equally interesting and important – that there is a genetic basis for this behavior. However, dogs have not been shown to have this ability in the absence of experience with humans.

The researchers say it fairly in their work: “Taken together, our results show that the social skills of dogs are very important in early development and that the variation in these traits is strongly influenced by genetic factors.”

Source * thebark.com – * https://thebark.com/content/even-puppies-get-point

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Dog Breeds

How to Tell if Your Dog is a Genius

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Anyone who has lived with a dog knows their ability to learn the meanings of words, even those you wouldn’t want them to know. How many times did you have to spell the words “going” or “dinner” to avoid an explosion of excitement?

Previous studies have looked at how non-human animals, including chimpanzees, sea lions, and rhesus monkeys, learn words. But now, a paper published in Nature shows that some dogs learn the name of a new object after hearing it just four times, a skill previously believed to be limited to humans.

The researchers found that this skill was not common in all dogs studied, but may be limited to a few “talented” or well-trained individuals. So how do you know if your own dog is a genius or not?

The study was simple and easy to repeat at home. Just follow the researchers’ steps to see if your dog can learn the names of objects that quickly. But don’t worry if your dog doesn’t have this ability. This can only be due to his race or previous experience.

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Whiskey and Vicky Nina

The new study included a collie named Whiskey who knew 59 objects by name and a Yorkshire terrier named Vicky Nina who knew 42 toys.

The researchers tested each dog’s knowledge of their toy by asking them to bring each toy in turn. Neither the owners nor the experimenters could see the toys so as not to influence the choice of dogs.

Once it was determined that the dogs knew the names of all of their toys, the researchers introduced two new objects, each placed one at a time in a group of familiar toys. In this test, Whiskey chose the new toy every time. Vicky Nina got the right one in 52.5% of the attempts, which is a bit more than chance.

Learn new names

For the next part of the study, the dog was shown a toy, given its name, and then allowed to play with it. After repeating the name of two different new toys four times, the dog was asked to choose one of the two new toys.

No known toys were included in this part of the experiment in order to prevent the dog from choosing the right toy through exclusion. Knowing the name of all the other toys, the dog may choose the right toy, guessing that the unfamiliar word must indicate the unfamiliar toy.

Both dogs opted for the new toy more often than chance would predict, suggesting that they actually learned the name of a new object very quickly. However, her memory deteriorated significantly after 10 minutes and almost completely after an hour. This shows that the new learning needs more reinforcement if it is to be maintained.

Read More: Six Tips For Grooming Your New Puppy According To Science

The test with the new toy was also done by 20 volunteers with their own dogs, but these dogs did not show the ability to learn new names after a few hearings.

The authors suggested that the difference between the performance of the two dogs in their test and the volunteer dogs means that the dog may need to be unusually intelligent or have a lot of name learning experience in order to learn new names quickly.

A dog surrounded by toys.

Clever dogs

It is likely that a combination of factors are at work in these experiments. It is significant that the most common breed used in studies of this species is a border collie, specifically bred to perform audible commands and very highly motivated to perform tasks and please the handler. Yorkshire terriers also enjoy mental and physical stimulation.

Similar tests have been carried out by other research groups, usually using border collies. In 2004, a dog named Rico was found to know the names of 200 different objects, and in 2011 Chaser learned 1,022 unique objects.

Other breeds may be less interested in playing with or fetching toys. For example, greyhounds such as salukis and greyhounds are primarily bred for hunting or racing and are therefore generally more difficult to train. They may not show any interest in toys at all and be far less motivated to please the handler.

Smart dogs can learn new names quickly.

Both test dogs in this study received extensive training through play and social interaction to pay attention to the names and characteristics of the toys. This could make them more likely to notice the differences between new and familiar toys and to care about the verbal cues associated with them.

While their training was not formal, it was nonetheless positive reinforcement training, a powerful method of teaching animals and people. The dogs have undoubtedly learned their skills to a great extent.

It is entirely possible to train all dogs to perform tasks, including learning the names of objects. However, the degree to which they are willing and able to learn and perform the task depends heavily on the breed of dog and the motivation of the individual dog.

If your pet is an Afghan or Saint Bernard, don’t expect them to be interested in spending hours getting toys for you. On the other hand, if you have a border collie or poodle, their abilities can only be limited by your imagination and commitment to playing with them.The conversation

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Dog Breeds

10 Most Challenging Dog Breeds That Are Full Of Love

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All dogs need love, attention, and training – but some dog breeds need a little more than others. Every dog breed has its strengths and weaknesses. That doesn’t make any particular breed less loveable, but these 10 dog breeds may need a lot more patience and obedience training than others.
These breeds tend to be intelligent, independent, and stubborn, making then the least obedient dog breeds. Successfully training one of these breeds should win you an award!

00:00​ – Intro
00:30​ – Afghan Hound
01:19​ – Chow Chow
02:04​ – Basenji
02:45​ – Bulldog
03:24​ – Bloodhound
04:08​ – Pekingese
04:45​ – Dachshund
05:22​ – Welsh Terrier
06:03​ – Beagle
06:37​ – Borzoi
07:10​ – Outro

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